Greetings everyone! It took a little time to fully realize it, but we did in fact get married and enjoyed every second (that we can remember) of our big day! Now we just have to get used to calling each other “husband” and “wife”… we may stick to “Dawn” and “Rick” for a while and ease ourselves in. Heck, “male human” and “female human” could work too, as endearing as that is, LOL.

Happy CoupleWow, I really was a “bride”, huh? I think I pulled it off fairly well, considering my lack of femininity and desire to have the stereotypical big white wedding. I was amazed I could even get to sleep the night before, but I have good friends Pete & Jenn to thank for that. The night prior, they took us out for a fantastic Greek dinner at Kanela in Philly, followed by one of the best comedy shows I have ever seen: Louis CK at the Academy of Music! We were too busy laughing our collective butts off to worry about the impending wedding. That was such a terrific gift.. the gift of SANITY.

The wedding itself was a blur. As every couple says it is. It was a loooooong day, but didn’t feel that way. I credit myself being a good planner, and my skills paid off, for every last detail was accounted for, and all the extra time I had padded in was needed. One of the other skills I strengthened during the planning process was the art of compromise. Weddings are one big compromise. Essentially, though most say it should be a party designed for the bride and groom, in the end, it’s a party thrown by the bride and groom FOR the guests. There is no wedding out there that will please each and every guest, every bride and groom. For every new, unique and creative idea you have, there will be a friend, relative or guest who will find it “tacky” and beg you NOT to do it.You readers can probably imagine I’m not the typical bride. And Rick isn’t the typical groom either. However, Rick is far more traditional than I, as I have learned, and we had to compromise on a lot of traditions and find creative ways to make it work for the both of us. One tip I have, for those who are A: engaged, and B: as dorky as we are, is the wonderful invention that is google docs. We organized all of our contacts, the schedule for the big day, and our budget for the entire shindig with google docs, and shared them with each other and our parents & coordinator. But a terrific way to get started on the planning process is our trademarked BRS- “Blind Rating System”. I created an excel doc, listed every single wedding tradition I could think of, and we each blindly rated them on a scale from 1-10. For instance, we both couldn’t care less about the bouquet or garder toss, so we rated them low, like a 1 or 2. But we did differ on other things, like the parents’ dances, or the cake-face-smoosh. So, the things we both agreed on or disagreed on, were easily decided. We only had to discuss the events that we disagreed on. Compromises needed to be made, and in the end we both made sacrifices and both got our way on other things.

One thing I insisted on was the lack of wedding gown. No, I didn’t get married naked, or in a pair of sweats (ha ha). I just never felt right in a dress, so I was determined to find a formal way of wearing pants and still looking like a “bride”. Rick was totally understanding of this, me being in a dress was just as odd to him, as it was to me. I found a great inspirational image online (pictured, left), and based my final ensemble on that. I knew this would cause some issues, as the very first thing everyone asks is “what does your gown look like???”, and for anyone who knew me specifically, it was “OMG, are YOU actually gonna wear a GOWN???” The way it was handled, few at the wedding knew it was actually pants, and those who did still could admire it and did not feel I was under-dressed or too… umm… “masculine”. Even with the custom chucks I donned at the reception, it all turned out great and in the end I felt comfortable and confident. For those interested, my outfit started with a bridesmaid ensemble by Eden Bridals. (note: a helluva lot cheaper)

Ridley Creek State Park Mansion

Now to try to sum up the wedding events. We were married at Ridley Creek State Park Mansion, a new wedding venue but a historical building that used to be farmhouse and residence, buried in a large park outside of Philadelphia. We had a small private ceremony (last a whopping 8 minutes) outside, adjacent to the ballroom where the reception was, lead by a Justice of the Peace. Our friend and neighbor played “California Stars” by Wilco on guitar as I walked in with my dad. The mothers read readings (my mom’s was “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Suess).  The typical formal shots followed, and then the private photo session with the photographer, stopping at every beautiful area of the park (fountain, gardens, etc).  The rest of the guests arrived for the reception, and they enjoyed some live music by friends and family on keyboards & guitar during the cocktail hour. One of the most nerve-wracking parts of the wedding was the First Dance. I am NOT a dancer. It’s not just that I feel as though I cannot dance, it’s that it feels forced and I just don’t enjoy it. But we learned that nixing this important event at a wedding would be heart-breaking for mothers and family members, so Rick and I took a ballroom basics course. This actually eased my nerves, as I could focus on the steps instead of worrying about all the eyes on me. We danced to “Sweet Avenue” by Jets to Brazil, a 90’s punk-ish band that broke the ice and helped us meet online. The lyrics are, to me, what a marriage should be about:

Now all these tastes improve
through the view that comes with you
like they handed me my life for the first time it felt worth it
like I deserved it.

Have to say, I managed to stay ON my feet, and I only messed up once and I doubt anyone noticed. Dancing with my dad was strange (“Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac)… nothing against my father, we have a fine relationship, but we’re just not the touchy-feely-dancing type, so we basically joked and waited for the song to be over LOL. But seeing Rick and his mom enjoy their dance (“In My Life” by The Beatles) made it all worth it.

The rest was an enjoyable evening of drinks, conversation, the BEST cupcakes and cuisine I have had in a long time, and I even took a minute to pause and appreciate all the friends and family that had (in some cases) traveled long distances to be there. I was so happy with everything that when a tall guest accidentally brought down the hanging lights over the dance floor, during House of Pain’s “Jump”, causing sparks and the room to go completely dark, I just found it hilarious. The tissue paper pom-poms we had attached to the ceiling as decorations fell down, and guests turned them into accessories and props, and this made my day. The last song of the night was Wilco’s “What Light”… and a lyric really summed up everything for me:

If you’re trying to paint a picture
But you’re not sure which colors belong
Just paint what you see
Don’t let anyone say it’s wrong

There’s a light (white light)
Inside of you

Private Photo session

The friends gathered for an after-party at a nearby bar, and Rick and I managed to have enough energy to close that party out, too. It was a beautiful, sweet, simple, kick-ass wedding. We did good.

Now, to wait impatiently for the January honeymoon in Jamaica! And oh yeah, to enjoy the rest of our lives together ;0)

Now for the good stuff you REALLY came here for:

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