Claire & Bobby: From puppet wedding to living an improvised life

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Clare and Bobby: then and now
Claire and Bobby: then and now

Name and occupation: Claire, Office Worker
Partner’s name and occupation: Bobby, Teacher, puppet maker, and lots of other stuff
Our wedding profile: Claire & Bobby’s puppet wedding, July 12, 2008

Hello everyone! Thanks for asking for a follow up. It’s been a packed five years. We’ve both found jobs that we love. We paid off my grad school loans. I competed in an Iron Girl triathlon. Bobby still makes puppets. We moved to an awesome apartment, and my parents moved up from New Jersey and live downstairs from us now. Our dog Neville is still adorable. We’ve tried a lot of fun activities together, like glass blowing, antiquing, camping, general nerdery, traveling, and improv. We’re generally having a great time.

Our wedding became a real turning point for me. Part of our Offbeat Bride wedding profile was my description of dealing with panic disorder leading up to the wedding. The wedding made me face it head on, in a way that I had not done before, and realize that I could work through it. Since then, with Bobby’s support, I’ve overcome a lot of the anxiety that I used to find paralyzing, which is why we’ve been able to do a lot of the fun things I listed. I even became a regular improviser (I make up songs!) at ImprovBoston with my husband and Dana Jay Bein, our male flower girl. [More about Dana at the end of this post! -Eds] I will always live with the disorder, but I don’t let it hold me back anymore.

Looking back all these years later, what do you remember most about your wedding?
The thing I remember most about my wedding is the same thing that I appreciate most about my marriage: the laughter. I felt like I was laughing the whole day, even during the ceremony. When we got the pictures back, I loved how many pictures our photographer caught of people cracking up.

Flip Flops

The other thing people still comment on is the bucket of flip flops my mom put together. They were gone within minutes. It’s the only piece of wedding advice I offer to other brides.

Neville with wedding quilt

Did you re-purpose any wedding decor or attire?
At our wedding, each guest signed a square of fabric and my mom put it together in a wedding quilt that matched our wedding colors. It’s one of those, “first thing we’d save in a fire” items. Whenever I look at it, I’m reminded of that day and of all of the people who were there. We also still have our rubber ducky cupcake toppers on display.

Cake toppers!

What big challenges have you faced? What have you learned from them?
Like any couple, we’ve faced a number of challenges. We each had job issues for a while that were difficult to shake off at home and we had to work to stay considerate of each other during those periods where we were using up all our patience out of the home. We had some serious student loan debt to overcome which was challenging because we both faced periods of unemployment. We had a very much less than ideal living situation for a few years that we couldn’t get out of because of the financial issues. And this past year we lost a friend too young which hit us both hard.

But the biggest thing we’ve faced together is really tough to write about, and may be a surprise for some of our friends who read this. We’ve been facing unexplained infertility for the last three years, and it’s been very hard. We’re in the process of exploring our options now.

There has been a silver lining. Per our doctor’s advice, in an effort to become healthier to increase the likelihood of getting pregnant, we’ve become more active. We love trying new things together, whether it’s a 35-mile bike ride, climbing a mountain, or kayaking. Bobby supported me every step of the way during my triathlon, and even did a trial run with me a month before the event. We’ve also had some amazing support, including my sister-in-law Jen who did the triathlon with me, my mom who’s been my rock, and our friend Keiko who is an infertility advocate who went through a similar challenge, and just resolved three months ago with a beautiful baby boy.

I wish we had a happy ending to share for this part of our story right now, but I know in my heart that someday we will be parents, however it may happen. This challenge doesn’t define us as a couple; it’s just part of our journey.


How do you keep your romance alive?
This answer may shock you, but laughter keeps our romance alive. We are not super romantic people generally, but whenever he says something that makes me laugh really hard, I tell him I love him, and he does the same for me. As a result, we say “I love you” to each other a lot.

It’s less date nights and more the little things that sustain love for us, like when he makes me dinner when I’m too tired to do it myself, or I scratch his head when he has a migraine. We’re both very busy between our jobs and improv schedules, and these small things make a huge difference to how connected we feel. He’s always got my back and I’ve got his, and that’s an awesome feeling.

What advice do you have for newlyweds?
I have four pieces of advice, with the obvious caveat that what works for us may not work for everybody.

First, be honest, even when it hurts. We don’t hold anything back, and while that can be hard, it’s allowed us to get through some tough stuff. It also means that neither of us spends much time worrying if the other person is upset about something. We know.

Second, make sure that you tell each other when you’re grateful for something. We say “thank you” a lot and acknowledge when the other person has made a tough decision or overcome something. We’ll even thank each other after a fight for sharing a difficult point of view.

Third, build and maintain your support network. We have a theater full of insane people we love and I don’t know what we’d do without them. We also have friends from every stage of our lives that we’re so grateful we have the privilege of knowing. We know we’re not alone, and that makes everything easier.

Finally, laugh together. Duh.

Bonus follow-up: Dana, the flower boy

You might remember Dana as Claire & Bobby’s male flower girl. We wanted to follow up with him, too!

Dana: then and now
Dana: then and now

How did being a flower boy change your life?
Thanks to Offbeat Bride (Empire), I received a lot of attention for being an adult, male flower girl. It was as if I was wearing Axe body spray. I was dangerously attractive and it was only dangerous to me.

People became less interested in my career in comedy and more interested in my dabbling in flower girl-ing. It’s one of many Bigfoot moments in my life. That COULDN’T have happened. IT DID! I HAVE PICTURES!

Silliness aside, reflecting on Bobby and Claire’s wedding reminds me to stay who I am, think outside of the box and dammit — say yes to things.

What flower boy skills do you still use?
I flaunt what I’ve got. I turn heads. I own my confidence in any role. I can also pee my pants on command.

How have your flower boy skills grown in the five years since the wedding?
Now, I’m a wise old Yoda flower man. Throw petals do you? A beautiful task it is, hmmmm? A girl I am not. A difference it does not make.

We know you love these posts — so do we. So let’s keep ’em going. Let us know which couples you’d like us to follow up with.

Comments on Claire & Bobby: From puppet wedding to living an improvised life

  1. Fuck yeah, Clobby updates! (And Dana too!)

    Claire, you are an amazing, strong, HI-larious woman. (Even though I didn’t like you in college. But we’re cool now, so it’s all good 😉 Seriously – what a wonderful update. A belated Happy Anniversary, and I’m so proud to know a true Iron Girl and to call you friend.

  2. Just wanted to express my love for this series. It’s been wonderful reading about these couples, and the honesty with which they’ve discussed the struggles they’ve faced and the lessons they learned.

    Love, love, love!!

  3. I love that quilt. Did you make it yourself? I am looking for a pattern to make a quilt for our wedding. Do you have suggestions where I might find a similar pattern?

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