Archive - September, 2006

Friday Minutiae

Now you too can have a topper that reflects your love of cell phones and firearms!

Sick of those icky ball and chain cake toppers? Dreaming of a cake topper that actually looks like you and is reflective of your exact interests? Then why not let artist Dawn Stubitsch of Thumbprint Kids sculpt you a custom topper? Forget those cookie cutter brides and grooms from the Five and Ten. These polymer clay figures are pricey (think upwards of two grand), but pretty darned awesome.

Love to read other people’s proposal stories? I do. And while there aren’t yet many on The Romantic, all of the stories posted are guaranteed to put a tear in your eye. And if you’re looking to spice up your love life, don’t miss the creative ideas page.

Lovebirds in Ontario can now apply for marriage licenses online at www.serviceontario.ca. According to a story in the Globe and Mail, the marriage and death certificates applied for on-line will come with the same money-back guarantee now available for birth certificates. If only the marriage itself could be thusly insured…

It’s just so “you”

Made to order gowns at off-the-rack prices rock

Many brides-to-be have a specific vision of their perfect dress in mind and find they are disappointed by the selection of gowns offered by their local bridal salons. If you’re this type of bride-to-be (i.e. psyched to don a wedding gown but unwilling to compromise and furthermore unwilling to sew your own using a guide like Bridal Gowns: How to Make the Wedding Dress of Your Dreams), consider having a custom gown made for you. It’s less expensive than you might imagine!

For example, designer Jane Wilson-Marquis of Simply Jane recognizes that the vast majority of women who eschew off-the-rack sensibilities can’t afford to pay traditional – and crazy – haute couture prices.

There are five basic themes, or “blank canvases” as Jane calls them – five stunning classic full-length gowns in silk with overlays of chiffon or organza. Choose the style that best suits your body-shape and if you don’t see yourself in white, choose from a range of over 90 different colors.

Jane’s prices start at a reasonable $450 for the blank canvas style. The simple silk duprene A-line gown above features a silk organza overlay and costs a mere $550. If your tastes run more toward the ornate, Jane’s blank canvasses can be embellished with lace flowers, ruffles, beading, and gathered chiffon or accessorized with matching veils, belts, headpieces, shawls, jackets and coats.

Customization rocks!

White is for awareness

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Yesterday, the streets of the Bronx were overrun by brides. Okay, not really. But more than 300 women donned their wedding finery and took to the streets of New York to call for an end to domestic violence. And while there were few smiles among those participating in the sixth annualNew York Latinas Against Domestic Violence’s Brides’ March (which memorializes Ms. Gladys Ricart, a Dominican woman who was murdered by a former abusive boyfriend on her wedding day in 1999), it’s hard not to raise awareness when you’ve got scores of women barreling down major thoroughfares in blazingly white and ivory gowns.

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According to the LADV, “To date, five marches have been held in New York City bringing together hundreds of women, men, and youth, among them members of the Ricart family and other families affected by domestic violence, elected officials, civic leaders, clergy, students, and scores of domestic violence advocates. Marches have also taken place in Lawrence, Massachusetts and Miami, Florida in 2004 and 2005.”

I can’t think of a better reason to haul an old wedding dress out of storage for a day.

Sometimes the clothes make the message

The date debate

I received this query today from a lovely reader whom I will simply call L.S.:


I have a problem, and I don’t know how to approach it. I’m hoping you can help. About a week or so ago, my sister asked me if she could bring her boyfriend to my wedding. I asked my parents, and they knew nothing about him except that they’d been seeing each other about a month. They expressed a lot of reservations about inviting her. So I told my sister no, and that I didn’t think it was fair to me or to her boyfriend to have our first meeting at my wedding. For one thing, my ability to socialize with any one person will be minimal. And I’m really trying to have everyone at this wedding to be someone that my finance and I know, or at least have met.

Well, today I got an email from my aunt asking if she could bring a date. I feel really bad saying no, because I think she’s been seeing her paramour for a while. But I still don’t think that the best place to meet someone’s family for the first time is at a wedding, where they by necessity have to meet EVERYONE at once.

I’m considering asking both my relatives (separately) if they would be willing to get together for dinner sometime before the wedding so at least my fiance and I can meet these guys. At that point, I’ll likely allow both my sister and my aunt to bring dates. But is it really inappropriate to say no when someone wants to bring a date?

Well, before I answer that, I just want to ask whether anyone remembers the films My Best Friend’s Wedding and The Wedding Date? Because they are two perfect examples of why the world of wedding dates can be disastrous. But that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, L.S. is feeling unnecessary guilt. While it is quite courteous to graciously allow guests who won’t know anyone other than the bride and groom to bring a date, couples are under no obligation to allow gratuitous, uncontrolled ‘and guest’ing. In a perfect world, guests would be mannerly enough to understand that invitations that do not specifically say ‘and guest’ (or ‘and family’) are a way of informing invitees that they have not been invited to bring a date (or assorted family members) to the festivities.

In case I haven’t made myself clear, brides- and grooms-to-be can invite or not invite anyone they feel like inviting or not inviting. It is okay to specify that children are not welcome – in much prettier language, of course. It is okay to tell the MOB and MOG that they cannot invite their hairdressers and workmates. And it is more than okay to leave the words NUMBER ATTENDING off invitations. Hopefully, invitees will get the message.

Yet I must give L.S.’s relatives credit for politely asking (one hopes) if they could bring their man friends. There are plenty of horrid people in this world who have no qualms about bringing uninvited dates to weddings. Of course, now that L.S.’s relatives posed the question, it’s up to her to answer it. Personally, I think she’s wonderful for conceiving of the whole pre-nuptial ‘meet and greet’ idea. No doubt it will prove a wonderful way to make new friends AND keep the peace!

But I’ll still think she’s wonderful if she puts her foot down and says no. Because it is 100% appropriate to say no when someone asks if they can bring a date to your wedding.

Holy bling, Batman!

Has anyone noticed that the engagement rings they are trying to foist off on bumbling future fiances are getting bigger and bigger? I’ll admit it – when I’m sweating away at the local Y, I like to read the really corny celebrity magazines. I’m seeing so many ads for overstated multi-diamond engagement rings that could stand in for a definition of ‘bling’ in the dictionary. And it would appear that ‘huge rocks’ are coming back into style. It’s not unusual to see things like this when cruising bridal baubles:

Italian ladies ring, code:1000203001

I won’t lie. I like this yellow gold and aquamarine ring from Gioie . But it is, um, a little large. Or how about this platinum bridal ring from Ultra Diamonds:

1 3/4 ctw. Certified Princess Cut Platinum Bridal Ring

Yowza! So that’s what five g’s and a lot of love will buy you. BLING BLING!

Fiances-to-be that are strapped for cash can always opt for lab-created gems or faux alternatives. But fellas be warned: Be honest and never try to pass off fake bling as the real thing. There is always a chance that your loveybear will discover your deception. Trust me when I say she will not be a happy camper upon finding out that her huge rock is a huge falsehood.

ACHTUNG: The lovely Style Graduate is looking for a contributor to handle the wedding beat at her eponymous blog. If you’re on the ball when it comes to matrimonial style (or know someone who is) drop her a line!

Good photos, guaranteed

She hired the wrong photographer - now look at her!

Brides and grooms put a lot of trust in their wedding vendors. Especially in their photographer. Consider that long after the last crumb of cake has been eaten and the flowers are dead, the photos will still be around. Whether those pictures are displayed on the coffee table or hidden in the back of the bedroom closet, they are here to stay.

I came across a relatively new site called Pictage the other day which may take the gamble out of wedding photography. I mean, no matter how trustworthy a photog seems, you never can tell if he or she will snap shots of you slurping away at the afterparty beer bong. Pictage boasts not only a largish directory of quality participating photographers (with samples and reviews from real brides), but also a guarantee.

Pictage’s ‘Happy Bride Guarantee‘ states that if couples do not like the photos their chosen photographer has taken, they will work with them to obtain a full refund. Yes, that’s right. Full. Refunds. Amazing, no? How does it work? Apparently, brides- and grooms-to-be pay the photographers through Pictage, either in full or in installments. Weird, but not unheard of.

If nothing else, Pictage looks like a great way to find the perfect wedding photographer.

Searching for ‘the one’ and ‘the two’

I\'d want to get the heck out of a 50-pound dress, too

Some brides-to-be buy two wedding dresses and choose between them at the last possible moment. Other brides-to-be buy two wedding dresses and wear both. More than you’d suppose, if a recent Boston Herald article isn’t pulling my leg. While a quick-change between ceremony and reception is de rigeur in many cultures, Western brides have traditionally gone the one gown route. Melania Knauss changed dresses (from a 100,000 Christina Dior couture dress to a $10,000 Vera Wang lightweight tulle dress) mid-wedding during her marriage to Donald Trump, but that’s Melania Knauss.

Stoneham-based wedding dress designer Elizabeth Crannage, who has been making gowns for 49 years, blames the trend on Donald Trump.

“I started getting requests for two dresses about a year and a half ago, when Melania Knauss went down the aisle in something that weighed 100 pounds and changed at the reception,” she said. “And I think the return of the ball gown – which is really complicated to sit down in – has forced brides to wear another dress.”

Which was the case with one Beacon Hill bride.

“My wedding was black tie so I wanted to wear a gown, but it also was a long night and I wanted to be able to dance later in the evening with all my friends, so I had a shorter version of the same dress made,” said the 24-year-old, who asked not to be named. “It was the same fabric, color and with the same details, but was strapless and ended below my knees. I loved them both.”

If you want to emulate Melania (and aren’t put off by the thought of the cost), consider wearing something heavy and traditional (think huge skirt and long train) for the ceremony and then changing into something that you can move easily in (like a sexy sheath) for the reception.

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