19 April 2016

Our Wedding pt.2: The Ceremony

"Everything I know, I know because of love."
 Leo Tolstoy
Lisa Horan

When the guests began to come into the venue, the bridal party and I watched from the balcony, half-hiding, half waving excitedly as I saw my friends and family come in dressed to the nines. People were getting drinks, laughing, greeting one another and Ben and I began to feel the nerves. My older cousins, whose daughters were our flower girls, tried to counsel me, but the butterflies were very real. As the guests began to disappear into the doors of the ceremony space, I really began to feel it. This was happening. I was about to be vulnerable and exposed in my love in front of everyone I knew. A quiet fell over the bridal party as we all began to realize the gravity and symbolism of what we were about to do. Hugs were had and then they walked down the stairs and took their places at the altar. 

And then my dad came up the stairs and I burst into happy tears, feeling suddenly comforted that my first love was there for me. He tried to tell me some gross dad jokes, but I was in the zone. April Come She Will by Simon and Garfunkel began to play and down my flower girls went... and a glacial pace. It was a little charming watching them each place their flower petals on the floor and at some point I whispered to my dad, "we need to just go, the song will be over soon!" and down we went. 

It was all surreal. Everyone was smiling and I wanted to reach out and grab everyone. Some people I hadn't seen in years and now they were here nodding me forward. It was nerve racking and magical all at once. I've never felt anything like it.... like gleeful stage fright. When we reached the end of the aisle, my dad gave me a huge hug, whispered "You'll always be my daughter" and then hugged Ben. We stood across from each other with our dearest friend in between who greeted the crowd and began his sermon. 

He spoke about a saying they have in India (his motherland) about the beauty of the moon being in it's spotty imperfections. The craters that make it unique and mystical. That our love was like the moon- flawed and imperfect, but beautiful and magical. My brother followed and read the lyrics of my favorite song, "This Must Be the Place" by The Talking Heads and it was magic. It was a little unconventional but those lyrics have always spoken to my heart and I was so happy to hear them read out loud. 

Ben's vows were written the morning of and were slightly off the cuff, but broke the room's heart all the same. He promised to love, to like, to support, to encourage me. I stood shaking and crying and with more love in my heart than I have ever felt. 

I went next and quoted my favorite line, "Everything I know, I know because of love." I then explained that everything I knew was because of my love for Ben. He had challenged my world views, pushed me to try new things and explore new places. He asked me deep, hard questions. He showed me brave, new worlds. I told him I was blessed that I had found him and that I was honored that he had chose me. That there were years of my life when I felt broken and lost and wondered if I would ever make sense of things and that when we found each other I knew I was home. 

We then performed a wine and love letter box ceremony, rings were exchanged, traditional "I do's" were said and then the power invested in Aman from the Universal Life Church dot com, we were married. The room erupted into applause, Ben and I kissed and then we walked hand-in-hand down the aisle as husband and wife. 

Part three to come...

13 April 2016

Our Wedding pt.1: Pre-Ceremony

Intense, magic, anxiety. 

We were married on a crisp, blue Chicago spring day. I wore a lacy Truvelle dress and Ben wore a sharp, black tux from TopMan. Our best friend from college boarded a plane from Myanmar the week before and travelled more than half way across the world to stand between us and deliver a sermon about our love and the nature of relationships. Our friends, an eclectic group of artists and dreamers and travelers and researchers, came from all over America to join us. It was the most incredible feeling to walk down an aisle and every face smiling at you is one that you genuinely love.

Our wedding was a true labor of love. I poured my heart and soul and brain into the thing. Everything was planned by me. My wonderful mother and Ben contributed and my best friend and bridesmaid Cori assisted with the arts and crafts, but the vision was mine and it was an incredible thing to see it take flight and become it's own living, breathing event. People came. The cupcakes were set up. The DJ played all the right songs. Things that Ben and I had discussed for years actually happened.

And we actually got married. We are legally one another's. Ever mine. Ever thine. I want to burst into tears just writing that. Even after all these years...after all our adventures, our fights, our failures and our accomplishments. Even after we know all each other's stories, all each other's jokes. Even after all our friends have become mutual. After our lives are no longer two roads but actually just one. We still love each other. I still want to cry thinking about how much I love Ben Coonan.

There are a lot of pictures and I'll have to post them over a few days, but here they are. They were taken by Christian Gideon who I have nothing but amazing things to say about. He was able to capture all the special, quiet, moody moments of the day and that is not something most wedding photographers are able to do. Check out his site, he's a special guy.

And now I present you with our wedding!

My best friend for twenty years

Part two to come...

20 January 2016

SWPT Bridal

Hello all!

I have the most exciting announcement and I just had to come over here and tell my 
Les Jour Contents family!

I am opening an online vintage bridal boutique!

Owning my own store, working with clothes, working in the bridal industry, all of these things have been dreams of mine and it's insane that I have finally taken the leap and built up an inventory, purchased a website, and filled out something called an LLC which I am assured that I do need have. It's been a whirlwind filled with times of total doubt and equal times certainity. There have been a million Pinterest boards made, Google Docs shared, and Trader Joe's pizzas consumed in the name of stress-research. 

As you know, Ben and I have been engaged for what feels like two hundred years (jk we're getting married in two months, WHAT?! Remember when we'd just moved to Russia?!) As we went through our wedding planning process there were some things I noticed about "bridal world" that didn't quite sit right with me. I wanted to be working with people my own age, I wanted there to be more emotions (besides the joyful, blushing bride ones), and more conversation about the insane decision some of us make to join our lives with someone else. I wanted to feel like there were girls like me out there, totally in love, fearless and freaked out all at the same time. I wanted to have a wedding that was a celebration of love, but wasn't pretending to be something it's not. 

When I began SWPT, I was determined to do just that. Not only do I want to scour the depths of southern Craigslist ads and ferociously bid on eBay listings into the night, but also to provide my dresses with personalities. I wanted to let my fellow brides out there know that love is not a perfect thing and marriage is even further from it. Be SWPT up into all the messy passion of love. But on a dress that's you and march down that aisle, that dirt trail, the rug in the courthouse. 

So I started buying dresses. And then I bought a steamer. And then I learned how to use that steamer. And then I got business cards and a website. I poured myself into every part of this. I know this is all a bit rambly, but since you are my people I feel like I can be candid. 

Please check out my website: 
//Instagram (I am looking for love story submissions, check out the ones already up and send me yours!)
//Etsy (coming February 2016!)

Thank you to everyone who still reads this blog, for following me all around the internet. I feel like I'm telling a really friend about this. Thank you for being that for me. 

I hope to see you over at SWPT. I think once it gets going I'll be doing a little blogging over there as well!

love always, 

I just wanted to share one of my favorite features of SWPT and that is our love stories. Send me your quick blurb about the actual moment you knew they were the one and then you'll get instagram famous (jk won't help at all, but do it anyway!). Here are two real life rockstars in my life sharing theirs:

Send me your stories, your thoughts, your feelings I want to hear it ALL!

06 December 2015

Penelope Pumpkin

Ben and I have had so many exciting changes in our lives lately that it feels overwhelming to try and sit and write it all. Ben got a great new job and we moved into our favorite neighborhood in the city. I have a really exciting and potentially life changing creative endeavor that I have undertaken and I can't wait to share it all over the internet.

But the absolute most important and biggest change to our lives is that we got a tiny kitten named Penelope (but we call her Penny)! She is a white-gray Persian and she has just brought so much joy to our lives.

We've been talking about getting a pet for years, but since we were in Moscow, it felt near impossible. Though the urge was there, dealing with pet passports and quarantines and foreign medical bills was just too overwhelming. When we came home we started the conversation again, but it was usually centered around dogs because
1. I grew up with dogs and always assumed I would get one
2. I've never really been fond of any cat I've met (they hide under the bed all day/they don't reaaaally love you, etc.)
3. I'm kind of allergic to cats

However, it's really hard to get a dog if you live in an apartment or work all day, both being true in our lives. Neither of us could give a dog the kind of attention we would like to, so everything seemed off the table until I started warming up to the idea of a cat.

I began to do some research about cat allergies, different breeds and their attributing personality traits and really like what I had to read about Persians in particular. They are very social cats who crave being around their owners and aren't as... potentially destructive as other cats (i.e. climbing on counters, knocking stuff over). So I started looking on craigslist for people with Persian litters and we found one out in the country of Illinois! So on Halloween we drove a couple of hours to a Culvers on the side of a highway and picked up our sweet baby Penny.

I don't even know what to say about this cat- she is just the joy of our lives. She has completely renewed our energy. She is playful and loving and curious and as sweet as can be. She loves being around us and is always curled up near. We tried to encourage her to sleep outside of our room, but she would cry (and really, it was CRYING... for like, hours) so now she sleeps in between us like the princess that she is.

It's been a wonderful thing having her in our home. I'm so grateful for her and all the lessons of love and patience she's helped me learn.

Cat overload pictures ahead (what?? How am I a person who even types stuff like that?)

When we attempted to train her to sleep in the other room. How adorable is she, seriously?

And now that we've had her for a little bit more than a month, we're ready to try and start curbing some of her bad kitty behaviors (scratching, lightly biting when she's excited). Tell me all of your cat tips and tricks!

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