Sam and Mark's Super Happy Wedding Funtime

Last month, I had to send an email to the vendor about ordering invitations. A simple email: “Hey, I want to order invites. Please give me details.” This should take a normal person 5 minutes. This should take a PROFESSIONAL PROJECT MANAGER 2 minutes. It ended up taking me 3 weeks.

I want to get married. I want these invitations. I want these things. I do. But- Gah. Emails. Follow up. Communication. Blerg. This crap is hard to do.

Flash forward to now,  almost a full 2 months from the first bout of procrastination, and I have finally purchased the invitations. Of course they still must be created, reviewed, printed and mailed- which takes another 789 days- but the ball is rolling. I should have them sometime after the actual event. Here’s an invitation to that thing you may have already gone to, or would have gone to, if a certain someone didn’t sit on their hands for 2 months.

I really don’t know why these tasks are so difficult for me. Maybe I think Mark will take them on and so I put them off? But. Well. Mark is many things, many wonderful things, but he is not a mind reader. I know this. And yet I still push this crap around hoping that it will be magicked into existence.

So. If you get to the wedding and there isn’t an officiant or chairs… well, now you know why.



Oh bloody crap there are less than 4 months until my wedding.

I guess I should start planning.

We’ve been resting on this lovely bed of smug satisfaction at taking care of the big things (venue, photographer, dress), that we’ve sorta completely forgotten all the little things (invites, schedules, decor, ceremony, entertainment, etc). Well. Not forgotten so much as willfully ignored. But my chickens, they are roosting. Roooooooosting.

And now it is the holidays. This is a time for not being at all productive because holidays. Holidays! They are the most wonderful excuse ever. So generic. So non-specific. Sorry, I can’t. You know, it’s the holidays.

I love the holidays. I love the idea of getting married during the holidays, especially New Years. And even though I really don’t celebrate Christmas, there is something beautiful and magical about fairy lights. Cold, dark nights plus romantic twinkle lights equals fantastic. I love the aesthetic.

My winter wedding would be jewel toned. Lights would be low and cozy. Candlelight. But it would also be sleek. Deco. 1920s. I keep coming back to the 1920s, even though my dress is decidedly NOT 1920s. But I love the idea, especially for a New Year’s Day wedding. Something about the glamour. Long, tall lines, champagne flutes, bow ties and vests, feathers in your hair, long gloves. Very Gatsby but without the misery. Very Downton season 3, again, without the misery.

Dress ideas for New Year’s:


Or maybe:


I really just want the awesome headpiece.

Anyway. The New Years Wedding would be back to front. New Year’s Eve would be the reception- a late dinner. It would be glorious and decadent and delicious and then, at the stroke of midnight, we’d gather around for the ceremony. It would be quick and it would be followed by more drinking and dancing. It would feel like Midnight In Paris, a sort of magical, once in a life time event. Something maybe you stumbled into, got swept up in, and was so strange and wonderful, you let it carry you away.

But this is yet another wedding that I won’t have. I need to get to work on the one I will be having pretty soon, or… Well. I won’t have it.

OMG have you seen My Fair Wedding? Because you should go watch it if you have not. Seriously.

OK, nuts, right?

Oh. I see. You didn’t watch it.

Fine, let me sum up. David Tutera is a crazy Jason Bateman look-alike who runs around the country (LA and NY, occasionally TX) planning insane weddings with entire forests for centerpieces and contortionist waitstaff for Brides who dream of contortionist filled weddings.

And this is great television. These women want Jason Bateman to come in to their lives and give them the wedding of their dreams. DREAMS. Dreams they never even knew the had until Jason/David shows up with his rag tag band of circus freaks and florists.

I actually like this show in small doses. I love makeovers. And this, this, is a fun makeover. The women on the show get an amazing party that they never would have been able to pull off on their own. They get fancy-ass gowns that probably cost more than their original budget. They get tablecloths and overlays. They get live bands. They get etiquette lessons (this is the best because sometimes David tells them how to properly wipe their mouths with their napkins and explains the difference between place cards and escort cards). They get their tacky tattoos airbrushed. They get to be some totally other person who has some totally amazing wedding.

And these women want these weddings. I’m not going to get into why they want (*cough* advertising *cough*) these wedding, or if they want these weddings for themselves or for some strange feeling of obligation (to the advertisers? to keep up with the Joneses?), but they do want them. So much. And to see their dreams come true- it is a little emotional. Even if the dream is stupid and wasteful and over-the-top ridiculous, doesn’t mean it isn’t a valid dream. And to have that stupid, wasteful over-the-top dream be bigger than even you thought it could be? Well, that is emotional. That is wonderful. Just because I wouldn’t do it, doesn’t make it any less awesome. For them.

For me, it would be wrong. I want the kind of wedding where people drink too much wine and eat too much food. I want a quiet, warm stupor. I want to people to talk to each other. I want to play stupid party games. I want a glow. I want stillness. I want small and I want intimate and I absolutely do not want any contortionists of any type in any outfit or in any plastic bubbles.

And that’s the difference. I don’t want to be a princess or a queen or a duchess or any other royal personage. I want to be me. Just me. In a pretty dress and slightly drunk on wine and joy. That I can do without the circus freaks.

So I got my dress last night. It was just waiting for me in the lobby. A big white box that weighed almost nothing.

And oh boy, is it blue. Cinderella blue.

So now I have my dress and it is exactly what I wanted. Perfect color, perfect style. And yet… I feel… Well, I feel the same.

Maybe I am in shock? Maybe. The wedding shows have people crying in their dresses. The wedding shows tell me dress equals flood of emotions. Suddenly you are now a Bride. The Bride. But my dress? It is the prettiest, fanciest dress I have ever owned. It is beautiful. But it doesn’t reduce me to a quivering mass.

Because it is a dress. Really. Just a big, fluffy dress.

Want to know what does reduce me to a quivering mass? Sample wedding vows. Poems. Song lyrics. I can’t read “This Must Be The Place” without tears streaming down my face. Like a salty waterfall. My voice breaks if I try reading it out loud. A song I know (mostly) by heart. A song I’ve been singing off key for years.

Home – is where I want to be
But I guess I’m already there
I come home, she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place

I can’t tell one from the other
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time
Before we were born
If someone asks, this where I’ll be . . . where I’ll be

Hi yo- we drift in and out
Hi yo- sing into my mouth

Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view
I’m just an animal looking for a home
Share the same space for a minute or two

And you love me till my heart stops

Love me till I’m dead

Eyes that light up, eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head
Ah ooh

This is the stuff that reduces me to a quivering mass. The words. And when I put my dress on for the first time last night and I didn’t feel magically transformed, I thought- well crap. There is something wrong with me. For real this time. But there isn’t. And there isn’t anything wrong with the women who do tear up over a dress, but for me it is just a costume. It is just a frock. What’s going to kill me, make my face puff up and go all red and blotchy is saying how much I love Mark in front of family and friends.

I should scotch guard this dress.



Oh my gosh I so do not even care about weddings anymore.

I don’t. At all.

Especially mine- I don’t care. People ask me questions and I just shrug. It is still happening, I guess. I mean, we booked the place and the other place. So that’s sorted. We have a kick-ass photographer and  coordinator to help us out. The food will be good. The wine will be good. I’m sure whenever we (and by we I mean Mark) get around to putting together our music, that will be good. I even have a pretty dress that may or may not show up any day now.

Maybe, at some point, we might even send out the Save The Date cards we have sitting in the living room.


I feel like I am in limbo. Like I am waiting to start to care again. And maybe I will, but I think it won’t be for a while. There are other things to do- elections, holidays, birthdays. These things are infinitely more interesting than trying to find shoes to go with a dress (dude, this is really stupid hard) or invitations (the ones in my head don’t seem to exist and I’ll be damned if I’m paying for custom invites) and get an officiant (uuuuuuh… Crap. This is important.).

I’m worried that my apathy will somehow translate into a big empty room with no guests (and no wedding shoes). But. That probably won’t happen. Right? And if it does… Meh.



I’m not really the wordsmith in the relationship, so Sam has taken up a lot of the blogging on this site. However, the one year anniversary of our engagement being today, it seemed like a good time to actually break my streak of not posting. It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s been a year since we’ve been engaged, but that’s a good thing.

Reflecting upon the events of that weekend a year ago, I’m surprised at just how much of it I can still recall. I’d planned what I hoped would be the perfect weekend getaway to Monterey where I would ask her to marry me in front of the kelp forest at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. She’d already stated that it was one of her favorite places in the world, so it seemed like the logical choice. Also, just look:

It’s pretty much right at the intersection of beauty, science and tranquility.

Of course, planning the perfect weekend and actually executing it are two very different things. The very first significant event of the weekend occurred when we stopped to get coffee before leaving town:

As we were getting out of the car to grab a quick coffee before getting on the road, Sam dropped her phone and it very conveniently landed screen first on the hard concrete. The phone itself was technically still functional, but only barely. When we got on the road, all I could think about was how to fix this problem so Sam wouldn’t be all stressed out for the weekend. But in a way, this was a blessing in disguise. It pretty much established the fact that no amount of planning is going to make for the perfect weekend. We tried to get it fixed at an Apple store in Monterey, but with no luck. At this point, I’m sure, Samantha was quite curious as to why I was making such a fuss over the phone. I knew that one of the first things she would want to do after I had asked would be to tell friends and family, so staring at a broken shell of a phone might be more than a little distracting. But she carried on like it wasn’t a big deal, saying things like, “See I can still use it fine and I only get the occasional piece of glass in my finger.”

The hotel we stayed in had some lovely views of Monterey Bay, so we were able to see some otters, seals and (if I wasn’t mistaken) whales outside of our window.


Samantha would wake up at 7am to watch the otters feeding in the bay. I could hear her trying to keep her oooohs and aaahs to a bare minimum while I was barely conscious, but it still made me smile to hear it.

The aquarium part of the trip was, at least for me, the most stressful. Try having an engagement ring in your camera back for a whole day while switching lenses constantly. It seemed like the most logical place to put it, but every time I reached in I was worried it would come flying out by sheer force of will. Thankfully none of that happened.

What did happen was that they decided the weekend we visited would be the ideal time to clean the tank in the kelp forest! The last thing I wanted was a bunch of divers with weird suction cups staring at us while I asked the question. So throughout the day we’d swing by the kelp forest and there they were staring back at us. Additionally, for some reason, the bees and hornets that day were all quite busy trying to fly into my face. Maybe they’re attracted to rings, or something. Regardless, every time we stepped outside a bee or hornet would just start hovering around me. Strange. They certainly weren’t helping with the stress level! We decided to call it a day later that afternoon and stopped by the small beach near the hotel just to check out some of the waves. While we were there one wave came in particularly hard and soaked Samantha’s pants, so back to the hotel we went. At this point, I was trying to think of ways to get us back to the aquarium before closing. We had some gifts to pick up, so that seemed to be as good an excuse as any.

Back to the aquarium, we hit the gift shop quickly and I noticed that the divers had completed their cleaning for the day and the kelp forest exhibit was pretty empty. Seemed like an ideal time. Not too many people to stare, so the proposal would be relatively quiet and understated, something that we both wanted, I’m sure.

“Hey, let’s check out the kelp forest again now that the divers are gone.”

We sat down on the back bench away from the few people that were still there and I reached into my camera bag. I’ve heard that when you ask, you should already know the answer and I was 99.99% certain Samantha would say “yes”, but that didn’t make it any less nerve-racking. My heart was beating like crazy, I had the butterflies in my stomach. All the cliches were covered.

“So, I actually had another reason for coming here this weekend…. ”

I didn’t drop to a knee or anything. Didn’t want to draw the attention of the few people that were there, plus it seemed a little cheesy to do so.

“Samantha…will you marry me?”

Thankfully, she said yes. She’d picked out the ring on a random stop to a jewelry store (honest!) about 6 months prior and had all but given up hope of seeing that particular ring again, so she was ecstatic to see it. I had to stop her ever so briefly from putting the ring on her finger herself.

“Um, I think I’m supposed to put the ring on your finger.”

“Oh. OK!”

So I took the ring out of the case and placed it gently on her ring finger.

A lovely dinner at a French restaurant rounded out the evening and we made the calls to our respective families and contacted our friends. Samantha’s phone was still shattered, but it didn’t seem to be as big a deal. It had still been a pretty perfect day.

One year ago. Doesn’t seem that long ago, though, and I’d do it all over again. Fortunately, Samantha has a better case for her phone this time.

One of the first places to pop into our heads when we were first engaged was wine country. We’ve spent weekend after weekend in Sonoma county drinking wine and gazing at the countryside. Our first weekend trip together was to Healdsberg where we spent 3 days visiting Mark’s go-to places and finding a few new ones we could call ours together. When my parents came to visit and meet Mark for the first time, we took them up to wine country. It is a wonderful, magical escape. It is filled with happy memories and good times.

It is also like the San Fernando Valley of Wedding Porn. How many blogs have post after post on beautiful wine country weddings? Barns and gardens and flowers and sunshine and happiness. Look at everyone floating on clouds of joy in the fields, the vineyards, the gardens. Look at them glowing in the sun. The bright, beautiful, cloudless blue skies and the miles of rustic charm.

What they don’t tell you about is that most of those beautiful rustic barns do not have running water. That means you and your gorgeous friends and family in all of their finery will be using chemical toilets you have rent for the festivities. Port-a-potties. In a wedding dress. There aren’t enough fairy lights in California to make me forget I’ll be using a port-a-potty. What do you remember most from the wedding? Standing downwind from the chemical toilets.

Also. All those blue skies and sunshine? That comes with a price. Heat. It is hot in wine country. When it is not hot in wine country it is potentially overcast and raining. When it is clear and beautiful, it is hot. The second to last thing, after using chemical toilets, I want on my wedding day is heatstroke.

Of course if we did a wine country wedding, we’d do it at a lovely place with running water. It would be less wine country and more garden party. Maybe something like this:


Shade and umbrellas and lush green grass and most importantly: running water. Sweet porcelain beauties. It would be so lovely. And my dress? It would have been this one:


Lovely, lacy, perfect for an afternoon wedding in a garden.

We’d play croquet on the lawn while sipping cocktails and wine. Kids could frolic amongst the flowers. Dinner would be lunch and it would be light and bright and delicious. We could retire to the veranda when the heatstroke set in. It would be lovely.

Sam and Mark