Thursday, December 27, 2012

all I want this Christmas...

This was published in the Christian Science Monitor on December 22nd, and it's specifically about the kids in Newtown, Connecticut, but I think it goes further than that. 

We could all use a little bit more of innocence these days. And no, innocence does not equal ignorance. Ignorance is lack - lack of information, of knowledge, of understanding or wanting to understand, of empathy. Innocence is full; full of hope, and a faith in ourselves, in others, and in this world that rings clear and true. It is a firm belief that despite the darkness that feels as if it is growing, it is always light that is winning.

May the holidays - and the upcoming year - restore your innocence and cause it to light a fire that burns in your heart all year long.

- Tracy

Thursday, December 13, 2012

weddings! pictures! videos! details! exclamation marks!

I know that some of you really wanted to see some wedding pictures, but I kept thinking to myself, really? REALLY? Maybe it's because I'm selfish, or because I have the attention span of a breath mint, or because I find it hard to get emotionally invested in the photos of people I don't really know very well, but I was pretty sure you guys wouldn't actually enjoy sifting through a bunch of  wedding photos (to be honest, I didn't either. It took a week and a lot of tea to get me through.) So in the spirit of brevity and being aware of the fact that most of you guys have about 2 minutes per blog post, I decided to use the Vimeo video that our photographer, Tanya, put together for us - lots of great photos, plus some footage of Benni and myself dancing like the super dorks that we are, all in about three minutes, so it doesn't suck up too much of your day. I'll also fill you guys in our wedding theme and how the day went down, for you detail-oriented addicts. Sit back and grab some tea!

Tracy and Benni from Tanya Giang on Vimeo.

We ended up making the theme of our wedding Children's Books - it's what we read to each other at night when we first started dating long distance, with Benni being in New York and me in LA. Benni first read The Phantom Tollbooth to me when he found out that I was a terrible sleeper, and to reciprocate I read Where the Sidewalk Ends to him, and then it just sort of blossomed from there. So at our wedding we had ten tables for our guests:  The Phantom Tollbooth, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Where the Wild Things Are, Bunnicula, Alice in Wonderland, Goodnight Moon, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Cat in the Hat, Danny the Champion of the World, and A Wrinkle in Time. We made the favors separately for each table - we found white matchboxes that slide open, so we printed up miniature book covers, glued them onto the matchboxes, glued magnetic strips onto the back, and then filled them with magnetic poetry so people could have tiny little miniature books - corresponding to what book their table was themed - on their fridge.

Our wedding was at a vineyard in Simi Valley - we got married in the vineyard's garden, under a white gazebo at the top of a set of stairs, so that everyone down below seated on the grass could see - and then our upstairs reception room was just a few feet away so that we didn't have to worry about guests getting lost or not showing up. Because our wedding was book themed, as decorations we had used books scattered around everywhere - near the food, on the steps leading up to the gazebo, etc. For our centerpieces, we stacked a couple used books and glued them together, then placed hollow books from a craft store on top of of those, and then placed square vases full of autumn-colored flowers in the middle of each table. To save money, we also purchased all of the wine ourselves and placed four bottles at each table, which was more than enough for the 8 or 9 people at each table. 

My flowers were actually paper flowers, made out of three books - Goodnight Moon, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and The Phantom Tollbooth - and they were made by an Etsy shop that specializes in making paper flowers. The woman who runs the shop was also kind enough to make a few smaller flowers for me to put in my hair, which I just glued to bobby pins. :)

We used hollow books a lot, not just for the centerpieces - a hollow "guestbook" held small paper cards that I'd made so people could sign and leave messages for us, we used a larger hollow book for any cards our guests wanted to leave us, and a tiny hollow book also held our rings, which the best man, Benni's father Joe, carried around with him all day. My best friend in the entire world walked me down the aisle. For music, we decided to go nontraditional (surprise surprise), so I walked down the aisle to "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles, and we walked down the aisle as husband and wife to "Got to Get You Into My Life", also by the Beatles. Our first dance was to the most perfect song imaginable, Ingrid Michaelson's "You and I." Because we wanted a wedding where people would actually dance, we invited everyone to join us for the last stanza of our First Dance song, then had the DJ immediately play Pink's "Raise Your Glass." It was a huge success, as was hiring a photobooth to keep the guests busy and entertained if they didn't want to dance.

My dress actually had gold leaves on it, so that tied into our colors of black, white, and gold (like book pages). I changed into a brown leather bomber jacket and brown leather boots for the reception because I like to dance (see: video of me dancing like a super dork) and I in heels. Cannot, will not, nope.

For our ceremony, we had four members of the wedding party (two bridesmaids, two groomsmen) read poems by the likes of ee cummings and Shel Silverstein, before Benni and I read vows that we'd handwritten to each other and then exchanged rings. My cousin Tom was our Officiant for the day.

The food was off-the-hook AMAZING and there was tons of it - butternut squash lasagna, garlic mashed potatoes, Filet Mignon, strawberry and feta salad - and we made it a buffet so that everyone could eat as much as they wanted and didn't have to choose between one main course or another. For dessert, we had cake pops - the baker had them sticking out of vases so they looked like flowers - as well as cheesecake bites and chocolate covered strawberries. And I surprised Benni with a Fudgey the Whale ice cream cake as his groom's cake, and the look on his face - I will never forget how happy he was. 

The whole day was incredibly awesome - just very laid back and drama free (as my friend Stacy said - "Wow, this was an asshole-less wedding! Haven't been to one of those in a while!")  and all about celebrating and partying with friends and family. No last minute freak outs or emergencies, just an amazing day celebrated with some of the most fantastic people I could ever ask for to be in my life.

I think that's about it...I could go on and on but honestly, you all would just die of boredom. So if you have any questions about a vendor because you're planning your own wedding, or you just want to know something else, just email me. I think I've tired you guys out of weddings for quite a while :)

Oh and - happy holidays. I adore you guys. 

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