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Two Opposite and Equally Awesome Thoughts on DIY


(Illustration via A Practical Wedding)

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.

Love is Blind… and So Are Some Brides

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.

Politics, Schmolitics! Let’s See Their Wedding Photos!

The election is over. We’ve cast our votes, the winners have been declared and now it’s time to let go of party animosity and find ways to work together. And you know what always makes me feel good? A wedding!

The only president ever to marry in the White House was Grover Cleveland, when he married twenty-one year old Frances Folsom. There may have been (and in fact, there was) a twenty-seven year age gap between them, but they had a happy marriage by every account I’ve heard or read.

But while other presidents did not marry in office, most of them did marry at some point before getting elected. In fact, the only lifelong bachelor to serve as president of the US was James Buchanan. His neice, Harriet Lane, was his official hostess. Several others were widowers when they took office, such as Thomas Jefferson who depended on his older daughter, Martha, and his good friend Dolley Madison to handle the particulars of the social side of things.

So what did some of our most famous leaders look like on their wedding days? Take a look and see!
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How Low Can You Go?

This is the late Amy Winehouse on her wedding day. Note the anchor printed cotton sundress she wore.

It’s been stolen.

That and a Moschino newsprint cocktail dress she wore in an appearance on the Jools Holland show were both stolen from the late singer’s Camden home.

How low does one have to stoop in order to steal a dead woman’s wedding gown?

To make matters worse, the wedding dress was scheduled to be auctioned off in New York next month to raise money for the Amy Winehouse Foundation. It was expected to sell for pretty big bucks, too, considering its purpose in Winehouse’s life.

To whomever did this: shame on you! You’ve just taken away a lot of funding from a charity to help people overcome addiction. And always remember: karma runs over dogmas.

Jennifer’s Rock, or You Can’t Win for Losing


See Jennifer Aniston. See her fiance, Justin Theroux. See the eight carat rock on her ring finger.

Look, if you’ve been reading this blog for more than a week you know my longstanding distaste for diamonds. They aren’t my thing. Never have been, never will be. And yet, I stand utterly mystified and completely annoyed at the general reaction to Jennifer Aniston’s new engagement ring.

Why? Because so many people are lining up to hate on it so for being too big, too gaudy, and not understated enough.

Look, I’m well aware that Jennifer Aniston is known for her trademark sleek, simple, girl-next-door-taken-to-eleven fashion sense. I know this ring is the opposite of girl next door. I know people expected her to sport a sleek, simple, super-tasteful ring.

But when I look at the design of this ring, I see that one spectacular, over the top accessory that really makes a super simple outfit. It’s really a very simple ring, except for the size of the stone. And even if I didn’t see that, it wouldn’t be up to me to judge that ring.

I don’t know whether Theroux chose it on his own, if Jennifer chose it herself, or if they collaborated on the decision. That – like the price tag – is between them and their jeweler. Whatever the case, she seems happy to wear it. And that – combined with an ability to pay the jeweler’s bill, which I’m not terribly worried about with this couple – is what matters.

Besides, just a few months ago, the same yet opposite chatter accompanied the appearance of the ruby and diamond engagement ring Facebook founder Mark Zucker gave his lady love, Patricia Chen. He designed it himself, taking into account her Chinese heritage and her upcoming career as a doctor as well as, presumably, her taste, and style mavens across the world howled in angry disdain that he had (according to their assumptions) spent so little cold, hard cash on the hardware. If Chen is going to practice medicine, the sort of ring they wanted Zucker to buy her would have just gotten in the way… and probably been denounced as too gaudy, anyway.

Jennifer Aniston is not a doctor treating patients. She is an actress. She’ll mostly leave her engagement ring off when working, and it’ll look good on a red carpet. If she likes it and Theroux likes it, there’s no reason on earth they should change it.

Ultimately, if the ring works for everyone involved in the engagement, it works. If the person giving it can’t afford to do so or the person wearing it hates it, that’s when you’ve got a problem.

Big or small, diamond or no, gaudy or plain, can’t we just love the symbolism without worrying so much about the price tag or whether it seems like a departure from a signature style?

My ring makes me happy. Her ring apparently makes her happy.

That really ought to be enough.

LOVE/HATE: Natalie’s Understated Gown


The first blurry pics are available from Natalie Portman’s August 4 wedding to dancer/choreographer/baby daddy Benjamin Millepied in a moonlight ceremony in Big Sur. As you can see, the bride looks as happy as every bride should feel inside. As you can also see, Natalie went for a simple look for her outdoor wedding.

Opinion is divided on the dress, And I am nothing if not opinionated.

My take? I LOVE this dress. It’s the right sort of length and level of formality for an out of doors wedding. No train to get full of twigs, no flashy rhinestones to look just a bit out of place amidst Mother Nature’s bounty. Just a wreath of flowers and a short veil on her head, flat shoes on her feet, and nothing to distract from her brilliant smile. And yet there are some nice design details that probably looked even better close up (or at least with a better focused camera), such as the layering of the skirt and the contrast fabric used for the sheer sleeves.

But that’s my opinion. What’s yours?

Wool You Marry Me?


If you’ve been reading this blog for more than two minutes, you know I’m a huge fan of DIY for weddings. Choose your projects carefully, give yourself plenty of time, and it’s possible to save big as well as add uniquely personal dash to your big event.

The lady shown above is an excellent example of How It’s Done Properly.

When Ash Pears asked lady love Lydia Taylor to marry him, she did try on some commercially made wedding gowns… but only for inspiration. She designed and made her own gown. In point of fact, she knitted it.

Watching as much bridal reality as I do, I know well that moment when the bride walks into a bridal salon and announces she has only two grand to plonk down on her wedding gown and accessories. They do their best not to react, but you can always see a flash of worry and an involuntary breath taken in on the part of the consultant. Bridal runs to big bucks.

But Taylor’s elegant knitted frock set her back less than two hundred pounds and needed no alterations, since it was made to measure.

Between knitting her gown, finding reception plates at garage sales and thrift shops, making her bouquet out of fabric flowers and a vintage brooch or two, creating her own favors by hand (pear shaped pin cushions) and doing her own decorations, Taylor and Pears kept their overall wedding budget down to around five thousand pounds… allowing them enough left over to have an eighteen night honeymoon in Bali and Singapore as well as a down payment on a house to raise a family in.

Would they change anything if they had had more money? Says Taylor:

‘If we had won the National Lottery the only change we would have made is a free bar for our friends.’

Fair enough. I have to say, I love that gown.

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