Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recaps continue: Saturday Night Dinner

I’d had such a grand plan of writing up the details of the whole wedding process, bit by bit, more to document it for our own purposes, for posterity, than anything else. But now I’m feeling like that’s going to be boring and take way too much time (time that, although I might technically have in these long days of summer, still feels too precious and limited).

So, instead, perhaps I’ll just recaps some key elements of the weekend, along with some photos and links and videos. And I don't think it's going to be in any good sort of order.

Saturday Night Dinner

Although we weren’t able to have every single wedding guest come to the dinner the night before the wedding because of the perceived limits of our venue, we were at least able to have all the out-of-town guests come to the dinner. It took place at the Wisconsin Historical Museum in downtown Madison, a fitting venue given my academic leanings and our desire to have our friend Genya cater the dinner—many other places we looked required us to use their appointed caterer. Genya started Slow Food UW on campus, and shares our sensibilities about how important it is to eat delicious, local, sustainable food. Furthermore, she insisted that we not pay her directly, but that any money we gave her would be a donation to the Slow Food café she’s planning on opening on campus in the fall. So we were all in.

Her food turned out to be delicious, and it was so exciting to see the menu we’d prepared materialize before our eyes (and stomachs!) There were appetizers of roasted nuts, cheese curds, and crostini, some with apple butter and blue cheese, others with tomato and mozzarella. There was fresh sliced avocado, tabouli, green salad, sourdough bread, wild rice salad, raw veggies with homemade hummus, cabbage and potato pirogies, and quinoa salad (in addition to the roasted rosemary chicken and spanakopita we got from the co-op). And for dessert, fresh fruit and an amazing assortment of baked goods—from poppy seed and cinnamon cookies to fruit strudels and rich chocolate balls. It was all so good, and we were so grateful to have access to Genya, because she made it possible for us to feed our families and friends yummy food which showcased our love of creative vegetarian food (and we offered the compromise of the baked chicken, but I don’t even think it was necessary, except as a token to appease the parents).

Unfortunately, the only photo anyone seems to have captured is of the appetizers (if anyone happens to have other photos of the food--or of anything else!--that you haven't shared yet on our snapfish account, please do!):

After dinner, the even more delicious course began (if you can believe it): that of the speeches and songs and poems and performances that our insanely talented and thoughtful family (I’m just going to use that word inclusively from now on, to include everyone who was at our wedding, who are all family in the broad sense of the word) put together for us. It was pretty much two solid hours of tears and laughter and me visibly shaking with delight and emotion.

My brother and our good friends Mike and Deepani videotaped all the speeches from this portion of the evening, so I’ll try to upload them eventually, but for now, I’ll just say that among the presentations were a Dream Street-inspired skit by my oldest friends, heartfelt speeches galore, a little embarrassment from our parents and high school friends, an extended limerick, a beautiful song based off of Such Great Heights, a rap to the tune of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a Christopher Walken cameo, and hugs and love and raw expression. It was all dream-like, and I floated around the rest of the night (and really the last month since then) on a cloud of support and ecstasy. Thank you.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Chuppah...

  1. Pieces of a quilt from Justin's (great?) grandmother
  2. From our old friend Stacey
  3. From Justin’s Aunt Sue and Uncle Ralph
  4. From fabric our college friend Deepani got in Malawi
  5. From our college friend Ben Schatz
  6. From my high school friend Abigail’s wedding dress fabric
  7. From our Madison friends, the Barkers
  8. From napkins sent by our friends Bob and Julie Ullman, who have hosted us for several Wisconsin Thanksgiving
  9. From a t-shirt from the happiest place on earth
  10. From our nephew Jeremy's baby blanket
  11. From our college friend Michelle's self-dyed tank top
  12. From our college friend's Brad's tie-dyed t-shirt
  13. From Justin's cousin Susan
  14. From our Madison friend's Rachel's Team Hot Stuff (our ultimate frisbee team!) jersey from Summer 2008
  15. From my high school friend Casey, a piece of the sheet that divided her "bedroom" from my living room when she crashed with me for a semester in St. Louis after Hurricane Katrina ran her out of New Orleans
  16. From one of my old favorite t-shirts, which displays Justin's favorite dinosaur (stegosaurus), my favorite US city (New Orleans), and our colors (green and yellow)
  17. From a baby blanket scrap from Baby James
  18. From our college friend Sarah, a piece of a beautiful dress made by her grandmother
  19. From a bandana from Intelorlochen Arts Camp, where I spent a wonderful summer in 2002
(all the other pieces, as well as the light yellow cloth that is the backing, were supplied by my talented mama)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Week Before the Wedding (Part 1)

Although we’d really kicked our wedding preparations into high gear after about May 22, when I’d returned from my place-based workshop to Chicago and Justin had finished his semester, the last week before the wedding was definitely major crunch time. Sometime before that, I’d made this calendar on a big piece of poster paper for the last two weeks, so that we could keep all our to-dos organized in one place. It’s not the most beautiful organizing tool, but it sure was convenient:

The week before the wedding, our lovely Madison friend Rachel came over to help assemble centerpieces. The beauty of the 100+ paper flowers and dried lemons I ended up making was that we could assemble all the centerpieces in advance and have them ready to just plop down on a table right before the wedding.

We’d previously thought about having one living element in our centerpieces, that being long green grasses from our front garden. But after Rachel and I spent way too much time trying to make the grass look pretty, two things happened that made us think we should probably just nix the grass in favor of all-previously-prepared items: (1) we realized it was really hard to make the grass look pretty, and (2) Eddie ate all the grass:

So we settled for a bundle of green Spanish moss inside the small glass vases, with home-dried lemons around the outside of the vase, and 11-13 yellow paper roses stuck into the moss, cut to emerge just outside the top of the vase.

While we assembled centerpieces, our friend Joelle (who you’ll remember from the amazing picnic she prepared for me during my prelims process), came over to display the latest version of the jewelry she was helping to make for me and for some of the wedding party. It was all so gorgeous that it made me giddy with excitement to wear it and see it worn on the big day. The jewelry was made from these beautiful green jade beads, modeled after this inspiration piece I found on Etsy :

On Monday, four days before the wedding weekend began, my parents arrived in town. It was so lovely to see them, and to realize how excited they were—like us—for the weekend to come. Mama brought with her the wedding chuppah cloth that she’d been working on for the past few months. From assorted scraps of cloth that our friends and family sent, she’d assembled this beauty:

(I'll post soon about each piece of fabric and who/where it came from.)

After we picked up the chuppah poles we were borrowing from the local Reconstructionist Jewish congregation and set the whole thing up in our backyard to test it out, we realized the chuppah would hold best if it had little loops in each corner, so Mama dutifully sewed them on. In addition, she took her sewing skills to my dress, as she altered it a little here and a little there, brought up the hem and readjusted the side pleats, removed some beads and made sure it all looked just so. Papa was no slacker either, though, as he set to cutting yellow circles of cloth for the centerpieces.

My lovely parents also helped to put together the hospitality bags, which, after some haggling, we decided to make for our guests, even though it sometimes seems like they’re more wasteful and more trouble than they’re worth. After I ordered a bunch of paper gift bags of ebay, we stuffed them with delicious Russian chocolates my parents had bought in a Russian store in Atlanta, with other snacks, and with a map, schedule, and welcome letter that I had put together. A copy of the letter can be found here.

In addition to our parents, our good friend from college Mike Roy (or, Our Kroy, as we call him) was around in Madison the week before the wedding, and helped out with lots of odds and ends that needed to get done, like writing notes in our guestbook, cutting the slips of paper for our one-year anniversary wishes, helping to shop for hospitality suite snacks, and helping us to find music for our reception, like this Korean gem, which--as some of you may remember--we later danced ridiculously to at the reception (just the background music in this video):

Sunday, July 12, 2009

And so the recaps begin...

Before all the wedding weekend memories run away from me, I'd like to make some posts documenting the joy that was our wedding, as well as the thoughts we've had about the whole thing upon reflection. In order to actually make this happen in a reasonable manner and schedule, I think I need to make myself an outline to follow. Perhaps it'll look something like this:

1. The week before the wedding
2. Friday night: Scavenger Hunt!
3. Friday night: Frida's dinner
4. Friday night: Sex-segregated activities
5. Saturday market and picnic
6. Saturday rehearsal and dinner
7. Sunday morning
8. Ceremony
9. Reception
10. Monday morning

I'll try to include lots of photos in these posts, along with capturing as much of the feeling of the whole thing as possible. If there's anyone who reads this (sorely un-updated) blog out there and who was at the wedding (two groups that I imagine are pretty much coextensive), and who has any particular thoughts or memories to share or to encourage me to highlight, please do so!

Although we haven't seen our professional photos yet, here's one we did get as a sneak preview (it's exciting to see, even if the smiles seem a bit fake--the joy was real!)...