The Astromaid Chronicles

Slow Travel, Creative Living, and Speculation

Category: Wedding Woes & Wonders (page 2 of 2)

Planning The Reception (Wedding Woes & Wonders Pt. 4)

Here’s how the story goes.

One day, as my girlfriends and I were unamusedly browsing the consumer-bereft Sandusky Mall for a wedding-appropriate dress for my upcoming ceremony, one of my best gals, Annessia, suggested a venue. She’d attended a friend’s wedding at a place called Vermilion on the Lake. I had never heard of such a wildly-hyphenated locale, but after her eloquent and vivid description, I fell in love.

“I want this place,”I told her. “I want it now!”

We pulled up pictures on a cell phone and gawked at the gorgeousness. It seemed perfect. Almost too perfect. Like, this is exactly what I’ve been dreaming of and didn’t know it actually existed perfect.

Vermilion-on-the-Lake, OH.

Vermilion-on-the-Lake, OH.

And then I pulled up the calendar of available dates. My original pair of dates, either of the middle weekends of November, were already booked. And with no surprise! Who can call only five months prior to a reception date to reserve a locale that is one of the most desired locations in the region for weddings and gatherings?

Apparently, it turns out I can. By a stroke of luck, the first weekend in December was open, only two weeks after my originally-planned reception date. And the next day by noon, I had that sucker reserved.

“You sure scooted in at the last minute,” the raspy-voiced volunteer told me on the phone that day. “It’s only July, and we’re already accepting reservations for through 2016!”

Damn straight.

Before Jorge and I got married, one thing was certain. We wanted a big ass party on both ends of the world, and both parties would feature live music, awesome food, and red wine.

Those were basically the only stipulations. But then other factors entered in, like money. Our venue alone rings in at the cheaper end of the scale (or so I’m told) at over $1,200. Throwing a big ass party anywhere involves a hefty chunk of change. And if you want to avoid hefty chunks of change, you need to either have immaculate planning capabilities, extremely wealthy investors, and/or best friends/family members involved in all the businesses you plan to hire.

Of course, Jorge and I don’t have immaculate planning capabilities, nor do we have any wealthy investors (BUT IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE TO APPLY FOR THE POSITION…), or even family members that work in any related industries. The deeper I delved into planning the reception, the more I realized there exists a  sharply inverted relationship between low cost  and level of involvement in planning.

As in, for someone like me who doesn’t really like to get messy in the details of planning an event of this size, saving money means that I’d have to oversee every detail myself. Instead of relying on hired companies to connect the dots for me, I’d have to bring my own pen and coloring book and fill in all the spaces on my own. 

But things have been working out spectacularly well. And it has a lot to do with the amazing friends and family in my life.

Painting Planes and Taking Names

Planes…planes…and more planes.

My best friend Becky and her husband have become my wedding reception planners, helping me with all manner of details from centerpieces to even cooking for the event. Other friends have stepped up with decoration help, especially in the detail-focused areas that pain me most (*cough cough* painting those damn airplanes). My best friend Jamie is arming my bridal party (yes, I needed to outsource that), my mother has offered to take on the role of in-flight captain announcements (more on that later),  and my friends from within the community have cut me quite a deal for their super-talented performance at the party.

Other details swirl in the background; my dad’s recommendation to make the invitation a boarding pass, and the miraculous discovery of such a design online weeks later; another friend’s recommendation to stop by a graphics place in town to have a project dream realized, which may save me $400.

I could go on and on.

It turns out, I have a lot more help and creative input than I originally imagined. I am not doing this on my own. Not by a long shot. And between all of my friends, family, and community at large, we are arming one helluva party that will be, at the very least, a fun and  tasty time.

When asked how things are going and I answer with an honest, “Oh, a little stressful”, a couple people have responded with the following:

I wish I could tell you not to stress about it, but you will anyway! So just know that it’s gonna be fine.

I love that response. It’s true, it’s real, and it’s a direct nod to the feelings that are very inevitable and wrapped up in this whole experience.

It’s been stressful to plan the thing in the first place, and more stressful to oversee so many details that I wish I actually did have the money to just outsource. But at the end of it, I know it’s gonna be great, and worth all the stress.

And then…we’ll have a second one to plan. Except that time, Jorge’s gonna be the one behind the wheel. Just as most of the planning duties fall on my shoulders here since I’m the native gal in this region, he’s the one who will know how to navigate the system down yonder. And that means I can just relax and enjoy the February summer in Argentina…sipping red wine and wearing all my dresses for their second go-around.

From Backpacks to Three Bedrooms

It’s September, folks! So that means a couple things. One, summer is beginning that slow grind into fall, the time of year that you invariably get stuck behind the slowest school bus EVER, when my father supposes he can shut down the pool right before a 90-degree heat wave comes through, and I wonder whether or not tanning is still a thing because of the tilt of the earth, or whatever (I’m guessing, yes).

It also means that Jorge and I have officially occupied our new home. Hallelujah! My gracious and loving father let us stay at his house while we got ourselves established in town, and having our own space to ourselves again is lovely (though we miss you and Storm, dad!). This means I can finally walk around naked for most of the day, and leave all the lights on that I please. I’m paying the electricity bill, so YES, I can afford the softly-lit-kitchen mood lighting! SCORE!

Okay, well...it'll look nicer soon, I swear.

Okay, well…it’ll look softly-lit soon, I swear.

Jorge and I are no strangers to occupying (and then un-occupying) homes and apartments for lengths of time. We’ve flitted between homes in Valparaiso, Chile, Lima, Peru and Cusco, Peru. And between them all, we’ve run the gamut of living spaces—from mini-apartments with about 300 square feet, to multi-bedroom houses with wood floors. This will be our first American home, and the differences are enormous.

Here’s why: there’s this little nagging gnat called a wedding registry that’s been buzzing around my head since the second we announced we’d be getting married. Most people look either shocked or totally relieved when I say we don’t have one. Others give me a knowing smirk, to tell me Yeah, I expected that. It’s not that we’re opposed to receiving help around our wedding time. It’s just that, accumulating lots of shit doesn’t help us right now.

We do need shit, though—don’t get me wrong. We need things to put in our house, and our kitchen, and our bathrooms, etc. We need those basics like a bed and a dining room table and toilet paper and a slightly inaccurate map of the world that makes Russia look like the largest mass of land on the globe. But all of those things were provided for when we moved into the house. Seriously—we amassed an entire house of necessary shit before we even moved in, and it all came from friends and family, or those friends and family knowing someone else who was giving away said thing for free, etc.

So between the generosity of friends, family, and strangers giving away their own STUFF that they didn’t want anymore (nothing purchased new, minus silverware and plates), we were able to outfit the entire house.

Majority of these things were lent or gifted. Imagine that!

Majority of these things were lent or gifted. Imagine that!

Talk about feeling blessed.

At the same time, it’s been hard. Because a couple years ago, I gave away all my STUFF (or most of it, at least). Having lived out of my backpack for the past couple of years, it’s been slightly upsetting to watch my possession count swell. To see that my backpack can be filled and emptied several times before the entire load is moved from one house to the next.

So this is why we will be asking for no gifts from our general public when the reception invites are sent out (which should be this week!). Wedding and reception gift-giving is about helping the new couple get on their feet, and it’s a lovely tradition that I have seen put into practice in an astounding way.

Without the directed and invested support from my family and friends, this type of move-to-the-USA-and-rent-a-house undertaking would be impossible. But part of the glory has been that we receive the help where we need it most—in cash, or used furniture, or assistance with our reception planning and wedding make up, or frequent runs between Dad’s house and New House to bring all those hangers I forgot, or a special trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond to pick out my first (and probably last) set of silverware, and on, and on.

I’m not interested in combing through fifteen million objects at the local stores only to receive a bunch of hand towels and cutesy spoon rests that I don’t actually need.

That’s just a waste of our time, and the thought of showing up at Target or Penny’s and saying the words “I’m here to start a wedding registry” makes my skin crawl.

But that’s just me—because in our particular instance, we received a LOT of objects and items either on loan or gifted. And I cannot repeat it enough: I feel so, incredibly, stupidly, otherworldly blessed. And frankly, it’s not that important to me that my hand towels match a purported kitchen décor. Though I do admire houses that have a discernable decoration theme and demonstrate a lot of attention to those details.

Living in a house with three bedrooms isn’t directly contrary to the backpacker philosophy, even though we can’t pack all this stuff into one literal backpack. After all, we use these things every place we go—whether it’s Peru or Argentina or India, etc. Even though it feels like a weight with each new thing that enters our house, I remind myself that as long as I own the stuff and the stuff doesn’t own me, everything will be fine.

Not getting too attached to objects was one of the reasons I moved abroad in the first place. I wanted to sever those emotional ties.

Now I’ve got a pretty great chance to find out whether that lesson has been learned.

Post-Wedding Questions (Wedding Woes & Wonders Pt. 3)

I’ve been married for a week and two days–my personal (and only) record. Through the flurry of well-wishing and good tidings Jorge and I have received, one question rises above all the rest.

How do you feel now?

As a human being, throughout my bony structures and my intestinal functions, I feel exactly the same. Maybe even a little bit better, because that pre-wedding stress has disappeared, and my memory has improved (I can even remember plans I’ve made within a few days of making them again!).

But in my innards, in my soft spirit space? I feel buoyed by all the people sending notes, cards, and leaving comments for us. I feel completely and utterly overwhelmed by the amount of people in our lives that are able to share our joy. I feel so stupidly LUCKY to have so much support and happiness in my life; and it’s a sort of feeling that I don’t know if I even deserve, can only sit back and give thanks.

I feel a shit ton of gratitude that cannot be properly contained in a thank-you card.

I feel a little dizzy from all the recent happenings, from all the heartfelt sentiments coming from all corners of the globe.

And I feel pretty pumped for the rest of the moments that are yet to come.

The other question I’ve been getting lately: So what’s your new last name?

When I repeat my real last name in response, there’s usually a laugh and a disbelieving ‘Really?’. The fact that this surprises people surprises ME.

I haven’t changed my last name because I never intended to give away my identity, the name-identity I’ve held my entire life. It’s more than just being comfortable with it (which is also a big part of it for me). I am building a career around this name, and I don’t see a need to change it to represent a marriage that is real regardless of my surname.

I’ve been called by this name my whole life. Why should that change now?

People can call me by Jorge’s last name; that’s fine. I won’t be offended if someone makes the assumption that I took my husband’s last name. I’ll probably giggle and repeat it, because it’s cute and I love him and I often doodle his full name in the margins of my notebooks even as I near age 30. (Really, the name I’d prefer to go by, if you’re interested in knowing, is Mrs. Horgles. But I won’t be legally changing anything in that vein.)

I did ask Jorge if he’d like to take my last name, since I briefly considering changing my last name if he were into it too–like both of us adopting BOTH last names. But it didn’t appeal to him either. Our kids will have both our last names, which makes sense to me. They are born of both of us. But I didn’t come from Jorge, no matter how much I try to make my way inside his body via gnawing or burrowing.

He just takes it, too. Photo Credit: Fenna Blue

He just takes it, too. Photo Credit: Fenna Blue

I respect people who choose to take the name of their husband, or vice versa. I think it’s a symbolic way to represent a family unit. But for Jorge and I? We don’t need our surnames to do that sort of legwork. We’ve already got it covered, via our actual marriage, and our relics, and our altar full of representations of our family unit in the form of tiny sewn families from Peru.

There are a lot of different reasons that women do or don’t change their last names after marriage, as this Mic article explains. It references a 2010 Basic and Applied Psychology study that concluded women who change their last names are seen as “more caring, dependent and emotional”, while those who don’t change their last names are seen as “smarter and more ambitious”. As the article asks, how should a woman choose?

I don’t know if those findings would be necessarily true if I were to ask a random sample of people at the local mall, but what I DO know is that I don’t like the amount of stress and fretting surrounding details like changing a name-identity while men do not have to ‘deal with it’, per se.

Also, hell if I’m going to renew my passport, my driver’s license, every single credit and banking card, my lease, my utilities accounts, every online account ever conceived of, my work email signature, my work EMAIL ADDRESSES, and a million other things I can’t even fathom right now just to reflect a different last name if my partner doesn’t have to go through the same damn thing.

Equality, people.

[Here’s another piece from Bustle.com interviewing 27 women about why they didn’t change their last names.]

With This Relic, I Thee Wed!

On August 18th, 2015, Jorge and I TIED THE KNOT!

We kept it small and intimate, and a little inconvenient: business hours on a Tuesday afternoon! Just to, you know, see who really loved us by calling off work. Just kidding! 

Being that I’m the Astromaid, I delight in the inappropriate, zany details that comprise the periphery of daily living. And some of the highlights of this event were the following:

  • The wedding was in the municipal courthouse, and in order to “check in” for the wedding, I had to go to the office labeled “Criminal/Traffic Division”. Romantic!
  • Our wedding was inserted between totally normal, daily proceedings. So when we walked into the courtroom for our wedding, several pairs of unfamiliar eyes stared back at Jorge and I–and my friends and family were nowhere to be found. These people must have been waiting for their own hearings, or verdicts, or whatever, and had to go through my wedding before they could wrap up their own business! Sorry guys, just a quick wedding to perform!
  • The judge not only was a total jokester badass, he also spoke Spanish. But the wedding would be performed in English, so I made sure to translate the whole set of vows just so my future husband knew what he was getting himself into.
  • The backdrops of the courthouse were sometimes hilarious, and also informational. My favorite was posing near the poster advertising the physical effects of abusing heroin. It’s a courthouse wedding, you guys!

As Jorge and I were running over the vows in the judge’s chambers, I noticed the part that reads With this ring, I thee wed. We opted to not purchase or exchange rings, since its a tradition that doesn’t resonate with us very much. If we do ever decide to do rings someday, it will be jewelry that we find somewhere in the world, some day–and not just some bands we pick up because tradition dictates.

Instead of rings, we brought two pre-Incan statues that we picked up in Lima, Peru over a year ago. They spoke to us because its a male/female duo that were used in actual wedding/religious ceremonies, and used to hold the coka leaves mixed with whatever powder, to be consumed throughout the ceremony. Both the husband and wife would attach the figurine to their clothing or belts, so they could partake in coka leaves throughout the procession of the wedding celebrations.

A year ago, we knew we were life partners, and purchased these as a token of our commitment. It was fitting to use these instead of rings on Tuesday.

Pointing at the infamous line, I asked the judge if he could change the world ring to relic. He shrugged, unfazed. “Sure, why not?”

As 1,100 times before, a couple was wed during business hours, in the presence of friends and family and complete strangers waiting for their court date. But maybe for the first time in Ohio history, the deal was sealed with two small pre-Incan relics as a symbol of our love and commitment.

“With this relic, I thee wed!”

We're married!

We’re married! Where are our relics? Jorge must have pocketed them. But that’s the marriage license in my hand! Judge Erich O’Brien waves himself off the stage, like the rock star he is.

A Non-Traditional Dress, A Very Traditional Meltdown: Wedding Woes & Wonders Pt. 2

Let’s get one thing straight: I’ve spent about 25 years of my almost 30 years on Earth expecting to not get married.

It’s not that I have anything wrong with lifelong commitments, partnerships, or any manner of family-rearing. I’m totally down with all those things. But the pomp and circumstance of weddings? The hullabaloo that is the dress hunt, the mile-long registries, the nail-biting adherence to tradition?

No, thank you!

Approaching my own wedding has been, to say the least, a difficult process of figuring out what I do want and why. With every new decision and task, I have to consult my gut. And often times it rumbles its disapproval with the potency of a Ren & Stimpy episode.

One of the things that I knew would not be happening for my wedding was the ubiquitous white dress. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to hear that I’ve never, not even once, dreamt about what dress I would wear at my wedding. I did once imagine what a pleasing dress might look like, because around age 14 I thought my ambivalence about the whole thing was disconcerting, and the only thing I could think of was ‘strapless’. Good try, 14-year-old Astromaid.

Not-White was a good starting point for this hunt, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough. A couple of my best girls and I set two dates to scour the environs, to begin getting ideas. Because no matter how much I thought it could still fit under the umbrella of ‘non-traditional’, I knew leggings were out of the question for this event (I mean, seriously, I can wear something other than leggings at least 1% of the year, and especially for my own wedding).

Secretly, though, I was hoping they would find the perfect dress for me and I would only have to give one convincing, emphatic nod. And preferably that it would be the first dress we found.

The first scouring took place at our local mall, which had a dismal selection. I put on a total of one dress and needed two of my friends to get out of it. Score.

The next scouring took place at a larger mall about 45 minutes from my house. The selection was larger, but not quite as formal as what I thought I might want.

What I thought I might want. I still didn’t know what I wanted, at all, and tried on anything that remotely caught my attention. Some of the options I loved, but were totally not for a wedding; and other things looked like I was trying to be my own flower girl (which, hey, would be cool. And perfectly non-traditional).

Not exactly the best option for a wedding ceremony...but really freaking cute nonetheless.

Not exactly the best option for a wedding ceremony…but really freaking cute nonetheless. ALSO HEINOUSLY EXPENSIVE (the belt alone was $50).

We realized, after fingering far too many flimsy blouses at H&M and Anthropologie, that we might need to go to a place dedicated to formal wear. So off to David’s Bridal, the number one place I had been hoping to avoid.

Let me be clear: David’s Bridal is very good at what it does. The shudder I experienced when signing into the bridal registry had nothing to do with their business plan, and everything to do with my own disgruntledness with the wedding industry. When they asked me who the bride was and I felt my lower intestine try to strangle itself, it had less to do with the perky and helpful employee Taylor and more to do with my own skin-crawling aversion to being labeled ‘a bride’.

The whole place is set up to honor and uplift brides preparing for their big day. And that’s cool—if you’re into playing the wedding game. I know a lot of women who love this sort of thing, and I respect that. But I’m not someone who wants to play the game, not even for a second.

So I beelined it to the bridesmaid section. The store only had three non-white wedding dresses, which all had trains. What even is that for? I could google it, but more importantly, I know I don’t want it. Taylor helpfully collected the dresses I selected and started a dressing room for me. Soon, I had about five options and went to dutifully present them to my friends on what was a literal stage.

A fucking stage. Because this is our chance to be the belle of the ball, a princess for a day. But I’m an astronaut mermaid! I hide in the depths of the sea or the soundless oblivion of outer space. I am really not okay with so much attention. And this became piercingly clear to me when, from inside the cheery stall of my dressing room, shimmying into a sequined gold floor-length dress that might have come from the Mother of The Bride section, I heard a bell ring…a few screams of surprise…and then applause.

One of the other girls in the store had made her selection. SHE FOUND THE DRESS!

My stomach catapulted and I growled through the door at my friends outside.

“If they ring that bell for me,” I told them, “We are walking the fuck out of here.”

I was surprised by my own vehemence, and I admitted to my girlfriends later that I would be unpacking these feelings for a while. Good thing I have a blog, huh?

It’s not that I disagree with looking pretty for a day, or dressing nicely for a special occasion. It doesn’t bother me that other women go the traditional white dress route. Plenty of brides make choices that are different than mine, and that’s totally fine.

So what is it?

I thought about this as I grunted and shimmied into my remaining options. Most were immediate No’s. I tried on one regular wedding dress, for shits and giggles. I felt so weird.

IMG_8081

Strapless. Just like the 14-year-old me would have wanted.

And then the last dress was the one. I knew, because my friends made that “ooooh!” noise when I came out onto the freaking stage. As I admired the plunging backline and the perfect shade of mossy pink, I knew this dress would work just fine.

No bell was rung. I didn’t even make a purchase that day, since the dress I tried on was just a bit small, and my proper size was located in a different store. So I was able to slink out of there without any overzealous bride-to-be harassment—I mean, uh…celebration.

There it is.

There it is.

A few days later, I called the store that had my size and ordered it. A regular transaction like any other person. Which, after that full day of intense bridecitement raining upon me from the World At-Large, I desperately needed a respite.

Dress ordered. Purchase made. One more detail taken care of. I was sitting pretty, able to breathe a little easier now that the looming detail of the Wedding Garment was taken care of.

The dress arrived a few days later in a box that was comically beaten up. I hung it on my bedroom door, inspecting it, re-familiarizing myself with it since our last meeting.

A few hours went by, the dress in the back of my mind as I continued with my work day. I don’t know what the shift was, or why it happened. But somewhere between the dress’ arrival and later that afternoon, I became completely convinced that I had made the hugest mistake of my life.

I furiously googled “non-traditional wedding dresses”, something I hadn’t done previously because I felt secure with finding something I wanted on my own. But now? Now I had no idea what I was doing. And all these dresses were white,  or mostly white with a little bit of a different color. I even googled “courthouse weddings” to scope what other non-traditional brides were wearing—and they were wearing long traditional dresses, or short white dresses, or short red dresses that I definitely wouldn’t pick.

Hey guys, just here for my non-traditional courthouse wedding. [Photo Credit: www.austinweddingday.com]

Hey guys, just here for my non-traditional courthouse wedding. [Photo Credit: www.austinweddingday.com]

And the doubt crept in. I thought, Holy hell I really messed this one up. I should have gotten a short dress. I should have gotten white, because maybe I really do want white now. And look at all these courthouse weddings in short dresses! You’re gonna look like a freak showing up in pink, much less a floor-length dress, in the middle of August. What were you thinking?? ABORT. ABORT.

At this point, I had about two weeks until the ceremony date and not a lot of free time to go dress-hunting again. So I thought I might google a dress, find something online, and hope that a totally new dress that I couldn’t try on prior to my ceremony day would work out perfectly. Yeah, great idea.

I searched for two full hours, stress mounting with each new website that originated in China. Nothing I even remotely wanted in my price range could arrive by the ceremony date, and the pressure to find this sudden, elusive perfect dress was like an ogre breathing down my neck. I reluctantly tore myself away from the computer to go pick up Jorge from work, and I cried the entire car ride there.

And then I cried the whole car ride to drop him off at this next job. I JUST WANT TO LOOK NICE, I wailed to him.

And then I cried more on my way home.

Jorge was a champ; he took it all in stride, and reminded me that whatever I wore for the ceremony was fine (even leggings). When I got home, I consulted some of my best friends on the issue.

I THOUGHT I WOULD BE IMMUNE TO THE DRESS CRAZE, I texted my best friend and honorary maid of honor, Becky, during a binge session of Google Shop and hummus with pita chips. I EVEN CRIED ABOUT IT. WHY IS THIS SUCH A BIG DEAL?

Because this is a preeeeetty big event in your life, she gently reminded me. I felt better after that. I really had thought that my non-traditional approach to planning a ceremony and reception would somehow exclude me from stress or confusion…especially of the dress variety.

But as it turns out, stress and anxiety aren’t linked to only white things. And after a few hours I felt less like a dress-doubting maniac, aided by the fact that I had settled on the dress for my reception with the help of both Brian and Jorge. I knew it might not arrive to my house in time for the ceremony itself, but either way it was one more item off the to-do list for the reception itself. Clicking ‘Purchase’ makes a lady feel good, even if she hasn’t tried the damn thing on.

The next day I woke up, bright and early as always. I looked again at the pink dress in the bright light of the morning, appraising it with fresh eyes and a clear head. I couldn’t identify at all with the stress and clamor of the day before. It felt like a dream, or perhaps a slightly lame edition of Say Yes To The Dress; and as I fingered the lacy pink bodice, I thought…Eh, it’s not so bad. This dress is perfectly fine.

Nobody rang a bell; I’m not wearing white; and I sure as hell dodged the bride moniker as much as possible. But that doesn’t mean I don’t qualify for my very own bride-to-be meltdown before the courthouse wedding day!

On the next edition of Wedding Woes & Wonders: What’s your problem with the wedding industry, anyway?

An Affair in Two Hemispheres: Wedding Woes & Wonders Pt. 1

Q: Where does an astronaut mermaid celebrate her wedding? In the deep azure sea, or in the twinkling reaches of outer space?

A: BOTH!

I’m going to be writing for a while about some of the aspects of the wedding industry, the way they make my gut grumble, and some of the more traditional aspects of our non-traditional approach. Something of a Wedding Series, if you will, but without the majority of the trappings of regular wedding stuff, like, you know…the engagement party, the wedding shower, the wedding party, the registries, the religious ceremony, the ring exchange, or the white wedding dress.

OK, that sounds like the bulk of what constitutes a wedding, but I swear we are actually doing some traditional things. Though, now that I think about it, the only traditional part might just be the marriage itself.

At any rate, I want to share our plan with you. And in a nutshell (or, in my case, a helmet), we’re going to be doing the deed, and doing it DOUBLE!

Both countries, both families, two very distinct and totally awesome celebrations.

Wedding Meme

The unfortunate truth is that our worlds are very far apart. The flight between Miami, FL and Santiago, Chile (a convenient airport to getting to Jorge’s homeland) is 8 hours alone. That’s not counting the additional flights between FL an OH, the layovers, the furtive Cuban empanadas consumed, nor the various ceremonies and magical spells needed to ensure all flights arrive on time.

Furthermore, it’s hard to travel so far. Not everyone is cut out for it. International travel involves a lot of preparation and a lot of MONEY. Most of Jorge’s family hasn’t been on a plane before, and arranging an endeavor of that nature would be extremely stressful. Some of his family members get anxious just thinking about a plane. It wouldn’t be fair to have only one celebration in one country. So we must have two!

But first thing’s first: Jorge and I are going to have a small courthouse ceremony this month to get the show on the road. Then in December, we’re going to throw a big bash in Ohio for all the friends and family that can make it.

In February, Jorge and I will be in Argentina to tie the knot over there the same way we did here, with an intimate civil thing. Days later, we’ll have a big party (in high summer, no less!) with all of his friends and family down there.

We both wish that it were more feasible to bring both sides together for one roaring celebration. Maybe if it were a matter of bus rides instead of plane rides, it could work out. Jorge’s mother so wants to meet my parents, but I’m not sure that will be a possibility. And it breaks my heart that our parents might never meet in their lifetimes.

These are some of the difficulties of finding your love in a different hemisphere. Will our families ever know one another? Can our friends hang out? Will our two communities ever have a chance to meet?

The answer is, unfortunately, probably not. Maybe here and there friends can visit, but on a larger scale, our worlds might remain firmly separated. If the flight prices weren’t exclusionary enough, the fact that all of his Argentinian friends and family would need to apply for a tourist visa makes the endeavor even less likely. If it goes anything like Jorge’s experience, they’ll be rejected, and flush both time and money down the drain via embassy appointments and paying the application fee various times until the approval comes through.

All money aside, it’s much easier for North Americans to visit Argentina than for Argentinians to visit the U.S.A. And that tiny detail packs a huge punch. It might mean that nobody ever comes up here to visit. And I can totally understand why.

These are the realities of an international relationship. When we are one place, we miss the other. When we are with one family, there is another family wishing we were with them. And when we are marrying in the north, there is a marriage waiting for us down south.

Despite the difficulties, we are literally trembling with excitement for all the celebrating that awaits us. There will be nuptials; there will be a reception on Lake Erie; there will be a Pan-American buffet (more details on the Ohio-side planning later); there will be a group trip to Argentina; there will be every manner of gaucho meat options; and there will be two marriage ceremonies in two countries. (I can’t wait to report back about the differences in bureaucracy!)

When we marry, not only will we forge friendship between two nations, our flags will also dreamily melt into one.

When we marry, not only will we forge friendship between two nations, our flags will also dreamily melt into one.

Next time on the Astromaid Wedding Woes & Wonders: The Dress!

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