The Importance of Dance, Lanterns and… Two Extraordinary Photographers

This post is about… well, exactly what the title says. I am first going to post a few of the lovely pictures taken by my even more lovely sister-in-law, and then follow them by fucking fantastic pictures taken by my fucking fantastic best friend. At the bottom I will actually write a little, as well. I know, right?

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My something blue

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Walking away from the ceremony

cake

Reassembling the cake

theo

What my nephew did while I was re-assembling it.

The above pictures were all taken by my lovely sister-in-law, and this is her photo-blog, in case you missed it.

together

First dance

dance

Quite cute

thought

Thoughtful groom

future

Sending a light towards the future

These four above pictures were taken by none other than our extremely talented best man, whose blog can be found here, and who has posted some of her favourites pictures from our wedding, if you want to see more.

To me, it was important not to have a stranger taking pictures at our wedding. I wanted everyone present to truly be a part of our day, and so there was no catering-staff, no wedding-planner, no photographer… well, we did have an officiator, but he was only there for the ceremony. We had extremely helpful, loving friends and family members, who made this day possible through gifts, money, and so much help with food and decorations and planning… and as you can see, they helped us make it the memory of a life-time.

Not only are they both extremely talented… it was so much easier to smile and be yourself than if you have a “professional” wedding-photographer that knows how they want things, and the sort of pictures that “couples usually want”. What we got was unique, warm, friendly and quirky. I got so much more than I had hoped for. So if you have very talented friends with their own cameras… spend that wedding-photographer budget on something else.

If you wish to find out how I made the ruffle-cake up top, here’s the link to the Swiss-meringue butter-cream recipe I used. I used a massive Wilton piping-nozzle to get nice, wide ruffles, and also created the roses on top, with a little help from this useful you-tutorial.

The lanterns in the pictures we bought 10-packs for £17, I’m sure you could find them for cheaper. We even had some left over. It was a wonderful way to end the evening, and I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for the perfect way to seal the wedding-day.

After the Storm

A little over two weeks has passed since I did. Well, I said “I do”, rather. And also “I will”. Before you ask: no. I do not feel any different as a married woman. I find myself repeating the phrase “it’s kind of like your birthday: you know that you are a year older, technically, but you do not feel any different from the day before”. I continue to feel overjoyed and blessed that I get to share my life with this wonderful person, whether as his wife, girlfriend, fiancée or whatever other creative words we have for “romantic involvement”. Perhaps I can’t pinpoint any specific sensations of “just married” bliss because I never got out of the “hi, there you are! I love you!” bliss upon first falling in love with a person. I wake up filled with gratitude every morning because I can turn over and see him in bed next to me, with a sleepy, adorable smile on his face. So no, I don’t feel any different. I still feel just as wonderful as I felt before.

This next post (or two) will be about the wedding. Maybe it will give you a few creative ideas. I will also blog about my oldest brother’s wedding, in due time. Their’s was a bit more quirky, since they had a distinct theme: 1920’s. Our theme was more in the colour-scheme of things, as can be seen in the following pictures:

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The serviettes took a considerable amount of time to fold. They worked well as place-settings, added colour and a feeling of general festivity. I was going to show you how I folded them, but I can’t remember what the fold is called, so after searching for 20 minutes on youtube to try to find the tutorial I used, I gave up. If you want to know how I did it, ask, and I’ll try to record a tutorial. How about that?

The above pictures, along with many others which will be posted in the future, were taken by none other than my very talented sister-in-law, whose artistic photo-blog can be found here.

The flowers were simple and so were the candles, no mystery there. The posters on the walls were created by my husband, and tell our story in 9 chapters which you can find if you go to his blog, here. (Here’s chapter no. 1 if you wish to read it from the beginning).

A fun wedding-game was this:

shoes2

Where my oldest brother, our toast-master, initiated proceedings with the following instructions:

1. Bride and groom stand back-to-back, (so they can’t see each other), holding one of their shoes.

2. Guests may ask any question according to the pattern of “who/which one of you does the most/doesn’t…”, so that the couple can hold of their shoes to say “Me! I do!”

3. Example: “Who does the dishes?” “Who does the shopping?” “Who’s the first to say sorry?”

4. If the bride and groom both hold up shoes to the same question, a discussion may ensue, where the couple has to explain their thinking.

That is all for now. More on activities, cake and dress in a later post. Also, a picture or two from our other wedding-photographer and Best Man, whose photo-blog can be found here.

Just a note to say…

I will not have an awful lot of time to write for the next few days, as they will be spent cooking, decorating, planning and freaking out about the wedding… a wedding which is less than a week away now! I just wrote to let you all know that though I may have a short, productive blog-break, my husband-to-be is now posting everyday, and not just anything…

He is posting our story. It’s the short, the oh so very short, version of it, but it’s there. So if you’re looking for something to read that has very much to do with me, and everything to do with us, go there. He has so far posted 3 out of 9 “chapters”, and you can find the first, second and third here. It may be of special interest to you because our story started right here, on WordPress, a little over 2 years ago now. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

In my freezer, I have 54 cinnamon-buns and 3 cheese and onion pies. I just removed 99 stickers from 33 candle-holders, and then washed and dried them individually. My arms are aching from carrying toddlers and groceries. I am very excited, rather stressed and so deeply happy.

 

 

I would like to be feeling like this:

calmbride

But I actually feel like this.

stressedbride

Oh well. It’ll all be fine.

Here Comes the Bride… (And who’s that? Oh. It’s just her shrink).

It is now a few hours less than 8 days  till my surname changes forever. In other words, I will be a married woman, and I am aware that I do not HAVE to change my name, and that I can change back to my “nee” at any moment… but since it is a voluntary action, I do not think we have to argue any further.

My wonderful husband-to-be is none other than a fellow WordPresser. In fact, we met through our respective blogs. It was far from intentional: he read an early blog of mine, he liked what he read, I read his blog, likewise, and a friendly exchange between bloggers began. To be honest, it never even entered my head that we could have any kind of romance ahead in our mutual future, nor that we would ever meet, or even speak outside of the “Leave a Comment” section on the other’s blog.

Ha ha ha.

Well, here we stand today… or rather, in 13 days and a few hours time. Since I will be going on and on about how we met and who we are and all the romantic stuff for several posts ahead, I would like to make this post one of caution… and no. I am not telling people not to get married. Duh. What? I’M getting married for crying out loud! I would never lecture people on that. No. I am instead going to make a weak attempt at being of help to other future brides out there, by listing a few things I didn’t really think about before the wedding, and which have come back to bite me in my more sensitive parts as the day draws near. These are:

1. People.

You may think that it is very obvious exactly who you want to attend your wedding, and who you’d never want to share your special day. Fair enough. To me, it seemed an easy enough question… and then POOF! Out of the blue, I certainly started thinking “how do these people get along? will that person get hurt if I invite him but not her? will these people want to sit together, or apart? is it too long ago that I saw that person to invite them? I know this person will say no, but should I invite them anyway, because it’s the right thing to do?” and hey presto! Your head is suddenly spinning with what-ifs and whose-its. So my number one recommendation is take time to THINK! You may end up not having invited some people that you in hindsight would really like to be there, or inviting some people out of guilt that you regret inviting once you think about the food and drink you’ll be treating them to… so stop to think. Take your time. You’re only getting married once (well, I am. If you’re undecided, maybe it’s not so important. Then you can forget about this one and move on).

2. Theme.

Now, I’m one of those wondrously naive people who can say stuff like “I don’t really care what it looks like/I never really thought about it/I’m sure it will all work out in the end” about things such as decor, venue, general theme of the wedding etc. *stifled laughter*. Mhm. Here’s the thing. Even if you, like me, haven’t spent your entire life planning your wedding-day into the tiniest and minutest of details, all of a sudden things which didn’t seem that important will take on a magnitude that the Sphinx can’t really compare to. So try not to sit there like me, a few days before the wedding, hoping you will be able to find something green in the wild to decorate the room with, that won’t whither and die within two second of being picked. And if you were wondering, yes, it will be important to get those specific candle-holders. Trust me on this. This wedding is stupidly simple, low-budget and laid-back… and the details are still hurting my brain.

3. Expense.

Think about that for a second. If you have a certain dream-wedding in mind, you will definitely want to think about the budget before you pick a date. And once you have thought about the budget, think about it some more. Try to come up with more possible expenses. We have already had multiple: my dress, which was only going to cost me £162 (custom-sown, ordered on the internet, including transport) ended up costing me another £78… in customs. This is a cost that many sites will conveniently forget to mention when you order, so you’ll have to look up possible customs expenses when you order from out-of-borders by yourself. Because when you are already hard up for wedding-funds, an unforeseen £78 is not what you want to have to pay.  We also have to pay extra for the ceremony, which would otherwise have been free, because our officiator is from a municipality not our own. And a cravatt can be much more expensive than you think. So sit down, think about the cost down to the nitty gritty details, and then add extra money (a lot of extra money) for the “in case” fund. Because there will be “I never thought about that” expenses.

4. Help from your friends.

My friends and family-members, and family-members-to-be, are truly wonderful people. If you are arranging a wedding where you are doing basically EVERYTHING yourselves, you will probably need to ask some people for help. Think about who to ask for what. Some people will gladly help you cook or set tables, whereas some may feel a bit insulted. Some you can trust with carrying those rings and getting your grandmother home safely, and some you can’t trust with pouring welcome-drinks. Asking for help can be difficult, and it is, for me. If you are worried about stepping on toes, try to gauge who actually would like to help, and who would just say “yes” to be polite. Just try to keep a nice balance on things: you don’t want to have a guest of yours working their a** off all day, but you don’t want to be standing there doing dishes and carrying chairs either.

5. Traditiooooooons. Traditions. TRADITIONS!

Today, quirky and modern is becoming increasingly popular. The bride shall carry the groom across the threshold, the mother will give her away and maybe the ceremony should be held whilst bungee-jumping? There are, naturally, still some very “conservative” weddings, with the white dress, the cake-cutting, the father-of-the-bride speech etc. I have no objections to either. What is important is to ask yourself: this thing that we are about to have/not have at our wedding, is it because WE want it or because a) we don’t want to follow tradition or b) we haven’t even thought about it simply being a tradition because everyone does it? There are some I’ve chosen to stick with: the cake, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”, bridal bouquet, brides-maid… but my dress will be champagne, my father won’t walk me down the aisle and our best man is a wonderful woman… but the title is still Best Man, so don’t you go trying to change that around now! 😉 Just consider that a wedding can be exactly the way you want it. Don’t let yourselves be governed by traditions, or the fear of them.

 

One last, tiny piece of advice… don’t panic. Douglas Adams said it right. My husband-to-be has tried to help me in this regard. When I start hyperventilating about the things that may go wrong, everything that will have to be done last minute and all the expenses, he does his best to calm me down. I can’t say I don’t panic occasionally anyway… but it certainly doesn’t help one bit. Here’s a friendly reminder, printed on our custom-made wedding-invitations:

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I don’t know if these words will help any desperate brides or grooms out there. It has given me a nice little venting-space, however, and something to type while the pasta-sauce is simmering to delicious, tomatoey thickness. I’m going to go boil some fusilli now. OK. Bye.

Ask why

An acquaintance of mine and her boyfriend recently broke up. I asked her why and she answered “That’s just how it is sometimes, I guess”.

This led me back to a train of thought that I’ve been stuck on of late. The relationship today, and why it has turned into what it is. The shrug and the “other fish in the sea” attitude which people often have around break-ups nowadays. The disinterest in finding out why it fell apart. The ease with which we can shut people out, because we don’t all live in the same tiny village and have to see each other every day.

Is it that simple? Because we are so many, living in massive heaps of human upon human, we can abandon our partner, a person we have shared every intimate ounce of our lives with for years, and go find someone else to do it all over with? Really?

And why would you not question, why would you say “I guess that’s just the way it is sometimes” and shrug and give up? If you have been with that person for several years, there must be a reason beyond “it was convenient” or “we had sex and then we kept dating”? No?

The hopeful romantic in me wants to shout and ask people to fight, to stop and ask themselves what they saw in that person when they first met them, whether that was a construct of wishful thinking or a real quality, and if so, is it still there? Why is that not so important anymore? Why does taking something for granted immediately make it a negative, in a sense, something which is forgotten and discarded behind all the habits that all of a sudden become so annoying and impossible to live with?

It’s as if people don’t need to think anymore because we can just run away; defriend, delete pictures, block phone-number, change lock and ask your friends if he’s going to be there before you go to the party. Oh, it’s not an easy process in the slightest, but it’s probably a hell of a lot more comfortable than having to face that person and have some form of conversation with them about the reasons it didn’t work out, and the reasons why it should have.

The hopeful romantic in me cannot believe that all the things you loved in a person have certainly magically disappeared. The hopeful romantic in me knows that if it was worth getting into in the first place, it’s worth fighting for. The hopeful romantic in me knows that unless you hate the person for some reason, or it turns out your values differ greatly in the fields of politics, religion, upbringing of children, drug-use or something equally serious, there will probably be a way to find common ground, compromise, forgive and live with each other again.

But no. No say the people of today. We are many, we are young, we have a friend-list of 1000 people to pick from, because hey, we can be bi if we want to. We have longer life-expentancy, so more time to screw up and keep screwing up.

Fine. You do that. I am going to keep loving the man I am with madly, for all the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place, and never let myself forget. Because when you have found something and someone worth fighting for, you do not let go. Under any circumstances. You do not shrug and turn away. You ask why.

Bureaucracy is hard to spell

After yet another black-out, I return. Countless events have transpired since I last saw this tired page. Mostly a battle with the Migration Office and the Tax Office in Sweden, to get my husband-to-be a personal number. Sweden, the land of democracy, justice, acceptance… not too democratic, just or accepting. Even now, riots and burning cars crowd the suburbs of this ‘fair’ capital. Apparently it is to protest youth unemployment and immigration. Too much of the first and of the latter, too much discrimination. Oh, we may rant and rave about the U.S and the difficulties to enter those states, but strangely enough, the fact that my fiancé is an EU citizen makes it more difficult for him to get in… and the fact that we are getting married in two months makes absolutely no difference. The backward thinking of the bureaucracy of this country is astounding.

Yet, it does appear as if we’ll be able to get married, processing of certificates willing. Mind you, first we have to pay a visit to the British Embassy and then wait for 21 days, and oh, pay £130 for a notification of marriage and a certificate of no impediment. But hey. Getting married was never supposed to be easy. I often joke and say we can skip the “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health” bit, because we have been through so much already, there’s no need to promise what we already know.

However, on the 27th of July, there should be a glorious beach-wedding, with a ludicrously low budget, and I will be sure to blog about the decorations, menu, dress, venue, suit, preparations and so forth… once they are under way. What with the two of us studying up till now, and having not a penny to our names, this wedding will have to be fairly last minute, in the ‘purchasing’ and ‘preparing’ department.

I would just ask my native country one thing: do not make things any harder than they already are. Let my husband stay here with me. Don’t rain on our parade, or our wedding-day. Give me a job with an income. Any income. And don’t you dare give me anything but A’s on my grades this semester.

Till next time, me hearties.

The smallest

That the tiniest hair,

or wrinkle,

blemish or vein,

turn into

 

a symphony,

glorious in its praise.

 

Within a darkened ring,

under the waves of your lid,

a billowing of colours;

deep water green,

and sunlight

 

yellow,

sparkling with each flash

of conciousness,

shining into me,

through layers

of smiles.

 

That the corner of a mouth,

curve of a lobe,

bright line at your temple

fills me with such

raging tenderness,

 

leaves me in

 

thoughtless wonder.

 

And then, finally,

the clamour fades

as, mouth to mouth,

we lose our way

 

together.