Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Robots and Polka Dots: My big fat geek wedding

A few months ago, I had a bit of a breakdown over getting married. One evening, as John and I discussed wedding plans, my anxiety bubbled over and at some point I'm pretty sure I said something like "I want to be married to you, but I don't want to get married."

Needless to say, wedding planning is not my thing.

The next day, still overwhelmed and feeling sad and frustrated, John and I IM'd each other from work. We decided to both cut out early and meet at a park overlooking the ocean to have lunch and talk about the wedding. I was still holding on to my stubborn "I don't want to do this" attitude and John somehow knew that I needed to stop talking about caterers and online RSVPs and talk about the things that really mattered.

So we went here (which ultimately became the site of our "Last Day of Independence BBQ")

and we asked each other what was most important.

The kids.
Courtesy Ryan Calderon

Courtesy Amy Calcote
Making the ceremony meaningful.
Courtesy Ryan Calderon 

Really making this day "us."
Courtesy Ryan Calderon
Spending time with our family and friends.

Our rings.
Courtesy Ryan Calderon 

We ended up changing everything...we went from planning one day to four days of wedding festivities. We decided to get married in our beloved church instead of the beach where he proposed. We included some of our favorite places, and we tried some things we always wanted to since moving to Carpinteria. As soon as we stopped trying to plan the wedding we thought we should have, we ended up planning the wedding we really wanted. If you want to see the full wedding weekend agenda, you can check it out here: polkadotrobots.com

Which leads me to the story of our rings...
When John and I drove cross-country from Philadelphia to Carpinteria last summer to kick off our life on the west coast, we spent our last night on the road on the border of Arizona and California, right on the edge of the Mojave desert. We woke up that morning, saw a coyote outside of our hotel room and hit the road in search of coffee and a gas station. We were already on "E," but more focused on getting our coffee. We passed the first exit because there didn't appear to be any coffee options...we passed the second because we didn't want to get coffee at McDonalds. And that was it...there weren't any more exits. In fact, there wasn't anymore ANYTHING except desert and sun and mountains and heat. We hadn't traveled too far when we passed a sign: No service for 60 miles. At first we didn't panic. Sure, the gas light was on, but we were still a little perturbed that we didn't get any coffee. As we kept driving, we realized our situation: no cell service, no passing traffic, no idea how far the remnants in our tank would carry us or if we'd be carrying my mini poodle for 30 miles in midday desert heat to try to make it to a gas station.

I think it was probably at that point when reality set in. We rode quietly for awhile. One of us at some point made some suggestions about what we would do if we didn't make it to the next service station. We joked about who might get eaten first by the vultures (well, we were mostly joking...). We rode in silence again, holding hands. One of us noted that thankfully, we were coming down the mountain, instead of going up, which allowed us to coast. We were nervous.

And then, after almost an hour riding on fumes, we saw the service station. We pulled off the highway and up to the gas station pump, jumped out of the car and danced around. We had made it! It was pure elation, but also such a feeling of partnership, of love...we were in this together. When John went in to pay for the gas, he also bought me a present: a robot girl mood ring. She was perfect. I wore her every day since, even when her mood had turned to perpetual calm (blue) and the metal on her adjustable band left rust marks on my finger. She wasn't just a gas stop ring, she was the symbol of what we could accomplish together.

When John and I started talking about wedding rings, we knew that we wanted something that represented us. Unbeknownst to me, he contacted some jewelry designers, sent them a picture of my robot girl, and asked them to design some concepts. When he received the sketches, he broke down and showed me. While all of the designs were amazing, we knew we needed to recreate my robot girl ring, and get John a robot boy.

That's how we came to all of our decisions regarding our wedding, and really, our life: just be us and remember what's important and everything will just work out.  The ceremony was perfect. Our rings are perfect. Our kids were perfect. Our families acted like they had known each other forever. My sister and John's brother signed our wedding license as witnesses - I was overwhelmed to have them both there. We danced our first dance to our song on "our" beach where John proposed to me.

John even surprised me with a "Love Actually" inspired entrance by the choir at the end of our ceremony to sing "All You Need is Love" as we walked back down the aisle together as husband and wife.
Courtesy Ryan Calderon

Our wedding was perfect because it was us: loving, fun, silly, sentimental, surrounded by kids, family, friends and robots and polka dots. And now, every day I look down at my new, blingy robot girl wedding ring and remember that no matter the obstacle (deserts, wedding planning or otherwise), the important thing is we're in this together. 

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