10 June 2010

Equinox Love: Goin' to the Courthouse and We're...

Gonna get married??

After leaving dinner with our families Monday evening, Mr. Bear Cub and I got the opportunity to spend some time alone, strolling the streets of downtown Portland.  This was such a welcomed breath of fresh air!  We talked for a little while about the days to come - last minute plans, tactics for avoiding stress - and then Mr. BC asked me the question.

"Let's get married!"

"Umm... OK dude.  Sounds fantastic.  How does Sunday work for you?"

"No, let's get married tomorrow."

We had planned to go to the courthouse the following morning (Tuesday) to get our marriage license.  My dear fiancé was suggesting we get the license and sign it at the same time!

This caught me a little off guard.  I mean, sure, of course we'd be getting married - what difference would a couple of days make in the long run?  The real concern was making sure our marriage would be legal before we left the country after our wedding.  We'd planned on leaving for our honeymoon the day after the wedding, and flying back to Chile two weeks after the wedding - what if we couldn't get the documents finalized before we left the country??

No matter when we signed the documents, our "wedding" would still be the one we had planned for so long.  Our real wedding - the date we celebrate for anniversaries, the one we share with family and friends, the one that links us in our minds and hearts - would be the celebration on Sunday.

I must remind you - we had done NO research at all on courthouse weddings!  We were blindly assuming at this point that you could show up, sign a document, and be done with it.

We decided we'd hedge our bets with the courthouse - if we could sign the documents Tuesday morning, great!  We'd be married!  No worries for legality later!  If not - oh well!  We'd be getting married anyways come Sunday!

This was all so EXCITING!  We might be husband and wife (technically) the next morning!  A courthouse wedding!  I'm not much for crowds anyways, plus Mrs. Mary Jane's courthouse wedding was so incredibly beautiful.  You know what this means?


I heart you, jcrew!

I had already bought this dress - the JCrew linen-silk rosette tussah - thinking it might be nice for a reception back-up dress.  All you short-dress ladies out there: this dress is SO beautiful!  And it has pockets!

So, Tuesday morning Mr. Bear Cub and I dressed in our nicest "we might be getting married" clothes, and hopped on over to the Multnomah County Courthouse.


Even though the Portland Courthouse is downtown and surrounded by other buildings, I was still quite impressed with it.  Plus, Portland has trees everywhere downtown - even at the courthouse, you feel like you're in a park!

Inside the courthouse, we got to the task at hand - get those documents!

You get your marriage license in the tax collection office.  Oh tax collection room, you're so romantic!

Aaaaand... we got our marriage license documents.  And obligatory pictures in front of the courthouse.

Aren't we cute?  Young and in love!

As for getting the license signed, apparently you're supposed to plan ahead for that one.  When we asked if we could have a judge formalize our marriage that day, the lady behind the counter informed us that they were booked solid until the following month!  Yikes!  So much for romantic spontaneity.

At least we got our marriage license taken care of!  And I got an excuse to wear my short wedding dress!

Even though we had a walk-down-the-aisle-with-family-and-friends wedding, I still love the idea of courthouse weddings - they're so romantic and intimate!  Have you and your future intended ever thought about getting legally married before the wedding day?

Catch up on the tale!
Equinox Love: New Beginnings
Equinox Love: Through Our Friends’ Eyes
Equinox Love: Reticence
Equinox Love: The Tipping Point
Equinox Love: Preparations Before the Family Storm
Equinox Love: Meet the Parents!

01 June 2010

Equinox Love: Meet The Parents!

Less than a week before the wedding, our parents had yet to meet!  This, I think, is among the strangest things about adulthood - the stark realization that your parents have yet to even meet those who will become deeply entwined with your future.  Your fiancé's parents - they will be your parents.  And your parents, the people who have guided you, molded you, counseled you, bathed you - they will be his.  For me, this truly solidifies the notion that you and your fiancé are really, and finally, becoming a family.

So naturally, I was a little anxious about the first meeting.  I mean, our parents made us, and we like each other - so they must like each other, right?  (Sorry, Juliet.)  Even though Mr. Bear Cub and I are astronomers, we're lucky not to be so star-crossed. ;)

Amidst the mayhem of preparations, my parents (Momma Bear & Papa Bear) and siblings (Sis Bear Cub & Bro Bear Cub) flew into Portland from Oklahoma Monday afternoon.  Mr. Bear Cub's mom and two sisters also flew in from Wyoming that day.  And then Mr. BC's step-grandma (his step-mom's mom, and also our officiant) trained in.

We decided that a good common ground would be dinner at a restaurant - this was such a good idea.  We made reservations at a nice sushi place in the Pearl District (agadashi tofu OMNOM), and everyone trickled in around the same time.

And you know what?  The "meeting of the families" went fine.  I think I was anxious because as much as I love my family, they're weird.  For that matter, everyone's family is weird - in their own way, of course. :-p  I have this theory that the magnitude of familial eccentricities is directly proportional to the density of family members present (ie - my whole nuclear family + his whole nuclear family = A-bomb of eccentricities??).  Then throw more family (and friends) into the mix, and you might as well call it a "Manhattan Project Wedding".  ;)  I kid!

The dinner conversation was going smoothly for a long while (ie, everyone was talking about how awesome Mr. BC & I are ;) ), and then someone (I can't remember who) added the enriched uranium to the noun and verb soup: church and/or politics.

If Mr. BC and I are star-crossed in any way, it's that his family is staunchly progressive democratic (Oregon, hello!) and deist, and mine is values-voter conservative (straight outa Oklahoma!) and very Catholic.  Being the progressive humanist that I am, I've learned to choose my battles over church and politics very wisely.  Read: AT ALL COSTS, don't add this reactive substance at the first meeting!  (Subsequent tests are at your own discretion ;) ).

I think it was something about single-payer health care.  Someone on the left (literally - his family was sitting to the left of us) said something like "Why don't we have single-payer health care already?  It makes so much sense!"

I saw my dad (sitting, ironically, just to the right of Mr. BC's dad) suck in a long wind of air, firmly place both palms on the tabletop, and then retort with, "And raising taxes to pay for it makes sense? [grmblgrmbl]..." (this is largely paraphrased, by the way!)

Mr. Bear Cub and I froze, our chopsticks mid-air, sashimi halfway to our previously blitheful mouths.

There was some sshhh-ing on the left of the previously unknowing provocateur, the world [for us] stood still for a few seconds longer, and then it all passed.  Sashimi hit mouths, wedding chatter continued, and atomic warfare was averted!

All in all, it was a pretty successful first meeting for our families!  (Just add sushi!)

How was your Meet The Parents experience?

Catch up on the tale!
Equinox Love: New Beginnings
Equinox Love: Through Our Friends’ Eyes
Equinox Love: Reticence
Equinox Love: The Tipping Point
Equinox Love: Preparations Before the Family Storm

29 May 2010

Equinox Love: Preparations Before the Family Storm

As you noticed in my last post, we had just a couple of things to take care of the week before the wedding!  We had so many things we wanted to do, let alone the things we needed to take care of.

For example, we really really missed being in the states and doing normal US-things.  So, on our list of "funbligations" (obligations that are just too dang fun to pass up!) were things like run in Forest Park, have coffee at St. Honoré Bakery, eat breakfast at the Screen Door (omg you need to go there - soul food heaven!), and take a stroll through REI for old time's sake.  I know this might sound lame.  It's amazing the little things you miss about your home country!

Anyways, we had a tight schedule in which our Portland gallivanting could also count as wedding prep - my family was flying into town on Tuesday, and that's when the prep would kick into over drive.

Saturday morning was a dream.  The first thing we did was run 5 miles in Forest Park.  Those were the easiest 5 miles I've ever run in my life - everything was so beautiful!  (Maybe the euphoria over getting married was kicking in?)

not me - but just as good!
Forest Park is right next to the darn cutest little neighborhood ever - what I lovingly refer to as the alphabet district.  All the streets run in alphabetical order, and they have the same names as characters from the Simpson's (these were actually the inspiration for the characters' names!).  Just blocks from the end of the trail is the St. Honoré Boulangerie - oh-so-cute, and delish coffee and pastries to boot!  (Maybe I should do a Honeymoon In My Hometown for Portland already?)  Sipping coffee after a run in the woods was absolutely divine.

After coffee and a shower, we bopped over to the other side of Portland to rehearse with our band, Terracoustic - I'll save those deets for the reception, though. ;)

We truly got derailed when, on Sunday, we tried to fit a 12 mile run in before visiting our venue for the final consultation (2.5 hours away!).  The plan was to run most of the Sauvie Island Foot Traffic Flat course (a protected 12 mile route), then stop by the flower farm to see what would be in bloom for our wedding, pick up lavender bouquets on the island, and top the day off with our visit to Westwind.

 Sauvie Island is located right in Portland and, lucky for me and my penchant for lavender, it has a bountious lavender farm on it!

I thought that 12 miles would be a piece of cake by this point.  We'd already been running up to 18 miles, anyways!  Unfortunately, it wasn't so easy.  Jetlag does a number on your ability to run.  We were sluggish the entire run.  I began to think we couldn't run the marathon ("Would this be a metaphor for our marriage??"  I thought, defeated, as I gulped down air).  I even had to stop at mile 11 to cry on Mr. Bear Cub's shoulder.  I couldn't understand what was so difficult about this run.  We'd already come so far, we'd already set everything up like clockwork.

By the time we finished our run, it was way too late to drive out to Westwind.  We called the staff, and rescheduled for Tuesday, hopeful we'd still be able to get everything taken care of in time.

How did you juggle your last-minute preparations?  Were you able to maintain your sanity, or did you have to sacrifice anything along the way?

Catch up on the tale!
Equinox Love: New Beginnings
Equinox Love: Through Our Friends’ Eyes
Equinox Love: Reticence
Equinox Love: The Tipping Point

25 May 2010

Equinox Love: The Tipping Point

Incidentally, while I was getting ready to leave Chile for our month in the states of wedding bliss, I was also in the middle of reading Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point.  This is a fascinating book, very light-hearted yet genuine (perfect for the week before the wedding!).  Mr. Gladwell posits that there is a "moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point" in which little things that previously seemed insignificant prove to make a big difference (as states the byline). 

Mr. Gladwell's first example has to do with the curious rise in popularity of hush puppies (holy cow are they popular in Chile).  As I was sitting in the La Serena airport, packed and ready to board my plane to weddingland, it became evident that I, too, was approaching a tipping point in our voyage.

Our flight was canceled.


The plane that was supposed to take me and my loverboy (that's Mr. Bear Cub ;) ) to Santiago, to catch a 9pm flight to Dallas, to catch an 8am flight to Portland, had, upon landing at my airport in La Serena, sucked a bird into one of its engines.  My early afternoon flight was permanently grounded, and most passengers were being ticketed for a connecting flight the following day.

Sad Bear Cub.

stuck at the airport with my irony

For most travelers, this is an unwelcome inconvenience.  To a bride a week before her wedding, this is catastrophe.  We had carefully planned to arrive on Friday a week before the wedding.  This would leave us with a very finite amount of time in which to move mountains.  As it was, every single day before the wedding was already chock full of tasks - arriving a day late would derail my sanity and make it nearly impossible to finish important things like baking the wedding cake.

No joke - we were packed tight:
Friday (arrive midday, tired)
-- final dress alterations (hadn't worn let alone seen my dress for a full year)
-- 5 mile training run (remember that marathon we'd been prepping for?)
-- Mail my engagement ring to the wedding ring maker for final adjustments (he lives on the east coast!)
-- 15 mile training run
-- visit flower farm, make final arrangements for u-pick flowers
-- pick up lavender bushels
-- get mason jars
-- organize decoration supplies to go to Camp Westwind
-- visit Westwind (2 hour drive away), meet with camp director and head chef
-- 6 mile training run
-- get a makeup trial, buy some makeup
-- get a dang haircut already
-- buy some lingerie!
-- meet and rehearse with our band
-- buy plants from a nursery for special extra part to ceremony
(My family flew into Portland around this time.  As lovely as they are, this starts to add other important duties to the list, such as spending precious time with them ;) ).
-- 8 mile training run
-- get the wine (across town)
-- arrange for the beer (kegs) to be picked up
-- kill fires
-- eat sushi (this one's important)
-- 5 mile training run
-- bake wedding cakes with my maid of honor, sister, and mother all day (get supplies in advance)
-- must have been busy, because it's a total BLANK
-- something resembling a bachelorette/bachelor party in the evening
-- Drive to Westwind!
-- Prep for the wedding!
-- (12 mile run.  can you believe the insanity?)
-- Wedding!!!
-- get the heck outa dodge.

... I was a bit stressed.  Mr. Bear Cub suggested we try to calm down in the airport by practicing our wedding dance.  When we told one of the gate agents that we were traveling to get married, the skies parted (less birds for air strikes), and they did everything in their power to help us get to the states by the following morning.  There was a late flight that evening, set to arrive in Santiago at 8:50pm.  Our original flight was set to leave Santiago at 9pm.  They told us we could take this late flight, and chance making our connection.

We answered with an emphatic "SI!!"

They checked our bags all the way to Portland (normally you have to re-check your bags upon arrival to the states - this would also be a tight connection), and arranged for a gate agent to escort us to our connection.

We just made it.  They had put us in the first row of the plane, and as soon as the door to the plane was opened, a gate agent whisked us through all sorts of back hallways in the Santiago airport to our connecting gate.  We were literally running across the airport, movie-like, giddy smiles at our grand fortune plastered across our faces.

And we made our connection.

We were routed a little differently - through Miami - but we arrived in Portland only 6 hours late.

Blissful in our good fortune (I even convinced the rental car company to rent us a Prius for the price of a Chevy Aveo!  Wedding card score!), we regrouped to tackle the mountain of wedding tasks for the following week.

24 May 2010

Equinox Love: Reticence

Hmm...  over three months since my last post.  I haven't really been on my blogging game, have I?  I've wanted so dearly to share with you my wedding.  I've composed entire recap posts in my head - the good, the quirky, the unmatched love.  But every time I spin the story in my mind's eye, I find myself saddened by the handful of ways in which my wedding embodied anything but love.  The painful memories burn in spite of the overwhelming adoration.

But I have to be real.  I could gloss over our wedding with just the pictures, but then where would the soul be?  Even the best wedding pictures can only aspire to capture the ecstatic and schizophrenic thoughts coursing through the minds of the bride and groom on the day of their wedding.

To wit:  I cried on the morning of our wedding day.  Not because I was overcome by the sight of my gown.  Not because my groom sent me words of love.  I cried on the morning of our wedding day because the previously misplaced decorative lighting had just been found.  LIGHTING.  I had wanted to create a perfect mood for our wedding dinner, but in its place I had fostered a sour mood over misplaced light bulbs.  I cried because I was so immensely grateful that someone came to my rescue, that someone understood my need for... light bulbs.

I am very embarrassed that I let myself care so much about something so insignificant.  Or rather, I wish I could reconcile within myself a personal battle.  I am a highly sensitive person, and throughout my life I have attempted to please everyone before myself.  For my wedding, I wanted (just once) for the people around me to show me they were trying to understand me and my wishes and intents as I have attempted to do for them in the past.

This is difficult territory to tread.  On one side of the battlefront, I wish I had had help and emotional support in certain instances from specific people.  On the other, I feel ashamed for even thinking these ungrateful thoughts.  We already had so much help in building our wedding day - it wouldn't have come to fruition without the hard work of our friends and family.

And yet, there's a strangely sour tone to my memory of our wedding.  I could have handled things better, taken over more tasks myself (could I?), I could have been more magnanimous in the face of my social anxiety (maybe?), ... I could have taken more deep breaths.

When it comes down to it, your wedding is the embodiment of your life and all the characters in it (even some you didn't know were in it!).  You can try to rebuild old bridges among family members, and you can try to fully embrace your growing family of friends.  You must, however, take these few days in your life in stride.  They are only a few steps (however large) in the journey that is your joined life with your husband.  Own these days for all they are, the good and the bad, but don't let them decide ad infinitum your life's path - this you have the power to continuously sculpt, with your new partner by your side.

My point in all this is that I've been reticent to post about our wedding.  I would be lying to myself, and I'd be lying to you if I said that everything went swimmingly.  Everything didn't go swimmingly, mostly because I was stretched immeasurably thin.

Despite this reticence, our wedding was irreplaceable - I deeply cherish my memories.  The lows, however infrequent yet painful upon hindsight, cast the highs in euphoric relief.

02 February 2010

Equinox Love: Through Our Friends' Eyes

I haven't really told you much at all about our photographers thus far.  That's a shame - they're first friends, second fabulous photographers.

Mr. Bear Cub and I asked my friends from college to photograph our wedding.  I know this doesn't work for everyone (they aren't exactly "Uncle Bob" with a new DSLR & kit lens), but for us it worked out just right.

In college (at USC) I was a member of the climbing club.  Los Angeles is a great place for rock climbing!  There's Point Dume (on the beach!), Malibu Creek State Park (Planet of the Apes, anyone?), Echo Cliffs, & so many more awesome places it'd be silly for me to list them all.  Long story short, I had a blast with my fellow climbers!  One of my friends in the climbing club, Susánica Tam, was getting serious about photojournalism - she took her camera everywhere!  Susánica especially liked to capture action shots of us climbing in ridiculously gorgeous places, like Owens River Gorge and Joshua Tree.  After graduation, she became a sports photographer, especially for rock climbing.

Did I tell you I nearly completed a double major in French in college?  (It boiled down to a semester studying astronomy in Chile or a semester studying in France!)  I got to know Jonathan Moore in several of my upper-division French classes (he was also in the climbing club with me & Susánica).  By the time we graduated, I knew he was actively pursuing a career in sports photography.

When Mr. Bear Cub and I started planning our wedding, I began to see how beautiful wedding photography could be.  It's kind of redic - you're basically paying a PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER to make you into a model and paparazzi-shoot the entire day.  Um... heck yes I want to be a model.  Who doesn't?  Make me perty!

But ho-lee cow professional wedding photography is expensy!  The Bear Cubs' salmon stock isn't all that bountiful - Mr. BC said we didn't need professional photography.  He said we could do fine with just our friends' pics.

haha!  srsly??

Ok, deal Mr. Party Pooper.  I'll ask our friends to shoot our wedding. ;)

Luckily, when I asked Susánica if she would be interested in photographing our wedding, she told me she was transitioning from sports photography to wedding photography, and she'd love to shoot our wedding!  And when she suggested Jonathan come along as a second shooter, I knew we'd made the right choice.  Both Jonathan and Susánica are very talented sports photographers & photojournalists - it was obvious that their style of shooting would translate well to wedding photography!

Susánica Tam and Jonathan Moore are both working very hard to grow their wedding photography businesses - hopefully you'll see through their photos the talent and hard work I saw when I asked them to shoot our wedding.

A few months before our wedding, a little dessert named Mrs. Cherry Pie asked if she could come to my wedding with her husband Mr. Cherry Pie.  Mrs. Cherry Pie was totally one bee blogger I followed religiously - I was thrilled to have her come to our wedding!  Plus, she's the genius behind Persimmon Images wedding photography.  I knew she was bringing her camera, but I didn't realize she was going to take so many wonderful pictures!  Plus (even though I was super busy!) I had a great time getting to know her more - she's very natural behind a camera, and makes you feel like your best friend in 2 seconds!

I wanted to take the time to tell all of you about our photographers a little more, because they were so much more than photographers.  They were our friends first, and awesome photographers second.  I never felt uncomfortable in front of the lens, because I was already comfortable with the dude (or dudette!) behind the lens.  We cracked jokes, shared stories, commiserated together about crazy last-minute wedding crap, and they took care of me.

And, they took some pretty bad-ass pics of our wedding.

How did you choose your wedding photographer?

30 January 2010

Equinox Love: New Beginnings

Hi!  Let me introduce myself.  My name is Mrs. Bear Cub, and once upon a time, I blogged (relatively) consistently for this super-rad wedding site called Weddingbee.

No me recuerdes??  :)

It's ok, I'll catch you up!  I live in Chile (Ms. Poodle's home country!) with Mr. Bear Cub.  We met in New Mexico, got engaged in Thailand, and decided to marry in Mr. Bear Cub's home state of Oregon, at a summer camp.  I had some crazy DIY plans along the way.  And an even crazier plan to run a marathon with Mr. Bear Cub a week after our wedding!

How did it all pan out?  It was crazy, wild, emotional, torrentuous, healing, but most importantly, perfect in every way for us.  And although our wedding day was certainly and undeniably one of the happiest moments of my life, I'm very glad it's over.  It's just a day, and now we get to cherish our memories, while building our future together.

Before I jump into the recaps, I have a little slideshow to show you that one of our wedding photographers made for us.  I almost (almost) don't need any other token from our wedding; this selection of images completely encompasses the feeling of our wedding weekend - community.

When I think about the events that happened over the weekend of our wedding, the thing that makes me cry tears of happiness (every time!) is thinking about the incredible effort and support provided by our guests.  Our guests were much much more than guests.  As our friends, our family, our loved ones, they made up a community of love surrounding our wedding.

Every time I see a picture of our friends and family helping us create our wedding day, I cry tears of happiness.  I can safely say that every single person in our wedding community truly made our wedding day happen.  They helped create the event, just as they helped create us through all their previous years of support and love.

I can't wait to share with you how everyone helped make our wedding day happen.  Hopefully I can make you feel like you were there with me, too.  I sure wish you could have been. :)