The Anniversary Waltz: Random things about our wedding, part 2 – Props

(In honor of the first anniversary of my second marriage on October 21, I’m doing some reminiscing.)

All pictures in this post are credited to, and copyrighted by, Michael Getlin Fine Photography/Getlin Media and are used by permission for personal/non-commercial purposes.

Even if you’re trying to keep a wedding fairly small and not too complicated, the amount of info and stuff involved can quickly get overwhelming. The wedding industry is well aware of this, and will be happy to sell you one of the many bridal planners and organizers that a little search on Amazon will turn up. But I’m connected, and I’m an accountant, so for me there was just one logical way to keep everything in order – spreadsheets! I had them for invitations, acceptances, meal choices, gifts, timelines, shopping lists, to-do lists – it just made sense to me to record it all that way. (And no special wedding-themed formats for me – plain old Excel worked just fine.)

As I said in my previous post, we wanted a wedding that was both formal and fun. For the guys, “formal” meant tuxedos, of course, with waistcoats (dark red for Tall Paul – our wedding colors were deep red and purple, suitable for autumn – and black for the rest). But my husband hasn’t owned a pair of traditional dress shoes since he was 15, and soon after our engagement he went on the lookout for just the right pair of cowboy boots to accompany formal wear. He found them in July – black cherry leather, nicely hand-tooled – which gave him some time to break them in.

The color palette was favorable to my soon-to-be stepdaughter, who wore a long, simply-cut burgundy junior-bridesmaid dress, as well as to my sister; her apple-red, silver-embellished, two-piece tea-length dress accented her green eyes and fair skin. (And she actually can wear the top again, with a black skirt, although she hasn’t yet.)

I dithered over my own outfit at first. I thought seriously about wearing color, I was nervous about bridal salons, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. A visit to to the Special Occasions department at Macy’s – just to get ideas – ended up being the only shopping I did. A sleeveless, not-quite-white dress with a beaded top and slightly-A-line skirt just needed to be hemmed in order to be just right for me. And my boot-wearing groom inspired me to go in a similar footwear direction; not Western-style, but a pair of mid-heel, ankle-height, lace-up bridal boots proved a comfortable choice for a day that would involve a lot of time on my feet. And I was not going to wear a veil; my hair ornament was a decorated comb that I found in the wedding-decor section at Michael’s.

While we did have aspects of our wedding that we splurged on – most notably the venue and the photography – there were others, like the music, where we went the DIY route. If organization via spreadsheet played to my talents, a lot of the “real” paperwork of the wedding – invitations, programs, place cards – was right in the field of expertise of my soon-to-be husband, a graphic designer. While we both worked on text, he did all the actual design, paper selection, layout, and printing of our invitations, envelopes, and programs. When we decided that we would “name” our reception tables for TV and movie couples instead of using boring numbers, he came up with the list, found all the pictures, and created and printed the signs.

Tall Paul also created a logo of sorts for our favors. On one of the wedding websites that I frequented during my engagement, I stumbled across a link for Fancy Fortune Cookies, which bakes fortune cookies in about a dozen different flavors and lets you customize them by including up to five different enclosures. We didn’t write “fortunes” for ours, exactly; we selected a few short quotes about love and marriage to go in our cookies, and we packaged them – along with a few Jordan almonds – in miniature Chinese-takeout-style boxes (also from Michael’s), to which we applied a decal that Tall Paul designed. The favors ended up being relatively inexpensive, unusual, and consumable.

Our wedding didn’t have a theme, but Tall Paul likes to say that if it had, it would have been “When Nerds Unite.” The best example of that comes via two of our favorite wedding props, both cake-related. One day on his lunch hour, Tall Paul called me from the mall to say “The knife store is having a going-out-of-business sale. What would you think of a replica of Sting (not the singer – Frodo’s sword from The Lord of the Rings) as a cake cutter?” After I stopped laughing, I said he should go ahead and get it. While that was a serendipitous find, our search for an appealing cake topper was getting more and more discouraging until we finally decided to give in to what we really wanted, and ordered a Simpsons cake topper on eBay.

The kids are with us for our actual anniversary, so we’re going to Catalina Island the following weekend for a slightly delayed celebration of our first year together, and to prepare for the adventures to come.

26 – Happy Anniversary! Love you, ~28

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