Legal marriage. Venue. Website. Invitations. Florist. We’ve taken a second run at all five.
In June 2008, California started issuing marriage licenses to same sex-couples. We celebrated in the streets of West Hollywood, which is where I was living. That October, my girlfriend and I celebrated our second anniversary. We were serious, but we had our own apartments. Individually, we wondered if we should get married, but we didn’t talk about it together. It seemed like a decision we could kick down the road.
Then five months later, Prop. 8 passed and the marriage licenses stopped. They wouldn’t be issued to same-sex couples for nearly five years. In the meantime, we moved in together, we traveled together and met each others’ families. We started sharing hopes, dreams and a car. Our relationship evolved and we regretted not making it legal when we could.
There’s that saying “when the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” Gay marriage was the reverse. A window closed in California, but later a door opened for the whole country. In 80 days, we’re going to dance our way through that door.
We found the most perfect wedding venue we could possibly imagine. Nestled in the hills, wide expanses of grass, little scenic nooks, a deck with a view and adequate parking spots. We couldn’t believe our luck. But then our luck changed. A terse email informed us the venue would no longer be rented for weddings. We started the search anew and we found a good option. But it’s not the most perfect wedding venue we could possibly imagine. It’s fine, great even. There’s nothing wrong with it. But it’s not the first place we pictured getting married and that’s sometimes a bitter pill to swallow. Like last night we were catching up on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and there was an entire episode set at our erstwhile venue. Every time a feature we recognized came into view, it was like being stuck with pins. In 80 days, I hope I’m having such a great time at Venue #2 that I forget Venue #1 exists.
My girlfriend bought us a domain name and started sketching out a website. Then I read about how Minted was launching wedding websites that not only looked cute, they could help you track your RSVPs. Over we went to our new Minted website, despite the fact that we’d already paid for the other domain name. If you have our exact names and are looking for a wedding website, we can make you a deal.
We selected a Minted wedding theme that would work for the website and our invitations. I ordered: invites plus printed envelopes, and RSVP cards plus printed envelopes. The envelopes are kraft paper, the invites had a gold foil flower design, and white printing. For the paper color option on the invitations, I selected “kraft.” We got the proof, it looked great. We checked “invites” off the list. Then they arrived and oh boy was I bummed.
The printed background of the invite poorly mimicked the texture of kraft paper, and had an overwhelmingly pink tone that clashed with the actual kraft paper envelopes. I laid out an invite with envelope and RSVP card with envelope. It looked more like a random assortment of paper goods than a cohesive collection. I showed them to my girlfriend and she didn’t love them either. I decided it wasn’t a big deal, they weren’t hideous, I’d just live with them and try to move on with my life. But then I woke up at 3AM the next morning stewing about them. I realized it was a big deal to me, and maybe that was silly, but it was reality. I wouldn’t be happy sending them out. I didn’t feel like they represented us and I didn’t like the tone they set for our wedding. I reached out to Minted, explained that based on the resources they provided during the ordering process, it was impossible to guess what the final product would look like and I didn’t like the final product, was there anything they could do for me? Their response: too bad, so sad.
I had a moment. I talked to a friend. I checked out a few other Minted designs and then decided to start from scratch. I started to poke about Wedding Paper Divas and was immediately drawn to a bunch of designs. I sent my girlfriend a short list, she picked her favorites and I placed an order. The new invites are sitting next to me and I’m in love with them. The design is perfect, the paper quality is better than expected and they’re going to set a beautiful tone for what I hope is a beautiful day.
I’ve told my sad florist story already. But we met with a new florist last weekend and when we walked out with our gorgeous sample arrangement I couldn’t stop smiling. I went out of town for work for a few days and the arrangement greeted me, still looking awesome, when I got back home yesterday. Vave Studios, I may marry you instead of my girlfriend. I love that we’re supporting a local small business and the ladies have been so kind and engaging that the shadow they cast on the first florist we tried to work with is getting bigger and bigger.
Vave responded to our email inquiry right away and asked for photos of things we like. They turned those photos into an easy-to-understand estimate and invited us to come review it at their shop. At the shop, they brought out a sample arrangement and we went flower by flower talking about what we liked in terms of size, color and shape. We looked at a map of the venue and went over what will go where, including two big arrangements for the ceremony that they’re going to move to the reception space during cocktail hour. We showed them the fabrics used in my girlfriend’s suit, and what our flower girl will be wearing, and they suggested flowers to go with both. The invites (part 2) have two different roses in the design, and they said they could find real life roses like the ones in the invites to accent arrangements. They said they’d be in touch 30 days before the wedding for a final review, and sent us off with the sample arrangement to enjoy at home. Florist #1 did NONE of those things, but she did do us a solid by backing out, because now these other fabulous ladies can make our wedding day bright and beautiful.
So five times now we’ve pondered an option, only to re-ponder it later. A week ago, the invite and florist situation had me feeling pretty low. Now, everything has worked out for the best. People tell you wedding planning is a roller coaster ride, and it’s true. I find myself wishing the planning was over, and it was happening already. But then I remember my grandmother saying “don’t wish your life away,” and I try to appreciate the lessons of the journey.