Archive for January, 2007

Pearls pearls pearls!

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

I bought some pearls this morning for an upcoming wedding. I just love ’em. Freshwater…simulated…white…black…dyed…pricey…or just pricey-looking. You name it — if it’s pearl related, I will likely have a soft spot for it. I mean, heck, you can’t deny that weddings and pearls go together like peanut butter and chocolate.

Here’s what I checked out earlier today:

3 Row White, Bronze & Champagne Dyed Freshwater Cultured Pearl Necklace, 19\

This three row, 19″ freshwater cultured pearl necklace featuring strands of white, bronze, and champagne pearls is unusually eye-catching. The matching earrings are unfortunately a little “eh…”

Platinum 6mm Cultured Black Pearl Pendant w/ Chain 18\

Who can resist a single 6 mm cultured black pearl and platinum pendant on an 18″ chain? If that’s too understated for you, try a triple strand black oval pearl necklace.

Akoya Cultured Pearl 6.0-6.5mm Bracelet, 7\

Let’s not forget your classic white pearl. This beautiful Akoya pearl bracelet is sure to tickle your fancy. Match it with a pair of Akoya pearl stud earrings and you’ll be ready for anything.

Surprise them in silver

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Surprisingly sexy in silver

No one expects the Spanish Inquisi…Oops. What I meant to say was that very few people expect to see a bride walk down the aisle in silver. But whatever they anticipated seeing, this Anne Barge gown will knock their socks off. It would be nice if there was an actual description of this stunning gown on the web site, but no matter. I can lust after it just as easily not knowing what it’s made out of or how it fits.

Strung out

Friday, January 19th, 2007

Ah, DIY. What a pain in the behind, right? I’m not going to lie to you and say that your decision to make your own favors, bouquets, and so forth isn’t going to seem like a huge mistake now and then. But if you gather the right materials and tutorials beforehand, DIY doesn’t have to be entirely painful.

Beaded Weddings: 75+ Fabulous Ideas for Jewelry, Invitations, Reception Decor, Gifts and More

I just picked up a copy of Beaded Weddings: 75+ Fabulous Ideas for Jewelry, Invitations, Reception Decor, Gifts and More and I tell you truthfully that even a klutzy dunce like me can complete the projects in this book. Author Jean Campbell no doubt had people like me in mind while compiling the directions for things like adding beadwork to a plain veil, creating beautiful beaded embellishments for candles and cake cutters, making comb headpieces from scratch, constructing wedding-ready jewelry out of simple components, and prettying-up your nuptial decor with…you guessed it…beads.

A lot of books of this ilk (I’m talking about the hundreds of craft books out there) are obviously meant for the experienced DIY’er. Beaded Weddings is one of the few exceptions, as it contains step-by-step instructions for making matrimonial schwag that beginners can easily follow. From cake toppers, to centerpieces, to invitations, to tiaras, every project outlined in the book is accompanied by directions so specific even I can follow them. The first sixteen or so pages are dedicated to the why’s and how’s of threading beads, stringing beads, materials, wire cutters, and more.

The illustrations and color photographs are a big help. You wouldn’t know it, but making a pair of earrings or a pearl headband is pretty darn simple when you can consult figure drawings that tell you exactly how to place the beads, which direction to twist the jewelry wire, what knots to use, and how to secure any loose ends. No more paying the big bucks for simple drop earrings!

Now, a while back someone suggested I create a tutorial explaining how to embellish the edging on a veil. And I’ve gotten plenty of e-mails from readers wanting advice regarding DIY projects. Well, let me tell you, you’d be way better off buying this book (or one like it) because I definitely have my limits where handicrafts are concerned.

Cheering up your wife

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

In the grand tradition of LEGO weirdness spawned by the Internet (remember that wedding cake?) comes the Brick Testament. In case you’re not already aware, quite a bit of the Bible is concerned with men, women, marriage, and sex.

Think maybe it was shotgun wedding?

Deuteronomy 24:5 says, “If a man is newly married…he must not join the army…and do not pester him at home. He must be left at home, free of all obligation for one year, to cheer up his new wife.”

Sounds good to me! Go and have a look at the other illustrated verses brought to by the Brick Testament, keeping in mind that much of Deuteronomy is NSFW*. Don’t miss the instructions regarding marriage from 1 Corinthians — very NSFW. LEGO nookie will likely not offend most, but it will certainly offend some.

* Not Safe For Work

Swivel cups, wine, and white dresses

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

A reader who shall remained unnamed wrote me a long, long time ago to ask two questions. In her first query, she asked me if I knew anything about the tradition of the ‘engagement cup.’ In her second query, she asked if it was wrong of her to lie and say she liked a relative’s gown when the gown in question was actually “a bit over the top as far as the princess-y category goes.”

The latter question is a no-brainer in almost any situation. To my patient reader, I say, “Honey, lie until your nose is a foot long.” If you just can’t bring yourself to compliment the dress as a whole, focus your praise on some aspect of it that isn’t entirely puke-worthy, even if that means waxing poetic about the beadwork or the neckline. No one will wonder why your compliments are so specific. But if you do bare your soul, they may just wonder if you were raised in a barn.

Criticizing a bride’s choice of gown, whether she chooses a potato sack or a 60-pound monstrosity of a gown — no matter how close you and the bride-to-be are — can be a dicey proposition. If you simply can’t bring yourself to say anything nice about the gown in question, you can do the least harm by saying, “It isn’t my style, but it looks lovely on you.”

That was easy enough. My patient reader’s second question, however, gave me a bit of trouble. Look up “engagement cup” using Google and you’ll find yourself inundated with results from Lenox, which happens to have an Engagement pattern. As does cup and saucer maker Royal Doulton. Such things do tend to skew results a bit so after looking through a number of commerce sites, I threw in the towel…

…and looked up wedding cups instead, in the hope that I might find something useful there. I did, too, if you allow for the fact that I found nothing at all pertaining to engagements. During Medieval wedding feasts, the bride and groom drank spiced wine from a fine chalice commonly called the Wedding Cup. In the present, we find the Jewish wedding cup, from which couples drink twice during the ceremony, as well as the French wedding cup or “coupe de marriage,” a silver cup traditionally passed from generation to generation. In Ireland, the new couple drinks from one cup, which is then sometimes refilled by the bride and shared among the guests. Wedding cups can also be found in Chinese ceremonies. The list really does go on and on…

Don\'t spill it!

And then there is this fanciful thing, defined here:

The tradition of the Jungfrauenbecher, meaning “maiden’s cup” originated in Germany during the 16th century. The legend goes that a goldsmith was challenged by the father of the girl he loved to build a cup that two people could drink from at the same time in order to marry his daughter. He came up with a chalice with a split in the handle which suspended a cup on a swivel.

The contraption is now often referred to as the wedding cup for the role it plays in nuptial feasts. The bridegroom drinks a toast out of the larger cup and then rights the figure, without spilling the wine in the smaller pivoted bowl, which is then to be drunk by the bride. The Jungfrauenbecher has also been known as the “wager cup” – the challenge is having the couple drink from both cups at the same time without spilling the contents of either.

Here it is in action:

Swivel cups, wine, and white dresses?

Swivel cups, wine, and white dresses? Seems perilous to me.

It’s like eavesdropping, but better

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Bling bling!

I don’t know how I feel about LiveJournal as an entity. The folks with informational blogs tend to steer clear of this site — those that gravitate toward it are typically the people looking to make online diaries. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I do, however, love the communities. Browsing those that list ‘weddings’ as an interest (whatudo2havesex and yap_yap and all the defunct groups aside), I found some great ones.

A community for cake decorators! – It’s fun to lurk around in this aptly named community. The recipes and the photographs are awesome.

Out of the ordinary weddings! – This is a wonderful archive of funky and unusual wedding ideas. Well, not *that* funky. The ladies who post in this community tend to know what’s what when it comes to style.

Wedding Pictures – Okay, this is getting ridiculous. But while this community could use a wittier title, it does deliver what it promises…wedding photos and lots of ’em. Want more? The main poster in the community has his home-base here. But wait, there’s even more!

Wedding plans – From rants to advice to pictures to dresses to undies, this plainspoken community has it all.

Young Weddings – Just want to peak into the world of other people’s weddings? Look no further than this community where most posts are of the name, age, wedding date, role, etc. variety. Same goes for Weddings Away: The Destination Weddings Community.

Prefer your wedding stories to be paper-bound and heavily edited for both content and grammar? Then turn off your machine and snuggle in with Chicken Soup for the Bride’s Soul: Stories of Love, Laughter and Commitment to Last a Lifetime. You won’t find any rants, however. The stories in this book are about as heartwarming as you can get.

The language of the fan

Monday, January 15th, 2007

Roses for the lovely bride; Dreams of love all tucked inside.

With all of the destination weddings I keep hearing about, I can’t help but ask myself how I’d feel if I were a guest forced to sit underneath the hot sun in 90 degree weather while waiting for the ceremony to be over and the refreshments to begin. Darn cranky, that’s how I’d feel. To all the brides- and grooms-to-be planning outdoor weddings in the summertime in hot climes, let me be the first to suggest (again) fans as favors. Your loved ones will thank you.

But you shouldn’t settle for just any old fan. Nostalgic Victorian Paper Memories features an array of unique, beautiful, and utterly sentimental “personal cooling devices” that will help your guests avoid succumbing to heatstroke on your big day.

Hey, fans are neat. Apparently, back when carrying a fan was as mandatory as wearing a hat, ladies in the know employed a full range of fan gestures that allowed them to speak their minds while saying nothing at all. According to Nostalgic Victorian Paper Memories, ” The first ‘Language of the Fan’ was registered with the Patent Office in 1879. Eventually advertising booklets, lovers’ manuals, and playing cards carried “secret” codes.” Codes such as:

The fan placed near the heart: “You have won my love.”

Half-opened fan pressed to the lips: “You may kiss me.”

Hiding the eyes behind an open fan: “I love you.”

Opening and closing the fan several time: “You are cruel.”

Fanning slowly: “I am married.”

Fanning quickly (or carrying the fan closed, hanging in the left hand): “I am engaged.”

Twirling the fan in the left hand: “You are being watched.”

Holding it in the right hand: “Yes”

Holding it in the left hand: “I would like to know you”

Dropping the fan: “I would like to be your friend”

Twirling the fan: “Go away”

Twirling the fan in the left hand: You are being watched.

Opening and shutting it: “You have been unkind”

Tapping it with one finger: “My mother (or chaperone) says no”

Opening it wide: “Shall we meet later?”

Touching the fan to the cheek: “I love you”

If the notion of spending about seven bucks per fan doesn’t phase you, the embossed and laminated fan above will give your guests something to chat about while they wait for you to appear at the start of the aisle. Sure, a simple faux sandalwood fan or paper fan will do the job, why not let friends and family cool off in style?