I have to admit, before Alexej and I started thinking seriously about marriage, I didn't think it was for me. I figured that if I ever wanted to be with someone for the long-term, I would just do that, and if we didn't want to be together anymore, we wouldn't. Of course, because we're from two different countries, and live in a third, being married has certainly made it easier for us to stay together and live in the U.K. I've found that being married is kind of awesome. Okay, I don't know if I really feel like a 'wife' or, worse yet, a 'Frau'. It does kind of remind me of the episode of the Simpsons where Homer joins and inevitably gets kicked out of the secret Stonecutters society. At the end, Marge reminds him that he's already part of an even more exclusive club, of which only two members have rings. Then, when we started planning our wedding for July 2014, I became totally obsessed. Planning a wedding seems to make a lot of women return to their days of playing 'Pretty Pretty Princess', where everything is about looking pretty and being surrounded by pretty things. I'm not judging this necessarily, I wouldn't have gone into the arts if I didn't like pretty things, it's just this aspect of the wedding has somehow become seen as the main concern on the big day, as if the wedding photos mattered more than the actual experience. There's a real competitive streak to the whole thing. As an illustrator, I put a lot of pressure on myself to make the decorations and stationery perfect, but I really enjoyed being able to be the 'art director' for this big event. I think it turned out well, but I would have liked to experience the day without having insane amounts of adrenaline coursing through my body.
My advice to anyone getting married is: - Delegate as much as you can, especially on the day itself. Try to make it so that you are responsible for nothing other than getting married and having fun - If you get too stressed about planning, read this blog: apracticalwedding.com. The WIC (Wedding Industrial Complex) is trying to make you broke and crazy. - Unless you have taken classes or are a professional, do not try to arrange your own flowers. Going to the flower market at 5 am a few days before the wedding and then arranging the bouquets at 3 am the night before is not worth the effort. Our wedding was based a lot around music, and we both put a lot of thought into our dinner and dancing playlists. I walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of 'Satellite of Love' by Lou Reed, played on the flute by our friend Elisa for our UK wedding, and on guitar by my friend Laurel at our smaller US ceremony. We processed out to 'Waiting for Somebody' by Paul Westerberg, and our first dance was 'You Put the Flame On It' by Charles Bradley (then straight into Prince's 'Let's Go Crazy' because of the awesome 'dearly beloved ...' monologue at the beginning). Now that I'm a wedding-obsessed married person, the highlight of my summer is attending as many weddings as possible. Luckily, the main events of this summer were the weddings of two of our best friends. Our friends Elisa and Palani were married in early July and I was lucky enough to help design their wedding invitations and order of service cards. Elisa had chosen a beautiful batik fabric for her wedding dress, and she wanted it to be the inspiration for her invitations. I took some of the elements of the batik and created a floral design in white on a blue background. Their friend Kully did the text and calligraphy for the invitations. When it came to creating the order of service, I used the same floral design as a more subtle background.
Our friends Yana and Dale were married at the end of July. As a fellow illustrator, Yana designed her own stationery, and her attention to detail really shows. The invitations were in both English and Russian, and Yana had written our names in Cyrillic (some examples are currently up on her website). The wedding favours were a linocut print of two birds, and we have ours hanging in our living room. Yana's wedding present for Alexej and I was Russian dolls of us, which we used as cake toppers. I have nowhere near Yana's level of skill at painting, so my belated wedding gift to the new couple was a giclee print.