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Unusual Weddings | Manolo for the Brides - Part 20
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A Finger-Lickin’ Good Barbecue Wedding Reception

Many a USian will bust out (and dust off) the ol’ barbecue today, if they haven’t already done so. I was invited to at least two Memorial Day eatstravaganzas, but I declined both invitations for reasons I’ll likely talk about over at Manolo for the Home. Nowadays, I tend to just “stop by” most barbecues because I don’t eat meat and man cannot live on sides alone. But once upon a time…

The Beard and I weren’t always vegetarians. Our original intention was to have a DIY barbecue wedding limited to family only. That bit was scrapped when it became clear that my ginormous family would dwarf his tiny one. Then we started adding friends to the barbecue wedding guest list — first his, then ours, then mine — and the whole thing just plain fell apart.

Questions rained down upon us from critical loved ones. Who would man the smoker while a hundred people waited for their meat? Would there be enough time to whip up sides in the days and hours leading up to the wedding? The first element of our reception plan to go was DIY… all of my relatives who’d for years waxed poetic about how they were going to pitch in when I got hitched were suddenly nowhere to be found. Like Twistie recently said, help is a big (and usually necessary) part of successful DIY wedding.

We were frankly surprised to find that the catering menus of local barbecue joints weren’t all that cheaper than other restaurants, so we decided to shop around before settling on any one kind of cuisine. A few months later we stopped eating meat, found a catering company with an awesome veg menu, and that was one more item crossed off the pre-nuptial To Do list.

She made an OOPS
Image by soozums

So how does one have the perfect DIY barbecue wedding? I’d say that the first thing you want to do is order yourself some bulk napkins because sauce is a crafty beastie that will find some way to hitch a ride on clean formalwear. Oh, and don’t forget to solicit some assistants.


Images from the earthquake

A handful of weddings unfold perfectly, but most are marred by the little things that inevitably go wrong. And then there are the weddings that are interrupted by true tragedies…

Beauty in tragedy

When an earthquake hit Sichuan, China on May 12th, there were, in addition to all of the people going about their daily business, men and women poised to enter into a lifelong commitment.


A beautiful picture and a beautiful story

Carried along on the breeze

Item one is a snapshot (from Slate’s Today’s Pictures feature) of a French bride-to-be making her way to the town hall in 1975. Typically, I’m not a fan of gowns embellished with lots of furry ball things, but somehow I can’t help thinking that this dress was impossibly gorgeous. Maybe it’s the wind and maybe it’s thoughts of romance, but I desperately want to see the same picture as taken from the front.

Item two is the story of Britain’s oldest bride, 94-year-old Bess Atkins. She and 86-year-old Winston Barraclough first met while he was volunteering as a driver for a hospital. During that first fateful drive, he actually stopped to buy her a box of chocolates! I hope that someone’s buying me chocolates when I’m almost halfway through my nineties.

Atkins said Barraclough proposed in January on New Year’s Day.

“I thought it was some medical problem and feared the worst,” she said. “He said: ‘Will you be my wife please. I would love to marry you.’ I was totally shocked but I said yes, that would be lovely.”

The pair married at St. Nicholas Church, the same ceremony venue at which Atkins married her first husband in 1939. She said marrying in the same church was lovely and brought back “a lot of happy memories.”

Wonderful, no?

It’s a nice day for a wild wedding

What happens when there’s less wedding bliss and more WWF? Newlyweds land in jail, natch. I don’t know why stories of brawling brides and bridegrooms tickle me so, but if I had to guess I’d say it’s the pure unexpectedness of the whole fracas.

Note: This is a dramatization!

Just yesterday The Beard sent me a link to an article about Christa Vattimo and her husband David W. Wielechowksi. Freshly returned from an official wedding ceremony that took place in the Bahamas, the couple was ready to renew their vows in front of 150 friends and relatives.

But something must have gone sour after I do number two, because Dennis, according to the criminal complaint, “used a karate-style kick with his leg to kick Christa, knocking her to the floor” as they were making their way into their hotel room…presumably for some post-post-marital you-know-what.

Two guests of another wedding heard the bride’s screams and rushed over to help her. But when they restrained Wielechowksi, his bride began attacking her rescuers, police said.

The fight traveled from a hallway to an elevator then into the hotel lobby where, police said, the couple threw metal planters containing live plants into an elevator at the men who tried to break up the fight.

Police arrived to find the dentist lying on the floor of the lobby and his bride “yelling loudly” and “apparently highly intoxicated,” according to the complaint.

Highly intoxicated, you say? SURPRISE SURPRISE! I kid…what’s really surprising is Christa’s claim that her husband didn’t start any fights with her or anyone else. Why do I doubt that other hotel guests conspired to get the couple thrown into the pokey?

If guests don’t RSVP in time, can you fine them?

My friend Chris, who is a librarian by trade, sent me a link to one of the most clever invitations I’ve ever seen.

I love the due date stamp!

Diana and Scott, also librarians, obviously went all out when designing and crafting their wedding stationery with an in-your-face library theme. I wouldn’t have thought it so, but book borrowing and nuptials have a lot in common. Due dates, reservations, and forms all come to mind.


She’s ready to clip those wings

Back in the day (where the day in question is high school) I used to love those huge angle wings made of real feathers. A few people I knew had them and wore them every Halloween. Too bad the most creative costumes they could come up with were “naughty little angel” and “saucy succubus,” which reminds me of a quote from Mean Girls: Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.

This post isn’t about skimpy costumes, however; it’s about wings. Specifically, it’s about colorful, gauzy, glittery fairy wings. One day I was looking for pictures of purple wedding gowns and I happened upon this picture:

She had her Red Bull, obviously

I don’t know anything about the wedding, the happy couple, or the bridal party, but I do know that the bride sourced her fairy wings from On Gossamer Wings, purveyor of fine wings and (coming soon!) tutus. She is certainly rocking those wings, though I’ll admit that I didn’t even notice them at first because I was so besotted with her gown and her new hubby’s kilt. How can you not love a man in a kilt?

Back to the wings…my mantra is and has always been “Do your own thing, honey!” I will argue to the death (or to the boredom, whichever comes first) a bride’s right to wear fairy wings on her wedding day, but goodness gracious I would not wear ’em myself.

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:

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