On Monday, Christopher and I went down to the Alameda County Recorder's office to apply for and pick up our wedding license. Like usual, I was excited about this big step; the license is the single most important item for the wedding....without it the actual wedding cannot happen.
So early on Monday morning, we hied ourselves to downtown Oakland (always charming) and located the Country Recorder's office. It was surprisingly easy to find, and surprisingly easy to find street parking (albeit metered parking).
Neither of us having been married before, when we went into the offices, we were obviously stumbling around like idiots trying to figure out where to go first. A computer lab looking room to our right, the welcome desk to the left, or the large room in front of us with workers at a U of desks lining the wall clearly used with patrons sitting across from the employees. We started towards one of these desks with a worker seated there but who was not serving any patrons. When we told her why we were there, she politely redirected us to the computer lab. We followed the instructions to complete the information on the form - including our parents' full names and birth states - and proceeded to the welcome desk where they handed us a form to complete by hand. Following that, we waited in the room with the U of desks for our number to be called and, when it was, made our way to the designated desk.
When we sat, the woman congratulated us heartily on our impending marriage and answered our questions easily and with apparent enthusiasm. She asked about the wedding and how it was going to be while simultaneously processing our paperwork.
Then came the moment that felt pretty big to me: writing for her on a piece of blank white paper the name by which I will be known - legally, personally, and professionally - following the marriage. I am keeping my first name the same, adding my current last name as a second middle name, and taking Christopher's last name.
I slid the paper back and waited for her to complete the data entry.
She told us the fee total, processed our payment, and handed over several pieces of paper for us to take with us, including: the marriage license that needs to be signed to certify the wedding, an instruction page for us regarding the paperwork, an instruction page for our officiant regarding the paperwork, a novelty certificate (what? weird, right?), and a booklet that includes information pertinent to married people.
She actually opened the last and showed us a page that listed the national domestic violence and sexual assault hotlines. She was apologetic about having to show it to us, but I think we confused her when we both said that it was good that she did...we did not have time to tell her that we both work with BAWAR and are social justice advocates, so she seemed a bit perplexed.
Regardless, she congratulated us once again, handed me a large envelope with all the paperwork and sent us on our way.
When we got home, I showed Christopher and made him watch while I put the envelope in a safe and logical place so that we do not lose it.
And so we shall be married!!!
Can't believe it!!