Category Archives: What to wear


written July 26th…

So I am now a Mrs. I’ll be sticking with my own name just to confuse traditionalists!

Yesterday was…. well, since I blew the suspense with my subject, perfect. Unless, of course you are sarcastic and believe that everyone sees the world like you do. In that case it doesn’t sound so great! But it was… It honestly couldn’t have gone any better. Here’s the lowdown:


Running around like headless chickens was not how I wanted to spend my wedding day, but I can’t say that I was surprised. Ian had to go to the dump for a last load of yard waste, pick up coolers, beer, ice… I had to put money in the bank (desperately!), get some hair pins and prescriptions, pick up balloons and run to the craft store for fake flowers, birds and eggs. I had tried to make papier mache flowers for the cake yesterday morning and thought “I’m going to end up killing someone if I keep trying to do these in such a state!” So I chucked the idea and went fake instead. What a relief!

We had no idea what to expect for weather. Earlier in the week there had been reports saying that we were due for 100+ degree days and winds up with up to 50 mph gusts! Then later we had a 30% chance of thunderstorms and we could even see heavy clouds staring us down in the distance. Awesome. (That, by the way, is sarcasm.)

We had people over doing film testing (we had some cinematic friends film with some hoity-toity equipment!), setting up tables, chairs, chandeliers and well-wish origami cranes in the altar/hoopa and flowers.

The altar/hoopa in it's beginning stages

The altar/hoopa in it's beginning stages

My sister and her boyfriend made little fishes and bubbles to go on the fish booth “curtain” and then we didn’t end up using those pieces… Ah well… When we finally took a second to stop the hunger shakes we ate delicious, but hurried, leftovers from one of our many times out . SO MUCH TO DOOOO!!! It was overwhelming.

Finally, after everyone had used our one shower or had gone back to their homes/places where they were staying to clean up I was able to step into the shower myself to hopefully send some stress down the drain and get a breath in the meantime. I still had no idea how I was going to do my hair beyond curly and up. Luckily both (curly and up) were easy and worked well together. My hair was done in about 3 minutes, make-up – perfect, dress (and tricky under garments) – on! I managed to get both sets of toenails painted and one hand before someone started knocking on the door.

Ian joined me in getting ready as he, too,  got a shower and then a little trim, then set out to calm the anxious crowd who oohed and ahhhhed at his swanky, Great Gatsby attire.

While I finished up with my sister’s help a friend put together my bouquet of  Stargazer lillies and baby’s breath. It was gorgeous and exactly what I had wanted!!

The brides fragrant bouquet

The brides fragrant bouquet

On to the next….

Show time:

Finally, I walked out of the stifling bedroom (curtains were closed due to tricky undergarments and the air of surprise) into the house where there were just a few people waiting. Already, I knew that Ian and I were going to be show stoppers! I asked him to get everyone rounded up (people in their seats, parents and sister ready to walk down the aisle) and we headed out the door. I could hear mumbles and oohs and aahs from the crowd, but my mind was still reeling! Did I get this done, oh, I forgot that, is it too late to…. Oh, well.

Heading out to the aisle

Heading out to the aisle

Ian walked down the aisle with a parent on each arm, sitting them in front. I took a deep breath, sister on one arm, father on the other until we reached the seating area where we had to go one by one.

As I was trying to calm myself down I looked at this beautiful place that we had created under the embrace of dozens of old hazelnut trees. It truly was awe inspiring. I didn’t think it would turn out so perfectly. Two or three chairs to a side, gauzy netting framing where we would take our vows and a chandelier over our heads.

People turned to watch as we entered. I came through last. I could smell the earth beneath my feet and the heady, syrupy perfume of the stargazers in my hands. And then I was there, standing next to this handsome young man that wanted to spend his life with me. I could tell he was avoiding looking anyone in the eye for fear of losing it. Me, too.

At the altar, Chris, our friend and officiator, took a second to look at us both and then began…

After Chris’ opening Frank, Ian’s long-time friend and best man, was going to get up to speak, but seeing as how his wife was about to give birth he wasn’t able to join us. He did however send a letter on with a good friend to be read at the wedding. While the letter was full of “geek” information it was a lovely sentiment in the end.

Next, Ian’s parents stood up and said a few words about how happy they were for both of us and how they fully supported our decision to commit to each other.

Mara speaking her heart and getting ready to read

Mara speaking her heart and getting ready to read

My sister was last to stand and say something. She was pretty teary-eyed as she told us how happy she was and how much we mean to her. Then she read a poem by Gary Soto, “Oranges.” Beautiful, beautiful! Without being frilly and overly sentimental the poem did such a wonderful job of showing the quiet beauty that is love and the small (and sometimes big) sacrifices we make for love.

And then, the main event! Our vows.

Ian balked earlier when he saw that I had four pages written and ready to read. I could tell that he felt bad that he had just one. I wasn’t worried about it in the least.

I went first talking about how wonderful Ian was because he’s never manipulated or lied to me. He’s always treated me with respect and I know that I have the freedom to go and do whatever I want and I know he will support me with those decisions and be with me when I come home.

Ian reading his vows

Ian reading his vows

Ian’s vows had a lot of the same sentiments that I had made but that’s because we already have had a sort of unspoken understanding of how we both work separately and together. That’s why we’ve worked so well together these past 6 years.

I knew Chris would do a beautiful job. He has a very sentimental side and I know has the utmost respect for Ian and myself. He described how our love is much like a tree…

Marriage is a tree with real roots and branches. It soaks the sunshine of the best days and it grows outward. It drinks the rain of the storms that are sure to occur and expands its roots and grows stronger. It moves in the winds that life sends us every day, and flows. It stores its energy in a safe place when cold and snow and winter times come, and provides a place to go deep inside for warm solace.



After pronouncing us husband and wife, etc., etc. my father asked if he might say something. He hadn’t wanted to talk during the ceremony because what he wanted to say was lengthy. That embarrassment we all feel about our parents started to poke at me, but it needn’t have, what he had to say was beautiful. He said that he has looked over me and been worried about me for so long. My health has been his topmost concern for years. He shared with everyone a little pair of shoes that he’s kept of mine since I was 3 years old. Now, because of Ian, he feels at peace knowing that Ian will be there for me through whatever may happen. He knows, too, that Ian will keep him informed if anything should happen. We will look after each other in the best and worst of times. It was truly heart felt and if people in the crowd hadn’t been crying before (which I understand everyone was crying) they certainly were then…

Papa giving his blessing

Papa giving his blessing

And so the celebration began!!



It’s easy being green! (Who knew?)

On Wednesday I had a number of things on my ‘To Do’ list for the day. If you’ve ever seen my ‘To Do’ lists they’re not small in stature… or in quantity.

What to do... what to do...

What to do... what to do...

My plan was to eat breakfast, work on my dress, pull weeds, eat lunch, go to the gym, work on cleaning up our tree grove and take a shower. Busy day, no? Uh, yeah… That’s how I do things. I think I need to look at all the things I want to do and feel if I accomplish half of those things for the day that I’m doin’ great!

So, back to Wednesday…. I ate breakfast, I worked on the dress…. That’s as far as I got. BUT! Not only did I work on my lovely green, linen wedding dress, I finished it save for the hemming at the bottom and neck line. Not too shabby, eh?!

So what if I only accomplished one thing or so on the list. It feels like I did a pretty good job of it. I was extremely careful. Read and reread all the directions. Measured, measured, measured! I only had to rip about 6 inches of a seam for the whole thing! (It was a tricky curve.) And making a wedding dress between the hours of 9 and 2.30…? Pretty fast job!

Can you tell that I’m really proud of myself. I’m also very relieved to have that out of the way, albeit not completely, and amazed that it was so easy. I really want to try more and more patterns… Who knows what I could make!?! And I’d only get faster and better until I wouldn’t really need a pattern! But before I get over the top and start telling people that I can make their wedding dresses as well as their bridemaid dresses and the groom’s tux, and, and…. I think I’ll just be pleased as punch about my own triumph. I’d show you a picture, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise!! (Plus, I’d have to kill you.)


Soon to be a wedding dress

Soon to be a wedding dress...stay tuned

Finally, I managed to find a sliver of time to work on my dress. Yes, I’m making my wedding dress.

While I look at all the bridal magazines and think,”Oh wouldn’t it be fun to look like a princess for the big day?” I also know that in my gut I could never, ever justify it to myself. Buying a dress that cost more than my entire wardrobe for one day, even if it is the day, is silly for me, fine for others. I’m a bit of a cheap frugal person and it gives me great joy to tell people that I paid a dollar for this or 50 cents for that. I never buy things for full price (unless there’s a dire need for something) and I try to think of how to alter things so that it looks like I buy my clothes from Anthropologie. Still working on that last bit… if only I could make their shoes… I also tend to bite off more than I can chew and end up having nothing to show.

But this time is different! I have a simple dress pattern (I think), no linings, no boning, nothing fancy. Just a nice summer dress and a little jacket to keep the chill away when it gets cooler. (I assume that since you’re reading my wedding blog that you know that we’re having our wedding in our backyard. You should look at the location page to get the full idea of what that means.)

When I started and had my measurements in hand I was ready to cut out the pattern to match. Of course, like most other women, I didn’t fit one particular size. Grrr! Now what. I’ve been out of the clothing making mindset for over a decade now from my days at WWU and I wasn’t positive of what would be the next step. Lucky for me I have a secret weapon!

The neighbor who lives across the drive from us just happens to have made a career out of sewing, tailoring and pattern making. I believe she has told me that she made men’s suits from scratch for a living including all of her ex-husband’s, she worked for an opera house in Seattle doing costuming and also taught pattern making classes… those classes may have been at UW… I can’t quite remember. So, yay for me! She said that she would be happy to help if I ran into any snags. I had hit one.

She’s quite talented and I was wondering if her style of explaining things would be over my head. She came to our house and we went into my workspace upstairs – which she loved, yay! – and set to work.

Workshop attic

Workshop attic

It took just a quick minute or two before I understood what she had been telling me on a scrap piece of paper over at her house. It was like smelling something you haven’t encountered in years and having it take you back to a specific time in your history (i.e. pine trees and Christmas, cookies and grandma’s house, perfume and going to the theatre). When I saw her method for altering a pattern I instantly remembered being in the costume shop at Western and watching Gregory, the costume master, work his magic. I hadn’t even cut out the pattern and already I was ready to learn and create more and more! Hopefully, she was serious when she left and said that she loves doing this kind of stuff.

If there hadn’t been a Father’s Day pie to make I might have been further along at this point. But I have today off and only a few tasks to accomplish: phone calls, gym, shower, etc. Look out dress! Here I come!

By the way, it’s green linen. I thought I heard you ask.