The day we got married in photos.

It has been one week since we got married, and I have been putting off posting because I have so many pictures. And also because I don’t think I can adequately express all my feelings about the day.

Briefly, the wedding day went like this:

I woke up, went for a three-mile run, did my own hair (showering and blow-drying) and make-up, and made some chalk art on the sidewalk. It immediately started raining.

Wedding Victory Chalk

Wedding Victory Chalk

Harrison and his family arrived, and we drove to Libby Hill Park for the 10:00am ceremony. We caught a ten-minute break in the rain to get married. I thought I would care about the rain and my lack of control, but I really didn’t.

I also thought I would cry, but I didn’t. It all just came together “perfectly” (but, of course, imperfectly), which sounds so sappy-awful-wedding-cliché. It was exactly what we wanted: short, funny, no vows–just “I do’s”.

After the short and sweet (but tear-less, on our part) ceremony, we went back to my mom’s house for coffee and snacks. My dad treated us all to a special rap-song that mostly involved blowing raspberries:

wedding rap

Then we went to lunch at Tarrant’s, but I forgot to get a picture.

In the afternoon, we met back up with our photographer, Eva at photo lady love, for some cool Richmond-y shots. (Will post soon!)

Then we checked into the Jefferson where we got free champagne (and other fancy “romance package” perks)!


We reconnected with high school friends at Bottom’s Up Pizza for dinner:

Bottom's Up, wedding dinner, casual


Instead of dancing, we entertained ourselves by trying to draw a free-hand an extremely accurate map of the US:

Freehand map of the US

Then it was Comfort for banana pudding, drinks, and fellowship:

banana pudding at Comfort, Richmond Ben bought us champagne!

It was really the best it could have been. I was worried that I would finish the day and feel disappointed that it wasn’t bigger or somehow different. Most important to us was having a fun day by spending time with friends and family, and they really delivered on that one. We feel very lucky, indeed.

More pictures, mostly from my camera, here:






Wedding Victory Chalk!

Wedding Victory Chalk!

After a short-but-sweet morning ceremony and lunch with our parents, we ate dinner with our high school friends:


So, apparently we’re not so good at drawing a map of the US free-hand.



Marriage License: Acquired!

In case you’re reading this and thinking about getting married in Virginia, you can apply for and receive a marriage license in any circuit court in the state–not necessarily for the city or county in which you plan to be married. This is how we ended up getting a license from Middlesex County Circuit Court, rather than deal with the mountains of bureaucracy at the John Marshall Courts Building.

VA marriage license

We also visited Libby Hill Park (our ceremony site) today.

Libby Hill Park fountain, Richmond, VA

Not a bad view, eh?

Libby Hill Park fountain, Richmond, VA


I think almost all things for Friday have been purchased, ordered, or acquired.

And in preparation for Wedding Victory Tour, I have purchased a windbreaker. Very exciting!


Taking engagement photos is awkward.

Several months ago, our friend Chris, acoustic phonetician, photographer, audiophile, and all-around badass, generously offered to take engagement photos of us. At first, we declined because  we figured that without a large wedding (and Save-the-Dates), we wouldn’t need any glammed-up-yet-casual photographs of ourselves. Moreover, I assumed that as the world’s least romantic couple, taking couples-based photos would be an uncomfortable and awkward experience.

I eventually changed my mind about this and decided that engagement photos would be good practice for wedding photography. Chris cut us an awesome deal (a new camera strap and Mexican dinner!), and we roughly planned to take photos when spring hit Champaign.

Unfortunately, Spring of a Thousand Changes happened, and we ran hard up against our date of exodus from the Midwest. This is how we ended up taking our engagement photos in the week that we moved, graduated from grad school, and packed for seven weeks on the road.

Did we buy new outfits? (No.) Did I pluck my eyebrows? (No.) How did my nails look? (Horrible.) Was I totally frazzled? (Yes.)

I cannot believe that I am the only person who approached engagement photos (and couples photography, in general) with trepidation! Does anyone else feel uncomfortable about the prospect of being romantic in front of a photographer? How do other couples look so natural and happy?

[Actually, the Internet will prove that some people are just really bad at taking romantic photos.]

When Chris requested that I send him photos of what I liked and disliked in “e-photography” styles, I basically nixed all romantic poses, including reclining, kissing, embracing, carrying, staring into each other eyes, smiling at each other, and holding hands. Suffice to say, he had his work cut out for him.

I’d like to tell you that taking engagement photos was not awkward, but I’d be lying. It was awkward. We’re not very affectionate, so the addition of two other people–even though they are our friends–made everything feel somewhat forced. Sometimes, I didn’t even want to make eye contact because I’d start to giggle or feel really uncomfortable. When he told us to talk to each other, I somehow ran out of things to say or wanted to gripe about things like the eight-thousand things still left unchecked on our to-do list (No good for engagement photos!).

This is not to say that I think Chris wasn’t an excellent photographer; we’re just bad at being romantic. He was super-professional and didn’t insist that we take photos that we weren’t comfortable with. He basically just let us goof around as ourselves for most of the time and suggested some even cooler shots that we wouldn’t have thought of. He even had a handkerchief on hand when Harrison sliced open his hand on a particularly vengeful tree branch in the U of I arboretum.

And, in the end, his photos look reallllllly good! Within twelve hours, he had edited our photos–no cheesy vignettes or edge-softening. The changes aren’t even noticeable. The photos just look really nice.

Yes, taking engagement photos was a little awkward. At least, it was for us. We’re certainly not styled to perfection, by any means. But we have a collection of colorful photographs that capture us looking happy and honestly like ourselves in one of the most stressful weeks of our lives. And as a bonus, we got to hang out with Chris for a few hours, which was a rare treat in a time of dissertations and job applications.

So, would I take engagement photos again? No, probably not.

Am I glad we did it? Fo’ sho’ yes!

Thank you so much, Chris! We wouldn’t take engagement photos again UNLESS they were with you. You are a great friend, and we will miss you terribly. Best of luck and know that whenever we watch “Inglorious Basterds,” we will think of you.

[Check out more of Chris’ work here.]

And without further ado, photos! (Click to enlarge.)

How do you feel about engagement photos? Did you take them, and what was it like? Are you planning on taking them? 


The 17-Year Itch.

Apparently, 2013 is a year that the 17-year cicadas will descend upon Richmond, VA in massive swarms.

In case you don’t know what a cicada is….

I’m not talking about the run-of-the-mill, annual, green and white cicada. No, I’m talking about the black, orange-tinged, red-eyed cicadas that emerge from the ground in large, noisy quantities. After engaging in cicada orgy, they quickly die off, leaving the ground littered with their crunchy-yet-squishy carcasses.




[Image Source]

I don’t remember the last time the 17-year cicadas arrived in Richmond, but general math skills tell me that it happened in 1996. Harrison remembers that “they were everywhere” and were “really loud.”

“And I saw them having sex,” he adds.

Enough people are concerned about the emergence of the cicadas in wedding season that Cicada Mania even has a section of the website devoted to how to deal with them at your wedding. Basically? You’re screwed.

We’re getting married outside, and Richmond falls right in the middle of the reported brood appearances. In all likelihood, in addition to our parents, we will have hundreds, if not thousands, of [uninvited] wedding guests in the vicinity of our nuptials next Friday.

[More cicada commentary: “They’re like little space aliens,” says Harrison.]

However, given that our wedding on May 24th is actually very small, I don’t see the need to move our “ceremony” inside. Our officiant claims to have a seven-minute ceremony memorized, and we have no music, readings, or unity candle rituals. There will be no tent and no outside food for cicadas to crawl in. And if there are some cicadas in our pictures, that’s fine, too. According to Harrison, there is around a 1% chance of having your wedding fall in the middle of the 17-year cicada emergence. Maybe it bodes well for our marriage…thousands of little good-luck bugs.

This all being said, if one flies up my dress or crawls up my neck, Ima’ scream reaaaaaal loud.