Today is the first official day of winter break. Ha-noodle! I will return to work on January 5th (Ok – I will probably go to school on Monday to work and copy but being at school without children is 99.9% less difficult).
Let’s back track to June – ehhh – half a year ago and play catch up.
I got married!
The first wedding in CT was for my family, and our NY-based friends. By first wedding, I mean we had two weddings. Most people who do this are couples who have a destination wedding, or maybe their families live in different countries. Nate and I are from MA and NY. Two northeastern states that abut each other. But we still had two weddings. Let me give the short story.
When we started our wedding planning in August, 2013, we realized that our guest list was going to be really big because of families and cousins and parent’s friends. Nate and I are not particularly popular, but all of our cousins are married and they all have children, so before we started inviting (our very few) friends, we already had well over 125 people. We then retracted from our original plan and wanted to have a really small wedding with just immediate family. Not everyone in our families was on board with this so then Nate came up with the idea of a road show wedding. We’ll do two (originally it was going to be three!). We desperately wanted to avoid a big wedding. While it’s great to have everyone in one place, it’s insanely hard to spend quality time with your guests. It always stinks when you travel to see a long-lost friend get married and then only speak to them for 74 seconds the whole weekend. So, our primary reason was to break up one big event into smaller ones so we could generally just spend more quality time with the people were making an effort to be with us.
It often felt (and still feels) awkward to explain to people why we were having two wedding, particularly because it felt as if we were coming across as attention hogs which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Back to getting married. Mom did most of the planning for our first wedding in July and it was beautiful, fancy and fun. Here are some favorite photos from the event.
My college friend/old friend/close friend officiated, we got to stand up front with our siblings, and we composed simple vows to each other with a ring exchange (which I botched) ((hence the photo to the right)). I had written the vows for both of us, practiced it dozens of times, have said it perfectly since 100 times, but couldn’t remember the lines when I was up there. Of course.
We left the two inner most-front most chairs empty for my dad and Nate’s mom. This felt special and right. At the very start of the ceremony, Nate and I put bouquets on the empty chairs.
Married! (my friend couldn’t technically marry us in CT, and our venue was just over the border from my mom’s home in NY. She met us at my mom’s that morning and we technically got married before the big show). Here’s the real deal earlier in the day:
The venue was so lovely. My mom found it – not exactly sure how – but it ended up being perfect. We ate and had cocktails outside in the garden and dessert and dancing were inside. At night – when lit up with the tent – the garden was, shall I use a word I never-ever-ever use, stunning.
My childhood friend’s family’s restaurant catered the ordeal. We had vegetarian food which I know bothered some people because some folks need meat to feel like they’ve been fed – but that choice was super important to me. I also put out a disclaimer on our wedding website. The food was tasty, and awesome. I hope a few people realize that vegetarian food can be tasty and filling.
Two things happened that night which I normally hate, but loved here. First off – group dances and congo lines generally put me off. BUT – we had an all group congo line and for some reason it was so fun and hysterical. I love this shot because it has my immediate family within it. My brother (white shirt – front and center) has got the smooth moves. And my mom isn’t wearing shoes.
Also – I hate selfies. So hate selfies. Nate and I say that selfie is short for selfish. Which it is and no one can change my mind on that. But – my sister took a groupie and I love this shot of her effort.
The weekend was really wonderful. We had a 4th of July BBQ (vegetarian!) at my mom’s the day before. The weather was really awful, as most people in the northeast know, and so we were confined indoors. However, it was still nice to catch up with people casually. This was something else we did to have more time to talk with guests – both weddings had rehearsal day BBQs and everyone was invited.
The day after the wedding my cousins stayed at my mom’s and we had a lazy day by the lake. It was a great way to end the weekend.
|:| In between we did our honeymoon in Maine. We went from Portland to Yarmouth to Bar Harbor with our bikes on our car. In Portland we took a day trip to Peak’s Island (ehhh – ok, but we got bored), another trip to Sabboth Day Lake and the Shaker Village (yeah!). The lake was so lovely – I know we’ll be back.
Can you spot the kid diving off the platform.
On the way up to Bar Harbor we did a quick hike in Camden. The hike that everyone does and you can drive up it too, so the top is quite crowded. I’m not sure why so many people drive because the hike is very quick – maybe 20 minutes. I am pretty sure I did this hike as a kid at camp and it felt a whole lot harder way back when.
In the days leading up to Bar Harbor we used AirBnB to save money for the actual B&B that we stayed in near Acadia (which was expensive!!). AirBnB was awesome – and we’ll definitely be going that route in the future.
Acadia was lovely – though neither of us were too keen on Bar Harbor. So insanely crowded and the shops and restaurants weren’t particularly useful to us (tourist wares don’t catch our fancy, and I don’t eat seafood). But we loved Acadia and Maine in general and want to make it a yearly excursion. While in Acadia we biked, hiked, sea kayaked and rock climbed.
All of the activities were fun and we had beautiful weather. The park has beautiful carriage paths and we rented mountain bikes (we were nervous to take road bikes on the dirt and gravel). We were able to bike to our hike and then do a loop around Mt. Penabscot and then bike back home again. It was a fulfilling and activity-filled day.
Nate hiking (above) and me resting (below).
|:| When we returned home after a week away we had two weeks before the next event. This is when I seriously doubted our plan because there was a ton of work to do. This was more of DIY-ish wedding, but we did have a wedding planner because I was feeling very overwhelmed. The wedding planner was enormously helpful (highly, highly, highly recommend getting one if you can!), but preparing was still stressful.
At some point (too close) to the wedding date, I decided to sew all of the napkins for the event using old linens. That took a.long.time.
At the recommendation of our caterer (who specializes in local food), we opted to go with compostable dinnerware, which ended up being great…and we have a bunch left over. I plan on using them – but I need to find a composting facility to take them when we’re done. Boston doesn’t have municipal composting…yet…and the compostable plastic won’t break down in my home bins.
We also drank out of mason jars…which is very in right now, but I do a lot of canning so it felt authentic. The bonus was that I took the leftover jars home and used them when I decided to can 100lbs of tomatoes this summer.
The venue was also lovely, though the guy who owns it was insanely difficult to work with. All in all – it worked out ok – but I’m not sure the venue was worth the stress and worry that came with it.
This wedding started with Nate’s extended family meeting at his dad’s house for a ceremony. For this one, Nate’s friend MCed. Nate and I wrote extended pieces to each other, which felt more appropriate with just an intimate group listening. Afterwards we took a few pictures and then headed to the venue in Sturbridge, MA.
One of the great things about two wedding is that anything you missed on the first try, you can get the second time around. For example, my mom was getting dressed at the same time as me during the first wedding so at the second wedding she was able to help me with my dress. Also, during the first wedding there were no photos of Nate getting ready, so we got those this time too.
Reusing all of your clothes for both weddings helped keep costs down. Err. Sorta.
All guests had a front row seat.
The venue was a farm/disc golf/brewery/pavilion. So, we set up field games and there were farm animals to visit. This helped the event feel casual and fun. We also hired an 80s cover band for music and that was famazing. We started the night with this and ended with this. Thank you to my husband for his thoughtful playlist recommendations.
Guests were encouraged to take their glasses and napkins home with them to reuse – about 50% of everything went home…and hopefully they’re all being reused still.
High school friend signs the guest book.
Nate’s father’s coworker made this corn hole game and let us borrow it for the big day.
The llama stayed in this pose for over 20 minutes in the doorway to the barn.
Other DIYing included making 2/3 of the desserts…which was a pain in the butt to do in the days leading up to the wedding, but it helped spruce up the dessert table (the cupcakes are from Cafe Indigo).
The lead singer of the band. They were so super. During dancing in the dark the recreated the Courtney Cox/Bruce Springsteen exchange.
The evening was great.
So – I’m not sure if Nate and I have reached a consensus about whether we’d do our weddings the same way if we had a do-over. I say yes – both had elements that were really special that we couldn’t have done in quite the same way if we had just one. The ceremonies at each felt appropriate for the crowd, and I loved having a simple tribute to our parents in CT, and then telling Nate someone heartfelt in MA. Also, having a more ‘traditional’ event with something more casual felt nice too.
Overall it still feels a little weird to share that we had two weddings, I still am uncertain whether people think it’s selfish/over-the-top. But, Nate and I know that our intentions were so different that what may have come across, and I hope all of our guests know the same too. If I were to give advice to someone doing the same, I’d recommend really communicating about why you’re doing what you’re doing, and how important both events are. We had a HUGE no show rate at our second wedding (nearly 40%)! I think a lot of people figured that because it was the second wedding it wasn’t very important. But – both weddings were equally important to both of us.
Beyond the weddings – married life has been fabulous. Nate and I have come a long way from our initial dating days.
Nate’s college graduation (05/04)- we’ve hijacked the EMT cart. Our strong connecting is evidenced by the matching bandana bracelet (on my right wrist) and necklace (on Nate) that I made us.
Married and celebrated on both 7.5.14 and 8.2.14. Here’s to many more years of celebrating.