Archive - February, 2008

As the couples go by

Whoever they are, they’re sweet

I deleted a very nasty comment earlier today — luckily it was caught in the spam trap and not out there for all the world to see. The comment wasn’t about me. Rather, it was about one of the happy couples whose story and picture I put up on the blog days, months, or years ago. It made me feel cynical and sad, and when I feel cynical and sad I usually spend a little time looking for something that will made me feel good in equal measure. Balance, and all that.

What I found was an old essay by Herbert Stein, published in 1997 in Slate. Entitled ‘Watching the couples go by,’ it really touched my heart, so I thought I’d share some of it here.

I am concentrating on the married couples. How do I know that those men and women walking two-by-two up to the Kennedy Center are married to each other? Well, 75 percent of all men between the ages of 30 and 75 are married, so if you see a man in that age group walking with a woman to the Kennedy Center—which is not exactly Club Med—it’s a good bet that the two are married, and almost certainly to each other.

I look particularly at the women in those couples. They are not glamorous. There are no Marlene Dietrichs, Marilyn Monroes, or Vivien Leighs among them. (It is a sign of my age that I can’t think of the name of a single living glamorous movie actress.) Some of them are pretty, but many would be considered plain. Since they are on their way to the Kennedy Center, presumably to attend a play, an opera, or a concert, one may assume that they are somewhat above average in cultural literacy. But in other respects one must assume that they are, like most people, average.

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The sweetest of all rings?

When people around me are talking about engagement rings, I always like to say that I wouldn’t have cared if The Beard had gotten me a Ring Pop. Being that he didn’t propose with a ring, it wouldn’t have made much difference, and I (unlike a lot of people, I’m sure) would have thought it was cute. Very Beard-ish, in fact.

But if you’re going to go the Ring Pop route, you may want to think about springing for the upgrade. What’s one step up from a supermarket candy jewel? A Candy-Glam ring by Escriba, of course!

Looks good enough to eat, amirite?
Which is fine, because you can actually eat them

Christian Escriba’s candy rings are the stuff of a sugar addict’s fantasies. Okay, so maybe they wouldn’t make the best tokens of love–unless, of course, your SO has a sense of humor like my own–but they could make fun gifts for a bridesmaid or flower girl, or even a cool wedding favor. Much better, in my opinion, than the giant novelty rings you occasionally come across.

Changing elegance

Not everyone has the cash on hand to buy themselves the ultimate matrimonial outfit. I was reminded of this truism while reading Genevieve Antoine Dariaux’s A Guide to Elegance, a book originally published in 1964. I have the 2003 edition, but it doesn’t seem to have changed much, being that Dariaux advocates the constant wearing of suits and warns against soiled kid gloves.

I wasn’t sure how to take the advice she gives brides-to-be whose dreams outstrip their budgets.

A bride-to-be never dreams of getting married in her everyday clothes, even for the most informal ceremony. If circumstances or her financial means do not permit her to wear the traditional white wedding gown, she wishes at least to appear in something new on that happy occasion. Her best solution in this case is to buy a smart suit and a very pretty hat, which can be of any style at all except for a flowered or white feather headdress with a veil.

Nothing strikes me as more pathetic than to see on Saturday morning at the doors of a church some young bride who could only afford half of a wedding ensemble, when it would have been much more charming and easier on her budget too if she had simply selected a normal city outfit. The same is true of the wedding party, who also have every interest in avoiding cho-chis and pastel shades which will be of no use to them later on.

It’s nice to know that the bridesmaids of yesteryear were as concerned about blah pastels as we are today–the most memorable part of 27 Dresses was how each and every bride told her maids that they’d be able to wear their hideous novelty dresses again–but Dariaux’s advice sounds rather condescending to me. While there’s nothing wrong with going with a nice “city outfit,” there’s a whole world of options in between the giant marshmallow gowns and the plain white suit. Especially now!

Simple IS elegant

For example, this midweight silk dress from the J. Crew Wedding Shop costs a mere $225, which is a steal where wedding wear is concerned. Pair it with a silk and cashmere wrap, some gold (or gold-like) filigree jewelry, and a pair of pretty white heels for a wonderfully elegant and put-together look.

Bridesmaids of a certain age

I asked my FSIL to be a bridesmaid in my wedding in a misguided attempt to foster some sort of sisterly bond between us. Long story short, I now advise all who ask me whether they should do the same to choose their maids on the basis of already extant bonds. Thankfully I’ve rambled on about in-laws quite recently, so this post is not about spousal sisters but rather about the dresses they might want to wear if asked to be in the bridal party.

Longer story short, my SIL is a bit older than The Beard, and the dresses she initially gravitated toward had sleeves and conservative necklines, like these from Aria.

Still swingy, but not quite as showyAnd a tad more grown up

Please note that I in no way encouraged my SIL to do anything outside of choose a dress that was the right length and the right color. She herself brought up the fact that she would feel more comfortable in a frock that didn’t bare too much and wasn’t particularly daring, meaning no strapless dresses or dipping décolletages. That was fine by me, just as my own sister’s choice of a dress with the tiniest of spaghetti straps was fine by me. I’m easygoing like that.

Even longer story short, dwelling on the whole amazingly facocked situation got me thinking about older bridesmaids in general and how they might feel when wearing in a little silk sheath surrounded by gals ten or more years their junior.

I can easily imagine many a mother who’d be utterly honored to stand amongst her daughter’s bridesmaids. On the other hand, most bridesmaid garb is designed for the younger, youthful figure. Heck, I’m only 28 (maybe 26 or even 25 on a good day) and I already prefer clothing that conceals more than it reveals.

If I’m not quite young or youthful enough for many of today’s bridesmaid styles, I’m guessing that your mom or your Aunt Beth or your older cousin who’s like a sister to you might appreciate not being asked to wear something short, strapless, and tight. Should your wedding party include bridesmaids of a certain age, you may want to consider choosing a dressmaker that will outfit each of your bridesmaids in a different style using the same fabric.

And now, a poll…

Pre-owned, pre-worn, pre-loved, used and abused rings for sale

What’s sadder than all of the unloved, unworn wedding gowns for sale out there? I’d say it’s the rings (diamond and otherwise) that get caught in the middle when a wedding is called off or two people decide that they just didn’t like each other as much as they originally thought.

Many a jilted lover has wondered what to do with a leftover ring, which is why I was entirely unsurprised when I stumbled upon I Do…Now I Don’t, an auction site created to match those “who are looking to sell engagement rings they no longer need or want with buyers who are in the market for a great deal.” It also has breaking-up how tos and breakup survival tips.

What kind of baggage have we got here then?

Personally I hope that there is an article somewhere on the site that reminds anyone buying a secondhand engagement ring that they might to keep the bauble’s origins quiet. Giving your honey your beloved grandmother’s engagement ring is a beautifully romantic gesture that’s sure to warm most hearts. Giving your honey a diamond solitaire that played a supporting role in the tale of a Lothario and a devastated lady? Not recommended.

In fact, many people believe that it’s bad luck to give or wear an engagement ring that was involved in a failed relationship. The same goes for wedding bands — a secondhand band will be regarded as quite unlucky by some.

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A reception, sans booze?

At my wedding reception, we had all manner of fancy beers and good champagne in addition to pop, juice, coffee, and water. We also had lots and lots and lots of alcoholic leftovers that we had to find some way to distribute. My conclusion? More people went for the dry drinks than the boozaholic ones.

In my lengthy career as a wedding attendee, I’ve been to receptions with top shelf open bars; receptions where a limited selection of beer, wine, and cocktails was served;receptions with cash bars; and receptions at which each table had been stocked with a few bottles of wine for guests to enjoy. But I have never once attended an alcohol-free reception!

The FOB and the FOG plan to settle the score

If the first question that popped into your head when reading the previous sentence was “Why would you nix the booze?” consider these points. People tend to drive to and from weddings, and it’s easy to overindulge when there’s a stocked open bar staring you down. At the same time, alcohol is expensive, especially when it’s free and flowing freely. Finally, a lot of people have one or more relatives who tend to end up three sheets to the wind any time there is free firewater on tap.

So, yes, there are reasons to keep your post-nuptial celebration on the dry side, but know that popular opinion really isn’t in your court. People dig the open bar scene, and there are a lot of folks out there who can’t fathom having fun without a little social lube. On a well-known forum, a number of posters responded thusly to a bride-to-be who was considering a virgin reception:

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Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness!

Yes, folks, it’s time once again to play Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness. Oh, stop groaning. You know you love it.

Anyway, for those new to the game, I post a picture here on sunday. You all post your best, pithiest, and silliest captions. Next saturday I declare a winner and we all laud said winner with virtual laurel leaf crowns…or at least cheer a bit. So come on, everyone. Take a gander at this pic.

Bride of the Year

Okay. Ready…set…snark!

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