This post is for the ladies. I occasionally get requests- mostly from my client-brides-turned-friends, bless them- for wedding planning details as they unfold. It's 2008, and being in the actual calendar year of the wedding has me all motivated.
I occasionally get on the wedding planning websites and message boards, but I don't really have time to put together a bio, which means no one on TheKnot takes me seriously. Also, a lot of those ladies give me the heebie-jeebies. IndieBride is somewhat better, but I find their no-frills thread directory a little less than user-friendly. And, well...
You know, Alissa wrote a fantastic post about the general IndieBride/Knot split back in July.
"On the one hand, we have The Kn0t, which is laden with some of the b1tchiest, elitist women I have ever run into in my life. The cut each other down like there's no tomorrow, and if you don't have the biggest, most expensive, WICiest wedding ever, they will take you down, and then tell you that you shouldn't come to their space if you don't want to take the beatings. Lovely. On the other side, we have Ind1ebride.com. These people, oh they are the nice ones. They are creative and funny and unique and don't give a rip how much anything costs. Except they do, but in the opposite direction. These people will build their own barn, out of scraps they have collected in the woods, and then after the reception they will donate their barn to some wildlife refuge something or other to save the environment and also...give squirrels a place to live. Or something."
So this is kind of my equivalent to a planning bio on TheKnot. I'm going to post pictures and links and ask for suggestions from my blog friends and people I know, especially about dresses, which I really, really want to get checked off the "to-do" list soon. Blarg. I knew dress-shopping would be my least favorite thing. I was right. Go, me!
Before I jump into the dress/neckline/shoe thing, I want to catch you up on the basics of the event as it's shaping up. Right. Okay.
We're getting married in the Hershey Gardens in August where our blissful wows of undying love will be punctuated by the sounds of screaming by people riding the Sidewinder. Sweet! We've chosen to get married in the Oak Grove, which will hopefully muffle the sounds of amusement park thrills somewhat.
As guests arrive at the ceremony site, our ceremony musicians, Cantiga, will be playing Celtic-ish versions of classical music. They are a Renaissance Faire band who won't be wearing their garb. Several of their CDs recently became available on iTunes. The group includes a harpist, cellist, violins, Irish flute, etc. as well as a percussionist who's bringing a bodhran (the circular drum thingy that I became obsessed with wanting to learn to play after seeing the Four Bitchin' Babes in concert.)
The musicians will play their own pieces, as well as more traditional wedding music at our request, i.e. Canon in D, but Cantiga style. FIRST REQUEST FOR SUGGESTIONS: I'm looking for ideas for processional music, folks. Remember, we're going for Ren Faire-inspired, without making everyone feel like they ought to be gnawing on giant turkey legs and flashing their plus-sized boobs. As the wryly proud but weary owner of plus-sized boobs myself, Ren Faires are my place to SHINE. But we're not getting married at a Ren Faire, a decision that is totally and completely on purpose. Huzzah!
I kind of like the prelude to Bach's Suite No. 1 for the cello, which you can hear played by Yo-Yo Ma in this YouTube video. It's a tribute to Salvador Dali, which is totally random for this post, but the important thing is the music.
The ceremony will include a number of non-traditional traditions, including some adapted from Joel's Jewish and my Catholic upbringing. Emphasis on ADAPTED. Gwen, our Jewish Bridal Ninja, has agreed to say a Hebrew blessing over the wine, which we'll be drinking out of a Navajo wedding vase made by one of Joel's artisan friends from Moab. We're going to include a holy water blessing, but the water will be collected from Matrimony Springs in Utah, blessed by the guy who brings Nanny communion in the nursing home, and stored in the mayonnaise jar that my dad has always kept holy water in since our house was blessed in 1985.
Our officiant is a teacher at Joel's school and an ordained member of the Interfaith Council of New York, but the simplest way to describe her is to say that she is Strega Nona incarnate. I love her.
Joel has three groomsmen and a junior groomsman. I have two attendants, two flower girls and a Best Dog, who will be attended to by a co-worker/friend/Bridal Ninja In Charge of Canine Affairs who wishes very much to wear a bridesmaid dress. First. Instance. Ever. in Womankind. I'm touched. (Fred is our Best Cat in Absentia, and Ollie is the Jr. Best Cat Who Will Also Be Lolling in the Air Conditioning at Home, Dear God.) Alissa is also a Bridal Ninja in Charge of Ceremony Blessings. There are also two Musical Bridal Ninjas who will sing during the ceremony, provided that one of them is able to fly in from England in time and the other one has resumed talking to me by then.
After the ceremony, Cantiga will be moving with all of us to the nearby gazebo for cocktail hour. They will begin to play more rollicking, Ren Faire type drinking songs. I still might ask them to avoid anything with the word "grog" and/or "nonny" in it. SECOND REQUEST FOR FEEDBACK: What do you think?
The reception will be held in a tent just beyond the gazebo. Our biggest extravagance of the entire wedding is an air-conditioning unit for the tent. Woo hoo.
Here's where we get to the fun part that I have "inspiration pictures" for. Wow, I feel like a real knottie now. Huh.
The tent will be lit with round Chinese paper lanterns.
The florist, dear, sweet man that he is, was really genuinely excited when he found these wrought iron trees to form the basic structure of the centerpieces. (Also? He has a dog named Wheezy. Love that.) The centerpieces will be more or less like the photo above with colors that keep more in kind with the basic color scheme.
I'd like to line the path up to the bathroom with luminarias, but not pink ones.
FLOWERS AND DECOR
The wedding colors are chocolate brown and aqua. Yes, I know I will probably hate myself in twenty years. Screw you, Me in 2028! (The aqua is inspired in part by the opal in my engagement ring.)
What kind of flowers do you think would best accent this color scheme? I think a very light pink might highlight the aquas and brown quite nicely, but I know Joel and the other men who will receive boutinierres wouldn't be thrilled with pink roses.
The florist recommended Sahara roses.
What do you think? To beige-y blah?
I like this bouquet from Bride and Bloom magazine, but I know hydrangeas won't hold up in the heat. I like the pink astilbe(the fluffy, branchy ones), though.
Regarding that thing about hating myself in twenty years? See, I have developed a theory about this since our last discussion of paper parasols and wedding trends. This is partly drawn from Michelle's comment about everything looking dated at some point in the future.
I think, no matter what, in ten years I will think whatever I choose will look dated and probably a little bit silly. In twenty years, I will be horrified at the tackiness. In thirty years, I'll be hushing my sarcastic, tweenage, hypothetical daughter as she shrieks with laughter ("POOP BROWN?!? It's so ugly BWA HA HA HA!") with the same wry, "That was the style then, sweetie" that my mom gave me and Amanda about her Love Boat Wedding. In forty years, I'll probably start to think it all looks quite charming and vintage. In 50 years, I will think it looks elegantly antique, and in 60 years, I won't remember if I had melted crayons or nursing home pudding for lunch, let alone what I wore to my wedding.
On the other hand, if my great-great-grandchildren display at photographs of Joel and me at all, they will probably chose to frame and show a portrait from our wedding. So in many ways, a woman's wedding dress is the dress she'll be immortal in. This is also the reason you should hire a professional to take your wedding pictures (PIMP! MILESTONE IMAGES! PIMP!).
PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY
You'd think finding a photographer would be the hard part for me, right? Except I have this total photo crush on Anne Ruthmann, who we are so, so lucky to have booked. I have absolutely no photography-related stress at all. She is a force to be reckoned with. A force, I say!
I just found Melissa Costantino of Pea Patch Videography, and we're in the negotiating phase. I love her style. I love that she knows how to white balance her camera, and I love that she uses very minimal transitions and special effects, unlike some of the more terrifying videographers out there. The new trend seems to be creating wedding trailers, I guess? And they're all about drama and suspense and building tension. That's cool, I guess, but part of me just wants to duck and cover by the time I get to the end of the first sample trailer. It's like the preview for Final Destination 4: The Wedding. (Cue deep movie announcer voice: "Coming summer 2008!" BAM!) Um, hold me?
Which leads to... THE LIGHTING ROUND ! (dunt dun duuhhh)
THE DRESS (Hate.)
Formal dress shopping has always been- to draw from antiquity and literature- my Achilles heel, my personal Moby Dick (great white whale=fat bride metaphor intended). Here's what I've decided. I'm sorry; I personally can't do strapless.
This wedding planner-turned-blogger writes far better about the reasons why not everyone (read: me) should wear strapless. It's not a weight thing. I know plenty of women in every size clothes come in who have looked GORGEOUS in strapless. Pit Tit happens to skinny chicks, too. I give you (courtesy of the same blogger) Sarah Jessica Parker, with armpit fat.
You're welcome. I seem particularly afflicted when it comes to Armpit Fat. Also, the better the bra, the worse it gets. Too much sharing? Sorry. But it would be worse if you saw me wearing a strapless dress. Run away, run away! Strapless is just not for me. I have determined that I do want to wear an off-white or ivory dress, because I'm so pasty that bright white washes me out and makes me look like a corpse.
So here's where I am with this. All praise the halter neckline, like the one on this dress.
This was a flattering top for me. The boobs have a little emphasis without being the whole shebang. The cut is slimming around the armpits. Just sayin'. This dress, among others, helped me determine that I don't want to wear an A-line, full length dress. It makes me look like a wide, wide triangle. (Triangle man, Triangle Man, Triangle Man hates Person Man...) The train will get dirty dragging on the ground in the garden, and if there's anyone in the world who can't keep a white dress clean for a whole day, it's me.
As a result, I am digging the tea-length trend, see above, what with the garden dirt and the August heat, and- minus the strapless Pit Tit factor- I loved the way this dress with a high-low hemline moved and swished when I tried it on. The only thing I didn't love was how all the beading gave me serious Chub Rub issues on the insides of my upper arms.
Now, I LOVED this tea-length dress at Alfred Angelo, especially once we added an aqua accent ribbon around the waist, except for the strapless pit tit nightmare. And folks, believe you me, it was BAD.
Here's another view of the same dress.
So the question is, can I turn a strapless dress into a halter neckline? How high maintenance is that? Just thinking about it makes me all tired. I just want to put on an old t-shirt with holes in it and lay on the couch morosely eating Spaghettios.
So let's recap. I am looking for a tea-length or high-to-hemline halter dress without a train. I can't find any tea-length dresses with halter necklines. Period. Anywhere.
Yes, I've heard the suggestion about getting a bridesmaid dress in ivory, and the ladies on the Indiebride boards love Coco Myles. She lets you design your own dress online and then promises to produce it for like, $175 or less. You can't try them on first, but you can ordser swatches. The mailing address is a P.O. Box here in Stepford. Part of me wants to pitch a story about this service just so I can see the dresses up close. Journalistic integrity, anyone? Indeed.
I showed this Design-It-Yerself sketch from the Coco Myles website to my co-worker/bridal ninja who said, "It looks like a nightie." True.
Now, I kind of love these dresses by Stephanie James. I like the flirty, offbeat factor, but a lot of them are crazy poufy, and I don't want to look like a vintage caricature of myself.
Also, she makes her gowns out of a boutique in California, which I don't see myself dropping by anytime soon. That's not happening.
So maybe some sassy shoes? Which will have to be flats, to keep me from sinking into the grass. So... ballet flats? Something like these maybe?
Would aqua flats that match an accent ribbon around my waist be too much? What if I added vintage shoe clips for offbeat sassiness? Or if the shoes were ivory and the shoe clip were aqua?
What do you think? About any of it? All of it? Especially regarding dresses: HELP. ME.
Okay, this is the longest stretch of time I've spent thinking about the wedding. Yikes. I officially need to go read some Tolstoy or pen a feminist rant about the sizist trend of uexploiting little people at Super Sweet 16 parties on MTV. Or maybe I'll just be laying on the couch, moaning feebly and hitting the refresh button on your comments.
Ideas, suggestions, feedback: Bring it on, ladies. :)