Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Traditions: Toss It

Traditions have always been a big part of weddings, but it seems lately that more brides are choosing to forego some of the more common ones. For example, the bouquet and garter tosses are increasingly a thing of the past. But, why is that? And, where did these wedding traditions come from? did a post recently on the "Bizarre origins of wedding traditions," which included the symbolism behind the bouquet/garter toss, the white wedding dress, and others. It seems the origin of the tosses is just as humiliating as the dreaded call for "all single ladies/gents" to come to the dance floor.
(At least one person seems excited...of course, this looks to be from approximately 1985, judging by the clothes.)

Here's what CNN said about it:

"It used to be that after the bride and groom said, "I do," they were to go immediately into a nearby room and consummate the marriage. Obviously, to really make it official, there would need to be witnesses, which basically led to hordes of wedding guests crowding around the bed, pushing and shoving to get a good view and hopefully to get their hands on a lucky piece of the bride's dress as it was ripped from her body.

Sometimes the greedy guests helped get the process going by grabbing at the bride's dress as she walked by, hoping for a few threads of good fortune. In time, it seems, people realized that this was all a bit, well... creepy, and it was decided that for modesty's sake the bride could toss her bouquet as a diversion as she made her getaway and the groom could simply remove an item of the bride's undergarments and then toss it back outside to the waiting throngs to prove that he was about to, uh, seal the deal."

Um, yeah, I knew there was a reason I didn't like those traditions. Plus, it's embarrassing for the bride and groom, too. I personally don't want FI "all up in my business" in front of 150+ people, including my grandmother. I'm sure my dad doesn't want to see that, either. Plus, unless they're in a relationship and counting the days until they get a ring, girls do NOT want a spot light shone on them or the fact that they're single.

(I'm sure my dad will welcome FI into the family with open arms after witnessing something like this...)

Perhaps the most uncomfortable part of the whole ordeal is having to watch (or God forbid, BE) the ones who catch these things. Now, there's some sick joke that the garter catcher must slowly push the garter up the leg of the bouquet catcher, while everyone's around watching and egging him on. For goodness sakes, these people may not even know each other! And, what if their significant other is there (and not the garter/bouquet catcher)?

It's the 21st century, and I don't see why humiliating yourself and your friends on your wedding day is still a "tradition" that needs to be followed. Personally, it seems like a barbaric tradition to start with, and personally not one that I condone or intend to follow. Of course, to all you traditionalists out there, there is something to be said for just having fun and enjoying it. If it's for you, then go get 'em, tiger! Just work on your throwing technique ahead of time...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hello, Lover

In the course of my seasonal stalking of the latest in designer shoes, I came across the Jimmy Choo fall/winter 2008 collection. Simply, divine! In particular, I found the most fabulous shoes ever, and quite possibly the most perfect bridal shoes. May I present "Grant":

This hot little silk satin peep toe is a cool 525 pounds, and I don't even want to think about how many dollars. It has a 4.7" heel and exquisite jewelled detail. They come in nude and black, and with the antique ivory of my dress, the nude would be PERFECT. *sigh* A girl can dream.

Some other fabu shoes:

Miss Carrie Bradshaw herself wore these little beauties as her "something blue" in the Sex & the City movie. The Manolo is always a good choice, even if he does carry a hefty price tag. Besides, why spend all that money on a dress and then wear $30 shoes?These new fall 2008 Christian Louboutin shoes are tres chic. They are multicolored watersnake peep-toe with a 5" heel. I think it would be so cute to have these non-traditional shoes underneath a traditional ballroom gown. Think of all the great photos! Of course, these beauties are also $995.

I love these shoes! Another great "something blue" shoe from Christian Louboutin's summer 2008 collection. These satin open toed shoes have a super cute "feather flower" on the toe and little ankle straps. They'd even fit in with our "peacock feather" theme. If I didn't think they'd clash with my dress, I'd definitely go for these shoes.

Of course, buying any shoe now is probably a bad idea. First, I'd never be able to wait until the wedding to wear them. I'd convince myself that I needed to "stretch them out" and thus wear them on any and every occasion. Secondly, I'd probably find something else I liked more later. I change my mind way too often to be locked into something now... well, except for my dress itself. So, who knows? If I still like the Jimmy Choo shoes in January, maybe they'll still be available and go on sale. A girl can hope.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

TwoBirds Bridesmaid Recap

Yesterday, MOH and I went to TwoBirds Bridesmaid to check out the "everything in one" dress. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. First off, Ariane (owner and creator) was wonderful to work with, and she was very patient with my questions and need for demonstrations. It's so great to know that, even though she's been on the Martha Stewart Show and the Tyra Banks Show (among others), she's still working face-to-face with customers.

Secondly, the dress was actually really cool. It truly is "one size fits all" for the most part (they do have a plus size dress, as well as an extra long one for those really tall girls). As it happened, the only floor length sample dress they had was extra long, which of course was xxxxtra long on my 5'2" MOH. We also tried on the shorter, butterfly hem dress, but quickly ruled it out. While it's a neat concept, it just looks unfinished to me. The hem is calf length, but then cuts to the knees in front, making it uneven. Plus, with the floor length dress, the girls can easily cut it off after the wedding since there is no "finished" hem.

Thirdly, there are indeed a multitude of ways to wrap the dress, and I think there is something for everyone. It would be fun to have a "wrapping party" the day before the wedding, perhaps at the bridesmaid luncheon, to see how everyone wants to wear it. I'm also thinking that I may have the girls wear it with the cap sleeves for the ceremony (a more conservative look) and then for the reception, they can wear it however they want. Not 100% on this, though, as part of what I like about the dress is having each girl look slightly different.

Fourthly, they now have a 2 toned dress that they're marketing as the MOH dress (to set her apart), but I think it would work for all the girls, if you wanted. Basically, you can pick any 2 colors available and the top portion (that which you tie) is one color and the skirt is another. She had an example in rosewater (top) and chocolate brown (bottom) that was really lovely. I think if those were my colors, I would go with that combination for all the girls. However, since I'm probably going with "deep ocean," the color pops on its own, and I don't think there's a good contrasting color for it. To set the MOH apart, or again maybe for all the girls, I may just get them brooches to place somewhere on the dress (depending on how they tie it).

Finally, since my bridesmaids are scattered across the country, this dress definitely makes sense. It's one size fits all, so no need to have the girls measure themselves. There's no need for alterations, which in addition to saving them money, also means that I can pick up the dresses and just hold onto them until the wedding date, if necessary. And, even though it's a bit pricey at $290, it is totally re-wearable and they're saving the $100 or so they'd probably end up paying in alterations. It seems like a win-win situation!

So, without further ado, here are the pictures. Please pardon my MOH's bright red bra (MOH's note: if you're going to try on bridesmaid dresses, probably best to wear a nude strapless bra).

Short Dress in Deep Ocean:

This color looked really good on MOH, with her blue eyes. I'm thinking of requiring all the girls to wear blue contacts to match. :) The color will also look good at our venue, which overlooks the ocean (after all, it is called "deep ocean").

Long Dress in Navy:

I actually really like the navy color, too. I'm still debating between it and the deep ocean. I think the navy has almost a dark purpleish tint to it, which would go well with our flowers. I'm definitely going with the floor length dress, though. It just looks so much more elegant than the shorter one.

Short Dress in Aubergine:

Initially, we looked at aubergine since it was the closest thing available to dark purple, but it's a little too wine-colored for me. I think it would look great for a fall or vineyard wedding, though. Also, Ariane is in the last picture. TwoBirds is run out of a cute little apartment in Midtown that she used to live in before she married. It's nice to be able to try on dresses there, instead of an impersonal store.

The Best for Last:

Clearly, MOH approves of this dress. She says it's very comfortable and light, and thus very easy to wear. Deep ocean was also her favorite color. So, what's the general consensus? Yay or nay?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bunches of Bouquets

As I've yet to meet with my florist to discuss arrangements, I'm continuing to scour the internet and wedding magazines for pictures of flowers, centerpieces, etc. to show her when we do actually meet. Here are some of my latest bouquet finds:

I particularly like #2, as it matches our colors perfectly. However, I'll have to wait until we actually decide on bridesmaids dresses before I can pick their flowers. As for me, I'm concerned it may be a little overpowering, since the colors are so vibrant. I'm not 100% sure yet, though. I've thought about doing a mixture of irises and orchids, using some of those pink and purple orchids pictured above, but also including white orchids with purple throats. I've also thought about using lighter flowers for the bouquets and in the ceremony overall, and saving the "darker" flowers for the reception. If I do that, then I may go with bouquets similar to those in #3 and #6. I'll have a better idea once I talk to my florist, Tricia, at Laurel Lane.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Two Birds, One dress?

TwoBirds Bridesmaid,, is apparently the newest "It" thing in bridesmaid fashion. It's a relatively simple concept, but has wide reaching effects -- essentially, it's one dress (literally, as the dress is one size fits all) that can be tied a multitude of ways (at least 10 according to the website). Every major wedding magazine has written about them, all the blogs have covered it, and even the Today Show featured it on their wedding segment.

So, what exactly is a "twobirds bridesmaid" dress? It's a relatively simple dress made of a jersey spandex blend. It comes in 2 lengths, calf length with butterfly hem ($270) and floor length ($290). And they come in 13 different colors, each with matching groomsmen ties available. The idea behind the dress is found in the top of the dress, which consists of two long lengths of fabric that can be arranged and tied in a number of different styles. Each girl can choose the style that best suits them.

It's an interesting concept, but I'm curious as to how it "works" in real life. I can't imagine tying it is the easiest thing in the world (although there are instructions on their website). Plus, I've heard rumors that "less than busty" gals may have some trouble with it. And, it seems rather pricey considering the fabric. However, it is a way to give the girls options without worrying about sizing and matching colors. Plus, the fabric is very light and travels well, which is necessary considering most of bridesmaids are traveling from out of state.

Overall, it's worth a trip to the TwoBirds Bridesmaid salon to check it out. My MOH and I will be stopping by on Monday evening, and I'll give the full report then. Until then, what are your thoughts? Anyone seen this dress in action?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Be Our Guest!

As I'm nearing the point in time when I actually need to do something "constructive," I've discovered yet another detail that I can obsess over to prolong the "creative" period. Our guest "book." As you may know, guest books are increasingly not books at all. There are lots of ideas floating around, including:

The ever popular photo-mat-in-frame:

This is a simple enough concept. You simply put a picture of the happy couple (usually an engagement picture) in a mat, and then let guests sign it. Afterwards, you frame it and, voila, you have an extremely large, framed guest book that you'll proudly hang... in your basement. Or, knowing FI, it'll stay leaning up against the wall of his closet for years.

Then, there's the newest wedding "must have" -- the photo booth guest book:

This is actually a neat idea, and one FBIL used for his wedding a few weeks ago. There are several different companies that do this now (kinda like the explosion of chocolate fountain dessert companies a few years ago when it was the "It" thing). Some photo booths digitally record the photos, and the bride and groom get a DVD of all the pictures. Others have a double print out, where the guests keep one copy and put the other in a photo guest book. Still others simply have the one print out, and the guests put them in the guest book and write messages around it.

The pre-photo booth idea was the Polaroid guest book, where someone would stand by the door with a Polaroid and snap pictures of guests as they came in. The picture went into a book, and then guests wrote messages. While cheaper than a photo booth, it's also not as "glamorous" and with Polaroid discontinuing their popular camera, it's not as easy to come by anymore either.

Another up and coming idea is the "wishing tree," where guests not only sign their names but also offer sage wisdom and advice to the newlyweds. However, knowing many of my friends as I do, it'd probably be more like an "opposite" tree -- do the opposite of whatever they say do.

And, finally, akin to the wishing tree, there's the "write on a rock that we'll place in a vase or in our garden" idea. Yes, I swear, it's an idea found on The Knot. Apparently, the guests are supposed to wish the newlyweds well as they place the rock in the vase.

So, as you may have noticed, I'm not particularly thrilled with any of these options. If you have any ideas, I'm all ears. At the moment, the best idea to me seems to be a "coffee table" book of our engagement pictures, and then have people sign it and write messages as they would normally. As with most coffee table books, it'll probably end up covered in dust somewhere and never looked at, but at least we'll have something to show the grandkids.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Unphotogenity (It's a Word)

If it's not a word, it should be a word, because it's the only thing that properly describes me and FI. We are probably the most unphotogenic people on the planet. In the 2+ years we've been together, I think there's maybe 2 good pictures of us. Total. Either his eyes are closed or I'm squinting. Inevitably, one of us (and usually both of us) will hate the picture.

Case in point -- FI's brother got married a couple of weeks ago, and I was looking forward to using some of the photographs of me and FI for our wedding website and the blog. Unfortunately, despite the fact that he looked quite dashing in his custom suit, and I was actually having a decent hair and make-up day, we still didn't get one good shot! Not ONE!

This, of course, makes me worried about our own wedding day pictures. What if I'm squinting in all of them? It seems that whenever I smile, my eyes close of their own volition. If I try to keep them open, I look like I'm in a perpetual state of shock. And, I must be part vampire, because as soon as I go outside, my eyes become super sensitive to the sun and they immediately close. I pity our photographer. I think I need to write up a list of all our photogenic shortcomings and give them to Kristin now. She's obviously going to need all the time she can get to develop ways of combating our unphotogenity... afterall, we've had a combined 56 years of doing the ugly squinty shots.

Weekend Recap

So, I'm a little late, but here's a recap from last Sunday's trip to Newport.

At approximately 10am, as we were leaving to head to St. Mary's, the worst thing in the world happened -- Fritz and Samantha escaped! It was truly horrifying. They ran past us, as the gate was open, and, as beagles do, they caught a scent and chased it. Unfortunately, for us, that meant we had to chase them, and just hoped they stopped. There was a little woodsy ravine near the house that they ran down into, and FI dutifully followed them down. About 20 mins later, although it felt like an eternity, he had them both! At that point, we were all sweaty and dirty, particularly FI, but we rushed around and be on the road by 10:30. We somehow even managed to be early for Mass.

The church is even grander than I had remembered it. It was a beautiful service, and definitely strengthened our resolve to get married there. It just felt right. The priest, Fr. Barry, seemed a nice man, with a good speaking voice, although we didn't get to talk to him for long because there was a christening right after Mass.

We then drove back to Newport to visit the Yankee Peddler Inn, which is a B&B that we were looking at. Although it is quite cheaper than other places, and holds 20 rooms, it wasn't quite up to snuff. We then headed over to Pearls of Newport, where we loved the rooms and the amenities, but worried about having enough space for everyone. Pearls, consisting of 3 adjacent buildings, only has 13 rooms. Of course, there are multitudes of B&B's in Newport, some of which are next door to Pearls. We could always have the wedding party stay at Pearls, and then guests elsewhere if necessary. For the moment, though, I think it's safe to say that we'll be booking Pearls for both accommodations and our morning after brunch. If you want to check it out, it's Just know that we have dibs on Suite #15.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Going to the Chapel..

FI and I are spending the 4th of July holiday weekend at his parents' place in Narragansett, RI. We're taking this opportunity to knock out some wedding related "chores," as well, including a trip to St. Mary's for Mass tomorrow. Since we've never actually met Fr. Barry or heard him speak, I'm very excited to meet the man who will be marrying us. FI's grandmother and FMIL will also be making the trip with us. Bristol is about an hour away from Narragansett, but we'll pass through Newport. On the way back, we're going to stop in at a couple of Bed & Breakfasts in Newport to see about guest accommodations. I'll keep you posted!

Fr. Barry Gamanche

Friday, July 4, 2008

Here Comes the Bridesmaid: Part II

Welcome back to Part II of Here Comes the Bridesmaid! Here are the rest of the dresses, including the frontrunners:

Dress #6:

Watters. I like the halter top of this dress, as well as the back, but the silk charmeuse material is clingy and the "v" may be a little risque.

Dress #7:

Jim Hjelm. Black chiffon. This dress is very elegant, but unique. It comes in several colors, but I actually like it in black.

Dress #8:

Jim Hjelm, silk de chine gown. While I like the top of this dress, the bodice of it seems to be lacking something (perhaps a sash?). This was one of MOH's favorites, though.

Dress #9:

Jim Hjelm, satin-faced taffeta. This is the frontrunner dress! Like Dress #3, it has an iridescent satin skirt. There is also a wide sash, which gives the "kimono" look and hides any insecurities. I also like the tri-colors, which can be made to match our colors (although I like these colors, too).

So, this is the bunch. I particularly like #7 and #9. What's your favorite?

Here Comes the Bridesmaid: Part I

Finally! MOH and I had a successful bridesmaid dress shopping trip on Wednesday at "Here Comes the Bridesmaid" in NYC. There were TONS of dresses available there, and unlike many places where the dresses are in the back and they bring out ones they "think" you'll like, at HCTB, all the dresses are out front for you to look through. I found many Jim Hjelm and Watters gowns that I loved, along with a few Bari Jay and Bill Levkoff ones, too. I've narrowed it down here to some of our favorites (just remember to focus on the styles and not the colors):

Dress #1:
Watters, Wtoo Collection. This dress was cute, but it was tea-length, which seemed to make my short MOH even shorter. Probably not the best length for my shorter bridesmaids (i.e. all of them). I think that either cocktail length or floor length is the best way to go, especially since it's more formal anyway.

Dress #2: This Grecian-style dress was gorgeous! It was also very light and "flowy," but I'm also scared it's too billowy and full to stand next to my gown. As I look at it in the pictures, though, I think it's still a contender.

Dress #3:
Jim Hjelm, Fall 2008 Collection. I love the iridescent color of this Jim Hjelm dress, and MOH loved the kimono-style wrap sash. Although I think the color is too pinkish, they have several other iridescent colors that would work well. Oddly enough, this dress is "satin faced taffeta" which, as you may recall, was practically a dirty word to me. Taffeta, however, doesn't look so bad in pictures, and I think it works with everyone's body type.

Dress #4:
This is the type of fabric and dress that I had initially envisioned. It's silk charmeuse, very elegant and classy, but with a touch of sexiness. I LOVE the back on this dress! However, I'm not sure all of my bridesmaids will like it and it's clingy fabric.

Dress #5:
Another Jim Hjelm dress, satin and lace. I think this one would be very complimentary to my gown, but I'm not completely in love with the straight A-line skirt.

Stay tuned for Part II!