That Time Pastry Gave Me a Pep Talk (Yet Again)

I’ve been a bit of an anxious pill of recent. I’ve been having anxiety dreams every night around my job, my doctorate, losing our dogs, Pastry not sharing his pie with me.

We had this conversation a while ago in the wee hours of the morning:

“Pastry! Pastry, wake up.” 

“Grrruuummmblrgh, wha?”

“I had a really bad dream and it made me cry…”

“Shwaaaaa? Ssssyou’okay?”

“Yeah. But it made me really, really, really sad.” 

“Wha happen?”

“You wouldn’t share your pie with me.”

“What?” (Alertness achieved.)

“Your pie. We were eating pie together and I asked you for a bite. And, you said no. And IT DESTROYED MY ENTIRE WORLD AND I WAS SO SAD AND I HYSTERICALLY SOBBED AND WOKE UP CRYING.” 

“But, I would always share my pie with you.” 

“I know.” (Sniffles)

“Because I love you.” 

“I love you, too.” (Snort cry) “And, I will always share my pie with you, too.” 

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The Pastry, he knows what to say to calm down his crying fiancee in the middle of the night after a sad pie dream. He’s also just given me another excellent pep talk around all the wedding shenanigans, but we’ll get to that later.

Last summer, we went to the Bridal Expo (as detailed in  The Bridal Expo: We Laughed, We Played Bridal Bingo, We Tasted Terrible Cake). I signed up for a free Bride magazine ’cause why not have a glossy and pastel advertisement for all things wedding directly delivered to your neighborhood mailbox that you forget to check but every two weeks? I would say I waited for its arrival, but I completely forgot about it until my first issue arrived last week.

The cover is a skinny, gently spray-tanned blonde in a delicate white dress (of which the cups are slightly ever so aggressively cupping her non-boobs in a spritz of organza), holding some loosely assembled flowers in a attempt to look like she just casually gathered them from her classic French garden near the ocean bluffs. Her neck is like a Photoshopped swan, elongated and devoid of creases while adjusted for exposure and tone. Her bushy brows have definitely been seeing her brow specialist according to her bridal beauty six month prep list.

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Inside there are hundreds of pages of slender, slightly tan, usually blonde sprites in ethereal gowns with delicate details, slouching delicately on a chaise or grassy knoll no belly rolls to be seen. (To be fair, there are also lots of advertisements featuring puppies, of which I am a fan, and a editorial on Janet Mock’s wedding, of whom I am also a fan, so it’s not all horrible). Flipping through the magazine, I was disheartened. I am loud and fairly fat with bright red hair, freckles, and cleavage that necessitated ordering my bridal gown in a size 20 in order to not squish my built-in flotation devices. I have arm creases (something no one ever has in magazines; see above), neck wrinkles, and persistent hormonal pimples on my chin, moving from side to side every month depending on which ovary would like to mock my skin care regimen.

All the featured weddings in the magazine were pastel, delicate, blush and champagne in a celebration of adulthood’s love. These were adult people pledging their commitments (and perhaps eventual financial ruin considering the cost of eight tier cakes) to each other in appropriate ADULT FASHIONS. And, it made me ponder our wedding, a shindig that my mom pointed out is a perfect combination of my first and grade birthday parties (dinosaurs with an awesome volcano cake to be followed the next year by a Hawaiian themed luau with hot dogs and pineapple on skewers along with giant paper flower construction).

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My first grade birthday party cake looked almost exactly like this one and I still remember it ever so fondly. 

I began to question the purchase of foam dinosaur masks for our photo booth, and thus soon spiraled into a judgey, insecure cloud of wedding anxiety .

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Internal monologue: “Will people judge us? What if they think this is silly or dumb or childish? But, who wouldn’t want to be a triceratops in a fancy suit or gown? I mean, I would…But, maybe not. This is dumb. But, I really want a picture of my friend Brian who is almost 7′ feet tall and Pastry’s conservative mom wearing dinosaur masks…”

Then we got our engagement photos back. And, all I could see was arm creases, chin pimples, and bra back fat in my bright purple gown, unruly red hair blowing in the desert wind. And, I know Pastry only saw his own perceived flaws when he saw the pictures as I’m fairly certain most wedding photographers forget about the groom as a person and use them more as a prop, leading to some bizarrely awkward Pastry poses as directed by our paid paparazzi. I’ve also learned that anytime we are directed to touch noses, we should just glare at the camera in our best emo couple look as it will certainly result in a better photo. NO NOSE TOUCHING PHOTOS. NO. There were…some really bad and awkward photos of us both. It was not heartening.

Meanwhile in overall nuptial planning, Pastry has been on a one-man endeavor to get submersible LED ice cubes for the wedding reception. The Pastry loves all things tech and LED with a passion (as in he has a lot to say about the color range of certain LED bulbs over others), and the ice cubes make him very happy. I fully admit these are not my thing. And, queue epic wedding judgement…

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Cubes in question.

Pastry ordered a bunch in a ton of colors so we could decide what might work the best. And, I was less than enthusiastic while he danced about excitedly with his flashing cubes of freezable gel. He put them in drinks for my mom and I while we were constructing a giant flagging tape curtain (a story to itself). My response was “meh.” He brought them out on the town for St. Patrick’s Day much to the great fascination of drunk people. I didn’t say anything, my silence speaking for my now verging on rude response to the light cubes. I said something akin to “well, I guess we could do yellow and orange cubes…You know, keeping it in line with the color palette of the reception space as I want to keep it only in warm tones…” (Please read that again with a snotty affect.) Pastry asked me to rate how against I was the cubes on a scale from 1-5 and how I felt about including his favorite color of purple, five being “if you do it, there will never again be any roasted carrot salad (favorite recipe ever) ever again.” I said a 3.

Here is me waxing poetic about including purple light cubes. Note this is only about the inclusion of purple as a choice, nothing else.

“I’m afraid that too many colors will take our already on the verge of a kid’s birthday party-esque wedding reception with it’s crazy colors, dinosaurs, ribbon curtains, karaoke, and giant dinosaur over into a fully tacky rave. I’m trying to keep the color palette limited. Adding purple will make it look like a Laker’s dance party in Vegas. I want this whole thing to be fun and colorful, but also really classy and carefully curated, and finding the balance of including a giant dinosaur and purple light cubes is hard…” 

Oh, the snobbery. As if I hadn’t been happily ordering dinosaur masks, colorful fans, making fifteen foot long curtains out of bright pink ribbon. The purple light cubes, they so obviously were the ONE thing that was going to take this over the line. (Uh, not really…That may be the 7′ dinosaur cut-out, ten foot tall tree, or uh, the gigantic dress I’m wearing…)

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I’m the owl on the left. Pastry, right owl, is just trying to be nice.

 

So, Pastry sent me this today.

“So, I had a thought about how worried you are about the wedding and the fear that it will all be silly…

And my thought is: fuck it. 

The day is about you and I, inviting our friends to enjoy the celebration of the union of two very silly people. If someone has a problem with the way in which we choose to celebrate? That’s their problem. Because, honestly, who wouldn’t want to attend a free party with free booze, dancing, music, and photo booths with dinosaurs? Eliminating the bagagge that it being a ‘wedding’ carries, what would your reaction be to being invited to said party? You would totally be like ‘BEST. FUCKING. PARTY. EVER.’

Just keep focused on the fact that this shindig is basically us in party form. And, that everyone coming loves us and will enjoy everything that is there. Because if you’re worried what someone might think about dinosaur masks [and purple light cubes], the thought they are going to have is ‘of course there are dinosaur masks.’ Trying to hold an ultra classy affair with people discussing the better part of trade negotiation while they lament the color scheme of the room is not us.

And, additionally, my thinking is that I wouldn’t care if someone didn’t like the dinosaurs or the purple cubes — We’re both going to love them.” 

And, then he drove over to pick me up for lunch and took me to eat fish tacos in the sun. And, we had a discussion about the German pop band Dschinghis Khan, their epic dance moves, and its applicability to our first wedding dance. (Also, how the guy in the blue looks like the love child of Yul Brynner and a Vulcan princess.)

 

I am very lucky. And, he is very right. The expectations, guidelines, and overall weddingness of weddings got to me.

So, I looked at our engagement photos again with a new viewpoint. In the less staged pictured (see NO NOSE TOUCHING guidelines), I can now see us. I can see how Pastry looks at me with his eyebrows raised in jest, how he holds my hand naturally in promise, and how I look at him like he’s going to share his pie with me forever. It took us both a little bit to become okay with the flaws, the bad angles, the chin pimples, and all. And, now all I see is love and a future of purple light cubes, dinosaur masks, and pie with two forks.

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First Truly Important Wedding Purchase

In terms of wedding purchase excitement, this item is perhaps the thing about which I am most pleased. Presenting, a key wedding item in the form of a 73″ wide and 70″ tall Giganotoasaurus stand-up cutout for our reception photo booth. IT IS GLORIOUS. And, was reasonably priced as a mere $39.95 on Amazon. I AM SO EXCITED.

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Bridal Beauty Wars

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I forget to shave my legs.

About once every month, either when I am sitting in the sun passively admiring the tiny golden hairs on my calves or when Pastry is rubbing my furred leg during a House Hunters marathon on the couch, it strikes me that it may be time to purge my lower legs of their peach fuzz. I am by no means a low maintenance lady as I tend to spend an obscene amount of money at the CVS beauty isle (to the point where the CVS employees know me by my epic coupon usage for frivolous moisturizing items – I live in the desert! Containing every water molecule possible is key!). However, with prepping for the wedding in three months, the pressure of bridal beauty shenanigans lays mightily on my mind. Which, honestly, continues to surprise me every time I catch myself fixating on my gel manicure timeline by which to have perfectly crafted nails for each important event in the next month or so.

It’s really hard to avoid how YOUR WEDDING IS THE MOST SPECIAL DAY OF YOUR LIFE AND YOU SHOULD LOOK THE MOST BEAUTIFUL YOU HAVE EVER BEEN THROUGH THESE 137 STEPS OF GLORY stories. I got my nails done last week after a rough day and at least 5 people have commented on how fancy I am now and my bridal exfoliating, buffing, waxing, plucking, beautification plan. (I am fancy, damnit.)

InStyle has a 21 item check list detailing skin brightening serum, facial timelines, brow
specialist (??!!??) appointments, deep conditioning treatments (I’m okay with this – See live in desert and desperate to keep self akin to swamp thing), hair trimming schedule for maximum hair growth, sparkle-inducing hair glazes, hair and makeup trials, weekly manicures (“think medium length with rounded square edges!”), clarifying mud masks for your back and butt, teeth whitening, spray tanning, keratin treatments for your hair, one more haircut just ’cause, a homemade mask made out of local honey and oatmeal, hand treatments for supple finger skin (ew), acne prevention in the for pesky pimples, more clarifying mud masks this time not for your butt, and increased water intake for “luminosity.”

On the fairly conservative side, this bridal beauty guide would cost over $2,000. I made a horribly colored Excel spreadsheet to illustrate this point. Estimates

Vogue also has a detailed wedding countdown broken into weeks. According to them, I should have been meeting with my dermatologist and brow specialist (???!!??) already as well as booking a time “for a complexion check-in” to work toward getting the rest skin results on my wedding day. I mean, I felt like I splurged last month when I bought some CVS knockoff brand serum for $20 AND I even used it on my chest!  Woo! Vogue also suggests I time my waxing needs carefully (see forget to shave legs) as well as prepping with a “depuffing” facial.

Which made me just think about getting a facial from a bunch of puffins…

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Hello, we are your beauty team today! First we will be starting with a nice sand eel and herring mask, already masticated, followed with a serum of fish scales.

I’ve also decided that “Supple Finger Skin” should be our team name the next time we go to play trivia or do some other team activity with absolutely no explanation given. In my dream world, there might be another lady wedding prepping at the same time though, and she might give me a knowing look then say, “Supple finger skin IS such a priority for your special day, right?”

And, now apparently I need to find a brow specialist for the two hairs of my eyebrows that grow within inopportune areas. Hard, hard pass, bridal beauty guies, hard, hard pass on it all.

 

The Hotel Cock Block

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“Blocking a hotel rooms is a great way to help guests find a reasonably priced and convenient place to stay near your wedding activities! Simply follow these easy steps to look into blocking your rooms!”

Three weeks later, a delegation to my mom to take care of business, numerous in-person meetings, forgotten emails, and a few minor snafus in the meantime, our block went live for our guests.

AND, IT DID NOT WORK. Queue confused calls and texts from guests.

Grumble, grumble, hiss, hiss, obscene gesture, boo.

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I asked my mom to take on the whole hotel block contract shenanigans in January as I figured it would be an easy-peasy phone call and contract to arrange for a small grouping of rooms at the hotel located literally between the ceremony and reception site. We want between 12-15 rooms. That’s it. She emailed, called, and met with the sales people of this particular boutique hotel. They signed a contract, a contract which requires us to pick up 90% of the rooms in two months with no resell clause. The sales lady very clearly told the mom that only the standard room is offered as part of the block for $150 a night. Suites, though we can book them for $200 a night, are by contract only and if guests book a suite it does not apply to our block of 15 rooms. Sure, okay, so they will offer the standard rooms when guest call, right? Yep. Moving on…

Pastry’s mom calls the first night to book her room. They tell her the option is a suite for $200 and that the only other option “is a handicapped room that is much, much smaller” for $150. Say, wha? Pastry’s uncle calls – They give him the same run around, book him a suite, and tack on the resort fees to everything something that is clearly waived in our contract. My best friend calls and ends up with a suite. They have now booked four rooms, all suites, for $200 a night and fees, and none of them count toward the hotel block.

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Summary of my feelings.

Now, my mom is an epic lady who has managed many, many people for her entire career. She sent perhaps the saltiest email ever to the sales manager at the hotel. Please read the following in a deep, threatening voice of a lady not with whom to fuck.

“We have a major problem with the implementation of the contract we signed for the wedding. Our guests have started to call to book rooms and are being offered only a suite rate of $200. One guest was told the $150 rate was only for a handicap access room, another guest was told that only group sales could handle her request. I am very disappointed in this poor service and the confusion it is causing for our guests is unacceptable. I have an early appointment on Friday morning, but I will call you as soon as I am free.  My expectation is that when are guests call they will be offered the $150 contracted rate. The $200 rate for suites should not be offered at all as we contracted specifically for 3 suites and I have already booked them.  When we speak tomorrow I will look forward to your solutions and expect prompt corrective action.
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The hotel then groveled sufficiently and another friend had no issues when booking her room the next day. Mind you, this is also the same location of the $136 tacos. So, I am not convinced they deserve any business at this point let alone our glorious personages in residence eating tacos at our leisure. But, life and planning move on…
They were very lucky they had to deal with my mom rather than me.

 

 

 

The Rehearsal Dinner = Taco Eating Contest

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In a recent Taco Eating Championship, the grand prize winner managed to scarf down 103 tacos in eight minutes. The second place winner trailed at 59 tacos. (The tenth place winner ate only a total of seven tacos which makes me think I should enter a taco eating contest as I can definitely put that many away in a short amount of time. Plus, free tacos.)

Pastry and I are attempting to plan our wedding rehearsal dinner. Counting just the wedding party of awesome, family, and kids, we are around 22 adults and 5 kids for the event. There is a snazzy restaurant literally between the wedding site and the rehearsal site IN THE HOTEL IN WHICH WE ARE ALL STAYING. It serves fancy tacos. And, it almost always only has about one table full. Despite all that, the food is really great (which makes me really wonder why it’s so empty all the time). We figured, awesome! Fun taco place conveniently located! Bright colors! Sangria! No issue getting a table! This will be swell!

They want a minimum of $3,000. MOST EXPENSIVE TACOS EVER. It averages out to $136 a person for TACOS. 

I figure in order to get your money’s worth, each wedding party member would need to eat at least 54 tacos and have two glasses of sangria. “Why, yes, I will have the pulled chicken taco that likely cost you a total of 73 cents to make, and about 53 additional tacos for my doggie bag, please. Wait, no, make that 37 chicken tacos and 16 carnitas tacos, please.” 

In an article of New York City’s wildest and MOST EXPENSIVE tacos, the most costly option was $36 for a lobster and filet mignon taco at Dos Caminos. LOBSTER AND FILET MIGNON TACO. A. Yes, please. B. Even if we bought each rehearsal dinner attendee New York’s most expensive taco, it would still only be $792!

Look at its apparently reasonably priced glory…

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For $3,000 we could order 55 of them and have them flown first class from New York to the desert. 

“Well, no, we’re not flying first class to our honeymoon, but our rehearsal dinner tacos flew in on American Airlines from New York just last night. They enjoyed a glass of champagne and their Bose headsets. Yes, I know, still so reasonably priced from that one Mexican restaurant! I mean, I was looking forward to eating 53 tacos the night before my wedding, but one must just prioritize sometimes! We’ll just have to see who is getting married next for the next opportunity to have a family taco eating contest. Watch out for my mom, she loves herself some carne asada.” 

$136 per person for tacos. Pffft. 

 

 

 

The Mid-Year Planning Lull…Plus Muumuus

I’m still kicking in the desert, planning our nuptial shindig ever so slowly with the Pastry. We entered the mid-planning timeline lull from about October to end of December in which we made some easy decisions, finally booked a florist,  did our tasting at the venue, and generally wandered about no doubt eating too much cheese. All in all, terribly boring things which were quite fun for us while still remaining uninteresting blog fodder. Then there was the joy of a the first dual family holiday season…which actually afforded no drama whatsoever. How dull to get along with both your old and new families. (Though Pastry and I did spend an epic evening drinking bourbon with my mom whilst watching Step Up All In on her 3D TV, making snarky remarks and critiquing dance choreography with perhaps too much intensity.)

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This Lull is also not doing much wedding planning.

So, nuptial updates…Just because I should endeavor to not forget where we are in all of this planning.

Final reasonable florist was reasonable, producing a super creative mock-up of textured flowers, a giant manzanita tree for a wishing tree, and multiple stone, concrete, and glass containers filled with a bizarre array of desert plants. We’re going to do a 10 foot tree in the reception space with a table set up to write wishes for us on colorful tags with long ribbons. The guests will hang the tags, effectively decorating the space for us with bright ribbons, and then we’ll eventually pull them all off the tree. I’m planning on framing them in a large art piece to go in our house. This all theoretically works…But, there is now a chance of a drunken Midwestern relative knocking over a massive tree in the middle of the YMCA showdown on the dance floor…Which honestly might be fine if just for the story and minus the rental costs.

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An even more intense wishing tree likely in Lam Tsuen.(Queue outdated Mrs. Doubtfire reference.) Watch out for the drive-by fruitings!

An Origin Story of Wishing Trees: Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees
“In the past, whenever there was a festival, villagers would throw joss paper into these two trees and make wishes. The higher the branch the joss paper landed on, the more likely it was the wish would come true. People from all over Hong Kong still come here in their droves to make wishes during festivals; however, as it’s not just local villagers hoping to try their luck in the trees anymore, measures have been introduced to protect the wishing trees from becoming buried in paper. Nowadays, wishes are more tidily made by tying joss paper to nearby wooden racks or imitation trees.”

We went to do our tasting and figured out the menu. It was glorious. And, there will be tons of food. I find this exciting (because I get to eat it all) and boring all at once (because talking about a menu for an evening four months away is…boring). Weirdly, lots of people want a full rundown of the whole menu. Essentially, there will be bourbon, snacks, steak, chicken pot pie, tiny grilled cheese sandwiches and cups of tomato soup, a whole bunch of local produce in vast variety of salads, tiny dessert shots, and lots of pie. No favors though as our favors to our guests consists of 5 hours of open bar and a large selection of pie. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!

I obsessed over what to wear for engagement photos. It’s included in our photography package. It seems like a good plan. I’m going to wear a ballgown and try not to fall in a cactus. Pastry wants to embrace his newfound love of sweaters (he had never owned one prior to last year and now wears them all the time). I just keeping thinking about what our future children will say about my questionable outfit choice. “Jeeeez, mom, showing so much leg in such a weird bat-winged dress. You look like an eggplant in a tropical muumuu.” To which I say, “Well, tough, little Adomicus. I may have looked like an elephant-eggplant hybrid, but you’re stuck with a terrible name so I have the last laugh.”

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Muumuu Inspiration = Muuspiration?

I bought a bunch of shoes and used everything wedding planning to procrastinate from writing actual critical analysis papers for ye olde doctorate. Read a chapter, pin dinosaur related items to wedding board. Read four sentences of social construction book, suddenly become enthused about our wedding website! Consider writing outlines, remember blog suddenly and update for first time in months! Look up muumuu patterns! Order another pair of gold wedges! Inquire about Pastry’s suit ordering timeline! Sketch ideas for flagging tape 20 foot curtain with magnetic attachments for outdoor reception area! EVERYTHING WITH ENTHUSIASM THAT IS NOT ACTUAL WORK! Sigh. Then return to work 10 minutes later.

At least there will be lots of pie and bourbon in four months.

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“Oh Yeah, the Wedding…”: A Nonchalant Wedding Existence

Well, the academic year began. And, I was henceforth completely overwhelmed.

Pastry and I are trucking along, commuting through the desert, going to NFL games, making insane amounts of plans for the one day off a week we tend to take, harassing each other to do our homework/design projects/mow the waving lawn, taking the dog-boys for bike rides, trying to coordinate visiting his grandma in Tampa, doing the endless piles of laundry that seem to come along with being an adult, etc. Exciting, no?

Meanwhile, my new love is spray painting random items in our house either red or a various metallic colors. My work version is that I laminate things  when I’m stressed. Beyond stockpiling cardboard for spray paint projects and making hardy, weatherproof signs, I’m taking three doctoral classes and teaching a course for undergraduates on top of my regular full time job, so any delusions of free time I might have this semester really were delusions. While shoving fries in my mouth while frantically driving between campuses for classes last week as I had forgotten to pack dinner, a tiny thought flitted by my mind, “Maybe I should be dieting for the wedding to better fulfill my OPTIMUM BRIDE POTENTIAL.” To which my brain said, “Meh. Eat those fries or otherwise you get really cranky in your class by the time 10:00pm rolls around.”

My ultimate downfall, especially when served Animal Style.

Besides, my friends and family know I have arms more in line with the Pillsbury dough boy than Michelle Obama, and it’s not like eventually wearing a white dress for one day six months down the line should be the only reason for a lifting schedule and sudden French-fry-less clean eating. I do have health and fitness goals, but they are just not wrapped up in feelings related in any way to wedding shenanigans, hence why the lone French-fry, bridal readiness thought was so odd.  My larger life issue is more prioritizing health goals for myself is quite hard right now, and when you are chronically mentally and physically tired from a busy life, French fries almost always seem like a good idea. (As they are delicious.)

Otherwise, wedding stuff is the least stressful part of my whole life. I just cannot muster any worry, obsession or preoccupation around anything wedding related. We’ve booked almost everything and figured out what we want. At some point, we need to spray paint (YES! Stress relief!) a bunch of dinosaurs and make a fun streamer arch. Given my normal job of constructing large LED birch trees for public art projects and Pastry’s epic handyman skills, we got this.

A wedding arch made of mini-kegs of Canadian beer. See? We’re not even that fringe!

We ordered some standard invitation samples, and promptly meh-ed at them. I designed a couple options and they were, well, honestly a bit too classy for our eclectic affair. Then we happened upon some glorious invites which will likely make a good portion of guests think we are more than slightly crazed. But, you know, I truly doubt we will look back on our wedding when we are yet older and wrinklier, and say, “I regret nothing but those insanely quirky and fun invitations featuring an awful pun and something we both love. That…that was the beginning of the end.” Then we will turn to each other and startle as we recognize each other again, and instead of perishing in each other’s arms as Nicholas Sparks would have us believe as a romantic end, we will likely make T-Rex noises (via Jurassic Park) at each other before going back to nap on the couch.

The call of true love.