Archive - July, 2009

Three Cheers: UK Quakers ‘to Allow Gay Marriages’

For two decades, Quakers in the UK — I’m not sure about the US, since individual Quaker congregations can set their own rules — have held religious blessings for same-sex couples. Now they’re poised to both begin performing actual marriage ceremonies and to petition the UK government to allow same-sex marriage, as opposed to the civil unions currently allowed.

The BBC’s religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said the Quakers had been more prepared than other groups to reinterpret the Bible in the light of contemporary life.

The Quakers – also known as The Religious Society of Friends – are likely to reach consensus on the issue of gay marriage without a vote at their annual gathering in York on Friday.

They will also formally ask the government to change the law to allow gay people to marry.

Quaker registrars, like rabbis and Church of England priests, have the authority to marry heterosexual couples on behalf of the state.

But many British Quakers feel it is wrong to exclude a religious commitment from civil partnerships and want the right to marriage extended to same-sex couples too.

This wonderfully forward move on the part of the Quakers may put them at odds with the government. Good, I say. Small pockets of acceptance eventually lead to wider acceptance. And the way the Quakers frame their support of same-sex marriage is just so lovely. For example, the Quakers of Westminster Meeting in the UK published this statement:

We affirm the love of God for all people, whatever their sexual orientation, and our conviction that sexuality is an important part of human beings as created by God, so that to reject people on the grounds of their sexual behaviour is a denial of God’s creation.

Be Mine (and By ‘Mine’ I Mean Bridesmaid)

There are all sorts of ways to invite best gal pals and sisters (or bros and boy pals) to be bridesmaids (or bridesmen), from mass market greeting cards to elaborate letters outlining your expectations to, I don’t know, skywriting? But I think I’ve found an invitation almost everyone can get behind.

bridesmaids-cookies

That’s right, cookies. Specifically ‘will you be my bridesmaid’ cookies from The Flour Pot. With apologies to diabetic and other people whose sugar intake is by necessity reduced — and perhaps a baker could work with that — I’d be tickled pink to find a pretty cookie in my mailbox inviting me to be someone’s bridal attendant. Maid/matron of honor, flower girl, and ring bearer cookies are also available, which leads me to believe that The Flour Pot would work with you to create invitation cookies for your bridesmen, groomsmaids, and who knows who else. It never hurts to ask!

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LOVE/HATE: The ‘Ring Solo!’ Edition

Previously, we’ve gabbed about the old wedding photography standards, like the bride applying her makeup in the mirror, the bride and groom touching foreheads, and the ringbearer sneaking a finger full of wedding cake buttercream. But how about the “look at our wedding rings” shot?

The Beard and I both thought of wedding ring photos as kind of silly, but we did it anyway and have a lovely photograph of his hand supporting my hand holding our rings on top of my bridal bouquet. And I’ll admit that I also took a picture of our wedding rings, still in their boxes, on top of our marriage license application.

wedding-ring-photo

While the hands of the bride and groom (or bride and bride and groom and groom) usually play a starring role in wedding ring portraiture, sometimes the rings themselves steal the show, like in this photo from Critsey Rowe Photography.

I’m leaning toward love, not just of this unique wedding ring portrait, but of ring photos themselves. Many long years ago, I didn’t really care for them, and I still don’t think that they are the kind of thing one looks back on and sighs. That’s reserved for pictures of the bride kissing her dad on the cheek before they head down the aisle or covert snapshots of quiet unplanned moments between the newlyweds. Still, I’m surprised at how much I’ve grown to like my own ring portraits, and I think they do make a fun addition to a wedding album.

What say you?

Join the Manolo for the Brides Blogroll!

wedding-bloggers

It’s that time of year again… that’s right, the time of year when we here at Manolo for the Brides update our blogroll! We’re always looking for new friends with whom we can exchange links, whether they are brides blogging about their own weddings, bridal bloggers like us, or even vendors and retailers who blog about their services.

So if you’d like to be included in the ranks of our blogging peeps, leave a comment on this post and be sure to include a link to your site!

Becoming a Bartering Bride

Budget brides, say I, consider becoming bartering brides. Twistie touched on the topic a while back, but I’ll admit that I’ve been kind of a skeptic when it comes to bartering for wedding services and accessories. Bartering suggests a more casual arrangement than one might typically have with a professional wedding vendor, and what if one doesn’t have that much to offer in exchange?

kerry-coryell

Kerry Coryell might say don’t sell yourself short. She put off her wedding a decade ago when her mom got meningitis and she became her mom’s full-time caretaker. Now that she’s finally able to plan her that long awaited wedding, she’s not going to let a little something like a lack of fundage get in the way of her dreams.

About a month ago, her girlfriend Rebecca Dever sent her an e-mail with a link to photos of a fairy tale wedding shot in Cabo by Lake Forest photographer Bob Ortiz. One of the photos even captured teardrops of happiness welling up in the eyes of the bride as she said her vows.

Kerry’s first thought: Why is my friend torturing me? Her second thought: Why can’t I have a wedding like this? But then Kerry had another thought. It was actually the same thought, but with a more positive spin.

Why CAN’T I have a wedding like this?

In a revelatory flash, Kerry recalled her dental victory. She went to her computer and banged out [a Craigslist] ad. It’s quite possibly one of the longest ads in the history of Craigslist (three pages printed out), but here’s an excerpt: “I am not at all superficial and my clothes usually come from garage sales. I never ask for anything for myself… but this day… just this one day, I want it to be mine, without limits, without settling. I hope you can help me.”

In exchange, she writes, she can sew you drapes, make you a homemade piñata, baby-sit your kids, organize your closets, mow your yard, put on your garage sale, walk your dog, cut your husband’s hair. The list goes on. The ad was posted nearly a month ago. To those who have sent her comments pointing out that the Justice of the Peace costs 50 bucks so get over yourself and your fancy wedding, she has a message:

“I would never tell anybody how little, or big, to dream.”

But overwhelmingly, the responses Coryell received have been positive. The morning after she posted her ad, a DJ wrote her saying that he’d be pleased to work her wedding reception for free, no actual bartering required. That DJ found her a videographer and a ceremony musician. Offers rolled in for tanning, teeth whitening, fake eyelashes, flowers, a caterer and a minister… and that photographer she loved so much?

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The Gift of Your Presence? What About the Presents?

Depending on your age or the economic realities of your social circle, it may come to pass that you find yourself invited to a wedding where the couple is older, well-established, and successful. In other words, they have everything they want and can easily buy anything they want but don’t yet have. You may receive a wedding invitation with a note like “May your presence at our wedding be your only gift to us” or hear through the grapevine that the bride and groom have stated that they really, truly, for real this time do not want any gifts.

wedding-gifts

Now we all know by now that traditional etiquette frowns upon any mention of gifts in an invitation, because it’s simply not nice to tell people how they should spend or not spend their money and the guests of honor should be focusing on the presence of guests rather than the presence of presents. So let’s just say that our hypothetical bride and groom have let family members or the bridal party spread the word that they’d rather not get wedding gifts.

What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?!

You could abide by the bride and groom’s wishes, though we all know that’s not going to happen. Because, yeah, showing up for a wedding empty handed or knowing that you’ve bought nothing ahead of time (other than a snazzy new dress) to mark the occasion can feel a little weird. Guilt-inducing, even. My suggestion will always be skip the tea towels or the candle stand. In fact, skip anything that’s not either consumable or small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. Why? Because a lot of brides and grooms who specifically ask that their wedding guests not give them wedding gifts do so because they’d rather not deal with more stuff in their lives.

So think small or edible or drinkable if you simply must buy our hypothetical couple a gift… try a nice bottle of champagne or wine of some meaningful vintage or chocolates — but do be sure the recipients will enjoy consuming your gift — or an ornament marking the year they are marrying or gift certificates to local restaurants or hotspots so their honeymoon can last that much longer. It’s win-win this way. You can satisfy your overwhelming urge to give and the bride and groom won’t have to sift through that much more stuff.

(On the flip side, if you ARE the bride or the groom and don’t want wedding presents, spread the word in a mannerly way by asking your mom, dad, sister, brother, best friend, maid of honor, and bridesmaids to let everyone know that you’d prefer other guests not give gifts. And when the inevitable gifts do roll in, be a sweetie-pie and accept them graciously and with gratitude.)

When Things Go Absolutely Wrong…and Absolutely Right

We here at Manolo for the Brides are fond – sometimes perhaps a tidge too fond – of reminding the dewy-eyed that weddings have a way of not going precisely as planned. It stands to reason, actually. When all is said and done, a wedding combines two things fraught with the potential for utter disaster: a traditional ceremony and a large party. Each of these things is a freaking minefield just waiting to go off. Combine this with the mythology of ‘one perfect day’ and ‘the happiest day of your life,’ not to mention the warring expectations of dozens of friends and relatives, and you can see why we like to remind you that there will be a lot of other very happy (indeed, some much happier) days and that perfection is not for mere mortals.

Today, though, I’d like to look at another phenomenon that all too many of us don’t even imagine is possible: the thing that goes wrong, but makes the event better.

‘What’s that, Twistie?’ you say. ‘Have you finally and completely lost your lonely remaining brain cell?’ you demand. No, I haven’t. It doesn’t happen all that often, but when it does it’s magical. It’s unforgettable, though in a much sweeter way than the time the cake tent collapsed or the time the ring bearer announced to the congregation that he needed to go potty right now in the middle of the vows.

I’m talking about the wedding I attended where the boom box decided to give up the ghost just as the wedding party turned to recess from the chapel. After a moment of silent confusion, the bride burst into laughter. We all joined her, and the party recessed to the most perfect music of all: pure joy.

I’m talking about the wedding reception where the wrong cake was delivered. It wasn’t precisely what either the bride or the groom had expected, but it served about the same number of people as the cake they’d ordered, the gold and white decor fit into their color scheme, and we all decided to take it as a good omen that this cake was originally intended for a golden anniversary party. Coolest of all? It was the same flavor the couple had ordered.

Sometimes it’s good to just leave yourself open to the glorious absurdities of life.

So what about all of you? Have you ever been to a wedding where something magical went wrong?

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