Archive for the ‘Traditions’ Category

Get Rid of Engagement Rings?

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

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Bling bling!

Tell me ladies, do you have a big fat diamond engagement ring on your finger? Maybe a giant sapphire? I personally don’t, not for any particular bias against them (when they’re conflict free) but rather because I am a ring snagger so I do best with low-profile rings that aren’t going to rip out my hair and destroy my delicates. I do have a surprising number of friends sporting big bling, some of whom I think must still be paying it off after a few years.

No matter. Whether you’re partial to something like Twistie’s silver frog or the 10 carat estate ruby I do occasionally wear (snag snag) or a huge honkin’ diamond set in platinum, there’s one thing most most engagement rings have in common. And that’s that engagement rings are given to women by men. Which is fine and dandy – who doesn’t love presents? – but it does have this weird way of tipping the scales, making people feel inadequate, and switching on the materialism in nice people who aren’t typically prone to that sort of thing. Plus, according to Slate’s Dear Prudence writer Emily Yoffe:

It turns young women — otherwise independent, successful strivers — into passive recipients, waiting for their prince to rescue them from their single state. In what other aspect of their lives do young women so totally turn over their future to the decisions of others? I get letters from women who regularly scour their beloved’s sock drawer, hoping to see a ring box, evidence that marriage is in their future. The ritual of the engagement ring means he decides, he buys, he proposes. Throwing the ring out of the equation encourages the progression toward marriage to be more of a continuing discussion, a joint decision.

What do you think? Should engagement rings go the way of the dodo or should things get back into balance with the introduction of an engagement gift for men trend?

The Groom’s Speech, What Huh?

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

The groom’s speech – yes, yet another in the long line of wedding speeches – is your opportunity to thank your wedding guests for honoring you with their presence, to thank your new spouse for all her or his hard work, and to give a shout out to all the people who helped you foot the bills. Your speech, if you plan to give one, usually happens after the FOB has had his say but before the BM grabs for the mic. You can wing it if you have a talent for freestyling, but the groom’s speech is almost always more impressive if you prepare ahead of time by making a mental list of all the people you should be thanking.

Who deserves an honorable mention? Consider paying your respects to the moms and the dads, your attendants including the littlest ones, your officiant, extended family you’re close to, guests who traveled very far, and all those who were unable to make it due to circumstances outside of their control… but try to avoid reciting a laundry list of thank yous.

If you want to do more than express your gratitude, you should really prep your speech ahead of time and memorize it. There’s nothing wrong with reading off a crumpled up slip of paper – which is how I read my vows! – but connecting with a crowd means making eye contact. Even though Easyweddingtoasts.com suggests opening with a snappy one-liner, what you’re aiming for here is sincerity and originality. Don’t get too funny or too sentimental – your family may think your re-enactment of your first date is hilarious, but your spouse’s family may not be used to your brand of humor. Personal anecdotes are good, and you can win major brownie points with your new in-laws by telling everyone how lucky you are to be married to your new mate.

You could pay someone to write the ultimate groom’s speech for you… the Internet is overflowing with automatic speech generators like Speeches.com and professional speechwriters looking to make a buck. Your guests probably won’t care, however, whether you recite a good canned speech or give an okay speech that comes from the heart. They’re there to support you, not to judge you. You shouldn’t talk on and on in the interest of making your speech a certain length – a minute or two of chatter is sufficient if you’ve gotten your point across. End with a one-sentence toast like, “To my beautiful bride!” or “To the families that were joined today!” and pass the mic on.

Excerpt: iDo: Planning Your Wedding With Nothing But Net

A Bouquet Tossing Alternative Idea That I LOVE

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Most brides-to-be are familiar with the more common alternatives to the bridal bouquet toss. For example, the practice of calling all of the married women (or couples) out onto the dance floor at the reception and giving the bouquet to the one who has been married the longest.

Another pseudo alternative to the traditional bouquet toss is the breakaway bouquet or fortune bouquet toss, where the bouquet breaks into pieces (with fortunes or charms attached) mid-flight and there’s enough for everyone. Then there’s the wish bouquet – the bride still sets up a bouquet toss, but she invites all the women at the wedding to come to the dance floor and make a wish. Whoever catches the bouquet will see their wish come true.

And some brides simply present the bouquet to an honored relative or, don’t do anything with the bouquet beyond carrying it. It’s all good, whatever route the bride takes.

But I really really really love this alternative to the bouquet toss photographed by Jagger Photography because it’s just so simple. You’re a single lady and you want the bridal bouquet? Hoping for luck in matrimonial love? Well, there it is – go ahead and grab it. Just be willing to endure some ribbing if your friends and family are anything like mine. And if you’re the bride, be prepared to take your bouquet home with you if it turns out that there are no willing bachelorettes at your wedding.

What are your bridal bouquet tossing plans?

Not Your Everyday Wedding Wear

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Looking for an alternative to the traditional wedding veil? You could do like the ladies of Bourg en Bresse in France once did and, er, wear a lampshade on your head.

…I also think I see some wedding wear ideas for the groom who would describe himself as a “creative type.” (via)

LOVE/HATE: The ‘Practice Wedding’ Edition

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Bridal showers… some people have them, some people don’t. The best thing I can say about my bridal shower is that people I love were there, quite a few of whom I hadn’t seen on a long, long while. The thing about bridal showers is that the bride is supposed to have nothing to do with the planning of it. She’s busy planning a wedding, first of all. And what with showers being a gift-focused event, etiquette says that the guest-of-honor isn’t to be involved in the details.

That means that brides-to-be get what they get when it comes to bridal showers if everyone follows the rules, so there are those who end up with quite restaurant lunches and those who end up with something a little more… like a wedding?

over the top bridal shower bachelorette party

A practice wedding, perhaps? There’s a part of my brain that, when it sees pictures of luxurious and otherwise fabulously-appointed bridal showers or bachelorette parties shouts “Excess, excess, excess!” but it’s a small part, really. And probably a jealous part *wink* since if the hostess of said shower has the fundage to throw a huge do just for the fem folks, then more power to them.

There’s certainly no rule stating that a bridal shower can’t have a giant cake and and favors galore and amazing tablescapes, or even live music and things like that. A shower is, after all, just another kind of party. But there’s still that part of my mind that wonders if all the bridesmaids involved in the planning could really afford to chip in, and if guests possibly might have obligated to spring for a more expensive gift if they heard just how fancy a shower it would be.

I suppose I have to label myself conflicted when it comes to a certain sort of very upscale bridal shower – and, again, it’s probably got a lot to do with that nasty green-eyed monster, since I do love a fab party! What say you?

P.S. – Check out the giveaway I’m running at Manolo for the Home! It’s for a super cute Dabney Lee desk calendar that will really brighten your day!

(Photo via)

Dissing Dads? Hardly.

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Among the many questions thrust upon brides-to-be by well-meaning and curious people is “Is your dad walking you down the aisle?” It used to be a given in the majority of U.S. Christian or Christian-flavored weddings, but nowadays there are definitely more options. A bride might walk with her dad or, like me, be escorted by both of her parents. She might walk with her spouse-to-be – and I rather think it’s nice to see a couple gliding up to until death do they part together.

Some brides walk in alone, and I know at least one who walked in a group with her bridesmaids. Others walk halfway to the altar with dad and the rest of the way with their spouses-to-be (or alone). And still others walk with uncles or aunts or friends or a pet. When it comes to breaking with tradition, anything goes, especially in this area.

mother-of-the-bride walks down the aisle

The only problem? A lot of dads still assume that they’re going to do the walking. Mine definitely did, and was hurt when I told him that I wanted to be escorted in – not, I should add, be ‘given away’ – by both him and my mom. It just seemed so wrong to not include my mom, who did the bulk of work when it came to raising me.

Frankly, a corsage and a seat up front wasn’t going to cut it. So my dad was hurt, but he got over it or at least never brought it up again. Not all dads feel dissed, though, which is a good thing, seeing as that times they are a’changin’. Take Virginia Sole-Smith’s experience:

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Catch As Catch Can

Friday, May 14th, 2010

When I polled all you lovely ladies back in February to ask whether you’d be tossing the bouquet, most of you chose “No way! I don’t want to embarrass the single ladies like that.” And more power to you – I would say that at the majority of weddings I attended in my 20s, it was common to see all the unmarried maids who dutifully trudged onto the dance floor for the bouquet toss back the truck up when that notable arrangement came flying at their heads. I’ve even seen a bouquet land on the floor!

But it’s telling that the second most popular poll response was “Yes, absolutely! It’s just harmless fun, so why not?” (followed closely by “No, but I’m not opposed to it. It’s just not something I feel inclined to include,” which is also somewhat telling). What it says to me is that plenty of brides are still tossing the bouquet. For their sakes, I hope that their single friends are as enthusiastic as this:

bridesmaid catching the bouquet

(Photo via the always gorgeous Kate Harrison Photography)