Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Wedding: The Ceremony

A few minutes before the ceremony, Ginny and I topped off our champagne glasses and retired to the living room so that the guests wouldn't see us.  I did feel a little flutter of nervousness, a little stage fright, while waiting and it was probably the longest ten minutes of my life.  Eventually, my brother, Andy, came in and told us that every one was there and seated.


Matt Neil Giles 

Photo by Richard Stanley (my father-in-law)

Our officiant, Neil, was fantastic.  We finally met with him a few days before the ceremony and were instantly put at ease.  He was exactly what we were looking for.  Due to the fact that there was only one line he legally had to say, we had free reign with the ceremony, too.  We used a lot of traditional pieces but we also wrote our own vows and added a blessing that I had found in one of the many wedding books I'd looked through a million times.  

Before the wedding he and his wife presented us with a nice copy of the ceremony along with the meaning behind the red oak we were going to be married under which was a very nice touch. 

We came out from the front of the house to "Feels Like Home" by Randy Newman....



Photos by Punch Pink

By the way, that's totally a Vera Bradley tie my dad is rocking right there.  



Photos by Punch Pink

We had a backdrop of ribbons tied in the tree - another detail I loved.


Photo by Punch Pink

We had discussed during rehearsal when I should take my bouquet back from Ginny.  I decided to go ahead and take it before the kiss and promised I would have it in my left hand when the big moment came.  But did I?  Nope.  Right up in front of our faces it went.  After the kiss I actually looked at Lisa who was photographing us from the aisle and mouthed, "Sorry."  We did it again and she got another photo but I actually prefer this one - I like that the kiss was our moment and no one could see.

Emily Matt wedding 041    

Photo by Dad

Believe it or not, even though Mom and I spent a lot of time putting the birdseed packets together, I completely forgot about it and was surprised when we were pelted - up close, no less - as we walked back up the aisle to "All I Want Is You" by Barry Louis Polisar from the Juno soundtrack.

Mary's Photos

Photo by Mary Back (my great-aunt)

After the ceremony Matt and I took a walk around the block to have a few moments alone to take it all in.  Neil and his wife, Deann, passed by as they were leaving and called us Mr. and Mrs. Stanley for the first time.  Deann also told us that a pair of mourning doves sat nearby throughout the ceremony and that this signifies good luck. 

A little bit of luck is a nice thing to have when starting out as husband and wife.  Luck and love - and we'll never run short on love.

The Wedding: Pre-Ceremony

A few of my favorite photos with comments...


photo by me

Mom and Dad have always had the stars and stripes flying out front but, a few days before the wedding, Dad added the British flag as well.  His toast - which was wonderful - touched on the fact that not only was this wedding a union of two people and two families but also two countries and this pair of flags represented that beautifully.  As far as I know, they have no intention of taking it down - I really wonder what the neighbors think!


photo by Punch Pink  

The wedding party - Matt's brother, Giles, myself, Matt and Ginny

Not only did Ginny (along with Lisa a.k.a. Punch Pink, my photographer) bring me a Madame Peanutbutterfly from Boston Stoker (where we knit on Sunday nights) but she also did a beautiful job with my make up.  Note the champagne glass....


photo by Punch Pink

These are a few of my favorite posed shots, all by Punch Pink, that were taken before the ceremony.  She did a fantastic job and I can't wait to see how she does with her next wedding.  ;)





I loved my bouquet.  I used Simply Floral in Kettering (Ohio) which is co-owned by my friend, Tori, whom I've known since I worked at the Fraze Pavilion (an outdoor theater) in college.  I didn't have many fresh flowers - boutonnieres, corsages, our two bouquets and an arrangement for our table - but they were all beautiful.  All of the parents' flowers were a lighter shade of orange to set them apart and the mother's corsages with the addition of tiny white wax flowers were my favorite. 

Tori tied an acorn charm made by lillyella to my bouquet.  I also wore one around my neck on a chain I borrowed from Mom.


photo by me

Seeing as how there are several photos in this post already and I haven't even gotten to the ceremony yet, I think I'll divvy the day up in to different posts.  I just have so many favorite photos and favorite things.  Of course, seeing as how it was my wedding day, I guess that makes complete sense!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Newest Member of the Family

Last week my parents bought a puppy.  An adorable, fifteen week old miniature schnauzer that, after a day or two and the testing of a few possibilities, they named Buddy. 

Meet Buddy.


Since I'm just hanging out during the day, waiting (im)patiently for an email from the British Consulate, I've been taking care of him.  It was easy at first and I thought my parents may have picked an absolute dream puppy...then he got comfortable.  That said, we've had some pretty tough times.  Yesterday may have been the worst.  Mom and Dad left for Chicago for a wedding but they got to see him act like a true puppy just before they left.  Between the biting, the barking (at the empty basement stairs because my cats will no longer come to the top [there's a baby gate - there are LOTS of baby gates]), having to chase him in the pouring rain and the getting in to everything, he actually drove me to tears.  More than once. 

In the time it took me to write that paragraph, I had to trade him his Kong Bone (best toy ever) for something he shouldn't have - twice.

The afternoon paid off, though.  We sat outside and watched the clouds.


I read a book.


He ate the most he'd eaten all day.


It only lasted about a half hour but it was nice. 

He has made the waiting a little easier.  If it weren't for him I'd be even more bored than I have been for the last week.  Yesterday I actually picked up some thread and needles and such so that I could play around with a little embroidery because it's much easier to put down than knitting when Buddy grabs one of my mom's suffed Boyd's Bears and starts chewing on it. 

Except for his hours of Extreme Puppyness, we get along really well.  He hasn't had any accidents and I taught him how to sit the other day.  Now if I could just teach him "drop it"....  

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Viking Explaination

Why the new blog?  If the visa ever arrives and I do get to move to Salisbury (fingers crossed here that I haven't already jinxed myself by starting this before I get over there), I know my life will be full of new challenges and experiences.  I hope there's going to be much to share and that hope makes me want to blog more often and with more purpose.  This is definitely the second chapter of me and I think like a new persona is needed to celebrate it.   

Why Viking Tea Party?  It stemmed from something Matt said before we were even engaged, I think.  He compared himself to a viking - you know, "I'm here for your daughter...and the cats."  I'm not quite sure how this next part came about but I don't think he could ever be a true viking (i.e. pillaging and such) - he's more like the kind of viking you'd invite to a tea party.  After all, he swept me off my feet, he didn't throw me over his shoulder and carry me away.   So when I started thinking about a new blog, Viking Tea Party seemed like a good choice.

Oh, and I didn't want several years of writing to disappear so I decided not to entirely abandon the Dainty Kitty blog.  I actually imported it to an additional blog under this name and linked it down on the right. 

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Experience With the Visa Process

I didn't particularly want my very first post on this blog to be written before I had moved to Salisbury but my visa has yet to arrive so here I sit, on my parents' couch, where I'm staying since I gave up my apartment weeks ago (for the most part - the visa is still going to arrive at that address via UPS so I still have the keys). 

I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk a little bit about my experience so far with the visa process.  The fact that there was no guidance available when I put together my application was absolutely nerve wracking.  It was a bit like an essay question on an exam : you write down what you know to the best of your ability and cross your fingers that the teacher likes it.  What I wouldn't have given for a few multiple choice questions or at least a list of what to bring to class.  They did give you a list of a few basic bits of paperwork to include but, as the list stated, it was only a guideline, not a complete list.  I read somewhere online that one couple even sent the cards that came with flowers he had sent. We didn't get quite that personal. 

That's just it, though, you have no idea what's too personal or what's too much or too little to send.  My application was, no kidding, a little under an inch thick.  This is a list of what I included (including this list):

From the applicant

- Passport
- Photo
- Visa Application
- Application letter [this detailed our relationship, was as personal as we got and further explained my employment status now and in the future]
- Biometric Appointment Confirmation Form
- Marriage certificate
- Bank account overview
- Bank statements for April, May & June
- Schedule of flight to the UK on July 12, 2009
- Latest telephone records - April 24 - May 23
- Example list of emails exchanged with Matt
- Flight details for Paris, France trip with Matt in November, 2008
- Photos of Matt and I throughout the time we’ve spent together so far, including wedding photos

From the sponsor

- Letter of invitation
- Cover letter
- Official copy of passport
- Letter of employment
- Pay slips (2)
- Bank account statement
- Savings account statement
- Letter from landlord and utility bill in her name
- Verification of address - phone bill and car tax form and receipt
- Telephone call detail - 1 month log and 6 month log with totaled call times
- Copy of Turning Point, Matt’s latest documentary

I had actually forgotten this cover list and had to run back home because there was no way I was going to send off these two stacks of insanely important papers (even though each item was labeled and highlighted carefully) without it.

To go back to the beginning of the process, we had actually filled out the application online nearly a week before we sent everything to Chicago via FedEx.  We were delayed by the fact that we had to wait four or five days for the next available biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment.  We had waited until we had the marriage certificate (you have to actually be married before you can send in your application) in our anxious hands,
thinking we would be able to run down to Cincinnati (the closest
biometrics location), get that taken care of and send out the additional paperwork along with a
printout of the application the very next day. Had we known we would have to actually make an appointment and that the wait would be so long, we would have filled out the application earlier - like the day after we got married. This is another instance where a little guidance would have come in handy. 

The biometrics appointment was surprisingly simple.  The wait was fairly short, the fingerprinting process itself was quick and easy and he actually let me look at my photo to make sure it was okay.  I had no idea they were going to take a photo but I actually hope they use the one he took rather than the passport photos they told us to send because his photo is ten times better. 

Putting together everything on the list and sending it off was one of the most stressful things I've ever done.  Matt really wanted to help but I had to explain that this was one case in which I needed to be in full control.  My future depended on it and I needed to know that everything made it in to the package exactly the way it was supposed to go in.  Also, that meant any mistakes were purely my fault.  After the $950 fee, though, I really, really, really hope there aren't any mistakes that might cause it to be denied.  It would be really hard to cough that up again. 

Even though it's been several days past the 5 - 15 business day period stated in the email they sent when the package arrived (which was a nice touch - it's good to know it got in to the right hands), I'm consoling myself with the thought that, if it were going to be rejected, I probably would have heard something by now.  At least I hope that's true.

But, for now, more waiting.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Things To Do

I had started and completed several tasks on a 101 in 1001 list but I knew that moving to a new country wouldmake some of the unfinished tasks impossible.  With that in mind, I started a new list but, early on, I realized I didn't know enough about my new home to come up with 101 things.  There are dozens - hundreds? - of things out there that I'm completely unaware of but that I would love to do, challenging or otherwise.  So I'm going to start a list but merely call it a Things to Do list - no limit to the number of things I want to do or how long I have to complete them.  A never ending 101+ list.

My list - so far -

bold - complete
italics - working on


Visit England
Get engaged and married (at least I counted them as one task!)

Move to England


Travel first class once
Visit ? new countries
Learn to speak a little French
Learn to drive on the left


Try four new cookie recipes
Bake three kinds of bread
Make macaroni and cheese from scratch
Make flapjacks (October '09)
Make pickles
Have a picnic at Stourhead
Visit three new pubs
Cook a three course meal with Matt


Make a documentary with Matt


Go to the Salisbury knitting group (1 November, 2009)
See three plays at the playhouse - (Arsenic & Old Lace)
Get a National Trust membership (2 November, 2009)
Sell something at Fisherton Mill
Attend a wine tasting
Join the local library
Visit five National Trust sites
Go for a full moon walk around the Cathedral
Visit a bluebell field.
Go to the top of the Cathedral
Feed the ducks


Knit a sweater for me
Finish Dad’s socks
Send 10 post crossing postcards
Learn Photoshop
Learn to knit continental
Finish the dollhouse


Take a class


Go off The Pill
Pass the Life in the UK test and get my indefinite LTR
Buy a pair of wellies and jump in some puddles


Finish Mapp & Lucia


Accomplish NaBloWriMo once


Spend and ENTIRE day in bed with my husband
See Elvis in concert
Find a new favorite magazine and subscribe


Finally watch An Inconvenient Truth


Buy new glasses