30 June 2009

Swizzle Sticks!

You know how when you spend a lot of time with one person, you kind of create your own language? Mr. Bear Cub and I spend a lot of time together. We live together, we walk to work together, our offices are next door to each other, we shop for food together, go to spanish class together, run together, eat (almost) every meal together... you get the picture. We're what happens when you move someplace new (and very different) together - you spend buttloads of time with just that person.

For us, it works out pretty well. We're both kind of freaks.

Remember this picture?

Yup. Let's just say we're really lucky we found each other.

It should come as no surprise to you then that our save-the-dates are any less "unique". Way back in February (when I had my head on straight and thought it was a good idea to get the STDs in the mail fast!), I cooked this little guy up in picnik:

This picture was from our trip to Thailand - we took it the day we got engaged! Unfortunately, I just couldn't get over how shiny my butt was:

So I sat on the STDs for a little while (no pun intended ;) ).

Then we met Kyle Hepp, and suddenly we had awesome pics from which to make a better STD! And so I now present you with our (very belated) save the date postcard.

We went for something straight-forward for the reverse of the card (with info on our awesome FREE wedding website). For the front of the card, I decided our guests should probably get a sneak peak of who we really are:

Mr. Bear Cub - eyes unmistakeably closed in the photo, per normal.
Miss Bear Cub - a giggling mess staring at my goofy guy.

Oh yeah, and swizzle sticks. We have a feeling only 1% of our guests will understand what "swizzle sticks" means. "Swizzle sticks" means "cool" just as "fiddle sticks" means "bummer". Pretty obvious, no? I thought so. Swizz!

Our children are going to have an interesting array of vocabulary when they enter grade school.

Are you introducing your guests to some of you & your fiancé's quirks before the wedding? Do you say swizzle sticks? It's pretty much the swizziest thing ever! ;)

Dress me up!


I'm a table! Just your regular 8 by 3 foot wood table with wood benches. Normally cute little kiddies put their tushies on my benches and joke and giggle while they eat on me. But sometimes... sometimes I get to go wild! Ladies who can't stop smiling dress me up in new cloths and crown me with beautifully fragrant flowers. I wonder what I'll wear for the next happy sappy lady!


Miss Bear Cub's wedding table

Hive, I need you help. I've got some big design shoes to fill, and some important tables I can't disappoint. I'm stuck on how to dress up the tables for our reception!

There are 18 tables with 32 benches. They're rectangular - 8 by 3 foot - and wooden. The benches look pretty awesome on their own; they look natural and rustic (not painted white on top). I'm worried, however, that the table itself needs a little sumthin-sumthin.

I know I signed myself up for a summer camp wedding, but I just can't get over how... practical these tables look. Don't they look like the perfect thing to use in an arts & crafts room?? The benches are beautiful - they look like they were split from a tree! But the roughly painted white top to the tables is just killing me. I'm almost set on how I want the tables to look, but I'm torn between getting linens or not.

Have you heard of Sunday Suppers blog? Their tablescapes (along with their dinners!) are absolutely delicious:

This is the type of reception decor that inspires me - that of a homey dinner party. No airs to put on, just good fantastic food, and great friends.

Burlap table runners are a must, too. I love how it gives the setting more texture and an organic feel. (Plus it would be pretty sweet to take a walk in a field of lavender after our wedding. What a fairytale to stroll in a field of lavender as magical as that one!)

Unfortunately, the tables I have to work with aren't as presentable as the beautifully rustic ones above. That dang unfinished white surface just mungs everything up. Granted, I haven't seen these tables in person. For all I know, they could be fabulous. In the picture, though, they don't look so fab. And I'd rather plan for the worst, expecting the best.

So another option is to buy or rent tablecloths:

That opens a whole new can of worms. Should I get white or ivory? Knee- or floor-length? Buy or rent? Should I wait until I know how many people are coming until I decide how many tables I'll outfit? Maybe I won't even need to buy/rent 18 tablecloths!

Also, maybe I'm crazy and I won't even need tablecloths! Maybe the tables will look FINE with just burlap tablerunners. They look so beautiful sans cloth in the other tablescapes!

As for the centerpieces, I think we'll keep it simple, but I'll go into that more later. But there will be mason jars full of flowers/veggies. That last tablescape has convinced me!

So, hive, what do you think is the best way to dress up these tables in a rustic, homey way? Keep in mind I'm planning all of this from out of the country, so it's really quite hard to coordinate most things. If you have a source for cheap burlap table runners or table linens, I'm dying to hear it!

26 June 2009

las lecturas para el alma

Mr. Bear Cub and I both have a deep appreciation for poetry. When we were getting to know each other three years ago, he chose to learn more about me by looking in my bookcase. I had recently acquired a book of love poems by Pablo Neruda. Amidst our tiny circle of friends in graduate school, Mr. Bear Cub was surprised to find another person who even knew of Neruda!

I'm sure many of you already know of this poet - his words are commonly found in wedding ceremonies these days - but for those who don't, allow me to briefly introduce you to one of the most famous and beloved writers of Chile.

Pablo Neruda was born in 1904 in a small town a few hundred kilometers south of Santiago. His name is actually a pen-name inspired by the Czech poet Jan Neruda, mostly because his father wanted him to follow a more "practical" profession. This later became his legal name when he started publishing his works.

Neruda studied French in college at the Universidad de Chile (one of the most prestigious universities in the country), and began his career as a writer and poet with his book Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair. Most of the poems in this book are highly erotic, but several find their way into wedding ceremonies!

He later became a diplomat to many countries including France, Spain, and several Indonesian countries (where he met his first wife). While in Spain, he witnessed the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War. This time in his life marked the beginning of his political activism. Among many things, he became a close ally with Salvador Allende (the first democratically elected socialist head of state - 1970).

In late 1973, Neruda's health was failing from cancer. Augusto Pinochet led a military coup, immediately instating himself as a dictator (this lasted for several decades). A few weeks after the coup, Neruda died of heart failure. The entire country of Chile mourned his death - the massive amounts of people taking to the streets for his funeral is seen as the first protest against the new regime (and the last for 20 years).

Among all things political, Neruda was a lover of women (but this is obvious from his poetry ;) ). With his third wife, he built three eclectic homes - one in Santiago, one in Valparaíso, and one in Isla Negra.

This past weekend Mr. Bear Cub and I visited his home in Santiago. He named it "La Chascona", and built it in honor of his lover, Matilde Urrutia.

This house is very unique - he was inspired to build it in the famous Barrio Bellavista (the indie/artist neighborhood) because he heard a trickle of water! He later wrote a poem about how the water around his new home flowed like words to him.

My favorite part of his house was in the master bedroom. On the mantle sat two small figurines - a bride and a groom, attached with a ribbon at the neck. Even Matilde and Pablo cherished the cake topper from their wedding! :)

He also had a bar that only he was allowed behind:

We couldn't get over how much Mr. Bear Cub's dad is like Neruda!! We've been thinking recently about what readings to include in our ceremony, and who should read them. Naturally, we want to include a Neruda poem in our ceremony. We will probably ask FIL Bear Cub to read this poem. He's a man who loves reading (and writing) poetry, is enamored with latin culture, and would certainly man his own eclectic bar if given the opportunity!

Even better - FIL Bear Cub loooooves to wax the philosophical only in spanish after he's had a choice wine. We'll likely ask him to read the Neruda poem in spanish, while another person recites the english version.

We're totally digging this nod to our Chilean home, but we don't know which Neruda poem we should include in our ceremony! There are so many wonderful Neruda poems, we don't know where to start!

So, hive, what's your favorite Neruda poem about love? Do you know of any Neruda poems that would be fitting for a wedding ceremony?

24 June 2009

the time has come, my little friends, to talk of other things

I've been thinking a lot recently about "The Wedding". Not the marriage - we're firm of mind and heart that we want to spend our lives together. I'm talking about the party.

I'm talking about the 100+ guest list, the menu that takes months to perfect, and all the little details that (don't kid yourself) no one really notices. Except you. (And, of course, if it matters to you, then that's what's really important!)

I've been thinking a lot recently about why we, as a society, feel the urge to proclaim our marriage as solidified with a (oftentimes opulent) party, with as many people we've met in presence. At times, it feels like "The Wedding" is more of an expectation of society than a wish.

At about two and a half months to go - and a lot still on my plate - I've been mulling over a few "what ifs". What if we decided to elope? Would that really be "so bad"? We'd still have an intimate ceremony, we'd still end up married, and we'd still have cake (there will always be cake!).

Our extended family might be a little upset. But honestly - I think they'd get over it. I come from a huge extended family that's scattered all over the US. I rarely see them anymore! I'm very happy to live my life with my future husband. Even though my family is huge, I've always felt the emotional barrier that comes with physical distance. Leading my life with Mr. Bearcub is one of the realest expressions of "family" I've ever felt.

When we began forming ideas for aspects of our wedding last year, I told Mr. Bearcub that I wanted a small wedding. I wanted no more than 50 people. total. (Remember, there are over 70 people in my family, alone!) I wanted most of our guests to be our friends, and I wanted for everyone that was present to really want to be there. It makes me personally sad when people show up to a wedding only because they thought they "had" to. I wanted none of that nonsense.

The reality of families, though, is that if you chose to publicly announce your marriage to a small circle of people, the larger circle of people has to be included.

The reality of society, I think, is that contributing members to society wish for the big changes in their lives to be publicly recognized. In a crazy, very human way, it makes the rite of passage more tangible.

For those who choose to elope, choose courthouse weddings, small gatherings, and the like - believe me when I say that your wedding is no less important than those who invite 1000 people to their wedding. Your wedding is equally important, and equally special.

I'm only commenting on the apparent societal impetus to present one's marriage with a large party. I recognize that, while this seems crazy to me personally, I feel like a party with a ceremony and dinner and dancing and all my friends and close family would make us more married. That which is already affirmed in our hearts would be reflected in the minds of our peers.

I'm slightly very overwhelmed at the amount of planning that still needs to be done. We could elope, and we would be happy. But really, we want to have our wedding. With all the details and friends and family and (of course) cake.

What's your perspective on the societal "expectation" to throw a large party for your wedding?

17 June 2009


omg it's been a full MONTH since I last posted!
I'm almost caught up at weddingbee, so the new posts are on their way! :)