Archive for August, 2012

A Scientific Approach to Marriage

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Charles Darwin is remembered today mostly for the Theory of Evolution. Yeah, I can’t argue with that one. It kind of changed the world.

What is less commonly known about him is that he was married for forty four years to Emma Wedgewood, with whom he had ten children. He was, as he might describe himself, evolutionarily successful.

By all accounts the Darwins had a happy marriage, too. There was none of the emotional abuse, scandal and divorce that, say, Charles Dickens created in his marriage. But Dickens and his marriage are a subject for another day. This is Darwin Day.

As with other matters in his life and work, Darwin seems to have taken something of a clinical approach to the question of marriage. And since it wasn’t something he could run an experiment on before taking the leap, he did the next best thing: he wrote out a list of pros and cons about marriage in his diary in April and July of 1838.

On the upside he listed things like ‘female chit-chat’ and ‘constant companion (& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one.’ Oh, and my personal favorite: ‘Better than a dog, anyhow.’

On the downside he listed the misery of living in London all the time, a duty to work for money, and no collecting books. I have to say, my heart went out to him on the no books thing. After all, I’m a lifelong biblioholic. We feel kinship.

In the end, it appears the the comforts of family and chit-chat won out over books and travel. Of course, Darwin did buy more books, travel, and write. See, in a really good marriage, spouses recognize the needs of their life companions, both personally and professionally and do their best to find ways to support one another through the decisions that need to be made. Emma Wedgewood Darwin knew her husband needed books, just like I know Mr. Twistie needs music… and Mr. Twistie knows I need books.

It can be tempting to make the decision to marry all about big, sweeping emotion. And I’m certainly not saying it can’t work out. It can. I’ve witnessed it in my own family.

But there’s still something to be said for taking a breath, taking a moment, and considering what it all means when the constant passion begins to mellow into something else. It never hurts to consider what will change about your life after you make the leap, and determining whether it’s truly what you want.

So a list may not sound terribly romantic, but I can certainly think of worse ways to decide whether marriage – in general, or in particular – is for you.

Oh, and for the record? My list when it came to Mr. Twistie pretty much read ‘duh! Perfect for me! Set date, create wedding!’

Inked Beauty

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

(Illustration via F@#k Yeah Tattooed Brides)
When I was a small child, nobody but sailors, convicts, and Very Naughty People had tattoos. Even my father who spent some seventeen years at sea between the Navy and the Merchant Marines never got one.

But that was a very long time and a different world ago. Tattoos stopped being so very controversial some time ago. But there’s one place where people tend to avoid talking about them, or treat them like a bad smell to be gotten rid of, and that’s the world of weddings.

After all, brides and their maids are all innocent, pure, genteel, or else they wouldn’t be getting married, would they? Yeah, right, and I’m Marie of Romania.

Color My World… Or At Least My Wedding

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

There are a lot of ways to choose wedding colors. You may have a scheme you’ve worked out years ago based on your – or your intended’s – favorite color. You may know what you want based on the setting where you’re holding your wedding or reception. After all, if the place is done up in green and gold, it’s easier to choose colors that will look good with what’s already there. Or a particular theme you’ve chosen might steer you in a color direction. Just remember if you’re having an Original Star Trek themed wedding, don’t dress your wedding party in red shirts. You want them to survive the ceremony, after all.

Some of us, though, have a harder time deciding on the question that will set the mood and the look for the entire event. Yes, I know, that sounds momentous. It sounds like making the wrong move here will destroy the entire wedding. Trust me, though, it probably won’t. It’s an important decision, but not a world-ending one. This should be the fun part of planning.

If you’re finding yourself stuck, maybe all you need is a little inspiration to hunt through. To that end, I’ve found you a couple resources that might give you a pointer in the right direction.

The image above comes from an inspiration gallery over at Better Homes and Gardens. You’ll find eighteen different color schemes illustrated, with links to pictures of real weddings based on those colors for each combination. It’s a great place to start.

Another good tool is the color wheel at You can pick a color range you want to work in, a level of contrast you prefer, or just let the wheel spin and spit out what it will. This one doesn’t direct you to weddings in those colors, but if you find something that appeals, you can go look at real things in those shades and see how you like them.

Color sets mood. It helps make the design cohesive. Whether your preference is graphic black and white, gentle pink and cream, giddy orange and yellow, or lush purple and red, your colors should make you happy.

Go find what makes you smile, and then make it your wedding day.

How To Get To the Church (or Wherever) On Time

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Over the years we haven’t really talked a lot about transportation here on Manolo for the Brides. Mostly we’ve considered it a question to be determined between you and the deity of your choice.

And I believe that in most cases the majority of brides assume they’ll hire a limo to get them around on the big day. That’s hardly universal, of course. There are women who would consider their wedding day incomplete without arriving in a horse-drawn carriage. Others can’t imagine spending the money on just getting from point A to point B and take their own or a family member’s car. Yeah, that would be me. I wasn’t making a grand entrance. I helped set up the site in my wedding gown. Arriving in my father’s trusty Nissan was plenty good enough for me. Mr. Twistie and I left in his classic Mustang that he drove every day back then. It was a nice car, but nothing specially worked out for the day.

But there are practicalities to be considered that may make the family car a bad idea. You may have dreams of making a spectacular entrance that won’t be satisfied by a mere limousine.

And of course we’re never against fabulous around here… so long as taste, budget, and legal issues have been considered properly.

Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The Pugnacious Pugilist Edition

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Hey everyone, it’s time once again to play Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness!

You all know how this works. I post a picture that I feel is howling in the night for a good caption or seven. You provide said captions via the comments function. Next week I declare a winner, and we all sing tra-la-la in five part harmony, with feeling.

This week’s image comes from the painfully mixed messages file, and it looks something like this:

Ready… set… snark!

Quickie Question: What Assumptions Do You Wish People Wouldn’t Make?

Friday, August 17th, 2012

When you announce your engagement, it’s amazing how many people come out of the woodwork with a sure and certain knowledge of what you should do, how you should do it, and precisely what you want.

From the colors you’re going to choose to the style of your veil (which, of course, you will wear, because that’s what every girl wears, you know), to whether you’re going to have a plated or a buffet meal… chances are someone will come up to you and inform you of what your choice is.

I had more than one person ask me when Mr. Twistie was going to do right by me and get me a diamond. After all, that silver frog prince on my finger clearly wasn’t a ‘real’ engagement ring. A good friend of mine decided to make and wear an elaborate wedding gown and veil at least partly in reaction to the number of people who assumed she was just going to choose a simple off white dress without any bridal trappings whatsoever. I’ve known goth couples whose families assumed they would stop doing things the dark way now that they were getting married.

What about you? What odd assumptions have people made about you and how you’re getting married? What decisions do people insist on telling you how to make? Or are you one of the lucky ones who hasn’t experienced this?

LOVE/HATE: Morning After Photo Sessions

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

It’s the morning after your wedding. You’ve spent the last few weeks (possibly months) having your entire world turned upside down with parties and racing from appointment to appointment and ever-present cameras documenting your transition from singleton to married bliss. You’ve finally had a few precious hours alone to enjoy one another’s company and nurse your first married hangover… when there comes a knock on the door of the honeymoon suite and you let the photographer in to do the professional shots of your post-nuptial (post coital?) bliss.

Yes, this is apparently something people are now doing. In fact, Refinery 29 has an entire gallery of images couples have had taken the morning after the wedding. The illustration above comes from that gallery. Okay, it’s only four images, but that still counts as a slideshow, and they all appear to come from different shoots.

You know, there was a time when a couple got one photograph of their wedding process. It was a single formal portrait of the happy couple looking stern in their wedding finery. By the time I was old enough to even notice the whole getting married thing, everyone expected to have an album of wedding day photos taken at the Big Event proper. Photos of the bride getting dressed and made up were fairly common well before I tied the knot, and that was where I drew the line. I needed ten minutes to myself that morning and that was the only chance I had to get them.

Frankly I cannot imagine inviting a photographer to come by the next morning, run me through hair, makeup and wardrobe, and then give me directions on how to look rumpled and sated for the cameras.

So yeah, I’m going with HATE on this one. In fact, I’m going with hate with the power of twelve massive supernovas here. That’s how much I HATE this.

Besides, are you really ever going to want anyone who isn’t you to see this? And if so, why? And even if you must do this, why not give yourself a little breather between the wedding and the next TMI photo shoot?

Or am I just a backwards old fart with no clue how special this can be?