Monday, August 28, 2006

DILEMMAS RE: DIVORCED/SEPARATED PARENTS (HOW TO DEAL): PART II

Thanks for the comments, everyone, as relates to this subject. Having seen friends (and family members) experience issues with the subject of divorced parents, I can attest that divorced parents (and others in the family tree) DO experience pain and/or embarassment when it comes to these issues. While I can't empathize -- I can sympathize, and try and provide ideas that may become viable solutions.

The next "installment" as relates to this topic still has to do with the band/DJ you hire -- this time, having to do with THE FIRST AND LAST DANCE OF THE NIGHT (AND ALL OF THOSE IN BETWEEN)...

The same friend I referenced in my first post, Taylor, continued with her story: "The band guy attempted to make Jim's mom dance with his sister since she didn't have anyone to dance with... obviously this made the mom quite unhappy..."

As I mentioned in my previous post, dealing in advance with the people you hire is of utmost importance when it comes to staying in control of the comfort levels of your guests (in this case, divorced family members).

While the band guy may have MEANT well, it was extremely embarassing for Jim's mother in this situation - not necessarily because other people noticed what was going on (I don't know
if this was the case, though Taylor certainly did), but because SHE felt like other people were watching/noticing - and also because it made her feel awkward about the situation and how to react to it. This type of behavior is not acceptable, and certainly not fair to the mother of the groom (or anyone in this situation that applies in other scenarios)- whether or not you believe that a divorced parent should "suck it up" (a sentiment which I thoroughly disagree with), you should definitely understand that the band member trying to "help" in this way is degrading, demoralizing, and definitely a NO.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

DILEMMAS RE: DIVORCED/SEPARATED PARENTS (HOW TO DEAL)

I'm about to approach a subject that is VERY sensitive, and will most likely bring forth strong opinions as to how to deal--which may be different from my own. This conversation (unlike flip-flops, for example) will have more serious undertones, but the point of my addressing it is to try and find a way of handling it in a manner that will suit you--as well as your parents and other involved parties.

The issue of how to handle wedding-related issues as relates to divorced/separated parents is complex and multi-faceted, as there are a range of related sub-topics (for example, table arrangements, invitation issues, and more).

I am going to tackle one issue in each post, as I want to make sure each sub-topic gets the attention it deserves. The first issue has to do with the BAND/DJ -- you may not think there is ANY involvement whatsoever when it comes to the entertainment, but if you read below, you'll see that you really have to prepare for just about any scenario.

Although dealing with divorced/separated parents may be uncomfortable for you, the important thing to remember is that it's even MORE uncomfortable for your parents (as well as the step-parents, children, etc. who may also be involved).

A colleague of mine, Taylor, was telling me at lunch about her wedding, and the stress that resulted as a result of the insensitivity of the band that she had hired (as related to her husband's parents and the INTRODUCTIONS): "First, Jim's [Taylor's now-husband] parents are divorced. So the band in those stupid intros of everyone announced Jim's father and his stepmother as "the groom's parents" ... then he later announced Jim's mom as the "groom's mother..."

Ouch. Not only is this potentially embarassing to Jim's mother, but it's hurtful and unnecessary. Taylor said that Jim's mother was really unhappy with the situation and rather embarassed. I would like to think that the band members didn't act this way maliciously--and simply were bumbling idiots and didn't know quite how to handle the introductions (or perhaps didn't know about the actual relationships of all parties involved).

Introductions as relate to divorced parents can definitely be tricky - especially if one individual is the "odd man out" -- here, Jim's mother was sans-date -- while Jim's father had re-married, and was with his new wife.

However, I do believe that it's imperative that the bride and groom think in advance about this issue--and how best to make sure everyone involved is comfortable and at ease.

Therefore, THINK about the introductions in advance, and TALK/COMMUNICATE with your band about how to approach each. My feeling is that Jim's father and mother as indicated in the above scenario should have been introduced together as "the groom's parents" -- why? Because they are! But if you're comfortable with a different approach, you should convey that to the band members as relate to the introduction, in order to make sure everyone knows in advance what will be said, and how the situation will be handled.

These issues are not easy, and I certainly don't believe there is a golden rule when it comes to something as tough as this. However, communication with those involved in the ceremony/reception -- particularly if they have some level of CONTROL in what will unfold, is an important aspect of the planning process. Why? Because this is an issue of major import to those who you love and may be, in your opinion, the most important guests involved.

More to come on table arrangement issues and other scenarios in this new series!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

WALKING DOWN THE AISLE CAN BE JUST AS STRESSFUL FOR YOUR BRIDESMAIDS AS IT IS FOR YOU (BELIEVE ME) (PART II)

Ugh.

Had a closing today, for a very stressful deal that I've been handling since May. Horray.

What was the one thing on my mind the entire closing?

My feet.


Running around in high heels is NOT my idea of fun - Today, I was on my feet for about 8 hours straight in 3 inch heels, which was pretty taxing. That's why I tend to wear flip-flops in the confines of my office as often as I can.

As I was walking home, I was thinking about how flip-flops really are the answer to everything--i.e., every outfit.

What to wear for a sunday brunch? Sundress and flip-flops. To and from work? Flip-flops. A night out with the girls? Sparkly flips-flops, a tank top, and jeans.

I was thinking about flip-flops in relation to weddings and comfort levels. Much like the trend of thirteen year old girls wearing socks to hit the dance floor at weddings, I've heard that flip-flops are beginning to make their appearance at weddings (particularly, from what I've heard about ladies utilizing them to hit the dance floor)

I was thinking, then, about the concept of flip-flops down the aisle. Wouldn't it be SO nice for bridesmaids to NOT have to worry about tripping, falling or stumbling? Sure, it can happen while NOT walking in heels -- but the odds are less likely!

The idea of tripping while walking down the aisle is always my nightmare when I'm a bridesmaid. I was in a wedding in Omaha where the ceremony was at a beautiful cathedral -- the aisle was extremely long, and thank GOODNESS I had an escort/groomsman on my arm.

While I'm the first to admit that it's not really appropriate for a walk down the aisle, finding a happy medium -- i.e. not 4 inch heels or uncomfortable shoes -- works for me. Therefore, if you have your bridesmaids purchase specific shoes, make sure they're comfortable -- and walking down the aisle-worthy.

How great would life be if we could live it all the time in flip flops? Perhaps I'll have a beach wedding when the time comes...........

Stay tuned (and I promise less randomness next post -- My feet are killing me, which is where this line of thought is coming from!)

Monday, August 14, 2006

WALKING DOWN THE AISLE CAN BE JUST AS STRESSFUL FOR YOUR BRIDESMAIDS AS IT IS FOR YOU (BELIEVE ME) (PART I)

Although I haven't yet walked down the aisle as a bride, I can imagine the pressure. EVERYONE's eyes are on you, you want to look PERFECT for your husband-to-be waiting for you at the end of the runner, and the moment MUST be JUST RIGHT. All of this while trying not to cry and ruin your makeup - right?

I completely understand--even if I can't really relate--about the anxiety brides go through when it comes to the BIG MOMENT. And the relief when it's all over, and a bride is arm-and-arm with her newly minted husband, about to go and join in the celebration (like these pretty young things, to the left!)

When it comes to the bridesmaids, however, there's an added pressure --- if you screw up (whether it's a scuffle, a trip, a shoe falling off, or a simple a nervous laugh), you will feel the burden of the screw-up potentially dampening the bride's evening, as well as the embarassment of being "that bridesmaid" who couldn't carry her weight (um, literally)....

Fair enough, you say (if you're a bride-to-be). Your response may be: But what can I do about it?

As a former and potentially future bridesmaid (so far, I have not been asked to be a bridesmaid again -- do you think it's the result of my blog writing? My friends may be scared to ever use me after my posts), I will say that one piece of advice is this: MAKE IT AS EASY AS POSSIBLE FOR YOUR NERVOUS NELLY BRIDESMAIDS TO MAKE IT DOWN THE AISLE--WITHOUT TRIPPING.

When I say "easy", I don't mean that you need to put them in a stroller and have their groomsan/escort them down the aisle. (Though that's kind of a funny image!)

However, make sure the conditions are such that your lovely ladies will be at ease.

My friend Stephanie was recently in a wedding where she had to walk down a long flight of stairs before she even MADE IT TO THE BEGINNING OF THE AISLE -- so that, during the ceremony, all eyes were on her as she climbed down the stairs (which were pretty deep, as she informs me), AND THEN as she walked down the runner -- Steph did all of this in high heels--and without a groomsman/escort.

Is this necessary?
Although I don't have a picture of the ceremony set-up, I would THINK that there HAD to be some alternative to the bridesmaids having to descend a flight of stairs with the entire audience watching -- at least, the bridesmaids could have walked in with an escort (which is a great trick for keeping one's balance, as I've discovered).

While it's inevitable that you're going to focus on your trip down the aisle, keep ours in mind as well. Steph's friend here should have realized that if SHE were doing the same route (without her father escorting her), it would have been extremely nervewracking and difficult.

Remember us.... please! Otherwise, you may have an embarassing situation on your hands -- which is certainly not what you want - and it's definitely not what we want either.

It's scary enough for us to do "the walk" - please make sure you think of these things in advance so you can help us maintain both our mental and physical balance.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Q+A WITH THE WEDDING FAIRY (PART V)


"Wow, you're giving these people a +$200 wedding gift AND a $75 engagement gift? My husband's groomsman gave him $400 (no engagement gift), and we were shocked and appalled (and touched!) that he spent so much, esp. since he and his wife had to travel across the country for the wedding. Everyone else in the wedding party gave us about a $100 gift, and we tried to discourage engagement and shower presents entirely. Not trying to be focused on money or anything; just think it's interesting that societal mores are so different... "

I'm embarassed to say so, but yes -- I agree with you that these prices are obscene; I think that when the cost of living is extremely high--particularly in a place like Manhattan-- it drives up the prices of well, everything -- even wedding gifts.

When TallGuy went to that bachelor party, he didn't have a choice as to how much he spent--that was the standard, and he either had to adhere to it--or not go. Part of the problem is that people don't necessarily think TWICE about the fact that these prices/costs are extremely high--because EVERY cost seems high in a city like Manhattan or San Francisco, people don't scratch their heads when paying out, as much as they should.

Therefore, please keep in mind that when I'm talking about a $300 bridesmaid's dress, I'm really referring to a dress one might purchase in New York, or Philadelphia, or Chicago -- Even though this seems like a very expensive price to me, it probably seems absolutely outrageous compared to those who live in smaller cities/towns. And believe me -- I am not the girl in this picture (for the record--I promise)--I DON'T have this money to throw around, which is why I'm always so aware of it--particularly when these items add up for weddings!!

To wrap this up, I think it's important to emphasize that my discussion of prices is NOT an evaluation, and the costs I throw out for discussion are very much city-specific--and certainly not the norm around the country, as evidenced by readers' comments.

Since cost issues are a pervasive theme through my blog, I thought it useful to relay this information--just so people know where I'm coming from - and that these issues are built around geography and circumstance.

Stay tuned!

Monday, August 07, 2006

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

Thanks for the comments, ladies - it's interesting to hear how other men choose to spend their time. I think trust is an important thing to have when it comes to what your significant other is doing at these parties, as they should have that trust in you.

Getting back to another theme of these parties -- $$$$$$.

At the end of the day, TallGuy shelled out $150 outright (for the limo and said entertainment as described in the last post), and then the only other cost the entire day/evening was $30 bucks for a cheap dinner consisting of bar food.

I was speaking with a colleague of mine (an older male friend named Charlie) who was telling me that TallGuy actually got LUCKY in terms of what he had to spend. What Charlie said was this (before TallGuy actually attended): "Honestly, I don't know WHAT kind of entertainment is going to be at this party, but you have NOTHING to worry about - that kind of money he has to dole out won't buy much at all...." Apparently, the more um, "intensive" should I say? type of parties (which have tons of strippers and lot more shadiness than what apparently took place at TallGuy's party) involve thousands of dollars for EACH attendee.... pretty unbelievable (and kind of shocking) when you think about how many other expenses there are for guests at a wedding.

Obviously, the cost of these type of parties is only one factor. But it's a factor, indeed. This is an issue for bachelorette parties and showers, as WELL as bachelor parties... and it's something important to think about as you (and/or your friends) plan for these type of events.

Although TallGuy and I live in nice apartment in Manhattan, neither of us is able to throw money around easily - the next piece of the puzzle, after his spending almost $200 for going out that Saturday evening will be the $200+ gift (which was in addition to the $75 dollar engagement gift).... see how this is adding up??? TallGuy (for the record) was HAPPY to do it and to spend time with his friends (and celebrate the upcoming nuptials)--this is my mere observation about price, as an outside observer.

To conclude with the bachelor and bachelorette party theme, remember that those in charge of planning yours should be responsive--and respect the budgets and desires of the others involved. While the wedding is "your'" day, it's important to remember that those who are spending a lot of money in the process will be very thankful if their needs are taken into account along the way.

Stay tuned!