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Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Oh boy

Preparing for a wedding takes a LOT OF WORK.

However, tomorrow I will be packing up Mika to take to the cat hotel and setting off. Mika is not going to like me for this, I fear, but it's a nice place, run by the same vets who rescued her when she was a little kitty, and they're kind people. I figure since she came out of their care sweet-natured the first time, it's a fair bet they treated her well, and will do so again. I shall be explaining all this to her tomorrow, but I haven't told her anything yet, so shhh, not a word.

And then I shall be gone till late next week on a mini-honeymoon; we'll be taking a longer one later, but in the meantime we're going to Bath for a few days. Next time you hear from me I shall no longer be Ms Kit Whitfield, but ... well, actually I'll still be Ms Kit Whitfield because I'm not changing my name, but I shall be married. (It's going to be interesting correcting the people who can't get their heads around 'Ms' - you know the ones? It's usually on the telephone; if they call you 'Mrs' and you say 'Actually it's Ms' they move straight to 'Miss', and vice versa. 'Miss Whitfield' is at least accurate, but once I'm married it won't be, will it? But 'Mrs Whitfield' won't be accurate, because that's my mother. But I'm not calling myself 'Mrs Thomas' either. I think I'll have to resign myself to answering to more or less anything.)

So, here's a talking point. I'll put up the poems we're having read at the wedding after it's over, but in the meantime: what poems did/would you have at your wedding?

And finally, I'd like to take the opportunity to point out that this marriage I'm about to enter into is a right not available to all my fellow citizens. If I wanted to marry a woman, I'd have to settle for a 'civil union', a separate-but-equal piece of unfairness that does my country no credit at all. Marriages are supposed to be about love, and they're also supposed to be about community. Making marriage only available to some people fills a ceremony of love and community with discrimination and division, and that's bad for all of us. I'm delighted to be marrying my beloved, but I'm also angry that the same laws that benefit me hurt my friends and my fellow citizens. So, if anyone is feeling in the mood for a charitable donation, may I recommend Stonewall, a highly successful lobbying group for gay rights. Stonewall has participated in a lot of legal changes for the better - including civil partnerships, which while unfair are better than nothing - which you can read an overview of here.

Very best wishes! May you have every happiness. Will raise a glass of something worthwhile in your honor and that of your new husband. And also of course in honor of Mika, who is making the big sacrifice (cat hotel?) and doesn't even get to carry the rings.
Best wishes to you and Gareth -- may you have many happy years together!

[word verification: "bessess" -- as in, "this is gonna be the bessess marriage EVAH!"]
Congratulations. I'm one of those people who thinks being married is great and everyone should try it. :-)

Since you asked about wedding poetry, I'll throw in a link to my own wedding blog-post. But I'll put direct links to our readings here, too:

Let Love Go On by Carl Sandburg

Sonnet 116 Shakespeare

Those were the poems, and then there was a short essay by Sydney J. Harris, which I cannot find online. (Searching for "Sydney J Harris" and "marriage" turns up a lot of quotes though, some from that essay. I agree with nearly all of them.)

It was about the difference between love an infatuation, and how infatuation burns itself out. I remember a nice image of a good marriage being two people who don't look only at one another, but stand side by side and look in the same direction.

I picked those pieces (my husband's requirement being: "Nothing too long, please") and yes I did agonize over them, trying to find readings that talked about permanence, rather than flowers and flames... In strong language, with personal meaning, too: Carl Sandburg and Sydney J. Harris were writers we had mutual connections to already.

I'm very happy with them and very glad you asked, since it gave me an excuse to revisit them.
All the best to you and Gareth! I hope your wedding is wonderful.

I've been married twice, and I avoided the whole poem question both times. I love waaayyyy too many poems to choose just one, and I decided not to agonize over it.

So for my first wedding (great wedding, bad marriage, long story), we wanted to avoid the whole "ting the wineglasses to make the bride and groom kiss" thing. I don't know if they do that in the UK, but it's a very common tradition over here. Anyway, we announced that instead of responding to people tapping their glasses with cutlery, we'd only kiss if the guests came up with their own original poem and read it out to everyone. We even had a podium and microphone set up, and some pretty pens and paper easily available, just to be fair.

We really didn't expect anyone to go for it, or at the most, one or two brave souls. Instead, we got most of the guests writing original poems -- and most of them were really amazing! Parodies of Shakespeare sonnets and Poe's "The Raven", as well as an adorable little couplet from my cousin's two boys (aged 6 and 8).

Afterward we kept all the poems and put them in our wedding album. Sadly, the marriage didn't work out.

For my second marriage (which is going much better, thanks) we simply eloped and skipped the whole wedding fiasco altogether.
I found the other piece: True Love Provides a Quiet Anchorage.

The author was a Chicago newspaper columnist, and this was one of his columns. One of the first gifts my husband ever gave me was a collection of essays about Chicago, where he was born and where I met him, which included one about Sydney J. Harris, which caught my interest, which is how I came across this... So you see, it was personal as well as wise.
Have a fantastic day! I'm sure it will be marvellous.

As someone who doesn't ever foresee marriage happening to her, I'm not sure what poem I'd want, but a wedding I went to recently had a reading of an AA Milne poem called "Us Two" which I thought was lovely.
My best and biggest good wishes. Just celebrated my own anniversary. May your joint happiness be at least as long and deep as ours.
I kept forgetting to come over here with good wishes, and now I've missed you until you return. Oops.

Congratulations to you both, and may your marriage be a source of happiness and growth and deepening love for you, Mika, and any other people you draw into your lives.

I didn't change my name either, so I've been correcting people for 16+ years. It's not the worst thing in the world. :)

~Laima, from Slacktivist

We read a snippit from Madeleine L'Engle's The Irrational Season at our wedding.
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