Wedding Wrap-Up, Part 1

September 14, 2011

Exceptions (Or, One Month of Justifying Purchases with “It’s for the Wedding”; Or, Enjoying an Influx of Generosity)

Aside from the occasional rain shower on party day, Wedding Weekend 2011 went off without a hitch. The ceremony was short, sweet, and included a surprise guest—Channing’s brother Chip (we thought he was flying in from Austin later that evening). Our first dinner as newlyweds, at the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm four hours after the ceremony, was pretty darn amazing. On Friday we had brunch with Channing’s family, caught up on some in-theater movie viewing, and attended a cookout with my family. And then, of course, there was the party—but I’ll cover that in part 2.

First, the exceptions: I’ve already confessed to buying the wedding band and the invitations. I’m hoping to avoid buying thank-you cards. Channing claims he has “seventeen thousand” notecards lying around here somewhere. If he doesn’t, I think we’ll create our own thank-you postcards with the card stock I have among my crafting supplies.

Despite my new aunt-in-law’s generous offer of fresh lilies and black-eyed Susans from her garden, I ended up buying a few organic bouquets from Potomac Vegetable Farms. Actually, Channing bought my wedding-day bouquet from the PVF farm stand when he went to pick up our CSA share for the week, and I picked up flowers for the party at the PVF booth at the Reston farmers market on Saturday morning. Talk about convenient! Plus, my cousin Paige, an expert florist, did our flower arranging, using vases my parents had stored in their garage.

Among the unexpected exceptions were a pair of bridal flip-flops, a gift from my friend Nan. My witness, Sarah, took some great photos of Channing and me on our wedding day, and I had a couple shots printed to display at the party (in frames from my personal collection). I bought four bottles of citronella spray to help party guests fend off mosquitoes (my dad also rented fans for this purpose). And, last but certainly not least (on the guilt-o-meter, I mean), I purchased some makeup.

Makeup! I wear very little makeup, and in December, when Helene, Melissa, and I met to set the rules for the Experiment, I was adamant about not including makeup on the essential toiletries list. But then, after receiving some generous gift certificates from the new in-laws, I found myself in the Red Door Spa for a facial. After the facial, I was offered a complimentary makeup refresher, during which their in-house makeup expert convinced me (with very little prodding, I might add) to buy some eye shadow along with some “primer” for my eyelids. Who knew they had such a thing? I’m such a sucker.

Then there were the gifts. As I’ve mentioned before, Channing and I decided not to register, even though people had us convinced that not registering would prompt a deluge of unwanted stuff from our well-meaning wedding guests. Happily for me, these people were wrong. In fact, very few of our wedding gifts fell into the “stuff” category. I received some (awesome) bike gear and the greatest pair of sunglasses ever, and together Channing and I accepted a few household items, like a photo album and a glass cake stand and dome. Oh, we also received a super sleek and handy compost pail, which is going to cut down our food waste so much that I hate to even list it among the “stuff.” And that’s pretty much it.

In the “redeemable for stuff” category, we received a couple gift cards for Target and Crate and Barrel. I figured we could just hold off on using them until 2012, maybe after we’ve moved into whatever house we end up purchasing. Channing disagreed. He ran out to Target without me a couple Fridays ago because he thought we desperately needed a copy of It’s Complicated on DVD for the home library. (It turns out he was right—we’ve already watched it twice.)

The majority of the gifts we received were generous donations to the Kimmelhorn Townhouse Fund (thank you!). Some folks gave food or beverage gifts, donations in our names to charitable organizations, and movie theater passes. And, lastly, there were the homemade gems: a homegrown garlic bulb (yum!), a photo on canvas, and a mini antique chest of drawers filled with date ideas, quotes, and cash for our first year of marriage. I love the creativity.

We’re pretty lucky to have such loving, caring, munificent friends and family. I certainly did not expect this outpouring of generosity. I was actually naive enough to think people would forgo the gift-giving custom; I did, after all, tell more than one guest that I wasn’t interested in gifts. To be frank, I was overwhelmed—in a good way, of course. And I appreciate everyone coming here to celebrate with us so very much. More about the celebration—and the food, bev, and venue in particular—to come on Friday.

Finally, for the record, despite the abovementioned brazen violations of the original rules of the No Stuff Experiment and despite my husband’s best efforts to dissuade me, I have been sticking to my guns since August 7. For Mom’s birthday last month, the two of us went to the movies and out for ice cream cones. I sated my back-to-school clothes shopping urge with an impromptu stop at a new consignment shop in Fairfax. I’ve become so dependent on the surprise and excitement of my weekly CSA share that I braved flooded parking lots and highways and three hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic in an attempt to reach the farm last Thursday (the farm, by the way, is about five miles from my house and office). I’m still commuting on foot and by bike as often as possible, and since the wedding, I’ve been appreciating the quiet and fun that just happen when my mind and schedule are open.

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