The Idgie Decision
As our favorite Brooklynites continue their wedding planning, (Their last decision was about color palette! If you missed it, catch up here!) we are getting more and more excited to see how things are shaping up! This week, we asked Jen & Lauren to talk to us about Idgie, their Corgi puppy and whether or not they'll include her in their ceremony. This seems like something that many dog owners struggle with, because pups can feel like just as much of the family as anyone else! Brister Photo may have just found a new career in animal photography!
Lauren and I have been living together for over two years; it started from one part practicality (New York landlords, amirite?), one part logistics (how many work-appropriate shirts can I actually leave here?), but mostly we just wanted to start our home together. We struck out to find an apartment together that checked all the boxes, one of which, was the allowance of dogs. I had grown up with dogs and very much missed having them as part of the family. Lauren had never had a dog in her life, but is clearly an animal lover. Also: Brooklyn lesbians need a dog; we don't drink whisky and we don't own bicycles, so we thought we'd better get on this requirement.
I goaded Lauren for months; I surreptitiously filled out adoption applications without her knowledge or consent. We visited a few adoption events and even went so far as to get pre-approved by a local shelter. I felt as if Lauren was dragging her feet (and I was, admittedly, being a big bully about the whole thing) but in hindsight her reservations were quite natural. We were in love and had signed a lease together, but there wasn't much else to bind us. I asked Lauren to marry me (and, a week later, she asked me the very same thing) in the late fall of 2013. Three months later, an opportunity fell into our laps: a friend of a friend had a litter of corgi pups he was practically giving away. Valentine's Day 2014 found us on a twelve-hour drive to Pigeon Forge Tennessee, birthplace of Dolly Parton, to pick up a four-pound puppy in a laundry basket whose feet had never touched outside ground.
Idgie immediately became the center of our world, first because puppy training demanded it, but then as the embodiment of our lives together; the three of us are family. It may sound trite or twee to refer to my family as my fiancee and my dog, but this is the foundation of my life. This is what we have built together and what I come home to. As many LGBTQ community members understand too well, my relationships with my blood-relations have been stretched, warped, bent and broken over the years due to my personal identity and no longer offer comfort or stability. But, my family, the one sharing my postal address, is infinitely reliable.
When we began discussing what our wedding day would look like, the idea that Idgie be a part of the ceremony was raised immediately. She has been a distinct and paramount component in our life and we began to brainstorm how to fold her into the day's events. However, the more the details of the day come into focus, the less practicable it seems to incorporate Idgie into the process. She is a barker, she's an excitable pup, and she does not like to have her picture taken. She is welcome at the venue but we do not want to saddle a guest with the responsibility of corgi-wrangling all evening. I am practical and a bit of a worrier (due to my profession or my personality or both) and I raised many doubts about the logistics involved in ushering this easily excited dog through one of the most important days of my life. Lauren continued to counter and question, not insisting on Idgie's participation but raising the point of her significance in our relationship and our daily lives. This conversation has been going on for many months, but we finally employed one of the oldest tools in wedding planning history: The Compromise. We have decided that Idgie, for all her cuteness and symbolism, will not be a workable fixture at our wedding. We will capture her spirit with photographs alongside the wedding party beforehand, prior to our arrival at the venue. Her part in the beginning of our lives together will be memorialized in these images, but she will not be running down the aisle with a tennis ball in her mouth. This will be enough.