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Fun stuff | Manolo for the Brides - Part 14
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Edible Eye Candy

Oh, Amy Atlas… I couldn’t have afforded an event planner to handle my wedding, much less one highly sought-after in New York City like yourself, but when it comes to dessert, I can certainly aspire to be you. Atlas, you see, specializes in creating perfect dessert tables for high-end events, and perfect they are.

black and yellow wedding

Here, custom yellow and black chocolates, licorice mints, and lemon cupcakes complement a graphic tiered cake. This table of sweets was designed for a company party, but would look utterly smashing at a modern wedding with a yellow and black theme.

Beware dieters! The close-up shots of the various sweets are gorgeous enough to make a girl salivate for something sugary, and there are more colorful candy pics from Amy Altas’ portfolio after the cut!


14 Sentences On Goodwill Wedding Dresses

second hand wedding gown

A woman I know loosely through another web site — one Diana Heideman — recently contributed a poem to that web site, and I was so enamored with it that I asked her if I could post it here in its entirety. She said yes, and I thought that the day before Thanksgiving would be the perfect time to take a break from all the wedding invitations and ceremony accessories and bridal bouquets.

Here is her poem, entitled “14 Sentences On Goodwill Wedding Dresses”:

Strapless, vanity size 0, from David’s Bridal, never worn with original tags.
She never lost the 50 pounds she swore she would, and bought the proper size the week before the wedding, and looked beautiful.

Eggshell sheath with sash, tags removed, altered, never worn.
Two months before the wedding, after the final fitting, her pregnancy test came back positive, and while she still fit in the dress, he did not want to be a father, and one morning he was gone.

Princess dress, beaded, some beads missing, carefully mended tears, light soiling on the hem.
Years after their mother’s wedding, three sisters each in turn played bride, or princess, dancing around in mama’s dress, but all three girls are grown now.

Vintage dress with intricate beading, carefully hand sewn from a pattern, worn once, musty but clean.
Her children and their children were too busy fighting over jewelry and furniture to notice her real treasures, and got rid of anything they couldn’t put a price on.

Tasteful silk tea-length dress, clearly worn, some wrinkles and snags in the fabric.
The dress was stuffed in the back of her closet after six years, two children, and one misplaced phone call that revealed his cheating, since she couldn’t bear the reminder of better times.

White satin dress with train, worn once, pristine condition.
The wedding and the marriage have been perfect, but she feels it criminal to put the dress away where it will never be worn again, so she offers someone else a sliver of the joy she has.

Traditional off-the-shelf classic gown, worn once, cared for well.
Always pragmatic and less than sentimental, after her only child–a son–was in college and she hit menopause, she saw no reason to keep a dress her family would never use again.

It’s rather bittersweet, no? But the overwhelming theme that runs throughout — that memories can and should be passed on, for better or for worse — is fascinating. Not many brides opt for second hand wedding dresses, but those who do are inadvertently sharing a rich history with someone they will likely never meet.

I gave my wedding gown to my paternal grandmother’s church so she or someone else from that institution could make sure it was passed on to a bride-to-be who both needed it and would enjoy it. I’ll probably never find out what happened to my dress, but I hope it went to someone whose marriage has been as happy as my own.

(photo via)

A Renaissance of Love

The story was broken yesterday at Manolo for the Big Girl, but a regular Manolosphere commenter, Andrea S, had a Very Special Experience at the Renaissance Faire. Follow the link, and wish her joy!

Interestingly enough, the Renaissance Faire was where Mr. Twistie and I met. I didn’t pay too much attention that first day to the somewhat less than sober guy holding up a pole at the Pistolbows (hand-held crossbows for the kiddies to shoot) booth, so I had no idea what a momentous occasion it was. Just shy of thirteen years later, we pledged ourselves to one another before a crowd of friends and family.

Yeah, sometimes we’re slow. Still, we get there eventually.

Oddly enough, my brother the alpaca rancher also met his love at the Faire. In fact, they met when she (a member of the Irish camp) proposed to him, because he looked a prosperous English fellow. It took them something in the range of about two years to tie the knot, but they fell hard pretty much immediately, and are still besotted with one another more than twenty years later.

Now I’m curious. When and where did you meet your intended/spouse? Did you know right away, or did it take a while? What’s your love story?

Some Fun Stuff…Some of Which Is Actually Useful

I love finding games and virtual planning tools on the web. They’re great for playing, and some of them are also useful for doing serious planning. From color inspiration to figuring out the best time of year to hold your outdoor wedding to playing with virtual paper dolls, these tools and games can amuse and instruct any bride to be.

Enter your zip code in the box, and you’ll get an overview of how the weather generally runs in the area where you’re getting married. Check average high and low temperatures and levels of precipitation. You know who could have used this? The couple I saw on Bridezillas recently who planned a beachside wedding on the New Jersey shore in April, and then were distraught when it rained! I could have told them it was a bad idea.

If you still love paper dolls in your heart of hearts, head on over to this site. There are literally dozens of games to choose from. Pick a designer, wedding party member, even a Hello Kitty wedding, and dress dolls up to your heart’s content.

Enter your total budget, approximate number of guests, and the sales tax rate for your area and this will give you a budget breakdown based on average spending patterns, along with columns to organize your actual intended budget, and how much you go over or under on each item. It’s not perfect (‘reception’ is one cost, for instance), but if you haven’t got a clue how much money to put where, this could be a good way to start figuring it out.

A virtual game of hide and seek in which the player looks for hidden items in wedding-related pictures. Harder than it sounds. You never know where that darned koala may be hiding…and I never did find the firecracker at the wedding shower.

Upload a photo in the color range you like, and this handy tool will give you a convenient set of virtual swatches to help you refine the colors you’d like to use. Even checking out the samples shown could inspire you to color greatness.

There are dozens of tools and games out there on the web to help you plan your wedding and let off steam. Go have fun with them!

Man Showers? I’m Thinking a Lot of Duct Tape!

No, not a lot of duct tape like that, you pervs. I mean there will probably be a lot of duct tape on the man registry* that will precede what some are calling the newest trend in weddings, the man shower. Googling “man showers” — see what I do for you? — brings up plenty of results, which could indeed point to a growing trend. EXCEPT that almost all of the results lead to a single AP article reprinted in papers across the U.S.

The gift-laden dude you see above is Brian Wigand, whose FFIL Jonathan Morris welcomed him into the family by throwing him a man shower as a warm up to, not a substitute for, the traditional bachelor party.


Sweet, Sweet Schadenfreude

There are few things I love so much in life as a great story. If there’s a little bitter bite to the story, so much the better, I admit it. Tales of other peoples’ disasters tend to be a lot more entertaining than concentrating on your own miseries, after all. It feels good to be able to point and laugh and say ‘better someone who isn’t me than me.’ I’m not proud of it, no, but there it is.

Thus it is that one of my favorite haunts to visit on the net is Etiquette Hell. There I can have my fill of cautionary tales about brides run amok and flower girls mooning the congregation, of grooms gone gaga and guests who have sadly left all their couth at home for the event. From ring bearers who drop the rings to bakers who drop the cake, it’s all there in glorious Technicolor and four-part harmony…with feeling.

Some highlights include the couple who noted a $115.00 cover charge for their wedding on the invitation, the maid of honor who didn’t invite the other two bridesmaids to the shower, the groom’s family who take over the entire process…without putting up one red cent, the vindictive ex-girlfriend of the groom who tipped off the police about where to find him to arrest him on an outstanding warrent on his wedding day at the altar, and of course multiple cases of actual assault.

If you need a little perspective (or a bit of etiquette advice), I highly recommend Etiquette Hell. Oh, and while you’re there, check out their recently added feature The Library which houses works on etiquette ranging from George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation up to the 1922 edition of Emily Post.

Now, back to those tales of woe. Heh, heh.

Is there nothing makeup can’t do?

After checking out my shortlist of ways to put some pep into wedding pics, reader Ky suggested I check out Taaz. Can I just say I love synchronicity? It just so happens that I was planning on posting about Taaz, which describes itself as a “fun, easy-to-use website that gives women the opportunity to ‘try on’ the hottest makeup and hairstyle looks from the convenience of their homes.”

I’m interested in anything I can try on without having to battle my way through throngs of fellow shoppers, so I gave it a go. My original wedding day look is on the left, and my plasticized look is on the right.

I had a stylist following me with lip gloss…apparently I needed an airbrush expert

But while I love makeovers as much as the next femmey-femme, I had no intentions of discussing how one might use Taaz to try on different makeup colors and hairstyles. Nor was I planning to wax poetic about the site’s product recommendations — circumstances dictate I be a Bare Minerals girl as much as I might want to worship at the altar of Chanel.

No, I want to talk to all frazzled and fried brides-to-be about Taaz’s potential as a stress reliever. Seriously…I just spent a hilarious forty-five minutes uploading snapshots of friends, family, and pets so I could make them look like geishas, freaks, and cross dressers. No one was spared the cruelties of my dastardly broad makeup brush.


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