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Manolo for the Brides | Manolo Loves the Brides! - Part 40

LOVE/HATE: Let Them Eat Their Own Cake

For the past few years, wedding cupcakes have been big business. They’re festive, and everyone can just grab one, obviating the need for someone to stand there cutting cake all night. It’s a practical idea that makes a lot of people smile.

Well, recently another trend has popped up that’s just a little more elaborate, but still does away with that endless cake cutting: the individual wedding cake.

As you can see above, they’re tiny versions of a larger wedding cake. Typically there will be one full tier for the happy couple to cut and serve among the wedding party, while the waiters serve individual small cakes to individual guests.

Even though it reduces the cake cutting fees, this is still more expensive than cupcakes since each cake is more elaborately decorated and a little bit bigger than a cupcake, more often than not.

Is it for everyone? No. I don’t think there’s much of anything that’s for everyone. All the same, I’m coming down on the side of LOVE for this one. They look charming, and there’s something delightfully indulgent about the concept of eating an entire cake by yourself… even a very tiny one.

What about all of you?

Two Celebrity Couples Call It Quits

After seven years of marriage, three children, and yearly reaffirmation ceremonies, Heidi Klum and Seal announced yesterday that they are filing for divorce.

No very specific reason was given for the split, but the couple did release a joint statement, saying they had “grown apart” and that their separation is amicable.

Whatever their reasons, I do have to appreciate the fact that they are refusing to air their dirty linen in public. That, my friends, is how to do it the classy way.

The other split that made the news this week is Aretha Franklin and fiance Willie Wilkerson, who announced the end of their engagement just weeks after announcing its beginning. While the engagement is off, though, there is no word of whether or not they have ended their romance.

Franklin’s statement said that she and Wilkerson had decided they were moving “a little bit too fast” and said there were “a number of things that had not been thought through thoroughly.” The upshot? “There will be no wedding at this time.”

Whatever their issues, it is my fond hope they can be resolved to the satisfaction of all involved. But if they can’t, I do believe it’s better that things end in a broken engagement than a painful divorce down the road.

None of this is happy news, but the heart is a resilient muscle. May all four parties find happiness in the long run, if not at the moment.

Quickie Question: Make a Joyful Noise

This lady? Is the late, great Etta James whose most famous hit, At Last, has become to modern wedding processionals what Pachelbel’s Canon in D was to the same part of the wedding in the seventies and eighties. Miss James, who died last week, lived long enough to see her song become a wedding classic.

Every decade or two, a new tune becomes the It Tune for wedding processionals. Let’s face it, even Wagner’s famous wedding march had to start off as a newfangled and slightly scandalous choice on someone’s part. Now it’s so traditional that an approximately equal number of couples would never dream of anything else, or would never dream of using it. For the record, I fall into the latter category. I don’t care much for Wagner overall, and I really dislike the idea of using a piece of music from such a disastrous marriage as a way to start off a new one.

And after I’d been to roughly sixty bazillion weddings where the Canon in D was played as the processional, I went right off Pachelbel, too. I still, however, have fond memories of the wedding I attended where the bride was a member of a string quartet who gave her the gift of playing her wedding gratis. They brought in a replacement violinist, and did Pachelbel proud. It was a charming choice between the musicians in question and the intimate backyard setting.

I, however, have never belonged to a string quartet, and the brief period in which I attempted reluctantly – and entirely without a natural talent for it – to learn the violin is an episode best never mentioned again.

So when it came time to plan my own wedding, I needed something different. Oh, also, I was being lead up the aisle by a bagpiper, and frankly, none of the tunes I’d heard other brides use was going to sound right on the pipes other than the theme from Star Wars… which my piper would have flat out refused to play.

In the end, my piper suggested a traditional Scottish tune called Highland Wedding, which was pretty, joyful, and composed with pipes in mind. It was perfect. We recessed to another traditional Scottish tune, Mairie’s Wedding. That one was my suggestion. Those choices still make me delighted. Neither was overdone in my set, but both were written to celebrate weddings and traditional in one of my background cultures. I loved the tunes, the musicians in question knew them well, and the guests seemed to enjoy both selections.

What about you? What would your perfect processional/recessional tunes be? Something traditional or not? Something played on a harp or a kazoo?

Tell me all about it!

Where are Brides Cutting Costs? Splashing Out?

We all know that throwing a nice wedding can run to a lot of money. All the same, the overall national average price tag is on a small downward spiral. According to a new study by The Wedding Report, the average wedding budget fell 3.4% in 2011 compared to 2012. When the numbers are adjusted for inflation, the drop is nearly 6%.

Of course, this is an average of a lot of disparate celebrations, and nobody expects anyone to choose how and where to spend their money according to it. Still, some interesting trends do start to stand out.
Continue Reading…

Kristen-Alexander Dishes on Getting Married

Meet Kristen-Alexander Griffith. He’s an actor. He’s living in New York. He’s engaged. And he’s gay.

Since they got engaged in November, he and his partner, Aaron VanderYacht, have been finding they have a lot of questions about getting married as gay men. Naturally, they turned to the internet.

One frustrating Google search later, they had found a certain number of wedding-related services run by heterosexuals featuring rainbow flags that assured them they were welcome as customers, which was fine… as far as it went. What they couldn’t find was practical advice on how to throw a wedding with two grooms and zero brides.

So what do two guys looking for answers and not finding them do? They create the resource they’re looking for themselves. And so they started The Best Gay Wedding Blog Ever to document their wedding planning over the next year. As Kristen-Alexander says in his inaugural entry, dated January 10:

I thought it was time to hear stories and advice straight from the horse’s mouth, that horse being your’s truly!! So over the next, I dunno, year or so you and I will go on a journey. A journey to the big day: our wedding. I will share with you all the juicy experiences as my lovely groom and I try to figure out how the hell we are going to pull of a fabulous wedding on a budget. I am sure this experience will be full of hilarious stories, tears of joy, tragic tuxedos and terrible wedding cake! But best believe, by the time we are done you and your future Mr. or Mrs. will certainly know one thing: What not to do when planning your wedding!

All I can say is, I look forward to seeing what decisions messers Griffith and VanderYacht make.

Quickie Question: Perfect Proposal?

Sorry about yesterday. This is what I looked like then:

I’m doing better today.


With all the talk we’ve been having about proposals of late, I thought I would ask what you think would be the perfect proposal. On the beach at sunset? In front of the fire after a day of antiquing? By flash mob when you least expect it? Christmas morning when you open up a box with the perfect ring that he chose all by himself? Would you want your beloved to talk to your parents first, or go directly to you?

For my part, I don’t think I had any set image of what the proposal would look like. I know that if Mr. Twistie had gone to my father first, I would have been miffed and Dad would have been mystified. I wanted to pick a ring I wanted to wear, and not simply take what was picked for me. In the end, what mattered to me was that Mr. Twistie showed he really was thinking about me. He’d picked a date for our wedding, and that date took into consideration several things about me that mattered. He picked june, knowing I would want an outdoor wedding. He picked the thirteenth knowing that’s my lucky number. And he picked it far enough away that I would have plenty of time to make my wedding lace, as I’d been saying I wanted to.

Was the setting romantic? No. Were the words flowery? Really no. Did that matter to me? Not one iota, amazingly enough. I would have thought it might have mattered more to me, but it didn’t.

So what about all of you? What’s your perfect proposal? If you’re already married or engaged, did it happen at all like you’d hoped? Did it matter if it didn’t? Tell me all about it!

And So the Controversy Continues….

Some of you may recall a recent article in which I discussed that new professional in the world of weddings, the proposal planner. Some of you may recall I wasn’t too crazy about the whole concept. The three of you who responded were equally – if not moreso – unimpressed.

Well, it seems we are not alone. Proposal planner Michele Willamson has written an article for Huffpo defending her profession. It seems to Wiliamson that we just don’t understand her calling. If only we understood, we would change our minds and appreciate her services, even if we didn’t use them ourselves.

She answers some questions about her job… but frankly I find that her answers don’t actually make me think her business any more useful than I found it before. After all, she says she plans intimate, personal proposals as well as huge, flashy ones. But if it’s intimate and personal, why does the gentleman (and she does divide the world into ‘men’ and ‘females’ which is a nasty habit more and more people seem to be falling into) require someone to tell him what would be intimate and personal for him and his lady? Or gentleman? And the fact that Williamson says she is present for most of these proposals frankly kind of skeeves me out.

She says that she does a lot of research by talking to the man about his relationship with his female… oops, I mean his significant other. She prompts him to remember things and consider questions that may not have occurred to him. But has this gentleman no friends? No family members he might consult? Has he no skills to discover for himself what his love finds romantic? Is it never possible for a woman to propose???

After all, the best way to make the proposal romantic is to consider carefully the tastes and personality of the person being proposed to, as well as the history and structure of the overall relationship. If, for instance, a man knows that his lady always sighs happily at movies when an engagement ring is discovered in a glass of champagne, he knows she’ll find that romantic. If she laughs her head off and talks about wasting a perfectly good glass of champagne, chances are that’s not the way to propose. If the moment just seems right while lying in bed on a lazy sunday morning… then why not take the chance? Only if you know she wants the down on one knee approach and for you to ask her parents for permission to marry her.

There is no such thing as a universally romantic proposal. And unless you’re trying to arrange the practicalities of a Jumbotron, a marching band, and a host of celebrities showing up to urge your beloved to say yes… chances are you can work it out on your own. And even then? Yeah, guys have been working out the Jumbotron thing at sporting events for decades all by themselves.

Sorry, Michele, but I still don’t see a need for your service. And while I will refrain from personal abuse, I laugh soundly at what you’ve chosen to do with your life and the people who think they need it.