Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Food

Photo courtesy of PurpleFlor Photography.

Although we kept most elements simple, when it comes to food, Andrew and I both like some flare, some adventure, some drama, if you will. Here's our menu. Buen provecho!

Appetizers (pictured above)
- Red Chili Beef Tamales
- Goat cheese & cranberry croustini
- Roasted pork on polenta

Salad: Greens w/ queso fresco, grilled jicama, pomegranate seeds & prickly pear vinaigrette

- Roasted red pepper coulis & vegetable stuffed relleno w/ black bean cake
- Tortilla crusted chicken served w/Oaxaca rice and brocollini w/goat cheese cream sauce
- Sea bass w/chimichurri sauce served w/roasted Peruvian purple potatoes gratin & sauteed spinach w/red chili buerre blanc

The Bachelorette Party

My neighbors and awesome friends, Liz and Andrea, took it upon themselves to throw me a Bachelorette Party. They did a great job planning an elaborate event and keeping all the details completely quiet.

When I saw Andrea's front door dressed in a pink sheet masterfully folded like a gigantic vagina, I knew the party was going to be good fun. (Luckily, I didn't have to penetrate it to get in.)

From the penis-shaped cookies to the "erotic" posters - the ambiance was perfect. The scene was set for raunchy sex jokes - my favorite kind. After showering me with all kinds of gifts and margaritas, we went to IBT's. I hadn't been dancing at a club in forever.

Honestly, it was the best Bachelorette Party a girl could want. I'm still reeling from all the love...and my hangover.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Derrida

Why do I include so many details in my wedding blog? Because I honestly wish someone as cool as me had posted a Tucson wedding blog so that I could've had some idea where to start!

But seriously, during my research, sometimes it seemed like the overwhelming majority of on-line wedding resources were out there just to capitalize on brides (and increasingly more grooms) through the wedding industry. But you can have an incredible wedding without everything they say you need!

What I'm really trying to stress here is that when I first started thinking about a wedding, I was worried it would be completely unaffordable, or impossible to get people to go along with because of our desires to break with tradition in certain ways. I just want to tell people that there are always alternatives, and provide examples for brides-to-be, who like myself, may want to imagine a wedding that's less like a television show or a bridal magazine and more like...well, real life.

I've been studying for a literary theory midterm. It turns out that this is the most Derrida post of my wedding blog. Derrida (pictured above, courtesy has a term called differance: the process of everything being present but absent. Every concept has it's opposite to which it is linked in our minds: hot/cold, young/old, fast/slow. So even when you are thinking of hot, you are recalling the concept of cold in the background because you only really know what hot is because you can compare it to cold.

So now, in order to illustrate how paired down we have actually been able to keep our wedding production, I am going to tell you what elements we left OUT:

1. About 240 guests. On one hand, I wish I could've invited everyone I know. The thing is, it's not practical. On the other hand, I'm pleased that we're going to have an intimate ceremony witnessed by a group of people who love us so well.

2. A wedding planner. Try a Word document!

3. A wedding party. No groomsmen, bridesmaids or attendants. I know this isn't for everyone, but it's the Paraguayan way.

4. A traditional bridal registry. We asked for help paying for the wedding instead, because a debt-free wedding is the best gift ever.

5. Paper invitations and RSVP cards. Welcome to the digital age.

6. Lingerie. No comment.

7. Florists. Paper flowers provided by Maira, Maisa, Andrea, Zule, Liz, and Lucy.

8. Certain accessories. No veil, tiara, gloves, etc. What is it the kids are saying these days? Oh right, KISS: "Keep It Simple, Stupid".

The Marriage License

"The nuclear family does not have a transcendent ennobling power. The fact that ideology and the ideology of marriage have developed in the West since the English revolution of the seventhenth century has something like a relationship to the rise of meritocratic individualism." - Gayatri Spivak

The law is that when you fill out the affidavit for marriage at the courthouse, they make the official State of Arizona Marriage Handbook available to you. It includes sections such as "Aggressive Confrontation", "Coping with Family Challenges", "Walking Rocky Roads", "Being Safe During a Violent Outburst" and "Ending a Marriage".

Perhaps because of it's foreboding table of contents, on page two it reads:

"This handbook supports your decision to get married!...Marriage is a crucial cornerstone of society. It should provide a lifetime of happiness...Marriage is a crucial cornerstone of society"

I didn't cite that wrong. It's really written that way.

The fact of the matter is, this society loves the institution of marriage, even despite the fact that the divorce rate in the U.S. is between 40% and 50%. Why was everyone so happy about our engagement and now, our wedding? My extended circle of friends and acquaintances never emailed me so promptly - not even when I got into grad school! Why is that even the State of Arizona, who doesn't know me or Andrew, is "supportive of our decision to marry"?

If "marriage is a crucial cornerstone of society", then is it a garnet, an emerald, or a cubic zirconium?

I guess I'm still thinking about what functionality marriage has in society at large. As for me, the only reason why I'm getting married is so that I can quote Roberta Flack to Andrew on October 27th: "Tonight, I celebrate my love for you."

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Hotels

This is a pic of Andrew's last drink as a bachelor. He's at the Tap Room at Hotel Congress (taken by Jose -

We decided to suggest Hotel Congress and the Marriott to our out of town guests. They both have great, central locations while Congress caters to young adults looking for historic character, nightlife and eclectic Tucson flavor (not sleep) and Marriott is better suited for people (with kids especially) seeking comfort, service and privacy.

Andrew and I booked a room at Congress for our wedding night. Turns out, that was also the night of Club Congress's huge annual Halloween party, which was also our post-wedding after hours party. No, we didn't get a prize for best costumes, but The Three Amigas were awesome.

The Cake

I really didn't care about the cake, but I still managed to go through four bakeries before choosing one. I think that speaks volumes of Maribelle Cakery (and also volumes of my neurotic perfectionism).

First we checked out a French bakery called La Baguette upon recommendation of Kate and Ray. At that point I didn't even know what chocolate ganache was and I was utterly confused by their cake selections. I couldn't handle it, so I put off the cake thing for a while.

After we watched a few cake specials on the Food Network, I recovered my valor and went back into the world of cakes. We went to Le Cave's because I had heard they do a great tres leches cake, but Pura Vida's was better (they are closed now). In Le Cave's defense, however, it is the home of the original vegetable glazed donut. I'm not sure what that means, but I do enjoy their donuts...mmm...donuts...

Thanks fo my friend and neighbor Liz, I went to Maribelle Cakery. What really won me over about Maribelle was that they do tastings right! You go in, sit down, they have several plates of samples that are clearly labeled. They make it easy. They leave you alone, you have some time to think and taste, read the brochure...and before you know it, the plates are clean. Just pay attention to which plate you cleaned first: there's your cake. Andrew and I knew we had to have more of the orange butter cake with strawberry cream cheese filling. To quote Maribelle: "Simplicity and elegance...a tasteful choice!"

For cake decoration we wanted to echo our general decorating theme, so each tier has multicolored papel picado done in icing, and is topped by a Dia de los Muertos bride and groom (that we bought at La Cucaracha de Tubac...We thought it would be a nice touch given the closeness of our wedding to Dia de los Muertos and Halloween.)

The Photography

Purpleflor Photography (photo above - our brother in law's work) did the photography - which I am pleased about - but it was still a hard reality to face. What do you mean I can't photograph my own wedding?? I prefer being behind the lens to in front of it. (See my little exhibit at Espresso Art).

Even so, I'm glad that Jose did our photography because not only do I like his work, but I also because I like that he's family. I'm happy that we involved so many of our people - Andrew's aunt sent us papel picado from Mexico, my sister and her boyfriend hung it, my colleague deejayed, etc. Plus I just like knowing that I can trust the people I'm working with.

The Hair and Makeup

In the beginning I felt opposed to getting my hair and makeup professionally done, but after much contemplation and phone conversations with my best friend, Rupa, I decided to go ahead and do it. The only place I could think of was Elements in Balance. (I would've gone to Coyote, my regular spot, but they don't offer makeup or nails services). I told Jessica from Elements (see her makeup work in the photo above) that I felt really nervous looking "over done" but she assuaged my fears and promised I'd have exactly what I wanted.

I'll spare you all the details of what has gone into the hair and makeup trials, but I must say that I made the right decision. Have I spent too much money on Aveda products? Probably. But what the heck. (Thanks for paying for it, Mom!) And yes, my skin looks better than ever. Plus I love my new make-up brush, and this from a girl who barely wears makeup.

Postdata: The hair and make-up looked so good the day of! Everything turned out beautiful and stress-free when it came down to the final hour. Definitely the right decision. Here's a big shout out to Jessica (make-up) and Bridgette (hair)!

The "Rehearsal" Dinner

We had the "Rehearsal" Dinner at El Parador. I love their "Tropical Garden" motif and it's a significant venue for me as a staple of Spanish Department nightlife.

There was nothing really to rehearse, since we didn't have a wedding party, but it was be a good way to spend some special time with our family who have flew in. It will the first time our moms met. I was suprised that they didn't have some sort of secret handshake. (Yes, they are both Lutheran, Midwestern social workers. Weird, I know.)

I thank Ryan for that shot of Patron.

The Officiant and our New Church (???)

This is our baby/dog being baptized/blessed by Rev. Lee Morrison at Saint Francis in the Foothills United Methodist Church. Lee Morrison is the Spiritual Director of the church and the officiant of our upcoming wedding.

We started going to this church a few months ago, basically looking for an officiant. Andrew and I both come from a Lutheran background but don't feel especially churchy for what I guess are the regular reasons. That doesn't mean we've completely abandoned spirituality, though. Au contraire. (His mom calls us "Neo-Lutherans".)

When we went to Saint Francis and heard Rev. David Wilkinson speak for the first time, I was hooked for several reasons, but mostly because he worked "postmodernism" into the commentary. With articles like "St. Francis UMC of Tucson: Strange Theology Unrecognizable to Most Christian UMs" floating around the internet, I should have known I was going to love it.

It's a ministry based on inclusiveness, fragmentation, diversity and openness while at the same time being committed to unity and social justice - well, why don't you just read the mission statement.

There are basically three reasons why Andrew and I (I think I speak for both of us) find ourselves doing something we didn't foresee: going to church regularly.

1) This is a church that accepts that there are as many different paths to God as there are people. Until now, I had never been to any other church that isn't out to prove that theirs is the only true path or theirs the only true religion.

2) This is a church that was founded on the importance of breaking down church power hierarchy by giving members an active, leadership role. During the "sermon" we aren't passive receivers of the message, but rather are passed a microphone and encouraged to make the moment a two-way dialog by sharing our thoughts and feelings. Granted, this doesn't mean the power is totally balanced, but it is a happy medium for those who still feel most comfortable with a semi-traditional service set up. Not to mention, in my case, my relationship with "God" has been mostly intimate and private - much easier to blog about it than to speak about it in front of a congregation!

Speaking of power hierarchies, this church is very careful about removing as much of that turn-off language as they can. The reason why I didn't follow through with confirmation in the Lutheran church when I was a teenager? The handbook was so loaded with patriarchal language and ideology from page one that I basically gagged. (For more on this, check out this Arizona Daily Star article: "'Lord' is fading at some churches"

3) Every Sunday we've been to Saint Francis so far, Andrew and I come out feeling emotionally moved and intellectually challenged. Every time we feel the message is relevant to our lives - and frequently to something we've been discussing that same week. We walk out with a lot to talk about.

I'm not saying that I know much about the congregation yet or that I think the leaders are flawless or that the theology is way. That would be dangerous to think or say. But I do believe that we all have a spiritual appetite that we need to feed to stay healthy. There are many ways to satisfy one's spirit, and St. Francis is one of those worth trying.

La Musica

At first we wanted Mariachis; I particularly wanted an all-female thirty piece Mariachi band clad in pink like I saw open a Lila Downs concert, but alas, we couldn't afford that.

We took our time eating and drinking repeatedly at Guadalajara Grill (good), La Fuente (mediocre), and Las Casuelitas (just had the flan, but it was awesome). We loved Mariachi Saldivar, but we also heard Mariachi Mixteca, which wasn't bad, but not our thing. I have one key song that I use to judge how I like a Mariachi band, and it's "No Volvere". We had a trio - Trio Hermanos Estrada - play it one night at La Fuente, just for kicks. They blew it out of the water. I didn't even know I wanted a trio until I heard them.

We took their card and bought their CD "Gran Amigo El Rey" dedicated to the memory of their dear friend who had died of cancer. In the liner notes it begins, "About fifteen years ago, we were fortunate to meet Mark Capin, who was accompanied by a beautiful woman, for whom he asked us to play several songs. A few days later he requested more songs, but this time they were for another beautiful woman...and then another...and another..." Sexist, I know. But how quickly that little liner note pulls you into the story of these characters: a womanizing southwestern cowboy and three Mexican musicians!

Needless to say, the CD sounds as good as they do live. We met the trio later at Guadalajara Grill, and decided on "Novia Mia" as the "wedding march". It will be surreal having them playing for us at our wedding.

After the trio goes home, the DJ starts heating it up! Andrew and I have actually already mixed an eclectic four hours of music,(everything from Ella Fitzgerald to Chemical Brothers), but we'll be sure to carve a slot for DJ Cresencio to bust out his Latin beats. When I was a clueless first semester graduate student three years ago, I would have never guessed the same grad student who was coaching me through day one would be deejaying my wedding one day! (I was so confused I kept referring to him as Constancio.) Thanks so much Cresencio and Jose!