Friday, July 17, 2015

Double the brides, double the fun

I've gotten terribly behind on writing about all the busy and important things in my life because I was obviously off doing busy and important things. The last two weekends have been full of fun things at least, but then this week I was too busy due to less fun things like catching up on all the work that accumulated while I was away. That said, catch up I will! I feel like each event deserves its own post, so I hope to post several times over the next few days and in reverse chronological order: wedding, trip to California, and Sam's birthday. This is not to say that the latter is the least important, of course, just that in reverse chronological order it shall come last.

This post, however, will focus on my sister's wedding to her longtime girlfriend (and all around awesome lady) Aileen. They got married on July 11, which makes for not only a memorable date, but also will entitle them to free slurpees at all participating 7/11s on their anniversary. The wedding was in a gorgeous bed and breakfast in the small town of Occidental. In addition to being an idyllic wedding locale, it was also the perfect location for going both wine tasting and visiting the coast (both of which we did, and will be covered in the upcoming vacation post). Sam took a bunch of pictures as is his way, but I'm only adding a few because I'm holding out to see what the professional photographer came up with. He seemed to be everywhere all the time, so I imagine they got a few hundred excellent shots.

As part of their ceremony, the brides had a water communion. It's a Unitarian Universalist tradition, or at least it was done at my parent's church growing up. People would bring water from their travels over the summer and pour it into one bowl to symbolize coming back together each new year. Wedding guests were instructed to bring water from their homes or place of meaning to them. I collected some from Barton Creek here in Austin the week before the wedding. Guests could pour the water into either Aileen or Carolyn's vase (or some in both if you were a mutual friend). Then during the ceremony they poured the two vases of water together. They actually ended up with too much water which added another nice layer of symbolism. Their cup runneth over with love and also their friends and family are very good at following directions.

My mom pouring her Houston water. 
During the ceremony itself, photography was verboten so as to better appreciate the service, therefore the rest of the photos I have are from the reception. Sam took this photo of the courtyard from above. The space looked so small without tables that we were amazed everyone could fit, but it turned out to be absolutely perfect. Another bridesmaid and I took bets to see which guest would get too tipsy and fall in the fountain, but, as was probably for the best, no one did.

The courtyard. Our table was later moved so people could dance.
The beautiful brides! You can also see a corner of the cool succulent centerpieces they made. I wish I could have taken one home. 
My one job (other than a short reading in the ceremony) was to give a toast, but I totally botched it. I had come up with some ideas of what I wanted to say, but then for some reason decided I could otherwise wing it. I'm not a great public speaker, but I figured the problem would be nerves and forgetting some of what I wanted to say. What I didn't anticipate was that I would get emotional and totally lose it up there in front of 80 people, some of whom I had just met. A bit embarrassing, and if I'm ever asked to do a toast again, I will be rehearsing it until I can recite it robotically in my sleep. Nevertheless, the gist of what I wanted to say, since I don't know that any of it came across through the blubbering, is that I feel very lucky to have had Carolyn as a sister and I'm so excited to have another sister in Aileen now. And that seeing them together is a wonderful thing because it's clear not only how much they love each other but how much they like each other and the genuine pleasure they get from being together, even just doing everyday things.

Aileen's dad Hoover, giving a toast like a champ in a not-at-all embarrassing way. 
My parents at the reception. Just thought it was a good shot of you two.
I realize I don't have any pictures of me from this wedding. The only ones Sam took were of me walking down the aisle pre-ceremony, but I didn't want to post those because he was not supposed to be taking photos. And again, I suspect the professional photographer may have gotten a shot or two of me. All in all, it was a wonderful wedding, and I'm so happy we were able to be a part of it. Now, stay tuned, as I'll try to post about all these other things over the next few days. 


  1. Great post! We've been waiting for it.
    I thought your getting emotional during the toast was charming. It's true, we couldn't understand much, but the sentiment was definitely there!

  2. I thought you really made your point during the toast! Even with the emotion which only added authenticity.

  3. Thanks for all the great pictures and such sweet words about how cool Aileen is (I agree). It means a lot to me that you were willing to feel publicly awkward to make a toast for us, emotions getting across are as important as the words, and they definitely both got across. You reminded me of some neat memories I had forgotten, too. Good thinking about the slurpies, sounds like a perfect new anniversary tradition!

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