Archive for February, 2006

A Cultish Wedding

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

I’d like to thank everyone who submitted their crazy, bizarre, tragic, and wacky wedding stories. I had a lot of laughs and you can, too, because I’ll be posting some of the best stories through the rest of the week. I’m pleased to announce that the lucky winner of the Pride & Prejudice Salon Tea prize pack is Rondi of Begin Each Day As If It Were on Purpose. Her tale of being a guest at a cultish, pop psychology wedding made me giggle even as it made me gasp. Enjoy!

Note: For those who don’t know, the Forum is a self-described “group awareness program” that many suspect may be a cult in disguise.

A few years ago I attended the wedding of two acquaintances who, at the time, I considered friends. Both bride and groom were true believers of “The Forum,” that scary 1970s Erhard Seminars Training personal development thing repackaged in time to take advantage of all the money and time late boomers and early Gen-Xers apparently have to waste. The wedding was held shortly – and I mean shortly, as in hours – before Christmas Day, because, you know, people have so much leisure time in late December.

The wedding was held in someone�s home. The idea was that we would socialize for a couple of hours, “witness” the ceremony, and then have dinner. After two hours of socializing (sans alcohol!) with mostly true believers (cultish, freakish, Forum-types) with whom it is near impossible for normal humans to carry on a conversation, the ceremony began. Thank goodness, I thought! This will be nice.

We were all asked to stand in a circle around the bride and groom. Fair enough, I thought. I�ve been to Greek weddings where you have to stand for HOURS, so I could handle this. Except, at a Greek wedding, you never hear the following from the priest: “Now, the bride and groom will place their rings on a pillow. The pillow will be passed around the room to each person, who, as they hold it, will say a few words about the bride and groom and this joyous occasion.” Whaaaaa????? If you�re going to spring this kind of thing on people, I thought, you really ought to let them drink first.

The torture began – mostly Forum drivel and sappy talk. Then, one of the grooms exes took the pillow and talked at length about all the girls the groom had slept with prior to meeting his bride. Lovely. I�m sure the happy couple, as well as the bride�s father, enjoyed hearing that. In fact, I was standing next to the FOtB, who visibly cringed as he listened. When the pillow got to me, I thought I�d add some levity to the situation and say what many were surely thinking: “I think it�s very unfair to ask anyone to speak publicly before you�ve allowed them access to hard liquor!”

Lots of laughter, and the bride�s father, when his turn came next, said, “Thanks to Rondi for taking the words right out of my mouth.”

When the ceremony was over, the bride�s father took me aside and thanked me! But then I was taken aside by a Forum-ite who chastised me for “taking away from everyone else�s joy.” Wow! Am I ever powerful, I thought. Wine and dinner were FINALLY served and the next round of horrors began. As I took my plate of food and glass of wine and went on a quest for a seat, I found they were all taken. And there were no more. I approached the bride, who informed me that her husband thought it would be a good idea to not have enough seats for people at dinner, as, according to his brilliant logic, this would force people to mingle. I. AM. NOT. MAKING. THIS. UP. Needless to say, all the lack of seats did was force people to sit on the ground with their plate of food, feeling grouchy and slighted.

After dinner, we went on a…sleigh ride. Now, in theory this is a lovely idea, especially just before Christmas, with snow falling, et cetera. I thought, what the heck, and sat down on the sleigh next to the one other normal (i.e. non-Forum) person in attendance. We chatted pleasantly until I realized that the wife of the man who had accused me of being a joy-destroyer had taken it upon herself to sit behind me and repeat out loud everything I was saying, a la Grade Three. As in, I�d say, “I have a French degree from the Sorbonne,” and the Forum lady would shout out in a mocking, sing-song tone, “I have a French degree from the Sorbonne.”

Unbelievable but true. I didn�t see this group again until the couple had a baby and held a shower. That torturous evening in itself is worth a personal essay but let�s just say that the high point was when the former bride, with a gleeful smile on her face, referring to a man who had just dumped me, said: “Do you think he didn�t want to get married…or do you think he just didn�t want to marry *you*?”

Congrats Rondi!

This weekend’s wedding

Monday, February 27th, 2006

real weddings

First off, let me apologize for my wandering spelling and crazy dates in my last post. I had a packed week that included multiple freelance assignments and preparations for attending my aunt’s wedding. In the future, I’ll endeavor to be more careful. That said, let me remind you that there is still more time to send me your wacky wedding stories, so keep them coming! I’ll accept them until 11:59 p.m. EST tonight.

Now, a few of you requested that I dish on the wedding I flew thousands of miles to attend. In terms of general details, the wedding was held on Saturday at a beach resort. The bridal party colors were vivid red and bright yellow. The ceremony, officiated by a non-denominational lady reverend, was supposed to be held at a gazebo next to a local river, but rain screwed that plan right up. The wedding in its entirety was both a mastery of planning and budgeting – the whole shebang took roughly two months to put together and did not break the bank.

The bride: My aunt, a second-time bride, said to heck with outdated traditions and wore a stunning bright white gown. Which, considering that I’m fairly sure she did not wear white at her first wedding, is fine by me. She looks young for her age and has good skin, so there was nothing ‘too young’ about her dress. It looked a bit like this one from Bridal World, except my aunt did not make that nasty face.

At the ceremony, she took me aside and whispered conspiratorially that she purchased her gown for a mere $50 at a local thrift shop.

The decor: The wedding itself was a simple down-home sort of affair, and thus the decor was of the do-it-yourself variety. Tulle bows, shiny heart confetti, little silver bells (which were waaay too popular with the kids there), and red organza favor bags containing chocolates. There were also a lot of candles – which could have been a risk considering the number of children in attendance but turned out just fine.

The food: Buffet style. Some people are of the opinion that having a wait staff to bring out food is classier, and it may be, but I do enjoy the greater selection that buffet dinners usually afford guests. What wasn’t eaten ended up as a sort of late supper at my parents’ house.

The cake: The cake (see above) was a simple yet elegant three-tiered affair with chocolate and yellow cake swathed in cream cheese icing. The cake maker, a friend of the family, charged only for the ingredients. The roses were artificial but still looked nice.

The bouquet: I caught it, of course…but I’m pretty sure my aunt winged it full speed in my direction, so it was no great feat.

Prize & Prejudice: A mini contest

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Because I love courtship and marriage and love and romantic entanglements, I love Jane Austen. And because I love Jane Austen, I love Pride & Prejudice. And because I love Pride & Prejudice, I love Mr. Darcy. Hes like the original bad boy. Well, the gentleman of bad boys, anyway.

Last night, I was lucky enough to check out the soon-to-be released DVD of the newest version of Pride & Prejudice. (Hint: it stars the subtly handsome Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy.) Besides being a wonderful adaptation of this, one of my favorite books, it was also quite realistic in that the characters were all sort of gritty and unkempt as was the norm back then when baths were seen as something frightfully bad for your health. It had some fabulous extras I like my DVDs to have tons of special features – like a profile of the Bennet family and a short biography of Jane Austen.

Anyhow, to celebrate love, Jane Austen, getting married, studly leading men, and all that, I want to hear your craziest wedding stories from your own wedding or a wedding you attended. Maybe the best man was caught in flagrante delicto with the matron of honor by the wedding photographer, who taped the whole thing and sent it to the mother of the bride. Or perhaps the bride showed up drunk and married an usher by mistake.

Whatever your nutty, funny, wacky, or even disturbing wedding story is, I want to hear it. The lady or gent who sends me most enthralling story will receive a Pride & Prejudice prize package, courtesy of Universal Studios and Salon Tea, that includes:

  • A copy of the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack CD

Pride & Prejudice

  • A romantic gift set from Salon Tea that includes one canister of Romantic Tea (green tea and jasmine) and one canister of rock amber sugar crystals, plus Tea For Two lip balm (in chai tea for the gentleman and green tea with roses for the lady) in a cute little flannel bag.

Tea for two and two for tea

  • And a Pride & Prejudice Im with Darcy or Mrs. Darcy baby t-shirt

E-mail your bizarre or hilarious wedding story to by February 27 and on February 28, Ill announce the lucky winner and post their story. I’ll also choose the stories of two runners up to share as well on subsequent days. Good luck! And lets hear those crazy stories!

Wedding weather

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

Outdoor weddings

Like many future brides out there, I have long dreamed of having a beautiful outdoor wedding. Unfortunately, science has not yet progressed to the point that individuals can simply order up a sunny day using a handy toll free number. I’m sure many a bride and groom have been surprised by an unexpected shower as they said their “I do’s.” One would hope that fewer newly married couples have had their cake destroyed by a guest so eager to get out of the rain that he dives into it, a la Guns ‘n Roses’ November Rain video.

Reader Deena recently pointed me to a new feature on that lets eager, soon-to-be married ladies and gents track their wedding weather with a personalized wedding weather page. Of course, they say that those who predict the weather professionally are correct about 50% of the time, so one does wonder how accurate such a feature would be – particularly those getting married in locales where unpredictable weather is the norm.

For those still willing to risk it, there are plenty of ‘How to’ tomes to help you out, like The Everything Outdoor Wedding Book.

Everything Outdoor Wedding Book: Choose the Perfect Location, Expect the Unexpected, And Have a Beautiful Wedding Your Guests Will Remember! (Everything: Weddings)

Star Trek weddings

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

Star Trek Weddings

I am unusually fascinated by Star Trek themed wedding. I’ll admit it, I like Star Trek – but that doesn’t mean I’d want to plan my wedding around Gene Roddenberry‘s vision of the future.

In Googling various Trek and wedding related subjects today, I came across They will plan a Star Trek wedding fit for a ferengi.

Far from being tied to the Star Trek niche market, however, these wedding planners will craft just about any theme wedding you can imagine in any Las Vegas locale. Hey, different strokes for different folks. And as long as I’m not called upon to be a Borg bridesmaid, I’m game.

And, in case you are as interested as I in Star Trek weddings, here are some links:

Star Trek: The Experience weddings

Must haves for your Star Trek wedding

NPR’s A Star Trek Wedding

The pain that is changing a name (in the US)

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006


After the ceremony is over, all of your friends have congratulated you, the last call has passed, and you’re safely encapsulated on an airplane to somewhere like Tahiti, it’s time to think about changing your name. You may want to become Mrs. Bride, Mrs. Groom, Mrs. Bride-Groom, Mrs. Groom-Bride, or something else, but Bankrate suggestions leaving the official change until after the ceremony. Why? Because apparently, many places will ask for a copy of the marriage certificate. They recommend starting this arduous process by ordering 25 copies of your marriage certificate…lest meddlesome officials fail to believe you’re actually hitched.

Next, request an updated Social Security card by calling (800) 772-1213 to get the necessary forms. Doing this first makes almost everything else easier. Your taxes will be more likely to stay straightened out because they notify the IRS for you, which is a huge plus.

To match your new name with your old number, file Form SS-5 with the Social Security Administration. For more details on the process, check out SSA Publication No. 05-10642 on the office’s Web site.

Then, call your local DMV (or RMV, for people who live in states like MA), and ask what forms (yes, more forms) you will need to change your name on your vehicle registration and license. Don’t forget to ask about which documents you’ll need to bring with you. Having a photo ID with your new name will help the rest of the process along.


Questions of tone

Monday, February 20th, 2006

Creamier than the original

While there is no one gown or style that will please everyone, I think we can all agree on the fact that the year’s new warmer whites benefit almost everyone. Few people look good in stark, glaring, antiseptic white gowns – though the contrast is gorgeous on dark-skinned brides.

It’s a question of tone. While ivory is great for redheads and ruddy-skinned brides, it may do little for those brides with darker or more yellowish complexions. Electric whites (another way of describing those whites that are white like a piece of new printer paper) can make pale ladies like me look washed out and grey. Champagne whites look simply fabulous on brides with darker complexions. Warmer whites make the skin look fresher and more youthful on many people.

Beau Coup
has a wonderful (and short) guide to choosing the color of your gown. The advice is sound and can help future brides choose a dress that will highlight her beauty rather than detract from it.

Stark White: The brightest, crispest white you can find. Looks great on dark skin.

Silk, Diamond, or Natural White: A shade off of stark white, though it looks pretty much the same in photos. “Eighty percent of the population looks best in a soft, diamond-white dress, which isn’t as chalky as a white-white,” explains dress designer Melissa Sweet. “When in doubt, buy diamond white.”

Ivory: Also referred to as “eggshell” or “candlelight.” Some ivory dresses have yellow undertones, making them look creamy; some are just a “quiet” white.

Rum or Champagne: A white with pink undertones that looks nearly white in photos.

If your skin is fair: you’ll look best in yellow-ivories and warmer natural colors. You should probably steer clear of stark white, though — it may wash you out.

If your skin is medium with pink undertones: opt for creamier colors.

If your skin is medium with yellow undertones: try diamond whites or champagne.

If your skin is dark: lucky you — most shades of white will complement your skin. If you have yellow or olive undertones, though, stay away from yellow-ivory dresses. Try stark white or rum pink.

For those curious, the dress above is from the Amsale Blue Label Collection, and features an all lace sheath with a scalloped V-neckline and bias flared hem.