Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Emily & Ali's wedding & wedding colors!

I really like this wedding featured on 100 Layer Cake, and Kate does too.  The moment she saw it on my buzz feed she said something to the effect of, "You just shared this because you liked the vest, didn't you?"  She knows me well. I have already started my wedding vest campaign.  Wouldn't Kate just look absolutely amazing in a vest?

And as I mentioned in the last post, we've picked our wedding colors - purple and green.  This picture really inspires me.  The purple and green are just so lovely together!  I'll get you the "official" colors sometime soon.

Monday, September 27, 2010

We're so excited!

Now that we have a date and location, it feels real to us and we finally feel free to move forward with planning.  This weekend, Kate and I sat down and made a huge three page to do list of all the things we need to get done before the wedding.  While a three page to do list would normally feel daunting, with eight months to plan it just feels exciting.  We see this as an opportunity to mesh traditional rituals with what makes sense for us, all ending in a giant party affirming our relationship.  What's not to love about that?

We have been holding off on doing a lot of things, because mentally we weren't ready to move forward until we knew the date and location.  But now we feel free to do them!  This weekend we chose our wedding colors (main - green, purple; highlights - blue, yellow), began assembling our invitations (think trees!), started assigning wedding party roles (wedding day coordinator, chuppah assembly person), designed our wedsite (coming to you soon!), and discussed the ceremony itself.

So, so exciting!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Save the date!

We're getting married!

Sunday, May 29th, 2011
Joaquin Miller Park

More details to follow

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Joaquin Miller, pictures!

I promised you pictures, and here they are!  We're still waiting to hear if we got the date.  Waiting very, very impatiently.  I don't know when we should hear back, but hopefully soon.  If we don't get May 29th (the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend), I'm not sure what our second and third choices are.  Sometime in June, probably.

And, I found a voice mail from the coordinator on my phone.  Whoops, turns out she did originally call me back in a timely fashion, and I really shouldn't have insinuated otherwise in the last post. Sorry, Desmona!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Just sent in the application!

I just faxed in the application for Joaquin Miller Community Center!  Evidently there's a name for the pretty WPA fountainy thing - the "cascades" - and you can reserve it too!  The name is as romantic-sounding as the location is, too.  Though the reservation form leaves romance at the door...

Pictures to come soon of the community center.  Let's just say, it's pretty awesome with amazing views.  And they rent flatware and table clothe rentals, which is pretty awesome (and fairly rare!)  Hopefully the newly stained floor smell will dissipate by next summer.

We don't know yet if we got the date we wanted (May 29 - the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend), but we'll let y'all know as soon as we do!

After the excitement of actually finding a venue we both love, I think the most exciting thing is that now I can focus on other things - like FOOD! and DRESSES!  and SHOES!  and DECORATING!  and a KETUBA!  How much fun is that?  

(Seriously, this wedding stuff is so much fun!  We get to plan a big party for the folks we love and all come together and celebrate this union that's forming.  Life is pretty awesome.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tomorrow, Joaquin Miller Park!

You know, I did give Kate access to the blog - she has her own log in and everything.  But I guess that whole "I'm too busy to hang out with my fiancĂ©e" also means she's too busy to update over here.  So, for the time being, I think you're stuck with good old Margee.  Sorry, folks.

Anyway, I was going to say that I'm hella excited about tomorrow.  (See Kate, this is what happens when you don't update - your girlfriend makes this blog hecka Nor Cal on you.)  We FINALLY have an appointment to see Joaquin Miller Park Community Center.  Remember that place?  The one I gushed and gushed about?  Kate  talked to the woman there and set up an appointment for tomorrow morning. (My theory is she accidentally picked up the phone; she still hasn't called me back.)  I can't wait to see it!

I'll let you all know how it goes.  We're really hopeful that this is the place.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

So much

Margee's note: Some super, lovey-dovey stuff is to follow.

Like in every relationship, Kate and I have developed our own sort of language.  We can have an entire conversation just through eye contact and context, neither one of us saying a thing.  And our verbal conversations might skip over important words.

Kate and I spend a lot of time saying, "I love you" to one another.  We both feel so lucky and amazed by the other person.  To convey this abundant feeling of love, we often say, "I love you so much."  And from there, we've begun only saying "so much" to describe this amazing, overwhelming feeling.

It sometimes amazes me that I get to be with Kate.  Other times it just feels natural, like this is what life is supposed to be.  I'm so lucky that I get to marry Kate one day next summer.  And, what's even more amazing, is that I know Kate feels the same way.  I guess that's why we're so excited - and not stressed - about this whole wedding thing.

I love Kate.  So much.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Can you help us get married?

We're so excited to get married next summer, and are saddened by the inequality that keeps us from legally enjoying marriage.  Please help us create a world where one day all unions - no matter the gender of the couple - will be able to be celebrated.

This is why we've registered for the Marriage Equality USA Bridge Walk.  We'll be walking from one end of the Golden Gate Bridge to the other - and then back again to support MEUSA!  Can you sponsor us?

MEUSA has no paid staff people and is completely volunteer-run, yet they're the most effective grassroots marriage equality organization in California.  During the Prop 8 campaign, they were the only organization giving major resources to the central valley, people of color, and people of faith.  As you may know, post-Prop 8 polling suggests that's exactly where resources needed to be concentrated.  Their energized expert board, leadership, and grassroots organizers are some of the absolute best people I've ever worked with.

The Bridge Walk is the Sunday after next, September 26.  We hope to raise $180 before then.  In Judaism, 18 is a significant number.  The letters add up to "Chai", to life.  Many Jews give monetary gifts in a multiple of 18 as it is considered an expression of a blessing for a long life.  So our goal is to raise $180 for MEUSA, an organization that is fighting for our right to be blessed with one another for life.

Thank you so much!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Just dreaming...

I'm not in the wedding dress market yet, but sometimes it's nice to dream...

David's Bridal Satin Off-the-Shoulder A-Line with Side-Drape wouldn't fit me anyway...

Oh my goodness, do I love these Pearl Hart Fluevogs 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Joaquin Miller Park, again

We went back to Joaquin Miller Park today.  It's just as gorgeous as we remembered it.  If only the community center would call us back so we could make arrangements to view the reception area.  I think this might be the place....

It was a nice way to start out the Jewish new year.  L'shana tova, friends!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Engagement party!

A big THANK YOU to everyone who was able to come to Sunday's awesome engagement party.  I had an absolute blast!

I didn't think to take pictures for most of the party, and am very thankful to whomever borrowed my camera to take pictures.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Because of that amazing friend - whoever you are! - there are some pics below of the fun picnic at Lake Merritt.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A full weekend!

This weekend was Kate and my engagement party.  It was amazing!  I can't believe how many folks showed up.  Thank you all!  It was a blast!  Pics to come soon.

Today we had a more relaxed day and explored Redwood Regional Park and Joaquin Miller Park as two possible wedding locations.  Redwood Regional Park didn't offer what we wanted - there wasn't enough room to move around, the grass was too yellow, and it the picnic areas weren't secluded.  But Joaquin Miller Park was pretty amazing.

Today's favorite was the Woodminster Amphitheater park.  The WPA-era fountains gurgled next to the gorgeously landscaped plants.  The beautiful foreground of art and nature highlighted the Oakland skyline and views of the bay.  Every direction you turn, you see magnificence and extraordinary beauty.  We got there as the sun was setting, making the park seem even more magical.  It also strained our camera (a.k.a. Kate's phone) and we could only capture mediocre pictures (below).

I think getting married on the steps would be just magical.  

A little bit up the hill (we'd have to have folks drive it) is the Joaquin Miller Community Center.  It has an awesome view, and we hope a beautiful inside for us to host the reception.  

Joaquin Miller Park has a lot of options to choose from, though.  Other one's we're considering are:

Fernwood Grove
A secluded area of redwoods with picnic benches.  We like how quiet the area is and how beautiful it is, but it's oddly shaped.

Palo Secco Wedding Site
This has redwood trees, a dried creek, a clearing, and picnic tables for some post-wedding and pre-reception fun and yums.  

A random pretty redwood grove
Who knows if it would have enough space to hold all 125 people on our guest list, but it's pretty!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I'm the dress. I hope there's a vest!

All I'm going to say is that Kate would look freaking hot in a vest.  Do you hear me, honey?  HOT!

I guess I also want to say that Offbeat Bride has another amazing wedding featured on their site.  This one's of a super cute big lesbian couple who went up to Canada to get married.  It might sound familiar to some of you, because you've heard me talk ad nauseum about how amazing and transformative my moms' Canadian wedding was for me.  (They too went to British Columbia to get legally married.)  So now I'm talking Canada without talking about the gross stuff (how awesome my parents are, and how much I love them, and blah blah blah).  Nope.  Just that Kate is pretty hot.  And would look pretty hot in a vest.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Yes please!

Oh my goodness.  What a gorgeous wedding.  It's - of course - on 100 Layer Cake, the blog I slammed the other day for being too stylized.  And what do they have just a few days later?  A DIY fun, outdoor wedding.   This is what happens when you think you're too cool for school (or a wedding blog, as it may be).

Go over to 100 Layer Cake to look at the most adorable wedding photos up right now.  You can see them all here, or a few of them down below.

Trees?  Bubbles?  Hoola hoops?  Wildflowers?  Planted flowers?  Dancing shoes?  AWESOME!!!

The dress is meh, and I'm not sure what happened with the wedding decorations, but I love the idea of mixing fun and nature together.  Of course, the lovely hippie Kate agrees.  She suggested bubbles while we were hanging out in Dolores Park the other week.  I'm starting to feel like a stereotype.  (Dolores Park, DIY, bubbles, three cats, u-haul.)  Next thing you know we'll give up our cars for bikes, move to the Mission, and start sporting some faux hawks.  Right after, of course, our delicious, beautiful, and fun DIY wedding.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Marin venues

We've looked at some awesome places already, and we're planning on visiting some more this Monday.  We started in Marin, and now we're looking at places in the East Bay.  The three places we've looked at were all amazing and beautiful.

San Francisco Theological Seminary
It looks like a freaking castle!  How awesome is that?  And do you see that labyrinth?  Can you imagine how awesome it would be to get married in the center of a labyrinth and have all your friends and family around you?

Sadly, we're probably not going to pick SFTS because -while absolutely gorgeous - they don't have a great reception hall without crosses.  And as two good Jewish gals getting married, a cross would just ruin my mood.  And while it's beautiful to have a wedding and reception outside, there isn't enough shade to keep my delicate white skin from turning into the color of a lobster.

Cost: $800-2900

UU Congregation of Marin
UUs are awesome, and this church is no exception.  They have right on their website that they're welcoming of all gender identities.  Isn't that awesome?  And not to mention the place is absolutely beautiful and they have tons of weddings there, so the coordinator really knows what she's talking about.  They provide tables and chairs too, and are really accommodating.

We probably won't go with them because the arbor, what's pictured to the right, would not comfortably fit all 125 guests we're looking at having at the wedding.  It's an awesome reception site - cheap too! - but as a wedding and reception venue, it just barely doesn't make the cut.

Cost: $2095

Frantoio, Frantoio.  Your food is so amazing!  They make their own olive oil and - oh yum - can you tell!  The food melts in your mouth. Plus, the coordinator is really friendly.  We drove around and found this adorable park (Bayfront Park) just 6 minutes away that has both wild flowers and water.  It's amazing.  This is definitely a possibility.

Cost: $32 per person, $3,000 minimum

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The search goes on!

My mother found the most amazing blog post ever.  I have no idea how my mom finds such amazing things, but she is a serious Master Googler.

City Homestead (the blog) outlines exactly what we want in a wedding location (beautiful, outside, cheap, in Oakland/Berkeley), then gives a comprehensive list of all these great places!  The awesome post is here.

I haven't even been able to really dig deep into the blog yet, but it's amazing.  My current favorite is Joaquin Miller Park in the Oakland hills.  I'll let City Homestead describe it for you:

Joaquin Miller Park (Oakland hills): Beautiful WPA-era park with several popular wedding sites and some picnic grounds available as well. Owned by the City of Oakland, but very close to the EBRPD parks; I have trouble keeping track of which parks OPR runs and which parks EBRPD runs! Alcohol and amplified sound require permits. (This is also the only city park in Oakland that allows alcohol.) Picnics must be done by 10 pm.
Cost: Varies by specific site ($100 to $200)

Now, if you're too lazy to click the link, this is the picture you're missing:
Awesome, right?  Do you see those picnic tables in the sun?  SCORE!

I can't wait to have the time to go through the rest of the locations!

Wedding venue

Looking for a place to get married is some hard stuff.  On one hand, we're surrounded by such beautiful options here in the Bay Area.  On the other hand, it's the Bay Area so everything costs an arm and a leg.  Neither Kate nor I are interested in the "It's The Best Day Of Your Life" sentiment, though our list of what we want in a venue would suggest otherwise.

What we're looking for:
  • Outdoor Ceremony - This is pretty much mandatory.  The one exception has so far been the Mills College Chapel, which is surrounded by glass doors looking out onto the beautiful and tree-filled surroundings.
  • Cheap - Weddings are expensive, and I have yet to resolve the "there are children dying in Pakistan because of flooding and I'm spending thousands of dollars on a day" dilemma.  So, we're looking to spend less than $2000 on venue if we can.  This will be different depending on food.  Ideally, we'd like to spend less than $30/person on food.
  • Holds 125 guests - Because, you guessed it, we have 125 people on the guest list!!!
  • Trees or water  - for the outdoor ceremony.  With very little - if any - cement.  No manicured gardens, if can be helped as well!
  • Yummy VEGETARIAN food - If it's a picnic, pizza from Arizmendi's, a delicious restaurant, or a caterer, I like good food and I want good food at my wedding.  We are also going to do this kosher-style, so if there's going to be any meat at the reception, it will be limited to fish
  • Sunday morning/lunch wedding - after mass, so Armida & Dick (Kate's grandparents) can go to church Sunday morning
  • 45 minute drive from Berkeley - We are asking family and friends to come to our synagogue with us on Saturday morning, so we don't want folks driving crazy amounts of places
  • Hotel nearby - Ideally the hotel will be very close to the reception site so if folks have a little too much fun, there's no safety problem while they're trying to get home.
  • Reception and ceremony at the same place is not mandatory, but ideal.  We would like the two sites to not be more than 10 minutes apart.
  • Dates - Most of June and most of August, and the first half of September.  Ideally, Labor Day weekend, but I have no expectations that such a date will be open this late.  We can not have it in July because of our rabbi's availability.  
  • East Bay - We're looking in Marin, but I'd really like the wedding in the East Bay, if at all possible.  Afterall, that's where we live!
Where we're looking:
  • If it's in Here Comes the Guide, we've probably seen it.  Maybe haven't looked at it super close, but I have gone through every single (!) East Bay, Marin, and San Francisco entry.  If it's not on our spreadsheet, and you think it warrants a looking at, please send it to us!
  • Parks!  We haven't had nearly enough time to check out parks yet - or anything in the East Bay - but I there's a good chance we might get married in a park.  They're beautiful, cheap, and I have been scheming up some super cute ideas for picnic baskets, games of frisbee, and other things that simply bring us joy - like bubbles!
Some considerations on venues:
  • Alcohol is expensive and not allowed everywhere
  • Catering is really expensive!  A "cheap" meal often begins at $25 per person - before a 20% fee and service charge.  Catering lists are often even more expensive.  And - on top of it - I really like good food.
  • Flatware is annoying to rent.  So are chairs, table clothes and tables themselves
  • Music is also annoying.  If you have it in a park, there's no electricity.  If you have it in a neighborhood, then there's neighbors.
  • Set up time is important - unless you're using the trees are your natural decoration.  Sometimes it's hard to get set up time if you're booked for only a few hours.