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Blush and bashful | dooce® dooce® » I'm Heather B. Armstrong. This is my website. » Blush and bashful

Blush and bashful

This is Sarah’s third guest post, my favorite so far (although the comments on her previous one are some of the funniest things I’ve ever read). Good news is that I finally get to write about what’s been going on over here, and I’ll have that ready tomorrow. You have no idea how good it is going to feel to get out all the gritty details, although when I sit down to write about it I might just throw up all over the keyboard. If that’s the case, I promise to do it in all caps.

……..

I keep forgetting that I’m supposed to be planning a wedding. I got engaged last August to my hot English boyfriend, and then we both came to London to wait out the U.S. fiancé visa process, which can take anywhere from two to two thousand months. It is so great, waiting to see if the government is cool with you marrying the person you love! Remember when you were in ninth grade and you wanted to meet a boy at the movies but you weren’t allowed to date yet, but he was so nice and you begged your mom and she said, “I’ll talk to your dad and we’ll think about it”? It’s sort of like that, only imagine they think about it for a year, and then halfway through they ask for you to prove how nice he is in three different ways.

We get to do all kinds of fun things in order to get this visa, like prove that we’ve met and have an ongoing relationship, swear that neither of us have ever committed genocide or been involved in human trafficking, request a letter from the head of police in every city my fiancé has lived in since he was 16, and promise them we’ll name our firstborn child Ava or Jack. (If you go a bit further and promise to name them Ava Grace or Jack Henry, you actually get 20% off all children’s clothing at Old Navy until they hit 100 lbs or enter fifth grade, whichever comes first.) We also got to write a personal check for $455 to Department of Homeland Security. I’ll jump through whatever hoops they give me in order to marry the love of my life, but that one felt sort of dirty.

The upside of all this mind-numbing bureaucracy and complete lack of control over my own life is that it makes it virtually impossible to plan a wedding. Once our visa is approved (please god let our visa be approved), we have to get married within 90 days. So we’ll have a city hall wedding in Brooklyn, and then maybe plan a bigger party later, so friends and family from far away can come. This is awesome. I cannot recommend being engaged but not planning a wedding enough. People still smile at you and say “aww,” but then when they say, “When’s the wedding? Where will it be? Do you have a dress? What’s your color scheme?” you can just shrug and make that vaguely Scooby-Doo “uhanno” noise before getting back to your beer.

I learned early on that I’m not exactly bridal. This wasn’t exactly a surprise. In the past, I’ve accompanied many a friend to many a bridal boutique, and every time I was there, sitting on pastel silk underneath sparkling chandeliers, I had to suppress the urge to shout profanities, like some weird strain of wedding Tourette’s. I also kind of don’t like weddings? Which I realize isn’t cool to say; I’ve been to plenty of fun weddings, but on the whole, as an event, I’m just not that into them. I promise I’m not a Scrooge. I’m all for marrying the man I love, wearing a hot dress while doing so, having all my favorite people in the same place at the same time, and listening to some good music while we’re there. It’s just that the minute someone brings up what’s supposed to go in the center of the tables, my eyes glaze over and I’m thinking, “Back in the ’80s, they should have cast the guy who played Biff in Back to the Future to play Anthony Michael Hall’s dad in something.”

The extent of my own wedding planning has consisted of emailing my friends links to some dresses that aren’t wedding dresses, and one fun afternoon with my fiancé spent making our wedding playlist, which quickly devolved into us showing each other Def Leppard videos on YouTube. One day last winter, my friend Danielle and I were shopping at Liberty, a beautiful department store in a Tudor-revival building just off Carnaby Street. They have a fancy bridal salon on the third floor, where a very thin woman with painfully straight hair sits behind a desk with nothing on it and aims her shark eyes at anyone lingering near the entrance, daring you to speak. (Actually, I have no idea if it’s fancy. For all I know, once you get past the door, it’s all women in sweatpants eating meatball subs.) Danielle said, “We should go in there! That’d be fun!” And I said, “Are you crazy? They won’t let us in there! We’re not brides!” Danielle waited a beat for me to realize what I’d said. Then we laughed and left and had a meatball sub and saw Peter Serafinowicz on the street. AND I didn’t have to wear a white corset under fluorescent lights while a humorless stranger judged my choices! I should be so lucky if my actual wedding day features this many happy surprises.

  • Lindsey H

    Closest I got to a sexy accent is a Minnesota slur… and my husband was born and raised in Utah!! Love your posts, Sarah!

    Heather~ I’m sure you already know this, but those pumpkin colored Lilies are Daylilies. They are my absolute favorite and I have a front yard FULL of them that my husband has been begging me to thin. I live in Salt Lake, so feel free to come on over and steal some of mine by the roots! :)

  • Cinthia

    I married my Malaysian sweetie who was here on a student visa and went through the nightmarish process of getting the paperwork ourselves, without any help. It was ridiculous, we were given three different answers from three different people about the simplest things… Anyway, long story short, it didn’t take as long as we thought and as long as you know each other well and look like you’re in love, you should be fine. Oh, right, and as long as you have a good thousand bucks or so, because it’s kind of pricey.

    My friend Susan (who is American and married a Brit, like you), recommended that I visit a site called visajourney.com I found a lot of useful information and knew what to expect or do if things didn’t turn out the way we thought they would. Also, they let you know what is necessary and what isn’t, because if you overpay for something you didn’t actually need, they DON’T REFUND YOU. The money goes into the government bye-bye pile. Make sure you get what you need, and nothing more.

    Oh, and yeah, we were married at City Hall on Halloween because it was the only day we had free. My mom bought and mailed my wedding dress, shoes, honeymoon outfits, etc. a few days prior and we booked a quick honeymoon to SF two nights prior. Really though, making a huge deal is soooo pointless.

    On New Year’s Eve my parents threw us a quick blessing by the pastor church saying the vows thing, followed by a reception and that was that. No point in getting stressed.

    Best of luck!

  • lynnie

    Love the reference to Steel Magnolias. :) I used to process these kinds of visas based on marriage, fiance, adoption, etc. for an law firm specializing in immigration. The red tape is mind boggling.

    Your account of it is so funny and I hope you have a wedding that will be as unique as you are.

  • photogfrog

    Visa applications are never fun, easy or cheap. It cost us $1500 AUD to APPLY. Mind you, once accepted, it’s all gravy, but they could have said no and then we were out $1500. They didn’t even kiss me first.

    We had a quickie wedding and then filed. It was a hella lot easier to be a married couple filing than engaged. Odd that.

    Good luck with all the paperwork. I loved the part where I had to get people to write letters to support that we were a true and real couple. So much fun!

  • Robynne

    Congrats on the whole happily ever after thing, I sincerely mean that. What propels me into psychosis is this: Why oh why is legal immigration such a ridiculous obstacle? I’m sure your man is a lovely, law abiding, tax paying, non ax-murderer, productive member of society, not to mention hot. Which will be a total asset to our country. And we do need to have a reasonable process of weeding out the ner-do-wells, terrorist drug dealing serial killers, who seem to roam about freely, destroying everything in their paths. If getting into America the legal way continues to be such a pain in the arse, we will only keep spending ga-zillions of dollars that we borrow from China to chase, hunt down, clean up after, pay lawyers to protect their rights, and house and feed and then deport the millions of people who don’t jump through the hoops of our so called legal system. Sorry about the rant. Maybe you should just move to England. Maybe I should.

  • spunkycub

    Our commitment ceremony (as the gay, we can’t get married in Florida, or adopt) was awesome. We had it in the fall (so it wasn’t hot) at a local park which is surrounded by mangroves and other local plants (we even had a raccoon running around during the reception, which was at the same park, right after the ceremony. No travel required.).

    We figured since people always force everyone to dress up for weddings, we could force everyone to dress down. The invitation actually said Hawaiian shirts, jeans/shorts and sneakers/flip flops required. Take that establishment!

    We had sandwiches and cupcakes and lemonade and soda and it ROCKED. The only thing I stressed about was when the chair delivery people showed up early (before the park opened) and were threatening to leave AND TAKE THE CHAIRS WITH THEM! As a pinko, commie liberal I’m pretty kumbaya, but I could not picture my relatives being okay with sitting on the grass during the ceremony. In retrospect I was silly to worry since my relatives refused to come to our “gay wedding” at all.

    Just meant more cake for the rest of us!

  • katalia

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. I am not bridal in any way shape or form, and I got married 6 weeks ago. My husband and I did a super-small wedding with immediate family and childhood friends. We did it our way — his best friend married us, we had strawberry shortcake instead of a cake, we sang a duet of John Prine’s “In Spite of Ourselves” and shocked the guests (especially because I can’t sing). I had no idea what dress I was wearing 10 days before the wedding because the one I ordered from Etsy fell through … and you know what, it was perfect. Totally us, and totally fun. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you stay true to the two of you and your relationship.

    Oh, and the parents got to do what they wanted too — his mom threw us a family reception that was more like a wedding than our real wedding (hello Jordan Almonds and a wedding cake) which is what she wanted. And my mom is throwing us a garden party next month for her family and friends which is what she wanted. The way we did it, everybody wins, and we didn’t have to deal with the stress of doing something that we weren’t into.

    Good luck!!

  • katalia

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. I am not bridal in any way shape or form, and I got married 6 weeks ago. My husband and I did a super-small wedding with immediate family and childhood friends. We did it our way — his best friend married us, we had strawberry shortcake instead of a cake, we sang a duet of John Prine’s “In Spite of Ourselves” and shocked the guests (especially because I can’t sing). I had no idea what dress I was wearing 10 days before the wedding because the one I ordered from Etsy fell through … and you know what, it was perfect. Totally us, and totally fun. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you stay true to the two of you and your relationship.

    Oh, and the parents got to do what they wanted too — his mom threw us a family reception that was more like a wedding than our real wedding (hello Jordan Almonds and a wedding cake) which is what she wanted. And my mom is throwing us a garden party next month for her family and friends which is what she wanted. The way we did it, everybody wins, and we didn’t have to deal with the stress of doing something that we weren’t into.

    Good luck!!

  • the sassy kathy

    here here for the unbride-y ladies!

    i don’t quite understand why the first response to “i am getting married” is always the inevitable “what are your colors?”…. colors? i am about to wed. why would i give one crap about the color of napkins my guests will smudge their faces on for a couple of hours…?

  • PixelFish

    While I do not have an English fiance, my boyfriend of four years and I decided to get married this October. By the time we told the family, we had all the details worked out, and by the time we told half our friends, the wedding was planned and paid for. Vegas, married by an Elvis, slinky black dress and combat boots, dinner at the Rio buffet, done. No rings, no invitations, no colour schemes, no name changes, no veil, no cake, no garter, no procession, no gifts (what do we need gifts for? we’ve been living together for three years) and little to no interference from relatives. The only reason there are even flowers is because it comes with the Elvis wedding package. It is both cheap and blissful, which I recommend.

    Also, despite the fact that we are getting married, we both eschew the title of “fiance” and terms like “engaged”. I was engaged before, in my early twenties, and that was enough.

  • PlanetA

    Hang in there with the visa thing. It will all work out. My husband and I went through the same agonizing process five years ago and were not in the same country during the process. It’s such a Business! $$$$$$$$$$$

    We just recently came back from Poland where we were visiting his family. Standing in the immigration line waiting to get our passports stamped and watching all of the Green Card holders get their fingerprints scanned and eyes the once over with the special “eye laser” I looked at my husband and said,
    “Can you imagine if they made Americans go through this crap when they traveled to other countries?”

    Think long and hard about whether you really want to live here again. We often find ourselves longing to live back in Europe. : ) Best of luck. It will all work out.
    PS. We also had a quick ceremony in a judge’s office. The BEST! We’ve been married four years and still haven’t had that “celebration party” we had promised our friends and family. Now our dream is to celebrate our 10 year at our favorite restaurant in Umbria, Italy. Why not!

  • LaurenT

    Dooce! Tell us the news! :)

  • CrabMama

    A friend of mine years ago didn’t want to deal with a wedding, so she had a very simple ceremony at church with a few close family members in the morning. Then she and hubby went home, changed clothes, and had a beer bust and partied with friends all day. Much better, more informal and fun, I think.

  • Llnt187

    I tried to link this on your last post about SVH but couldn’t for some reason. This looks awesome……
    http://popwatch.ew.com/2009/09/23/diablo-cody-sweet-valley-high-amazing/

  • sarah b.

    Good luck with your waiting & wedding planning.

    I filed paperwork YESTERDAY at the consulate in Amsterdam for my husband’s immigrant visa to allow us to move to the U.S. together. It was definitely a strange experience… basically, asking for permission to continue living with my husband, and then paying them to consider it.

  • CalissaLeigh

    Weddings are creepy.

    I also despise white heels.