Perhaps it’s the romantic in me, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about tents, and I’m not talking about the sort you’d find on a camping trip, unless you’re going on a Holy Crusade with Richard the Lionhearted. What I’m thinking about are those giant tents, sometimes called marquees, that are erected at weddings and parties.
Until I moved east, I rarely encountered a tent at a wedding. California brides, who know enough to not schedule their weddings in the rainy season, can be nearly 100% certain that they won’t get rained out. Head east, past the Rocky Mountains, however, and the April showers that bring May flowers last all summer long, meaning that the wise bride who wants an outdoor wedding reception must be prepared for a cloudburst or three. The same would be triply true for our friends in the United Kingdom, who enjoy glorious summer days, punctuated by scudding clouds shedding rain.
Hence the wedding marquee for hire, or as we would say here, a tent for rent. The key to renting a pavilion or marquee is that you have to make your arrangements in advance, way, way in advance, if you’re hoping to get married on the most popular dates in mid-to-late spring. I would suggest that if you’re doing a June wedding you should plan on contacting the rental company at least a nine months, if not a year, in advance to secure the marquee you need.
The variety of options and configurations a good rental company can provide are amazing. Here’s one with a checkerboard dancefloor:
Most of them can also supply accessories such as chairs, tables, sounds systems, lighting, virtually everything except the food, the band, and the guests. The keys, however, are careful planning and knowing exactly what you’ll need before you start booking tents.]]>
I don’t know how many times I’ve had to explain this to young women who’ve been eager to buy bridesmaid dresses from the evening rack, that bridesmaid dresses are not prom dresses. It should be simple but it’s not. Look at the dresses at a site like DressFirst, and compare the two categories, and you’ll see what I mean right away.
Bridesmaid dresses are designed to make the bride the star of the show, which is completely understandable, since the bride IS the star of the show. Thus, so many bridesmaid’s dresses are unflattering, either in color or cut, or both, because the attendants cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to show up the bride. This is not to say that the bridesmaids need to look dumpy, glum, and colorless, just that they can’t be looking overly radiant. Radiant is reserved fro the bride alone.
Prom dresses and homecoming dresses ARE designed to make the wearer the star of the show. That’s why there’s all of those sequins, and why they are cut the way they are. The best ones are designed to showcase the wearer, as if she were trophy.
So there you go, there is a reason why so many bridesmaid’s dresses are unflattering, and why so many prom dresses are not.]]>
That tendency got me the gig of filling in when Christa went on her honeymoon… which led to a regular weekend gig on the blog, and eventually it became my baby.
For the past five years and change, I have written about nearly every aspect of getting married and how marriage is changing. I’ve written about etiquette, trends, media representations, and the nuts and bolts of how to feed and entertain a large guest list while jumping through legal and cultural hoops. It’s been a blast, and I probably could have gone on for years.
But effective immediately, this here blog is shutting down, along with the rest of the Manolosphere. I know it’s a decision that’s been a long time coming for a variety of reasons. I’m just sad it had to happen.
I’ll miss you all terribly. I’ll miss sitting down at my computer to seek out the wild, the wooly, the ridiculous, and the endearing in the world of weddings.
On the upside, I can finally take Bridezillas off my DVR for good.
I wish all of you the very best of luck, the happiest of marriages, and every possible good thing.
Oh, and that illustration at the top? Well, things are not always what they seem on the surface. That’s good to remember when something happens that seems like the worst possible thing.
I’ve decided this was the kick in the pants I needed to move onward and upward with my writing career. I’m going to put together a book proposal or two and see what happens.
After all, when the wedding is over, it’s time for the next big adventure of your life.
I see no reason why this should be any different.
There is wheat, of course, but it needs to be winnowed from a metric buttload of chaff.
Back when I was planning my own wedding, I didn’t have cable, and these shows weren’t on the major networks. Any wedding planning advice I found on TV was from morning shows, soap operas, and the occasional Very Special Wedding Episode of whatever series’ I was watching. But even if I’d had cable back then, wedding reality wasn’t a major genre.
Today, though, there’s an entire channel devoted to nothing but bridal planning and bridal reality shows. There are several channels that would be seriously hurting for programming if bridal reality went away. The Say Yes Empire is the new one on which the sun never sets.
That means a lot of people other than charming and talented wedding bloggers must watch these shows, and watch them a lot.
So I’m curious. What bridal programming do you watch on TV? And what’s the best piece of advice you ever got from one of these shows? Was it one the producers intended to pass on to you?]]>
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Take a couple tips from me, and you can walk that aisle with all the aplomb and zen of a Jedi Master… only prettier than Yoda.
Get plenty of rest in the weeks leading up to your wedding. Yes, I know there’s a lot to do and everyone wants to spend time with you, but nothing makes you stressed out faster than being dog tired. Do your best to get your eight hours every night. Take naps when you can, if need be.
Eat proper square meals on a regular basis. One of the most common mistakes that women make when they are getting married is to start a diet so they’ll fit in their wedding gowns. This is not going to help you have rosy cheeks and a radiant confidence. It’s going to make you cranky, short-tempered, and generally not much fun to be around. Always remember: it’s the job of the dress to fit your body, not the job of your body to fit the dress. So find something a little forgiving if you tend toward weight fluctuations, get proper meals with plenty of nutritional value, and let your waist do what it will do. After all, your intended proposed to you knowing what you look like. Let yourself look like you in your wedding photos.
Move your body. Finding a fun, appropriate form of exercise for you not only helps your muscle tone and heart health, it can help stabilize your moods, too. Just make sure you find something that makes you feel good, so you’ll want to keep doing it. Whether you find that swimming laps, belly dancing, playing baseball, or taking long walks is your thing, make time for it in your life.
Know what relaxes and what stresses you. This may seem like a no-brainer, but every one of us has different emotional needs, and what relaxes one person may cause another to tear her hair out by the roots and howl at the moon. Some brides need to control every aspect of the wedding to be calm and certain they’re taken care of. Another may need to put all the details in someone else’s hands to avoid complete emotional breakdown. Most of us fall somewhere in between. Figure out where your lines are, draw them firmly in the sand, and don’t let anyone else tell you what they ought to be. Thank them for their concern and tell them you’ve got it worked out to your satisfaction. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Know which hills you will die on, and which you won’t. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a major crisis. Every choice doesn’t have to matter that much to you. If your soon-to-be mother-in-law feels more strongly about the flavor of the cake, consider letting her have her way, or at least reaching a compromise you can both live with. If it is vitally important to you to have a particular tune played for your processional, let the person who will object most strenuously have their way about something else… like the font on the programs or the exact shade of the napkins.
If you feel yourself losing your temper, excuse yourself and find a way to let off some steam. It happens. We all lose our tempers sometimes, and we all have the urge once in a while to kick some shins. When things start getting to that point, it’s time for everyone to get out of the sandbox, retire to their respective corners, and find a little perspective. Come back to the discussion when everyone is calmer.
Remember to socialize around things that aren’t the wedding. In the grand scheme of things, while your wedding is certainly important, it’s one day. When it’s over, you still have a life to live and family and friends who love you. Make time for holidays and graduations and birthday parties and pizza night and books and movies that don’t have a wedding theme. Not only will it help keep things in perspective, it also means you probably won’t wind up with that feeling some brides talk about of having fallen off the face of the earth when the wedding is over.
Have a clearly designated person in charge of crises on your wedding day. Whether it’s your mother, your MOH, the best man, a good friend, or a day-of co-ordinator, make sure everyone in the wedding party knows who is to be consulted in case of disaster. Unless you’re a complete control freak or a glutton for punishment, make it someone other than you. Your job, once you get to the site, is to relax and concentrate on getting to and through the ceremony. Even if you were putting together favor boxes and double-checking bouquets right before you headed out the door to your ceremony site, it’s time for someone else to deal with the little details. Sometimes it’s better not to know what might have gone wrong – or even what did – until it’s over.
Look, I won’t lie. Nearly every bride feels pretty stressed out at some point in the proceedings. It happens. There are a lot of strong emotions around a wedding, and a lot of people who get strongly invested in the oddest aspects of it. But if you remember to take care of yourself, prioritize, compromise gracefully in the aspects that don’t matter as much to you, and remember there’s a big old world out there beyond the wedding just waiting for you… you can be as calm as this lovely lady was on her wedding day:
(image via Mark Eric Photo Journal)
But life, as they say, goes on. Manolo for the Brides goes on, too, with me at the helm from now on.
That’s right, folks, you’re not being left in the lurch. I’m going to be here all through the week now to answer your questions, inspire your creativity, and bring you news of the wonderful and wacky world of wedding planning.
So fasten your seat belts, make sure your trays are in the upright and locked position, and prepare to be boarded… er… get ready for the full-time Twistie Experience.]]>
I’d like to remind all of the grooms, best men, and groomsmen out there that there is no rule stating bachelor parties have to begin and end on a lascivious note. If you and your spouse-to-be are down with strippers or sex shows or three-day benders or eating sushi off of nude Asian women or whatever other naughty stuff you can think of, more power to you. But if you’d rather focus on bonding than babes or beefcake – depending on your personal tastes – give whoever you suspect is planning your bachelor party a few subtle or even not-so-subtle hints before he gets in touch with the “talent” at sites like Centerfoldstrips.com.
At some point, if you’re not really the strip club type and you think porno should be consumed solo if at all, you may find yourself up against a friend, brother, best man, or groomsman who argues that the traditional risqué bachelor party – and yes, it is a tradition that goes back quite a ways – is an established institution that should not be changed. Feel free to remind them that the tradition began as a dinner, not a bacchanal. It was a chance for men to feast with their closest comrades on the eve of a marriage…not as an easy opportunity to get in one last grope.
Excerpt: iDo: Planning Your Wedding With Nothing But Net]]>