Archive for January, 2006

Wedding welfare

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

Cascading Heart Tiara Gold

I had a dream last night that I was entered into a marriage of convenience with a fellow whose family could protect me from certain individuals trying to get the best of me. The Beard was devastated, but I got to wear a beautiful tiara similar to the Cascading Heart Tiara above. The wedding was going well until the groom’s family determined it was time for the dollar dance. I was like, “Dollar dance? Hells no!”

Upon waking, I got to thinking about the various types of so-called “wedding welfare” out there today. Some of it, like the dollar dance, has firm roots in cultural traditions and can be a real boon to the newly formed family. Others have the tendency to make loved ones feel like faceless investors. According to an article in the Brandon Sun, wedding welfare is alive and well.

It’s always amusing to see the reaction when the concept [of the wedding social] is explained to a wedding social virgin. Some are mortified, seeing it as nothing more than mooching from friends, family and colleagues, while others think the idea is brilliant and hope the trend catches on in their hometown so they can afford a better wedding photographer, honeymoon in France rather than Quebec or get a big-screen TV for the new pad.

A wedding social, for those who don’t know, is a pay-to-enter party for the bride and groom’s friends and family held before the wedding to raise money for the reception. Typically, a wedding social will require guests to pay a $10 entrance fee, a few more ten-spots for raffle tickets, and the price of drinks.

Then there is the relatively new trend of wheeling and dealing with local vendors for free stuff in return for advertising. I kid you not. Some future brides see nothing bizarre about listing the wedding’s “sponsors” on the invitation, in programs, and at the dinner table in order to get free printing, favors, or hotel stays.

Brides and grooms, who used to be content hitting up friends and family, now e-mail or fax generic messages to businesses begging for free stuff. A free massage. A free dinner. A free night at a hotel. A free hair cut. A free gift certificate. A free oil change.

Now, I’m not one to decline free stuff, but I wouldn’t want my wedding gear to look like a NASCAR racer – full of logos and brand names. Nor would I ask my guests to help pay for the wedding through elaborate party schemes. If you’re going to go that far, why not just charge admission to the wedding, for goodness sake?

Why not bargain your way to wedded bliss?

Saturday, January 21st, 2006

Yout livestock can munch it afterward.

A friend of mine who is getting married in roughly one year and one month was discussing her wedding trials at a party I attended last night. She talked in a general sense about how much the wisdom of past brides has helped her so far and then she shared a wonderful tip of her own:

Instead of buying her centerpieces, she discussed what she liked with the associate at the reception site. Then she found a similar but nicer centerpiece she liked at a craft store or bridal boutique and cut a deal with the reception site people. The result of her wheeling and dealing is that the reception site will buy the (obviously non-perishable) centerpieces she likes and she will rent them for a mere $5.

That’s super fab!

Pets in the wedding: Fun or Faux Pas?

Friday, January 20th, 2006

You may now kiss the dog

Even when we don’t admit it, most of us hold a special place in our hearts for Fido and Fluffy. While in my case, the little critters are cats (Kilgore and Moya), and thus not much good for anything resembling ring bearing or the like, a lot of folks have dogs that can be trained to be a part of a wedding ceremony. Or, at least, a wedding cermeony held outside or somewhere other than within the walls of most churches. And the trend is growing.

“I find that about 30 percent of my weddings involve pets,” says Los Angeles wedding planner Mindy Weiss, who has coordinated the happy occasion for numerous celebrities, in an article for Palm Springs Life. “I think it would be more, but a lot of venues do not allow animals.” Tori Spelling’s dogs served as flower girl and ring bearer, and Adam Sandler’s dogs Matzoball (pulled down the aisle in a wagon) and Meatball served those same roles, respectively.

Well, celebrities do it, sure. They also have plenty of money to devote to steamcleaning, replacement rings, and drycleaning costs, should Fifi not behaver herself when walking down the aisle. For the rest of us – by which I mean those who would prefer not to have to go through the rigamorole of training a dog, cat, parrot, or ferret to saunter in a straight line without being diverted by oohing and ahhing guests – there are other ways of including precious Foo Foo in a wedding ceremony or reception.

  • Your little bundle of four-legged joy can wait patiently in a carrier during the ceremony and then don a bridal-color-coordinated collar to frolic the night away at the reception.
  • He or she can be included as a groomsman or bridesmaid, provided one of the bipedal attendants promises to keep a tight grip on the leash.
  • If the animal in question is small and quite patient about being carried, he or she can enjoy the cermeony in the comfort of the arms of a very patient attendant.
  • Have a parent or friend lead your kitty or pup to the alter to deliver the rings during the correct bit of the ceremony and then lead the animal way before he or she has a chance to do anything naughty.
  • Let pets attend the ceremony but keep them safe and secure in a comfy carrier.

Please note that I by no means advocating any of these suggestions and nor am I making light of any bride who chooses to include an animal in her wedding. Some wouldn’t. My grandfather is of the opinion that animals are animals and thus dressing them up degrades their natural dignity. Some would…to the extreme…by marrying dolphins. It’s your wedding, folks, so it’s up to you.

One word of advice, however. If you, like me, have a pet that won’t sit still and seldom shuts up (Hi Kilgore! Hi Moya!), it’s recommended that you leave them at home. Pets are loyal. They’ll be there when you get back.

A little stretch

Thursday, January 19th, 2006

Lady in green

I’m really liking this super glam satin bridesmaid gown from PacificPlex. I’m a big fan of dresses with a little stretch and dresses that feature ruching. If it has lumps on purpose, no one’s going to notice the lumps that aren’t supposed to be there. The gown, which also comes in a jewel-like fuscia, red, gold, blue, and pink, has a matching chiffon scarf that’s great for covering up the shoulder area.

My only beef is the flat front panel that could reveal a little too much about my exercise habits. Of course, if I wore this dress in a wedding party, you know I’d be sporting my control top tights.

Styles for the shorties

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006

No, not those under five feet tall. Maybe I’ll tackle that some other time. I mean ladies sporting totally modern, super hip short locks. I was inspired to take on this topic a few days ago when I visited the salon in order to have my long ladylike tresses converted into an ultra-short, face-framing do. What can I say? I’m brave like that. And it’s only hair. Right?

Cut to shortly thereafter when The Beard hinted he might be inclined to pop the question one of these days (YAY!) and I realized I’d never even considered how someone with hair as short as mine might go about styling it for their wedding. Updo’s are almost the least complicated thing one can do because one typically leaves the doing of it to an accomplished stylist. And, with a longish updo, there are all manner of things one can pin into or onto it.

That leaves headbands, crowns and wreaths, little clips, and plain. Of course, that accomplished stylist I was thinking about will be able to think of something, but it’s best to have at least some idea of what you want. Here are three looks from that I like and that can be purchased in kit form:

If you’re a DIYer, you could check out Beautiful Bride – HAIR, The Perfect Wedding Series Volume 2, which gives a number of hints and tips on styling your own hair for your wedding day.

Beautiful Bride - HAIR, The Perfect Wedding Series Volume 2

Of course, none of this has helped me determine whether wearing a veil is even a possibility with two-inch long hair.

How could I have missed this?

Tuesday, January 17th, 2006

It really is bliss!

According to a Cornell University study released in November of last year, people in relationships are generally happier than other people. But that’s not all. Apparently, the level of commitment in your relationship also has an effect on how happy you are. Spouses have the highest level of well-being, even when their marriages are in the pooper, which is odd. Cohabitating couples like myself and The Beard are next on the happiness scale. Those in steady relationships and then those in casual relationships follow.

“Some commitment appears to be good, but more commitment appears to be even better,” said Claire Kamp Dush, a postdoctoral fellow with the Evolving Family Theme Project of the Institute for the Social Sciences at Cornell and first author of one of the few studies to examine well-being across the relationship continuum.

“Even when controlling for relationship happiness, being married is associated with higher self-esteem, greater life satisfaction, greater happiness and less distress, whereas people who are not in stable romantic relationships tend to report lower self-esteem, less life satisfaction, less happiness and more distress,” she explained.

Of course, I’m always suspicious of such studies. I think it’s entirely possible to be super happy without a boyfriend or girlfriend. My guess is that the researchers use a number of variables to define happiness, which may include support and companionship. That said, there is no reason not to tuck this tidbit of information away into my arsenal of information regarding weddings and such that I use to discomfit The Beard.

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate

If you want to talk commitment with your mate, consider picking up Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. My dad bought a copy for me and The Beard and I loved it. It helps people understand that there are a ton of different ways people express love.

Or you could just watch Dean Martin in How To Save a Marriage And Ruin Your Life.


Monday, January 16th, 2006

What\'s under YOUR dress?

For the most part, the days in which brides in the western world were unfamiliar with the arts of love until their wedding days are over. Bridal undergarments used to be a complicated affair of clips, stays, inflexible boning, and lace, most likely meant to confuse men. They often still are. But more often, lingerie represents the foundation of one’s fashion…the keystone, if you will. A silky smooth, form fitting gown requires a different sort of underpant than what one would logically put underneath a big princess dress.

Modern underwear is more functional than fancy. However, what we think of as fancy once had function. According to Lifetips,

Historically, garter belts provided a function — to keep your stockings from falling down. (Remember, these were the days before elastic.) Even men wore garters around their calves to keep their socks up!

These days, the sexy garter belt is just about the only one we think of when we hear the phrase. These come in several alluring fabrics and colors, and are usually used to seduction, not function!

It’s up to the future bride to decide whether or not her elborate dress will conceal similarly elaborate undies. The day of a wedding and reception can be a long and busy one. But a bride may want her “unveiling” to be as symbolic and memorable as her veiling. The style of dress should also play a part in her choice of undergarment.

Brides should start shopping as soon as the dress has been chosen. The sales associates at bridal boutiques may be able to offer advice. A photo of the dress can help them determine what style will build the best foundation. Even if a bride is looking for a sexier style, the keyword should always be comfort. As South Shore Weddings points out,

Because the fabric will be so form fitting against your skin, you will want to choose a fabric that does not cause you to itch, perspire excessively, or has very stiff boning in the construction that might become uncomfortable to you throughout the day. If you need boning, it is best to choose one that is flexible.

I wholeheartedly agree that it’s best not to choke oneself on one’s wedding day. While I plan to post a step by step guide to choosing your wedding undies in the future, for now I humbly offer this by-the-dress bra advice:

Strapless or off-the-shoulder: Choose a bustier or corset instead of a strapless bra. The former won’t slip down and end up around your waist while you’re leading the conga line during the reception. It will also push the breasts upward, making you look hot.

Plunging neckline or backless: If you’re small or firm enough, a good tailor should be able to sew supportive cups into the dress. If not…I don’t know what to tell ya! If your dress is backless, a plunging halter bra may do the trick.

Empire waist with sleeves: Any bra that doesn’t bulge will do!

Tank style: Again, any bra that doesn’t show or bulge will do. Don’t forget to safety pin the straps to the dress, lest you look like a teenybopper or Britney Spears.

Low cut back: You may be able to find a bustier with a sunken backstrap. Or, if your dress has a halter style top, try a halter bra that plunges to wrap around the waist.

Finally, regardless of the style of dress, I recommend lingerie in nude rather than white. Not all whites will match up.