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This weekend’s wedding

real weddings

First off, let me apologize for my wandering spelling and crazy dates in my last post. I had a packed week that included multiple freelance assignments and preparations for attending my aunt’s wedding. In the future, I’ll endeavor to be more careful. That said, let me remind you that there is still more time to send me your wacky wedding stories, so keep them coming! I’ll accept them until 11:59 p.m. EST tonight.

Now, a few of you requested that I dish on the wedding I flew thousands of miles to attend. In terms of general details, the wedding was held on Saturday at a beach resort. The bridal party colors were vivid red and bright yellow. The ceremony, officiated by a non-denominational lady reverend, was supposed to be held at a gazebo next to a local river, but rain screwed that plan right up. The wedding in its entirety was both a mastery of planning and budgeting – the whole shebang took roughly two months to put together and did not break the bank.

The bride: My aunt, a second-time bride, said to heck with outdated traditions and wore a stunning bright white gown. Which, considering that I’m fairly sure she did not wear white at her first wedding, is fine by me. She looks young for her age and has good skin, so there was nothing ‘too young’ about her dress. It looked a bit like this one from Bridal World, except my aunt did not make that nasty face.

At the ceremony, she took me aside and whispered conspiratorially that she purchased her gown for a mere $50 at a local thrift shop.

The decor: The wedding itself was a simple down-home sort of affair, and thus the decor was of the do-it-yourself variety. Tulle bows, shiny heart confetti, little silver bells (which were waaay too popular with the kids there), and red organza favor bags containing chocolates. There were also a lot of candles – which could have been a risk considering the number of children in attendance but turned out just fine.

The food: Buffet style. Some people are of the opinion that having a wait staff to bring out food is classier, and it may be, but I do enjoy the greater selection that buffet dinners usually afford guests. What wasn’t eaten ended up as a sort of late supper at my parents’ house.

The cake: The cake (see above) was a simple yet elegant three-tiered affair with chocolate and yellow cake swathed in cream cheese icing. The cake maker, a friend of the family, charged only for the ingredients. The roses were artificial but still looked nice.

The bouquet: I caught it, of course…but I’m pretty sure my aunt winged it full speed in my direction, so it was no great feat.

The importance (and unimportance) of wedding fashion

As the NY Fashionweek is nearly upon us, the lovely Lesley of Fashiontribes is hosting the pre-Fashionweek Carnivale of Couture. The topic? The State of The Fashion Union. This theme is, as Julie of Almost Girl put it, wide open to interpretation. Being that I am hot for all things bride, including the stress of being one, I want to discuss the relative importance of fashion in choosing dresses, place settings, venues, bands, and the like.

I think that, if called to, there are few people who couldn’t conjure up an image of the stereotypical wedding. In the West (or at least North America), that wedding would feature a glowing bride in a big, lacy dress marrying a fellow in a stark black tuxedo in a church. At the reception, this couple receives their guests in an orderly fashion, dances together, and then cuts into a bright-white, many-tiered cake. As designer Carolina Herrera said in an interview with the Green Bay Press Gazette, “How different can a bride really be?”

Herrera, who has designed wedding gowns since 1986, says that brides today come to her with the idea that they want to be different, more fashion-forward. They ask for dresses with uneven hems, or say they want bold colors, even black or red.

But when the big day comes, they’re wearing a white princess gown, complete with veil, train and high-heeled shoes, just like their mothers did.

When you announce your engagement, it is likely that your Grandma Bea, Aunt Alice, and Cousin Norm are all going to immediately picture you in that princess gown. People have expectations. You, whether you like it or not, have been psychologically influenced to think of certain elements (rice, veils, church, etc.) when someone says, “Wedding.” Your mom has dreamed of dressing you like the perfect lady or gentleman she knows you really are. Your dad has dreamed of dancing with his little princess on her wedding day. Your grandpa wants to see you walk down the aisle in white.

There is fashion and there is tradition, and it is in the planning of nuptials that these two elements of life often clash, with miserable results. So, is the perfect white wedding a fashion? No, it is a tradition. Wearing a simpler but still white gown with a bright splash of color when simpler and more colorful is the current style might be considered conforming to fashion. Yet it is not bowing to any particularly rigid rules of fashion. Beach weddings go from being in style to being a cliché to being in style. But how unusual or innovative is having a party at the beach?

Weddings represent a few hours in one’s life wherein one steps out of one’s usual role, be it banker, farmer, clerk, or CEO, and into a different and far more glamorous one. However, as Herrera implied, that glamour seldom changes or, at least, changes very slowly. Dress shapes and decorative highlights change by the year but are still recognizable as wedding gowns. Many of the favors brides and grooms give their guests in the modern age might have looked just as at home at a post-nuptial place setting in 1960. Some still consider a wedding in the park the height of daring. And most wedding bands still play the old, bland favorites.

Why? Because as much as we love fashion – particularly flashy colored wedding gowns, ultra mod cakes, non-traditional ceremonies, and kooky favors – we also love tradition. And when those of us who don’t particularly love tradition and would rather embrace fashion try to exert ourselves, we discover our relatives (perhaps those writing the checks) love tradition. Which is why, no doubt, the new wedding fashions are so slow to be adopted. Thus, when a soon-to-be-bride who in her mundane life is a beacon of fashion walks into a bridal boutique, she usually makes a bee-line for the poofy princess dresses rather than the sharp-edged dresses of the runways. Behind that decision lie decades and even centuries of tradition, her childhood dreams, and, quite possibly, the shining eyes of old Grandma Bea.

P.S. – Be sure to check out what other bloggers about town are saying about the state of the fashion union!

Happy holidays to you and yours!

Still Never teh Bride!

I want to wish all of the past and future brides out there (as well as the past and future grooms and the happily single) a very happy holiday – whatever your preferred holiday may be.

As for me, another Christmas has come and gone without my finding a jewelry box under the tree or in my stocking so I am still…

-Never teh Bride

Christmas Engagements Are My Bread and Butter

Sterling Silver Celtic Knot Red Garnet Ring (Size 4,5,6,7,8,9)

Practically every December since The Beard and I have been an item, I have wished for only one thing for Christmas. And that one thing, of course, is an engagement ring. Now, while The Beard knows about this blog, I’m pretty sure he’s never looked at it. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s afraid to look at it.

I’ve toyed with the idea of sending him a link to the site. And I could throw caution to the wind and buy him something like Renee Newman’s Diamond Ring Buying Guide: How to Evaluate, Identify and Select Diamonds & Diamond Jewelry .

But maybe other men aren’t so fearful of commitment and maybe they could benefit from a little help in the engagement ring department – for those whose girls want engagement rings, of course. If I can assist but one future husband to choose the perfect bauble for his future wife, my faith in holiday magic will be renewed. For those of you who don’t necessarily want to buy a whole book to make what one hopes will be a one-time purchase, here is a spot on engagement ring how-to from the nice people at About.com:

How to Buy Her an Engagement Ring She’ll Love

Wait, I’m not rich!

So, after rushing to finish up a number of things on Tuesday, I traveled from Boston to Manhattan to be on Wednesday’s “Are Blogs the New Black” panel at the launch of Open Source Media.

On one hand, it was exciting! I was fortunate enough to be participating alongside the lovely Kim of i am pretty nyc and Kristen of beauty addict. We also heard the pseudo voice of The Manolo in pseudo real time – there was a delay of roughly 18 seconds that resulted in much good-natured hilarity.

On the other hand, the fourth panelist in our little group discussion (which was led by trend analyst Tom Julian) led the discussion down a rather weird path. Author and writer Elizabeth Hayt expressed her opinion that, “blogging is absurd. It’s a hobby for rich people with too much time on their hands” just before moving on to ask why blogging is so mean spirited. Her beef was that so many fashion oriented blogs do nothing but insult people’s clothing and makeup.

Unfortunately, the panel was cut short and thus ended just as I wanted to ask Hayt whether she thought there were any similarities between our publically expressing our mean-spirited opinions regarding what people wear and her publically expressing her mean-spirited opinions regarding what people do. Oh well.

I was also a little disappointed that we three bloggers didn’t talk more about the relationship we have with our readers. For me, that’s what makes blogging fun and oftentimes more interesting than plain old journalism.

But, I had a great time nonetheless and was pleased to discover today that Henway Twingo of Sense of Soot compared my relationship to The Manolo to that of the Angels to Charlie. Fantastic!

Happy, happy, happy

waited too long!

I’m another year older today, but I’m not going to tell you how old I am. On this very special day, which I will spend working, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank The Manolo and everyone reading this for giving me a place to kvetch about fashion, cakes, and how The Beard has not yet proposed. When I blow out my birthday candles (and that’s provided someone is gracious enough to bake me a cake), I’m going to cross my fingers and make my wish that The Beard doesn’t wait until we look like the zombieweds above to make me his lawfully wedded wife.

The real shotgun wedding

I found another silver hair today – a grand long one that glinted in the light of my bathroom mirror. Finding one of those and then yanking it out always puts me in a reflective mood and makes my stepmother’s offer of a real shotgun wedding more and more appealing. Of course, at the pace things are going with The Beard, the eventual nuptials are going to look something like this:

The real shotgun wedding

My dad and my stepmother are obsessed with the idea of my getting married. Not that I’m not similarly obsessed, but they go about it with an unparalleled fervor. When I told them I’d be doing Manolo for the Brides, I received this note in the mail:

So maybe writing for a wedding etiquette site will inspire you and The Beard to start planning your own wedding? As always we are here for moral support, ideas, the funding of a wedding, and of course permission from the F.O.B. (father of the bride).

Thanks. Really. Thanks.

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