fireflies and cottonwood

our wedding blog

“Don’t call what you’re wearing an outfit” November 16, 2009

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Despite what Jason Isbell sings, I have been most definitely putting together an outfit in my head for the wedding. I find it a bit odd to walk into the shoe department at Macy’s on 34th, which I did yesterday, and have very definite opinions to explain to the saleslady about what I want my shoes to look like. I am not used to having strong opinions about these things. Right now, I can pretty clearly visualize what I will be wearing when I am standing in the front of Emmanuel Episcopal Church on January 2, waiting for my love to come down the aisle to me.

My jacket: I have a charcoal grey tweed Crail jacket and three-button waistcoat on order from Thistle & Clover, the Scottish/Irish store on Main Street in Old St. Charles. They have ordered it from a supplier in Scotland, and hopefully it should arrive in the first week of December. Stephanie got a look at the version they had in the store, and I assume it will look pretty much like this (only in my size):


My shoes: I wanted to buy shoes that looked nice, were appropriate to wear with a kilt, but which I might wear other times when I was dressing up, and not just with my kilt. After poking around online to see what I liked, I went twice down to DSW to see if they would have what I wanted, and ended up yesterday at Macy’s, settling eventually on this pair:

Bostonian Whateley

They feel pretty comfortable for dress shoes, and look good with the kilt stockings.

My belt & sporran: We haven’t chosen these, really, but from Stephanie’s scouting trip to Thistle & Clover, I saw a belt and sporran that I like. For the belt, I favor the one with the embossed thistle design:


For the sporran, I didn’t want anything with fur on it, and I didn’t want anything with tassels that would clatter when I walked. This one, with a Celtic knot design looks good to me:


My kilt: I have a kilt in the Dunbar tartan, custom-tailored, which I wore in Andrew’s wedding.


Flashes and Socks: Finishing it all off, I have cream-colored woolen kilt hose, and the flashes I got when I originally got the kilt from my grandparents, way back in high school:


Tie & shirt: I’ll be wearing my green Burns tie, and I’ll get a new white shirt, but a regular buttoned one, I imagine, not one needing cuff links. We’ll see about that, though.


Introducing the Groomsmen July 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 7:03 am
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I will have seven groomsmen, including my best man. I am really excited to have all of them be part of our wedding. I wrote (too brief) introductions to each of them, in order of when they entered my life:



Andrew is my older brother, and some of my earliest memories are of looking up to him. I remember once he told me that “only babies” swing on a tire swing lying on their bellies, and I spent what felt like fruitless hours swinging on my belly, trying to reclaim my lost baby-hood. He also taught me how to read, much to my mother’s astonishment. Growing up, he did all of the usual “cool older brother” jobs, especially making tapes of cool music when he went off to college. He’s a poet and a journalist and a college instructor, and a father to little Aisla Rose, who will be just shy of two years old at the wedding. His wife, Lynette, also a poet and a teacher, joined our family already six years ago now. The three of them live up in Greenfield, MA, with their dog, Sprout.

Pulling Wagon An early photo of Andy pulling me in the wagon.

IMG_0015 I don’t really know how I got this photo, but it makes me think of the “swank” tape he made for me.

fathers-day Andrew and little Aisla.



Jerod, who will be my best man, is my cousin on my Dad’s side. He was between Chris and me in age, but he was always bigger than me, and more athletic. He played baseball in college and now works in something terribly complicated with computers. He helped me to move from Gainesville to Missouri in 2003, and then was my closest friend while I got my bearings. He and his brother Tom accompanied me on a crazed cross-country drive to Andrew and Lynette’s wedding in Massachusetts, including an infamous late-night drive through New York City. He was the first member of my family to meet Stephanie, and I will be proud to have him beside me when we are married.

Me and Jerod Jerod and me next to some old train in St. Charles, around 1980.

IMG_0074 Jerod and our cousin Clayton in Kansas City to watch the Royals play.

DSCN1980 Jerod at the “kiddies’ table” at Easter, with his girlfriend Kelly and her sons.



Chris is my younger brother. We spent our childhoods bickering, as close siblings are wont to do, but Mom was right (as she often is) when she said that we would be the best of friends once we grew up. Chris went off to engineering school in New York, which was the beginning of our family’s dispersion around the country, making our never frequent-enough family gatherings into red-letter days of the year. I drove cross-country with Chris in 2000 to help him move to Austin, TX for graduate school, then made several memorable visits out there, including the 2002 South by Southwest Festival, with a detour to the Guadalupe Mountains (Jerod came along for that one). Chris lives in Houston now, with his fiancee Amanda (they will be married in October), where he is an environmental engineer.

Me and Chris Awwww…

IMG_0013 The two of us, I believe at Jill’s wedding.

IMG_0005 The two of us, as members of “Team Don.”



Carlos was one of my dearest friends at New College. We lived next door to each other our first year, then were room-mates our second year. Through all of the usual undergraduate stuff, we were there for each other. Then, Carlos went on to Medical School in Gainesville, and I ended up there to get my Master’s in Education, so the good times continued. I was there in 2005, when Carlos married Nancy in Switzerland, in the small church where her parents were married. Carlos and Nancy lived in New York City for a few years, and I try not to hold it against them that they moved to Texas the summer I moved to NYC. They have a two-year-old son, Tristan. He now lives near Austin under the alias, “Dr. Victorica.”

IMG_0017 One of an entertaining series of photos of the big graduation party our first year at New College.

IMG_0014 Carlos at the reception of his wedding to Nancy.

04500003 Carlos, with Tristan, at the Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park. Nancy is in the background.



Tom was my coworker for three years at L’Ouverture Middle School in St. Louis. It was part of the dysfunction of that school that it was only sometime in the spring of our first year working together that we knew each other as anything other than “Mr. Peteet” and “Mr. Varnon.” Tom was, of course, the bridge between Stephanie and me, as he introduced us just minutes after confirming his own first name to me, that first evening we hung out together socially. Tom lived with Stephanie, along with Eric and Jodut, at the infamous (Es)Sex Ho(use), and moved to the east coast at the same time I did, in his case going to Medical School in Worcester, MA.

00120007 Tom at Stephanie’s birthday party at Union.

DSCN0780 Tom and Stephanie at the Museum of Modern Art.

DSCN2093 Tom, with his beloved coconut drink, at Crotona Park, Queens.



Eric Shieh is a brilliant polymath: a poet, a violinist, a teacher, and a legend in his own time. He is also the most likely to make off-color observations if he is allowed to make any toasts during the wedding events. He and Tom lived together for three years in St. Louis, two of those at the Sex Ho, though Eric spent an extra year in St. Louis before joining us on the East Coast. Eric then moved practically across the street from Stephanie and me, as he attends graduate school at the Teachers College of Columbia University.

IMG_0007 Eric, after playing violin for Stephanie’s dad’s wedding.

IMG_0010 Eric and Stephanie, still at Bob’s wedding.

DSCN1706 Eric, along with Tom, at our apartment for a Sex Ho Christmas Reunion.



Larry is Stephanie’s cousin. He started dating his (now) wife Crystal at about the same time Stephanie and I started dating, so we had several dinners out together. He does something fiendishly complicated in network security, and lives in South St. Louis with Crystal and their chocolate labrador retriever, Galt. Their house is our most-frequent home-base in our visits to St. Louis since we moved to New York City. Larry has introduced me to some of the Wiggins family legends with his customary dry wit and deadpan delivery, and I shudder a bit to contemplate what would happen if at any point in the wedding festivities he were given a microphone to toast/roast us.

65120002 Larry, with Crystal and Stephanie.

DSCN2596 Larry and Stephanie at his wedding reception.


Cue the groom’s song January 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 8:42 pm
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I found a new blog today; the writer is planning a wedding (or living on the outskirts of the planning) with his fiancee.  In one great post, he describes why he should get to come down the aisle to “Eye of the Tiger.”


Here’s an excerpt (fifth entry down):


“[Eye of the Tiger is] all about rising above adversity (dating) defeating a bitter rival (psycho ex-boyfriend) and ultimately triumphing when no one thought you could (getting married means I’m finally mature, right?).

The way I picture it is the second the first note blasts from the speakers, I kick open the doors and come trotting inside the room. As I make my way down the aisle, maybe I point at a couple people who believed in me, then get some high fives as I take my place up front.”


Awesome.  Groom’s often have cakes (Matt refuses, insisting–correctly–that the actual wedding cake is his, too), why not a special song that captures the moment for them?  I’d like to know what everyone’s song would be… this would be a good dinner party game.  For us, “Eye of the Tiger” is already taken, as it’s my thesis-writing song.


Twill, Fireflies and Cottonwood October 5, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 9:19 am
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I have been thinking about what I will wear for the wedding. So far, my published thoughts on the matter have gone little farther than knowing I wouldn’t wear a flame shirt, guayabera or Hawaiian shirt. Stephanie posted some reflections on what I and my groom’s men might wear, but there hasn’t been nearly as much movement on this front as she might like. So, waking up on a grey and rainy morning in New York, I started thinking of wool and cotton, and here is some of what I have come up with:

I am really leaning towards wearing my kilt. I first got a kilt in my junior year of high school. My grandparents gave it to me for Christmas, and I believe I even wore it to school once. Anyway, my great grandfather had bought this kilt to have as a special thing to wear on a cruise when they were going to cross the equator. As I understand it, he had thought he was buying the Dunbar plaid, but the kilt he bought had the Bruce plaid, one of the most popular tartans. So the family significance isn’t in the tartan, but in the story, and the fact that it has been in the family for quite a while. My brother Andrew got married wearing this kilt — we had an exchange where he got the more family-significant kilt, and I got a brand-new kilt with the Dunbar tartan. He had his groom’s men wearing kilts (Chris and I wore matching Dunbar kilts, while his best man and brother-in-law wore rented kilts), and he wore a formal Prince Charlie Jacket (like the two bottom ones). I am not sure if what the rest of us were wearing were less fancy Prince Charlies (which I think) or were wearing Argyll (or Crail? I can’t figure out if there is any difference) jackets, like the two top ones. For me, I think I would prefer to wear an Argyll jacket and waistcoat, with a necktie. For colors, I would think a grey jacket would be best, with a green tie (maybe my Burns tie). I would think my groom’s men could wear kilts (my brothers may take that option) or grey pants with matching jackets and green neckties. That’s where I am right now. Any thoughts?

In my perigrinations around the web this morning, I also came across these pictures, which don’t exactly match my thoughts about fireflies and cottonwood, but are as close as I can find on Google images:


Suits and such August 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 6:12 pm
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For a consideration of what the groom and his folk could wear:










Kilts!  But I don’t like the black shirt, black tie, black jacket look.  Too boys’ school gone bad. (From Scottish Shop and Kilt Hire.)








More traditional, and this looks like what Matt already has, or would have. (From Linda Clifford Scottish and Irish Merchants.)











Nice cream-colored suit.  I’d like a darker tie to keep it from looking Easter-y.  This would be good for a hot July in St. Louis. (Inspiration board from Style Me Pretty, including image from







































Another cream-colored one…and I think all the guys in the party look nice and crisp. (Real wedding inspiration board from Style Me Pretty.)




























































































A pretty standard suit, but I think he looks appropriately formal and nice.  And I love their shoes! (Real wedding inspiration board from Style Me Pretty.)

Of course, he has an entire year to decide.  Just because I found my dress right already doesn’t mean I need to know what he’s wearing right away