Photographer + Food + Surprise

Hi All,

Folks keep asking us how the wedding planning is coming along. Wedding planning? Oh yeah… about that 🙂 Well, we haven’t really been doing a ton of planning. We aren’t having a traditional wedding party so there’s not that to worry about, and we don’t need to pick out a church, so there isn’t that aspect either. That being said, we do have a few other updates.

Chicken Salad in Endive

Chicken Salad in Endive

We picked out some tasty-sounding food from the caterer’s menu, such as the awesomeness you see above. I also have been eating more cake lately. You know… for research.

stalkin ur cookiez

Priorities, we can haz them?

In other news, we’ve confirmed a photographer. Our friend Elli Rader is a fantastic artist and wedding photographer. Last year she curated a project called “Of Scars,”  a photographic tribute to women who’ve lived through breast cancer. You can find out more about the project here: We’re excited that we’ll get to work with somebody whose creative and professional work we appreciate, and we’ll be meeting at the gallery on Sunday to talk more about the wedding with her.

Also: my friend Jessica and I are going in a few weeks to look at wedding dresses, just to get a feel for what’s out there and what might be a decent style for me.

I do have one more update for you… but I’m waiting for a call from my sister before announcing it on the blog. So you’re just going to have to wait for that one. Muhahahahah.

Welcome blog newcomers!

The save-the-dates went out today, so I’m guessing there is going to be a bit more bloggy traffic this week (particularly from folks that haven’t heard about the blog yet via facebook n’ stuff.)


To the new arrivals: welcome, and greetings from the snowy tundra!

Over the next couple months we’ll be using this blog to make updates about the wedding. I’ll also be posting some information about the area – some of our favorite places to visit, eat, hang out, etc. We hope it’s helpful, especially for those of you that are able to make it to Minnesota for the wedding. We’re looking forward to sharing our day with you!

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It’s going to be a *small* wedding.

Wedding planning test of endurance #1: The Guest List.

There’s so much advice out there about this part of the process, it was hard to know exactly where to begin. Well, where we began: I read somewhere to start with a giant list of everybody you would or should invite and weed things down in chunks by “noes,” maybes” and “definitely yeses.”

Well, I have a huge family. HUGE. Nick and I are also very lucky to have a lot of friends both in the Twin Cities and all over the world. Our families are also very… productive, so there are many children to be considered in our guest list equation. Let’s just say the initial giant list we created with the intention of not inadvertently forgetting anybody was *way* beyond anything we could accommodate, spatially or financially – and even the “maybes” list was way too big, considering we can only fit around 100 people in the space we have available.

I asked one of our friends about this because I was a little overwhelmed. She and her husband had an intimate and wonderful wedding Nick and I both really enjoyed. She said when planning, they made a conscious decision to invite family only – for whatever the “family” definition meant to them. In addition to countless friends and acquaintances there were some aunts, cousins, uncles, and extended family they didn’t invite. There were some friends they invited because for all intents and purposes, those friends were family by choice. After thinking about that (and readily agreeing with their sentiments), we made a few decisions:

We’re not inviting a sadly huge chunk of our friends, co-workers and former co-workers. This was a hard decision on both counts, especially considering Nick and I MET at work and just adore our friends! There are plenty of former co-workers we’ve both remained friends with over the years. But even though our family is big, the list is absolutely dwarfed by the amount of awesome friends and coworkers we have. Between our jobs, the various states we’ve lived in, Nick’s four bands and my various nonprofit affiliations, there are a lot of people to consider.

Next: the only under-13 invitees will be family only, and for just a couple reasons. First, well – they’re family. Secondly, while our friends will hopefully have their family available to babysit, most of our local and visiting family will probably be at the wedding and unavailable to help with childcare.

The last decision was a particularly hard one, and I hear this is exactly where the drama and bitterness occurs: we had to cut down the family list, too. Which means, we’ll be inviting some first cousins but not other first cousins, some aunts and uncles but not others, etc.

I read somewhere during all of this mess that if you blog publicly about the wedding, you’re obligated to make it a more open and inclusive event. I’m not sure I agree with that. I’m an avid blogger anyway and because some of our friends and family will unfortunately not be able to make it regardless of invitation status, I’d like to continue sharing via this blog. However, I still feel like I should issue a blanket apology here to anybody that feels potentially left out or disappointed… the last thing I want to do is hurt anybody’s feelings! If we had unlimited space and money, we’d be inviting EVERYBODY… Any disgruntled comments can be sent directly to management: a link to Nick’s facebook page can be found at the bottom right. 😉 Only kidding.

Though I’m feeling guilty even as I write this and though I’m a little sad we won’t get to celebrate with everybody we love, I do have to admit I’m a little relieved that we’re both inclined to make this a smaller event (as much as possible, at least). Having a more intimate-ish wedding will be a much less stressful experience, keeping the focus where it should be. On the food! Just kidding again. ON ME! Wait, I mean – on us, on us.

Next on the to-do list? Save the dates. Yargh.


Oh, and I almost forgot. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It’s official, we have an officiant!


I’m going to have to be careful not to title each blog post with an exclamation point. It’s hard not to be excited about these things.

Just a quick update for you today: we have an officiant!

Nick’s coworker Molly has become a really good friend to both of us. In addition to being an incredibly talented lady, she’s also kind AND awesome. She’ll also a registered minister and we’re super excited she’s willing to officiate our wedding!

Other than that… no other news. Save the dates – probably sometime in January. I suppose I should start working on addresses, right? Who wants to come over and help us stuff envelopes in 2011?

🙂 🙂 🙂

Wedding updates: location, food, fun.

More updates, updates, updatey updates.

"Weddings are expensive"

Did you realize the wedding industry is a crazy huge billions-of-dollars-a-year economy-in-and-of-itself? (I know, I know.) It’s insane, and it is that way because everything that even has the word *wedding* even remotely connected to it has a fee, registration, or inflated pricetag attached to it. (or all of the above.)

I have most ads blocked on my web browser, but some still get through. Since my status changed on facebook from “in a relationship” to “engaged”, ALL my facebook ads have changed to be engagement, bridal, or wedding related ads. Way to go, targeted marketing – but I’m still not clicking on you!

After some deliberation, we’ve settled on a location

Surprise! Renting places and things is incredibly expensive. We were thinking about getting married outside, and considered the Stone Arch Bridge or the creek by  Minnehaha Falls briefly. Minnehaha would be a beautiful location:


However, you can’t rent this area specifically from what I could find. Also, our family would have to deal with quite a few stairs to get down there. 110 steep stairs, to be exact.

Not gonna happen.

We want to do the ceremony someplace special, reasonably affordable, and at least moderately accessible. (Especially for our older relatives and folks coming in from out of town.)

The Q’arma Building – where Altered Esthetics is located – has an outside courtyard in addition to a few shared spaces indoors. It’s a beautiful older building and the owner has done a lot to improve it over the past few years. The gallery space has been used for events in the past in addition to our shows – but not yet for a wedding.

(A print my friend Adam did of the Q’arma building for an Ae fundraiser a few years ago.)

So… the gallery and the Q’arma building. It’s accessible, it’s affordable, it would be a great way to share that space with my family so they can see what I’ve been doing in MN… and the show that will be up at the time of the wedding:

Home: Whether it is a place we came from, a place we dream about, or a settling destination; artists react to immigration, homelessness, and what it means to have a sense of place in the world.

How perfect is that?

Shuji Usui - My Home

Shuji Usui - My Home

We’ll have to keep the guest list smaller as a result… but we’re excited about things settling into place. I brought it up at today’s board meeting to make sure everybody was okay with it and everybody seemed not just okay, but pretty excited too.  Ae it is.

Given the location, we know who we want to cater the wedding.

My friend Heidi is a super amazing lady. She was instrumental in the Arts Action Plan of the Northeast Arts District, without which Northeast Minneapolis (where we live) would not be nearly what it is today. (And as a result, Altered Esthetics would not be what it is today.)

She’s also the owner of Chowgirls Killer Catering, a Northeast Minneapolis catering company that focuses on locally and sustainably produced culinary awesomeness. MN Bride voted them the best small wedding caterer in 2010. They have also donated amazing foods regularly to the gallery for our fundraisers and openings, because they are that kind of awesome. As I watched her company grow I always had in the back of my head “Gee, if I ever throw a nice party or get married, it would be awesome to have Chowgirls cater it.”

Guess what? We are totally having a wedding party, and  Chowgirls is totally gonna cater it.


I’m sure I will talk more about the menu as we flesh things out… after all, I heart food! And if we’re there partying late at night, we’ll just might order pizza too. mmmm pizza!

Last but not least – I picked a dress!

Balloon Wedding Dress

Balloon Wedding Dress

Just kidding. Still working on that one.

Until next time!


We set a date!

So far the planning process has been fun for Nick and I which is apparently a feat in and of itself.

Well, all except for one hiccup, early on…

Within a week of being engaged we were being barraged with questions:

“When’s the date?”

“Do you have you colors picked out?”

“Ohhhhh what kind of dress are you going to get?”

and the worst… since most of my family is in another state: “Where’s the wedding going to be… are you going to do TWO?”

While I appreciate the excitement and know it was coming from a good place, it got really overwhelming really quickly. Apparently unlike most of my female counterparts, I didn’t have this day all planned out in my head. The idea of buying a bunch of bridal magazines to “help me with planning” made my head spin. I don’t really do mags, let alone fashion or bridal magazines. Five minutes on “” was all I needed to decide: “not for me.”

One event in California AND one event in Minnesota? Two events in both places? Destination wedding? No matter what we do in some way, shape or form we would be leaving somebody out, making somebody compromise, compromising ourselves. A good friend advised me “Congratulations… now save yourself the hassle and just elope!” (The best advice I’d received so far!) People were telling Nick he had to let me do whatever I want, or else. People were surprised that I didn’t already have it all planned. Ahhhhh! (Apparently I’m not THAT domestic.)

After a momentary panic at the onset about what this “should” be, we decided we’re just going to do whatever we want. =P We’re obviously not out to offend anybody. We don’t want to make it a nuisance or trial for anybody else, either. We want to get married, we’re so excited we’ve found each other, and we’d like to celebrate a beautiful, fun day with our friends and family. I’m probably going to break a bunch of wedding etiquette as I go through this with “fun” as a mission… but I’ll do my best.

The first, biggest, and looming question was of course:
Date? Date? Date? Date?

The thought process went something like this, and took a couple weeks to settle through:
Fall. (We were pretty sure about that from the get-go.)
Early fall. (J-me’s a freezebaby.)
October? (J-me also loves October)
10-9-11? (Nick wants an interesting number.)
10-1-11? (YAY! that could be perfect. but wait… another wedding already set for that day…)

Which also happens to be the 40th anniversary of Nick’s parent’s wedding – 40 years to the day. Sentimental. Fall. Perfect. It’s done. Barring any unforeseen emergencies, we’ll be getting married on September 24, 2011.


We also want to keep things as minimally complicated as possible. We’ll be getting married in the early afternoon/evening and have a party nearby later that night – in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is our home, we love it here, and we want to get married here. I want my California family to be able to experience some of what I love about this place, and what better way to do that than this?

More to come gradually as things develop. Oh, and why our own site? Well, I might not be a magazine nerd, but I’m a ‘puter nerd. Having our own site saves you from the advertising on other wedding sites, plus the development of it is fun for me. The bloggy part may very well be just for us and for our memories… but that’s okay too. For anybody that’s interested in hearing about things as we go, feel free to keep reading. 🙂