Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Take a vow.

I posted this yesterday on the "family-friendly" wedding blog - I thought y'all would want to see it too. ;)

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We worked long and hard on our ceremony and vows, drawing from many sources, rewriting, and at times writing from scratch. Only a small handful of people got to hear them in person, so we thought it would be nice to share them with you all here in writing. We hope you enjoy.



Higher far,
Upward, into the pure realm,

Over sun or star,
Thou must mount for love.
Where unlike things are like,
When good and ill,
And joy and moan,
Melt into one -
There Past, Present, Future, shoot
Triple blossoms from one root.

There need no vows to bind
Whom not each other seek but find.
They give and take no pledge or oath,
Nature is the bond of both.

Not with scarfs or perfumed gloves
Do these celebrate their loves,
Not by jewels, feasts, and savors,
Not by ribbons or by favors,
But by the sun-spark on the sea,
And the cloud-shadow on the lea.

Is none so high, so mean is none,
But feels and seals this union.

The throbbing sea, the quaking earth,
Yield sympathy and signs of mirth;
Even the tell Furies are appeased,
The good applaud, the lost are eased.
Their cords of love so public are,
They intertwine the farthest star.


Dear family and friends: Today Jonathan and Melissa have invited you here to witness and celebrate the public declaration of the private commitment they have already made to one another. Let us support them with our hope, love, and respect.

Marriage is the promise of hope between two people who love each other sincerely, who honor each other as individuals, and who wish to unite their lives and share the future together. In this ceremony, they dedicate themselves to the happiness and well-being of each other in a union of mutual caring and responsibility.

As we gather here to join Jonathan and Melissa in marriage, it is fitting that you, their families and friends, be here to witness and to participate in their wedding - for the ideals, the understanding, and the mutual respect which they bring to their partnership are rooted in the love, friendship, support, and guidance you have given them.

Jonathan and Melissa have chosen to be joined in marriage on the vernal equinox, the first day of spring; a day when, in spirit, all things are equal. May the partnership that is solidified between them today be one governed by equality and balance, wherein the strengths of each of them will, together, form a more perfect whole. And like the new spring which awakens today, may their love grow ever stronger to weather the seasons of their life together.

Jonathan and Melissa, please face each other.

Jonathan, are you ready to enter into this marriage with Melissa, believing the love you share and your faith in each other will endure all things?

I am.

Melissa, are you ready to enter into this marriage with Jonathan, believing the love you share and your faith in each other will endure all things?

I am.

Will you please join your hands.

Jonathan, if it is your desire to become the husband of Melissa, then repeat these words to her:

I, Jonathan, take you, Melissa, to be my wedded wife and partner, to have and to hold, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish from this day forward. In this moment I promise to love you and care for you for all of our days. I accept you with your faults and with your strengths. I promise to support you when you need support, and to turn to you in times of need. I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life.

Jonathan, do you take this woman to be your wedded wife and partner in all things, to love her, comfort her, and honor her, and forsaking all others, keeping only unto her, for so long as you both shall live?

I do.

Melissa, if it is your desire to become the wife of Jonathan, then repeat these words to him:

I, Melissa, take you, Jonathan, to be my wedded husband and partner, to have and to hold, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish from this day forward. In this moment I promise to love you and care for you for all of our days. I accept you with your faults and with your strengths. I promise to support you when you need support, and to turn to you in times of need. I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life.

Melissa, do you take this man to be your wedded husband and partner in all things, to love him, comfort him, and honor him, and forsaking all others, keeping only unto him, for so long as you both shall live?

I do.

Do you have a rings that you wish to exchange?

We do.

A circle, having no beginning or end, is a symbol of infinity, eternity, and wholeness. These rings which you give and receive, then, will from this day forward represent the infinite, eternal, and complete love you will share as husband and wife.


Jonathan, please place the ring on Melissa's finger with the words:

With this ring, I thee wed.

Melissa, please place the ring on Jonathan's finger with the words:

With this ring I thee wed.

Let these rings be given and received as a symbol of your affection, sincerity and fidelity to one another. Jonathan and Melissa, please step forward to sign your marriage license.

Signing of marriage license - Melissa and Jonathan approach table and sign, followed by Josh and Monica who sign as witnesses. All four then return to their places in front.

We know not what the future may bring into the life of this couple, but together may they be equal to the needs of their tomorrows. May they have patience in times of strain, strength in times of weakness, courage in times of doubt, and above all, a growing love to sustain them.

Jonathan and Melissa, you have exchanged your promises, and given and received rings in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, your families and friends. You have made your marriage legal in the eyes of the law. By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

Jonathan, you may now kiss the bride.

Bee is for Breedlove. (What?)

So it seems that when you get married, there are a few questions that EVERYONE IN THE WORLD simply must ask. There are two in particular that no one can resist.

1) Are you having kids? This is sometimes phrased as, "When are you having kids?" As if reproduction is not only something that everyone wants to do but is also something everyone is able to do. Trust me when I tell you that you don't want to get me started on this one. Jonathan and I have a variety of ways to rebuff this inquiry, more or less gently depending on the inquirer.

2) Are you changing your name? This one's just for me of course, and is significantly more fun - particularly because the answer is yes! In this instance I am doing the "normal" thing and taking my new husband's name. In my creative pursuits I will continue with my chosen nom de plume, but how was I ever going to turn down Breedlove? Please. Best name ever. Half of why I married him. (Kidding. It's only a quarter.)

Names... have always been an issue for me. For a long time I didn't even really identify with my first name. I went through a stint in middle school where I dabbled in having people call me by my middle name, Michelle. Apparently I look more like a Michelle anyway - people have accidentally called me Michelle my whole life, not even knowing the validity of the misnomer. Then in high school there was my brief obsession with the name Zoe, Greek for life. Why? Who knows. Everybody knows all cool names start with Z, I guess.

At some point in my late teens the world decided I would be called Mel, and though I never particularly liked it I embraced it. I wore it like armor: a name for the personality that walked around out there in the world for me while I hid inside of my head. It came with a bonus, in that many people assumed my name was Melanie. A cloak of anonymity, even as I dyed my hair pink and purple and walked the streets in giant boots and wifebeaters.

In the past couple of years, though, something new has happened. I've stopped being a persona and began to just be a person, and as such I no longer need that false name. Slowly but surely, even to me, I became Melissa. Which, though quite common among women my age, is actually a pretty interesting name. Mel means honey, and Melissa means little honey bee. I have a thing with bees these days; they're a fairly good symbol for my life, now that I've started to get over the phoenix thing.

Bees are the symbol of fertility and sexuality.
Its honeycomb, a hexagon, is
the symbol of the heart and
represents the sweetness of life found within
our own hearts.
It is also the symbol of the sun and all its energies.

The bee reminds us to extract the honey of life and to make our
lives fertile (productive) while the sun shines.
No matter how great the
dream is, there is the promise of fulfillment
if we pursue our dreams.

If a Bee has shown up in your life, examine your own productivity.
Are you doing all you can to make your life more productive?
Are you
busy enough?
Are you making time to savor the honey of life and not becoming
a workaholic?

The Bee is the symbol of accomplishing the impossible.
Aerodynamically, its body is too large for its wings and should not be able
to fly. Although now we understand how it does fly (high rate of wing
movement), the Bee remains a symbol of accomplishing anything you put your
mind to.
So there you go. To pursue, and sometimes accomplish, the impossible; to stay busy, almost too busy; to appreciate what is sweet in life (what I call the little things) - for better or worse, it's sort of me in a nutshell.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wrong. (But it's alright.)

It is wrong of me to have kept y'all waiting for so long - after all, the wedding was a week ago. Trouble is, honestly, I haven't really wanted to talk about it.

See... for a person of my given neuroses, it is a very dangerous thing to spend two years focusing on the potential events of one day. It is essentially impossible for something not to go wrong, and it is then equally as impossible for my crazed little mind not to fixate upon what was not perfect. This kind of tendency is one of the many, many reasons for my weekly psychotherapy sessions.

You've all been hearing about the laundry list of near catastrophes that has accrued in these many months of preparation. The week leading up to the wedding, and the wedding day, was sort of that in great concentration. I seem to have this incredible luck in life - things that never ever happen just, well, happen. To me. But before you go thinking I'm doing nothing but feeling sorry for myself, let me throw in that my luck goes both ways: I get the bad, but I also get the good.

I already spent too many days of my honeymoon obsessing over what went wrong, and especially because some of it isn't fully resolved yet I'm not even going to get into that crap. Instead I'm going to present you with the laundry list of what was simply wonderful. These are the things I want to remember, and the things that matter anyway.

The rehearsal dinner. It was amazing. Several of my friends were able to be there, three month old darling Mackenzie stole the show, the vegan entree was divine, Jonathan's parents loved the restaurant we'd chosen, the room they put us in was perfect, the service was flawless, the weather was awesome, the view of City Park from the balcony was stunning... it really couldn't have gone better.
The rain. Yes, it rained on our wedding day. All afternoon and all evening. It's good luck, right? And at times I got to have a polka dotted wedding dress. ;)
The shoes. I positively loved the shoes I ended up wearing. I will be happy with that choice forever.
My hair. Man, do I have some gorgeous hair, if I do say so myself. I grew it for a long time so that it would be at such a length for the wedding, and I felt that it looked lovely. We put these amazing white ranunculus clips in it that were just right. Fear not, pictures forthcoming, eventually. I was so happy with it that day that I've decided not to chop it all off... for the time being at least.
My bouquet. As I've already declared, the flowers were the single thing that I only had to do once, for which I will be eternally indebted to Fleur Rouge. My bouquet is so beautiful, I want to look at it every day for the rest of my life. And I just might.
Our limo and its driver. The limo was so gorgeous! A 1963 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud - a car to die for. And the driver, George. In so many ways he made everything OK. He brought us champagne after the ceremony, held an umbrella over our photographer as we took pictures around the park, drove us around when we didn't feel like going home, and provided a source of cheerful respite throughout the evening. We love you George.
Our friends. So many of our friends joined us from distant locales, and though many could not do so we know that they wanted to be with us and were sending us their love.
The food. It looked great, it was delicious, contrary to what everyone claims I had plenty of time to eat it, and everyone at the party said it was marvelous. Any skepticism of the all vegan reception was quickly put to rest - after all, it's hard to cast dispersions with your mouth full of Mushrooms Rockefeller.
The cupcakes and the cakes. They were gorgeous! They were delicious! I will FOREVER be grateful and indebted to KC and her fab shop, KC's Babycakes on the Northshore, for making that aspect of our wedding happen. Everyone raved, and all 50 of the gift boxes we'd assembled went home with happy, cupcake loving partygoers.
Him. Jonathan. My husband. He approached the "altar" with the most beautiful grin; he delivered his vows with his voice clear and calm and steady and strong (even as I cried and choked through mine); and on our wedding night he made me feel like the most beautiful, most loved woman to ever walk the earth. Plus he looked totally hot in his suit.

So there you have it - some highlights of happiness from the big day. There was more - like the jewelery that I made for myself that I'm now in love with. I'll probably have a few final posts of the details to make here once I sort out some things with the photographs... but let's not get into that, shall we? ;)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Eight.

OK. We're eight days out. And yes, there was the party at work, which was lovely. Last Saturday I'm pretty sure I was relaxed and happy - I hardly even remember what I did. (Oh right, we got our taxes done {I owe $2k} and then went out to dinner. Thank you date book!)

Sunday I had a VERY successful and productive shopping day with my maid-of-witness Monica. We went to mega-Macy's and got undergarment thingies - weird but apparently necessary. And then we went to Moo Shoes where I got two GORGEOUS new pairs of shoes, both brown. Go figure. My rehearsal dinner dress is brown, see.

And then, on Monday, the panic returned.

I woke up pretty anxious. And by lunchtime it had swollen to I-have-to-go-out-to-lunch proportions. I in fact ended up at Le Pain Quotidian, because they always have vegan pastry, and it's a pastry kind of week, and they always have vegan soup and soup sounded nice too. By Tuesday I was a full blown wreck; I got exactly zilch accomplished at work all day. I'm sure things would have been much better if I'd stopped thinking about the wedding and focused on work instead, but the nature of panic is to perpetuate itself, not to look for solutions.

It may have hit its peak Tuesday night - I couldn't sleep at all. There was wailing, gnashing of teeth, rending of clothes... OK, not quite rending of clothes, but damn close. Poor Jonathan. I can't say it was really tapering on Wednesday. In fact I couldn't actually leave the house Wednesday morning. If I'd tried to go get on the subway I would have had an actual panic attack. So I gave myself the morning off. I did actually put the time to some use, and then I went to work and got some work done. And then I went to therapy.

So finally, by Thursday, it got a little better. I did work, I took myself out to lunch, I did some more work, I got some things done in the evening, and I don't think I cried once all day. I only ate half a pint of ice cream, and I ate three real meals.

Today, I'm actually... kinda excited! There's a bit of a damper being put on it by the crazy amounts of pain that I'm in - I really shouldn't be at work, in fact. But it's my last day before I'm out for two weeks, so I figure I'll just suck it up. Swallow a couple of pills and hope that they help, keep the wrist brace on for whatever the hell is going on with my right side, and do what I can.

I'm getting married in eight days! That Jonathan guy? I like him! A lot! You should see him playing with the bunny rabbit. Cutest thing you ever saw. He's going to be my husband. I'm going to be his wife. We get to have a party about it. I get to wear a pretty dress. Now: pray that it doesn't rain. ;)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

They gave me a party at work!

So actually for weeks I've been gearing myself up for disappointment. Considering that for five years running my birthday has been summarily ignored, I did *not* expect that any deal was gonna get made about me getting married. But since they do tend to have a shower-type-thing for, like, everyone else who gets married, it at least occurred to me. It popped in there, I automatically assumed it wasn't happening for me, and I started bracing myself for the letdown. This is how my brain works.

So when I went upstairs for the meeting last week, imagine my surprise when the room was full of half the office, flowers, and a cake. I'm not gonna lie - it had crossed my mind that the "meeting" was just a rouse to get me up there. Especially since it was in the big nice conference room. But I thought I was just being ridiculous thinking such things. I always think everything is about me, after all. So I had insurance: I prepared like hell for that meeting.

But this time it was! It really was! It was for me!! One of the girls from my department even baked me a vegan chocolate cake. And it was good! It was really thoughtful. They had taken a collection and gotten me one of those am ex gift card things, and the amount is nothing to sneeze at. The whole thing was well timed, as I was beginning to really hate the hell out of this place and the people in it. I was also having a really hard time walking that day, but the surprise cheered me up enough that I didn't have to go home early like I thought I would. Maybe they need to give me surprise parties more often... or maybe I just need to stop being such a pessimistic hater. :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A little relief... are y'all gonna take bets on how long it sticks?

I am happy to report that "the photographer situation" seems to be resolved. Today I got to have a nice long chat with our replacement photographer - she seems charming and fun, and like she'll get a kick out of me and Jon and our goofy selves. (Already I know she is somewhat psyched about my crazy hair and my blue dress.) And from what I can tell the head honcho bossman is going to treat us fairly as far as pricing, et cetera. So.

*consciously lowers shoulders from their stations next to ear lobes*

So until I find my next crisis, everything seems to be going pretty smoothly. An undergarment-and-shoe shopping trip is scheduled for this Sunday with my maid-of-witness Miss Monica - she being much wiser in girlythings than I am. Maybe that day I'll put on makeup before I go out and see how it weathers. I am nothing if not a multitasker.

Last night we worked out seating arrangements for the rehearsal dinner. Today I sent the final version of the ceremony to the officiant. Maybe tonight I'll play with paper things? Place cards, guest book cards, thank you notes?

Yes indeed, moving right along.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

And now, the panic.

Alright. We're down to the wire. (If 18 days isn't the wire, I don't know what is.) That considered, I think I'm doing pretty well. Jonathan and I are still getting along splendidly; to be a fly our our apartment wall, about 90% of the time you'd have no idea that we're about to have a huge event and enter into a new phase of our relationship. But ohmyfuckinggod, is there still a lot to do.

On Sunday we went through the to-do list, and then doubled it in size. And then, I took it and integrated it into my date book. Because it's one thing to know what you have to do, and a different thing entirely to figure out how and when you're going to do it. Some things don't translate well into specific date book kinds of times; those just get written in the top of page margins, because I know that they're just going to happen piecewise when the mood strikes me hanging around the apartment. But most tasks got written in, and in ink.

This process was really just one long panic attack on about a three minute loop: PANIC! - Remind myself to take a deep breath. - Figure out how seemingly insurmountable task can be handled and really isn't that big a deal. - Look at next few tasks. - PANIC! - Remind myself to take a deep breath... And so on.

There are at least two situations whose disaster potential are as of yet undetermined.

First, there's the limo thing. I asked my dad to find a cool antique/vintage limo for Jonathan and I to ride around in on the wedding day - a risky move, to be sure. But within two days of the request he'd nailed it: a white 1963 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud. Great right? Except that after booking the limo, signing a contract, and sending them payment in full, he couldn't tell me the name of the company he'd booked with - much less provide a copy of the contract he'd signed.

He was of course depending on my mother to keep track of all that, despite the fact that she had no hand in the reservations, and that it was he who had had email contact with them. Well I watched them fight about it and tear apart the house for twenty minutes or so, and then I hopped on the internet and found the company in two tries. (My parents, of course, kept arguing about the situation for another three hours or so.) In my first couple of emails with the woman at the company, I could feel her tension and frustration seeping right through my gmail account. I felt nothing but sympathy - I can only imagine what it must be like to engage in a business transaction with my father. Once she realized, though, that she would now be dealing with me, and that I would do wacky things like answer her questions, I swear I could actually hear her sigh of relief through the screen.

Sometimes I start to feel like I'm bad at handling things. Then I see how they "handle" things, and I feel a lot better - about me, anyway.

So that's one. The other is that we found out on Thursday that the photographer we had chosen no longer works for the company we booked him through. He has already booked another wedding for our date, in fact. So now we'll be working with a photographer who we've never met or spoken to, of whose work we've seen very little. And the wedding is in less than three weeks. So yeah, that's inducing a little panic - maybe more than a little.

Other than those lovely snafu's, it's just a lot of need-to-get-to-it things. Undergarments for the dress rehearsal dinner and the day of. How am I going to do my hair. Makeup - is that going to work out? Like at all? Get my hair trimmed. Shoes for the rehearsal dinner. And so on, and so on, and so on.

And merrily we trudge along...