Archive for October, 2009

Wedding traditions are traditions for a reason: they’ve been around a long time. But where did they originate? Our Wedding Traditions Explained series attempts to find out. We have no real evidence to back up these claims, but they were gathered from various online sources. Take them for what they’re worth, and if you’ve heard differing explanations, please share.

Tossing the Bouquet

This tradition originated in England where anything the bride wore or carried was considered good luck. Women would try to tear off pieces or her dress or flowers in order to obtain that luck. To escape, the bride would toss her bouquet at the crowd and run away. Whoever caught the bouquet was thought to procure the bride’s good luck. Today the bouquet-catcher is said to be the next to marry.

Throwing The Garter

This ritual dates back to a time before woman wore hose with a garter belt. It was a chance for the single men to share in the good fortune of the groom. In the 14th century, is was customary for the bride to toss her garter to the men,  though sometimes the men would try to take the garter off her ahead of time.

Today, the groom takes the garter off his bride and throws it to the single men. It is believed that the man who catches the garter will be the next to marry.

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Because it’s my favorite topic, I enjoyed reading this post and its comments on So You’re Engayged. I swear someone needs to pay me to do a study on the culture of last names because I find it absolutely fascinating!

With straight couples it’s usually assumed that the woman takes the man’s last name, and anything else is considered different and nontraditional. But what about gay couples? There isn’t a centuries-old precedent sent here, so it’s really important for these couples to have the last name discussion. I don’t want to generalize too much, but I’m guessing there aren’t very often assumptions made about last names when homosexual couples get married. I’m guessing there are discussions and decisions made together.

Which is SO GREAT! I think that’s the way it should be. For all couples, gay, straight or otherwise.

(Mike and I have already shared our thoughts on last names and our plan as a couple here and here.)

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What do you remember most about a wedding? The dress, the flowers, the food, the toasts?

The Etsy Wedding Team says its the bride’s dress, followed by the flowers. And as  much as I love that site, I gotta say, for real yo?

If I’m being honest, I NEVER remember the dress. Ever. In answer to the question “What was her dress like?” I usually answer, “Um, white. Shiny? The usual.” I know brides often spend days and weeks and months hunting for the perfect dress, but in the end, they all look the same to me. Which is probably part of the reason I chose something a little different.

As for flowers, I couldn’t tell you what kind of flowers were at any of the weddings I went to this year. I couldn’t even try to describe them to you because I have no recollection of the flowers whatsoever. Which is probably why we’re not doing flowers at our wedding. We haven’t made any decisions about decorations, so maybe some flora will sneak its way in, but I don’t even think we’re doing bouquets or boutonnieres.

What I do usually remember are the things that happen. The funny or sentimental toasts, the spirited dancing, the bridesmaid tripping down the aisle. For me it’s not all those little details of the day that stick in my head; it’s the events, the often unpredictable happenings, that make it special.

What’s your favorite part of a wedding? What do you usually remember most?

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Now taking advice

On A Practical Wedding last week, Rachel from Peacock Feathers & Diamond Rings shared some advice as a recent “wedding graduate.” These were my favorite pieces:

Take a moment for just the two of you. We went off with our photographer into the grounds of our old university and looked at some of the sculptures. You need some time to laugh and kiss and exclaim repeatedly “we’re married” before you return to all your guests.

I hadn’t thought about that. Our wedding and reception are going to be at the same location with no real break in between. Because it’s at my dad’s house, I imagine much of my family will be there all day (which I love), but it means there isn’t a prescribed time for Mike and I to be alone with each other and soak it all in. I think we’ll have to make sure that happens. Maybe we can leave some of the preparation details to our friends and family while we sneak away with the photographer for a minute. Or we could pretend we forgot something at the store and ya know, disappear for a quickie quick getaway.

And then take a honeymoon. One night, two weeks, whatever. Just a time for you both to be with each other before real life kicks back in.

We’re saving for a BIG trip later, and because we’re paying for this wedding ourselves, we can’t spend a lot on the honeymoon. But it’s important to both of us that we do something. Something other than return to work on Monday like we didn’t just have this huge important weekend. We’re thinking maybe just a few days at a bed and breakfast somewhere. Maybe see a part of the country we haven’t yet (New England?). Or maybe we’ll find an incredible deal on a cruise that we can’t pass up (though I think that’s really out of our price range). Either way, we definitely want to get away before real life kicks in.

I know a lot of you are married, so I wonder, what advice would you give a bride- and groom-to-be?

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Takin’ Care of Business

And workin’ overtime!

Ok, I’m done.

So it turns out that life is an incredibly busy thing to be involved in. Ever try it? It’s nuts.

Shan and I have been mired in life lately. My class schedule is starting to get harder to manage. Between homework, presentations (yeah PowerPoint), trying to get next semester’s schedule done, and maintain the tenuous hold on sanity that business law has left me with, it’s all I can do to keep my head on straight. Work has also been busy lately. I’m even working a little overtime. Not that I’m complaining. At least I’m working. Shannon has been whelmed (not quite overwhelmed, but close) by wedding showers, baby showers, weddings, and other family and friend obligations. She loves spending time with her friends and family, but it’s also time away from home. She is also volunteering and working full-time. So we’ve been busy. Oh yeah, and we’re planning a wedding too.

Last Friday we had a meeting of the minds with Shannon’s Dad and Des (step-mom). We went out for a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant. This was a momentus occasion on many levels. First, it was the first time I’d had the pleasure of an evening out with Shannon’s Dad and Des without the rest of the family present. It was nice to get to know them a little more on an adult level. Second, it was a chance to be treated to a meal out (Thanks guys!). Shannon had an amazing meatloaf with a carmelized pearl onion ketchup on top, and I had a delicious grilled pork loin stir-fry with mango foam. We had a beer and chatted about our mutual goings-on. And, oh yeah, planned a wedding too.

We discussed our desire to hold our wedding in Dad’s back yard, and ironed out some of the major details. We talked date-June 12, 2010 is now our official wedding date-and time, contingencies for weather, outlined our desired menu, and talked decor. We didn’t make an apocalyptic decisions, and we didn’t get the final plan laid out. But it was good to think about our wedding realistically, and to get the ideas and input of my future in-laws. It was a good night, and our wedding is now that much closer to a reality.

I think between our google docs, Des’s organization of our beautiful venue, and our slow-and-steady approach to all the minutiae of the planning, we are going to arrive at June 12th with a well-planned, wonderful wedding. We’re takin’ care of business.

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I bought my dress a month after I met Mike – not because I thought “I’m going to marry this man! Must buy a dress now!” but because I stumbled upon this dress when I was cruising Etsy, and I knew I had to have it. It was just my style, and it was SO affordable. So without knowing when or with whom I’d wear it, I ordered the dress. And I kept it a secret from everyone for months. When Mike and I started seriously talking about marriage, I told him about the dress and then tried it on for him. He loves it.

Excuse the disheveled look I’ve got going on. When I first got it, of course I had to try it on right away despite my unshowered appearance. Also, since I didn’t tell anyone about the dress, I had nobody to zip me into it or take the pictures. Also, the hanger straps are hanging out – classy.

But anyway, here it is:

And here it is in a more divine state, the pictures that made me buy it:

It’s described as a “1960s sleeveless empire waist green white lace prom dress.” Isn’t it great? I’m thrilled about it, I love it.

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(Wardrobe: bride and groom)
(Wardrobe: wedding party)
(Wardrobe: guests)
(Wardrobe: shoes)
(Wardrobe: menswear)

It’s no secret that I already bought my dress, and I swear I’m going to tell that story soon. Tomorrow even! But first, let’s look at what other dresses I admire. I found an old folder of “dresses I like,” but they’re mostly saved from before I bought my own. I kind of stopped saving images once I found the one I’m going to wear. For only $50!! Did I mention that already?

Anyway, here are some things that caught my eye in the past (including the one I already shared here):

(This would show off my lovely cleavage nicely, but it’s too… simple white wedding gown for me.)

(Love the lacey detail of these two. They’re very similar yes?)

(I saw this on the cover of Brides on a magazine rack at a bookstore years ago. I so loved this dress and couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I hunted down the cover image months later.)

(Isn’t this so superbly gorgeous? Simple yet classy, with a vintage feel.)

Before I was even engaged – to be honest, before I even met Mike – I decided I didn’t want to wear white and I would love to find a vintage dress that was simple yet beautiful. I’m not a girl that gave lots of thought to her wedding until now, but I did figure out that much about what I wanted to wear.

So those are your clues. Not white. Vintage. Simple. Beautiful. I’ll show you my dress tomorrow.

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(Wardrobe: bride and groom)
(Wardrobe: wedding party)
(Wardrobe: guests)
(Wardrobe: shoes)

I thought about having Mike write this part of the Wardrobe series. Afterall, it is menswear. But instead I just got his input. Because I’m selfish and like to write.

I didn’t say much about the ideas we had for the men in our no-longer-happening wedding party in the Wardrobe: wedding party post, but mostly because there wasn’t much to say. We didn’t plan to put them in anything special. Pants and shirts. Done. But when I tried to find some images of casually dressed groomsmen, it was surprisingly hard. I guess most people think tuxes are the way to go. The closest I could find were maybe the guys in this group:

Except maybe grey pants and solid colored shirts. Who knows what we might have settled on.

As for Mike, well, as much as I think he’d look super hot in a fitted suit like this:

He’s going to be much more casual. Again I couldn’t find anything like what I was really looking for, but picture something like this:

Only darker pants (grey, brown?) and a different colored shirt (undecided). Yes, he may even wear sandals. Or not. His ensemble is a work in progress. I just can’t imagine him wearing a tux. I’m sure he’d look smashing, but ugh, how stiff and unnatural! At least for the wedding we want to have.

What do you think? Does it just not feel like a wedding if tuxedos aren’t involved?

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(Wardrobe: bride and groom)
(Wardrobe: wedding party)
(Wardrobe: guests)

It’s not uncommon for women to spend a lot on their wedding shoes. Hell, it’s not uncommon for women to spend a lot on any shoes! And I get it, shoes are fun, I think so too. I have more shoes than I need, yet there are always more I want. But I’m a big time bargain shopper when it comes to footwear. I bet very few of the shoes I own cost more than $20. I’m not into designer shoes, I’m into cute shoes.

So when it came time to decide on wedding day footwear, I was torn. Splurge on something incredible or keep it simple? I knew I wanted something fun on my feet, and one day I became obsessed and pored over shoes galore online. Eventually I found the perfect pair from endless.com. But being as indecisive as I am, I toiled and toiled over the decision, finally giving in and purchasing these for $65:

God, aren’t the so fun? And when they were delivered to me, I loved them even more. But eventually I started to question my decision. These shoes were amazing, but they didn’t really follow our simple/casual vision for this wedding. Were they too much? I started to think so.

The new plan is that these will just become super fun (and the most expensive pair of) shoes I own and wear whenever, and I’m going to go barefoot or wear something much more understated at the wedding. I might slip these on as a prop for some photos, but they’re not my wedding shoes.

I have a variety of flats I could wear, or maybe I’ll find a simple pair of sandals or flip flops that will work. Or maybe I’ll leave my feet bare. I haven’t quite decided, but it feels good to know I won’t be spending a lot on wedding shoes. And to know my toesies will be comfortable the whole time!

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(Wardrobe: bride and groom)
(Wardrobe: wedding party)

We’re going to encourage our guests to dress casually, especially those with “reception only” invitations (yes, we’re doing that). In our heads this is a fun backyard party with our favorite people, and there’s really no need to get all gussied up. Some people like to do that, and that’s fine. We won’t kick anyone our for looking stunning, but we also won’t care if anyone shows up in jeans and their favorite t-shirt.

Some traditionalists will have a hard time with this concept, and that’s ok. I imagine there are several people on the guest list, especially those coming to the ceremony, that will want to dress up. But as far as we’re concerned, that’s optional (the dressing up, not the dressing in general, although that could be interesting, too. Naked Wedding anyone?).

We might put something along the lines of “join us for a casual ceremony (and/or reception)…” on the invitation, but we talk to everyone on the guest list on a pretty regular basis so it shouldn’t be hard to spread the word.

Anyone else ever do a casual “dress code” at a wedding?

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