Archive - July, 2007

For those special moments…

Is it just me, or do most photographers use the cheesiest taglines? No matter. Avonlee Photography in Silver Spring, MD does not buck that trend, but I like their stuff anyway. Know what I like most? The fact that they use regular looking folks in their samples rather than choosing the HOTTEST COUPLE EVER like some photographers do.

Frankly, when I was searching for my own shutterbug, it was so disappointing to see these fabulous samples that in no way reflected reality. A good photographer can make an average man and woman look like a million bucks while also preserving their individuality. If you’re considering a photog who only shows you samples that feature model-quality brides and grooms, ask to see some of their most recent wedding shots. The difference may surprise you!

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This is my favorite picture from the studio mentioned above because it reminds me of my own wedding day. If I’d been wearing a veil, it would have been horizontal for most of the day. As it was, I only ended up with a large quantity of my own hair in my mouth.

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The Dressmaker and The Dressmaker

This is what I’d look like if you told me I could have an individually designed dress from The Dressmaker in Edina, Minnesota:

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The bride in the photo is no doubt so happy because, one, she just tied the knot and, two, she was wearing one of Kristen Olsen‘s fabulous handcrafted creations. A preliminary visit to The Dressmaker involves discussing designs and browsing fabrics. Measurements are taken and the cost is determined. Several months before the date a muslin is created and expertly fitted. A handful of fittings later, and you’re ready for your final adjustments!

And speaking of dressmakers, I’d like you to know that I’m sitting on a half finished review of Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck’s The Dressmaker. I read it quite some time ago, but it’s one of those stories that you just have to mull over for a bit before you can talk about it.

For sometimes richer and sometimes poorer

You know what makes you feel rich and poor at the same time? Buying a house. Suddenly, you have all this money in your bank account, and you’re writing these rather large checks. Probably the largest you’ll ever write, in all honesty. The Beard and I have recently been writing many such checks, and every time I’m manipulating another X-thousands of dollars, my first thought is “BLING BLING!”

I didn’t get the big bling when I got engaged… mainly because I didn’t want it! But that doesn’t mean I don’t like looking at (and joking about) ice that is NOT the kind you use to cool a cocktail. On that note, here are some engagement rings that are mainly for those who will be enjoying a lot more ‘for richer’ days than ‘for poorer’ ones.

2 3/4ctw Diamond Comfort Fit Engagement Ring3 ctw Brilliant-Cut Three-Stone Ring in Yellow Gold
1ctw Ultra Canadian SolitaireCush Cut Tanzanite and Princess Diamond Ring

Or maybe not. Go ahead and click on the pics above, but consider that dropping a cool eight thou on a ring for your sweetie likely only makes you feel really rich until you have a gander at your bank statement. Which leads me to contemplate an interesting question: What’s the ice on your finger worth if you can’t even afford to ice up your drink?

Quick, someone get the Punjab lasso!

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I would tell you a little something about this Val Stefani gown, but nothing I could say would be as important as the fact that wearing it will cause you to argue dramatically with an unkempt phantom of the opera.

Where does the party end and the grubbin’ begin?

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A co-ed shower is one thing, but a party where guests buy their way in and are expected to pay for drinks or activities once inside? Not on my watch. The Jack and Jill is a rather old tradition, as I discovered while reading Bachelor Party Confidential. Back in the days when $600 was a HUGE wad of cash, and many brides and grooms started out with absolutely nada, Jack and Jills helped the new couple find their feet. But today, when so many young newlyweds already have a little something socked away (or at least steady jobs), the notion of holding a fête where the object is to rake in the bucks seems just a tad outdated.

The Jack and Jill, also known as the “Doe and Stag” or couples shower, it can bleed your wallet white. The best man and the maid of honor usually collaborate on this matrimonial mugging. They rent a hall — at their cost, not the bride’s — and sell tickets, usually for around $20. If you’re invited, but not planning to attend, you’re still expected to buy a few tickets. Just about everyone invited to the wedding gets roped into this one.

There’s a no-host bar, where a glass of wine costs $5 to $10, plus a series of gambling games and raffle drawings. If you win a prize, you’re expected to donate it to the happy couple. Win $50 at roulette, you’re supposed to hand that over, too. The entire bar profits, raffle proceeds and admission-ticket money goes to subsidize the honeymoon.

If that’s not enough, upfront and center in the hall is an artificial tree, the Money Tree, to which guests are expected to fasten envelopes full of cash and checks for the honeymoon.

So, let me get this straight. I’m to bring a present to the shower and then send a gift on ahead before the wedding, and I’m supposed to “subsidize the honeymoon?” Overkill, much? I understand that such parties can be culturally appropriate, but the individuals hosting them should be sensitive to the fact that some guests may be shocked and appalled at the idea. Me? I just can’t get behind it… a marriage license is not a license to grub for cash.

Brides of a certain size

In honor of the launch of Manolo for the Big Girl, here’s a handful of plus sized bridal gowns that are anything but dowdy, boxy, or matronly. In fact, they are sexy, feminine, and guaranteed to look great in photographs. As I’ve said in the past, there is no reason to let something as meaningless as a number stop you from getting the dress you want. Unless, of course, a designer or manufacturer doesn’t create gowns in your size… in which case, it’s time to say, “Screw you,” and move on because they obviously don’t want your money. Their loss!

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An embroidered floral pattern embellished with beadwork paired with a satin bow will ensure that all eyes are on you.

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Made with love… or, at least, with “like”

I love all things homemade. Okay, there might be a touch of hyperbole in that statement. But when it comes down to the choice between something mass produced in some far away country and something crafted by someone who genuinely cares about creating something beautiful, the latter something is going to win hands down.

To celebrate all things handmade, here are just a few of the wonderful baubles for the bride I found while poking around Etsy:

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Most of these unique pieces cost less than the earrings, bracelets, and hairpins you might find in a boutique setting, but are every bit as lovely. For more info on the artisans who crafted everything pictured above or to support a handful of folks trying to get their work noticed, just click the photos!

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