Well, I’m married. So that’s weird. And awesome.
Our wedding was the day I hoped it would be. It was fun, and unique, and nontraditional, and different. And we got a lot of compliments from our guests about how we structured the ceremony and the things we chose to include. One person said it was “the coolest wedding she’d ever attended” (and she’s in her fifties, so I think it’s reasonable to assume she’s been to quite a few). Another person said that so many brides and grooms forget to have fun on their wedding day because there’s so much to worry about, and he said he could tell that the only thing we were doing was having fun. Two people asked for copies of the vows we said to each other. And my brother commented at one point, “The only thing traditional about your wedding is that you’re having it in a church.”
These were all very high compliments, and I am grateful people took the time to say them to us. We did have a lot of fun on our wedding day. Nothing was stressful or rushed, and nothing went wrong. (Of course, if you talk to my mom and dad, they might say something different about the stressful part, considering how much work they did.) But overall, it was a hitch-free, smooth, awesome wedding. And I’m really glad people appreciated the nontraditional parts because those were the most fun to dream up.
The two nontraditional decisions we made that we expected to get the weirdest looks for are the two that probably went over the best – the no-gifts request and our name change announcement.
You might remember the post I wrote in September discussing the reasoning behind our request for no gifts, and my fears that people would ignore our desires, and my struggle with whether it was disrespectful of me, and of us, to go against the grain. But my fears turned out to be unfounded because we got three physical presents in total (two were from my grandpa, one from my office), and everyone else gave us money (including that same grandpa who gave us two gifts). So we raised enough to take the full honeymoon we want, and go to every city and baseball stadium we hoped to, and be gone as long as we dreamed. And I’m sure I’ll blog about that (with pictures) after we get back. Stay tuned in July.
And, three other people gave us gift cards, which allowed us to buy an espresso machine (yes, I married a coffee snob) and a rolling kitchen cart I’ve been dreaming about for years that will afford both more storage and more counter space in the kitchen. And finally, one extremely generous guest is paying for one of our honeymoon nights in a hotel out in San Francisco, and it is a very nice hotel. So, despite my fears, the whole no-gift thing turned out far better than I ever expected, and we are very grateful for the generosity and indulgence of our friends and family who have showed their love for us many times over in respecting our nontraditional desires and in helping us have the best honeymoon we could conceive of.
Now, about the name. Since I shut down my Facebook account several months ago, there may be some who read this blog who aren’t aware of what we are doing with our name. Previously I was Marvin and he was Spencer. Now, as a married couple, we are Spiven, a hybrid of both names. The reasoning behind the whole thing would be another blog post entirely, so I’ll just summarize the points for you:
1) Giving up Marvin entirely was harder than I thought it would be.
2) We like to have fun, and this is fun!
3) Patriarchal tradition is boring.
4) There’s an element of creative fun involved.
5) Carving out your own path is a huge part of the joy of getting and staying married.
6) We think it’s FUN!
7) Sexism is stupid.
8) Have I mentioned how much fun we had cooking up the name?
9) Spiven is a great name.
The best part about our name change is how well the news has been received by the people who mean the most to us. Even David’s grandfather, the patriarch of the Spencer family, told us he thought it was “great” and that he thinks every new couple has the right to do whatever they want to do to ensure their life is their own, and he told us we chose a creative, unique, and fun way to start. That was a relief because we both love Grandpa Spencer dearly, and we were afraid he might be hurt by our decision, or not understand it. But you’ve got to give an octogenarian credit where credit is due. Honestly, he may not understand the decision, but he has made it very clear that he respects our right to make it. He seems to understand that loving us and making sure we know he loves us is more important than understanding the decision. And that’s a rare and valuable quality in an elderly person. I feel very loved, and grateful to be part of and welcomed into this wonderful patriarch’s family.
Married life has not been total and complete bliss, though. We stayed in a really nice (read: expensive) hotel on the plaza for two days after the wedding, and they gave us a gift to bring home with us afterward: bed bugs! So tomorrow we’ll have our second visit from the exterminator in a week. Luckily this is a check-up visit and much more low-key than the first one, before which we had to prepare the house for treatment by removing all our outlet and light switch covers and bagging up all our clothes, bed linens, towels, and curtains for quarantine. We sealed up 56 plastic bags with our cloth and fabric belongings. The only things that didn’t get bagged up were the clothes on our backs that we wore out of the house while treatment took place. We had to be out (animals included) for two and a half hours, and then when we were allowed to come home, we had to run everything that was in the bags through the dryer for a minimum of 30 minutes. Some of that stuff had to be washed first, so we have spent the entirety of the past week running the washer and dryer perpetually. I counted a few minutes ago, and there are only 18 bags left for drying, so we are almost home free. The first couple days were the worst. We had no clothes and no curtains. We apologize to any of our neighbors who may have glimpsed us in indecent states. We even had to skip church last Sunday because we didn’t have a shower curtain. So it’s been a busy week, to say the least.
But, honestly, when I think about last Saturday, I think less about all the work we did and more about the long walk we took around the neighborhood while we waited for it to be safe to get back in our house again. The weather was nice, and we walked 10 blocks north and about 5 east. In the middle of it, we stumbled on college softball and baseball games and stopped to watch a couple innings of each. Strangely enough, it was the kind of scene I always used to imagine when I pictured married life: walking hand in hand together through our neighborhood, with no agenda, enjoying each other’s company and conversation and simply reveling in the presence of my soul mate. It was perfect. And it probably wouldn’t have happened if not for the bed bugs, so I’m not even mad at the hotel anymore.
Okay fine I’m still a little mad. We had to sign over our firstborn child to the exterminator to be able to afford the treatment. That’s not a cheap deal.
But seriously. We are happy. And when things don’t go our way, we do our best to make lemonade out of sour grapes. I think our future together is bright.
— Dave (@oakfaninkc) March 14, 2015
Waiting for the church to clear out. Relaxing in the air conditioning as husband and wife. Whoa. pic.twitter.com/FWdlWACDT2
— Audra Spiven (@audra_spiven) March 14, 2015