red-headed stepchild in the house of love (djmermaid) wrote,
red-headed stepchild in the house of love

My Big Fat Freak Wedding

 Well... we got married.

Bunnies are Married - Photo by Splat!

Photo by Dave Le.

I am SO happy!!! 

What an incredible outpouring of love, support, joy, and down-home freakiness.

<3 <3 <3!!!

Our fambly and friends totally came through - and so did the rellies! It was AWESOME.

I don't even know where to start. I guess I'll just go in order! So after some obligatory last-minute stress (and a late-afternoon nap) we finally hit the road. The van was *packed* with stuff, and we even used the clamshell topper (a first for a CnS trip). We got there late, but friends had saved our spot for us.

It was so good to be back at our beloved home away from home on the mountain! One of the first treats was to see *so many* people wearing jammies (admittedly, it was pretty chilly out).

There sure were a lot of raccoons! You know how it is, one raccoon finds out about a place, more show up... ;-) It was sweet and a wonderful memory. One of these days we should try to get a group photo - I never think to. The first night, all we did was set up and chill and greet people. It was great, just what we needed!

The next morning, I woke up and immediately realized that what I'd thought was just an "oh well" mistake - forgetting my CD case in Oakland - was actually BAD as it meant I was also without the music for the ceremony *and* our first dance - which was the first thing we'd decided about the wedding immediately upon deciding to get married at all, and which I was not especially willing to give up on!

Uh-oh.  I don't feel so good. Oh god, I hope I'm not getting sick.

Ok, I've got to get internet access. Jovino's concern was that he'd left the printout of his vows at home on the printer, so was trying to arrange with the catsitter to email them. I tried to tell him to just make some notes, there was plenty of time to recreate them and that it would be fine, and he gave me A Look that said no, there wasn't and it wouldn't. Ok then. We will find a way to get them.

Someone gave me a Chinese nausea remedy (which worked really well despite tasting rather terrible) and I got a ride to town, where our miraculous smarty-phones could connect to the internet. Music all arranged. WHEW! Jovino's phone wouldn't turn on all the way, so I messaged the catsitter asking her to email me instead. I figured I could just send the phone to town with someone to collect the email the next day.

Back to camp, where I worked on my last-minute craft project. Well... some. Mostly I spent what seemed like hours looking for an extension cord. Very Burning Man, actually, in that I had many pleasant interactions and dealt with numerous other things during my lengthy quest. ;-)

My dad and stepmom were flying in from the midwest, landing at SFO at 4:15 pm... with all that entails (in other words, sitting in traffic for an extra hour-or-so while driving north). Well, I didn't make that reservation, and I couldn't fix it. I didn't figure we'd be seeing them that night, but I'd emailed them directions to the site from the hotel (and they also had a GPS) so you never know. At 71 my dad is not the party animal he once was (although he does still enjoy a cold one). Jovino and I hiked around trying for a cel signal but no dice.

That night was planned for the bachelorette party: my friend (and wonderful campout co-organizer who also did a metric fuckton of stuff for the wedding despite being a very busy person with a full life of her own) had planned a bachelorette party for me, telling people to wear pink and bring champagne! We were taking a nap (an actual nap) in the tent when she came to get us for the party so we begged for a little extra getting ready time. She went off, and a bit later on, the best man came around and informed us that it was Party Time and that we would be exiting the tent and heading for the party, NOW.

Well, then. Out we went. He ushered us into the hot tub, fixed us cocktails (the most delicious gin and tonic I have ever had, as a matter of fact) and was generally a super genial host. About 20 minutes later, peeps from the other party showed up, and I realized I'd been kidnapped into the *bachelor* party. LOL, as the kids say!

I didn't even have time to feel bad about it. I was presented with a truly astounding bachelorette gift (<3) and a pink satin "Bachelorette" sash. Thank god they didn't hire the Chippendales too!

The rest of the evening was a lovely blur of hanging out with old friends, meeting new people whose names I probably wasn't going to manage to remember, and just basically kicking back. DAMN did we need it by that point! Planning a wedding AND a campout while running a small business is rather a lot of work, and two of the three have hard deadlines! More on this later.

Off to bed! The next morning we awoke to the sound of rain falling. We went down to the kitchen and saw that folks had set up e-z-ups for the DJ booth as well as general hanging out already, folks were in the kitchen turning out food (I had some excellent steak and eggs dished up by a long time friend) and all was well.

It had rained a little bit on Friday but not much, so we figured it would clear up soon. Main concern today was rellie arrival and procurement of vows, and finishing up the boutonnieres. (Music was already onsite.) Well, and the rain. Whenever someone asked us what we most needed, we'd ask them to get it to stop. Several said they would work on it. :-)

Going down for breakfast made it clear that this was a day to hide in the tent if I wanted to do anything other than be congratulated (in advance). Not that I didn't like it. It's just that I tend to be a bit introverted. People sure are sweet! It was overwhelming. In a lovely way, but still overwhelming. I love the affection but all at once it can be a lot to take in. That's part of why I'm making such a long post, I want to remember as much as I can. :-)

Sitting in our cozy tent organizing music and copying my vows over from my laptop into my little notebook (as the rain came down) I noticed that I had Wi-Fi.

Freakin' WI-FI.

In my TENT, at CnS!!!!! Ohhhhhh hells yeah. The day is saved!

I'm not even exaggerating. The day is freakin' SAVED!!!

Not only was Jovino finally able to have his vows as written, I could actually call my dad over google voice instead of someone having to drive most of the way into freakin' TOWN just to get a celly signal to be able to try! I was astounded.

They should put us in a freakin' ad.

In the meantime, we're also taking turns hemming the dress. My blindstitch brings all the boys to the yard, oh yes. Jovino does a mean one, too (and in fact, he did most of it on the dress). I love that we both worked (including hand stitching) on our garments together. It's so romantic! I was truly proud - although far prouder to be marrying Jovino. I'm so fortunate. He's amazing.

People keep telling me rain on a wedding day is good luck... in that case, we've surely been pelted with blessings from the heavens!

A friend came into the tent (good thing it is so large and cozy) to set up rellie shuttle coordination. Great! Now I don't have to think about it! And I had really dumb ideas like wanting her to take my cel phone into town, while she was clearheaded enough to simply write the numbers down on a piece of paper. Heh.

After this, we continued to work on hem and vows (I was also doing a final edit on mine) when two more friends came by to suggest we consider having the ceremony on Sunday instead, saying they'd just recently checked (I'm pretty sure they must've walked up to the owners' house and asked them to look it up) and that it was supposed to rain steadily until 4 or 5 Saturday but not at all Sunday.

I'd actually had the thought myself that we could postpone, but immediately blew it off since I knew people were coming for the day and there were all of these Plans... food and the music schedule and every damn other thing you can think of, all of which that would screw up.

It just seemed way too selfish. We'd figure something out, the rain would have to stop eventually...

But somehow, they talked us into it. Coming from them, it sounded so sensible. True, we really didn't want to have 150+ people crammed under two e-z-ups in the rain... true... it *is* beautiful when it's sunny and we wanted to let the rellies see that... true, the weather prevented anyone from busting out nice clothes they'd brought... but, most importantly, it occurred to me that we could just choose to *not* really change the kitchen/food schedule (well, much) :-/ but, we could go ahead and do the appetizers and cocktails and fancy dinner anyway. Have the party on Saturday, and just do champy on Sunday after the ceremony. Perfect!

Or as perfect as it's gonna get in the woods in the pouring rain. Hey, we even got an extra chance for some premarital s*x!

So now, if you have a magnet, sorry, but the date is wrong. It's actually the 29th! %-)

We radioed back to town to let the rellies know the plan, and tell them not to dress up. Waiting around for them to arrive was a bit nervewracking but the new plan was a huge relief!

Eventually the rain stopped and folks wanted to know if it was back on, but we said no! Only ONE huge lanechange per event, TYVM. Margot, a dear photographer friend, led us into the garden and took photos of us in our jammies in an immense sea of *pink* poppies. It was ridiculously pink and green and amazing!

Jovino & M by Margot Duane

Photo by Margot Duane.

She also has a show up (as curator) in Marin right now called Black Power/Flower Power, which features documentary photos of both of the famous countercultures, beautifully (and newly) printed in large format. It is at the Marin Community Foundation in Novato, through the end of July. 

I am so so so incredibly grateful to all the photographers. When I was married in 1988 (!) we didn't have an official photographer, and due to a mixup the only person with a good camera missed the ceremony entirely. So we got very few good photos, mostly just blurry snapshots from disc cameras. I wanted to make sure to have good photos, so asked several photographer friends if they'd like to shoot the wedding, and for a variety of reasons, none of them could do it (and I didn't ask another who I knew was having health issues, or one coming up for just the day because you never know how those things will go). Then, at the last minute, all these folks wound up coming, and shooting.

I'm unutterably grateful. The love and support we have received has been amazing. Our friends are awesome.

Here's a shot of Jovino and his mom by Benjy Feen:

Cocktails and appetizers were delicious, and I was pleased to show off our fantastic kitchen crew and Rachel's genius to the rellies. I was especially happy that mine liked her amazing fresh avocado apps, as they live in the midwest and it was a very California dish (and absolutely scrumptious). Cindy even asked what fruit was in them (mango). I could eat them for days!

Another friend made cherry/apple hard cider that was amazing! I'd love to learn how. Fermentation is cool. It's a healthy way to eat (and a cheap way to drink). That cider was fantastic!

We also had a bartender friend make cocktails for us. He went over the top with his glorious combinations of hand-infused flavors. We brought out the Dusty Bunny Bar (now ensconced back in our living room/aka the Bunnydome) and it was such a pleasure seeing them behind our bar.

Party went smoothly. Rellies took off and we breathed a sigh of relief!

Next morning: weather is gorgeous! It's ON! Dress is hemmed, vows written out on paper, rellie rides coordinated... crap! The boutonnieres! Jovino ran down the hill and got some crafty friends together, showed them the sample and explained what the idea was. They even made me a *gorgeous* bouquet! I was thrilled.

My dear Sister Flora Goodthyme of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence came up, camped all weekend (even though she has to use a walker to get around the hilly site this time as she is recovering from a bad bicycle accident) and did my makeup for me. I was SO GLAD I asked! If you want something done right, get a professional. What a gift!

Makeup by Flora Goodthyme; Photo by Benjy Feen

Photo by Benjy Feen.

Makeup: Sister Flora Goodthyme. Bouquet: Janet Miller. Gown: Bunnywarez. Necklace and crown: Elise Matthesen. Earrings: Tom Smith; vintage Moroccan/North African. Watch: Bunny Sutra by Swatch.

As I said, we had some amazing photographers - especially Margot, Splat and Benjy - and many other folks there pitching in, both volunteering for shifts and making things happen in the moment. It takes a village to do anything at all, it would seem. I'm so humbled by all our friends did for us! 

Flora did a wonderful job on my makeup (wish I could have her every day!) and I somehow managed not to cry it all off. Hooray for Kryolan! Although of course I lost an eyelash *in my tent,* damn it. I so wanted to wear them again! Imagine all the good juju on there! ;-)

Anyway! So I'm getting made up by dear Flo. Rellies show up as I am looking this way and that, attempting to be a good canvas. 

I actually got my dad to get me a beer! (Mostly because they were standing around gawking at me getting made up, and, well, the one I had *was* getting warm...) ;-) I did let them snap some photos first. Flora did an amazing job with lil' ol' me!

Piffy, my dear (self-appointed - I mention this *only* because she went WAAAAY beyond the call of what I could have ever asked or expected) wedding planner was absolutely brilliant all weekend (and pre-event) but never more so than during this and the next bit.

She ran interference so I could dress and collect myself in my tent without having to answer 500 million questions that someone else could probably do just fine with. (Then she deftly coordinated the pre- and post-ceremony stuff too.) I arranged my dress, switched my engagement ring to the other hand and took a deep breath. It was on. It was REALLY ON!

I gathered up my bouquet, vows, notes and nerves, and got ready.

We went under the arbor and Toad poured us special premarital cocktails - a delicious greyhound for me. Our music started and people went out. I hid under the arbor and Jovino hid behind a tree on the other side of the patio. I started crying here, realizing it was really going to happen.We came out from the opposite sides, hugged and joined hands, and bounced up to the lawn.

Toad did an AMAZING ceremony! He'd never done a wedding before but I'm sure it it will not be his last. He did a great job! Good thing we had him get ordained instead of just getting a day permit - because otherwise he wouldn't have been qualified to do the ceremony by the time the sun came out! %-)

When Jovino said his vows to me I finally understood why he was so determined to get the actual words - he had written a poem. <3!  I'd fussed and fussed over my notes and then ended up not using them. I think I left out "our creative collaboration feeds my soul" but other than that I think I got everything in.

We'd decided to incorporate the old tradition of jumping the broom, after I heard the phrase and learned that it is a very old Celtic thing, and that the Gypsies also had it as a tradition. I'm a little of both (more Irish than Rom, but it's in there) and Jovino has some Irish too, so that was appealing. Eva did an amazing job decorating the broom! It was so beautiful and full of love and good juju.

There had to be a twist, and in our case, it is that we (inadvertently) wound up asking three freakin' klowns to stand up with us. You knew something had to happen. By the time we realized this, it was WAAAAY too late in the game to do anything about it (and you trust your friends... right?) so, there it was.

The perfect opportunity for *them* to prank us.


We kissed 'em off, though!


So this is what it feels like when a dream comes true.

We snuck off for a few delicious private moments in the garden while someone assembled folks for a big group photo. After that, there was a very short and sweet rellie-photo session. I see the value in that (especially as in making the family happy) but DAMN I am NOT going to let us spend all day posing - it was perfect!

First dance was fabulous! Worth the hassle over having the *right* track! (I am Love, by the Jacksons - thank you Timmii for getting it for us.) Some things really are worth stressing over, and some are not. Figuring out which is which is a useful skill - not just for wedding planning, but for Real Life!  (Actually, pretty much all of the requirements for planning a wedding are good training for being married: you have to work together, coordinate and plan, find a budget and stick to it, hit a deadline and not rip each other's heads off when it looks like it might go sideways.)

Somehow my fairy-wedding-planner managed to engineer a dance with my dad (and Jovino with his mom) which was photographed without it being an overwrought spectacle. There is *so much* bullshit and spectacle around weddings, and we wanted to only have the *important* stuff. Piff did an amazing job of coordinating the wedding - including engineering some of those moments I'd have never thought we'd have time for, in an unobtrusive way. She kicked a truly unbelievable amount of ass. I actually think this could be an excellent new career, if homegirl ever gets tired of her current digs.

So then it was on to champy, toasts, and general relief all-round that it was over! I only remember who toasted, I have *NO IDEA* what anyone said. One of my friends says she has some video. If you get married, record the toasts, is my advice. It's always something! They were awesome though and I do remember the LOVE. Just wish I remembered the words in more detail.

After that, there was a bit of free-form schmoozing, the rellies packed up and we waved them off and it was straightaway back to the lawn for the Newlywed game (which is exactly what it sounds like: a live version of the cheesy old Newlywed game complete with embarrassing questions thickly laced with innuendo).

They did a great job on the questions. We came in dead last. Are you kidding me? What costume does he wish I'd put in the costume exchange... when I'm ohhhhhhh sooooooooooooo hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh on love and magic and oxytocin?! Please!

I have a sort of an answer today (after thinking about it) but then, hell no! It was ALL perfect! (and it's really not that bad... it took several days to come up with anything at all, unlike in some past relationships where I could have easily pulled out a list). That's not just newlyweditis - we've been together 8 years. Best of both worlds!

Sunday night was lovely, chill, and relaxing. Monday we were sad to say goodbye to friends, but eager to live inside again, and sleep in our own bed.

The whole thing was SIGNIFICANTLY more work, hassle, expense, and hassle-and-work-for-other-people-we-can't-pay than I thought it would be going in. I'd have NEVER asked for all of that, had I truly understood what I was asking for.

That said, it was also PERFECT. I could not have asked for anything more.

AND, we are married! I used to think that the day would never come. :-) I'm really happy. My ring keeps catching my eye and making me smile. Seeing his is hot. I like saying "I made a cocktail for my husband" and hearing Jovino say "my wife." It's sweet!

We haven't sent in the form yet, but I know where it is. This aspect is making me even more determined to keep up the fight for marriage equality. There is absolutely NO reason WHATSOEVER that this should be limited to M/F couples.

EVERYONE deserves it - and they have already proven that quite well in court! AND it is in the freakin' constitution! The other side is simply using legal manipulation techniques to attempt to forestall the inevitable. I want to do more to help speed the plow.

Anyway, there ya go! If you were there, thank you. If you couldn't make it, that's cool and we appreciate your good wishes. We want to have a party soon to drink some of the extra champagne and see folks who had other plans that weekend. Ping me to be sure to hear about it! 

<3 <3 <3!!!

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  • To Absent Friends

    A year ago this weekend, we went to Decompression and Remember the Party. It was too much in one day so I decided I'd only do RTP this year, and stay…

  • WAG Salon (Extra Life 2012)!

    I haven't posted as much as I hope to... mostly I've been off doing things! Am really enjoying watching the Occupy Wall Street saga unfold. You go,…

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    Well, that was a night to remember! One of my best disco sets yet! What a trip. I was invited to DJ for a Comfort & Joy fundraiser - one of my…