Put a Ring On It – But Keep Your Mouth Shut About Other People’s Rings

Wedding

Even though I’m already married and the ‘ring search’ is far behind me, I still love looking at engagement rings and seeing what is new and exciting in that world. On a blog I was reading recently a woman posted the following:

“I see so many posts about moissanite and never realized it’s as popular as it is. I was under the impression it was a relatively new creation. I have had several people ask me if my diamond ring is “real” and I have to admit that it bothers me. Also, how do you even respond to that? Anyway, I am looking forward to reading other points of view.”

My thoughts:

I think my perspective is definitely shaped by the fact that I do not care about other people’s opinions about my ring and I also don’t have friends who would ever judge my relationship (or my financial status) based on the ring I’m wearing. When planning our wedding with my spouse we decided, deliberately, that we did not want expensive or ostentatious rings. What we did want were one of a kind, unconventional and unique rings that suited our style and our lifestyle. I work with my hands and would be nervous to wear something too precious. Not that I didn’t try on a variety of rings… but every time I tried a stunner with a gem that was raised too far from my finger, I felt like I’d get it caught on things, destroy it and every surface in my house, but mostly …like it was totally impractical.

In the end, my ring was made by a friend who is a jeweller; it’s unconventional and we used rough diamonds, so no sparkle really. No one has ever asked if they are ‘real’. However, many people have asked about the ring, the design and where they can contact the creator (Breanne Morrow at White Feather Designs).

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Photo by Sweetheart Empire. Rings by White Feather Designs

View More: http://sweetheartempire.pass.us/alison-allia-engagement

Engagement photos by Kate O’Connor of Sweetheart Empire

I think what bothers me about the idea of people asking the original poster these questions is this: why are they asking? Is there some further question they need to have answered? Why do they care?

Maybe they are a gemologist? Maybe they are looking for an engagement ring. But if it’s because they want to know how costly the ring is… why? It’s none of their business and it’s super tacky that they are asking.

Perhaps they want to know because they are considering their options, or maybe see the value in a ring that doesn’t support an industry that has some problems (conflict diamonds, environmental impact), but you can probably already tell that this is their view based on the way they ask.

At the end of the day, I don’t know why it’s anyone’s business what you choose for something as personal as your wedding/engagement rings.

Four Years

Love, Wedding

I can hardly believe that four years have passed since the day I married my wife. It feels like yesterday. It feels like a lifetime ago. So much has happened.

Wedding

This accidental magic captures how I feel with you. Photo: Sweetheart Empire (Kate O’Connor)

For our fourth Anniversary, aside from the silk/satin motif (silk screened pregnancy announcement tees, and silk pajamas), Allia made us a wedding video. Watching it takes me back to exactly how I felt in those moments. It perfectly encapsulates the magic of our day.

Why do I care about that? Partly because it feels momentous and nostalgic to look back at happiness that still feels tangible and vivid, partly because there are people who told me this would never happen.

Allia and Alison’s Wedding (for the video follow this link)

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When I first came out, it was six years before gay marriage was legalized in Canada (2005). I was a teenager, but I remember one of my mom’s friends saying, sympathetically, ‘It’s so sad that Alison won’t have a wedding and you’ll never have grandkids.’ Politely, my mom replied, ‘Fuck that.’

Not quite in those words, but with the same rebellious denial of that assumption. I am my mother’s daughter (and my father’s) and neither raised me to believe that anything I truly wanted was out of reach. They are the biggest advocates, even before I came out, they raised me to see every possibility and to feel entitled to happiness, love and acceptance. Maybe this is why I work so fiercely, at work and at play, to try to make others believe that we all deserve love, dignity and acceptance.

When people asked questions like, “will you ever get married?” “which one of you will wear a suit?” “so, you don’t want to ever have kids?” or made statements like “that must have been so hard for your parents” – I responded to it as a challenge.

We had exactly the wedding I envisioned, a reflection of our relationship, two people – full of laughter, dancing, old traditions and quirky, personal touches. I come from a theatre background and although I wasn’t a Disney princess sort of little girl, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t have a dreamy wedding fit for a fairytale. We themed it like a performance, a show, a circus, with several acts and lots of spectacle. It was a romance and a comedy. And I have never felt more at ease, so relaxed and so happy, in front of my loved ones, looking into the eyes of the woman I love.

I hope we can raise a little one who feels that swell of love and support, and will see that look in our eyes, four years, ten, twenty… fifty years from now.

Happy anniversary, my love. Cheers to many, many more.

 

A thousand words. Photography to capture the magic of a wedding day. 

Wedding

All photos (above) by Kate O’Connor of Sweetheart Empire.

Choosing our photographer was one of the things we were most picky about for our wedding plans. If everything goes smoothly on the day of, great! But having lasting memories for ourselves and for our future family is a detail we didn’t want to overlook.

We started our hunt by asking for recommendations from people we knew. We then checked out the portfolios of those photographers and met with our top three. We had such an instant connection with Kate (Sweetheart Empire). We felt like we wanted to be friends with her, and now we are. Knowing that someone is going to be standing in at all of those intimate, special moments of nerves, tears (of joy) and excitement, I wanted to feel 100% confident that she would be a seamless, positive part of the day. We couldn’t have been more right about her. Kate O’Connor’s demeanor and utter professionalism was incredible. She listened. She was sweet and thoughtful, open to all my creative (read: strange) suggestions and she got us to feel in the moment, during all the chaos of the day. She was part life coach, keeping us focused on each other, and part magician. She captured the day, and us, the way I remember it all feeling. IMG_3708

When I said, ‘like a Vanity Fair cover’ or ‘the Netflix ads for The Vampire Diaries,’ she knew exactly what I meant.

Like a soft “American Gothic”. Check. This is our trademark shot. We get one like this, together, each year. It’s going to be like a yearbook for us as we grow together.

    
I trusted her completely to get us right. And she absolutely did. These are just a few of my favourite moments from our day, followed by a selection of inspiration images (all pinned to my Pinterest page) of the kind of images that we were drawn to. Knowing what we wanted really helped us to know what direction to take, and how to help Kate understand what we were looking for. She captured our day so beautifully that our wedding was chosen by Pikto Gallery as one of their sample books.

Before choosing a photographer, I wanted a good sense of what kind of images we would want to create with our photographer. Below are some of the photos that caught my eye. For the links to the following images, check out my Wedding Photography Pinterest Board. Though none are an exact replica (like any great art), the feeling of these photos definitely comes through in our final product. They were visual references so we could be on the same page.

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I knew I wanted to feel like this in my photos. Smokey and soft, romantic and a little undone. Very sweet, but still grown up.

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And catching those natural expressions and intimacy was important to us, too.

The drama of a great backdrop and having us be part of a great landscape was also an inspiration.

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How did you choose your photographer? Would you do anything differently? What kind of images do you want from that moment in time?

 

Wedding Bells: Getting Ready In Style

Wedding

I love love. I especially love nostalgia, photographs and reminiscing about happy life moments. So, it`s been a total treat looking at the proofs from Sweetheart Empire; our photographer, Kate O`Connor is a total pro and caught all the lovey-dovey moments of our nuptials, making it a day of smooth sailing and laughter. Here`s a little taste of our day: my wife, getting ready to put on the dress and meet me at the church, surrounded by her dearest friends.

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Dress, shoes and grandmother`s vintage fur. Jewels, makeup and finishing touches. We jumped on the trend, right before it peaked two years ago, and ordered long kaftans in an array of bright hues for all our bridesmaids, mum, our musicians and all the friends who pitched in to make our DIY wedding so dreamy.

Our Emcees were one of our favourite couples, a spicey pair of lesbian-marrieds who are just as silly as we are. In the Grand Hotel, she prepped, went over the itinerary, sipped champagne and got prepped with her ladies. Don`t let the serious face, above, fool you; she was cool as a cucumber, no Bridezilla to be found.

With her sister to help zip her in, it was high-fives and hugs. What a stunning bride. And down the hall, I`m in my own blissful bubble, getting ready to see this gorgeous face at the altar. Stay tuned for the next love-update!   Cheers and love, A.

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