Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dating our Wedding

If I were a Serious Blogger with a Serious Following, this is where I would apologize for my several-day absence after such a good blog-a-day start.  I was in Chicago and Canada with my family-in-law-to-be [plot twist: crossing the international border was faster than travelling between US cities], and so didn't really have much to share.  However, I am not a Serious Blogger and I really have no idea how many people are reading this, so I won't say any of that.

I've been thinking more about specific dates for the wedding over the last several days, and I have come to the conclusion that we really can't count on the spring/summer of 2013.  As I said before, Joey's big test, the USMLE Step 1 (The Boards), will be somewhere between early May and late July, and it is going to be like the MCAT with a hemorrhoid: extra cranky and less accommodating.  For those of you who knew and loved either of us during junior year of college when Joey was prepping for the MCAT, you understand just how bad of an idea it would be to plan to get married within a month of that, on either side.

The American Association of Medical Colleges, in all their benevolent wisdom, will not tell us when the actual test dates are for another several months, and then Joey does not get his personal test date until this summer.  Rather than plan an entire wedding for summer 2013, only to have it taken away by Joey's evil mistress, Med School, I would like to hold off on concrete plans until we know when his test date is, which won't be for a while.  If he gets the early May test date, then a wedding in late summer could be possible.  The weather will be cooling down, people will be finishing with camp or summer programs or whatever else would keep them from attending, and Joey will have had time to come down off the USMLE 1 plane of insanity and be emotionally and mentally present for the last bits of planning and, of course, the Big Day itself.

If, however, Joey gets a mid-summer test date, it might not be worth it to force a wedding immediately on the heels of the exam.  It will just cement the idea that planning a wedding is, as his mother put it, the most stressful thing we will ever do together, worse than pregnancy, childbirth, or raising kids.  No sense in rushing to a stressful process and starting our marriage off with something so difficult.

Plan B, which is initially a difficult idea but, in light of everything else, might just be the best option, is to wait till spring/summer 2014.  This is 2.5 years from now.  I don't like that.  He doesn't like that.  I'm sure that many of you are wrinkling your noses.  Waiting that long is far from ideal, I get that.  But is it worth it to wait the extra year so that we can all be happy and enjoy ourselves?  I'm not sure.  On the one hand, it's the biggest day of our lives (or at least one of), but on the other it's just one day.  Another way to look at it is that one year in the grand scheme of The Rest of Our Lives, is a drop in the bucket.  Is it really so awful to wait that one extra year to make sure that everything is happy and smooth when we're going to have (God willing) sixty to eighty years to be married?

So here's the basic summation of scattered thoughts:  If everything falls into place and things work out nicely, we'd like to get married in August 2013 (we have a specific date in mind), and if Med School doesn't let us then, we'd like to get married in May 2014 (again, we have a specific date in mind).  The August date is before any of the collective siblings start school (and so hopefully will also accommodate our younger friends and relatives who will theoretically be in school at that time), and the May date is after the siblings' schools get out (again, hopefully that will work out for the rest of our tiny loved ones as well).

BONUS: I have now futzed with the settings so that anyone can comment, even anonymous users.  I ask that, should you choose to comment sans sign-in, you please sign your comment so I know who you are.  Other than that, enjoy your new freedom!  (thanks, Nathalie, for pointing this out to me)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Academic Approach

My eighth night of Chanukkah gift from my family-in-law-to-be. Over 400 pages of tips, tricks, and new things to worry over.

Oh, and we made weird fig newtony jelly rolly apple winey ruggelachey cookies tonight.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

They Sat in the Sun

Tonight we finally got in touch with Ken Chasen, who we are planning to have as our official officiant at our wedding.  We discussed the date issue briefly with him, just to see where his feelings are on it being on a Saturday versus a Sunday (see previous blog footnote for more details).

Basically, his feeling is that it should not be during Shabbat, but waiting till sundown on a Saturday is difficult, as that means the wedding would start around 9pm, which is ridiculous.  Furthermore, we have Shabbat services at a fixed time (at least Rabbi Chasen's and my shared congregation does) rather than expecting everyone to show up precisely at sundown each week.  So, as far as Rabbi Chasen is concerned, the wedding could be on a Saturday evening before sundown, so long as it's clearly "evening" and not afternoon or midday.  6pm is generally considered evening, even if the three stars that officially designate Jewish nighttime are not out.  3pm is not.  Of course, if the wedding were to be held on a Sunday, we'd be able to go for any time we wanted.

Later this evening, my dad called with his thoughts on the matter.  He stressed to me several times that he will support whichever choice I make and most of the people who I love and who love me will make it work no matter what, but there are some points that he would like me to consider, and so I am considering them.  In fact, they were mostly points that I was considering anyway, but opinions are helpful.  So, here they are:

  1. Even if we decide with Rabbi Chasen that 6pm on a Saturday is evening enough, and we hang three stars in the chuppah* and have a Havdallah** service before the wedding starts (which I was considering), there are some who would really be stretching their religious beliefs by going along with it.  This is true.  Just because I decide to invoke my favorite Hannah Senesh quote*** and call it "close enough" does not mean that I can ask everyone to do the same.  This is a wonderful point.  However, as I pointed out to my father, I think it only affects approximately 1-3 people on the guest list.  This does not make it a moot point.  As it turns out, those 1-3 are some of Joey's and my closest friends.  At any rate, it is worth considering, though certainly not an insurmountable obstacle.  
  2. Things are cheaper and more available on Sunday.  Just like getting married in the off-season, getting married on an off-day means that we will be competing against fewer people for any given venue/caterer/florist/cat juggler.  This could be a lovely stress reducer, as we will then theoretically be more able to get what we want and also not pay through the nose for it.  Well, maybe at least get it down to one nostril.  Bonus: Flying on a Saturday/Monday is cheaper than flying on a Friday/Sunday.  You're welcome, out-of-towners.  
  3. There's a lot of pre-wedding stuff that people will want/need to be at.  If we get married on a Saturday and want to have a rehearsal dinner or a family gathering or any other type of event the day or days before the wedding, people will most likely have to miss work all day Friday, instead of just a half day or none at all if they can get a late flight.  And listen, how often do I get to see all my family and friends at once?  I know I'll want to have at least one smaller gathering of folk before the big day.  
  4. Weddings are fun!  We will want to stay and enjoy ourselves for as long as possible.  At some point, however, say midnight, most people have to cut things off, no matter how much fun they're having.  If the wedding starts at 6pm, that gives us 6 hours for ceremony and reception, closer to 3 or 4 for most people.  That may be plenty, but wouldn't you rather have the option of partying and hanging out and talking for longer if you were having a good time?  If we plan this thing right, we could get married in the afternoon and then spend the rest of the day and night celebrating with those we love.  I know 6 hours sounds like a lot, but think back to the last time you and I just met up for a quick chat, or I paused on my way somewhere to say hi to you.  Even if we didn't sit down, we were probably there for an hour.  If the party dies down around 8, that's fine.  I'll be glad everyone had a good time and enjoy a relaxing evening with my new husband.  If, on the other hand, people want to stick around for hours and hours, I want to let them!  
That may have been it.  Dad, if you figured out how to read this, and I forgot anything, I apologize.  Feel free to admonish me in the comments.  At any rate, the long-story-short version is that Sunday is probably better for all involved than Saturday.  Thoughts?

p.s.  Did anyone besides me think this title was clever?

*Jewish wedding canopy
**Jewish ceremony of separation, usually between the sabbath and the rest of the week, but in this case also between single and married life.  
***"There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth though they have long been extinct. There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world even though they are no longer among the living. These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for humankind.”  (this is particularly handy when Yom Kippur services end before sundown and the break-fast buffet is calling your name)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


This afternoon, Joey, his mother, and I were at a Barnes and Noble/Starbucks and we started talking wedding dates.  Oy, so many issues!

1.  Joey is in med school.  This means that, in order for him to be fully present and involved at the wedding and not checking his watch every five minutes, sneaking flash cards under the table at the reception, we cannot get married during the school year over the next year and a half (after which he'll be in grad school, so timing is less crucial), or during the few months leading up to his boards next summer.  You know, that lovely springtime region when everyone loves to get married?

2.  All three of our collective siblings will be in college (hopefully) at the time of the wedding.  This means that we have to be sensitive to finals and other school-related commitments.  This is not to say that our siblings value spring break or sports events over our weddings, it just means that it would be unkind of us to put them in a difficult position of having to back out of a commitment for us.

3.  The wedding is one day.  The anniversary is every year for the rest of our lives.  I don't want to celebrate my anniversary every year in sweatpants because we got married in the dead of winter and I have too much California in my blood to tolerate a nice dress when it's under 70 degrees out, even if it is my anniversary.  This means that we can't get married during the winter.  Besides, Joey's people mostly come from snow and it would break my heart if they got snowed out (snowed in?) and couldn't make it to the wedding.

Long story short, we have a lot of different pieces that we need to fit together.  Hopefully tomorrow we will get the word from the inimitable Ken Chasen about what day of the week it will need to be*, and then we can start looking at which dates look good to us based on that.

Edit:  Joey complained that there was no food in here, so I will point out that, while I enjoyed my return to the Starbucks green tea frapp, I think that Jamba Juice makes better sourdough asiago pretzels.  Also, Joey is a sweetheart for getting a sourdough asiago pretzel just because he knew I would like it.

*Originally, Jewish tradition said that first-time brides should marry on Wednesday, and widows remarrying should get married on Thursday.  Later, they moved first-time brides to Friday, so that their family and friends could stay for Shabbat on Friday night/Saturday morning.  More recently, the custom is for everyone to marry on Tuesday.  The reason for this comes from the creation story in the Torah.  The pattern of creation is "On the nth day, God made this thing, and then he said it was good."  On the third day (Tuesday, if Saturday is the day on which he rested, the sabbath), God said it was good twice.  This makes Tuesday extra good, and therefore a good day on which to get married.  More recently, we just want to get married on weekends because it is most convenient.  Some rabbis, particularly more conservative and orthodox, say you can't get married on a Saturday because each joyous occasion (which Shabbat counts as) needs to be celebrated separately.  Reform rabbis are a little more flexible, but apparently my parents got married on a Sunday, so we figure we ought to at least ask.

The Beginning

Just under a month ago, on a beautiful Santa Monica day, Joey got down on one knee in the sand and asked me to marry him.

What followed was the most frantic month of calling and meeting with people and Facebook exploding with happy wishes and finals and papers and exams and other insanity.  Knowing this would be the case, we decided to put off making any wedding plans until after finals and the beginning of winter break, which we were scheduled to spend together visiting his parents in Michigan.

Guess what, friends?  The tests are over, the papers handed in, the suitcase and milk crate full of books returned to the library, and we are in Michigan, together, unable to procrastinate on this any longer.  Decisions must be made!

Tonight, as a small thank-you for having me stay with them this winter, Joey and I made dinner for his family.  My award-winning French Onion Soup, my mom's spectacular Chicken Piccata, and the internet's Rainbow Cake.  The parental Rohrs very kindly also broke out the champagne to toast our engagement, as we hadn't yet seen them since the momentous occasion.

Over champagne and soup, the subject of the location of their wedding came up, and so I started to steer the conversation towards the location of Joey's and my upcoming nuptials, a subject I had been dreading, as our lives currently sprawl across 5+ states.  Fortunately, they had assumed that it would be in Los Angeles, which I know my mother really wanted, and seemed like the best option to me.  So, it is now our great pleasure to formally announce the first real concrete piece of wedding info:

The Lowensohn/Rohr Wedding will be held in Los Angeles, California.