Getting over the Vieques disappointment—letting go of a fantasy, and making space for something more real—has helped, too. So has trying very hard to be patient with ourselves, and with our families, as we take these gradual, clumsy first steps.
Of course, finally deciding that the place for us was my home state after all—and wondering why I didn't see it sooner—has brought me a lot of joy.
As has a souvenir from that trip to Paris: five meters of lace, impulsively purchased in a shop off the Rue du Faubourg St. Honore. Since we still don't know a lot about how our wedding will look, it could just as easily wind up as heinously expensive curtains as a wedding dress. But right now it's a powerful totem tucked in tissue, pure white and full of promise.
So while we don't have a guest list, or musicians, or a menu, or even an inkling of how the ceremony will come together, we do have a few things going for us:
We have the lace.
We have one wedding magazine, a gift from my friend Joanne. (The Martha Stewart Weddings Tenth Anniversary Issue, no less.)
We have a place: A beautiful, humble little Nebraska barn.
And we have a date: May 20, 2006.
Puzzle solved. Now where's that Sunday New York Times crossword?