Archive - September, 2012

Never Too Late for Wedding Photos?


Sometimes things don’t work out like you hoped… and then you have to decide whether to make what you really wanted happen anyway.

For Liu Fu, the dream in question was to have a beautiful wedding album filled with glamorous shots. It wasn’t in the cards when she married her late husband, Feng. The couple had little money, so they had a very small wedding. There was no funding for the sort of wedding album the bride had in mind.

In fact, there is not a single photograph of Liu’s wedding day.

The couple were happy and had four children together before Feng’s death some thirty years ago.

Now, at the age of seventy-six, Liu has the money to have the wedding album of her dreams, so she hired a photographer and a team of make up artists and wardrobe experts to create the photo session she wishes she had had all those years ago. Since the groom could not be a physical part of the proceedings, Liu dressed in men’s clothing for some of the shots so that he could be there in spirit.

Liu appears in the photos in both traditional Chinese dress and western dress for her album. Some of the photos show her as a Chinese empress, some as emperor, some in modern western bridal white, and some in 1920’s Shanghai male gangster threads.

Is this something I would do? No. I’m one of those people who thinks the moment is there and either you capture it then or you don’t. Time is ephemeral. It cannot be recreated, and I wouldn’t want to try.

But while there are plenty of people laughing at Liu, or vilifying her choice, I am not among them. She simply did something that mattered to her on a very personal level. It doesn’t hurt anyone. It makes her happy. It’s something she hopes her children will treasure to remind them of both her and their father when she’s gone.

Is it a foolish gesture? Perhaps. But I don’t think that really matters. I think it matters that she’s happy with her decision, that it reminds her of her late husband she loved so much, and that her lack of fear of the ridicule this engenders is an excellent example to her children and – I assume – grandchildren of how to be truly individual.

Rock on with your bad self, Liu Fu!

It’s Okay To Enjoy This

As I was meandering the wedding blogs, I ran across this entry at A Practical Wedding and realized that I know precisely how this lady felt.

Sometimes between the Wedding Industrial Complex and the Strip It All Down Gang, it can be hard to strike a balance between not going broke and admitting you’d like something that resembles the sort of wedding you’ve been dreaming of, even if it doesn’t involve mason jars in a field.

But the truth is you’re the ones getting married. You’re the ones who are going to look back at the photos and you’re the ones who have to love what you do.

Planning a wedding isn’t an easy thing, necessarily. There’s a lot going on, and a lot of things turn out to have hidden meanings for a lot of people. And yes, there will be times when you probably get extremely frustrated with some aspect or another of the work involved. It isn’t always fun.

But if you aren’t enjoying any of it, if it is making you frustrated all the time or if you begin to think one more mention of signature drinks or orders of ceremony will make you explode… then it’s time to take a good, long look at what you’re doing and why.

Because the truth is that this should mostly be a happy time. This should mostly be a happy process. If it is constantly making you crazy or unhappy, then you’re not doing it the right way for you.

Finding your way may wind up annoying or upsetting or just plain confusing other people. But you know what? That’s okay, too. Why? because you’re the one getting married, not them. Let them find their own way when the time comes or have their fond memories of how they did it. You don’t have to apologize for choosing to go glam or hire a planner to do most of the work or spend weeks making fiddly bits to go in mason jars in your field of dreams.

If you have the money, the time, and the will to do it that way – whatever way that is – then you go right ahead and do it.

Why? Because this is how you want to do it. Because this is how you will get the maximum enjoyment out of the process. And this is how you will be as relaxed as possible when the moment comes to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

So enjoy… your way.

Quickie Question: Call Me Old-Fashioned?


According to HuffPo, Twitter was all a-twitter on Wednesday over wedding and marriage traditions. Using the hashtag #CallMeOldFashioned, lots of people told everyone on Twitter what retro thing they want from their wedding and/or marriage.

The old-fashioned traditions in question ranged from being sure everyone knows that white dress means an intact hymen (please, please, please stop sharing that with me, everyone!), to wanting to be carried over the threshhold (awe!), to wanting to stay home and keep house, to believing their marriages will last forever without any straying on either part.

One woman said she wasn’t going to introduce her boyfriend to her parents until she had an engagement ring from him, which is decidedly not old-fashioned. It’s only very recently that a woman was likely to get engaged to someone who hadn’t already gotten a thumbs up from her father. That, in itself, is a fairly recent development from the times when the woman found herself engaged when her father darn well introduced the groom to her.

Did I do some old-fashioned things when I was getting married? Yes, I did. I did the old-fashioned thing of making the wedding happen by hand. I slept apart from Mr. Twistie the night before our wedding, even though we were both in the same house. I just felt like I needed to be alone then. It wasn’t like I thought that would make me somehow ‘purer’ or avoid the chance of seeing him in the morning. I just needed to spend some time in my own head that night. Nonetheless, it was a fairly old-fashioned thing to do. We had a receiving line, which was already well out of fashion at the time. I’m still glad we did that. I meant we didn’t miss saying hello to anyone. And Mr. Twistie and I waited to move in together until after we were married. That was my choice. I preferred things that way.

What about you? Did you do something very old-fashioned? Will you? Do you have some old fashioned wedding accessories? Have you made a choice that makes some of your friends wonder how you got so backwards or your parents heave a sigh of relief? Is it something you are happy with, or do you regret any of it? Was it your idea, or did you bow to someone else’s preferences?

Tell me all about it!

Coming Soon to a Salon Near You: More Disney Tie Ins


We all know that many brides are inspired by fairy tale ideas when planning their weddings. And when it comes to fairy tales, is there one that has inspired more weddings than Cinderella? I would suggest not. I’m guessing a lot more brides are basing their Cinderella weddings on the iconic Disney version than any other.

Yeah, not many couples do the Grimm’s version. Can’t imagine why. It only involves the bride’s stepsisters losing hunks of their feet, after all. It’s not like that one ended in dozens of dead bodies. For Grimm, it’s positively Disneyesque.

But I digress.

What’s the point of all of this? Well, next month Disney is hauling Cinderella back out of the vault for release on Blu-ray. At the same time, there will be bridal tie-ins from both Alfred Angelo and DSW. Alfred Angelo will release a limited line of blue wedding gowns inspired by the blue ballgown Cinderella wears in the film. Here’s a sketch of one of them that I found at Bride’s.com:

As for DSW, they’ll come out with a line of shoes based on the theme, too.

Getting As Close As You Can to What You Want

There are times in the wild and wooly roller coaster ride known as wedding planning when finding the sweet spot between what you want, what you can afford, and how much things cost can feel a bit like this:

Or even this:

Frankly, it’s not easy to find a balance, and the tighter your budget the smaller the window you have to try to fit through.

Still there are things you can do, both in allocating your funds well and in vendor negotiation, that will help you wriggle through with a minimum of misery, embarrassment, and red ink. Read on to find out what to do… and what not to do.
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Destination Camp Winnemucca?


Image via Evantine Design Blog, where you can see more pictures of this gorgeous wedding)

Okay, I’ll admit it. I haven’t paid a lot of attention to trends in destination weddings over the past few years. They slipped through the cracks for me.

And so it was with great surprise that I read this article in the friday New York Times about the current popularity of rending summer camps for destination weddings.

That’s right, couples getting ready to tie the knot are renting out summer camps at times when camp is not in session. Weddings held this way usually involve an entire weekend of activities making use of the camp facilities for things like canoeing, hiking, and holding campfire sing along/s’mores making marathons.

A wedding like this is more often handmade with loving hands from home than designed by teams of professionals, though the photo session from the couple illustrated up top does prove the latter happens, too.

While I have to admit that destination weddings have never really been my thing, I have to say I kind of like this idea. Asking friends and family to come up with the cash to fly to Tahiti or Maui and stay in a hotel there has always seemed something of an imposition to me. Asking them to drive to summer camp, well, that’s a much more reasonable distance to go. And while you can ask people to stay on the grounds, if it’s a problem for someone to sleep in a cabin there are still going to be hotels and quaint little inns and RV parking nearby enough that they can go there and just show up for the big events.

Keep your plans reasonable, warn your guests not to wear stiletto heels, make sure there’s plenty of sunscreen and mosquito repellent to go around, consider wearing a tea length or shorter gown, stay flexible because Mother Nature doesn’t always consult you when making her plans, and fit the style of your wedding to the site.

Oh, but before you consider having an archery contest at the reception, do make certain everyone understands basic safety when dealing with missile weapons.

And don’t invite my brothers. They built a catapult and laid siege to the mess hall one summer at Boy Scout camp.

Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The Extreme Fashion Victim Edition: The Winner

Ah my dears.

Last week I insulted your eyes with this deathless – or possibly undead – image:

… and four of you leapt to your keyboards to slap me back with great captions.

All of them were funny, but in the end there can be but one winner. This week it’s the ever-delicious Jelly for this glorious example of snark in action:

Christine couldn’t help but think she’d given the Phantom too much room for interpretation in her costume…

Congratulations, Jelly! And thanks to everyone who played.

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