I know most folks who read this journal were there, but I figure it's worth setting down some details for posterity (and for future-me, who often forgets the details).
Overall, it was a wonderful day and pretty much went just the way we wanted it to. There were hiccups, but they were all minor enough to go unnoticed. So hooray for planning! And hooray also for having lots of awesome competent people on our team that we could just delegate things to and then forget.
Aside: when we decided we were going to actually get married, I posted to eit (tep mailing list) asking for wedding advice from people who'd done it. I got a lot of really good advice; one of the best ones pointed out that one of the functions of bridesmaids and groomsmen (or groomshumans or "groomans", as we dubbed them) is delegation. And that while traditionally the maid of honor gets asked to handle a stupid amount of stuff, what's much better is to spread the jobs out really thin; put each grooman in charge of one big thing or no more than 3 small things. So we did that, and our 22 groomans did a fantastic job of taking this big machine we'd built and running with it.
Another good piece of advice was to figure out what the story of the wedding was. We thought about that for a while and decided that, seeing as how we've been together for 16 years already, what we really wanted to say to our community with this event was "thank you for your support." That actually simplified a lot of the planning and decision-making; when you approach it with the goal of putting on a great big party for all the people you love to enjoy themselves at, the answer to a lot of questions becomes "whatever the guests will enjoy the most".
Anyway, we got there early and helped a bit with setup, and then I had to forcibly tell myself "no, you cannot say hello to all the people you know because that's every person here" when it was time to go get all gussied-up. We gave Gene the grooman duty of "hang out with us and be a calming presence while we're getting ready" (a duty I found in a list online), and I thought it would be just kinda nice to have, but it turned out to be a very good idea. Having someone there to act as a valet, basically, made the gussying-up go ever so much more smoothly, and having someone to talk to when we got to the point where I was done and Jerry was braiding his beard in the bathroom kept me from getting all antsy.
Speaking of outfits, we wore ice-dyed shirts, black pants and shoes, and black suspenders. Jerry wore a black necktie and braided his beard; I wore a black bowtie (which I figured out how to tie myself, once, weeks ago, and left tied with the length adjuster undone) and curled my mustache. I also wore my silver button-covers.
After we were all ready, we went about fifty yards up the weather trail and Kevin took a few pictures of us as a couple. Because it's picture-squee. We also got some pictures in front of the lunar surface mural on the 2nd-floor hallway...
At 1-ish, we got into position, hanging out on the south-side stairs of the tree plaza.
Aside: our venue was NCAR Mesa Lab's Tree Terrace. At some point early on in the planning I mentioned it as a possibility and Jerry said "we should definitely check it out!" and I was all "ugh, but I work there," and then he got me to go look it over with him and I was reminded that, okay, yeah, I see it every day, but it's a pretty spectacular location. And as far as wedding venues go, it is incredibly low-priced. You can only rent it out if you work there, and it's for a Significant Personal Life Event, and you have to use NCAR Event Services for the catering. We thought about that, and realized it was actually a plus -- no need to pick a caterer! And I already knew they could put on a good spread from all the workshop receptions I've been to, so sure. Plus there were lots of other questions that it resolved (Will there be enough parking? Yes. Is there wifi? Yes, and I know the password. Where can we store our stuff? In my office. Etc.) so we decided on that pretty early.
So we got into position on the stairs. (The groomans all came in from the east and west stairs, so us coming in from the south stairs was supposed to be a little bit of a surprise, but lots of people spotted us hanging out, so it was only a little surprising.) And we waited for the guests to get settled and the processional music to start, and we waited, and waited, and then I realized we'd forgotten to put the pieces of paper with our speeches on them in our pockets so I RAN back into the building and took the elevator up five floors to my office and frantically pawed through my backpack to find them and grabbed the entire packet of backup printouts and RAN back to the elevator and took it back down to the ground floor and RAN back up the stairs... and then we waited for, like, ten more minutes. *whew!* (That was the closest we came to anything going seriously wrong.)
We played a techno remix of the Flower Duet from the opera Lakmé as our processional music. The groomans entered from each side, meeting in the middle, the proceeding up to the front and fanning out into a Wall-o-Groomspeople, and then when they were all in place the music swelled and the two of us entered from the back, hand in hand, and sauntered up to the front, pausing to hug our moms, etc. We had some worries about getting the timing right during rehearsal, but everybody nailed it on the day. Yay!
So then we're up there and it was, like, the wedding. The thing itself. Bryree started things off with a really lovely speech partly marriage in general but mostly us and our relationship. Then Jerry and I give little welcome and thank-you speeches. I got all choked up during mine, but got through it.
Then we had the passing of the flowers. Another good piece of advice we got (thanks, Jofish!): consider having some sort of community involvement thing. For example, a "ring warming" where you pass the two rings through the audience. We liked that idea, but with 200-some guests (200 adults + 30-some kids) that would take waaay too long. We needed to do something parallelizable. So we came up with the idea of handing out flowers to the guests and having them pass them forward during the ceremony as a symbol of love and support.
This worked really well! We ended up with six vases full of flowers standing behind the wedding party during the ceremony, plus a big vase standing between the two grooms, so all the hand-holding and stuff during the vows happened over a big spray of flower love, which is a little piece of symbolism I really liked. Also, it turns out, if you just want big vases full of loose flowers, and you don't really care what kind they are, just lots of color and variety and whatever's in season, and they only have to last a day or so, you can get that from the floral counter at King Soopers for way, way, WAY cheaper than you can get a bunch of wedding bouquets, corsages, and table arrangements from a regular florist's. (We spent literally 5% of the national average spent on wedding flowers.)
After the flowers we said our vows. The groom traditionally says his vows first, so we started with a coin flip. (That was one of many things that when we were planning it, one of us brought it up, and the other said exactly what we were both thinking, and it was highly gratifying.) Then we said traditional "I do" vows, which we synthesized out of a whole bunch of traditional ones. After that, we said the Science Vows™, which came from an article I found online about what to promise one another based on relationship science. We read them over and said "yeah, those are really good," and used them almost as-is. Finally, we made some personal promises, like "I promise not to interrupt you in the middle of a boss fight" and "I promise not to rearrange the house without warning you" and, most importantly, "I promise never to trade you in for a goldfish." All things that reflect stuff we've worked through in the past, but also it made people laugh. :)
Then came rings. We gave the rings to the furthest groomans, so that we could have a little funny moment (but also kinda symbolic) where each groom turns to the nearest grooman and asks for the ring, and they turn to the one next to them, etc., and then it gets passed all the way inward. Jerry wrote the ring vow, which is traditionalish sounding but with a little bit of us injected into it. I really like it.
Many moons ago, one of Chris's friends mentioned at games night that he got his wedding ring on Amazon because that way he could buy an inexpensive replacement when he lost it, which he'd done twice already. So we decided to see what these inexpensive wedding rings looked like, and lo and behold, after many pages of "close, but not really what I want" we found the synthetic opals. Which we both totally love; Jerry's is more blue-green and mine is more purple. We also both picked up a silver stunt ring at Wal-Mart, for wearing while doing things like martial arts that might beat up a ring. And they were all super-affordable, hooray!
Finally, we signed the wedding license. In Colorado, couples can self-solemnize, which means that you marry yourselves by the act of signing the license in the correct way. So you can have anyone you like be the officiant for your wedding, since you don't need a sanctioned official to do it. Jerry's mom gave us a basket of wedding things, including a nice scroll-case to hold the license. We put Karen & Thomas (the librarian and the lawyer) in charge of the license, and they witnessed it for us.
And then Bryree pronounced us officially married, and we kissed. And everyone applauded. And it was very nice. And now I have a husband! :D
Okay, that turned out really long and it's bedtime, so this will have to be part 1. Next time I'll write about the reception!