27 August 2009

Lavender, Poppies, Treasure Maps, and Viking Ninjas

Our invites were sent out almost a full month ago, but I only got to see them in real life for the first time a little over a week ago!  While I was in California for my MOH's wedding, I had my mom mail me my own copy of our wedding invite.  Ladies, it's a wonderful thing to hold your wedding invitation in your hands.

I had dreamed up the idea for our invitations almost 6 months ago!  I knew I wanted the prevailing theme to be fields of lavender and poppies (you could say I have a thing for France), I wanted real pressed lavender, I wanted seed paper, and I wanted it to all be bound up nice & sweet in a little book.

Because I was a bit... particular in what I wanted, I knew the process was going to take a little bit of time, especially long-distance from Chile.  Truthfully, making the invitations myself had been one of the things I desperately wanted to do.  I wanted to press the flowers myself, I wanted to learn how to screen-print, and I wanted to try my hand at design.  At some point I came to the realization that wouldn't be possible from South America - I couldn't get the supplies in time, I didn't have the equipment (or the resources) to learn new skills, and both US and Chilean customs are a little iffy on importing biological products.

With all this on my mind, I turned to a designer in Eugene, OR who's still fairly new in the invitation making & letterpress business.  Since I would no longer be supporting local artists in Chile with my invite project, I wanted to support artists local to the Portland/Eugene area.  Kristin Walker of Twin Ravens Press was very accommodating to both my budget, design wishes, and eco-conscious wishes.  I wasn't very familiar with contracting the design and printing of invitations for a wedding (who is, before they get engaged??), and there are a lot of things I wish someone had told me about the process beforehand.  I'll give you guys a list of the tips & tricks I learned along the way in a future post, including the steps in the design of the invite!

We had Kristin letterpress a single lavender sprig with our return address on the flap of our Waste-Not cream envelopes.
When you open the envelope you see that someone's sent you a whole BOOK of an invitation! :)
The book is bound in hand-made Nepalese Lotka paper - 100% tree-free and it feels almost like leather!  Kristin found a local supplier of lavender for the pressed flower on the front of the book.
The first page of our book features a poem we wrote together specifically for our wedding...
 Our ideal of love is sitting together in a meadow,
the last rays of daylight fading beyond the horizon
as we look into each others eyes
 -- and feel in one moment --
the soft breeze of the summer wind
 -- and the next --
the first prick of the coming autumn,
causing us to nestle together for a little extra warmth.
 We wanted this poem to help our guests to feel the emotion in the changing of the seasons with our nuptials - since our wedding will be 2 days before the equinox, the astronomical equality and changing of the seasons are going to play a significant role in our ceremony.
The poem is immediately followed by the formal invitation:

I had Kristin blind-emboss some lavender sprigs to give the design a more three-dimensional feel - as if you're looking close up at some lavender and poppies, but there's more lavender in the distance. 
The next three pages of our invitation are three individual maps - one of Camp Westwind, one of northwest Oregon, and one of Portland.  Luckily, Mr. Bear Cub loved the idea of having a map made for our wedding!  Crystal Kluge designed all three maps, and made the calligraphy for the poem and our names on the main invite.  Crystal's maps and calligraphy are among the most unique I've seen in my 15 (!!) months of being an engaged woman.  Originally we weren't interested in calligraphy at all (it seemed a bit too froofy for us), but we (I) adored her quirky cute penmanship.
Plus her maps are exquisite.  When she sent us the mock-up for this map, we originally had our wedding date as "09.20.2009".  Then I noticed that if we arranged it the European (and South American... basically non-US) way, it would appear as "20.09.2009"!  I thought that was just so cool. :)  What an easy way to remember our anniversary!  Our maps truly deserve a post of their own; we're having Crystal watercolor a set of the maps that we'll frame for our home.

The final page of our book-invite is a sweet request to RSVP via our webpage.  We live in Chile, my parents live in Oklahoma, and even though Mr. Bear Cub's dad lives in Portland, we didn't want to deal with the stress of lost RSVPs long distance.  AND we get to cut down on extraneous paper and envelopes and stamps and such! 

Mr. Bear Cub's favorite part of our entire invitation can best be described as the "hallmark crown on the back".  You know how all Hallmark cards have that little crown on the back of them?  Mr. BC wanted to include his favorite fictional character, a viking-ninja, on the back of our invitation.  I'm sure most of our guests didn't see this, but that's ok - little dude is pretty stealthy.
What's a viking-ninja, you ask?  Well... I can't really tell you!  Mr. BC has plans for our little viking-ninja friend in the future, so I can't spill the beans too much.  All I can tell you is that it's a little viking boy who found himself in Japan, and was befriended by ninjas...
Even though the process of making the invites took a lot longer than I thought it would, I'm really very pleased with them.  The day Kristin sent me pictures of the finished product, I burst into tears.  I had had a pretty rough day at work, I was really stressed about the wedding coming together, and there I had in front of me our finished invitations - something had finally come to fruition, and it was just what I had been envisioning.  

Mr. Bear Cub was also admittedly skeptical about having our invitations made - originally he wanted to just send emails to everyone.  While this would definitely be the most economical and ecological option, I really wanted to have a solid invitation to our wedding, I wanted something I could hold in my hands.  My mom framed my parent's wedding invitation; I remember looking at it as a kid, and thinking that she must have been so happy to send her invites to her family and friends for her wedding day.  

I now understand that feeling, and I can't wait to show my children our framed invitation one day.

26 August 2009

How To Adorn The Balcony...

Um... I'm the worst decision-maker ever. I still don't know what necklace I'm going to wear with my wedding dress!

Remember my wedding dress? Good.

I know this is obviously the most important part of the wedding, and why am I not spending more of my time on silly things like venue insurance and lighting, but you ladies like jewelry & style, right? Can't go wrong with the hive! :)

Here's the dish: I have a rather particular look I'm going for. Call it grandma-boho-chic, flapper-tastic, or waterfalls of pearls dripping from my nape. Call it whatever you want, but it looks kind of like this:
photo credit: Ashley Garmon, via OnceWed

More like the bride in the first pic, I love it when the pearls drape past one's balcony. It adds beautiful length to your torso - especially for Shorty McShortcakes like me!

Also very important is the neckline of the dress I'll be wearing. I love how the bride in the second & third pics layered her necklaces - it makes her look so carefree and rich with life! - but my dress isn't strapless. It definitely has "straps", not unlike the bride in the 1st pic (no peaksy, Mr. Bear Cub!!).

So here's my deal - I love the look of long, layered pearls, but I just don't know which gosh darn necklace to get! I've been poring over etsy for the past few days, and it's just getting worse.

I bought these necklaces a few months ago:

I love both of these necklaces - especially the non-white aspect - but I think the second necklace doesn't really come down past my balcony far enough (and it clasps behind the neck, it's not one super-huge necklace doubled up). BTW that dress I'm modeling the 2nd necklace with is NOT my wedding dress - just an example. But remember that my dress isn't strapless!! We must lengthen the torso, and draw attention to my balcony! ;)

all photos from etsy.com

I think the style I'm going for is called "lariat" - the necklace on the bottom right is most like what I'm looking for, but I'm not sure it'll ship in time (from asia!). I'd prefer real pearls, if possible, but this necklace has caught my eye:

... Layered, perhaps, with the two necklaces I already have. Maybe pearls strung on a long piece of ribbon would work...

If I'm to wear anything around my neck, my frame needs length. Then again, I could just forgo a necklace altogether...

Which of these necklaces would you pair with my wedding dress? Do you have any other necklace suggestions for me? How would you best achieve that grandma's pearls/boho-chic look?

21 August 2009

Finding A Song To Share With My Daddy

I'm not really a daddy's girl. When I need advice about life, I turn to my mother - she has truly been my rock growing up. To be painfully honest, I don't even really have much of a relationship with my dad. I love him, and he loves me, but we're two very different people, and we know it. Thankfully, the relationship that we do have is good - we respect each other, and when we do talk, we speak fondly to each other, and try to catch up on the other's life in any little way we can.

While I'm (sadly) not very close with my dad, I do wish to dance with him at my wedding. I try not to rock the boat too much with him, or be too demanding, so I told him I would dance with him to any song he wants (the proverbial apple has already fallen far enough from the tree).

I would have loved to have a song that was special to my dad and myself, like Mr. Bear Cub and his mother. I didn't really think it would be possible - we're so different, my dad and I.

Last night, he sent me this song. I nearly cried.

Turn Around, sung by The Kingston Trio

Where are you going, my little one, little one?
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you're two.
Turn around and you're four.
Turn around and you're a young girl going out of the door.

Turn around. Turn around.
Turn around and you're a young girl going out of the door.

Where are you going, my little one, little one?
Little dirndls and petticoats, where have you gone?
Turn around and you're tiny.
Turn around and you're grown.
Turn around and you're a young wife with babes of your own.

Turn around. Turn around.
Turn around and you're a young wife with babes of your own.

...Are your eyes still dry? Good, cause mine aren't!

Despite our differences, when I was a little girl, I was my daddy's little girl. I loved him very dearly - just as a little girl loves her father. Our dynamic has since changed quite a bit, but one of my fondest memories of my father is of when I was a little girl growing up in a small town outside of Los Angeles. We would fly kites together very often, and one day the kite I was flying blew into some brush deep behind our home. I was so upset - I couldn't fly my kite anymore with my dad! So I asked him to go and get it for me... and he said he would get it, for the price of a hug. I paid up, and we happily continued flying our kites together.

I know my dad loves me, even if he doesn't know quite how to express it now. He loves me as the little girl I once was to him, and I'll happily fill those shoes again for him on my wedding day.

Now as I'm trying to get this song for our reception, it's proving hard to find! I was able to find the above link on youtube, but this version - by The Kingston Trio - isn't available for download on iTunes nor Amazon. Could you help me find an .mp3 of this song? I don't mind paying the $1 download - I just can't find it anywhere.

What are you dancing to with your father, and how does it reflect your changing relationship with him?

Groomstyle & Dudestyle - Part 2

Mr. Bear Cub was the easy one to outfit. Typically, when someone's a groom, I guess what they do is send measurements to Men's Wearhouse for a tuxedo, and then pick it up a few days before the wedding, right? Well... Mr. BC isn't going to wear a tux, so having his dudes wear tuxes would be a little odd. ;)

If you recall what Mr. BC is going to wear, I think the groomsdudes would look nice in lighter brown sport coats like this:

source for above 3 photos: Vallentyne Photography

Not too light, and not too dark. That's what we're going for here. Oh, and "british khaki" slacks for a little accent. We've tossed around the idea of having the dudes wear vests, but Mr. BC isn't going to wear a vest, so it would probably look strange together!

Outfitting groomsdudes (from a bride's perspective) is a bit more challenging than asking your brideschicas to buy a dress. Girls like to shop. Girls like dresses. Boys don't like to shop. Boys don't particularly like to spend money when it's not necessary. I know I'm making some pretty big generalizations here, and they're not entirely true. However, for most guys, they could care less what they wear to the wedding, even as a groomsdude. My mission is to make it easy for them, and as cheap as possible for them.

Since a tux rental is usually around $100, and most bridesmaids spend between $100 and $150 on their dress, we're trying to keep the groomsmen attire to between $100 and $150. Where's a cheap place to get a sport coat? Any department store. Conveniently, a few department stores are located nation-wide! We have groomsmen in all parts of the US, and even Canada - Vancouver, San Francisco (soon to be Geneva!), DC, Oregon, Denver (soon to be Austria!), and Oklahoma. My wonderful mother recently went to JCPenney to check out some sport coats, and informed me that they have locations in most US cities.

I'd really prefer to keep the cost as low as possible, but it's a little hard, given that a man's attire is 4-piece, as opposed to a woman's 1-piece (slacks, shirt, coat, tie vs just the dress!). The coat is definitely the most expensive part.

My favorite is the "Stafford Essential Capewool Sportcoat", but at $100-$110 for the jacket alone, I'm a little concerned it will be cost-prohibitive.

Then there's the "Stafford Essentials Year-Round Sportcoat". At $20 cheaper than the wool coat, this may make the difference! Cheaper, yes, but the color isn't exactly as rich as the first coat...

Then we need a good, inexpensive pair of slacks. Dockers work. We'll probably tell our groomsdudes to use whatever pair of nice khaki slacks they already own - no use in reinventing the wheel, right? Besides, if the slacks don't match perfectly, it won't really matter - the bridesmaids are already mis-matchy; I'm not going to lose sleep over different shades of khaki.

Of course, you need a good tie! We're going to buy the ties for the groomsdudes to try to help them out as much as we can. Saveonties.com has a whole slew of ties - most cheaper than $15 each!

We've also told the groomsdudes to get a crisp, plain white button-down dress shirt. No fuss!

Which sportcoat do you like best for Mr. Bear Cub's groomsmen? How are you trying to keep costs down for your bridal party? Do you have another suggestion for Mr. BC's groomsmen attire I haven't thought of?

18 August 2009

Selling the idea of "The Wedding"

Over the past few weeks, I've gained a new skill. Marketing reps should be quite proud of me; I now have plenty experience with cold calling friends, family, and strangers about our wedding.

Our invites were sent out a few weeks ago, and the RSVP date was this past weekend (I promise I'll share the details on our invites soon!). Out of the 175 people we invited, only 25 have actually RSVP'd, be it yes or no. The calling game has begun, and it's not fun.

At first it wasn't so bad - I called a few of our family and friends I was pretty sure were planning on coming. As suspected, they were just a little late with their "yes" RSVP. It's been wonderful hearing people say things like "I wouldn't miss your wedding for the world!", "Of course we're coming!", and "Viking-ninjas couldn't stop me!". Now we've gotten to the doldrums of the delinquency list. Now we're calling the maybes, and the most-likely-nos. And it's no fun.

The worst part is the "maybes" who are worried about coming to our wedding because it's at a campgrounds. The first thing I've heard from a lot of people is "we'll be staying at a motel in the neighboring city", and then "I have to catch a plane at 7am the day after the wedding", and after that the always popular "do we really have to bring sleeping bags?".


Yes. You really need to bring a sleeping bag. Don't worry, you'll be fine. The cabins are a little rustic, but they are heated. I understand that all the airlines smoked some crack a few years ago and decided to charge for checked luggage, but if you really don't want to pay $25 for an extra bag, we can arrange for you to rent a sleeping bag when you get to town (hopefully I can fit this into my already ballooning list of errands to run during my ONLY WEEK IN THE STATES).

It's really not advisable to stay at a motel in a neighboring city. While you mean well, it will only cause you more strife. Remember, our venue isn't exactly NORMAL. It's surrounded entirely by Nature Conservancy land, and the main access is via once-daily ferry. It is physically possible to drive to the camp, but only a handful of cars are allowed at the camp grounds. Since it's in a forest, the idea is to preserve it, not pollute it. READ: there's a reason we're recommending everyone sleep at the camp. It's easy. Driving to a "neighboring" motel is most definitely not.

Unfortunately, even those who are definitely coming to our wedding are having issues dealing with the uniqueness of our venue. Almost every phone call I make to our family and friends includes me selling the idea of our wedding. Here I am, living in another country, finalizing the plans for my wedding, and I'm left reassuring our guests that yes there are bathrooms (communal), and yes the food will be healthy, and no you probably shouldn't try to get a hotel in the neighboring town. Oh, and by the way, YES it will be a wonderfully fun and amazing weekend! I find myself telling our guests not to worry about the circumstances of our wedding so much, and it's really getting me down.

Why should I have to sell the idea of our wedding so much? At this point, I really feel like the best wedding gift anyone could give us is REALLY just their presence. I know that's what a lot of people say - "your presence at our wedding is the only gift we need!" - but seriously. It would be such a wonderful gift for our guests to chill out & go with the flow.

I understand that a lot of people think the idea of a wedding is to include as many family members as possible. By that notion, I should have planned my wedding to be at a country club or some other place that's easily accessible. That may be suitable for some people, but it just isn't for Mr. Bear Cub and myself. It's just not us. We wouldn't feel comfortable - it wouldn't feel as sacred or special unless we had done it our way. And our way is how we always feel comfortable - in nature, playing fun games (like frisbee!), and camping, singing, laughing, hugging. I know this means that not everyone can make it to our wedding - we understood that when we signed the contract at our venue. A wedding means something different to everyone, but I believe that above all else, it should be a community effort. For a short while, everyone puts aside their issues and worries, and works to make the wedding a success. Everyone together, and everyone with a positive attitude.

I have a pretty freakin positive attitude when it comes to our wedding, but recently it feels like it's being stretched too thin.

Have you had to sell the idea of your wedding to your guests? If you've had a few guests that have been nervous about attending your wedding for whatever reason, how have you eased their nerves? And how have you kept a positive attitude, while being beaten down by the nay-sayers?

14 August 2009

Groomstyle & Dudestyle - Part 1

Mr. Bear Cub isn't exactly a tuxedo kind of man. And that's OK - I love him for it! I want him to be comfortable on his wedding day; I want him to take pride in what he wears. You know, just so long as it's nice. ;) He usually wears whatever he grabs first out of his drawer (of crumpled t-shirts), and usually the clothes that fill the drawer were bought by either his mom (several years ago) or me (now). He just can't be bothered with shopping for himself, unless it involves gore-tex or e-vent material, high-performance wool, or anything found for a steal at an REI scratch-and-dent sale. That's Mr. Bear Cub's style, and I love him! That makes it a lot easier for me to find his wedding day attire. ;) He's a practical guy - being able to wear these clothes after the big day is important.

At first I imagined him in a dark brown suit for the wedding, but then I saw this:

above two photos from Vallentyne Photography

Perfect! Dark brown velvet/corduroy sportcoat plus british khaki slacks fit the bill! Last September, before Mr. BC & I moved to Chile, we hit up a J.Crew in Portland to see how they could help us out. It being fall, the corduroy jackets were in season! I can totally picture Mr. Bear Cub using his corduroy jacket to teach in when he's a professor at a university some day. :)

above two images from Jcrew

But since this is more of a formal affair, the darker chocolate brown is the way to go with the jacket! We got him the washed corduroy sportcoat in "stout", a crisp white button-down shirt, and Mr. BC picked out the tie himself!

The "ensemble" - waiting safely for us in Portland!

We only recently found the rest of his outfit - the slacks. I prefer to catch the sales on Jcrew whenever possible, and these slick slacks were on sale for $70!

above 3 images from Jcrew

While Mr. Bear Cub claims to not know anything about fashion, he must have good intuition - he absolutely loves a good pair of linen slacks. He likes to call them his "weekend pants" because of how comfortable they are! The Irish-linen suit pant from Jcrew is quite a bit nicer than his normal "weekend pants"; they'll be up-graded to conference- and weekend-lounging-status after the wedding.

As for the kicks, at first I had no idea what Mr. Bear Cub should wear. I have enough trouble finding my own shoes, let alone his! I certainly don't know anything about "wing tips" or whatever they're called. All I knew is that I wanted his socks to show. I love a good socks 'n peep-toe peep show, wedding style! Plus Mr. BC really really likes socks. A lot. Sooner or later I'll need to complete his look with the snazziest of snazzy socks. He wanted to wear bircken-socks (birckenstocks with socks), but I put the kibosh on that. ;) Besides, he needs to be comfortable dancing in these shoes!

grad students have all the fun

So I hit up my other old faithful (besides the usual Jcrew), and found these stylin' sneaks!
source: Patagonia, via REI

Perfect for the outdoorsy guy who just so happens to look sharp! Patagonia has some great footwear for men that don't always frequent Wall Street, but still want to get some dual-use out of their "nice shoes". As soon as he put them on, Mr. BC didn't want to take them off! These will probably turn into "weekend shoes". ;)

Now we have a bigger challenge: grooms-dudes & dudes-of-honor style.

Did you go against the tuxedo grain? Where did you get your groom's wedding day attire from? How do you think Mr. BC's attire is shaping up? :)

12 August 2009

Fiddle-ing their way to my heart

One of the things Mr. Bear Cub absolutely wanted at our wedding was a live band. Mr. BC plays guitar, has many friends that have been signed to labels, and always loved going to the Northwest Folklife festival while in college at UW. For him, our event wouldn't be the same without a live band, namely a great folk band.

I really don't know how you're "supposed" to find a band for a wedding. The odds of finding the right band, at the right price, in the right place seem ridiculously stacked against you. But somehow we found a band that fit us just right. We started looking several months ago on the MySpace music page for bands that fit into the criteria of "americana", "bluegrass", and "folk". Hopefully with a bit of an Irish flair, and specifically with a mandolin (we'd love to have Nickel Creek play our wedding, but that's just not going to happen). After several weeks of listening to bands in the Portland area, we discovered a lot of great new artists to listen to at home - but no band to sign for our wedding. We emailed a handful of bands, but few of them wanted to make the drive to the Oregon coast for a Sunday wedding. Boo. :( If you're in the Eugene area, go check out this band - I wish we could have booked them!

We were looking for a band similar to Mrs. Cherry Pie's and Miss Cowboy Boots - folksy, bluegrass, chill, and altogether awesome.

Then I followed Mrs. Joey's sage advice - I listed an ad on craigslist for a band. Miraculously, I got an email (from a real band!). I've never been so sure about listing ads on craigslist, nor how well they work, but apparently they do! Amazingly, the band that emailed was just what we were looking for - mandolin, folksy, irishy, upbeat, and *gasp* they also randomly specialize in latin music! Since we've been making our home in South America, we decided it would be fun to learn some salsa moves for the wedding! Luckily our band will be hip to that jive. ;)

For our wedding, Mr. Bear Cub and I booked the talented Terracoustic band from Portland. They feature a mandolin, a six-string fiddle, and an upright bass. You can check out their myspace page here, along with band member pages here and here.

Mr. BC also wants jam-sessions to be a prominent part of our wedding weekend. He has envisioned friends bringing their instruments, laughing and playing together by the camp fire. We've invited our band to stay with us at the camp for the entire weekend, and especially to jam with us! (I might even break out my flute ;) )

Terracoustic will be playing our reception at the camp lodge, and we've asked them to learn two songs for us. The first one we will dance to, and the second will be a surprise for everyone, including you. ;)

I've shared with the hive our indecision with regards to our "first dance" song. I really wanted to dance to Somebody Loved by The Weepies, but in the end, I realized that it wouldn't be the best song for a male voice to cover. Our song was staring us in the face, and we didn't even realize it until day 1 of our dance lessons. Mr. Bear Cub started playing a song by Nickel Creek, and it just fit.

(this video is much better, but can only be viewed on youtube)

The song is called "When You Come Back Down" - it's definitely not the SAPPY love song that "Somebody Loved" is, but it holds special significance to us (plus it will be easier for our band to cover!). When Mr. BC and I had just started dating (3 years ago!), he sent me this song, and told me that when it came on his ipod while on a long bike ride, it reminded him of me, and it made him think fondly of me. I've since then grown to love Nickel Creek (and Mr. BC!), and I think the meaning of the song fits us. We both think it's important to let each other chase our dreams, but we want to be there for the other if need (or want) be. Mr. BC always tells me how proud he is of me for chasing my dreams; he'll support me in my wishes, and I in his.

If you're having a band play your reception, how did you find it? What are some other good bands you've found along the way? Are you keeping anything about your reception entertainment a secret from your guests?

A Past Life

Hi Hive!

Remember me? Lil' Miss Bear Cub? I feel awful for being so MIA recently. It's amazing how much gets piled on your plate at one and a half months out!

The primary reason I've been gone for so long is because this past weekend I went to my best friend's wedding. I didn't date my best friend (à la Julia Roberts), but I did date her husband's brother for 3.5 years. My best friend - my own MOH "E" - got engaged while I was still dating him! I think they've been together for a cumulative of 11 years now. Some of the best things come with time. The bride & groom - E+E - had one of the most amazing weddings I've ever seen. I didn't take any pictures myself, but I didn't need to. Everyone else in attendance was a photographer there! I plan to post a recap on her wedding when I can get my hands on some pics. ;)

You want to know what it's like to go to a wedding at your ex-boyfriend's parents home?

It's awkward. Very, very awkward.

Planning a wedding doesn't usually include thinking of exes, let alone seeing them a month before your wedding. Mine does. I've known since before I met Mr. Bear Cub that I would be going to my MOH E's wedding, that it would be at my ex's parents' home, and that he would be there. As it just so happens, with his new(ish) girlfriend, too.

This was all sorts of awkward, but I love MOH E, so I tried to make the best of it. Her wedding was amazing, so it didn't end up mattering that much. But here's the thing - this wasn't just any ex. We were together for almost 4 years. I thought we were going to get married. I used to live at his parents' house with him, take dinner with the family every night, and visit the grandparents on holidays. Really, I was part of the family. I baked and knit with his mom, I went surfing with his brother, and I am best friends with his other brother's (now) wife. Needless to say, I was pretty certain we would actually be calling each other sister-in-law one day!

Then some things happened, we grew apart emotionally, and I made the biggest decision of my life. I moved to New Mexico for grad school, and he decided not to move with me. I hadn't wanted to meet anyone in NM. I had wanted to finish a masters degree in 2 years, and move back to California. But I met someone, and now I want to spend the rest of my life with that little bear. He's so much better for me in every way, and I can't wait to marry him in a month.

My ex and I haven't exactly been on the best terms. We're civil, when need be. Which I think is interesting, based on how we split. We didn't fight, neither of us really dumped the other. We realized our lives were going in different directions. For a while I tried to be friendly with my ex, but it hasn't seemed to stick at all. He keeps pushing me away, and then he does something to show that he cares just a teensy bit, and that he wants me to be happy. Aren't exes such a weird thing? I don't know if he or his gf know that I blog for WB, so I'll try to keep this as light-hearted as possible. I did meet his girlfriend at my MOH's wedding, and if she's reading, I'd like her to know that I think she's great for my ex. I think she's sweet, helpful, and I'm very glad their together (I'm too shy and non-confrontational to say so in person!).

I have a philosophical beef with "exes", in an abstract way. I know Harry told Sally that men can never be friends with women - they will only ever want to sleep with them - but is this really true? Can't you replace that "love" feeling you once had for someone with a "sibling" feeling? I wish very deeply that I could have a friend/brother relationship with my ex. He's a very interesting person, and I like to keep interesting people in my life. I don't want to be with him romantically. I could see hanging out with him like one hangs out with a brother. Or maybe sending him a book once in a while that I think he'll like, to let him know I still think he's cool (but I think Mr. Bear Cub is cooler ;) ). I know it's a fact of life, but why is it so hard to maintain a friendship with an ex, especially when the breakup isn't bad?

When I visited his parents' home for the wedding, his mom welcomed me with open arms. She was so happy to see me! And his grandmother was excited and happy to learn I was engaged! I had a wonderful time catching up with his family, but he ignored me completely. I guess it was easier for him to continue telling himself that I don't exist.

Mr. Bear Cub has been a dream about my wishes to be friends with my ex. He's been very understanding, and supportive - I'm very lucky to have a partner that cares this much for me.

Am I strange to think that people can move on completely, and evolve their relationship to a true friendship? Does this ever actually happen? In your realization that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with your fiancé (or husband), how have you made peace with the exes in your past life?

My Best Friend's Wedding

Hi Hive!

Remember me? Lil' Miss Bear Cub? I feel awful for being so MIA recently. It's amazing how much gets piled on your plate at one and a half months out!

The primary reason I've been gone for so long is because this past weekend, I went to my best friend's wedding. I didn't date my best friend (à la Julia Roberts), but I did date her husband's brother for 3.5 years. My best friend - my own MOH "E" - got engaged while I was still dating him! I think they've been together for a cumulative of 11 years now. Some of the best things come with time. The bride & groom - E+E - had one of the most amazing weddings I've ever seen. I didn't take any pictures myself, but I didn't need to. Everyone else in attendance was a photographer there! I plan to post a recap on her wedding when I can get my hands on some pics. ;)

For the time being, I'll give you a sneak peak into their wedding website.

my browser was doing funny things - "Español" has the same font as "English normally ;)

The front page to their wedsite (that the groom designed from scratch) featured a hand-drawn image of E+E. I love how it really looks like them, and it looks like a heart. :) Several members of the bride's family were coming to the California nuptials from South America, so they directed their guests to both an English and a Spanish version of their site.

(click to enlarge)

The groom's a pretty good artist, so in addition to drawing their "monogram" (really, the heart picture of their faces together), he scanned in pieces of paper to look like the moon, clouds, and a rolling hillside. The best part of their wedsite was that the little pieces of "paper" MOVED. The clouds moved past the moon, and the hills slowly rolled, just as the countryside changes as you hike through it. Their wedding was at the groom's parents' home between Half Moon Bay and Redwood City in the Bay Area. It's really quite beautiful there.

a good place for cycling, too!

E+E were very practical with their wedding plans. Their beautiful wedsite directed people to exactly what they needed to know - the "who what when where how" of a wedding. Sweet & simple, and I think it worked fantastically. Plus their RSVP was on their wedsite, so that meant no extra fumbling with RSVP cards. E+E uploaded a picture of each person that RSVP'd yes to their page "who's coming". This was a great way to place a picture with the face of other guests!

My MOH E and her husband did not have professional photography, so I hope to get some pics to share with you soon! I feel very excited to showcase their wedding, because, while they don't necessarily balk at the Wedding Industry, they certainly tried to make their wedding completely their own. They had their wedding at home. There was dancing for those who wanted to dance. The brother of the groom used his fire-engine bar. There was a pig roast. There was home-made honey wine (brewed a year in advance!). There was standing room only at the ceremony. The brother of the bride officiated (with a book on how to survive ZOMBIE attacks!). There was no assigned seating at the reception, the mother of the groom baked the 5-TIER layered cake, and my dear E+E were happier than I've ever seen them. It was truly the embodiment of their lives together, their families, their friends, and their happiness, and I can't wait to share it with you.