Archive - May, 2007

Here come the brides!

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When your wife goes from being your ball and chain to the monkey on your back, you know you have a problem. Just kidding! Nearly a hundred wives did, however, take up the piggyback position on their husbands’ backs to take part in the 11th annual Tianya-Haijiao International Wedding Festival held in Sanya, on the southern tip of Hainan Island, China. The “love marathon,” as it’s known, is meant to reaffirm true love…and also served to promote the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

And if you’re wondering why I haven’t posted more pictures of my own entry into wife-hood, please complain to all my friends and relatives who promised snapshots and have not yet delivered ;-)

Good news for the marryin’ kind

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With everything you read about divorce these days, dropping quarters into the electronic slots at a Las Vegas 7-11 can seem like a safer bet than a walk down the aisle. The notion that 50% of all marriages end in “the big D” is quite often the rain on a couple’s parade — especially when one or both individuals involved hail from families plagued by divorce. My parents have each been married multiple times, and the Beard is no stranger to the ravages of divorce. I viewed the mistakes made by my forebears as lessons on what not to do. The Beard was a bit more skeptical of the whole institution of marriage for a long while — as you may well remember!

But, like the title of my post states, there is good news to be found in this most confusing arena. Denialism blog recently devoted an entire column to the most common divorce myths. You know, the ones that make already commitment-phobic lovebirds shake in their figurative boots. As it turns out, the grim future of marriage isn’t quite so grim after all, which is good news for folks like me and the Beard, and many (if not most) of you.

I suggest reading the whole post for yourself, but here are some of the more intriguing happy highlights:

  • When viewed over a 60-year period, the marriage rate, for example, has remained fairly constant, with several long periods of slight ups and downs. The number of marriages per 1,000 people now hovers at 8.5, compared with a 60-year average of 10.1. The variations that did occur tended to come in times of depression and war, when fewer people got hitched because of economic or obvious logistical reasons.
  • Interestingly, while the 1950s are thought of as boom time for the family, the marriage rates were relatively low through the latter half of the decade and into the early 1960s. (Indeed, today’s rate beats that of 1958.) Then in 1968, when hippies were supposedly lovin’ the ones they were with, the marriage rate rose and stayed relatively high through 1975. It’s only when the numbers are viewed within a narrow 20-year context that marriage looks to be on its deathbed.
  • Further, the idea that 50% of marriages end in divorce is just an oft-repeated myth. It’s a statistical flub that comes from comparing the number of marriages in a given year to the number of divorces in a given year. However, since the marriages and divorces aren’t occurring in the same year, this doesn’t give an accurate picture of how many marriages are failing and is notoriously susceptible to population dynamics. Your actual chances of a failed marriage are about one in four, and the 50% figure is considered to be statistical nonsense.
  • Divorces reached a peak in the early eighties at a rate of about 40 percent (which was the highest level since the 1950s), and divorce has since entered a 20-year decline. The current rate of divorce is about 30-34% in any given year, and is lower among the college-educated (about 20%), Catholics, Muslims, and atheists. In a comparison of various religious denominations, the group that actually performs the worst are Baptists and Evangelical Christians, so I guess it makes sense that they seem to be most concerned with the idea of a divorce epidemic.

From this data, it looks like the odds that the Beard and I will stay together are pretty good. If you’re married, about to be married, or hope someday to be married, this is just one more thing to celebrate!

Pretty + purse

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It’s been a lazy three-day weekend here in La Casa de Beard. But I know I like to browse my favorite blogs on long, leisurely weekends, so I certainly couldn’t leave you high and dry. In lieu of a longer, more detailed post, I present to you this lovely three-quarter sleeved beaded and embroidered satin gown from Ginnis. It pairs wonderful gauzy arm coverage with a simple, unadorned chapel-length train, and it even comes with a matching purse.

Though, truth be told, I’m not sure how much play wedding purses get. It may just be that my ceremony and reception were held at the same site — and the site was property belonging to family — but I never once saw the vintage gold clutch that held my homemade emergency kit during the whole of the day. Of course, if I hadn’t put together that little kit, I’m sure all heck would have broken loose and my entire bridal party would have been scouring Merritt Island, FL for safety pins and Tums. Such is life.

A weighty matter

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I obviously couldn’t show you a picture of my chosen gown before the wedding, as my people critical to my then impending matrimony (read: The Beard) glance now and again at this blog. And I currently can’t show you a pic of me wearing my gown as I am in possession of only a handful of photos. Oddly enough, I can’t even link to a proper web page for my gown, as shortly after it arrived at my home stuffed in a box that seemed far too small to contain it, Bonny stopped selling it!

So my gown (Bonny Essence style #8504), which is likely just now being cleaned and pressed by a charity that gives needy brides something to wear, was a tip of the shoulder corseted French taffeta number in a color called “sand” with a ribbon embroidered lace overlay. The bodice was also about fourteen layers thick, which later led to the issue I’ll mention briefly below. The back of the skirt had a sort of built in bustle with rosette appliques that served no purpose during the actual bustling process.

Boy, did I loooooooooooooove wearing my gown! I felt all swishy and pretty in it, which is pretty much the point.

The problem? I ordered it way too far in advance. If I could go back and do something differently, I’d now know that House of Bride’s estimated delivery date of 16 weeks actually translates into a two-week transit time. That’s right. I ordered my gown…and two weeks later it was on my doorstep. Which left me storing my gown in a pricey museum quality garment bag for months in the very closet I share with the Beard. Oh, and there was another issue. I unintentionally lost weight. Those 14 layers of fabric I mentioned earlier could only be altered down so much before warping. Even though the very top fit (thanks, boobs), the rest of it had to be taken in considerably.

If the copious wind that was a part of my wedding day had blown me into the ocean, I would have had no problems staying afloat, being that there were two neatly-placed air pockets on either side of my waist where the gown couldn’t be taken in any further. Bridal bootcampers take note — meet your goal weight before buying your gown!

The pleasures and perils of family

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Those aren’t my relatives in the image above, but they easily could be. When I actually have more of my wedding pictures, I’ll try to find one that illustrates the dichotomy between my overwhelmingly large immediate family and the Beard’s itty-bitty one. Having a large stand-alone family, or a combined family so big that its density subtly changes earth’s gravity, can be both a blessing and a curse.

On one hand, relatives can really fill up those church pews, ensuring that your wedding is well-attended. On the other, if any of them have traveled a great distance to attend said wedding or have not seen you in some time, their desire for “face time” may override their sensitivity.

I mentioned yesterday that given the chance to relive my nuptials, I would do a few things differently with regards to my wedding celebration. The first would be to let everyone know in advance that private time is as necessary to newlywed happiness as champagne and cake.

Both the Beard and I have friends and family hailing from a diverse cross section of geographical locations, and all of these people inevitably wanted to share their happiness with us in person. Not that there is anything wrong with that, mind you. We certainly felt loved as we hauled ourselves from dinners to breakfasts to cocktails, etc. But through it all, we kept decrying the fact that we had had but a few scant moments to enjoy one another’s company after saying, “I do.”

My advice is this: If you know you want alone time with your new spouse, let everyone attending your wedding know this. Be gentle, but be firm — and don’t let anyone guilt you into losing your resolve. If you’re not sure how much alone time you’re going to want, weigh the pros and cons of free food versus the exhaustion that will hit you after you’ve breakfasted with one set of loved ones, grabbed a quick lunch with another more faraway set, and then driven more than an hour to meet up with yet more family for a traditional clam bake.

The Beard and I learned this the hard way, after having a bit of a shared meltdown on the road between family obligations. We’d just planned and executed an entire wedding ourselves, and were not given much of a chance to wind down afterward. In fact, we were afforded quality time to ourselves on only two separate occasions, during our character lunch at Disney’s Crystal Palace and while packing our belongings to leave for home.

Let me be very clear that this was our choice. We regard family as important, and we made a sacrifice to prove it. Heck, we’ll have the rest of our lives to think up excuses to avoid family (just kidding, mom!). But before you make the same sacrifice, take a few quick seconds to mull over some ways you could fit some alone time into your busy schedule of post-nuptial family visits. A few minutes spent gazing into your new spouse’s eyes with no one there to interrupt will do wonders for your wellbeing!

Ever teh Bride? Now teh Bride?

Hey, everyone. Before I say anything more, I need to extend my sincerest gratitude toward the wonderful Twistie, as it was she that made my nuptial leave of absence possible. And, to top it off, her posts were fantastically informative and captivating. So let’s everyone give her a shout out of thanks, shall we?

As you no doubt already know, I am now a wife, as well as an aunt and an in-law. The first role has already proven exciting – “my husband” seems to carry more weight than “my fiancé” or “my boyfriend.” I almost feel like I’m now a part of some secret club, at least where my paternal family is concerned. I’m only in the membership registration phase, however, as you’re only ever really in the aforementioned club if you have children.

Since I didn’t talk overmuch about my own matrimonial choices (to keep prying family and friends from knowing too much about my plans), I thought I’d spend the next few days discussing the ups and downs of my own wedding experience. If I were called upon to do it all over again, there isn’t much in the way of details that I’d change. I would, however, handle some organizational tidbits quite differently.

That aside, I truly, truly, truly enjoyed my own wedding…more than I thought it possible to, really. The ceremony was — dare I say it — fun, and I did at least fill up on cake, even if I didn’t get quite as much lunch as I would have liked. Also, my stylist was wonderful throughout, appearing magically at my side whenever my hair or lip gloss needed any sort of touching up. Now if only I could get him to pretty me up on a daily basis, my life would be almost perfect!

Stay tuned, there’s more to come, and I’m glad I’m back at the keyboard! Also, just so you know, that’s me and the Beard above, in a photo taken by our good friend Enrique.

Pretty and Dignified

Well folks, this is my last day filling in at Manolo for the Brides. As fun as this has been, I’m looking forward to having NtB back again. Hers are not easy shoes to fill.

Thanks to NtB for giving me this opportunity to play in her sandbox, and to Manolo and his assistant Margaret for all their help to a new and uncertain blogger. Everyone has been superfantastic!

But I’m not here to do an Acadamy Award acceptance speech; I’m here to talk about weddings. So with no more ado, I want to share a wonderful source of gowns I’ve found.

http://www.raspberryberet.com/

Wedding gowns, bridesmaid gowns, pretty clothes for the mothers of the bride and groom, nice things to wear as a guest…you can find them all here. Many of them are quite reasonably priced, too. No matter if your taste runs to the Victorian or the Renaissance, super slinky to modern gypsy, chances are you can find something pretty here.

Some of the color names are a bit ambiguous, but a phone call or email can answer the question of what color Octavia might be. The good news is that many of the gowns on this site are available in sizes from S to 6X and there are gowns not only with necklines, but actual sleeves as well! They even use some plus-size and ethnic models to display their clothing. Also, there are handy charts of what measurements are used as standards for different sizes made by different manufacturers.

But don’t take my word for it. Take a look at a couple examples.

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