Ha! Let this be a word of warning for unsuspecting brides-to-be who stumble over this post in an accident of Google (congrats by the way!)
When I say details, I don’t mean beautiful DIY whimsical touches that I spent months crafting over. What I mean are just the little things that Chris and I thought of on a whim in order to make a barely minimal nod to American wedding tradition. None of them took time or energy, none of them were particularly hand-crafted, and I think their monetary value totaled about $50 dollars of which $40 dollars of that was spent on 40, $1 scratch-off lottery tickets.
So without further ado, I give you: Our Details
I’m going to put flowers in the details category rather than a separate “Flowers” category as they all came from either Costco:
or the Farmer’s Market across the street from our house:
Yes, in lieu of walking down any sort of aisle, my entourage and I traipsed over to the Saturday morning Mount Pleasant Farmer’s market in all of our wedding finery to pick up a wedding bouquet for me.
While an admittedly fabulous activity for a photo shoot, it was truly a move borne out of my laziness and complete disinterest in “wedding flowers.” Only afterwards, when we saw the photos from our fabu photographer, Stephen Voss, did we realize what a sheer stroke of dumb luck we had.
Ok, so enough about the flowers. On to the guest book:
I didn’t really get the guestbook. I mean, I thought it was a fabu idea but I just didn’t have time or money or energy to put into making it something truly special for our wedding day. I didn’t know how to make it, where to put it, how to make it anything other than a book with some signatures in it.
What really led me to the sidewalk chalk idea was honestly the concrete in the backyard. I knew it would be there and I knew it would be ugly and in an epiphany in the children’s toy aisle of Target I thought it would be a good way to turn a handicap into an asset.
And it worked. It gave people something to do, it looked pretty, it made for great photos, and wouldn’t you know-it lasted 6 weeks after the wedding when DC plunged into a great long drought.
Next up: the Favors.
We could have been better. If I had been really on the ball, I would have ordered something made by one of our Ashoka Fellows or found something that would benefit a non-profit. In retrospect, not finding charity-benefiting favors or directing people to a charity to make a donation in lieu of wedding gifts (or favors) is really my only regret of the day.
Alas, Chris’ mom had literally hundreds of double happiness bags from China laying around (I mean, everyone does, right?) so we threw in some almonds that she brought back from Jordan (ohhh the irony, real Jordanian almonds at our really un-traditional wedding) and a lottery ticket just for fun:
And of course, because it was the Fourth of July, sparklers were in order:
And they were a really good time:
The last detail? My personal favorite.
The “Wedding Panda Toss”
I liked the idea of a bouquet toss for the sheer athleticism and fun but didn’t like the havoc the tradition seems to wreak on emotional women and previously stable relationships. So instead, Chris and I decided to do a wedding panda toss, in honor of our upcoming move to Chengdu. The prize for the catcher of the panda: a trip to the Panda Reserve outside Chengdu for anyone crazy enough to come visit us in our new digs in China.
My sister-in-law caught one Panda (very fittingly I might add since she is definitely coming to visit) and our friend Alexis caught the other. (We got 2 pandas to better everyone’s odds)
Getting the panda bear was one of my favorite moments of our whole wedding weekend. With all of the prep and nonsense and family around us, Chris and I hadn’t had any time to ourselves. So the morning before the wedding, we took a long walk through the Smithsonian Zoo here in DC to buy a stuffed panda from the gift shop. Walking through the zoo was one of our first dates and its a walk we’ve done dozens of times since, usually stopping for a coffee and a croissant at Open City on the way. Its one of our favorite walks what with the crazy sea of humanity that comes through the zoo every spring, summer and fall and the morning before our wedding was bright and sunny and perfect for it.
After we picked up our panda and got our coffee, we crossed the street into Rock Creek Park to talk about the ceremony which had remained pretty much unplanned (much to our family’s amusement and anxiety) until that moment.
It was there, sitting on the grass with an ice coffee in my hand and a stuffed panda bear in my lap that I heard Chris say the wedding vows he had spent weeks writing for me.
I can’t explain that moment except to say that I cried happy, happy tears. So rarely in real life have I heard words as perfect and meaningful and honest as the ones he said to me.
Our ceremony the next day was wonderful as was our legal ceremony in a courthouse a few weeks earlier, but I think that real moment of forever and ever and ever commitment came sitting in the grass that morning at Rock Creek Park