Friday, October 21, 2011


            Most couples now get married around when they turn 30. Or at least, most couples that have the same kind of education, thought processes, and goals as me. I think the idea is that they graduate from college, spend their twenties busting their ass to build a career during the day and go out drinking at night. Their thirties are the time when they settle down and build a family.
            It’s not that I don’t have the desire to build a career. I don’t know exactly what I want that career to be, but I need it to be meaningful and challenging, and quite frankly time consuming. And I want to move across the country, live in a big city, take huge risks, and travel the world.
            I want to do all of those things with Kelly. And I know she’ll encourage every second of it. She genuinely wants me to be everything I want to be.
            I was worried that getting married so young would mean that I’m co-dependent, or that I was stunted by a tough childhood. It seemed like a legitimate fear – I didn’t have the support I needed, so maybe I was trying to find it in a prematurely committed relationship.
            Then I thought about my job. My time in college. My goals. And I realized I don’t NEED Kelly. I love everything about her, but I could function on my own. That’s just not what I want. I want to build a life with her, and adventure with her. I want to work towards common goals, because we want similar things. And it’s going to be FUCKING AWESOME. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Venue

Two major events took place this summer that changed our plans significantly. The first is that I got a job, which means we may actually have funds to have a wedding. It also meant that having a fall wedding is out - we're getting married in the summer, when I have time to actually think about things. The second is that New York legalized gay marriage. I grew up in New York, and 95% of my family still lives there. It makes sense - less people travelling, only one ceremony, and cooler summer weather.

We scheduled a long weekend to look at wedding venues. Because our research here helped us figure out what we want, and because so many places have outstanding web pages, the weekend was just barely enough time. And because we were crazy excited, we booked it.

The Rabbit Room at the Lower Mill

It's an old grist mill

With galleries on the second and third floors (rain plan from the gods)

and a restaurant on the first 

There's also outdoor space, if the weather chooses to cooperate, but I'm having a terrible time finding decent pictures of it. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Venues: The Runners Up

We started looking for venues outside D.C., where we live. The high prices actually helped us figure out what kind of wedding we want to have - we cut out all the extras until we were left with just the core idea of what we wanted.

So, the runner's up:

Our First Runner Up: The Agricultural History Farm Park

Pros: It's an absolutely beautiful setting, surrounded by 400 acres of land. Married in a meadow and then a barn party? Yes please.
Cons:  No kitchen, the closest bathrooms are port-a-potties, and the parking is extremely limited. No rain plan for the outdoor ceremony. Just making this list, I can see my grandmother shaking her head at me.

Our Second Runner Up: The Lodge at Little Seneca Creek

Pros: Sweet log cabin look, small kitchen, indoor bathrooms, plenty of parking
Cons: Houses nearby on either side, limited outdoor space, small. Also, that picture of the outside is of the back - the front is a huge parking lot right off the road. 

The good news: by the time we narrowed it down to these two venues, there was a pretty clear theme. Lots of wood, and some outdoor space. We weren't going to be happy in a hotel lobby - it's just not our style. So when we moved the entire wedding a seven hour drive away, we knew what we were looking for. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Venue Check List

I'm not going to lie. Finding a venue was ROUGH.
We knew what we needed:

  1. Protection, but not total separation from, the elements. We're getting married in August (this is a change from the last time I said a date - more on that later). That means the venue has to be able to keep everyone cool when it is ungodly hot, and that there has to an outstanding rain plan. 
  2. Low fuss. After the laws changed, we decided to get married in Western New York, close to where I grew up. That means we live 7 hours from the place we're getting married. We don't have the resources or the proximity to completely overhaul a building, or even to bring in more than a few of those sweet little crafty projects.  The building has to have good bones. That doesn't mean fancy, or even necessarily pretty. But it has to be easily dressed up (or preferably, not dressed up at all). 
  3. As much included as possible. I know this is a horrible thing to say now, in the time of DIY brides with endless ambition. But when the school year starts, I can't focus on the wedding anymore. That meant we either needed a restaurant with a lot of space and a generous policy about renting the place out, or a really capable caterer who was willing and able to take on a lot of our grunt work. 
  4. Reasonable cost. We're paying for this by ourselves. We are not wealthy people. The end. 

After looking at several places outside D.C., we had a decent idea of the style we liked. Something slightly outdoorsy. Lots of wood. Above all, some place comfortable for our guests. So I took to the internet, and looked up every historic building, art gallery, restaurant, park, and even some schools and public spaces in the  area.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

On the Mediocre Engagement Story

When Bug and I were talking about getting engaged, I had no idea that the wedding blogosphere existed. I didn't know about the Wedding Industrial Complex. I sure as hell didn't know any married (or engaged) gay people. I had looked at the knot, and it made my head spin (has anyone actually finished that checklist? Christ.) As much as it meant I didn't have any support or ideas for inspiration, it also meant I didn't feel any pressure or envy or concern that my proposal wasn't cool enough. And it didn't really matter.

Honestly, giving Bug the ring isn't totally connected to our decision to get married. We were already committed -  we lived together, she had graduated from college and chosen to take a job in the area (and continue living with me, even though her job was an hour and a half away). There were already some serious choices made there. 

We decided to get married gradually. I'm skeptical of lasting love, and I'm not quick to trust, so it felt better to make a decision after serious conversations than it would have to be asked such a huge question without having time to process. So the rings, really, were a formality. It was a way for other people to see that it's not a temporary relationship. And they're shiny and fun.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Proposal

I did not pull off a creative and romantic proposal. If you're looking for pulled heart strings, shocking creativity, and profound discoveries of self, this is not the time or the place.

I didn't even have particularly high proposal aspirations - Bug is not a grand gesture kind of lady. Which is ideal, because I do not have the money, or the support network of sickeningly creative crafters, that a grand gesture requires. So I decided to propose at home - something sweet, intimate, and simple. Make a little dinner, plan a little speech, dazzle the lady with my charm, and get myself a fiancee. 

A week before I was going to propose, Bug got needy. She demanded to know, in excruciating detail, exactly why I loved her. 

"You're adorable."
"You're clever, and sweet."
"You make me a better person."

This went on for about five minutes, and she just wasn't having it. She could not be placated with general (but true!) statements. 

I'm not proud of what happened next, or the reasoning behind it. I gave her my sweet, tender, passionate, and endearing proposal speech a week early, sans proposal. 

Just to get her off my back. 

So now in addition to needing dinner plans, I needed a new speech. 

I knew myself well enough to know not to cook anything crazy the night of the proposal. If it went badly I'd get distracted and throw off the entire plan. And with the level of pressure and nerves riding on the proposal, cooking was going to go badly. So I went simple: crab cakes, a summer pasta salad, and a bottle of white wine. For dessert, some cinnamon sugar biscuits with caramelized peaches. Served on our balcony at sunset, it would be delicious summer time perfection. 

So I waited. The day of, J took me shopping for ingredients. I cooked, put on my fanciest dress, set up the balcony, and waited for Bug to get home from work. 

When she got home, she immediately vetoed the balcony dinner. It was too hot. I pressed a little, but she wasn't having it. So we compromised - dinner inside, dessert outside when it cooled down. Not ideal, but livable. I don't remember anything at all from that dinner. At some point we must have finished eating and cleared the plates, because I managed to get her onto the balcony for dessert. She even closed her eyes. 

So I pulled the dessert plates together, put her ring right on the plate, and brought them outside. I told her to open her eyes, and she saw the ring on her plate. 


I froze. After I gave her my proposal speech the week earlier, I couldn't come up with anything that sounded halfway decent. So I kind of didn't rewrite the speech.  I just said the first thing I thought of: 

"I was hoping you'd marry me." 

She said yes. And then we called our friends, and they came over and we all talked and laughed and drank champagne out of solo cups.