Have I not told any stories for a month? Oops… I’ve done a million things. Most of them relatively average. WHAT?! I know… Being a grown up is exhausting.

Ummm things I have done…I attended the air and water show in Chicago. It was very crowded,  incredibly hot, rather sandy, and much too loud. I had several adult beverages and drunkenly lamented my deceased dog’s butthole (I didn’t realize until my dog died that the only photo I had of her was of… well…the back and not the front). Perhaps it’s poetic justice that my ass was bitten by a spider at a BBQ the following evening. It could also be entirely unrelated. The results of the formal investigation are still pending.

I guess the most interesting thing I did in recent history was get married. Maybe that’s a story? I didn’t exactly get real married but it was technically more official than my last pretend wedding, as it did involve legally binding paperwork.

Like my first pretend marriage, this began as an elaborate prank…  I’ve always wanted to get a civil union. Just so I could say it happened. In fact, I came dangerously close to union-ing my gay best friend in college. But when things didn’t work out, I lost hope that this item would ever be crossed off my bucket list.

Recently, I learned that Illinois is one of the few states that will grant a civil union to a heterosexual couple. This information changed my perspective and reignited my lost hope. Now I HAD to do it. I convinced my boyfriend that we should pull off our second marriage prank during his visit. This was old hat for him now, so he readily agreed. We announced our intent to elope and invited our close friends to our seemingly impulsive courthouse wedding. We simply failed to mention that, instead of a marriage license, we had applied for a civil union license. It would be a wonderful surprise when the time came.

This was going to be so funny. For me and nobody else. But then my boyfriend RUINED it. He shows up for his visit, one week before this epic prank was scheduled to take place, and he ACTUALLY proposed REAL MARRIAGE to me in a cemetery. This is the main reason I thought he was joking when he proposed, but it wasn’t a part of the scheme. So now it was really dumb that we were getting a civil union, right?

I mean you can’t have TWO fake weddings and reasonably expect anyone to show up to the third, no matter how real you intend the third to be. I didn’t want to be known as ‘the girl who cried wedding,’ but we had already convinced all of our friends to take off of work and drive to Chicago for this event and we couldn’t disappoint… What now!?

I decided to tell everyone the truth beforehand to avoid general confusion (and so I could share the news of my actual engagement). There was a lot of general confusion. “So… you’re REALLY engaged but you’re NOT getting married?? Ok you are really getting married but not this weekend? So what’s this weekend? A civil union… WHY?????”

My civil union ended up being amazing though! We treated it as more of an engagement celebration than anything. It was a magical day. I took off work at noon. Because every bride deserves half a day off work on her weddi… civil union… I went home to get dressed and meet my friends who came in from out of town. Yes I have people in my life so wonderful that they would abandon their own busy lives, with little notice, to come to  my ridiculous elopement, even after learning that it was pretend…

We thought we’d all Uber to the courthouse together. There were quite a few of us, but our driver managed to fit us all in his car… by cramming the bride and groom in the trunk… It was the weirdest.

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He played only wedding themed music and kept talking to me (the trunk bride with the impossible to pronounce name) about marriage. He was a very nice old man and reminded us all of Jerry Gergich from Parks and Rec. When he assisted in my glorious trunk exit, the man hugged me and told me I was going to make a beautiful bride. It was perfect. I didn’t have my parents there to give me away, so why not Jerry Gergich, Uber driver extraordinaire?

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We made our way down to the cellar of the courthouse. The very depressing basement hallway where all the marriages take place. We waited for our turn amongst the other couples who were getting real marriages. Finally It was our turn. The ceremony lasted all of three minutes. The first thing the judge says is, “this is a great commitment and is meant to be taken seriously.” So naturally I had a hard time maintaining my composure. I’m definitely one of those facially expressive individuals who struggles to conceal my thoughts even when my mouth is kept firmly shut. But we made it through the ‘I do’s’ and were pronounced “partners for life.”

“You may now kiss your partner.” That’s when I unintentionally gave my new partner ‘the cheek’. My hatred of PDA is apparently so deep that I subconsciously dread my “you may now kiss the bride” moment. Thank God the whole thing was caught on tape.

Then we completed the filing of our legal documents, insisting several times that this was in fact meant to be a civil union, not a marriage, and yes we did understand the difference.

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Applying for a civil union license as a straight couple is weird. Applying for a civil union license as any couple after the legalization of gay marriage is weird. Applying for a civil union license as a straight couple after the legalization of gay marriage is apparently baffling to 100% of people who are not me. But it’s pretty ideal for a couple who doesn’t want to be legally married…yet. Dan lives out of state and our union is not recognized by the federal government.  Essentially everything that was terrible about civil unions for couples who wished to be married was ideal for Dan and I…For now…

We went to millennium park to take some post wedding shots. They turned out pretty great!

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Then I donned my “just married sash” and quickly realized the power that thing yields. We went to the cheesecake factory for our reception, of course. We were gifted a stuffed penguin. You know, to congratulate us on our nuptuals. As is cheesecake factory tradition. After dinner, we took our cheesecake to go and headed to a friends house for a champagne toast.

Then we went to the Lincoln park zoo because they were having “adult night” which means you’re allowed to drink and stare at zoo animals. There were also free carousel rides. We got to skip the entire line because of the “just married” sash so that was pretty amazing. I’ve decided to start wearing it everywhere because people are just so friendly and accommodating when they think it’s “the most important day of your life” or whatever.

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It was actually the best weekend ever. I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate an engagement actually. All my good friends were there and we had too much fun. It was the civil union of my dreams and, honestly, it’s going to be really hard for my third and (ideally) final, actual wedding, to top this one!

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