Saturday, July 29, 2006

BACHELOR PARTIES: BLOOPERS, BLUNDERS AND OTHER TALES (PART I)

It's Saturday night, and I'm writing this post from my parent's six year old computer. Yes, I am home with Mom and Dad, outside of NYC, on a Saturday night.

While I love my parents to death, I normally wouldn't be here on a weekend night -- that time would be spent with either TallGuy or my girlfriends. So why am I here then?

TallGuy went to his first bachelor party (and this is "my" first bachelor party too)- and instead of going out with MY friends, I thought my parents would make even better company. Let me get one thing straight: I am not the neurotic, possessive, jealous type (especially with TallGuy) -- in fact, I trust TallGuy 150% whether it's simply a night of drinking at a bar or hanging out with a roomful of Playboy Playmates (unless he's randomly invited to the Playboy Mansion--with me--I don't think I have too much to worry about with that one!) He's the sweetest and most trustworthy guy a girl could ask for, and that's the truth.

I don't know which activities have transpired yet (though I would doubt the Playmates were participating), as I haven't really spoken to him since he left for the event at 4 PM. But he did tell me that one of the groom-to-be (Kevin)'s friends planned the event, and the last item on the laundry list of "to do's" was to go back to the planner's apartment for "entertainment".....

The irony of the "entertainment" concept is that Kevin is a pretty laid back, quiet, shy guy, according to TallGuy, who wouldn't necessarily be into that kind of thing. TallGuy's not - and I believe him. Apparently, however, the planner went with the concept - whether he consulted Kevin, I do not know.

What I think is interesting is that it's the PEOPLE IN CHARGE OF PLANNING bachelor and bachelorette parties who are really the ones who come up with the ideas -- rather than the bride or groom to be. And that's ok. Like I've said in prior posts, however, this isn't the planner's "night" -- and the bride or groom should feel comfortable about the events--and should definitely know about them in advance and make suggestions.

It's important to keep in mind that the planner may be the person who's into getting "entertainment" -- but the rest of the group may be much happier getting a beer at a dive bar on the Upper West Side (and spending hundreds of dollars less in doing so).

Just for the record - I'm not naive. I know what guys do, and what guys like. I just wanted to make the point that not every guy is going to want to see strippers at his bachelor party, and not every gal is going to want to go see a male "MANTASIA" style revue for their bachelorette party. If that's the plan, and everyone's cool with it, however? Totally cool - I'm not passing judgment on the ACTIVITIES here -- just making an observation about who is planning them.

Remember that even though you don't have control over the planning process for this type of event, you do have a responsibility to make sure the balance of your guests at that party enjoy themselves-- and you have a responsibility to YOURSELF to have a good time!

Having said my peace, I will now go to bed..... hope you all have been having nice weekends....

Stay tuned!

Friday, July 28, 2006

A PSA FROM THE WEDDING FAIRY

Hey everyone....

I normally limit my entries to the do's and don'ts of wedding planning (and the "real" etiquette that accompanies such planning), but when news of a very good cause falls into my lap (or, in this case, into my email inbox), I feel compelled to share it with readers.

If any of you live in NYC (or nearby), definitely check out the
BRIDES AGAINST BREAST CANCER WEDDING GOWN SALE, which will be held August 17-19 in Manhattan.

This event is a sale where brides can shop for the perfect gown--all the while helping and supporting individuals with terminal breast cancer, as well as their families.

The proceeds of the sale will benefit MAKING MEMORIES,
a foundation dedicated to helping terminally ill breast cancer patients.
The BRIDES AGAINST BREAST CANCER WEDDING GOWN SALE features new and used designer gowns--which are normally priced up to $15,000--starting at a mere $250!

The event kicks off with a VIP preview sale on August 17th, featuring gowns donated from
designers including Anne Barge, Carolina Herrera, Paula Varsalona, and stores including Kleinfelds and Mark Ingram.

At the VIP event, guests will be treated to gift bags, a free cocktail hour, and a raffle--including prizes like a $1,000.00 Confetti Cake, custom menu card design by SonicStefdesigns, and romantic, 5 night Honeymoon at Raffles Resort in Canoun Island.

The organization is still looking for volunteers to help at the event, as well as individual donations from brides who want to donate their dress. If you're interested, please see below for more information....

My helpful source noted about her own experiences: "I bought my wedding dress at a store where all the proceeds went to charity, and I can honestly say that of all the money that got spent on our NYC wedding, it was so nice to know that part of it went to something bigger than
just my day and my wedding... this organization allows something so special as a wedding dress go towards creating a special memory for a woman and her family."

For more information about buying tickets to the VIP event, please visit www.makingmemories.org - there is a link to the NYC event, as well as a calendar of events for other gown sales around the country. Looking to donate? The website will help you with that as well. I have also just learned that the organization has scored a MAJOR donation from a top couture designer (wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses and accessories) for the NYC event and may be in attendance as well.... Who is the big donation from? Vera Wang? Kenneth Poole? I don't have the answer (honest, I don't!), but go and see for yourself!

Please check out this organization, and/or the events listed on the website -- this is such a good cause, ladies, and something that you can enjoy while knowing you're helping others.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Q+A WITH THE WEDDING FAIRY (PART IV)

Here's a question from a reader about weddings/significant others, and a "where are they now" type of question:

"I scrolled through the archives to see whats been going on and the stories that caught my attention the most were on inviting guests and your friend not inviting TallGuy to her wedding. I know that wedding has past, so do you still keep in contact with her? You know when you get married you should just put her name on the invitation and leave her husband out, that would be hilarious. I really don't know what your friend was thinking leaving TallGuy out. It really didn't save them alot of money to do that, I know cause I'm getting married in 7 weeks! I am proud to say that every "single" (pun intended here) person invited to the wedding has an "and guest" on their invitation wether they are dating some one or not. They all have an opportunity to bring a person along. In this day in age, who said "and guest" had to be a date of the opposite sex? My childhood friend isn't dating any one, so she wants to bring her sister with her to the wedding, I said absolutely- it is your guest, and you can bring whoever you want. I must admit I have come across some inviting issues, and I hoped I handled them well."

This question came from a reader in early April. I was "saving" it, as I was curious myself as to what would happen--and whether Heather (see my prior posts from the "December" archive if you don't know the story) ever attempted to contact me or reconcile after her (in my opinion) inappropriate and rather classless behavior.

To be sure, I attended the wedding, as I said I would. I was there alone, and actually never even SAW HER. Could I have been the bigger person, walked up to her at her wedding, and congratulated her? Sure. Was I completely put off that she made absolutely no effort to stop at my table and say hello--particularly as I was alone at the wedding and knew hardly no one-and not a single soul at my table? Absolutely. After that, I felt as if the friendship was pretty much over. With Heather not contacting me thereafter, I figured correctly. So, to answer this reader's question, Heather and I no longer speak-- this is the first wedding casualty I've had since I've started seeing my friends become engaged and married.

This topic about inviting significant others engendered much debate among readers--and I think some thought I was overly critical about TallGuy not being invited--despite the fact that we pushed our trip back to the Greek Islands and lost our hotel reservations in order to be there.
I think it's interesting what this reader notes--that the cost isn't really that big of an issue with one additional person. I'm sure others would disagree. However, I would like to point out that with regard to this subject - as I said in December - it's not as much THAT she did it, but HOW she did it. Act graciously, is what I would say. Heather was neither gracious nor classy about her decision, and I think she knew it.

What I hope readers take out of this post about my long-lost friendship is that every detail of a wedding is important, but not as important as the friends and family that you surround yourself with. Heather forgot some of that as she attempted to plan, and was STILL forgetting while in the midst of celebration.

If you act in the same way that you wish others would, you'll be fine. Just keep that in mind as you go along, and you'll be happy you did.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Q+A WITH THE WEDDING FAIRY (PART III)


So the following isn't a question that I received from a reader, but one that I saw in a bridal magazine. I was actually appalled by the answer.

Here's the question (and I'm paraphrasing here, 'cause I cannot, at the moment, locate the specific clipping among the piles of magazines I've accumulated): "I picked out a dress for my bridesmaids that I really love, and they all hate it. Am I wrong to make them wear it, or do I have a legitimate right to stick to my guns?"

When I read the question, I immediately thought to myself "EASY ONE: HELLS NO!" The women that you choose as bridesmaids are those presumably individuals who you respect. Isn't part of your including them your way of honoring them?

If your bridesmaids hate the dress you choose for them--PARTICULARLY if they are FOOTING THE BILL--there is no good reason for sticking to your guns here. In fact, it's rude and uncalled for.

I think it's important to remember that, as the bride, you have decisions to make. I understand that these are HUGE decisions too! However, if you don't keep those in mind as you make them, you're going to offend--and put off--a whole lotta people along the way.

So, what was the answer to the question, you ask? Basically, the opposite of what I'm saying here. The magazine writer/columnist said that it's the bride's decision, and that the bride is in charge here--if she loves the dress? Then her bridesmaids need to get over it.

The caveat here?
If the bridesmaids hate the dress for a SPECIFIC reason--in terms of the actual fit (i.e. it shows too much cleavage, or the straps are too tight)--then comfort should trump everything--and the bride should make an effort to CHANGE the dress to make it more comfortable.... Clearly, these things should be decided BEFORE a bride picks OUT the dress in the first place.

If a bride has already chosen a dress, and her bridesmaids haven't chosen to raise the issue, or put in their two cents? Then that becomes their problem, though it is unfortunate.

If your girlfriends hate a dress, not because it hurts like hell, but because it's terribly ugly and they have to pay $300 for it? Is that such a terrible reason to raise a complaint BEFORE the dress is purchased? Pain shouldn't be the exclusive factor involved.

Think about it. If you come to the conclusion as the magazine writer, so be it. However, I'd urge everyone to think about the alternative. If you were the bridesmaid--and not the bride--would you change your tune? Some food for thought.

By the way--I have NO idea who this bridesmaid is, or what she's annoyed about. But hopefully, you won't have any pictures of bridesmaids like this in your wedding album--particularly if it's something as easy as finding a decent dress that everyone can agree on!

Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Q+A WITH THE WEDDING FAIRY (PART II)

Thanks for the responses, ladies, to my last q/a post -- I think that reader got a lot out of the additional commentary!

Here's another (more food for thought):

"I recently went to a wedding where the band played REALLLLLY LONNNNNNNG songs. After going up to dance a few times, I sort of got tired out by the whole thing, 'cause we'd be dancing to the same song for like 15 minutes! Maybe not literally... but it felt that way. My wedding is coming up and I guess I don't know if it's being a bridezilla to ask the band to play short, snappy songs? Is this a weird request?"

Interesting question, and one I didn't address in my posts about WEDDING BANDS (the music, that is, not the jewelry).

What I DID say back then, and what I'd say now to this reader, is that with regard to bands, you should DEFINITELY not choose a Laissez-faire/Que Sera Sera approach (or, as I would call it, the approach of the LBB = Laid Back Bride).

TALK to your band. TELL them what you're looking for. If you want short, two minute songs? That's YOUR call. Wedding bands and DJs cost a LOT of money (probably one of the most expensive aspects of a wedding, at least from what I've seen), so you should get what you pay for, so to speak. If you aren't paying for long songs, then you need to talk to your band, in ADVANCE (i.e. months, not weeks -- and then keep reminding them).

I'm sure some of you are wondering why I take such a hard line when it comes to bands -- in terms of being a more high maintenance bride. A lot of it has to do w/ the guests, of course.

If guests aren't having fun, then what good are beautiful centerpieces or the perfect cake?
The band/DJ is one of the most important parts of the celebration, so as Burger King says, HAVE IT YOUR WAY.

I actually tend to agree w/ this reader when it comes to short and sweet songs -- rather than long ones. Why? Guests have short attention spans. I know I do, and this reader seemed to as well. Don't blame us - just acccommodate us! Having shorter songs is a way to keep people on the dance floor, and guessing as to what will come on next. Is it the worst thing in the world if you have a 7 minute song? No. But avoiding long-ish songs--or at least interspersing them throughout the evening-is a way to keep people going (rather than lulling them to sleep).

Anyway, thank you for the question... keep them coming!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Q+A WITH THE WEDDING FAIRY (PART I)

Although an offshoot on my "Musings" posts, I thought I'd take the opportunity to focus on an interesting question that a reader raised about certain sketchy bridal behavior.

"I am at the age where my friends are just starting to get married. In each of the past two summers, two of my former college roommates got married. They each got married in their hometowns, which are in my home state. Since I moved away after graduation, the weddings were around a 3 or 4 hour drive each. I didn't mind at all, since I had once been so close to these women (and in one case, her husband-to-be). However, with both weddings, the bride made a comment to me along the lines of how she didn't think I would come. Excuse me? Were they padding the guest list to get more presents? Or were their attempts at thanking me for making the trip just carelessly worded?"

Hmmm. Slip of the tongue? Foot in mouth? Curious.

It's a good question that the reader asks, and unfortunately it's difficult to give a definitive answer, since I don't know the brides-to-be in question.

Nevertheless, I've experienced the "being-invited to a wedding just for the gift- syndrome" -- when I was in college, I was invited to a wedding of a long lost high school friend. Mind you, we were somewhat close in high school, but we COMPLETELY lost touch for 4 years after that, and I really didn't speak with her after graduation. Imagine my surprise when I received a wedding invitation--out of the blue--to this girl's wedding!! The wedding, also, was completely across the country (In Washington State - I live in New York), so I had to think she knew I wouldn't be attending. FYI - I never sent a gift - I was extremely put off by that type of blatant behavior, and I didn't think it necessitated a response.

Having said that, it sounds like the reader is still close with these women, and she still keeps in touch with them--since she is in communication with them, I really would think that their comments were more of slip of the tongue/foot in the mouth than a hint that they were only looking for gifts.

Let's hope so. I would let it go, and see if anything else "fishy" comes up along the way.

Sometimes, you never know what brides to be are thinking -- but I do hope that most brides are considerate enough to try and be gracious--even if that graciousness doesn't always translate correctly.

The Wedding Fairy is going to be visiting TallGuy's adorable niece and nephew (4 and 6, respectively) tomorrow, so I will be back with more early next week. Sorry for the spotty showing the past few days--work has been a little much!! So please stay with me... and stay tuned!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

MUSINGS ON THE MISCELLANEOUS (PART V)

"A sign of celebrity is that his name is often worth more than his services."
--Daniel J. Boorstin
Interesting quote. Perhaps a little harsh--but it's an intriguing statement, and is the introduction of my latest post on celebrity culture and weddings.
In my efforts to delve deeper into the world of weddings (and the subject matter that is part and parcel of my blog), I've picked up a few magazines for inspiration--BRIDES, MODERN BRIDES, and a few others. One of them I found particularly noteworthy was WEDDINGS: IN STYLE -- which had a feature on weddings/brides/brides and weddings, and of course "CELEBRITY" weddings/brides/brides and weddings.

As I flipped through the various pages about celebrity weddings--including details about ER actor Erik Palladino's swanky ceremony/reception on the Hawaiian island of Kauai (and his bride's Monique Lhullier gown) and hints about where to stay in Rome on your honeymoon if you want to live like Madonna or Leonardo DiCaprio--I was both fascinated and disgusted.

What is the origin of our lurid fascination with what celebrities do, and why do we concern ourselves with the details of what these people decide upon for their own celebrations?

When I say "we", I'm obviously generalizing a TAD. I know that many people don't think that celebrity style is the gospel, and many people actually believe that it's a waste of time and energy to even read or think about what superstars are doing.

But I'll admit that I find it enjoyable to read IN STYLE -- I won't lie. If I used the same baker for my wedding cake as Liv Tyler, would I think it was cool? Probably. Do I sometimes pick up PEOPLE magazine, and have TallGuy tell me it's trash? Yep.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I understand society's interest in celebrities--but I would emphasize the importance of realizing that in planning your wedding, you can certainly look at what celebrities are doing in terms of their own celebrations--but their world is a completely unrealistic one, and there should be no COMPARISONS made.

It may sound silly, and surely no bride is sitting down with these magazines, thinking to herself "Sigh, I wish my wedding looked like [Insert your favorite married celebrity name here]'s"...
However, people DO take stock in what celebrities say -- didn't Jessica Simpson write some sort of "HOW TO" wedding guide? Whether her advice is good or not, guess what? She's divorced--so no matter how many thousands or millions of dollars one spends on their wedding, or how trendy or stylish it may be, the important part is the underlying idea of it lasting. And in the end, it's YOURS -- so remember that and hold fast to that concept.

One of my close girlfriends (Jill) told me a story about her friend Sue, a sorority sister from college. Sue was excitedly telling Jill about a particular "find" -- for the tables at the reception, Sue ordered certain "favors" for her guests -- stylishly packaged macaroons made by Sandra Bullock's sister. Apparently, Ms. Bullock's sister has a bakery in Vermont. I asked Jill how the macaroons were -- and if they were anything special. "No, not really. They were fine - nothing great. I think Jill was more excited about the fact that they were "related" to Sandra Bullock --rather than the actual quality of the macaroon!"

And where did Sue find the macaroons? IN STYLE -- according to Jill.

As you plan your wedding, remember that it's fine to read the magazines to see what celebrities are doing, but it's important to note that YOUR DAY is special because YOU are creating it -- and your style will be appreciated by your guests because they love YOU -- while we may be interested in reading about the flowers at Sarah Michelle Geller's wedding, celebrity culture is fun to read about because it's superficial and unrealistic -- and therefore, your wedding should be a reflection of your taste - and that should be more than good enough for you - and your guests!

Stay tuned!

Monday, July 03, 2006

MUSINGS ON THE MISCELLANEOUS (PART IV: CONTINUED)


As I've been reading and enjoying the various comments that I've received about wedding planning (see previous post), there's been a Billy Joel song running through my head -- We Didn't Start the Fire? Um, no (though I really like that one and can proudly say that I learned ALL the words in 5th grade when it came out). Captain Jack? Negative, though I suppose if I were once again writing about alcohol at weddings, that would be relevant.

The name of the song, of course, is "Pressure" -- one of Billy Joel's best, in my opinion. (By the way, the photo on this post is my personal snapshot from Billy Joel's concert at MSG -- I don't remember what he sang, but it was all amazing!)

Here are some of the more relevant lyrics (I say "relevant" because I'm not sure what "All Your Life is Sesame Street/Channel 13/What Does It Mean/" really means...)

You have to learn to pace yourself/PRESSURE/You're just like everybody else
PRESSURE/You've only had to run so far, so good/But you will come to a place
Where the only thing you feel/Are loaded guns in your face/And you'll have to deal with/PRESSURE

So maybe it isn't loaded guns in your face, but I've ascertained (and already mentioned) that many women get very stressed out when it comes to the planning process...I was interested to hear what readers had to say on this subject, particularly because those who read my blog are going through it -- and feeling that PRESSURE that I haven't yet experienced.

I liked Megan's comment about where this PRESSURE is coming from: "I think that (some) women feel that more pressure is on them to have the perfect wedding because they feel that somehow it predicts their abilities as a wife- to plan, be a gracious host, look great, make everyone feel good and have a good time."

This makes perfect sense -- in a way, a wedding is almost like a large dinner party. While a bride may be the center of attention, she is also the hostess -- which is a very important role that accompanies the "big day." I can see why brides-to-be, in having to juggle the hundreds of details, would get stressed out about playing hostess and making sure everything goes off without a hitch -- it also gels with the societal perception the bride, in the larger sense, should be the hostess with the mostess, and her ability to "do it all" reflects upon her skills as a wife, mother, etc....

While the origins of this PRESSURE makes sense, I also like hearing what happens when brides actually experience the big day, and realize that all that worrying may not have been worth it in the end. Why? Because no one notices "mistakes" anyway.

One reader noted: "The day of my wedding, things went wrong (I forgot to wear the throw garter and still didn't have it on when the dj announced the bouquet toss!), but for the most part, it didn't matter- nobody else notices these things except for you!"

What this reader is saying is VERY true -- I can attest to it, as I saw what happened at BigSis' wedding. Seconds before the high point of the ceremony--when BigSis was to walk down the aisle with my father--certain havoc broke loose right outside the doorway where she was supposed to enter with my dad by her side. What was the problem? No dad. My father was NOWHERE to be found -- and BigSis was quietly--but definitely outwardly freaking out (while the wedding planners rushed through all adjacent rooms of the reception site in an effort to locate him). The musicians had already started playing the Canon, and all the bridesmaids and groomsmen had walked down the aisle already. Panicked, BigSis looked around and spotted my father--coming out of a men's bathroom that was hidden on the side of the room they were waiting in..... While BigSis nearly had a heart attack, the guests were none the wiser -- no one realized what was happening in the adjacent room. Did the guests happen to notice that we (the bridesmaids and groomsmen) were out of order walking out of the ceremony? Nope. S*%& happens, and 99 out of 100 times, no one will realize a damn thing if you take it with a grain of salt -- and don't freak in front of your friends.

I LOVED Twistie's comment about the comparison between a theatre production and a wedding -- and what the audience actually notices. "...Audiences are stupid. This wasn't really as rude as it sounds. [The theatre director's] point was you know the show better than anyone likely to be in the audience. The audience will accept what you show them as long as you do it with authority. IOW, your wedding guests won't know what precise shade of yellow the ribbons were supposed to be or what exact romantic gesture you had planned for the moment you're declared legally wed. If you don't let things faze you, they'll be convinced it was what you meant all along."

Well said. And an important thing to think about.... It's great to realize the reasons WHY, as a bride, you may sweat the small stuff-- and sweating a little bit is OK, but keep in mind what those who have gone through it are saying...as I saw with BigSis' wedding, elements of the ridiculous (like my dad going MIA before the ceremony) did occur -- but no one noticed and in the end, it didn't matter!

Thanks to those who have commented, and please keep the thoughts coming! Stay tuned!