You guys know me. I’m a DIY diva and proud of it. Give me some threads, some scraps of paper, a little ribbon, and a hot glue gun, and I’ll make you something remarkable with it. I love making things and I’m good at it, too.
So it’s no surprise that I loved Sam and Stew’s handmade South African wedding when I read about it at A Practical Wedding. Together, they made most of the accessories for their big day, and both families got into the fun of it.
Most of all, I loved the reason Sam gave for loving all the projects she, Stew, their families, and their friends did for the wedding:
There was a moment, when I stood back, and looked around at the happy smiles and goofy grins of all our favourite people, and literally felt surrounded by love.
Because there it was—hammered into the menus, baked into the cookies, sewn into the seams of the table runners and sprinkled into that darn confetti. So if the crafty crazy is getting to you, don’t worry too much. Because it’s neverabout the details you get out. It’s about the love you put in.
You know what? That’s how I felt when I looked at my wedding, too. Everywhere I looked, I saw concrete evidence of the love our friends and families have for us. Everywhere I turned, there was something I poured my heart into that was making someone I love smile.
But you know what else? I’m not every bride. There are other equally valid ways of choosing to do things. One of these ways is described by guest blogger Danielle in a july article, also at A Practical Wedding.
In it she discusses how she almost panicked her way into doing a series of last-minute DIY projects because they’re everywhere on the internet.
Having carefully chosen to marry in an art gallery so she wouldn’t have to worry about decorations, Danielle almost decided she needed to make piles of random things to fill out the space, once she looked at a few wedding blogs and Pinterest boards… but she remembered something at the last minute: DIY isn’t her.
An intervention from a good friend brought her back to sanity just as she was pricing out the cost of making her own pinwheels.
I remembered that we can have whatever kind of wedding we want, and that just because I’m not panicking in these final pre-wedding weeks doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong. It probably means I’m doing something right.
And knowing that I won’t glance around the room at the end of our wedding night and see sloppy homemade pinwheels abandoned on tables and tossed into trash cans? That feels pretty right too.
Always remember, there is no wrong way to plan a wedding as long as you’re enjoying the process and feel your personality as a couple is being represented. Craft it all by hand, don’t craft a thing, find a middle path by all means. Don’t worry too much about what other people are or aren’t doing. Seek inspiration, but never forget who you are.
It’s your wedding. It should look and feel the way you want it to.]]>
I love this photograph of a bride and groom from the sixties and the bride’s seeing eye dog.
I also loved my grandmother’s second husband who, as it happened, was legally blind. In fact, Granny met him while volunteering with a group dedicated to helping the blind.
And so I was frankly appalled when I read this article by a legally blind bride-to-be at Offbeat Bride. Not, I hasten to mention, because of anything about the lady or her plans. Her steampunk cane is a delight and her groom’s sense of humor is beyond awesome.
No, what appalled me was the ignorance and small-mindedness displayed so casually by potential vendors, not to mention others who simply couldn’t conceive of her choices based on her comfort and ability to navigate the event easily. Choices such as wearing a colored dress so she can see it, not to wear a veil so as not to impede her limited peripheral vision, or to use her cane to help her navigate the aisle successfully.
Apparently these things are ‘not bridal.’
To that, all I can say is a hearty cry of “horse hockey!”
A bride is a bride, is a bride. A groom is a groom, is a groom. And if the ring bearer needs a cane or a wheelchair, then that’s what he needs.
I remember some years ago reading on the web about a blind bridesmaid who had a disastrous time in the wedding party because of the attitude that any acknowledgement of her disability was somehow less than ‘bridal.’ She wasn’t allowed to use her cane down the aisle, and after she had practiced many times with a certain configuration at the altar, a major item was moved directly into her path at the last minute and nobody warned her. Of course she crashed into it and people got mad at her for ‘ruining’ the wedding. After all, a sighted bridesmaid would have known to move out of the way!
If you or someone in your wedding party has a disability, the key to making things work is not to ignore that disability or try to make it go away for a few hours. The key is to looking squarely at the practical issues it raises and then dealing with them frankly and without making a huge fuss.
Blind people marry. Wheelchair users marry. Deaf people marry. Amputees marry.
And you know what? They’re beautifully bridal, too.
For more ideas on planning a wedding when someone in the wedding party has a disability, check out some of the terrific tips and planning ideas on disaboom.]]>
An article by Sandy Malone was published by HuffPo the other day. In it, she tells the harrowing story of a client of her wedding planning service and what happened to her when she went shopping at an unnamed bridal salon in Waltham, Mass.
According to Malone, the bride informed the salon of her size (though I have to say I’m puzzled as to why an ‘average sized’ woman should have to do that) and was told it would be ‘no problem.’ I should certainly hope there would be no problem fitting an average sized woman in a reasonably well-stocked bridal salon. And while samples rarely fit brides precisely, there certainly ought to be a few gowns in a size close enough that a woman can try some things on to get a general idea of how they might look on her.
Apparently, this was not the case.
It seems that what the salon did instead of putting an ill-fitting dress on the bride and asking her to use her imagination as to how it will look when it is properly fitted, the consultant took the gown and began pinning it to the bride’s undergarments in front… in a tiny room with mirrors on three sides and only a flimsy curtain on the fourth wall. This process, apparently, is called ‘paper dolling.’ To add insult to injury, when the bride’s friends wanted to see what the consultants were oohing and ahing over in that tiny cubicle, one of them simply threw open the curtain, exposing the bride’s panty-clad backside to all and sundry without warning.
The bride, of course, was pretty traumatized by this experience, as would be any right-thinking person. Paper dolling sounds pretty useless. After all, a dress needs to be seen in three dimensions to get the full effect, and wedding gowns in particular need to be seen from the back, because during the ceremony, chances are that’s what your friends and family will be seeing the most of. Most bridal couples do stand facing the officiant who faces the witnesses.
On top of that, the sudden and completely insensitive near-indecent exposure of the bride was appalling. You ask first whether the bride wishes to show off the dress she’s trying on, and if it’s not actually on her, this is an extra vital step.
Malone winds up the article with a warning to all brides to shun this pernicious practice, which is excellent advice. I, too, would counsel brides not to allow a salon to ‘paper doll’ them into a dress.
But here’s the interesting thing. When I googled the term and several variations on it… I got only Malone’s original article from two days ago, and a whole lot of articles about making or collecting actual paper dolls. Is this one shop in Waltham the one place in the world that does this? Is there another reason the term might not get a lot of hits in bridal terms?
Has anyone out there heard about this anywhere else? Known someone subjected to it? Survived the experience themselves?
Curiouser and curiouser.]]>
Still, there are some bright spots, some feel good stories starting to come out of the horror and loss. One of these stories is a couple named Shelley Ebert and Adam Moser. Their wedding was scheduled for yesterday, and Ebert wrote a piece for HuffPo Weddings about how Sandy has changed their plans.
Change them it did… but where there are women – and men – who would be mourning the loss of their perfect flowers and screaming that the bridesmaid who hadn’t yet picked up her dress when the storm hit can’t be in the wedding, either, this couple doesn’t care about what isn’t going to be there. They’re more concerned with who will be there, what they still have, and in looking forward to spending their one-year anniversary running the New York Marathon together, weather permitting.
The lesson here is that ultimately it’s not about the trappings, lovely and fun though they are. It’s about sharing your love, being surrounded by people who support you, and taking an amazing leap of faith into your own future.
And that, my friends, can be done even in the middle of an actual disaster.]]>
First up is a delightful wedding of two handsome Scotsmen in kilts named Chris and Eric, featured on A Practical Wedding.
Kilts, more kilts, a pretty outdoor spot, yet more kilts, people dancing Gay Gordons (and that really is a dance, in fact Mr. Twistie and I did it at our wedding, too) and lots of pretty pictures would have won this wedding a spot on the list anyway, but I love this quote from the grooms most of all:
If you ever wonder how many people love you and how much, have a wedding. You’ll know.
You know what else? That’s absolutely true.
Truly Engaging features the lovely wedding of Beverly and Daniel.
Why did I pick it and why did I illustrate it with the cake? Well, because that picture sums up the awesome attitude of the couple. A few things went wrong at their wedding. The weather didn’t cooperate with an outdoor reception, and the cake topper went missing. Never mind. They just took a flower here and a flower there and created a simple yet lovely topper of their own that fit perfectly with the relaxed feel of the entire wedding. There are some good shots that might inspire you to DIY projects that are both simple to carry out, easy on the wallet, and truly effective, too.
Also? There are a couple great shots of the groomsmen being totally badass. Check it out.
Speaking of badass, when was the last time you went to a wedding where the groom went crowd surfing? Check out the pics and story at Offbeat Bride of Danielle and Gonzalo’s fabulous, fun, bilingual wedding. I’m just sorry I missed that party.
The wonderful thing about a wedding is that it can be so many different things and still be a wedding. Take some inspiration, run with it, and have fun!]]>
Just this morning I felt myself compelled to read an article at Gal Time about the ‘new rules’ for who pays for what.
The author of the piece, Analorena Zeldon, consulted two experts, Andria Lewis (wedding planner with fifteen years’ experience) and Jodi RR Smith (author and etiquette expert) about how couples should broach the divvying up of expenses between themselves and their parents.
On the upside, the article not only assumes the couple will take some responsibility for some expenses themselves (and has a convenient breakdown of who pays for what when the two of you are paying for it all), but also that the bride’s parents might choose for a variety of reasons to opt out entirely.
In fact, I like Lewis’ most basic advice, which is essentially that once you know who is giving what, you sit down and work out a plan everyone can live with, pay attention to your budget, and keep your plans reasonable.
Where she loses me is the specific list of what parents pay for as opposed to what the happy couple pay for, should the parents choose to involve themselves financially. Still, she does note that this is just a f’rinstance and open to negotiation/variation.
I also think it’s a Very Bad Idea to tell each family what specifically the other family is paying for. People will figure out quickly whose contribution is less dollars and that leads to hurt feelings, bad blood, and potential life-long family feuds.
Still, this is better than Smith’s advice. Her plan is that the couple figure out what they want, then discuss with each other what each is willing to contribute. Then they go to her parents and ask “diplomatically and tactfully” what they will pony up. At this point, they head off to the groom’s parents (and note that there are no same-sex marriages happening here, or perhaps Smith believes that there is no such thing as a same-sex marriage with familial support) and – approaching them carefully and thoughtfully – ask the same question.
At this point, Smith figures it goes one of three ways: either the bride’s parents pick up the entire tab, the happy couple pays for everything themselves, or the groom’s parents pay part of the costs. Huh. Bride’s parents give all or nothing. Groom’s parents might pay up to half. Bride’s parents can’t (it would seem) give a portion or pay for a specific item and groom’s parents cannot ever cover the entire party.
But this whole thing of setting the budget and then asking the parents (no matter whose, in what order, or expecting what degree of return on the demand) how much they’re going to give you… yeah, that’s a situation I’ve gone on record before as considering a Very Bad and Very Tacky idea unlikely to end in anything but badness.
My take? Unless one or both sets of parents choose to make an offer of funds for your wedding, it’s better to assume you’re the ones holding the ball. Set your budget based on what you can afford and consider further money a windfall rather than a birthright. If and when you are offered financial aid from parents, mentors, or random folks in the street, find out what strings may be attached before accepting and make your decision according to whether you can live with them.
Oh, and if one side can offer a lot more money than the other side, do your best to avoid specific discussion of who paid for what. It’s the tactful thing to do.]]>
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.]]>
Some of those dreams are still strong and vital when we do grow up and find the person we plan to spend our lives with. Others… not so much. It never crossed my mind as a child that one could marry without a veil, and I think my seven-year-old wedding gown dreams included a lot more skirt and a lot more sparkle that I would ever have tolerated at thirty, when I did tie the knot.
When I dreamed of my wedding back in the late seventies, I saw the men in flowing poet’s blouses. In the early nineties when I did the deed, they all wore various versions of tuxes except for one of my brothers and my father who were decked out in their kilts. Nary a poet’s blouse in sight. Okay, one, under my brother’s corduroy jerkin worn with the kilt. Otherwise… not so much.
As a child I dreamed that everything would simply magically appear at the right moment. As an adult, I built that wedding by hand from scratch over the course of a year and a half, carefully counting every penny along the way. The closest thing to magic was how delightful the day wound up being with my closest friends on hand, talented and low-key professionals taking care of the couple things I couldn’t do by myself, good food, and a very reality-grounded dream coming true.
So when I read The Bride I (Never) Wanted to Be at the Etsy Wedding Blog, I felt a kinship with Meg Keene, the author and blogger of A Practical Wedding.
Like her, I understand that dreams are wonderful things that morph over time. Like her I wish the bridal industry in general would understand that what little girls dream of at six (princess, pouffy, sparkly, and pink, more often than not) may not have anything to do with what a woman of twenty-six wants. Like her I wish more adult women could recognize that just because they dreamed it at seven doesn’t mean they can’t change their minds at thirty, or even at nineteen.
By the time In was old enough to have the wedding I wanted, I didn’t want sparkles, pink, pouf, or princess anymore. Those were all window dressing, anyway. There were still childhood dreams that I wanted, though. I wanted the great outdoors, just as I had from the first moment I realized you could do it that way. I wanted music that reflected my Scottish heritage. I wanted plenty of good food featuring my mother’s spectacular potato salad. I just also wanted a dress that was more in keeping with my general tastes. As for the men, what they wore was up to Mr. Twistie and I told him so at the outset. Poet blouses, matching tuxes, speedos and top hats… I didn’t really care so long as the men standing there supported us as much as the bridesmaids I picked did.
So when you’re planning your wedding, really think about which of those childhood dreams (assuming you had them!) still fit and which are best left behind with the other childhood things that no longer fit your adult world. Decide which ones truly are important and which are mere window dressing to you.
Plan your wedding around who you are now, not who you once were or might one day be.
Do it whether you still want to sparkle and pouf…
(Illustration via Once Wed)
… or whether you are a stripped down and simple bride…
(Image via Rock n’ Roll Bride)
… or anything in between.
Just be your adult self, even if she’s still a little childlike around the edges.]]>
I’m not shy, really. I have no problem getting up in front of a crowd to sing, act, dance, or get married. In point of fact, I’m also a bit of a show off, so many people don’t twig to the fact that I’m also profoundly introverted.
I need time alone or I rapidly become irritable. I have been known to shoo even my nearest and dearest and Mr. Twistie from the room when I need that alone time.
But the fact is that weddings – you knew I’d get around them them eventually, right? – are rough on introverts in a lot of ways. Why? Because there are so darn many people involved, and they all want your attention right now.
If you’re an introverted person getting married, or you know and love someone who is, please do yourself a favor: head over to A Practical Wedding and read this lovely guest post on how to survive your wedding week as an introvert. It’s good advice that’s valuable even to a non-extrovert who might get overwhelmed.]]>
Today they are running an infographic on what else you could spend that much money on.
Taking the average cost of a wedding in eleven major cities across the country, they tell you what else that money could buy. For instance, the $65,824 for a traditional wedding in New York City could get you two year’s rent on a one-bedroom apartment in the East Village. In Dallas the $28,717 could get you 164 pairs of cowboy boots, just in case it’s your ambition in life to be the Texan Imelda Marcos.
Now you all know that I’m foursquare in favor of bridal budget sanity. I believe strongly in not spending more money on a wedding than you have to spend. I’m big on making the day personal to you rather than a set of traditions followed for the purpose of not upsetting people who aren’t the ones getting married, and in favor of dumping the trappings that don’t matter much to you personally. So if you would truly rather buy 32,715 beignets from Cafe du Monde than hold a traditional wedding, I will be the first person to have your back… and help you dispose of your beignet surplus.
But really? If you’ve got the money and want to spend it on a wedding, I will also be the first person in your corner. Your money, your priorities. Your choice.
It is my firm belief that a wedding will cost precisely what you are willing to spend on it. Whether you have a potluck backyard gathering for ten or a million dollar extravaganza in an exotic location where you fly in four hundred of your nearest and dearest, if you can pay for it and it makes you happy, then that’s what you should do.
The value of your wedding isn’t something that can be measured entirely in cold dollars and cents or comparison of how many hands of blackjack the same money would buy.
Base your budget decisions on your value system. And don’t let anyone else tell you what that is.]]>