Archive for January, 2008

An Open Letter to Wedding Gown Designers

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

Dear wedding gown designers,

Can we talk about something that’s been bothering me for years now? It’s a little thing called sleeves. Specifically, it’s about how nearly all of you refuse to design any.

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After 60 years, married all over again

Friday, January 18th, 2008

AnnaBoris
The Kozlovs, reunited

I just wanted to toss a sweet little story at you guys before jetting off for the weekend. Anna and Boris Kozlov were married in 1946, just before Boris had to report back to his military unit. A mere three days after they said their “I dos,” he was gone.

A short time later, Anna was branded an enemy of the state like her father before her and sent into internal exile in Siberia.

On his return, Boris was distraught. “She was always waiting for me when I came home, but this time there was no sign of her,” he said. “Nobody knew where they were, or what had happened to Anna. That’s how we lost any track of each other”.

Anna was eventually coerced into remarriage by her mother. Boris, thinking Anna lost forever, also remarried. They each, however, outlived their spouses.

More than half a century after they were separated, both Anna and Boris decided to return to their home village. He was visiting the grave of his parents…she had apparently returned to lay eyes on the home they occupied together for the three days of their marriage.

When Anna Kozlov caught sight of the elderly man clambering out of a car in her home village of Borovlyanka in Siberia, she stopped dead in her tracks, convinced her eyes were playing tricks.

There, in front of her, was Boris, the man she had fallen in love with and married 60 years earlier.

“[Boris] ran up to her and said: ‘My darling, I’ve been waiting for you for so long. My wife, my life…’

The couple has since remarried, though it took Boris a bit to convince Anna to don a bride’s garb for a third time.

“Since we found each other again, I swear we haven’t had a single quarrel. We’ve been parted for so long and who knows how much is left for us, so we just don’t want to lose time on arguing.”

Isn’t that just the coolest? I hope that both of them live a long, long time so they get to enjoy each other for many years to come.

For sale: One wedding gown, never worn

Friday, January 18th, 2008

I’m still engrossed in One Perfect Day. One uber interesting things that stood out in an already tremendously interesting book was the manner in which the bridal gown industry pushes its product. If you’re a bride-to-be or even a former bride, you may be familiar with the concept of the “aha” moment, also known as the “oh mommy” moment.

You know what I mean…a bride-to-be is trying on her thirtieth gown. She’s stepped up into the mirrored alcove and is turning to look at herself. As the saleswoman smooths down her skirt, the young woman before us draws her breath in sharply. She can’t believe what she’s seeing–the image before her is herself, yet not herself. Tears well up in her eyes, and her mother, who is watching the whole drama unfold, puts her hand up to her heart.

And so on and so forth. I didn’t have a magical aha moment. My relationship with clothing doesn’t work that way. Sure, I’ve teared up in a dressing room, but that was only because I’d managed to slide gracefully into a pair of skinny jeans that didn’t make me look like an overstuffed sausage. I mean, that is a sob-worthy experience, in my not so humble opinion.

The problem with the oh mommy moment, as outlined in One Perfect Day, is that it’s to some extent manufactured by the bridal salons. Why else would there be so many never worn wedding gowns on eBay and Craigslist and other similar sites? I can accept that there were some canceled engagements and potentially even some deaths, but the shear number of unworn gowns says to me that a lot of future brides are changing their minds.

I wonder if the gals selling the gowns below had an aha moment before realizing that the frocks they chose just weren’t what they were really looking for…

Unloved dresses, for your considerationUnloved dresses, for your consideration
Unloved dresses, for your considerationUnloved dresses, for your consideration

All in all, these gowns make me a little sad. I wonder why the brides changed their minds and whether they’ll recoup some of the associated costs. What do they feel as they post their classifieds? And did they find dresses they liked even more?

It’s interesting to think about, so I have to ask you: Did you buy a dress and then change your mind? What made you buy the first one, and why did you ultimately opt for another?

Eloping in high style means high prices

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Enjoying the new elopement

The couple above could very well be mugging for a horde of loved ones clicking away with their digitals, but they’re not. The happy pair you see before you chose the new elopement, i.e. they’ve ditched the family and friends but kept the trappings of the traditionalesque wedding.

Once upon a time–as far as I’ve been led to believe–elopements were a simple affair, done on the cheap. You might visit the local courthouse or a courthouse in a neighboring state. Heck, you might even run off to the courthouse in another country. Suits and suitcases were the order of the day. Nuptial niceties might included a nice hat, a bouquet hastily purchased, or a cupcake for two.

Now elopements can cost as much as a budget backyard wedding. One company, Protege Event Planning Inc., will help you elope in Colorado for a mere $2,895. For that kind of cash, brides and grooms get a bridal bouquet and matching boutonnière, a ceremonial floral arrangement, a sweetheart wedding cake and personalized cake cutter set, champagne and personalize toasting flutes, limo service, dinner, two nights in a honeymoon suite plus a breakfast buffet, total wedding coordination (whatever that means in the context of something like this), the services of an officiant, and a handful of wedding day snapshots.

Huh. If you gave me three thousand bucks to spend on an elopement I think I could do better than that. I really do–I’d love to see Protege’s price breakdown. How would you spend your $3,000 elopement budget?

Blue, blue, blue, blue bridesmaids

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Over at Manolo for the Home, I talk about how overwhelmingly blue the furniture and design world has been as of late. Seriously — looking at Bluefly, I’d say that a good 85% of the blue dresses could easily be integrated into the photo shoots in my stack of more recent home decor rags. Now I’m a blue fanatic. In fact, I’m kind of surprised my wedding colors were brown and gold rather than blue and silver. Life’s funny like that, I guess.

Aren’t these blue dresses beautiful? Wouldn’t they look lovely on a gaggle of giggly bridesmaids?

Go darkGo long
Go lightGo Wang?

Usually I’d take dresses like these and match them with something like a cake or flowers or place settings, but I’m in a weird mood. As it turns out, you can match your bridesmaids to your port-o-johns if you’re so inclined.

Outdoor potty segregation can be a good thing

Just…wow…

Going for the BOLD

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

I’ve always been upfront about the fact that I think wedding gowns look best when paired with relatively simple jewelry. I absolutely hate all of the iced out fake pearls that are marketed as bridal baubles, from the triple strand chokers with rhinestone accents to the drop earrings made of the sort of metal that makes my lobes swell after five or so minutes.

Of course, I don’t care for most costume jewelry, so YMMV. Me? I like to go straight for the gold…if I happen to come up with silver instead, that’s okay, too. Bridal jewelry traditions very quite a bit by culture, but here in the U.S. the bride’s tastes rein supreme.

Straight to you from an unconventional goldsmithStraight to you from an unconventional goldsmithStraight to you from an unconventional goldsmith
Straight to you from an unconventional goldsmithStraight to you from an unconventional goldsmithStraight to you from an unconventional goldsmith
Straight to you from an unconventional goldsmithStraight to you from an unconventional goldsmithStraight to you from an unconventional goldsmith

Were we to talk about my tastes, I (a former bride) would have to say they run toward the above style of rings, earrings, and necklaces. Anne Sportun’s jewelry collection can’t be found in the wedding jewelry aisle, but it nonetheless would make a stunning addition to almost any bride’s wedding day wardrobe. These baubles in particular might look great with a simple sheath, but are subtle enough that it’s unlikely they’d overpower a more complex gown.

Think about it–will you really ever wear it again?

Monday, January 14th, 2008

One E. Dee Martin of Washington, DC decided to prove that you really can re-wear those tired old bridesmaid dresses hanging in the back of your closet. She and her girlfriends picked out their ugliest wedding frocks and staged a no holds barred pastels vs. autumn shades bridesmaid football game.

Strap pulling is 100% legal

Awesome, no? The first (and by far the most awful) bridesmaid dress I ever wore was made of some scratchy, shiny teal fabric, but I can’t dis on it too hard because my grandma made it and she might stumble across this blog someday. Sorry, gram!

A great little article in the NYT Fashion & Style section discusses the evolution of the bridesmaid dress, from “structured duchess satin” gowns to sophisticated gowns that flow with the body. The article makes the claim that today’s bridesmaid garb is far more fashion forward than the poufy pastel dresses of yesteryear.

“Everybody wants to put their personal touch on the dress,” said Lazaro Perez of the Lazaro bridal house. Requests typically include hems and neckline modifications, or a change in fabrics. Some houses are responding with a menu of options meant to render the one-style-fits-all philosophy of bridal-party dressing as quaint as twin beds in the honeymoon suite.

It’s a nice sentiment, but a quick search reveals that there are still scads of ugly bridesmaid dresses out there that wouldn’t be out there if people weren’t buying them. I think that the gown industry still has a long row to hoe. What say you?