planning

Libby Hill Park: Richmond on the James!

Well, dearest readers, we finally have an officiant and have chosen the venue for our upcoming nuptials on May 24th, 2013. Something modest and under-budget because that’s how we roll.

highclere_castle(Image source)

I have just discovered Highclere Castle can be rented for weddings to the tune of £15,000+VAT. Yeah, no big deal, right?

Actually, we are delighted to announce that we will be getting married in a more cost-effective venue that is slightly closer to home: Richmond’s Libby Hill Park!

Here’s a boring, nearly five-minute video of it:

According to the city’s Parks & Recreation website, Libby Hill is one of the three original parks  in Richmond. My favorite thing about it is the nice view of the river. In fact, this is how Richmond got its name–it resembles a view of Richmond on the Thames in England, hurrah!

In the event of rain, we plan to camp out and have a very short ceremony under the porch of the park house.

Libby Hill Park House

Libby Hill Park House, Richmond, VA

One of the many benefits of having such a small, weekday morning wedding is that we didn’t have to make an official reservation for the park. I doubt anyone is going to be using the park on a Friday morning. And if other people are milling around, there’s enough green space that we will be able to find some room to get married.

Our officiant, Mr. Mehfoud, is a Richmond celebrant who has been marrying couples since 1978 and even married stepdad Steve’s cousin and his wife Laura two years ago. When I spoke to him on Tuesday, he said that he knows his short, secular ceremony by heart. We’ll be married quickly and unobtrusively, but officially and awesomely!

Now that we have the majorly important things (venue, celebrant, photographer) in line, it’s time to start planning the road trip in earnest. After Harrison turns in his dissertation draft next week, we’ll start poring over the road trip books we got for Christmas and scouring the Interwebs for cool destinations.

And also, Kayla and I started a collaborative board on Pinterest today, just for the sheer joy of distracting ourselves with wedding crafts. Because who wants to write a comprehensive exam on ESL grammar when you can make decorations out of coffee filters and whiffle balls…

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planning

Confirmed: No Richmond Courthouse wedding

Still disbelieving that we couldn’t have a Courthouse wedding, I e-mailed the clerk of Richmond City Circuit Court this past week:

Dear Judge [Name],

My fiancé and I are Richmond natives, and we plan to get married on Friday, May 24th of this year. We would like to get married in a civil ceremony at the courthouse, but I could not find any information about doing this on the Richmond Circuit Court website.
Is it possible for us to schedule an appointment with you or another official to get married (with our parents in attendance) at the Richmond Circuit Court?
Thank you so much!
-Mica S.
The next day, I received this response:

To whom it may concern:

Please be advised that at this time Richmond Circuit Court does not perform marriages. We do offer a list of Civil Celebrants. You are welcome to call them and make arrangements. Please see the attached list.

Thank you,

[Circuit Court Deputy Clerk]

So far, we’re 0/5 with wedding officiants. Four will be out of town on our wedding day, and the fifth charged an all-inclusive fee of $225. Given the small size of our ceremony, this was too far out of our budget.

While many people have suggested having a friend or relative officiate the ceremony, this is not ideal for a few reasons:

  • We don’t want to worry about writing a ceremony.
  • We want to spend our ceremony and post-ceremony lunch with our parents; choosing one friend or relative becomes sticky in this situation.

Tomorrow, more phonecalls!

 

 

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planning

People who probably won’t marry us…

Well, the search for a venue and an officiant continues. I followed up on some potential leads this past week, but to no avail. I am still perplexed and frustrated that Richmond City does not do courthouse civil wedding ceremonies. Despite my compulsive scouring of the Interwebs, there just isn’t much to indicate that Richmond couples can do anything but get their marriage licenses through the city’s Circuit Court. If anyone can give us more information (ideally, to the contrary) about civil wedding ceremonies through Richmond city, please let us know or leave a comment.

In the meantime, we’ve generated a list of our top picks for wedding officiant if famous and/or deceased people were willing and able to marry us.

Athletes (currently playing or retired)

Harrison: Charles Barkley

Mica: Tyson Gay

Scientists

Harrison: Richard Feynman

Mica: Nikola Tesla (only as portrayed as David Bowie in The Prestige–so wise and mysterious!)

Actors, female

Harrison: Dame Maggie Smith

Mica: Kristen Wiig

Actors, male

Harrison: John Cleese

Mica: Toss-up between Sir Ian McKellen and Jim Carter

Figures from Harrison’s mom’s blacklist

Harrison: William Shatner

Mica: Martha Stewart

Local Richmond celebrity

Harrison: Shaka Smart

Mica: Gene Cox

Author

Harrison: Toss-up between Isaac Asimov and Douglas Adams

Mica: David Sedaris

Historical Political Figure (Living or Deceased)

Harrison: Xerxes I (but as portrayed in 300)

Mica: Elizabeth I (Also: Anne Boleyn, but she’s not exactly the poster child for marital bliss)

Humanities Professors 

Harrison: Noam Chomsky

Mica: HAHAAHAHAAHAHAHA. (I kid.)

Granted, not all these choices are necessarily great examples of having lived in wedded harmony, but they all seem like interesting people whom we’d want to meet and share wedding canapés with. If you happen to know any of these people (or are somehow gifted in the art of resurrection), do let us know. Meanwhile, I will be hunting down someone to marry us, which may or may not involve copious amounts of tweeting at celebrities.

What celebrity/historical figure would you choose to officiate your wedding? 

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planning

Will you marry us?

I have recently discovered that one cannot have a civil wedding at the John Marshall Courts building in Richmond, VA.

My conversation with the woman staffing the phone on the marriage extension went something like this:

Me: Hi, um, I was trying to get more information about bringing a camera in if I wanted to get married by a Justice of the Peace at the Circuit Court.

Staff Member: Well, you can’t get married here. There is no one who will marry you.

So now, here we are. We have a date (May 24th!) and a photographer (for about two hours). We have no venue or officiant. I’m glad I checked up on this now instead of later.

This puts a slight dent in our plans because we were all ready to be married by a Justice of the Peace with very little pre-planning of the ceremony. It’s not just that we don’t have an officiant or venue; it’s that we now have to come up with a ceremony. I never really dreamed of my wedding, but, of course, I have had two niggling fears of my wedding day for a very long time: (1) rain on an outdoor ceremony [Cue Alanis!] and (2) having to say private, emotional things in front of others.

To us, this means no unity candle, no readings, no music, no processional/recessional, no greeting line, no flower girl (Ha, like  I would willingly place myself in the presence of a young child, hahahahahaa!). Just the important things that must be said to make the marriage official. It’s not that I want to get it over with; I just don’t want to feel forced to say things unnaturally or work with an officiant who has strong feelings about how the ceremony needs to go.

“I want it to be official,” says Harrison, “But I don’t want it to be dumb. I don’t want any actions, just words.” [Note: Weddings that have these things aren’t dumb, but it would be dumb to have them out of a sense of obligation only.]

I guess I will continue to consult the Internet, clearly the best source of information, as well as respectable married people about the necessary parts of a wedding ceremony and how to find an officiant.

Fortunately, I just found this post about the five basic components required for a marriage ceremony in the US:

  • The statement : naming the people who have to be there
  • The intention : Do you ___ intend to marry ___? (I do.)
  • The vow : “I [name] take you [name] to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife.”
  • The signing
  • The declaration : “I now pronounce you…”

Those all sound like good, matter-of-fact things to include. I even like the vows–short and sweet and with no added fluff that would sound awkward coming out of our mouths.

So yes, we’re on the lookout for an officiant and a cool, cheap venue in Richmond, VA. To be continued….

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