Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Wedding Magic" is a Thing, Right?

Dear Karma, take note: I expect the day itself
to go well and be 100% free of dogs peeing on me.
It's one of those weeks where it's feeling like this wedding just might not happen.

No, no, there's no drama going on with D and me (sorry, as I know that'd make for a more salacious post). It's not the marriage that is being threatened. It's the universe refusing to play nice on this whole already-a-hassle logistics phase of planning a major event.

To wit:

- Out of the six caterers and bakers I have reached out to thus far, only two have called me back. One to say that they're taking a company vacation the week of our wedding. I have already pretty much decided to work with a baker I like here, and risk transporting the goods a couple hundred miles away. That IS an option for the cake course, but would be harder to pull off for the dinner... CALL ME BACK, CATERERS.

- We ordered Save the Dates a month ago... which still haven't arrived in anyone's mailboxes. The fiance has been quite diligent about calling and hounding the mailing service. They keep pushing back the delivery date: "Oh, well, because of the package you picked, it takes up to 12 business days." After twelve days: "Oh, actually, that package can take up to 22 business days." What. The. AITCH. They're also really awesome save the dates, and I'm afraid some Buzzfeed addict found them and is gonna Photoshop out our faces and use them as their own...

- Also, looking at the big picture: according to all but one of the dozen or so planning timelines I've glanced at, I am approximately one year behind in my wedding planning. The one that says I'm only about a month behind has been printed out, highlighted, and tossed into my car for frequent, crumpled reference. The eleven others claiming I'm a year behind have been cursed and given the stink-eye.

But, um, weddings are like theater, right? I just keep thinking about that breaking point in the rehearsal process. You know, that night where everyone is supposed to be off book but no one knows their lines, and the set's not built, and no one is buying tickets and the costumes aren't done and you're beginning to fear that this show is doomed and you're going to wind up with a bunch of naked actors on a bare stage fumbling the text to a nearly empty house. You're having the actor's nightmare every time you close your eyes. It's all gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Then, suddenly, it all comes together. The stars align, the set goes up, the actors get their act together, and you have a show. We call it "theater magic."

So, like - "wedding magic" is a thing, right?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Meet the WSMs. (Or: Planning. Partying. Pantsless - Wait, What?!)

A lot of folks planning a wedding decide to leave the actual nuts-and-bolts "planning the wedding" part in the capable hands of someone called, aptly enough, a Wedding Planner. We don't have a Wedding Planner. But we have something even better.

As theater people, we are absolutely aware as to who really knows how to run a show, be the calm in the eye of the storm, and make sure silly actors are where they are supposed to be right when they're supposed to be there.

That's why we have secured not one but two Wedding Stage Managers.

WSM Sandwich.
(More on where this was taken momentarily. Get ready.)
Scott and Diana are co-WSM'ing this wedding, and thank goodness for that. They balance each other well, and spending this weekend doing some focused planning with them, including a visit to the venue, solidified the wisdom of this WSM selection. They are united but not unanimous in their visions, often offering two often totally-different perspectives and ideas, then agreeing on whichever one (or fusion of the seven) makes the most sense.

Also, they are hilarious, and smart, and not afraid to kick butt when necessary. Be warned, y'all.

This weekend, the fiancé was busy with a benefit performance - conveniently taking place about a mile from the wedding venue. So the WSMs decided a road trip was in order, and an otherwise potentially-unproductive weekend for me was transformed into an epic road trip, featuring Three Ps:



And a total stranger getting Pantsless.

Here is the nutshell version: We hit the road Saturday morning, stopping for lunch along the way, learning some fun new catchphrases (the weekend's big winner "heinous crotches," a line from the play Diana is currently directing) and arrived that afternoon at the venue. Thus began the Planning portion of the trip. We assured the front desk girl we weren't weirdos, wandering around taking pictures, measuring things out with our feet, and sketching out potential seating arrangements. Then we proceeded to be weirdos, wandering around taking pictures, measuring things out with our feet, and sketching out potential seating arrangements.

Sadly meh cupcakes.
From there, we segued from Planning to Partying with some sugar (like you do, when no alcohol is readily available and/or you have to drive), picking up some cupcake samples from a local bakery. Other than getting these cupcakes (overall assessment: good not great, icing was yummy but cake was dry), it was a major strikeout on the cake front. One bakery we liked is closed the week of the wedding. Another's prices were astronomical. Two others went out of business recently, and three more didn't return my call.

ANYWAY. We stopped in for a quick visit with the MOG and FOG, grabbed some dinner, went to the benefit show, and went to the cast party afterwards.

But before the cast party Partying portion of the evening, there was the unexpected and unforgettable Pantsless incident.

After the show, the fiancé had to take pictures and help with strike. So, naturally, we found the nearest bar so we could have a drink and hang out until he was free. The nearest bar had no clear signage, other than the all-important one which read OPEN. We dubbed it The Open Bar* and while it was a little dark and had kind of a stabby vibe, the drinks were cheap and the bartender was flirty and we all felt good about it pretty quickly.

Other patrons were feeling even better, apparently. This became shockingly clear about half an hour after our arrival. Scott, who was seated opposite Diana and myself, suddenly changed his expression, clearly seeing something of note. He stage-whispered with urgency:

"That man. At the bar. Just took off ALL OF HIS PANTS."

Trying not to all look at once, we all looked at once. Sure enough, dude at the bar had dropped his pants and his underpants to the nasty floor, and was looking expectantly at the bartender, who was looking anywhere but at Pantsless Man. The photo of the three of us grinning above was taken shortly thereafter, because we knew we needed to preserve and document the moment... but didn't want to take pictures of actual pantsless strangers.

This is what wedding plan looks like for everyone, right?

Special thanks to the MOG  & FOG for hosting the extra houseguests this weekend. And Pantsless dude for making it all the more memorable a planning weekend.

*PS We are totally going to open an establishment called The Open Bar. As soon as we get through this wedding thing.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oh, Right: People Are Creepy!

So, as loyal readers will know, I've already purchased at least one wedding dress that I won't be wearing. It's not a returnable item, so I decided I would try to re-sell it. I listed it on Tradesy, and after a few weeks of a bite here and there but no buyer, I decided on a whim to also list it locally, on Creepslist. I mean, Craigslist.

No, actually, I mean Creepslist. The post, advertising a "beautiful, elegant wedding dress; never worn" got a response within five minutes of going live.

The  response was this (sic sic sic):


In other words, some random Creepster was all like:


And I was all like:

"WHAAAAAAAAT? No. No. Nononononono."

This message (thankfully sent through the anonymous, email-hidden Craigslist messaging system) has reminded of two important things:
  1. There are people in the world who see "never-worn wedding dress" and think I have a shot with this vulnerable chick! I bet she wants to hook up with me and do freaky things while wearing a dress because she is sad! These people freaking LOVE Craigslist. This is probably why Craigslist hides your real email address. And why Best of Craigslist is a thing.
  2. Despite still having some AAAIIIEEEEE GETTING MARRIED IS SCARY moments, I am really glad I have a cool partner I am going to marry. Because getting a message like this, just for listing a wedding dress for sale, reminded me of what dating can be like. At least for the immediate future, there is zero chance of me putting on glasses colored rose by time and distance and romanticizing what dating (at least, my dating life) was actually like.
Thanks, Craiglist. You have yet to bring me any actual money, but you sure do deliver some important life lessons.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting Engaged Makes You Rich!

Good news, brides-and-grooms-to-be: Getting engaged makes you rich!

What? You didn't know? Just ask any wedding vendor out there. They're sure of it.

In fact, try this fun experiment. Call a venue, such as a hotel or banquet hall. Tell them you're coordinating an event and you want to book a room. They'll ask you a series of questions - whatever you do, don't tell them that your event is a wedding. Say it's a nice dinner, a family reunion, an anniversary celebration (all of those are not actually outright lies). This is important, otherwise you'll ruin the experiment.

They will give you a quote on a price. Thank them kindly. Then, later that day, have your partner call them back and say they want to book the venue, for a wedding.

They will be give your partner a quote, and the quote will likely be higher. It might even be double. Because, you see, wedding venues know the truth: GETTING ENGAGED MAKES YOU RICH!

Bridal shops know this, too, which is why they charge crazy amounts of money for fabric and sequins. Why shouldn't they? YOU'RE RICH, YOU SILLY GOOSE! GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY!

Caterers know it. Travel agents know it. Interior stores know it. Your mailbox will be full of offers for luxury items you didn't know you needed. BUT OF COURSE YOU NEED IT! YOU NEED IT ALL, NOW THAT YOU ARE RICH AND ENGAGED!

Aren't you glad? It's a pretty sweet bonus. You find the love of your life, and you instantly become millionaires. Life is more than fair. It's a generous sugar-coated angel of amaze-balls. Of course, there's one entity that misses the memo about you suddenly being rolling in the dough.

That'd be your bank.

Your account will pretty much look the same as it always has. Silly slow bankers!

But don't worry. The credit card companies feel very, very confident about your wedding windfall. They'll encourage you to spend away, love birds! Don't complain about the price of cakes or the ridiculousness of wedding toilet paper!*

Shut up! YOU'RE RICH!

(Pseudo-legal disclaimer: Getting engaged does not make you rich, unless, like, you get engaged to a rich person. But you'd never know it from the way the whole freaking wedding industry expects you to start throwing money around. Now you know, so have a little fun with the information. String along some of the evil price gougers, and reward the honest vendors out there with your business. That's our plan, anyway.)

*Just in case you didn't click the link above, I'm putting it here too. This is an actual thing. This is the world we live in.

I'm Pretty Sure The Calendar is Laughing At Me

Somehow this whole W-word thing is less than five months away.

And between now and then, we have several interstate road trips, his birthday, my birthday, a big urban family event, Thanksgiving, Chanukah (which this year is creating a Frankenholiday dubbed Thanksgivukkah), Christmas, and the New Year. And some writing deadlines. And, like, jobby stuff.

Those five months are going to fly. There's a lot to do in a little time, life-wise and W-word-wise. In fact, my calendar just took a look at my to-do list and guffawed.

(My calendar is on my phone, of course, so maybe it's a Siri thing. I don't know. I just bought an on-sale iPhone 4 since the iPhone 5 made it obsolete. It was the off season thing to do, obvi.)

This week, I'll update #TheList. There should also be some excellent photo ops coming soon, since this weekend there will be many activities, including cake tasting.

That's right. There may be stress. But by God, there will also be cake.

(Just like in the last post. Hmmm. Beginning to detect a theme. Spoiler alert: This is going to be a VERY carb-y celebration.)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

...And Everyone's Still Talking About That Cake

I've started writing this post several times, and tripping over my words. Usually, that happens to me when I'm talking, not when I'm writing. But in this case, even when writing, I find myself at a bit of a loss. Sometimes that happens, when you're just completely overwhelmed by just how incredible the people around you are.

A few weeks ago, the parents were all in town. The MOB, FOB, MOG, and FOG all came in to see the show. The show, which was a lot of fun but also sucked up all the free time the fiance and I might have had. We hit the pause button on wedding planning. We certainly didn't have the bandwidth to put together a nice little party while our parents were in town.

So our friends did it for us - the world's best engagement party.

The Diva (Photo by FOG)
Our cherished friend Denise - AKA "the Diva" - was the amazing powerhouse behind the world's best engagement party. It was her idea, her coordination, her lovely and humbling gift. Denise is a director, and in addition to having a wonderful vision for this party, she assembled a stellar cast to help her; our friends Malaika and Nate, in particular, who helped with everything from decorations to collecting addresses from attendees.

There were several things that made this the world's best engagement party, but two things stand out above all: the people who were there, an assembly of family and urban family whose love and support filled the room to overflowing... AND THE CRAZY AWESOME CAKE.


People are still talking about that cake. Because it was crazy awesome. And perfect.

It was an intimate and lovely evening. Denise supplied champagne and invited guests to make toasts. Many toasts were made, some funny, some poignant (my dad promised he wouldn't tear up during his, but then did anyway), and concluded with a toast from the hostess herself, along with a Khalil Gibran poem.

Leaving that night, I felt so incredibly blessed. So undeservedly fortunate. Denise's generosity, and the goodwill of our loved ones, is more than I can ever adequately respond to with enough thanks. Re-living it all again, I'm a blubbering mess, y'all. (And that's just over the engagement party. Imagine me at the freaking wedding. The off-season, ugly-girl-crying bride...)

Revelers! (Photo by Wayne Thomas)
I would go on and on, but I'd just get more emotional. So instead I'll just say thank you. Thank you, Diva. Thank you, urban family. From the bottom of my (ugly-girl-crying) heart.

Us (Photo by FOG)
“Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls...” - Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, October 5, 2013


This past week marked two important anniversaries in my life.

September 30 marked the six-year anniversary for the fiancé and me. Six years since two friends who had been on a few dozen were-they-or-weren't-they-dates had a conversation that decided our new status was "officially together." (The conversation was immediately followed by me sending him a text while still sitting in his parking lot that night, which said something like "Don't get weird about this, okay?" His response was something along the lines of: "Wouldn't dream of it, doll. Won't get any weirder than I already am." Fair enough.)

A good visual representation of us.
Six years together, so far. Six years wherein we've laughed often, cried rarely, worn a lot of costumes, cooked, toasted, roasted, supported, traveled, lost grandparents and loved ones, gained friends and loved ones, and realized we want all the years ahead of us to be spent together, too. Which brings us to the next anniversary...

October 4 marked three years since I survived the car wreck that by all logic should have killed me. If you want to read the whole story, it's here. If you want the nutshell version, I was driving a Tahoe full of production equipment from Jackson to Memphis. While driving in the left lane to pass an eighteen-wheeler, a deer stepped directly in front of my car. At 70 MPH, I hit the deer. Then I was rear-ended by the eighteen-wheeler behind me, which spun me back into the right lane and directly into the path of the other eighteen-wheeler, the one I had been passing. That truck hit me, too, still at 70 MPH. The rear of the car was crushed, the front was ripped off, and here I still am today. Three years after three separate impacts -- deer, semi-truck, semi-truck -- any one of which could have meant the end of my story.

To the left, imagine where the front of the car used to be;
to the right, imagine where I was leaning against the airbag.
I could write again about my feelings from that night, all of my gratitude and fear and renewed sense of purpose, all of which is still true. But instead, on this third anniversary, I'm literally counting my blessings. Here are just a few of the things that have happened in the three years since the night I miraculously did not die:
  • I've been more intentionally grateful, almost every day (I'm still only human)
  • I learned that when the chips were down, I did, in fact, have the right people around me, thank God
  • I made a career shift to allow for more writing time; I have since written six scripts, three novels, and two more children's books, so far. I have had two plays published - one I wrote pre-wreck, one I wrote post-wreck - which are now being performed, in real theaters, by real actors, in places I've never been. I no longer feel like a wannabe when I say "I'm a writer."
  • New friends came into my life, and new theater projects, and the urban family for which I am so thankful continued to grow... and old-gold friendships are even more precious to me than once they were
  • My first nephew was born, and I got to hold him while he was still tiny, and now he's walking; I shared wonderful mugs and glasses of coffee and wine (and mimosas) with my parents (and with the fiancé's parents), and appreciated them even more; I've been able to cheer on all of my siblings as their lives moved forward in amazing and sometimes surprising ways 
  • I fell in love with Doctor Who. I know-- what took me so long?! 
  • I took the fiancé out of the country for the first time-- just to Canada, but now that we know that we can, in fact, leave the country and be let back in despite his rouge-ish ways, we have bigger plans ahead
  • I snuggled with Dov, survived all the attempts on my life by the world's largest cat, and fostered and found homes for a dozen rescue dogs (one of them still with us-- oops)
  • I wore bridesmaid dresses in two of my best friends' weddings, and danced at several other weddings, one of them just a few days post-wreck and while still donning a neck brace, and not to be a broken record, but seriously: I have been reminded more times than I can count what an amazing collection of people fill my life, including that hilarious, protective, loyal, and loving best friend of mine...
  • ...to whom I am now engaged. http:// hen we got engaged, and started planning our own wedding 
Those are just a few of the thousand good moments and milestones I've been blessed to experience in the past three years. There have been bad days, too; funerals, illnesses, setbacks. But to get through my own bad days, and to be there for my loved ones on their bad days, is another category of blessing. Some blessings feel brutal, but are blessings nonetheless.

I sometimes reference anniversaries pretty lightly. We all do. Forgetting an anniversary is one of the world's oldest jokes... and, in fact, this year the fiancé forgot ours for the first time ever, despite me tagging him in a Facebook status about it, which he liked (true story). I forgave him, largely because soon we'll have a new anniversary date, so the September 30 one will eventually fade away. Still, a year and a half from now, when the fiancé is "the husband" and we celebrate our first anniversary, we'll laugh together about how we'll actually have been together for nearly eight years at that point. Assuming he doesn't forget the new anniversary.

Sometimes anniversaries can seem a little arbitrary. But sometimes it's important to remember not only the date an anniversary marks, but also everything that has happened on all the days in between, and everything we survived to reach this day.

So here's to anniversaries, and not taking a single one of them for granted.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

This Little Light of Ours

As my loyal readers (all ten of you beautiful creatures) may recall, the fiancé and I don't have the most romantic of proposal stories. This is not a surprise, really. "Romantic" is not a word frequently used to characterize us - but never say never.

Unbeknownst to  the fiancé, I saved the bottle of wine we were drinking that night. I hid it in the kitchen, because I had plans for that bottle. Big plans. At one point, when I was gone, he found the empty hidden bottle and put it in the recycling bin. Luckily, I noticed it, retrieved it, and did a better job of hiding it... until I could get it to my friend Juniper.

Because my friend Juniper's husband Del takes bottles, and makes art; functional art, no less - objects like lamps. While that's cool any day of the week, I thought it would be particularly perfect to preserve the modest little bottle of red with which we toasted our engagement. What better way to preserve it than to have an artist transform it into something that would continue to illuminate?

Many thanks, Juniper and Del. This little bottle will be with us for quite some time, and we're gonna let it shine.