Quickie Question: Best Trend/Worst Trend?

Trends come and go in the wonderful world of weddings. One year everyone simply must dress their attendants in green and have a signature cocktail based on rum. The next, it’s all about the silver wedding gown trim and cupcakes. But what is the soon-to-be classic of the season and what the embarrassing white boy afro of the day?

We won’t actually know that for certain until history crowns the winner and starts laughing hysterically at the loser… but we can nominate our choices.

For my money, the best new trend of the past five years or so is the dessert table. Once upon a time, if you went to a wedding dessert was cake. That was it. More often than not, it was white cake with white frosting and all the flavor of licking a piece of cardboard. But as people started demanding better tasting desserts, they also wanted to expand the flavor profile so everyone can find something they specifically would like to eat. Enter the dessert table. It gives guests a choice, looks festive, allows the bridal party to have that peanut based cake despite allergy fears, since there will be another alternative for those who can’t have peanuts, and if you’re self-catering, you can ask your best baking buddies to break out their best recipes rather than choosing your cake according to who can make the prettiest one at a price you can afford. So whether your guest list includes people with potentially deadly allergies, vegans, folks going gluten free, or just plain picky eaters, it’s easy to satisfy everyone with a sweet tooth whilst adding to the decor affordably.

My runners up would include: photo booths, mix and match bridesmaid’s dresses, and the return of the sleeve to wedding gowns.

My pick for the bottom of the pile?

The bridal belt.

Seriously. All it does is add one more expense to dressing the bride, often ruining the line of the gown she so carefully chose in the process. It’s another fiddly thing to lose or have go wrong on an already stressful day, too. While I’ve seen a lot of these belts on a lot of different gowns (often carefully chosen and styled for photo shoots), I’ve only seen one or two that actually enhanced the gowns they were worn with. Even if it does look good, does it really look good enough to justify plunking down another couple hundred dollars on your wedding look when your budget barely covers catering? I have to ask.

Not only is it another unnecessary expense, it’s one that adds nothing to the overall experience of the occasion.

Other trends I’m so over: moustaches, jumping photos, photos of feet, bridal flip flops and sneakers.

So what about you? What are your picks for best and worst trends of the past few years? Anything you’re hoping picks up steam?

Tell me all about it!

Love is Blind… and So Are Some Brides

I love this photograph of a bride and groom from the sixties and the bride’s seeing eye dog.

I also loved my grandmother’s second husband who, as it happened, was legally blind. In fact, Granny met him while volunteering with a group dedicated to helping the blind.

And so I was frankly appalled when I read this article by a legally blind bride-to-be at Offbeat Bride. Not, I hasten to mention, because of anything about the lady or her plans. Her steampunk cane is a delight and her groom’s sense of humor is beyond awesome.

No, what appalled me was the ignorance and small-mindedness displayed so casually by potential vendors, not to mention others who simply couldn’t conceive of her choices based on her comfort and ability to navigate the event easily. Choices such as wearing a colored dress so she can see it, not to wear a veil so as not to impede her limited peripheral vision, or to use her cane to help her navigate the aisle successfully.

Apparently these things are ‘not bridal.’

To that, all I can say is a hearty cry of “horse hockey!”

A bride is a bride, is a bride. A groom is a groom, is a groom. And if the ring bearer needs a cane or a wheelchair, then that’s what he needs.

I remember some years ago reading on the web about a blind bridesmaid who had a disastrous time in the wedding party because of the attitude that any acknowledgement of her disability was somehow less than ‘bridal.’ She wasn’t allowed to use her cane down the aisle, and after she had practiced many times with a certain configuration at the altar, a major item was moved directly into her path at the last minute and nobody warned her. Of course she crashed into it and people got mad at her for ‘ruining’ the wedding. After all, a sighted bridesmaid would have known to move out of the way!

If you or someone in your wedding party has a disability, the key to making things work is not to ignore that disability or try to make it go away for a few hours. The key is to looking squarely at the practical issues it raises and then dealing with them frankly and without making a huge fuss.

Blind people marry. Wheelchair users marry. Deaf people marry. Amputees marry.

And you know what? They’re beautifully bridal, too.

For more ideas on planning a wedding when someone in the wedding party has a disability, check out some of the terrific tips and planning ideas on disaboom.

Politics, Schmolitics! Let’s See Their Wedding Photos!

The election is over. We’ve cast our votes, the winners have been declared and now it’s time to let go of party animosity and find ways to work together. And you know what always makes me feel good? A wedding!

The only president ever to marry in the White House was Grover Cleveland, when he married twenty-one year old Frances Folsom. There may have been (and in fact, there was) a twenty-seven year age gap between them, but they had a happy marriage by every account I’ve heard or read.

But while other presidents did not marry in office, most of them did marry at some point before getting elected. In fact, the only lifelong bachelor to serve as president of the US was James Buchanan. His neice, Harriet Lane, was his official hostess. Several others were widowers when they took office, such as Thomas Jefferson who depended on his older daughter, Martha, and his good friend Dolley Madison to handle the particulars of the social side of things.

So what did some of our most famous leaders look like on their wedding days? Take a look and see!
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Lost and Found


It’s a good thing Vicki Belanger hasn’t moved house in seventeen years.

You see, seventeen years ago, Belanger’s siser, Valerie Lynch was putting sunscreen on her two very small children and her young nephew, all of whom were under the age of five, before heading off to a waterfront outing. She was doing this in Belanger’s back yard. As a precaution, she slipped off her wedding and engagement rings and put them aside on a platform next to the swing set.

Unfortunately, she forgot to put her rings back on before they left.

When Lynch discovered her rings were missing, she raced back to her sister’s house only to find… she couldn’t find them. About a year and a half later, Belanger found Lynch’s wedding ring, but not the diamond engagement ring.

And that’s where matters stood until October 28 of this year. By then, Belanger had met up with Kent Blethen, a jewelry hunting enthusiast. Belanger told him of her sister’s missing ring and Blethen offered to help her look for it.
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Paper Dolling: Is This Happening?

An article by Sandy Malone was published by HuffPo the other day. In it, she tells the harrowing story of a client of her wedding planning service and what happened to her when she went shopping at an unnamed bridal salon in Waltham, Mass.

According to Malone, the bride informed the salon of her size (though I have to say I’m puzzled as to why an ‘average sized’ woman should have to do that) and was told it would be ‘no problem.’ I should certainly hope there would be no problem fitting an average sized woman in a reasonably well-stocked bridal salon. And while samples rarely fit brides precisely, there certainly ought to be a few gowns in a size close enough that a woman can try some things on to get a general idea of how they might look on her.

Apparently, this was not the case.

It seems that what the salon did instead of putting an ill-fitting dress on the bride and asking her to use her imagination as to how it will look when it is properly fitted, the consultant took the gown and began pinning it to the bride’s undergarments in front… in a tiny room with mirrors on three sides and only a flimsy curtain on the fourth wall. This process, apparently, is called ‘paper dolling.’ To add insult to injury, when the bride’s friends wanted to see what the consultants were oohing and ahing over in that tiny cubicle, one of them simply threw open the curtain, exposing the bride’s panty-clad backside to all and sundry without warning.

The bride, of course, was pretty traumatized by this experience, as would be any right-thinking person. Paper dolling sounds pretty useless. After all, a dress needs to be seen in three dimensions to get the full effect, and wedding gowns in particular need to be seen from the back, because during the ceremony, chances are that’s what your friends and family will be seeing the most of. Most bridal couples do stand facing the officiant who faces the witnesses.

On top of that, the sudden and completely insensitive near-indecent exposure of the bride was appalling. You ask first whether the bride wishes to show off the dress she’s trying on, and if it’s not actually on her, this is an extra vital step.

Malone winds up the article with a warning to all brides to shun this pernicious practice, which is excellent advice. I, too, would counsel brides not to allow a salon to ‘paper doll’ them into a dress.

But here’s the interesting thing. When I googled the term and several variations on it… I got only Malone’s original article from two days ago, and a whole lot of articles about making or collecting actual paper dolls. Is this one shop in Waltham the one place in the world that does this? Is there another reason the term might not get a lot of hits in bridal terms?

Has anyone out there heard about this anywhere else? Known someone subjected to it? Survived the experience themselves?

Curiouser and curiouser.

Marriage Equality Wins in Landslide!

Four states had ballot measures concerning same sex marriage in yesterday’s election, along with that trivial electing the president thing. Guess what? Equality won!

Maine and Maryland became the first two states in the USA to choose marriage equality by voter referendum. Maine reversed a 2009 referendum that banned same sex marriage, while Maryland voted to accept the state law in favor of same sex marriage that was passed earlier this year.

Washington state looks likely to make it a triad, with another vote to accept a law passed earlier this year. When last I saw the numbers, a little over half the votes had been counted and the tally was running 52% – 48% in favor. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it continues in that vein.

And while they aren’t making it exactly legal yet, Minnesota voters have refused to amend their state constitution to ban same sex marriage.

Here’s to many lovely weddings, whether they involve one bride and one groom, two grooms, or two brides!

Love should always triumph.

The Fiddly Bits Around the Edges


I always had a sneaking understanding of Slartibartfast, the planet designer from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He loved the ‘fiddly bits’ like fjords. I, too, love fiddly bits.

And so I’m going to cover a couple fiddly bits most bridal blogs don’t usually talk about: those tiny details that make getting ready on the day of so much easier and less stressful.

For one thing, here’s the deal with how to deal with your rings. On the big day, slide your engagement ring off your left hand and transfer it to the right until after the ceremony. The wedding band is properly placed on a naked finger, and worn closer to your heart afterward.
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