I had more anxiety about the flowers than was reasonable. Put me in a room, with or without stuff in it, and I will know what to do. But flower arrangements? Hell no. So I took a deep breath and just decided to apply what I know about interiors to the flowers and see if that worked. I allowed a bigger budget than I ever would normally ($75; I'm usually the gal who buys the $3.99 bouquet at Trader Joe's as long as it doesn't have primary colors in it) and went to the Oakland Flower Market. I knew I was wearing coral shoes and wanted coral in the bouquet, duh. After that, I just added texture, proportion, varying shapes, and colors that went well together. And now I want to be a florist.
As you know, Jessica was the only one with us at this point. She met us around the corner from the marriage office and we took some shots on the street before heading in. Jessica is a funny lady so I'm sure we are reacting to something adorable she did or said in this picture.
Walking on the streets of Oakland to and from the wedding was a surreal and oddly moving experience in that people who passed us, who were all strangers to us of course, were universally on our side: happy for us, excited for us, supportive of us. Boy, do people like marriage! I have a long history of feeling really conflicted about marriage as an institution and hadn't anticipated getting married before everyone in this country can, so my mind was doing a lot of adjustments as I was confronted by strangers who were so vocal about their approval when my own voice wasn't entirely there yet (and still isn't). Nonetheless, the walk was lovely and the people of Oakland made it lovelier.
This is the lobby and waiting room of the Auditor/Controller - Clerk/Recorder's Office (where you get married in Oakland) and that is our friend Kevin's big beard. See that TV screen behind Matthew's head? Those are numbers, like you get at the deli counter, that tell you when it's your turn to get married. Kevin and his Special Lady Friend Michelle had gotten there before us and had pulled a number so now all we had to do was wait. In this room. With a lot of other people waiting. To get married.
This is not a good photo of anyone or anything but it does show you the range of engaged people we were sharing the room with. That young leather jacket-wearing long haired dude? Getting married. That pregnant sweatshirt and flip-flop wearing lady? Getting married. That older dressed-to-the-nines lady with blue flowers? Getting married. That handsome pregnant couple with the 2-year-old wearing three dresses because she was so excited that we were getting married she couldn't choose just one? Not getting married, not yet. They were, however, our wedding party. Just them and Jessica. In order to be legally married you have to have 1 witness. In order to believe that you are actually married you need at least 2 friends to watch you get married.
We had wanted to get married quickly, and to separate the legal ceremony from the family celebration of the ceremony (which will happen next summer). Kevin and our friend Casey had been instrumental in getting us through our Hellacious Winter of Hell so we invited them to attend and though her heart was there, Casey's body couldn't make it. While we missed our families, it felt very very right to do this thing on our own. I pinned my favorite picture of Zane onto the bouquet, which, yes, okay, admittedly makes it look like he's dead but where else was I going to put it, and the day felt complete knowing everyone was there in spirit.
And so we waited. For a long time. We danced with House Baby, and ate dried persimmon, and talked to other wedding party members, and honestly, just felt content. I don't remember feeling nervous. Just happy. And right.
This shot exemplifies what a quirky and delightful day it was. I look oddly huge compared to Matthew. There is a perfect stranger sitting next to me on one of the most meaningful days of my life. We are in a municipal building that is not to my taste design-wise (at all, you'll see). House Baby looks like a doll, a doll of a sedated psychiatric patient, that we brought as a prop so as to complete our family portrait. But we're filled with glee. And we are present. And we had been missing out on both those things for too long.
Eventually a very short older woman with a flower in her updo dressed in a long black robe called our number and said, "Let's go to the Wedding Room!" And we did. And I will tell you about that later.