Love & Canada: The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

For the past few months, and the past few weeks especially, I’ve been going along, filled with a vague sense of worry and uncertainty and the feeling that the next steps of my life are largely in someone else’s hands (what’s up immigration officials), and working basically all the time (I am normally very into my work, but this is something else) and not keeping up with friends and not sleeping all that well and doing none of the things my body normally needs to make it happy and at some point this weekend I just sort of cracked? What I mean to say is, when I woke up Saturday I was going to get a lot of stuff done and I was just pretty focused on that and by mid Sunday afternoon I had cried for about 12 of my weekend waking hours, of which there had not been many, because I kept needing to go to bed.

So Sunday afternoon and evening Shannon and I spent a few hours talking and powering through all my life feelings, and also through many of her life feelings, and just hanging out in the best way we can with shitty data plans in different countries, and I stopped trying to get things done for a few hours and cooked myself dinner, emailed friends, read a book, took a shower and danced around to One Direction (WHAT) and by the time I woke up Monday I felt more like myself than I have in weeks. Everything felt quieter and clearer and like it is going to be okay, as if giving myself permission to full on worry for an evening made the perpetual worrying recede a little.

sky

when I go outside it looks like this maybe I should do it more


My Lesbian Immigration Marriage Feelings, Part 2

9. The actual getting married part.

We decided we didn’t want a formal officiant (maybe I made that decision whatever), we wanted someone we love, because we’re having so few people and it seemed silly to have one of those people be someone who didn’t mean something to us. Anyway we asked a person we love a lot to officiate and she said yes and I am the most excited and don’t really know what to do next, I think researching how she can become an officiant and also scripts and then booking her and her person’s travel? My main priorities are being non-religious and a tiny bit witchy and working stealth poly things into the vows in a way that will not upset conservative family members. (And being married at the end of it.) Also everything is happening at a weird moon phase and I don’t know what to do about that.

10. Snacks

My mom found out we were planning to serve/let guests acquire drinks before the ceremony without serving food and now I guess we’re having snacks. Appetizers. A vegan cheese plate? What goes well with champagne and bourbon (not at the same time) (probably not at the same time)?

giphy

3.2. Okay, I probably need to decorate.

Thanks to the comments and no thanks to a lot of late-night Etsy browsing, there will be a few strings of lights around where the ceremony will take place and also LA Flower Market flowers we’ll get the morning before. There is no plan yet for what this will look like in practice or whether there should be vases or ribbons or something. Also I’ve been looking at the place we’re getting married a lot on Google street view and I think we might need to stand against something more aesthetically pleasing and maybe I do want it to look a little wedding-y instead of we are standing around-y and this is a feeling I am going to explore a little more within the bounds of my desire to not spend money and also to be able to clean up in about ten minutes while wearing a confining floor-length gown. (Footwear still tbd.) I am mostly concerned about visual framing and lighting I think, because:

11. Photography.

Of all the wedding things to take or leave a professional photographer was the biggest “yes of course we are doing that” and not just because we might need to show some sort of wedding album to the government at some point later in my immigration process. Also it would be cool if they were queer but I guess that’s not actually necessary I just only want to give money to queer people. #emailed

12. Family things.

Some family members are hmmm less comfortable with the gay part of this gay wedding than others. No one is not coming as a result, and the several people who feel this way are keeping it to themselves and so maybe being bothered by this is the silliest because I’m privileged to be supported otherwise? Like nothing bad is happening, but for instance my [redacted] just gets really uptight and bitchy when I talk about how I’m marrying a lady in public or to family friends or really at all, like it would just be better if no one had to talk about it, and it’s exhausting and I wish I didn’t care and also get on board I guess? I’m not getting married, I’m getting hella gay married and it’s awesome and I want to talk about it. (I know some queer people disagree with this perspective and just prefer “married” and from a rights standpoint I obviously agree but around a certain type of straight person I use “gay” as an aggressively positive adjective and anyway these are just my feelings about my personal situation.)

This is the thing that every so often makes me wish we were having a huge wedding instead of a tiny one, so no one mistakes simplicity for internalized homophobia, and it’s also the thing that makes me want to do things I do not otherwise want to do (like wonder if I should wear white instead of black so that it registers more as “wedding” even though I’m so into wearing black, or walk down some sort of aisle with an air of formality instead of just standing somewhere else, etc.). I don’t actually want those things but I want to entertain the idea that I do in certain circumstances. I guess what I mean is, I want it to be clear that things being a certain way is an active decision rather than circumstance. I want to control the narrative, or at least not have one imposed.

13. More family things.

My dad is sad I don’t want to be given away. I aggressively don’t want to be given away.

14. Still more family things.

Because it’s going to be such a small wedding and because we both have not small extended families, not everyone related to us is coming. This ranges from “fine” to “should probably figure out how to mention that at some point” to “what if I just don’t mention it and they show up, it would be really cool if they were there and they’re the best and maybe no one would notice.” (People would notice.) If some people come, does that mean everyone has to be invited? Even if they probably won’t show up? Is it better to just have no one than to create familial unrest? Is it unfair to have more of my extended family than Shannon’s just because mine is going to be really difficult to see and hers is geographically nearer, or does that just make having some but not others worse?

giphy

15. “Cultural differences.”

Both of our families are nervous about meeting each other because “what if they’re just so American/Canadian.” I find this intensely funny but am genuinely curious about how it will turn out.

6.2. I more or less moved this week.

I’m still in Canada obviously, but after looking at the options (FedEx shipping with an account? Space pod that is actually just a pod but is forever in my brain as a space pod because of Carmen? My checked baggage? Wedding attendees’ checked baggage? Crossing the border at Cornwall on the way to the interview to use US media mail? Waiting until my parents take the road trip ’round the continent they’re dreaming of?) I decided to go with plain ol’ Canada Post as my main moving mechanism. I mailed the first box last week and it’s already made it to LA — and with tracking, and for $200 less than I thought it’d be. I have two more packed and ready to go, and one more I’m saving for things I will inevitably discover I want to bring at the last minute so I can ship them instead and avoid checking my suitcase. I never ever check a suitcase. And it’s more “smallish duffel bag” than suitcase anyway.

moving-box-pink-socks

4.2. There is nothing I can do about my immigration for a little while.

Since writing the first post in this series I had my medical exam, which I had been worrying about since I heard I had to have one, but it was very straightforward and I did not faint during the blood test or forget a vaccination and I have my sealed results in a drawer on the other side of the room right now.

It also turns out we’re mostly done with paperwork for now? We have to sign a few things and Shannon needs to pick up one original document and otherwise things are in order for the interview. (There’s still more paperwork after the interview but she’s taken care of a lot of that almost already because she’s the best.)

I have not dealt further with answering any work-related legal or financial questions but I am giving myself permission to not deal with these for a bit.

Which means that all I can do right now is wait. And do all that other stuff I listed and make a to do list for all the additional stuff I’m forgetting. But mostly, the waiting.


Are you having feelings? Are you having advice? Are you immigrating and/or getting married and/or already immigrated and/or already married? Email us at youneedhelp @ autostraddle dot com or leave a question/feeling in the comments!

Carolyn Yates is the NSFW Consultant, and was formerly the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor, for Autostraddle.com. Her writing has appeared in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, Xtra!, Jezebel, and elsewhere. She recently moved to Los Angeles from Montreal. Find her on twitter.

Carolyn has written 935 articles for us.

118 Comments

  1. Kudos to you for allowing yourself to deal with one BIG ASS LIFE THING at a time and setting aside some of the immigration process for the time being. That psychological fallacy of should gets to all of us (I SHOULD be able to handle immigration and weddings and family and big ass life changes all at once nbd, for example) and just really shuts everything down. I am simultaneously both sorry to hear that you had an emotionally trying weekend, and also really glad you were able to expression some intense feelings and have a good conversation about it with Shannon at the end of it.

    • Deciding to have a day off from all the things the best and hardest decision I have made lately. Why are we so bad at prioritising our own needs?
      It gets a bit easier with practice.

      • I think it’s because it’s easier to pretend to not have needs? ‘Cause then you don’t have to worry about meeting them! (Jk because then you’re just ignoring them until you have to meet them all at once, as I found out.) I

  2. My only advice is Offbeat Bride website. It has tons of archived posts, probably ones tagged ‘a little bit witchy, a little bit stealth poly,’ for ceremony type advice. Plus, drooling over all the cool ways people make their Big/Small/Gay/Het/Poly/Steampunk/Mermaid/Nerd/Cheap/Expensive/Elopement look amazing. So many ideas.

  3. Alright, more decorating advice! I could do this forever. SO glad you’re planning on going to the flower mart–it’s seriously awesome!!

    9. I attended a GAY!!<3:) wedding this weekend, and it was officiated by one of the grooms' psychic aunt and it was AMAZING and I cried a lot a lot. Pretty much every wedding ceremony where a friend/family member/loved one officiates is my favorite wedding ceremony. Your officifriend can become officially ordained for free apparently? I know a few people who've done it and they all said it was super easy. I found this place when I googled it! http://www.themonastery.org/ordination

    • 10. Snacks/appetizers don’t have to be a big deal! But it is a good idea to give people food whenever you’re giving them booze. Also give them water! That is something people seem to forget?
      Choosing food depending on how formal you want it to feel is a pretty good way to go, but also who says you can’t have popcorn at the ritz carlton or caviar in your backyard? Just pick stuff that is delicious! And easy, if this isn’t something you were planning on caring about. And also try to stay away from anything tooo messy.
      Fresh veggies and pita chips and hummus are a total no brainer; frozen spanikopita from trader joe’s feels a little fancier once it’s done but is slightly less easy because you have to cook it, but after you’ve done that? SO EASY. Also veggies are easy to make more formal simply by laying them out nicely! Cheese plates are my jam, but maybe a vegan cheese plate is a trickier to pull off? I don’t know. I wouldn’t worry about this too too much, because like we’re in southern california? Throw out some salsa and guac and tortilla chips (esp if they’re for sure gluten free) and pretty much everyone is happy!

    • 3.2. NO RIBBONS. Unless you’re super into ribbons? In my eyes, a ribbon tied around a sad vase of flowers just makes everything sadder. Ugggh you do you but also ribbons on vases are terrible. Giving advice is hard when you have bitchy ribbon opinions.
      I have seen some really rad instillation style ribbon decorations, though, so??? Ribbons. I wouldn’t bother.

      Flower-wise, I’m going to private message you some specific vendors? Hopefully that’s not totally weird. There’s this rose lady I really like? Also, ideally you get there early! Early in the morning! Also make sure to ask for prices! Sometimes little plain looking things will cost a lot, and big fancy looking things will cost a little!

      For the reception:

      Vases are probs a good idea. You could always just pull out all of your glassware, but I really recommend vases because then your glasses won’t get broken or anything? Also if you get bud vases (my favorite cheap ass bud vases are these bumpy glass ones from ikea http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40113180/), you can give one to each guest as a favor if you want! You just put a flower or two in each vase, and a vase at each place setting. Super easy, really pretty, looks airy and nice, and you hardly have to buy any flowers! If you’re not into the bud vase thing, you can even get inexpensive but totally cool vases at the flower market!

      If you’re really not into vases, you could always get greens/branches and just lay them along the middle of your tables! does it get easier than that? Probably not. Also it’s really pretty in a wild woodland feast sort of way. Like Redwall without the small fury creature violence!

      For the ceremony:

      If you want easy cleanup, it’s hard to go wrong with some big leafy/blooming branches in 2 tallish buckets/vases/whatever. Just make sure the bottoms are heavy enough that they won’t tip over! Put one on either side of where you’ll be standing, aaand done! If you can get someone else to move them after the ceremony, you could put one on either side of a door, or the food/desert table, or next to your chairs?
      This same general idea works with tall potted plants! Or flowers! Or branches/sticks coming out of flowers!

      If you can hang something behind you on a wall or something, that’s pretty great too! Go wild! Fresh flowers on wire! Strands of pretty little lights! Pictures of the places you love! A big map! Frames and mirrors, empty or full! All of your autostraddle shirts on hangers! THIS HYPOTHETICAL WALL IS YOUR OYSTER.

      If you don’t have a wall but want some like that, you can pretty much do the same thing on a rolling rack, or a basic structure made of pvc and hung with fabric or paper, or anything strung between two small trees from Home Depot that you later return because they “weren’t quite right for your garden” (sorry home depot).

    • 11. YAY GOOD JOB!! Just make sure that whoever you pick meshes with you, so you guys don’t end up feeling uncomfortable day of. Do you want staged photos, or just candids, or a mix? (probably a mix). Also you might want to make a list of pictures you FOR SURE want, so nothing gets forgotten!

      For everything else, good luck good luck! Family stuff is tricky but you two are going to get married and it’s going to be wonderful no matter what. WOO!

    • OH ALSO when you get flowers from the flower market, you’re going to want to take them home, give them a fresh cut with good shears/scissors, and put them in fresh water. Then make sure they aren’t in direct sun/heat! It’ll take a bit of time to process everything but it is so so worth it.

      • HEY it was unintentional and then I fifnished it and looked at it and I was like OH NO PEOPLE ARE GOIGN TO THINK I SPLIT IT UP FOR EXTRA COMMENTS but it’s NOT TRUE IT WAS JSUT CLEARER
        so thank you for calling me out, you bastard <3

    • All your advice is wonderful and <3 <3 <3

      I definitely would have forgotten water!

      Also it’s not weird to send me specifics! Specifics are great.

      Bud vases also seem like a really good idea! (Also like it’d be possible to put them together with only whatever flower knowledge I can get from the internet?) Dinner is just a regular large-party dinner at a regular restaurant that will be serving other guests like normal in the same space as us, partly because we’re gonna be small and special treatment isn’t necessary and partly because I was afraid if we started calling places to book a “wedding dinner” instead of a “family and friends get together” prices would jump. (This happened to someone I know who planned a wedding and a parent’s 60th at the same time – even though the end goal was almost the same party, prices for the same things were much higher if anyone said the word “wedding.” I’m not convinced it would be the same in this case but I’m wary.) So the flowers are mostly for the table with the food and booze and glasses on it (as I’m typing I’m realizing that I don’t know how big the available table is and should find out) and for me to hold and to sort of be around the ceremony area, probably, and for anyone who wants some festive decoration.

      Branches in buckets. BRANCHES IN BUCKETS.

  4. I can really relate to the part “as if giving myself permission to full on worry for an evening made the perpetual worrying recede a little.” Sometimes I hold feelings away at a distance and once I let myself feeling them for a day or so then they aren’t that troublesome anymore.

  5. here to affirm your decision to wear a black dress! it will look SO HOT on you! you want witchy vibes in your ceremony anyway! the whole white dress tradition thing is rooted in virginity and purity and lots of other gross sexist shit. I am on team black dress, but I also understand why you want to control the narrative and not have assumptions piled onto you. this might be unavoidable, so you might as well continue to do what you want and what will make you feel the most You. but I don’t know the relatives in question, so. and maybe this idea of them thinking it’s internalized homophobia would be apparent if your wedding was more “traditional” with walking down an aisle and a white dress too. maybe if you did that tradition stuff, it would be catering to the relatives and making them feel more comfy and like it’s a wedding they’ve been to before… i say, fuck that. but also it’s okay if you did want that, it just doesn’t sound like you do?

  6. hi! florist here! at least in my experience, if you’re doing the flowers yourself i highly recommend doing a mock up or two before, even if its not necessarily using flowers you think you’re gonna have for the wedding. theres a lot of mechanics that go into putting flowers together in a sturdy and aesthetically pleasing way and its literally no fun at all to be working on it for the first time when you’re counting down to the event. good luck!! <3

  7. I am litterally doing this RIGHT NOW. I just got back from Montreal,QC(I live in Waterloo, Ontario) and just got approved for my k1 fiance visa to the US to be with my lovely partner.

    I’ve been so frantic over so many details for months and it all came down to a dude behind a glass window asking me “so your fiance is like a dog catcher?”(I kid you not folks) and my response of “well and an occasional wild boar if it strikes the beasts fancy that day”

    Now I just wait on my passport…
    I get that whole Canadian American family thing..but its mostly my Canadian family being closed minded (accepted my life choices, still too Christian to fully deal with it) and my New Mexican family being more than accepting enough.

    …this process isn’t for everyone.. I’ve been going back and forth two months at a time between Canada and the USA …my life is constantly uprooted, I have no real safety net, work sucked, and leaving her behind every time hurt more than anyone could imagine…. But it’s worth it.

    She’s the love of my life, and anyone who can spend their life with their love, say their I do’s and be happy… Is beyond lucky.. And I’m now soon to be one of those people.

    • I love that there is a little gay k1 club happening right now!
      Congrats on your approval!

      My interview is in three weeks & I have almost everything prepped and it’s almost worse to be at a stage where there is nothing else I can actually do to help this happen.

      Is it weird that… I am jealous of your two month visits? I have never been able to do more than a couple of weeks. Two months sounds heavenly.

      • The two months makes your life feel entirely uprooted at all times. But I couldn’t ever do it any other way. That woman is my soul mate. Being apart from her drives me mad.

        Ps. Your interview will be a breeze. I was actually disappointed in how easy it was for how much stress I had before it.

        Good luck! The final weeks are the hardest.

        Are you doing a JOP wedding ?
        We are, then a year later were going to host the ceremony.. ( though guilty already got my dress haha)

    • Ahh congrats!!! Do they give you an estimate of how long it’ll be before you get your passport with the visa? When are you moving?

      I also did the months at a time root (thanks, freelancing!) and always felt both really lucky to get more than a weekend here or a week there but also always felt really checked out even when I didn’t want to be, like trying to run a life in two places didn’t add up to one whole one.

      • That’s the exact feeling! I always felt like I was never grounded, people called me lucky to get the time but I was so focused on making the most of every moment I had that half the time I was too caught up in my sadness about leaving for me to truly enjoy myself.

        They say “accouple weeks” but it took someone I know 8 business days for theirs to arrive… So I’m shooting for it to come on the 20th. And then I’ll fly out as soon as possible after that .

        My whole life is already down there, all I have left is some clothes, accouple books and a salt rock lamp. So this will be the last flight I make home.

        🙂

        The interview is a breeze, don’t sweat it in the slightest, I panicked for about 3 weeks, and last night after months of worry, I slept better than I have in a long long time.

        🙂 good luck darlin, it’ll be the best feeling when they tell you the words ” you’re approved”

  8. good luck on the family front–as someone with a large family and also one that is varying levels of okay with gay, I feel you.

    I become so invested in these weddings wow wedding feelings are contagious?

  9. I’m really enjoying this series even though I don’t have a partner and don’t even plan on getting married. Because I’m in a situation where it’s fairly likely that anyone I have a serious relationship with will have a different nationality and immigration is terrifying. I’m wishing you all the best because I need to know it’s possible to do this successfully.

  10. The medical exam was THE WORST THING for me. I have a terrible needle phobia so getting my blood drawn was an absolute nightmare back then (now I’ve gone through phobia treatment and do much better). It didn’t help that the one Australian immigration approved clinic in my state looked like a crack den, either.

    • Goddamn, I had to do so many medical tests for Australia (student visa! pre application for PR! just before PR is granted!) that I swear they have my DNA locked up somewhere from my blood samples so they can clone me

  11. Oh also when we got married I flat out didn’t invite a lot of family members because they’re homophobic or I don’t know them very well. It was fine. It was a small destination wedding anyway.

  12. That rainbow-colored sunset picture is gorgeous.

    Also, I agree with Kate and Analyssa that reading about your wedding feelings has made me much more interested in weddings than I would have expected, even though I’ve never even been on a date in my life.

  13. That thing about “let yourself feel bad things fully for a day to feel better later” is something I discovered is so helpful for me as well. My instinct is usually to brush something off and try to be “okay” about everything, but it turns out ignoring my problems actually DOESN’T make them go away (who knew??)

    Also, I think snacks are a much better idea than a catered meal because it is SO cost prohibitive (a friend of mine is getting a small catered lunch for his wedding and it’s still like $1000!)

  14. “This is the thing that every so often makes me wish we were having a huge wedding instead of a tiny one, so no one mistakes simplicity for internalized homophobia…”

    Preach! I can relate to the ‘I’ll do it THEN you’ll see’ kinda feelings. I worry about people thinking I have internalized anything!

    • Exactly! And I think I want it to be clear that catering to other people’s kinda homophobic feelings is not what’s happening and not something I’m interested in, even while doing this thing in a way that those feelings approve of. I mean the result is going to be the same and so this is probably the least important thing to worry about, but also.

    • I just did a medical exam for the same visa. They do a chest xray for tuberculosis & a blood test for syphilis. More info is here:

      http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/immigrant-process/interview/prepare/medical-exam-faqs.html

      I’m in Canada and other than the above tests the actual doctor did not examine me in any way. He literally asked me if I had health problems and I said no and that was that. You had to pay in person IN CASH, which in Canada is blasphemy, basically.

      I was surprised and pleased that having HIV isn’t a disqualification.

      • I actually was terrified walking into the medical.. And other than the screeching child in the blood testing area, it was so mellow it almost hurt. The doctor looked at me, assumed I was on a student visa. And then asked me why I’m getting married at 20(freshly turned) and explained the median age of women applying is 35

        No buenos .
        However, when it’s all said and done you walk out almost feeling jipped for the 300$ you just paid haha.

    • When I moved to Australia, it was a chest X-ray for tuberculosis and an HIV test. I don’t think being HIV+ was an automatic disqualification, but it wasn’t exactly a good thing…

    • I had a Canadian room mate in school and we had a running list of ‘English/Canadian translation’ words that were different between our two countries. It was a pretty good list. Stuff like ‘garbage disposal = insinkerator,’ ‘toque = hat’, we had maybe 20 words after a few years.

  15. Oh this is so interesting to read. Both of my boo’s roommates are in Canada-America relationships and hearing about all the hoops and the struggles for them to just be together makes borders seem even more frustrating and irrelevant than they are already. We even came up with a nonprofit idea: Love Without Borders, dedicated to helping folks in cross-border relationships (esp queer folks obv.)

    Plus touches on my own marriage feelings (anti-state and anti-patriarchy but fuck if marriage isn’t entrenched in my romantic imaginary all the same and oh man I love my partner and can see marrying them and would just so they could have health insurance but oops wait I’m against everything marriage stands for but also kinda we could subvert it right but idk idk).

    • You can always subvert it, you can subvert anything! For instance I am finding the whole idea of marriage really kinky, like we’re promising to follow basically a relationship contract and we have to wear objects to indicate ownership around and in public and idk. (Does anyone remember that scene in 30 Rock where Jenna is finding pretending to be normal really filthy? It feels like that.)

  16. I think a lot about immigration, not because I am getting married, but because being stuck in the closet in my country of origin for the rest of my life sounds like the most depressing thing ever.

  17. Setting aside ‘worry time’ is totally a thing my CBTherapist taught me! Give yourself e.g. Half an hour to go some intense, unrestrained worrying, to help with the chronic lower level anxiety. It’s legit a therapeutical tool. In other feelings, I feel like if CBT were part of PSHE we’d all be a little bit mentally healthier.

  18. I walked into the clearing in the woods that we got married in between both my parents. I didn’t want the whole patriarchal giving away thing, but I felt that it acknowledged the nurturing and support they have both given me and how important they have been in shaping who I am. It was a cute moment for us and when we were walking up there Mum even quoted our favourite book.

  19. Good luck!

    I may be moving my butt across the sea soon, dependent on some MAJOR factors, so I really appreciate your documentation of your experience.

    If your wedding is a fraction as awesome as the NSFW Sunday post, you’ll have a pretty freaking awesome wedding (:

  20. The waiting period for visas is atrocious. There’s really nothing you can do to speed it up no matter how much you throw at the system (maybe you’ll get premium processing, but still). When I was in bridging visa limbo for Australia people were all “why is it taking so long?! (took me 5 years!) Can’t you send them your resume? Your new degree? References?” Nope, they don’t give a shit. (At one point my case manager left and I was managerless for 6 months!) The wanting-to-speed-shit-up is what led to the potential immigration marriage with my ex-boyfriend, but that wouldn’t have really changed things.

  21. So I dreamt last night that I was at your wedding and it was really beautiful and moving!! I hope that doesn’t weird you out – dreams are weird. I also dreamt that I took my shirt off mid-ceremony because I thought that’s what I was instructed to do and then everybody shamed me. Sorry about ruining your dream wedding with my lack of modesty :/

  22. I totally feel you with the whole – allowing yourself to worry thing. I find it releases so much of my inner crap if I can just let myself be sad/stressed/angry/anxious. Express it, let it go. Rather than push it down and try not to think about it. That is how I get mega-depressed.

    And re- the big wedding/white dress/GAY wedding thing. I have spent a lot of time trying to work out how to live in a way that is active rather than reactive. In the end you can’t change how other people are going to be, you can only control how you are. I always try and think about myself now and how I want to be. Do what you wanna do, you know? Wear black. Have a small wedding. That is being active in your life, you’re not pushing back against anything, you’re just doing you.

  23. “Giving away” and “asking the father for permission” are two traditions that make me see red (in regards to myself, weddings are personal, totally do you.)

    And I think your wedding sounds beautiful and amazing and its YOURS so, way more authentic than the white dress and million relatives unless that’s what you end up deciding you want.

  24. I love how the gifs and the numbering scheme (9, 10, 3.2) really set the tone. Also doing the wedding your way without a white dress and an aisle is definitely the best way to show that you are claiming the act of getting married as your own! I say no need to imitate the way the str8’s do it just because you can.

  25. You have articulated so many of my feelings and concerns about marriage. ” I want to control the narrative, or at least not have one imposed” especially resonated. I have only VERY recently thought that getting married might be something I would even remotely entertain doing in the future and it has forced a lot of stuff to the surface that I had buried and avoided. It was also fairly recently that I openly acknowledged that my orientation is other than straight. I had a lot of feelings about wedding culture and traditions before, but now this is further complicated by my queerness and traditional family members.

  26. (That sunflower tattoo is GORGEOUS)
    This article really reminded me the importance of letting myself be sad and feeling my emotions, and I needed that, so thank you.
    And of course, I do hope everything works out well. I genuinely appreciate how open and honest everything is written.

  27. I have so many feelings. The first thing — how awesome is love? How great that this thing can happen that prompts people to drop everything and move thousands of miles just to be with someone else. And how cool that it’s happened for you, Carolyn, and that you’re making it happen!

    My other feelings are much more conflicted, and not tied to this piece itself but rather the general field of conversation that it’s part of. I felt it after the first installment, but figured this isn’t the place to voice them, but then I felt it so strongly after this installment, and thought that maybe this is the place, and maybe other people are having these feelings so it would be helpful to articulate them. So here goes.

    My entree into queerness came via messageboards in the early 2000s. I still remember so many stories of people who weren’t able to be together because same-sex couples had no immigration rights, and people who had to leave the country that they’d called home for a long time. My first queer mentor spent more than 10 years in a state of immigration precarity, which could have been solved in an instant if same-sex unions had immigration rights attached. The majority of my 20s were spent worrying about whether I would ever be able to be with the person I completely and utterly adored.

    I offer these experiences just to say that for so many people, this topic is a cause of so much pain and trauma. Lives have been torn apart, relationships have been lost, and people have struggled for years all because same-sex marriage wasn’t a thing, and even for a while when it was a thing, didn’t come with immigration rights attached. And, of course, in so many places, it’s still not a thing.

    And on top of that, there’s the miserable fact of Borders at all, and there’s so much horror attached to immigration generally; while DOMA’s ending meant that there could be immigration rights for same-sex couples, it’s still an inherently unjust system where people are left unprotected and abused.

    I guess what I’m asking for is to remember the privilege that’s attached to the very fact of being able to meet someone, and fall for them so hard that you’d move mountains to be with them — and, on top of that, to actually be able to do it. All thanks to the Supreme Court agreeing that same-sex couples shouldn’t have to pay more inheritance taxes than straight couples.

    The process is miserable, and expensive, and so horribly anxiety-inducing that it feels like you’ll never be rid of the panic. But not so long ago, it wouldn’t have been possible in the first place, and people’s relationships–and sometimes lives–were destroyed over it.

    • I agree this is good to acknowledge!

      In the intro I talked a little about how when Shannon and I met we didn’t think we could ever be together, but we obviously legally could be, so it didn’t seem right to focus attention (in a miniseries of personal/self-involved writing about relatively trivial things) on experiences that aren’t mine – especially with friends who have had to break up with partners because of immigration things, one pair as recently as a year ago (she was trying to bring her partner to Canada, which made it especially shocking when for various reasons she couldn’t), who I would never want to speak for or compare myself to. So thank you for bringing this up!

      (Also in Canada gay people have had rights for years, which means I paid less attention to them in the US until very recently and which also means US rights are a bit of a blind spot that I am mostly suppressing right now because otherwise what the hell kind of country am I moving to.)

  28. These wedding posts are making me feel less alone and like I’ll have guidance when I decide to tie the knot in a few years. All my friends are either getting straight-married or are radical queers who don’t believe in marriage, so this fills that gap quite nicely.

    I love your posts, Carolyn, you are my Autostraddle spirit animal. Good luck a thousand times!!!!!!!

  29. It started with kittens, then babies, now I’m reading the wedding posts and loving them! This is terrifying my cherished inner child… Penelope pan may be getting ready to leave never never land. :-O

  30. For photographers, have you thought about maybe seeing if Robin Roemer will shoot your wedding? She’s in L.A., has done work for this site, and of course queer. You also probably need someone who does video too?

  31. On number 12: even though it is great that so many people are supportive, it’s still ok to be annoyed that some people aren’t wholehearted about it. You’re allowed to be bummed about less than 100% support from people who are important to you, and to whom your happiness should also be important. That’s ok even if less-than-total support does not mean violence or shunning; it’s still less-than-total.

  32. 13 – is there some small ceremonial role your dad can play that doesn’t have connotations of ownership/marriage as property exchange? what if your dad was the ring-bearer, or the flower dude? That could be adorable. (If you have two rings and two sets of flowers and four parents, they could each hold something for you and then nobody would feel left out?)

  33. WEIRD MOON PHASE.

    Sorry to hear, but also fascinated; and imagining there’s some wonderful witchy or historical connection to this moon phase so you can spin it to be more pleasing in the end. Guess I’m hoping you’ll tell us more about the moon part of your ceremony if you like.

  34. I also use “gay” as an aggressively positive adjective. That’s actually a great description of how I use it that I had not thought of before.

    Planning weddings can be so stressful. Be bold and engage in radical self-care!

  35. So glad to see a part two! Although I am super single and can’t imagine a wedding in my future, I think you are planning my dream wedding ie, really small and barely decorated and the complete opposite of the big wedding everyone else seems to want… excited to keep reading and see how it turns out!

  36. I appreciate you sharing this process with us. The “who do we invite???” question seems endlessly complicated. My engaged friends are experiencing issues with that question themselves.

  37. Congratulations on your marriage! What you said about making active decisions to control the narrative of your marriage really resonated with me. I said something similar to my mom the other day to explain why the idea of marrying and starting a family with another queer lady felt right to me – there’s no socially imposed narrative.

  38. oh honey! yes take good care!

    also bleh no giving away no thank you.

    I feel like it could be not you in your tight long dress running around taking down lights? that seems like a thing to give other people to do?

    but also you do you, I am delegating all the goddamned things because everybody wants to be helpful and so that I don’t have to make decisions.

  39. AHHH congrats on you having a Hella Gay Wedding! And I also feel the same about not wanting to be given away whenever I get married. I think you should rock the black dress, I love that you want to have a witchy vibe *heart eyes emoji*

  40. This series, like Laneia’s wedding series just makes me go, “ohmygodohmygodohmygod…” For several minutes. I know people throw weddings but the planning that goes into it amazes me. And so many people do it! It all sounds lovely and amazing, but ohmygodohmygodohmygod.

    Can we see pictures once it happens?

  41. I wonder if my dad wants to give me away…. I feel like maybe it’s important to dads because they see it as a marker of their identity, or like a duty of some sort that they must fulfill in order to be deemed a good father? Either way, I am against being given away as well.

  42. Anybody else reading this series and falling just a little bit seriously in like with Carolyn?
    I’ve always wondered why people have traditionally gone with just the one wedding – aside from the expense aspect – which, why make a ‘simple’ event exorbitantly crippling? We don’t celebrate someone’s birthday just once … so why box weddings into a one-off, everything to everyone (impossible) moment.
    I know the ‘renewing our vows’ thing has a cheesy halo to it, so, don’t make it cheesy.
    Anyway, one solution to the decisions around fumbling toward ecstasy (your wedding I mean), and reconciling the reluctant relatives, might be to think about putting off to the future another version of your wedding. The one where you wear white (if you want), have a bigger gathering, and have your nearest and dearest be the ones who don’t ‘give you away’, but bring you together again.

  43. I read this the day it was posted, and have been thinking about it on and off since then, trying to put positive energy your way. I hope that things go the way they need to, when they need to, and that you know there’s a lil person out there who doesn’t know you at all but wishes the best for you and yours.

  44. as someone not getting married, or immigrating, I can relate to this surprisingly well! The thing about stress – and allowing yourself time to worry actually relieving some of the worry – is absolutely relatable. In fact, I think it was actually really helpful for me! So thank you, and the best of luck <3

  45. Totally feel you on the “giving away” aspect of weddings. I’m so extremely glad that Sweden doesn’t have this tradition (even though, unfortunately, it’s started popping up since Swedes watch so many Anglophone movies and tv-series). It means it’s a non-issue on the day that gf and I decide to get married. Which is oddly enough actually starting to feel possible (I never really saw a wedding in my own future, yet here I am, seriously considering it). Then we can just worry about all the other stuff… Like sneaking in poly stuff, etc.

  46. Family things, ugh. This is one (of a few) reasons we haven’t gotten married yet. We don’t know who to invite: everyone or just those closest. I think everyone on my side would happily attend, but I’m not sure if everyone on her side would be happy about the event. And even if the folks on her side were happy they might not have the means to travel, and do we pay for folks to travel to us? That makes the whole thing too much to work out at the moment. I hope this all works out with some satisfaction for you.

  47. “I’m not getting married, I’m getting hella gay married and it’s awesome and I want to talk about it.”

    YES. YES. Thank you! I feel this way too but I have literally heard this perspective from NO ONE else (except you, you beautiful daisy flower you). Thank youuuuu!

  48. I feel like it’s probably a good thing that both your families are nervous, because it means they care. I hope that having a period of time where you don’t have to wrangle paperwork into order is good, and I can’t wait to hear about what happens next!!

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