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Jewelry | Manolo for the Brides - Part 5
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Beauty By Bel Canto

After spending a great deal of time brooding over yesterday’s marriage legislation rulings, I need a bit of a brain cleanser. I’m not suggesting we all sit back on our rumps and forget about the need to promote marriage equality, but there’s no reason we can’t take a breather to look at some beautiful accessories for brides.


Bel Canto specializes in one of a kind bridal jewelry crafted from vintage and new materials. Antique brooches are transformed into hair pins, bracelets, and pendants. Baroque pearl and rhinestone sparkle and shine in earrings. The inventory is always changing as the designer finds unique pieces and materials, so bookmark her blog to keep an eye on what’s new.

With these links, I thee amuse and inform

A now seemingly defunct user-contributed creative writing site called Not Attending asked people to decline a wedding invitation from Kate and Haje. There were no rules…writers could say “thanks, but no thanks” as politely or rudely as they pleased. Here’s one of my favorites:

Most support of the loss of dear Kate in the Haje-machine from us. To be unlifed is very hard when young, especially for the old. Who are left.

The project ended in February of 2007, but just for fun I created a login and a saved post–which you can still do–to see if the site’s admins ever monitor activity on the site.

Now on to item deux! In the legalese chapter of iDo, I briefly mention Montana’s unique double-proxy wedding law, a subject explored in more depth in a recent NY Times piece by Dan Barry. In that state, neither the bride nor the groom need be present at a civil wedding provided at least one of them is a Montana resident or on active duty in the military.

It seems the law had been on Montana’s books for at least several decades, perhaps to accommodate soldiers during World War II…The cost to the real bride and groom: $900, $50 apiece to the proxies, $100 to the judge, $150 to the lawyer (and witness); $53 for court fees; $14 for two certified copies of the marriage certificate; and the rest to a Pennsylvania couple who run a business facilitating proxy marriages.

As they say on the site, proxy marriages are their specialty.

And onto item trois: Long ago, a certain Ellie brought LifeGem to my attention. You may remember them as the company that would create a manufactured gemstone from the ashes of a deceased loved one. Now the company can whip you up a stone using only a thickish lock of hair, which means that you can wear a bit of your intended if you’re so inclined.

Finally, for the men in the audience, I’m happy to share the newly revamped Groom Groove video section. According to Groom Groove promoter Aubree, there’s all sorts of new content scattered throughout the site. Here’s a taste:

Bareheaded brides

I was browsing Manolo for the Big Girl just the other day when I came across this comment posted by one prowlcat:

ah yes! the poor taste in wearing bare-shouldered, backless, plunging-neckline wedding dresses in religious ceremonies. vera wang what have you wrought? also brides with crowns or tiaras. brides rejecting the veil, but keeping everything else. its all symbolism; borat will not put you in a sack and carry you away if you wear a veil. its traditional. dyed to match shoes, however, are not. and no flip flops at weddings, even in the jungle!

Now I do detest dyed-to-match shoes — though I’ll admit to fancying them when I was eight or so — and wedding flip flops, particularly the ones embellished with all manner of lace and rhinestones are indeed an abomination. But I can’t say I harbor any vitriol toward brides who choose to walk bareheadedly toward matrimonial bliss.

It was Vera Wang who said, “Other than the wedding ring, [the veil] is the most symbolic accessory a woman will ever wear.” I believe it was Never teh Bride (hey, that’s me!) who said, “Tradition be damned — honey, you’ll be just as married if you say ‘I do’ while wearing jeans and a bad case of bed head.”

Too cute, right?

There are as many reasons to ditch the headgear as there are to wear it proudly. I, for example, can’t stand having stuff in front of my face or flipping about my head, and thus find anything remotely veil-like entirely uncomfortable. Some brides don’t care for the potentially patriarchal origins of the veil tradition, whether or not it actually has its origins in bride-nappers tossing blankets over the heads of their prey or fathers tricking gullible young men into marrying the wrong sister. And I’m sure there are brides out there who think veils are just plain unattractive.


The bling’s the thing…or is it?

Back in the day — by which I mean a period beginning shortly after WWII and ending sometime around the year 2000 when the United Nations General Assembly finally recognized the whole “blood diamond” thing — the recipe for getting engaged read, “Take one diamond valued at roughly two month’s salary plus one knee, and combine. Issue proposal thusly for maximum effect.” Screw you very much, De Beers.

You know, some gal out there would love this

I tend to forget about the whole business of diamonds for a couple of reasons. One, I don’t subscribe to cable or have an antenna, so my exposure to those nerve-gratingly annoying De Beers commercials is kept at a bare minimum. Two, most of my engaged and married peeps received something other than diamonds from their sweeties. And three, as much as I adore all that sparkles, I subscribe to the rather old fashioned notion that big bling looks best on ladies over the age of 50. Perhaps that should even be 60 or 70, considering that 40 is apparently the new 20, which would naturally make 50 the new 30 and so on.

So why am I suddenly concerned with mineralogical numerology? I read something yesterday in the online journal of a friend of a friend.

What is a diamond? It’s a pretty stone, but a really expensive one, and one that only means “I love you” because people think its absence means “I don’t”. With diamonds as the social norm in many countries, marriage is like a game of chicken – neither partner can broach the subject of not getting a diamond ring, because to do so would sound like less than total commitment.


Going for the BOLD

I’ve always been upfront about the fact that I think wedding gowns look best when paired with relatively simple jewelry. I absolutely hate all of the iced out fake pearls that are marketed as bridal baubles, from the triple strand chokers with rhinestone accents to the drop earrings made of the sort of metal that makes my lobes swell after five or so minutes.

Of course, I don’t care for most costume jewelry, so YMMV. Me? I like to go straight for the gold…if I happen to come up with silver instead, that’s okay, too. Bridal jewelry traditions very quite a bit by culture, but here in the U.S. the bride’s tastes rein supreme.

Straight to you from an unconventional goldsmithStraight to you from an unconventional goldsmithStraight to you from an unconventional goldsmith
Straight to you from an unconventional goldsmithStraight to you from an unconventional goldsmithStraight to you from an unconventional goldsmith
Straight to you from an unconventional goldsmithStraight to you from an unconventional goldsmithStraight to you from an unconventional goldsmith

Were we to talk about my tastes, I (a former bride) would have to say they run toward the above style of rings, earrings, and necklaces. Anne Sportun’s jewelry collection can’t be found in the wedding jewelry aisle, but it nonetheless would make a stunning addition to almost any bride’s wedding day wardrobe. These baubles in particular might look great with a simple sheath, but are subtle enough that it’s unlikely they’d overpower a more complex gown.

Love for the lobes

The best pre-wedding gifts I received were not linens or cake pans. I liked the jewelry best. Well meaning relatives gave me necklaces, bracelets, and earrings they thought I might like to wear on my wedding day with the caveat that I shouldn’t feel obligated to wear them. And I didn’t, because I’d already picked out my own custom jewelry.

The jewelry I received didn’t end up going to waste, however. I wore some to the rehearsal dinner and some to the post-wedding brunch. Some I wore way before the wedding and some didn’t get worn until after I was wed, but all of it got worn. So if you know a bride who likes shiny stuff, don’t assume she has all the jewelry she needs. Whether or not she wears your gift when she says her, “I dos,” you can rest assured your gift will be much appreciated.

Old school style for the romantic brideBotanicals for the modern bride
A long drop for the playful brideGold for the traditional bride

All of the lovely earrings above are available from Eve’s Addiction, and all are reasonably priced so you don’t have to break the bank buying holiday gifts. No, you can do that when it comes time to shell out for the shower or wrap something up for the wedding. According to this article, weddings are becoming “a serious pocket drain” for guests. I tend to agree–between gifts, travel, accommodations, and the necessary new outfit, other people’s nuptials are expensive!

Prettifying necks, wrists, and ears

Today’s ‘from the archives’ info comes from a variety of sources.


As I learned from their web site, Belle Pearl (formerly known as “Princess Pearls”) is a mom-based company owned by Angela Apon, mother of five children, wife, and part time Registered Dental Hygienist. I like the idea of a company with a mom at the helm — I’m guessing Angela is no stranger to chaos and is ready to do whatever it takes to make you, the customer, happy.


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