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Hooray, We’re Hitched! (Raise a Glass!)

We're hitched!We did it!

Steve and I are now officially a Mr. and Mrs.! It was a beautiful day in every way (even the weather—it rained early on but cleared before the ceremony!), full of family, friends, and joy.

I took a week off from blogging (and the office) for the wedding festivities, and now I think I need another week to recover…. I’ll be back soon with some reflections on our big day (and how it flew by), a few behind-the-scenes stories (you’ll never guess who almost got arrested), and descriptions of the elements we kept a surprise (everybody loves a parade!).

In the meantime, kick back and enjoy one of our “Quite a Pair/Pear” signature cocktails (recipe follows below), and check out our wonderful “next day album” provided by photographer Noah Magnifico, who brought us hard book copies the morning after the wedding so we could enjoy and share immediately!

Sandee and Steve’s Next Day Wedding Album, Magnifico Photography

Enjoy with a Quite a Pair/Pear and Elderflower Martini (from Barinacraft):

  • 1 oz. pear-infused vodka
  • 1 oz. elderflower liqueur (St. Germain)
  • 1/4 oz. dry vermouth
  • Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a glass. Garnish with a pear slice as desired.

    Raise a glass and stay tuned for more tales from FsFTB!

    So-True-Love Tuesday (& Wednesday & the next day &…)

    Steve and I have been preparing some slide shows for the wedding reception, so we’ve had the joy (and occasional agony) of going back through years of photos. Despite my general skepticism regarding things like pre-determined plans and fated soulmates, it’s been hard to resist the idea that, at the very least, Steve and I have been traveling parallel paths all these years—paths that, once they finally intersected, would naturally funnel into a single trail we’d keep walking together.

    Happy baby days…

    Smiling with our big brothers…

    Posing for the requisite Olan Mills family portrait…

    We each cherished holidays with the next generation…

    and loved our furry friends…

    We spent time in the woods…

    And on the water…

    We rode…

    And we ran…

    And we found our happy places…

    And then, at last, we found each other:

    NJM_9113

    magnifico photography

    I’m not one to believe in some automatic “happily ever after” either—talk about a gloss on the good (and the hard) stuff.  But I believe in us, and our commitment to create a happy life together.

    I’m so grateful our paths crossed, and I can’t wait to join hands and travel forward together.

    A Picture is Worth…

    We’re one month away from our wedding day now, which is hard to believe! Here, a re-telling of our love story in pictures, from our summer photo shoot with wedding photographer Noah Magnifico.

    Once upon a time, there was a set up, followed by a brunch date…

    Music to My Ears

    Much of mine and Steve’s courtship has had a musical soundtrack. We went to a Suzanne Vega concert on our second date and heard John Gorka play not long after that. We’ve held hands at indie house concerts, kicked up our heels to 80s-cover bands, slow-danced in the woods to Norah Jones on an iPod, and slogged through mud to sway under the stars at FloydFest.

    Dancing to the beat of our own drummer...

    Dancing to the beat of our own drummer…

    Music matters. One night a few months ago, we started talking about wedding tunes. Sitting side by side at my dinner table with laptop and iPad, we each took turns calling up songs we loved on YouTube, exploring possibilities for our playlist, ceremony music, and the first-dance song.

    My first nomination was “Amazed” by Lonestar. I’m not a fan of country music, but I clearly remember when I first heard the song, on an early morning when I was in grad school in Ohio. Lying in bed listening to the radio alarm I’d tuned to a top-forty/pop station, I absorbed the lyrics: “I’ve never been this close to anyone or anything…I wanna spent the whole night in your eyes…Every little thing that you do, baby, I’m amazed by you.” In that moment, I thought, I’d like to dance to that song at my wedding. I’d like to feel that way about someone, have someone feel that way about me.

    Strangely, on mine and Steve’s second date, as we said goodnight in the parking lot, he looked at me with those intense blue eyes and said, “You amaze me.” I don’t know what look passed over my face—I must have looked spooked, because he stepped back and started reassuring me that he was just so thrilled at how much we had in common. I was spooked: had I actually met someone who genuinely was amazed by me, whom I could be amazed by in return? It was big stuff for a few weeks in.

    I still love the song, but it’s a bit twangy for us, so—maybe.

    Steve played The Eurythmics’ “When Tomorrow Comes.” I’d never gotten into Annie Lennox for some reason, but as I listened to the lyrics, I understood why Steve loved the song: “And you know I’m going to be the one who’ll be there when you need someone to depend upon…I wanna be with you when tomorrow comes.” It celebrated commitment, being there through the tough times. It was up-tempo, though, and even with lessons, I wasn’t sure we could be coordinated enough to want everyone watching us dance to it. As if he’d read my mind, Steve said, “I know it wouldn’t work for a first dance, too fast. I always loved the song, but couldn’t find anyone for so long I felt that way about.”

    My heart beat a little faster, and the song went on the playlist.

    I shared my second nomination, John Denver’s “Annie’s Song.” I’ve long thought it one of the most romantic songs I’ve ever heard. “You fill up my senses….” I’d forgotten that the first line referenced a forest. Then rain, mountains, the ocean—all places we’d been together and shared and loved (FloydFest mud included). We both sat perfectly still for a long moment at the end.

    “I’d forgotten how beautiful the lyrics were,” Steve said. Another yes.

    Dancing with Steve

    May I have this dance?

    Steve searched for Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time.” I’d loved the entire Innocent Man album (and yes, I had it on vinyl) when it first came out. “That’s another one that’s probably too fast for a first dance song,” he said, “But I love the lyrics.” Our love has felt like the “greatest miracle of all,” so: yes.

    Then we started thinking about ceremony music. I’d read somewhere about a bride walking in to an instrumental version of Colbie Caillat’s “Bubbly,” which sounded like a cool idea. I loved the guitar on that song, and we thought it might be something a friend of ours could strum for us. The first version we listened to sounded like an over-processed karaoke score. It took a few tries to find a guy playing a live cover instrumental on a guitar. It sounded nice, but looked complicated.

    “There’s always ‘Here Comes the Bride,'” I said, glancing at Steve, who wore the same “ick” expression I suspected was on my face. On the same page there.

    “Or there’s Pachelbel’s Canon,” I said. “I kind of always thought I might like to walk in to that.”

    We called up a version titled “the ultimate best version” of Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” I don’t know who decided that particular version was the best, but it was stunning. Steve started air-conducting along with the music, which I’d never seen him do. Then he began naming instruments as each joined in. I hadn’t known he had classical music knowledge. Turns out he’d played the violin and guitar during his school days.

    When the music reached the first dramatic crescendo, we looked at each other with the same thought and said simultaneously, “That’s when the bride should enter!”

    We listened through to the end, trying to figure out if the piece was too long to use all of it for entering. We played it again. At each shift in the music, we identified who would “go” at that moment: “First bridesmaid…second…maid-of-honor…ring bearer…bride!”

    I felt myself getting choked up, but I tried to ignore the emotion rising in my chest at the picture in my head. I attempted talking myself past it. “Then, you’d have the parents getting a kiss, sitting down, maybe lighting a candle or something…”

    Suddenly, Steve sat back in his chair, let out a big breath, and swiped at his eyes.

    I started to laugh and cry at the same time. “I’m glad I’m not the only one!” I brushed my own tears away. “This is why we have to do this now.”

    “That’s what I’m going to do then if you walk in like that,” he said, taking another swipe and glancing at me sheepishly. I leaned in to share a tender kiss.

    What a lucky, lucky woman I am.

    And—maybe we should consider trading that pretty pocket square for a couple of extra-large hankies.

    Happy tears--Love wins!

    Happy tears: Love wins!

    Marriage equality–now that’s music to my ears!

    Thrilled by the Supreme Court’s decision today:

    cue “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang!


    Photos by Noah Magnifico, Wedding Photographer

     

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    Venn I Look at You… Steve Speaks

    Every so often fiancé Steve offers his take on mid-life marriage.  Here, his thoughts on why it’s good to have some differences.


    In a previous post Sandee joked that for nerds like us, drawing a Venn diagram on a whiteboard at the wedding might make a better unity ceremony than mixing sand or lighting candles. The overlapping circles motif shows up on a number of patterns for wedding invitations or save-the-date cards, where I’m sure it’s intended to portray wedding bands overlapping.

    wedding ringsBut a Venn diagram is not a bad way to look at what happens when “two become one.” A “Venn Diagram” shows the relationship between two sets, A and B. The area of overlap represents the things that A and B have in common, or the intersection of A and B. The total colored area is the union of A and B, or all things encompassed by either A or B.

    Venn diagramI imagine most couples spend some time pondering the things they have in common and the things that make them different. I’m curious about how much overlap works the best. If your circle barely touches your partner’s circle, you have almost nothing in common. That has to make communication difficult and suggests there are not many things you would enjoy doing together. Why be a couple, then? On the other hand, if you overlap too much, it means your partner is only slightly different from you, and perhaps doesn’t bring much to your life that wasn’t already there. I think most healthy couples’ relationships fall somewhere in between. Continue reading

    Five reasons to marry a man who likes to dance

    1) He’s far more interested in having fun with you than he is worried about maintaining a particular image. He sheds self-consciousness, takes risks, and lives in the moment.

    2) He’s a doer, not a watcher, and definitely not a wisher-watcher: he doesn’t sit on the sidelines, wishing he could dance, watching others have a good time. He throws in. He’s right there beside you.

    3) He can take the lead when the situation demands it. Not in an old-fashioned the-man-is-the-head-of-the-household way, but in a he’s-a-grown-up and when-it’s-his-turn-he-steps-it-up way. Because that’s what adults do, unless they’re doormats or over-sized kids. When called upon, they step up and lead.

    4) He also knows how to step back and listen. Dancing together teaches you to sense and respond to changes in the music, to pacing and mood, your partner’s rhythms. A man who likes to dance knows how to tune in, pay attention, and adapt. This is the counterpoint to reason number 3, and every bit as important.

    5) Dancing is fun, sexy, and publicly sanctioned foreplay. Need I say more?

    Let’s dance!


    Photos by Noah Magnifico, our wedding photographer.  More on Noah and his work coming soon!

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    A Whole Lot of Wonderful (with a Little Bit of Ick)

    Happy New Year! It’s still kind of hard to believe that 2015 is our year: the year we’ll tie the knot. Wow. And…wow!

    I don’t know if it’s true that one’s New Year’s Eve experience is a harbinger of the year to come, but our conclusion of 2014 was a microcosm of the mixed bag that is marriage (and life): a whole lot of wonderful with a modicum of miserable thrown in to keep us humble. The wonderful: we concluded an amazing trip to England, where we spent Christmas and New Year’s visiting Oxford (Steve’s youngest, Dusty, is studying there), London, and Stratford-upon-Avon. It was an incredible week: attending midnight Eucharist at St. Mary’s church in Oxford, drinking cider at a tavern older than the United States, touching an English yew in the botanical gardens planted in 1645. After days spent viewing London from the top of the Eye, watching the ravens at the Tower, and seeing a moving performance of Love’s Labour’s Lost at the RSC, we toasted the New Year with chocolate stout and warm mulled cider at the Angel and Greyhound pub. It’s hard to express the sense of wonder, gratitude, and even disbelief that comes with sharing such moments—Am I really here? Is this really my life? How did I get so lucky?

    Yet the universe has a way of keeping your feet on the ground, and while there are far worse miseries, the last days of the trip offered an excellent chance to test loving and cherishing each other “in sickness and in health.” We think it started with Steve (though I’m still second-guessing the wisdom of drinking from the communal wine goblet on Christmas Eve). But in any case, his sniffles became my sinus congestion became son Tucker’s stuffed-up ears. Exhausted, it was all I could do to keep my head up off the table and breathe without a coughing fit during our New Year’s visit to the pub. Full disclosure: we didn’t make it until midnight. Continue reading