Category Archives: wedding


(Guest book crayons!)

So here’s the real wedding post. The one where I skip all the details that took up so much of my thoughts before and tell you the important stuff.  The stuff that still makes me thrilled to this day when I stop a second in the midst of job searches and all the rest and think about that day, and every day since.

(Decor + delicious Turley from my Dad’s collection)

See, I don’t think our mostly self-catered, self-organized, casual setup would work for everyone.  About 10 minutes before our ceremony started, I was wondering whether it was even going to work for us.  I had planned to go back to the pavilion in my wedding dress and help set stuff up, because that’s what I do. I’m a control freak, and hate asking for help, so of course I was going to set the tables, right?  Well, people had other ideas. I was to have an “entrance”, which meant family and friends would be doing the setup.  And you know what? I showed up and everything was gorgeous, everyone was happy, and our families and friends had pulled together and made everything possible.


Was it exactly as I envisioned when I was agonizing over program details and centerpieces? No. Did I care? Not one bit.  Because that was the moment I felt like we were really a family, people were rooting for us, and we were incredibly lucky to have such awesome people in our lives. And bloody hell, if that’s not what weddings are all about, then who wants one?

(From the ceremony – my lovely MOH is behind me)

Anyway, this blog post is sort of a one-sided perspective on the whole thing (which honestly is not that uncommon — I think most wedding blogs are written by women, and most discussions of weddings are the same… A shame, really, though after physics, it’s sort of refreshing to actually be in the majority for once.)  But I think James and I felt the same way about this.  Both our families seemed to have a blast, which was the best part — the part we talked about for weeks.  We certainly had fun. And I haven’t even mentioned the thoughtful, funny speeches people put together, the song people wrote for us and sang, and all the words of love and support we got from everyone — some of which were literally sent from the other side of the globe.

For those of you who read this blog who attended the wedding, either in person or in spirit, thank you for being incredible.  We couldn’t have done it without you.

(All photos were taken by our photographer, Jerry of JW Photography. If you want contact details / info on an affordable photographer in Southern CT, just send me an e-mail or leave a comment and I’ll give you contact details.)


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Union of sorts

We got married in front of a crowd of less than 40 people in a gorgeous state park in CT.  We had no rehearsal, our friend served as officiant, and our only “vendor” was our photographer, who worked in exchange for experience.  In this post, I’ll focus on the details; I’ll save general comments for my next post, as I think they deserve their own space.

My dad was in charge of getting the fire going for s’mores, warmth, and light (all essential, even if the day ended up being gorgeous).  We have some awesome pictures of him prepping the fire before the ceremony.

I don’t have pictures to show of the ceremony itself, because I don’t feel comfortable posting identifiable pictures of people without their explicit permission.  You’ll just have to believe me when I say it was beautiful.  We got everyone to gather around in a spot overlooking the nearby river and woods, and they sort of formed an aisle.  I asked my dad to walk me down the aisle as it formed, and since we skipped the music, P (our officiant /bridesmaid / kickass friend extraordinaire) started humming the bridal march, which made me laugh.  A was my maid of honor, and James had his brother serve as best man. They both read a selection from Madeline L’Engle’s An Irrational Season (a popular choice, I suppose), and my dad read a poem called the Wedding Night, by Bob Hicok, which is beautiful if you’re looking for a reading for your own wedding.  We read our vows, which we wrote from scratch, and I surprised myself with a few tears.  Then, as usual, there were the rings and a kiss.

We sent everyone off to devour a cheese and bread plate James put together that featured locally made cheeses and a few we had first tasted on our travels while we had a few pictures taken.  My grandmother brought us some wild Alaskan smoked salmon all the way from the Pike Place market in Seattle, and we ate this on crackers and Sullivan Street bread James and his family had picked up during their trip from New York.

For the wedding lunch, we had a local Italian market make grilled vegetables and roast chicken, and made the rest of the food ourselves or had people bring potluck contributions.  I made three salads (with lots of help from family and P): a green salad with oven-roasted tomatoes and tzatziki sauce, a fall pasta salad with squash, chestnuts, and a maple dijon vineagrette, and a lemon-mint potato salad with capers.  Everything was served at room temperature, which was the key to self catering. Rachael made a roasted vegetable and bulgur salad (maybe something like this one?) which everyone raved about. My dad brought a really nice selection of red wines, a friend had sent us a box of Cava which we toasted with, and we served sparkling cider, beer, and lemonade in addition.  We followed the lunch with wedding pie, a ginger cake, blueberry boy bait, an apple tart, and tiramisu, much of which our guests contributed.  I swear, I have never eaten so much delicious food in one day!

After that, we played bocce and frisbee, and there were speeches and toasts and s’mores with homemade marshmallows.  P even surprised us with a song she and my dad wrote for us and passed out lyrics to, so everyone could sing! And to top it all off, there was even a wedding hike down to the river, after most of the friends had left and it was just family and out of town guests left to finish the wine and enjoy the last few hours of the day. Glad I skipped the heels in favor of my tevas.

Decorations were pretty simple. We chose dried eucalyptus and lavender flowers, some cloth squares, and crayons and paper people could have fun with and use as contributions to our guest book.

Basically, we tried to make things as easy as possible.  No last minute flower arrangements, no vendors, nothing that might get crushed easily on the way to the park.  And no uberfancy outfits.  Here’s mine (along with our wedding ride — a zipcar, which we used to transport all the decorations to the site):

Not the best photo ever, but the good ones had other people in it, so this’ll do.  I wore an $80 tea-length sundress in ivory from Unique Vintage, which I bought solely because I already had a dress that shape and knew it would fit (I HATE trying on dresses).  With a cropped sweater from Nordstrom, a homemade silver cotton/silk sash, and a homemade silk flower fascinator, I actually felt pretty and comfortable, and really didn’t really care whether or not I got my dress dirty.  It’s not like it had to be dry cleaned or anything.  James wore his good pants (he only has one pair — he’s a shorts man, usually) and a short sleeve black shirt, which I get to see him in whenever something fancy comes up that requires him to dress up.  And most of our guests wore nice casual clothes, so they could join in on the fun.  Parties are better with a little dirt, right?

So, you’ve heard all the details.  I think I want to save my general thoughts about the wedding for the next post — the best parts, really.  I think that deserves its own space.


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This is just a sneak preview.  More on our commitment ceremony after I return from yet another conference (in the land of absurdly expensive internet connections).  Hopefully I’ll have some of the professional photos by then, though P took some fantastic ones (like this one)!

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Photography, gardening, and a few wedding details

Look! My first semi-pretty picture with the new camera.  I’ve basically just been playing around, taking pictures of anything and everything on all sorts of bizarre and random settings, as it’s been, oh, 10 years or so since I even seriously considered using an SLR of any sort.  And as with any new toy, I have no clue what I’m doing.  I have a manual or two to read yet…  I did at least manage to figure out what RAW format Photoshop will recognize today, so that’s something.  Now for one of my earlier attempts:

Seed packets are kind of hard to photograph. Especially when it’s dark, you have to rely on the flash, and oh, shiny paper really isn’t helping matters.  But we started our seedlings!  Four kinds of tomatoes, some ground cherries (which I’m soooo excited about), peas, carrots, lettuce, some thai hot peppers, thai basil, a couple kinds of scallions (regular and purple) and some pretty flowers.  We sowed kale outside, and are starting to see signs of life from last year’s strawberry plants, so that’s pretty exciting.  We saved the melons, zucchini, and beans for direct seeding, as they were a disaster when we tried to transplant those last year.  I guess beans don’t like to be disturbed… Almost everything we got was from seed saver’s exchange, which has a pretty good selection.  We’ve tried to be a little more careful about choosing varieties this year, in terms of climate and disease hardiness (and flavor, of course), so hopefully we’ll have a good harvest this year.  Especially since we hope to use some of this stuff for the wedding dinner.

Speaking of the wedding, I figured I’d tell you guys a bit about it, as I’ve hinted at it here and there, but haven’t really explained what we’re doing.  See, when James and I got engaged, I guess neither of us had really thought about wedding stuff at all.  We’d considered the marriage part plenty. But the ceremony? Not really.  When we told our family about our engagement, we were a little surprised that suddenly they wanted to know things like dates and locations and all of that … It was slightly overwhelming, to say the least.

We wavered between just going to city hall and having a fun weekend in NYC or something to planning something our families could actually attend.  We ended up choosing the latter option, because it’d be nice for my family to meet James’s, and besides, we sort of wanted to give his family an incentive to come visit (though we still may do the legal bit in city hall… More on that when we have a plan).  We decided to organize a family picnic with a little ceremony attached, at a place nearby where we spend a lot of weekends hiking.  There’s this awesome picnic pavilion in this park overlooking a creek, with a couple of usable fireplaces, two large grills, and a bunch of wooden picnic tables.  It’s even partially enclosed, and has a decent roof, so if it rains, we’ll still be ok.  Decoration-wise, we’re keeping it simple.  Candles in jars we’ve collected over this year, some fabric flowers I’m making, some pretty cloth, and table paper.  Nothing too fancy.  And we’ll set out paper and crayons / pencils for people to draw with, which will go in a scrapbook along with pictures after the wedding.

As for the food, well, we’re doing a simple picnic lunch buffet, which we’re making ourselves.  Roast chickens, which we can reheat on the grill, a few different kinds of salads, savory vegetable tarts (sage / onion and mushroom, maybe?), some homemade bread and cheeses, fruit, and maybe jam tarts and pavlova.  For drinks, we’ll do cider (hard and soft), and coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Serving yummy food is pretty important to us, so that’s the primary thing we’re trying to keep in mind in planning the menu.  I think we’ll start testing recipes soon, so more on that later.

Activity-wise, we’ll probably have lawn games out for people to play, set up a s’mores making stand by the fire places, and have a makeshift photobooth (backdrop + camera on tripod).  That and maybe an expedition to the castle lookout (along an easy trail) should be good. Maybe a treasure hunt? I am such a little kid when it comes to party games. Though to paraphrase a comment from a friend, kindergarten + alcohol = magic.  How could it not be?

Ok, now that I have put you all to sleep, I think I’ll leave it at that.  I suppose there will be details about dresses, wedding parties, and groom style, and that sort of thing later on, though maybe I’ll keep you in suspense about all of those details. I will say that my dress is not white, there’s a high chance we’ll both end up wearing Keens to the ceremony, and James may or may not show up in shorts.  It is, after all, just a picnic.


Filed under gardening, wedding, work in progress