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Books | Manolo for the Brides - Part 5
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Boys being boys?

An unspoken code of secrecy surrounds bachelor parties. I think it’s to keep women on their toes, and to spare them the grief of the details. “The boys got together and went to a strip club,” is a heck of a lot less upsetting than, “We got trashed on cheap whisky, went to Hooter-Nannies, and I lost myself in a lapdance given by a tall, lithe woman who called herself Luscious Linda. Oh, and she smelled divine!”


Before I go on, let me just say that I am so happy that The Beard did not have a bachelor party. Even though I know that his friends – who are also my friends, for the most part – likely would have planned an evening of PBR and Wii, I’m still happy. Why? Because after reading Bachelor Party Confidential by David Boyer I now know that all it takes is one sleazy friend with a phone book handy to turn a relatively mild evening of male bonding into a sex crazed evening that could be considered grounds for annulment.



A bridal ballet

Being a dancer myself, I couldn’t help buy get excited when I came across an old article in some dance magazine about Canadian designer Justina McCaffrey‘s use of ballerinas from the National Ballet of Canada as models. Her spring 2007 “Majestic” collection was presented on the 2006 NYC Bridal Market runway by dancers Leslie Schroeter, Krista Dowson, Tamara Jones and Juri Hiraoka, as well as second soloists Julie Hay and Bridgett Zehr and principal Heather Ogden.


Doesn’t that just make a smashing impression? I don’t practice ballet any longer being a tap fanatic myself, but I can certainly appreciate the overlap between weddings and ballet. Just about the only place you can find all the lace and pomp that shows up in most weddings is at the ballet! I heartily recommend that you go check out her collections, as they are utterly gorgeous.

The Day’s Aside: I’m currently flipping my way through The Greatest Weddings of All Time, which is a fun look at the details of high-profile celebrity weddings. And I just finished Bachelor Party Confidential by David Boyer — expect a review in a few days.

Proof in your hand that fairy tales come true


I may be the only person in the world who missed this bit of wedding gown related news, but in case some of you good folks also missed it, a limited edition of the coffee table book “A Dress for Diana” by designers by David and Elizabeth Emanuel comes with 4-inch swatches of the silk used to fashion Princess Diana’s famous wedding gown. By which I mean the ultimate fairy tale gown…an ivory taffeta and antique lace confection with a wonderfully oversized train.

A piece of history will cost you, however. The thousand run-off limited edition book containing bits of the iconic fabric was originally priced at $2,000, but I imagine that this figure will skyrocket as the books begin to change hands.

The Emanuels were recent art college graduates when Lady Diana Spencer commissioned them to design the dress for her marriage to Prince Charles. Their creation, designed and sewn under high security as photographers went through their trash and rented rooms across from their studio, had a 25-foot train.

The silk that did not make the cut into the dress was kept in a bank vault for years.

Elizabeth Emanuel said she and her husband are not exploiting public devotion for the princess — although their book, which was originally supposed to come out on the 25th anniversary of the wedding is now tied to the 10th anniversary of Diana’s death.

If the book’s four-figure price tag puts you off, the original edition of the book costs about twenty bucks. You can also get your princess bride fix with other books like Debrett’s Book of the Royal Wedding, Invitation To A Royal Wedding, and Grace Kelly: Icon of Style to Royal Bride. And, of course, there is always the Princess Diana Paper Doll Book of Fashion, which is a bit of silly fun.

Surprise, surprise, surprise!

What’s the big Valentine’s Day surprise, you ask? It’s that yours truly is engaged. Yes, N.t.B. has entered the ranks of those who are not only obsessed with weddings, but also articulate their expressing by spending thousands of dollars on stuff with no practical purpose! But pretty is purpose enough sometimes, right? Are you with me here?

I know ya’ll love reading about the who, what, when, and where of two people deciding to spend their lives together, so here’s a dramatic re-enactment of the proposal:

Aw, isn\'t that sweet?

Just kidding. The Beard was totally mushy about it, all with the getting down on one knee and the wearing of the ceremonial tie. And while they have not yet arrived, I am getting not one, but two engagement rings! A classic ring set with labradorite and a more modern ring set with Swiss blue topaz.

What’s this mean for the blog? Well, it probably means that you’re occasionally going to have to listen to me while I ramble on about my own wedding planning experiences. And I may just have to bombard you with reviews of the schwag I actually bought, the schwag I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, and the schwag I wish I had enough money to buy.

First up? Books, of course. I wouldn’t have sprung for wedding planning books…being that I don’t have much need for them…but, heck, this blog is a job, which means that all my books on nuptial know-how are tax deductible! Whoo! I naturally went for some of the more eccentric titles:

Anti-Bride Guide: Tying the Knot Outside of the Box

I Do but I Don?t: Walking Down the Aisle without Losing Your Mind

Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides

As an aside, I’m sorry to have to disappoint all the romantics out there, but it wasn’t a Valentine’s Day proposal. I just thought I’d save it up so I’d have something sweet to post for V-Day. So happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Just in case you’re jonesin’ for some cuteness, here is a picture of some pigs in love, courtesy of Go Veg:


Were you a bad bridesmaid?

When Canadian columnist Siri Agrell was dubbed a bad bridesmaid, she decided to do something about it, so she compiled a book of funny and tragic stories from the nuptial front. The resultant work, Bad Bridesmaid: Bachelorette Brawls and Taffeta Tantrums–Tales from the Front Lines, is a collection of stories that highlight the dark side of being a bridesmaid. And I think we all know there is one.

Bad Bridesmaid: Bachelorette Brawls and Taffeta Tantrums--Tales from the Front Lines

I’ll tell you more about the book tomorrow, but I just wanted to get the ball rolling here, because I happened to receive an advance copy of the book to give away! I want you to tell me your absolute worst bridal party experiences. Maybe you were a long-suffering bridesmaid stuck under the thumb of a dictator bride. Or maybe *you* were the bridesmaid from hell, asked to participate in a wedding because the bride needed to round out the wedding party. Even if you were a guest and simply a witness to bad bridesmaid behavior, I want to hear about it.

It’s simple: The writer of the most horrifyingly humorous tale gets the book. E-mail me your stories at Never.teh.Bride@gmail.com by Sunday evening, and I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Then, throughout next week, I’ll share the wackiest and worst bad bridesmaid tales I receive!

Strung out

Ah, DIY. What a pain in the behind, right? I’m not going to lie to you and say that your decision to make your own favors, bouquets, and so forth isn’t going to seem like a huge mistake now and then. But if you gather the right materials and tutorials beforehand, DIY doesn’t have to be entirely painful.

Beaded Weddings: 75+ Fabulous Ideas for Jewelry, Invitations, Reception Decor, Gifts and More

I just picked up a copy of Beaded Weddings: 75+ Fabulous Ideas for Jewelry, Invitations, Reception Decor, Gifts and More and I tell you truthfully that even a klutzy dunce like me can complete the projects in this book. Author Jean Campbell no doubt had people like me in mind while compiling the directions for things like adding beadwork to a plain veil, creating beautiful beaded embellishments for candles and cake cutters, making comb headpieces from scratch, constructing wedding-ready jewelry out of simple components, and prettying-up your nuptial decor with…you guessed it…beads.

A lot of books of this ilk (I’m talking about the hundreds of craft books out there) are obviously meant for the experienced DIY’er. Beaded Weddings is one of the few exceptions, as it contains step-by-step instructions for making matrimonial schwag that beginners can easily follow. From cake toppers, to centerpieces, to invitations, to tiaras, every project outlined in the book is accompanied by directions so specific even I can follow them. The first sixteen or so pages are dedicated to the why’s and how’s of threading beads, stringing beads, materials, wire cutters, and more.

The illustrations and color photographs are a big help. You wouldn’t know it, but making a pair of earrings or a pearl headband is pretty darn simple when you can consult figure drawings that tell you exactly how to place the beads, which direction to twist the jewelry wire, what knots to use, and how to secure any loose ends. No more paying the big bucks for simple drop earrings!

Now, a while back someone suggested I create a tutorial explaining how to embellish the edging on a veil. And I’ve gotten plenty of e-mails from readers wanting advice regarding DIY projects. Well, let me tell you, you’d be way better off buying this book (or one like it) because I definitely have my limits where handicrafts are concerned.

The sustainable bridesmaid

Friend and reader Sterlingspider, with whom I’ve been discussing corsets, recently sent me a link to Faernyn’s Grove Sustainables. Yes, they have bridal corsets…really nice ones, in fact. But they also have a small selection of dresses and today I want to talk about those.

Check this out:

I think I\'m in love. With the dress, not the model, mind.

Wouldn’t this A-line jade green formaldehyde-free silk piece make a gorgeous bridesmaid dress? It’s practically making me salivate. What’s sustainable about it? According to the web site, every design listed is produced with at least 70% sustainable textiles and, additionally, every design has a 100% certified organic fabric option.

Now, to shift topics to your least favorite topic and mine, holiday shopping. If you happen to know someone who, like me, is fascinated by corsets, I can’t recommend The Corset: A Cultural History by Valerie Steele and Fetish Fashion: Undressing the Corset by Larry Utley highly enough. Both are absolutely stunning!

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