Thursday, July 28, 2011

Finding a Photographer is Harder Than Finding a Wife

Linds and I have about 14 months until the wedding. Tons of time, yes. But we are quickly learning that in the crazy wedding world, things book 18 months in advance. So now that we have a venue and a caterer, the next big hire to tackle is the photographer.

This sounds like it should be simple, right? Wrong. Apparently I am the worst combination of picky and budget-conscious, because all of the photographers I like are crazy expensive.

Here's what we're looking for in a photographer, in order of importance:

1) Supportive of marriage equality. Verbally and emotionally.
2) A photojournalistic, candid-focused style
3) Reliable and accountable (with references)
4) Nice!
5) Experience with same-sex weddings

Unfortunately, every photographer I've encountered who hits all of these points is charging upwards up $2,500 for their services (as they should! they're super talented). And we may end up having to just bite the bullet and pay that much. But I'm still hoping to find a gem who is all of these things for less money.

And so I throw it out to you, social network. Any ideas?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Ties that Bind

Last week, I was (kind of) enjoying a tempeh reuben at Arbor Brewing Co. when I recieved an email on my Blackberry that was probably the most effective buzzkill (literally) of my life. Most emails that I receive about our wedding result either in giddy elation (YAY!!!! WE CAN HAVE FONDUE AT THE COCKTAIL HOUR!!!) or frustration/rage (Really? If we don't hire a videographer we're going to regret it for the rest of our lives and not remember our wedding? Really.). But this particular email resulted only in tears, leaving me in a dark place over a week later. It contained the announcement that a close relative will not be attending the wedding, as it goes against her beliefs. It also contained the not-at-all-contradictory closing line: "I hope you'll accept me as I've accepted you."

This email was in response to my email announcing that Lindsey and I are getting married. This email was the latest installment in a year-long struggle after finally coming out to her, years after everyone else. This email flew in the face of the direction I thought we were heading in--progress. We had been talking about getting together for dinner, the three of us, so that she could meet Lindsey and we could begin rebuilding our relationship. I thought that 15 months would be enough for her to come around. I thought she would see Lindsey and I together and be forced to start reconsidering her beliefs. I thought she would attend the wedding, be uncomfortable, and put on a smile. I thought we had time.

But without even meeting Lindsey, without seeing me face-to-face in over a year, without any dialogue or discussion, she made her decision. We haven't even sent out Save the Dates yet, and she's already decided not to attend. It's clear that there's no hope there, and that she's already closed her mind and her heart to the possibility of participating in such a beautiful and important event.

And the shittiest part? I'm not even angry. Those who know me know how shocking that is. I don't have even one ember of rage in me to fan, to make the sadness less palpable. All I feel is hurt and anxiety. How could I possibly continue a relationship with her after this? How could I ever see her again and make small talk and pretend that everything's okay? Am I going to have to essentially cut ties with an entire side of my family? She's the only one I see more than once a year as is, and I can't imagine attending family functions with all of that tension on the table, even if everyone else is supportive (which is yet to be determined). How will this affect my immediate family? What would my mom think?

Unfortunately, Lindsey is bearing the brunt of this grieving period. The poor woman can't go a night without talking me down from a crying spell or an anxiety attack. She tells me I'm not crazy, she insists that it's okay to feel awful even though I have it so good, she lets me watch dumb TV because it makes me feel better, and she makes me laugh. God, does she make me laugh. So even though things feel so shaky right now, I'm grateful. I have a partner who makes the worst days bearable, and who loves me enough to sign up for a lifetime of my unique brand of crazy. That's a tie that's not going anywhere.

(So suck it, haters.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How My Mom Paid for Cobblestone

This story begins a few weeks ago, on the night my family celebrated Linds' birthday, when my dad brought my mail that had been sent to his house. I rolled my eyes and sighed, because this usually means I paid a parking ticket late and the City of Ann Arbor is writing to gouge me a little bit more. But this time was different--the envelope was from Israel Bonds Direct. What?

At home later that night I used google to decode all of the financial jargon, and realized several things:

1) My mom had purchased an Israel Bond for me, in both of our names, in 1996
2) It was reaching maturity on July 1st
3) Someone was going to mail me a check for $900

Clearly, this was exciting news. I'll spare you the details of the awkward, depressing, lengthy process of removing her name from the account (tip: avoid carrying your mom's death certificate around for a week. it's weird.) and just skip to...

a few days ago, at my weekly sit-down with Linds to go over our budget. We were discussing how to re-allocate money in order to pay off the balance on one of my credit cards, which holds only the rental fee for our reception venue (Cobblestone Farm). We decided to just use the bond redemption check, since it's almost the exact amount as the cost of renting the space.
Then last night, when I glanced at my mom's picture hanging in our "living room", I was hit over the head with a sense of faith in the universe, and her memory, and her spirit. I didn't know this bond existed until three weeks ago, which was almost exactly a month after we booked Cobblestone. The bond just happens to be for nearly the exact amount as the rental fee. The bond that my mom bought, in both of our names.

Sorry, but even this humanist only-marginally-spiritual lady can't write that off. I am overwhelmed with a feeling of connectedness with her. We've been thinking about ways to include her and honor her in the wedding, and I'm sure those will be beautiful and meaningful. But this surprise? Amazing.