Thursday, December 27, 2007

GUESTBOOKS: USEFUL OR A WASTE OF SPACE?

Thanks for the comments.

It's interesting to think about doing this at a lower cost, as Tara suggested -- I imagine there *MUST* be a way of pulling it off, without spending $6500 bucks to do it!!

I do agree with Linda, too, though, that this type of thing may be intimidating to people (or at least not in keeping with the traditional idea of a guest book)-- Not that I would be spending this much $$$$, but can you IMAGINE being the guest to drop the bowl? Can you imagine being the bride in that situation? Ugh. That's the one comment my mom made when I emailed her a link to the Steuben bowl, with the subject heading "If I had all the $$$ in the World" -- her reaction: "I'd be really afraid someone would drop it."

Either way, not sure I'll be going with a glass bowl - but it is something to keep in mind. I'm checking out martha stewart link too....she always has interesting and crafty ideas, so that is a great suggestion!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A WEDDING FAIRY QUESTION: GUEST BOOKS - USEFUL OR WASTE OF SPACE?

IF I had all the money in the world, *THIS* would be my "guestbook":


Photo is courtesy of Stuben, the maker of this beautiful work of art.

I think this (for those of you who don't feel like going to the link, it's a glass bowl that guests can literally etch their signatures into) is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL signature piece, and such an interesting, unique way of handling the guest book situation.

I'm trying to figure out whether a guest book is necessary, useful or [insert any positive adjective here].

I understand the point of them, for sure -- but when I go to weddings, I NEVER really know what to WRITE. Getting too personal feels uncomfortable to me, but writing "Congratulations! We're so excited for you!" also feels--well--boring.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the guest book concept -- I'm having an internal debate right now about the necessity of having one (given my experience as a guest with them -- and how whatever I end up writing never seems to be all that memorable), and if people have alternative ideas.

Just to clarify, however: I AM OBVIOUSLY NOT GETTING THE CRYSTAL ETCHABLE BOWL, as I am not part of Women Entertainment's "Platinum Wedding" show!!!

Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

NOTHING TO DO WITH ETIQUETTE, BUT... (WE HAVE A WINNER!)

Thanks, ladies, for all of your help with the shoes.

I am so impressed that Steve Madden has a make-your-own line - awesome!

Colorifics and Seychelles were also really good ideas. Really cute stuff!!!

I didn't mention what I was looking for (sorry) -- I didn't have the shoes (obviously) for my first fitting, so we estimated I would need a heel no higher than 3 inches. I figured between 2-3 inches was what I would go for -- but then I found these shoes...

I ended up finding a pair at Stuart Weitzman which I loved in the store (of course, the 6 1/2, my normal size, was too big on me -- and they didn't have the 6!) Sigh. Admittedly, I knew they were over my price range BUT I figured I'd throw caution to the wind--and try the size 6 from Zappos. They *say* on Stuart Weitzman they are 2 inches-- but they seem pretty low to me. Either way, I'm hoping they will work with my dress!!!

Just tried them on -- a *teeny* bit snug -- but I've already stretched them out a bit by wearing them with socks :) I figure they will give a little bit more once I break them in -- given that it's a low heel, I also figure it'll be more comfortable than what I otherwise would have gotten! I absolutely love them, so I'm hoping they work out.

Here they are! http://www.zappos.com/n/p/dp/30704635/c/933.html


Admittedly these were a bit over my price range, but they were exactly what I was looking for.

Thanks to all for your helpful advice!! :)

Stay tuned! Much more to come. Just spoke with my mom, and she reminded me that TallGuy and I need to go tux shopping for him soon. UGH.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

NOTHING TO DO WITH ETIQUETTE, BUT...

....why is it so dang hard to find wedding shoes?

I've already bought and returned two pairs that I ordered on-line (too big, then too small), and I've gone to every store in NYC imaginable that would carry them.

What gives?

I guess everyone's into non-matchy matchy wedding shoes these days.

But is it so hard to find a pair of pretty white ones for the girls who don't want metallic strappy sandals?

Geez.

Sorry for the vent, but I'm curious if others out there are experiencing the same thing.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

SEATING SLIP-UPS (REDUX, TAKE TWO): Q + A TIME.



Hi Everyone!

I thought I'd take some time to write a post while TallGuy is happily playing GuitarHero III on the Wii. I think this may have been the best holiday present I've ever gotten for him - AND it gives me time to do my girly wedding stuff without feeling guilty (not that he isn't totally happy with my doing it - but at least I feel like he's completely 100% occupied with something else!)

I received a comment/question from a reader, to which I wanted to respond (since I think these questions help many people out there tackle similar issues):

This is from Kirs10la (thanks for reading and the question, K!)

To mix things up a little bit, I'm going to answer Ks question IN CAPS AFTER EACH COMMENT/QUESTION, SO AS TO MAKE IT MORE CONVERSATIONAL. IF ANY OF YOU HAVE TROUBLE READING MY RESPONSES, LET ME KNOW (I WILL PUT THEM IN BOLD AS WELL TO MAKE IT CLEAR WHERE I AM RESPONDING.

"Let me start by saying... that I agree with your beefs on the slideshows and grand entraces/exits. Cheese balls with cheese on top.


[WEDDING FAIRY]: THANKS FOR BACKING ME UP ON THAT ONE. I THINK SLIDESHOWS AND GRAND ENTRANCES CAN BE DONE TASTEFULLY AND ELEGANTLY, FOR SURE, BUT THE MAJORITY OF THE ONES THAT I ENCOUNTER ARE ALWAYS SO OVER THE TOP. I WAS AT A WEDDING RECENTLY WHERE THE HAPPY COUPLE CAME INTO THE ROOM TO THE THEME SONG FROM ROCKY. I ALSO WAS AT A DIFFERENT WEDDING WHERE THE SLIDESHOW WAS LITERALLY 20 MINUTES LONG - I THINK BRIDES CAN DO WHAT THEY WANT, BUT ANYTHING THAT SEEMS EVEN REMOTELY OVER THE TOP, OR OVERDONE, SHOULD BE RE-THOUGHT.


But let me take on the Sweetheart table from the Bridesmaid/ Groomsmen point of view. My Fiance and I have been in many weddings in the 5 years we've dated. There is NOTHING we loath more about being wedding attendant than sitting at the head table. We want to sit with EACH OTHER. AND we don't want to be sitting with people we hardly know while the other sits at the head table for two hours during a 4 course meal.

[WEDDING FAIRY]: I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU ABOUT THE HEAD TABLE SCENARIO BEING AWKWARD WHEN ONE HALF OF THE COUPLE IS NOT IN THE WEDDING PARTY. THAT HAPPENED TO ME WHEN TALLGUY AND I WENT TO A DESTINATION WEDDING - TALLGUY SAT AT A TABLE WHERE HE LITERALLY KNEW NO ONE, BECAUSE I WAS IN THE WEDDING PARTY. IT WAS REALLY CRAZY.

For our wedding we are having a Sweetheart table because to fit a head table of 22 (maid & men, plus their husbands/wives/bfs/gfs, plus us) is too big to work in the room we have. We thought about doing "family" with us at the table but I have no immedaite family besides my parents (family full of only children... scary I know). And neither of us want to sit up there with our parents only (what could be more romantic than sitting with your parents?!). So we're doing a Sweatheart table by default. BUT we promise not be on platform or eat filet while everyone eats pasta, AND we promise to mix and mingle with everyone (we're both super social so I don't see it being a problem).

K, I DON'T SEE IT BEING A PROBLEM EITHER. MY CONCERN WITH SWEETHEART TABLES IS--AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN--HOW THEY ARE DONE (IT'S REALLY NOT THE ACTUAL INSTITUTION OF SWEETHEART TABLES ITSELF). IF THE TABLE IS DONE ELEGANTLY AND THE BRIDE/GROOM ARE INTERACTING WITH GUESTS, EATING THE SAME DISHES (!!) AND ON THE SAME LEVEL - LITERALLY :), THEN I THINK THIS MAKES SENSE AS AN OPTION.

IF SITTING WITH IMMEDIATE FAMILY IS NOT AN OPTION, THEN YOU ARE RIGHT THAT THIS SCENARIO MAY WORK THE BEST.

Do you think a sweetheart table is OK for us? Do you have any better ideas?

[WEDDING FAIRY]: IT SOUNDS AS IF YOU'VE REALLY THOUGHT ALL THE SEATING SCENARIOS AND ISSUES THROUGH. I DON'T THINK OF THIS AS A "BETTER" IDEA- BUT ANOTHER SUGGESTION COULD BE TO SPLIT UP YOUR WEDDING PARTY, AND YOU SIT WITH THE PEOPLE YOU FEEL CLOSEST WITH AT ONE TABLE, AND THEN HAVE TWO (OR HOWEVER MANY YOU NEED) OTHER TABLES OF THE GROOMSMEN/BRIDESMAIDS, ETC. THE LIKELIHOOD IS THAT YOU WILL BE GREETING GUESTS AT THE OTHER TABLES DURING DINNER, SO IT WON'T BE SUCH A BIG DEAL WHO YOU CHOOSE TO SIT WITH - AND IF ANYONE FEELS OFFENDED, THEN I THINK THAT'S SILLY AND UNCALLED FOR IN THE FIRST PLACE. IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE A LARGE WEDDING PARTY, SO PEOPLE SHOULD REALLY UNDERSTAND IF THEY ARE NOT SEATED WITH YOU OR AT A HEAD TABLE.

BOTTOM LINE: I THINK A SWEETHEART TABLE WORKS FOR YOUR SITUATION, AND YOU ARE BEING A GREAT, THOUGHTFUL BRIDE BY THINKING THROUGH THE ISSUES. IF YOU FEEL LIKE SPLITTING UP THE BRIDAL PARTY, AND SITTING WITH YOUR CLOSEST FRIENDS, I THINK THAT WORKS TOO. IF YOU ARE THE MOST COMFORTABLE WITH THE SWEETHEART TABLE, I SAY GO FOR IT!


TallGuy just glanced over at my computer and asked me who I was yelling at :)
Sorry for the ALL CAPS, but I thought it would be easier to answer the question this way.

I hope this answer helps people out there. I really enjoy reading about your own experiences - they really help me, too, try and figure out all this stuff as I plan.

By the way - I went to the Nutcracker ballet last night - so sweetheart tables were totally on my mind.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

SEATING SLIP UPS REDUX: THOUGHTS FROM THE WEDDING FAIRY

A few months ago, I received a comment from a reader, which I wanted to share here, as I re-visit the concept of table arrangements--in connection with my own experiences as I plan my wedding to TallGuy (May, 2008).

"I stumbled upon your blog after googling "sweetheart table" and was very happy to find someone else as puzzled about this as I was. It just seems self-absorbed and weird -- if a couple is putting together a reception and inviting guests, why don't they want to sit with them?!?

I love your blog. I find myself simultaneously fascinated and horrified by the proliferation of wedding planning. I really enjoy your posts and hope that you revisit some topics now that you're planning a wedding of your own and compare what it's like being the host rather than guest."

Thank you, Belda! In an attempt to connect my own experiences to what I've written about, I thought I'd start with the topic you addressed in your comment: Sweetheart tables, but more generally, table arrangements.

Seating arrangements are HARD! No question about it. TallGuy and I definitely do NOT consider the sweetheart table as an option. At every wedding I've been to with a sweetheart table, it's always felt so separated and isolating - I hadn't seen the bride at one wedding, and I went up to the table to congratulate her - I felt as if I were interrupting. To each his own - and I'm sure it does make it easier to have to "choose" who to sit with - but it's not for us. The concerns I raised in my prior posts are STILL concerns - being a guest vs. being a bride has not changed a thing.

TallGuy and I are most likely going to have round tables of 8 and 10 (I prefer tables of 8 - I'm trying to create the effect of a "dinner party", and 10 per table seems too impersonal to me).

TallGuy has 2 siblings, and I have 2 siblings. The idea is for us to sit at a table with them (and their significant others/husbands, etc.) - which would give us a table of 10 for the "head table", so to speak. We only will have 4 bridesmaids and groomsmen (8 total, 4 on each side)- and we really don't think the 2 bridesmaids and groomsmen who are not family members will be offended - we don't really see this as a "head table", given that our table will all be family members.

The question becomes, then - what to do with our flower girl/little groomsman? (6 and 8 respectively?) The little boy and girl are TallGuy's niece and nephew -- i.e. his sister's children. I adore them - but seating has become tricky, here.

Including them to have a table of 12 is not an option, as that circular table arrangement is WAY too large - and I would prefer not to seat them at the most prominently placed table in the room (in case they get antsy or overtired, for example, during speeches - placing kids at the center of attention is not the best idea, no matter how well behaved they are - and they are indeed very good kids).

The issue is that ideally, the children's mother will be at our table. There will not be a babysitter at the wedding reception. So how will it work if they are at a table NOT with their mother? Could we seat them with a close relative/family member? Is that inappropriate? A bad idea in terms of making sure they don't get too antsy, etc.?

I am having a lot of trouble figuring out where to seat them. This is a quandry that I will have to tackle in the next few weeks/months, which raises a whole host of issues I've discussed before - and table arrangements AND children combined is something that presents a new set of challenges!

Thoughts are welcomed - while I write about wedding issues, I never have professed myself to be an expert.

As you think about this issue (if you do want to comment), things to keep in mind: this is a black-tie, Saturday evening wedding in New York City. As I mentioned, there will not be a babysitter at the reception, but there will be one upstairs in the club, so they can leave when they want to get out for a while. There are no other kids invited. Finally, one other thing to keep in mind: we are doing the dinner first, THEN the dancing. We're treating the event like a dinner party - the band is awesome, so we know people will be up dancing all night, and don't like the breaks in between songs and dinner, etc.

In any case, I thought it would be interesting to re-visit seating arrangements, as I begin to think about my own experience with them.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I'M BAAAACK: WEDDING FAIRY AS GUESTZILLA? A COMMENT AND RESPONSE.

Hi everyone!

So sorry that I have been down for the count the past few months. Between moving apartments, working long hours in corporate Manhattan life, and getting entrenched in wedding planning, I realize that I have been a very delinquent poster.

I just received an interesting comment, the tone of which, I suppose, could have been intended to upset me? Offend me? Rile me up? Who knows. Instead of being reactive, I decided to take from it that there is a WHOLE LOT of need for discussion about wedding planning, as people are coming from VERY different places.

Which makes me realize that posting--whether it gets people excited, thinking that they totally agree with me, annoyed, upset, or angry--also gets people talking. And thinking. And that's a cool thing.

Here's the post--not word for word, as I think you can get the tone--and point--from this bit (in response to one of my "seating slip ups" posts -- one of my more "controversial" topics):

"...you sound like a guestzilla. I was pretty shocked by your blog post, and hope to GOD that none of the friends I invite to my wedding would ever think the way you do.

Having been to many of my friends weddings, I can personally say that:
- Most of my friends have done the sweetheart table simply because they don't want to offend anyone in having to choose who to sit with.

- I personally LOVE watching my friends' slideshows and seeing cute pictures of what they look like growing up. It's their big day and I am there to celebrate them, and their relationship. If you are truly a friend who actually cares about those people, you would NOT think a slideshow is vein at all.. It's their DAY for goodness sakes...not yours

- I don't see anything wrong with a grand entrance.. it just makes the event as a whole a little more exciting... there is a reason why a wedding is different from any other party"

I'm not going to take this point-by-point, because I don't need to defend myself to anyone-if you absolutely cannot stand what you read, don't tune in-but I do want to note a few things:

I am proud (and not surprised) to say that as I plan my own wedding, my opinion regarding comments I've made before - about sweeetheart tables, about slideshows, etc. -- has not changed -- AT ALL. This is not to say that there is a "right" or "wrong" to any of this. But, having been to a myriad of weddings, I have come to understand that there are things that I wouldn't want to do - and it's an opinion shared by some of my friends who have attended these weddings as well. Does that mean I'm right? Not at all.

The goal of "Don't Be That Bride" has always been to provide a fresh perspective to brides-to-be, based on an outside, objective observer's standpoint.

Does it make me a bad friend because I think slideshows are boring? I would hope that wouldn't be the basis of judging a friendship. Is it posible for people to interpret sweetheart tables differently from this poster? Definitely!

There is never a black and a white. If people choose to call me a guestzilla, I don't take offense. What I DO have an issue with is people not understanding that there are two sides to every coin, and not everything is as it seems.

I encourage this poster--and anyone else who disagrees with any opinions I have--to keep reading, and to keep an open mind. You may not agree with me (and that's ok!), but I welcome constructive comments which can help people learn the complexities of wedding planning--and hopefully help others as they delve into the dirty details.

I think my next series of posts will be about how my wedding planning has been intersecting with some of the issues I've raised before.

Before I go, I wish to say thank you to those who are sticking with me.

Stay tuned!

Friday, September 14, 2007

CHAT FORUMS/MESSAGE BOARDS: TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?: A CONCLUSION

There are a LOT of new topics and themes that I want to get to, but I thought it was important to wrap up this conversation about message boards.

And what a subject it's been! I'm glad that you guys have voiced your opinions and observations. Everyone obviously has a different story to tell, and experiences to share, so it makes for a more fruitful discussion when I can hear others' recollections.

The bottom line, I think, when it comes to chat forums and message boards: USE THEM AT YOUR OWN RISK--BUT HAVE FUN WHILE YOU DO!!

Sometimes, like Dataceptionist noted, there can be bitchiness abounding on the boards. It's so unnecessary, and frankly, pretty crass for people to make themselves feel better about their own decisions at others' expense. Unfortunately, there will always be bad (and totally unconfident and lame) apples in the bunch. I guess it's something to keep in mind for those of us that are particularly sensitive to (unwarranted) criticism or off-handed remarks that are far from helpful. Of course, one should take everything said on this on-line, anonymous community with a little bit of cautiousness.

On the flip side, as Sarita noted, the boards can be great when people on-line are helpful and friendly, and can provide a fresh perspective.

The most important thing to take away from all of this? No matter WHO says WHAT (whether on-line or in person), your choices are your choices---and as long as you and your fiance are happy with them, then that is all that matters!

Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

CHAT FORUMS/MESSAGE BOARDS: TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? PART II

I've been hitting up the boards the past few weeks in order to get a sense of what general themes/concepts I could glean from my on-line surfing.

What I found surprising is the polar opposite issue which I discussed in my last post: I've found the "oh my god I love/adore your wedding dress/bridesmaid dress/ceremony decor/wedding theme, etc. etc. etc." statements run rampant on the boards. So my question is: how do you know when a poster is being honest?

And honestly, should you even care?

In a sense, I guess some brides are trying to get opinions and honest feedback from hopefully impartial observers. Makes sense, I guess. But is this really the place to get honest feedback?

One can argue that people are shielded by their anonymous screen names, and people will speak freely. Sometimes, as Megan indicated in her comment, TOO freely (Megan, I think that is so crass from the poster who made that comment to you - amazingly classless).

However, for people who use these boards frequently, posters seem to "get to know" others in the same thread. There's a constant back-and-forth, and it seems that many of these women become on-line friends--which sometimes translates into "meet and greets" for those constant communicators -- whether it be at a neighborhood bar, or at someone's home (I'll get to that in my next post). With that kind of constant communication, I imagine it must be hard to do anything but be overly encouraging.

I think that the "ooohs" and the "aahhhhs" on these boards are frankly, a little bit tiresome. While I think it's great for brides to get honest feedback (in a classy manner), it seems like the boards have become more of a "pat on the back" type of forum than a place to get real advice.

Maybe it's an unfair assessment, but I found that dose of sugary sweet commentary to be a bit tedius.

There HAS to be a happy medium between obnoxious, in-your-face honesty posts and overly congratulatory ones.

If you find that somewhere, please let me know!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

CHAT FORUMS/MESSAGE BOARDS- TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?: PART I

For a while now, I've been lurking on chat/message boards for brides-to-be (there are SO MANY out there, it's pretty insane). From The Knot to The Wedding Channel to LI Bride, thousands of brides are logging in and imparting wisdom and relaying their personal experiences with the planning process.

I've sort of burned out on these sites, though, as the endless chatter has become, well, overwhelming.

I also noticed something which bothered me -- people were very busy giving their opinions, but not realizing (or caring) that these thoughts might hurt other people's feelings with respect to the decisions THEY made.

One site in particular was quite interesting, as they have chat boards for specific brides-to-be in NY. As I excitedly did a search for the name of my ceremony/reception site in past "threads" (See? I have the lingo down too), I happened upon one comment that irked me.

The room in which I am having my ceremony and reception is a gorgeous, turn of the century old-world room, with floor to ceiling windows, a lace/lattice-like ceiling (hard to describe unless you see the architecture), wood floors, and beautiful columns. The room is classic and elegant, without being showy, and I adore it. Most people choose a different room in this particular location, called "the ballroom" -- to me, it's claustrophobic, generic, and boring. I specifically went with a room that suited me (which fewer people use), and I am really excited about it.

One feature of the room is that it has presidential portraits on the walls throughout the room. Not many, but a good few.

One of the commenters noted that those portraits seemed "creepy" to her. I read on another thread that someone else found the entire place "stuffy".

I'm not sure why these comments bothered me - I mean, everyone IS entitled to her own opinion!

I guess that, in reading the threads and participating in some of the chats, I felt as if my own choices were being questioned. If a chat board is more critical than helpful, what good is it?

Most of the time you see "ohhhhhs" and "ahhhhhs" and "that dress is so amazing" and "your hair looks fabulous in that style" and other positive comments.

I think commenters should realize that honesty is great, but tact is terrific too. People reading and participating in posts have made decisions that others may not have made. And that's cool. But the point of these sites is to HELP rather than MAKE OTHERS FEEL BAD.

My twinge of annoyance lasted about 15 seconds after I realized how kick-ass my wedding location is.

Just thought this was an interesting topic, since so many brides-to-be seem to be logging on.

Stay tuned!

PS-Some of you may wonder "Aren't you a hypocrite The Wedding Fairy, saying you don't like a particular wedding site, after saying how it made you feel to hear that about yours?" Good point. However, in the interest of remaining completely anonymous, I have not revealed any specifics about wedding locations, plans, etc. So unless someone is a really good detective, I don't think anyone knows where I am talking about!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Q+A WITH THE WEDDING FAIRY

I received a REALLY interesting question the other day, and I hope the reader doesn't mind my answering it on this post so that others can see my response.

The commenter ALSO noted that I didn't have a "contact the wedding fairy" link -- good catch! I actually used to have that link up on my site, and I seriously don't know what happened to it. I will have TallGuy look into this for me (my tech expert), and fix that immediately.

Here's the question, which I've shortened a little bit for purposes of this post:

"So, my future sister-in-law has asked both my sister and I to be bridesmaids... My fiance is also a groomsman....

She sent out an e-mail recently, suggesting that she would like to have a choreographed wedding dance with the wedding party, using some song ...like "Thriller" by Michael Jackson". While this idea has been the starting point for some hysterical conversations with friends and family, I cannot really see myself participating in something so ridiculous. I think it will make the wedding memorable, but perhaps not in the way the bride intends. The bride claims that she will "make the groomsmen participate," but the only way my fiancee will do it is if she holds a gun on him.

I called my brother (the groom) to find out his take on this wacky idea, and he said "I just want to make people happy" which translates to English as "I do not want to have that fight with my future wife". So we are on our own to either humiliate ourselves, or to speak out.

How does one tactfully tell one's future sister-in-law that this is a terrible idea, and we...are soooo not up for it? We don't want to hurt her feelings, but we are really not excited about humiliating ourselves at their wedding."


WOW. Let me first just say that I think this is the most interesting question/quandry I have seen since I've started this blog.

For some reason, choreographed dances are apparently becoming a big thing, and kind of a trend at weddings. I'm not talking about the "first dance" simple choreography a bride/groom learns in a few weeks of dance lessons, so they look somewhat graceful while dancing to "At Last" or [Insert song of choice here].

I'm talking about hard-core choreography, where brides, grooms, and other members of the wedding party do what I'll call "numbers" or "performances" -- to songs like "Thriller" or the like.

I don't know where this started, or who thought this was a good idea, but I'm pretty opposed to this idea.

When I think of a wedding, the one goal I think brides try to achieve is a sense of elegance. Doing this type of performance makes a wedding into less of a celebration and more into a spectacle.

In terms of how to tactfully decline participation, I think honesty is the best approach -- and really should come from the groom (ie the brother of the commenter, in this case). Tell your brother that you are VERY uncomfortable/opposed to the idea, as is your sister and the other bridesmaids. Let him know that this type of activity ISN'T going to make people happy. I really do think having the fiance speak with the bride-to-be directly is the best approach. Out of everyone, she'll probably listen to him -- if it comes from bridesmaids, it may be taken more as catty, since girls can be sensitive when other girls say anything that isn't in keeping with their vision.

If this first approach fails (and your brother is not willing to speak with the bride), then I would suggest having one of the bridesmaids -- who is closest to the bride -- explain that several people are not comfortable with the idea and are rather shy, not wanting to be in the spotlight, etc.

MAKE THE RELUCTANCE ABOUT HOW THIS TYPE OF SCENARIO DOES NOT MESH WITH THE PERSONALITIES OF THE PARTICIPANTS (even if that's not 100% truthful) RATHER than because the idea is "stupid" or "embarassing".

If the bride feels as if she's being attacked, she's likely to get defensive but not change her mind.

If that fails, then be prepared to get involved - even if it means putting a forced smile on your face. Just make sure to stand in the back of the group and grin and bear it as best as you can.

Good luck, and keep me posted!!!!

Stay tuned!

Monday, August 06, 2007

ENTOURAGE: NOT JUST A TV SHOW ANYMORE (CONCLUSION)

Choosing one's wedding dress, as I've said before, is a BIG freaking deal. You're spending hundreds, and possibly thousands of dollars on a gown, and there are an endless variety of designers and styles from which to choose.

Mermaid or A-Line? Ballgown or Sheath? Hell, I was even ruminating over a beautiful, beautiful dress that HAD A HOOP SKIRT. It sounds crazy, but as I've seen in this business, ANYTHING GOES.

I also found, during the trying-on process, that I entered the experience with an ideal dress in my head (or at least ideal styles), and ended up with something completely different. The truth of the matter is, you never know what's going to look good until you try things on. Which means trying on things that you completely thought you'd hate, or wouldn't look good on you.

To put everything in a nutshell, it's NOT an easy process for many. Some are lucky enough to find "the dress" on the first day (like my sister did), and others are not (after going to an endless array of stores, I was confused and discouraged).

Having a great support system is a wonderful thing. For me, my mother was that person, and my sister helped solidify what we had originally thought about the dress I wanted to buy (and my sister is brutally honest, so if she didn't like it, she would have told me so--albeit tactfully).

The point of the matter is asking "how many is too many"? If you think 12 people is really what you need in order to get honest feedback, and those 12 are super important to you, that's your prerogative. However, one ought to keep in mind that you may not be the only one at the store, and it's not fair for others shopping to have to work around a large party of people, as well as LISTEN to an an endless array of OHHHS and AHHHHS.

On a more selfish note, I am VERY possessive about who has gotten to see my dress before the wedding. Only my immediate family members have seen the dress (or a picture of the dress), as well as one friend whose wedding is on the same day (so I know she won't be coming, unfortunately). If I brought 12 people to look for my dress, that's 12 fewer people who will feel that element of surprise the minute I walk down the aisle. Not to be "that bride", but I DO want to create a reaction when people see me for the first time - after all, why else are we spending so much money on something we'll wear once?

In sum, an "entourage" is something I think is unnecessary and, as one commenter aptly noted, unhelpful in the dress-selection process. And, an entourage can be disturbing to others who are shopping. If a large group is what a bride needs, then that's cool, too....as long as that group doesn't steal the spotlight from the others trying to find their dream dress as well AND that group actually HELPS, rather than HINDERS, a bride in finding "the one".

Stay tuned!

Friday, August 03, 2007

ENTOURAGE: NOT JUST A TV SHOW ANYMORE (PART II)

I received a very intelligent question, which prompted me to expand upon the concept of the "Entourage", in an effort to clarify my original post. I hope this reader doesn't mind that I repeat part of her question in this post, but I think the question is a good one:

" How many is it before its classed as an entourage? I had my mum, my best friend, sister and cousin. And none of them were expendable, they were the closest people in the world to me and I wanted their opinions. We were not screeching at each other however, nor crowding the mirrors. I don't think the shops in Oz are set out like the ones over there, they are either tiny shops (you're the only appointment in there) or they're quite large, and you get your own little area with chairs and such...."

Dataceptionist, I think your bridal shopping party sounds like it was lovely. In your case, it sounds like 4 was a perfect number, as they were people you loved and trusted (and wouldn't simply give you "ooohhhs" and "aahhhhs" -- of course, they would where appropriate, but they would ALSO tell you the truth if they DIDN'T like a dress), AND they were polite and, well, BEHAVING THEMSELVES! From your description, there is NO WAY that the entourage concept fits in with your group.

There's no hard and fast rule or formula in my mind as to the "right" and "wrong" number of people to invite to help a bride search for "the dress". We all know the phrase "size matters". In the case of an entourage, it's really the COMBINATION of a large size PLUS the HUGE ATTITUDES of the parties who comprise the group.

If a group of 10 walks in, are completely non-pushy and calm, don't horde mirrors and crowd out other brides shopping in the bridal stores, then that 10, in my opinion, is more of a benign group rather than an "ENTOURAGE". I don't have a problem with a large party in and of itself -- it's when the.....

.... group of 10 walks in and BEGINS TO TAKE OVER THE JOINT? THAT'S what really pushes my buttons.

A group of 4? 6? While it's my personal preference not to take more than 2 people along (which is how I did it, and it worked for me), it's not so much the group size as the combination of size and attitude which ends up being the problem.

Dataceptionist, you also talked about how dress stores in Australia sounded different than those in the US. The type of store definitely plays a factor in how well big groups work. In the US, at least the stores I've visited in New York, there are often other brides around trying on dresses, in not such a large space. There were some stores that were very small and really only could have one bride there at a time. The experience really depended on the type of store, as well as the number of people in it at once time.

I hope this helps clarify my previous post. SIZE MATTERS..... WHEN YOU HAVE PUSHY, UNATTRACTIVE PERSONALITIES IN THE PARTY.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

ENTOURAGE: NOT JUST A TV SHOW ANYMORE....

TallGuy always has been a big fan of the HBO hit, "Entourage". Although actor Adrien Grenier is definitely easy on the eyes, I was somewhat hesitant to start watching. The whole concept, which the title of the show inspired, seemed, well, annoying to me. Watching an up-and-coming actor and his hanger-oners search out L.A. for hot cars and girls wasn't my idea of fun. TallGuy persisted in getting me to at least try the show. I actually found it surprisingly funny and endearing -- while the materialism and ridiculousness certainly plays out in the background, the main characters are likeable, particularly Vince due to his innocence and wide-eyed "who me?" expressions. I'm glad TallGuy got me to watch, but I still shudder at the word "entourage" for different reasons.....

Webster's dictionary defines an "entourage" as "one's attendants or associates."

Normally, we think of an entourage as a group flanking someone like J. Lo, Madonna, or even the loveable Vince Chase.

I never thought I'd be using that term during my dress-shopping. There were WAY too many attendants/associates running around, which I found to be an interesting observation of the wedding planning process.

As I mentioned on a previous post, I found my dress. It's wonderful (at least I think so, which is the important thing!). And I didn't want to take it off the two or three times I tried it on. I felt it was so very Audrey Hepburn. It was so me.

The process of finding a dress, however, was not as seamless as the stitches are going to be on this dress post-alterations.

I was not one of the lucky ones to find "the dress" at the first store. Unfortunately, I explored bridal departments at several department stores, as well as some of the famous Manhattan boutiques, large and small, which carried an endless array of designer dresses.

My mother was the trusted confidante I took with me on each trip. My mother is the best, as she's honest and won't mince words. There were times I tried something on and I received the following comments: "Hmmm I'm not sure, the color is a little dark -- almost too off-white." (She was right, although I grudingly admitted it). "You look like one of the Sugar Plum Fairies in the Nutcracker with all that tulle." (Definitely dead on).

As we went from store to store, I noticed that my shopping party (my mom and me) was SO much smaller than those for many of the other girls looking. There were parties of seven, eight....even twelve!!! I suppose these were best friends, cousins, mothers, aunts..... which was a little surprising to me. With that many people, how is someone EVER going to get a collective, honest opinion? "Oh it looks SO AMAZING" is not what I need to hear - when it just looks OK. Or even pretty enough to wear, but not "THE ONE". That happened to me - and if I brought 5 of my best friends, my sister, my mom and my closest cousin, I'm not sure anyone would have had the guts to tell me so.

So many of these girls, women, what have you, had an ENTOURAGE! To pick out their wedding dress! It was a crazy concept to me.

Not only does it not make sense to have a gaggle of people scrutinizing the bride-to-be, I have to say that it's pretty intrusive to the other people trying on dresses--particularly in smaller stores.

I thought it was really disconcerting to come out of the dressing room and walk into the hallway of one large store, where there were ten people next to me OOOHHHING and AHHHHING over a girl in the three way mirrror. Because they were all crowded around her (and the mirror), I couldn't get a good look at the dress I was trying on. (Unfortunately the three ways were few and far between at this particular store).

While some brides-to-be can bring a large group of people to a bridal store and not cause a ruckus, I found that most really did take away from the collective experience (I wasn't the only bride who seemed to be both bewildered and perturbed).

People forget that these bridal stores are SMALL, for the most part. Too many people IN them is disturbing and distracting. It's hard enough to shell out several hundred/thousand dollars (depending on your budget) for "the dress" that you will wear ONCE. It's even harder when you cannot concentrate over the din of a crowd of strangers.

A common-sense reason not to have all of these people shop with you? Don't you want to have an element of mystery/surprise for your wedding day? I've DESCRIBED my dress to people, but the only individuals who've gotten to see it are my mom and sister (who came back to check it out before I bought it).

In the end, I bought a dress that I love, and that I am so happy with. I just wish there were a little more peace and quiet during the process. My advice to brides-to-be, in order to make the process a happier one for these women (as well as those shopping in the same store with them?): avoid the entourage. For an honest opinion, and a more peaceful experience, it's best to just have one or two trusted "associates" with you.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

THE WEDDING FAIRY DOESN'T SUCK: SHE PROMISES!

Hi there.

It has been WAY too long since I've written a post, and to my faithful readers, let me say this: I APOLOGIZE.

The whole point of my blog has been to pinpoint behavior of brides-to-be that are, well, unflattering. One of the mainstays of my posts has been the concept of the newly-affianced disappearing into an oblivion, leaving friends and family behind, in the search for the "perfect dress", the "perfect china," the "perfect florist." How to avoid espousing the "It's My Day" concept of weddings is my attempt to impart humorous education to readers.

Now, the origin for the title of my post: Danika McKellar (of The Wonder Years" fame), who is a successful mathmetician, just wrote a book entitled "Math Doesn't Suck" (and seriously, props to her, for being super smart and successful, having endured fame and celebrity without it going to her head). This title inspired me (Only because it's catchy - not for any deeper reason, really) to write a post entitled "The Wedding Fairy Doesn't Suck" -- IE my disappearing ISN'T the result of becoming "that bride" -- and foregoing all of the things that are important to me (friends, family, my blog).

I don't have a great explanation as to why I haven't written more frequently -- maybe it's work, which has been REALLY tough, maybe it's trying to juggle a social life with my life with TallGuy, or maybe it's the result of being TOO inundated with wedding crap -- after all, this is a ridiculously big industry. After wedding dress shopping at places where the vendors appeared bored to be helping me, and seeing girl after girl enter these stores with a huge entourage of women, I think I just got burned out.

But I'm back. And it's gratifying to know that there are older readers and newbies to this site -- someone just asked if they can ask questions here.

YES PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS!!! I WELCOME THAT. AS WELL AS COMMENTARY, RESPONSES, AND RECOLLECTIONS.

I'm here to help. And with a newfound sense of urgency. Going through the process of wedding-planning right now, I've already seen, in the past few months, outrageous behavior (THAT'S MINE, cried the girl at the Reem Acra sample sale, as if I'm about to steal it out of her hands. What the hell?). I assume any reader reading this blog knows better. However, there are so many nuances to this wedding planning game, I think it helps to have a third party arbiter. No?

In any case, thanks for coming by - and sticking with me. The Wedding Fairy Doesn't Suck. And she promises to write more faithfully, and more frequently, particularly using her own experience to hopefully level the playing field (and ensure there as many thoughtful brides out there--and hopefully many many more-- as there are thoughtless ones.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

SEATING SLIP-UPS REVISITED: Q+A WITH THE WEDDING FAIRY

I received a very interesting question, which I wanted to devote to an entire post, since it's an important issue regarding to seating arrangements:

"In my culture, it is traditional for the Bride and Groom to be seated together on a couch/throne thoughout the reception. People come up and greet them and take pictures.....the B&G don't even eat! We are planning to do something like this for our wedding here in the US. It will be in the context of a "cultural" wedding with both Indian and American guests...are we being rude to our American guests??"

This comment was in response to my "Seating Slip-Ups" line of posts, I believe most directly related to the "Nutcracker Effect" discussion. As some of you may remember, the Nutcracker Effect was when, with the use of a sweetheart table, the bride and groom inadvertently make it seem as if the bride/groom are above their guests-both literally and figuratively.

I wanted to respond to this question, because it raises a very interesting and important element to the discussion -- ie a cultural component.

I would say this to this reader, as well as others in a similar position: I do NOT think that, in celebrating the traditions of your culture, that you are doing anything rude by sitting as bride/groom together on a couch/throne during the reception. Most likely, and first of all, many of your guests will understand and recognize that this IS a cultural tradition, and second of all, this tradition encourages your guests to interact with you, and vice versa--which will create a sense of unity, rather than separation.

The concern I have about this seating arrangement only is when the arrangement stems from rude bridal behavior--and the idea of isolation (ie a bride/groom creating an effect of being on a different level than the guests). This type of tradition in your culture seems both inclusive and a wonderful way of allowing mingling with your guests -- it's basically the opposite of your going around the room with your husband to greet people.

In short, I think this cultural tradition is great--definitely don't feel uncomfortable to celebrate your culture in this manner. It sounds as if you are a very gracious bride--and one who thinks about the feelings of your friends and family--therefore you will have NOTHING to worry about, because your graciousness will shine through on the big day!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

SAMPLE SALES: BRINGING OUT THE BITCHY (A RUMINATION BY THE WEDDING FAIRY)

Sorry for the delay, guys - Between moving apartments (this past weekend) and crazy work hours, I haven't been around as much.

However, I thought of all of you this past weekend as I attended my first Wedding Dress Sample Sale.

I haven't really delved into the wedding dress search yet--I figure with a year and a couple of months to go, I'm doing just fine with having firmed up the location of the wedding, the photographer, and the band. I did, however, go to Saks a few weekends ago with my mom, and found the most gorgeous Reem Acra dress, which of course, is way too expensive and out of my price range. With an empire waist and beautiful tulle/beading overlay, the strapless gown is absolutely amazing, and exactly fitting with my "Pride and Prejudice" 19th century english romantic theme -- I, who is so anti-beading, was shocked when I put it on (I figured it would look like an ice skating dress).

As Reem Acra was having a Sample Sale the following week, I figured I'd check it out with my mom--in the hopes they'd have "my dress" there--for much less than Saks did.

For those of you who aren't familiar with a Sample Sale, these sales (when related to wedding dresses) are held by designers who are selling their dresses (usually samples, or overstock items) for up to 60-70% of the original price. Sometimes, the dresses are available because, well, um, no one else wanted them (for a reason) - though sometimes you find can find needles--or even gems-- within the haystack.

On Sunday, I experienced rudeness and a level of self-involvement that I had almost forgotten about when it came to weddings/brides.

As the rooms with the dresses were VERY tiny, we all had to wait in line in order to get into the actual sale. Having waited in line for about half an hour, my mom and I were psyched to finally get upstairs. When we entered the miniscule "Size 4" room (as each room was by size), there was a girl trying on a huge, poufy dress in the middle of the room-thereby blocking the perimeter of the room, where the other dresses were located on racks. BG (I'm going to call this girl Bitchy Girl, or BG) was with an entourage of people, who ooohhhhed and ahhhhed over here, and she twirled in this horrendous poufy number. As my mother and I tried to gingerly step around her without stepping on the dress (which, believe it or not, was taking up the ENTIRE small room), BG, out of NOWHERE, says to my mother and I (in a very snide voice): "By the way -- these [pointing to 2-3 dresses on the rack] are MINE."

Say what? I wanted to ask her if she had planned on BUYING all of the dresses she claimed were HERS, and I also wanted to ask her (sarcastically) if she minded if my mother and I could look at the stock of dresses at all - or was she planning on claiming all of them as "first dibs." What I REALLY wish I could have said? "Don't worry - those dresses are so ugly, I wouldn't want to try them on anyway."

Instead, my mother and I look around carefully, and then decide there wasn't anything worth trying on. Unfortunately, they didn't have my gorgeous dress, but it was worth going.

Not wanting to stoop to BG's level, I decided not to fight fire with fire. What's the point? What I realize is that there are SO MANY people out there like this -- the ME ME ME mentality -- and it's appalling. Getting into the dress BG was trying on was no small feat I'm sure (given how large it was) -- for her to claim 2-3 other dresses as "hers" was obnoxious and unnecessary. And having her entourage take up so much space was equally insane and insensitive to the other people trying to look.

What I take away from it though, is this: I'm happy to say that as the Wedding Fairy, I have not (at least in my opinion) become "that bride" (so far), and that I do take into account people's feeings--even other brides. That, and I should wear padding to the next Sample Sale.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Q + A WITH THE WEDDING FAIRY: REVISITED

I received a question a few weeks ago, which I was remiss in responding to -- until now. I'm curious to know what the reader decided to do here (so sorry that I didn't have a chance to answer this until now!)... Even though the reader may not benefit from my response, I think it's an interesting issue that is worth attention -- in case this ever happens to other readers out there!


"I am basically going to a shot gun wedding this weekend. We ( my husband and I) were told about the wedding 2 weeks ago. We were informed that this was a casual event in which the groom won't even be dressing up. The bride is 6 months pregnant with her 3rd child and the grooms second child. The wedding is taking place at her fathers home where her father will be performing the union only close friends and family are coming and after the ceremony we are all going out to dinner in which we are paying for ourselves ( which is perfectly fine). My issue is that the bride says this isn't her real wedding that they are just getting married before the baby comes and later on they are going to have a real wedding. So with they quick union that was arranged in 2 weeks and the date and time was messaged to me by AOL instant message, and not by a mailed invitation ( that is how casual it is), is it appropriate for the bride to send out another instant message 3 days before her union that she is registered at the most expensive places that you can register at? I mean am I out of line to think that she should hold off on the registry stuff for her real wedding?..."

Interesting. Whether a wedding is casual or otherwise, it's always good taste to send a gift in advance, or bring one to the actual event. HOWEVER, it's ALSO good taste for a bride to be SUBTLE about where she and her fiance are registered (which is why, as strange it might seem, something like The Wedding Channel is great for brides-to-be -- it's a very common website which people know about, and a bride will not have to "spread the word", which I believe is very tacky).

In this situation, there's the added issue of when this girl's wedding will actually be held. Is the first ceremony/dinner considered a "wedding", but then the second event the "real wedding?"

Truthfully, I don't have the answer. HOWEVER, I think it's absolutely fair to NOT buy a large gift initially, particularly since the friend here is saying she'll be having a more formal wedding later on. How about a small, but meaningful gift for the more informal affair? This way, you've given something initially--and you won't be going to the event empty-handed. Then, if she does have a second event later on, you needn't feel compelled to get something off of the expensive registry.

I oftentimes will get friends presents from stores that I absolutely adore--even if they aren't registered at that particular place. Mackenzie Childs, for example, is a store with really interesting, unique home ware -- if I really like something at that store, I'll certainly get gifts there for my engaged friends. I don't see ANYTHING wrong with straying from one's registry. In this case, you can definitely do that, particularly given the circumstances of this wedding.

Anyway, thanks for the questions. Keep them coming! I promise to be a little more responsive/quick in turnaround time. Between work, Jury Duty, moving apartments, and planning a wedding, things have been a little hectic, to say the least!

Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

WHAT SEX AND THE CITY TAUGHT ME ABOUT WEDDINGS (PART II)

In an effort to get back to my Sex and the City (SATC) series, I thought I'd begin with a very basic question: When is saying "I DO" a DON'T?

It's interesting to look at the storyline focusing on Carrie and Aidan. Aidan (particularly the "new and improved" -- i.e. clean shaven, buff, Aidan, when Carrie gets back together with him) is adorable. Attentive. Basically, in a nutshell? A teddy bear. And COMPLETELY and UTTERLY into Carrie.

Yet, for some reason, Carrie couldn't fully commit--even when she was fully committed. As a viewer, it made me angry when she began wearing her engagement ring on her necklace. Mr. Big was always somewhere in Carrie's consciousness. She always seemed to want what she couldn't have -- and Mr. Big was the epitome of that idea.

It may not have made sense to viewers (or even to me) why Carrie couldn't give herself completely to Aidan, but I guess it made sense to her. While it wasn't as if she stopped wearing her ring completely, shifting it to her necklace was a way for Carrie to distance herself from the commitment she had just made. Obviously, that was symbolic of her hidden unhappiness. While I'm sure there are women out there who wear rings differently (or not at all) - and are happily engaged - this behavior was indicative of Carrie's hesitance. I loved those particular episodes of SATC because they were very telling about the state of Carrie/Aidan's relationship - and the concept that everything being perfect on paper may not be perfect in real life. I always hope that women getting married do so for the right reasons -- unfortunately, that doesn't always happen, but here's hoping, right?

As for me, I can't stop looking at my ring. It's on my finger (not necklace!), and when I put it on my nightstand before falling asleep, I always make sure it's there before I doze off (I've even woken up in the middle of the night, in a cold sweat, because I forgot I took it off, and was worried I had misplaced it!). I adore it because TallGuy did a wonderful job choosing it, and I absolutely love the ring itself but even more so, I love what it represents. I'm excited for what the future holds, and I'm excited to share it all with you guys!

Stay tuned for more SATC thoughts (next up: the contrast of Charlotte's "perfect" wedding (with Trey), and her "perfectly real" wedding (with Harry)...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

WE INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM.... THE WEDDING FAIRY GETS ENGAGED (PART III)

OK, I REALLY need to get back to my Sex and the City wedding post! (First off on that one, just as a little teaser -- what was UP with Carrie wearing Aidan's wedding ring on her necklace? That's one hint that perhaps the concept of commitment is NOT for her!)

Before I do that, though, I'd like to thank everyone for all of the wonderful advice. I'm taking Megan's to heart, especially, as I go through the process of finding a place to have the ceremony/reception. (IE Make a choice, and MOVE ON!)

I've realize that choosing a location is much like looking at colleges -- you kind of know what you want, but there are SO MANY OPTIONS, and everything is SO DAMN EXPENSIVE.

I also realize I'm not exactly helping myself $$ wise by having the wedding in New York City, but that's one thing I really don't want to forego -- I've always envisioned a city wedding, but that also means dropping the idea of having my wedding at the Ritz Carlton, or The Mandarin Oriental. Not going to happen--and that's ok. My dream wedding was at a museum in NYC on museum row--which happens to have been Andrew Carnegie's old mansion. With the $10,000 site fee (on TOP of the $/pp) -- I had to forget that one pretty quickly.

What I realize though: I'll find my way, eventually -- it's EXHAUSTING! I've been to about a dozen places, and I'm pretty sure where I'll end up.... I just want to get that decision over with already--and as Megan said, MOVE ON (without second guessing). One thing I am keeping in mind - not LOSING my mind - just not worth it.

Once I figure it all out, I'll definitely share with you all.... thanks for all the invaluable advice....I really need it!

Stay tuned (I PROMISE for a "regularly scheduled program")!

Monday, March 12, 2007

WE INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM.... THE WEDDING FAIRY GETS ENGAGED (PART II)

Thanks, ladies! I appreciate the well wishes. I'm super excited, and I couldn't be happier. It was a HUGE surprise to me (though my friends wondered how I had NO idea after 2 and a half years of dating!), which made it that much sweeter.

In terms of planning, I haven't done much, except flipped through my tons of bridal magazines (YES, I DID buy those mags pre-engagement - but I claim it was only with respect to wedding research for the blog!), called a bunch of potential locations, and went to Michael C. Fina for CHINA/FLATWARE/GLASSWARE 101 with my mother (I figure I'll take TallGuy once I get the lay of the land as to what I'm looking for). So far, nothing has clicked in terms of the ceremony/reception site -- I'm getting antsy about it, but I'm trying not to get too concerned (yet) :)

I'm beginning to experience--and fast--that there's a lot to do, ladies! I feel like once I find the place, I'll feel a lot better (or at least less like a chicken running around with her head cut off).

As I mentioned I'm looking to do the ceremony and reception in NYC (both at the same place). I'd LOVE to find somewhere with an outdoor space, or a great view, but it's not a necessity. Something "quintissential NYC" is really what I'm after (something historic, or NYC having its roots in the specific site). I LOVE the idea of the wedding feeling more like a dinner-party, and an intimate affair. We're looking to have between 120-150 people.

Before I get back to posting about the different topics/themes that have been part of my blog since the beginning, I wanted to thank you all again for your comments. I'm sure you all have fabulous advice having gone through the process---or still going through it now---so feel free to pass along any tidbits or pearls of wisdom. I certainly need them!!!!

Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

WE INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM.... THE WEDDING FAIRY GETS ENGAGED

Hi everyone!

I am very sorry for the mini-hiatus. Work has been crazy crazy crazy, and things have been pretty hectic (though, in a good way).

TallGuy proposed two weekends ago, and I am so thrilled. We are looking to have a wedding in Manhattan in Spring 2008--that's about as far as I've gotten with any ideas! I am happy to share details if anyone wants to hear them, but the point of my blog is--and always has been--about how to help others. As I plan, I am sure there will be interesting elements to share--and problems/issues that I will come across--for which I will need your advice and feedback. As I get started, I want to emphasize that I very much intend to keep up my blog (the whole point of one of my series is not to disappear BECAUSE of your wedding -- wouldn't that be ironic if The Wedding Fairy did that as soon as she started her own planning?!) It's very important to me to TAKE MY OWN ADVICE, and not become "that bride" that I often speak about. Dishing it out is one thing. Being able to DO AS I SAY? That will be the goal!!!

I appreciate your staying with me, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you. I hope that these experiences will help me--as well as my readers--in terms of how to gracefully handle complicated issues that arise during this exciting time.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

WHAT SEX AND THE CITY HAS TAUGHT ME ABOUT WEDDINGS: AN INTRODUCTION

I don't know about you guys, but I have a longing on Sunday evenings. There's a small--but present--vacancy in my weekends, which has resulted from my lack of Sex and the City (SATC) fix. While shows like "Dexter" have filled the void, I still miss the frivolous fashion and the fun story lines that SATC provided.

Wedding Fairy, you say -- it's been several years now -- get over it!!

Or, you may say: Wedding Fairy, can't you satisfy yourself with the TBS re-runs, or DVDs you can buy at Border's?

Fair enough, would be my reply.

But there was something truly fun about getting a group of my friends together on a Sunday evening (with ice cream to boot) and seeing what was going on with Carrie, Mr. Big, and the crew (AND seeing what RIDICULOUS shoe purchase Carrie made that day -- and how high her Manolo Blahnik stilettos would be).

In Carrie's quest to find her true love, we learned a lot about weddings (the do's and don'ts according to Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha), as well as the unique links to Manhattan that resulted.

The following series is going to run the gamut (since there are several topics--rather than themes--to discuss), but I think it'll be interesting to see specific "takes" on weddings through the eyes of these women. Sure, they're fictional -- but they also represent independent, strong females (who live in Manhattan -- while I certainly am not writing for the Manhattan woman, I AM one, as are friends who have gotten engaged/married--so I feel like it's relevant here to take that into account). While we all may not be buying Manolos in bulk as Carrie does, why not take a look at weddings from the SATC perspective? And see how far apart from reality these perspectives actually are?

Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

THE PARENTALS (AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS): HOW TO DEAL: PART VII (CONCLUSION)



Based on the comments I've received with respect to the issue of family and weddings, the tension which may result from the predilictions/preferences of family members (with respect to religious aspects of the wedding or otherwise) is not an uncommon issue....

Obviously, there are a range of issues and scenarios, but I have, in my previous points, pointed out a few in order to illustrate certain underlying themes (like that of COMPROMISE, for example, which Megan also pointed out in her comment) that are important to keep in mind.

Remember: these problems aren't just related to your distant relatives (like that of a long-lost cousin, who wants to bring her infant to the wedding--when you have already decided on a NO KIDS policy). Much of this tension can occur within the nuclear family (i.e., with your mother/father when it comes to budget, or the actual style of the wedding), and with your fiance's family (i.e., with your STBMIL and the issues I described in prior posts). Once you recognize where the problems are coming from, you can begin to handle them accordingly.

The best way to handle family members is to KNOW YOUR LIMITS. Know when to stick to your guns (TACTFULLY), and know when to say "UNCLE". Every scenario is different, so unfortunately there's no hard and fast solution. But making sure each scenario is handled with grace and tact is ALWAYS the way to go.

I've really enjoyed reading your comments and hearing about your own experiences with respect to this issue. Bringing your own experiences to the table helps provide a richer discussion, and allows me to visit a host of issues that hopefully will connect with all readers planning their own weddings!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

THE PARENTALS (AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS): HOW TO DEAL: PART VI

I received an interesting comment today about the STBMIL, and how religion may end up playing a role in the ensuing tension that oftentimes results....

"...a friend recently got engaged and her STBMIL has turned into Monster In Law. When the non-religious couple mentioned on the fly that they wouldn't be having a church wedding. Well she went off. She went on about how hurt she was and said "well why didn't you ask me?". That was fairly early on for them and I think it was a hard lesson for them that she had a lot of expectations about their wedding, and they're now figuring out how to gently deal with her."

While issues with religion in weddings may arise within one's core family, a lot of tension results because a bride and groom's family may not be compatible when it comes to religious faith--and that raises a host of issues that a bride and groom have to deal with, particularly when considering the thoughts and feelings of family members.

A college friend of mine (Beth) is Jewish--she's "reform", only going to temple on high holidays and the occasional Bar Mitzvah. Her soon-to-be husband's family (Sam) is "conservative." (going to temple every weekend, etc.) Seth's mother (i.e., the STBMIL) had VERY set ways in how she thought the Jewish wedding ceremony should be conducted. (As with other religious ceremonies, Jewish wedding ceremonies have varying degrees of religion/tradition). The STBMIL wanted more elements of the traditional Jewish ceremony incorporated than Beth was happy with, and she made her opinion clear to Beth--several times over. This caused some unspoken conflict which could have bubbled over the surface--but Sam intervened and spoke with his mother, asking her to back off a little bit (the compromise they came to was that Sam and Beth would have the Hora, a traditional Jewish dance, at the ceremony--while Beth would have liked to do without any religious dances, she decided to please her STBMIL with this request, which took more pressure off the actual ceremony).

While there's no hard and fast solution to the issues of religion when it comes to wedding planning (and how religious faith plays a role in shaping the ceremony and reception), it's an interesting theme which should be explored. I liked how Beth and Sam handled their own issues--having the help of an intermediary (like Sam, here) is a good idea, instead of having a bride and STBMIL go head-to-head (or vice versa with the groom and STBMIL). Of course, if a bride/groom feels comfortable being direct and honest with their STBMIL, then they should go for it! Being HONEST is always the best approach--HOW you choose to be honest is your decision. Each individual situation is different---therefore, no rule can be applied across the board.

Having said that, I also believe that COMPROMISE is a huge aspect of the planning process. You may not love every idea your STBMIL throws out there, but if there's a way to appease--and please--without your giving up your own plans, then that's terrific.

I appreciate your recounting your own experiences--as they raise new and provocative issues that need to be shared!

Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

THE PARENTALS (AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS): HOW TO DEAL: PART V

I don't know why there often seem to be issues related to the STBMIL (Soon-to-be-Mother-in-Law), but a lot of the complexities seem to arise with them during the planning process. Most of the time STBMILs mean well, but....

So what am I talking about? Brides can have varying opinions as to how much help they want from their parents/soon-to-be in-laws--some want to be completely independent in their planning (or have a specific idea as to who will help with what), and others like as much help as they can get. Problems arise when STBMILs misinterpret politeness for something else.

BigSis was telling me about her close friend Sara and Sara's tension with her STBMIL when it came to the planning process. Sara's mother took the initiative of planning the bridal shower, and she asked BigSis to help out. BigSis and Sara's mother were excited about the prospect, and the STBMIL asked repeatedly if she could do anything. Not wanting her to feel left out, Sara's mom asked the STBMIL for her opinions on color scheme, flowers, etc. and then asked her pick up certain decorations to bring to the shower. The STBMIL was invited to come and help out pre-shower to get everything prepared for the celebration.

The complications arose when the STBMIL showed up at the shower--with her 15 friends that were also invited! Sara was slightly upset, because the pre-shower prep became kind of a mess. BigSis told me that it just made Sara's, Sara's mother, and her job harder: "It was noisy and just a lot of chaos.... there were way too many people there, and while everyone was trying to help, we didn't need that many hands. Sara was really pissed, but she tried to get let it go - after all, what can she really say?"

To Sara, according to BigSis, it seemed like the STBMIL was trying to "take over" -- one way of doing that? Bringing her army of friends to help set up, which was supposed to really be BigSis and the mother's job.

It's difficult to talk openly to a STBMIL about issues like this, but this may be the time when a fiance has to step in and gently remind his mother that she may have to take a few steps back. Obviously, not all situations are the same-but when you find someone stepping on your toes during the planning process, you're most likely NOT the only one...AND your family members who are also helping you plan may be affected. Trying to balance the thoughts and feelings of all family members is difficult--if you don't feel comfortable opening your mouth when you see an issue arise, make sure you have someone in your corner that will. Otherwise, there will just be confusion and frustration--and who wants those emotions around at a wedding shower?!

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

THE PARENTALS (AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS): HOW TO DEAL: PART V

“I told my mother-in-law that my house was her house, and she said, "Get the hell off my property."” -- Joan Rivers


Just a little teaser for the topic of my next post, which will follow shortly.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

THE PARENTALS (AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS): HOW TO DEAL: PART IV

I received any interesting comment the other day, in response to my post about family members--and the delicacies that come with inviting/not inviting their children.

"I have a younger sister (11 years old), so "No Kids" was not going to work for my fiance and I. But we were selective about what kids we did invite (close younger cousins, nephews and such). BUT we have recieved a couple of reply cards where the invitation was ONLY addressed to the parents and they have included children in their reply as attending. Any suggestions on how to handle this?"

My response to this question certainly holds true in the case of family members who take it upon themselves to invite their children to your wedding--but it applies to other random wedding guests, too.

Honesty is always the best policy--and while one of your goals as a bride-to-be is to keep your guests in mind with respect to the wedding planning--you have to always remember that it's still "your wedding"--and guests should respect the decisions you DO end up making. If reply cards come back to you from wedding guests, which include children who were not invited, do a quick and to-the-point follow-up phone call. Explain to your guests that you are SO happy they will be able to attend, and while you would LOVE their children to be there, you unfortunately will not be able to accommodate them. If your fiance has a closer relationship to those guests, he should make the call. Explaining why you can't invite the kids? You can also shift blame on your budget, even if money isn't necessarily the reason for not inviting all children (what do your guests know? If you say it's a money thing, they can't really put up a fight.)

It's almost more difficult when the guests who do this type of things are also family members. There is that feeling that you cannot offend anyone--particularly those in the family bloodline. However, if you don't set the record straight sooner rather than later (and, say, wait a few weeks to talk to the family members in question), things may get even more hairy--if they make travel plans (say, booking 3 airline tickets instead of the 2 they would have done sans-child (if they could hire a baby-sitter), or even being able to find a babysitter in the first case.

The bottom line: guests can do strange things--even your close family members (or that of your fiance)--like sending reply cards back as +3 (mommy and daddy, with baby or small child in tow). Therefore, clear any confusion up earlier rather than later--so as not to further complicate the issue orinadvertently offend anyone.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

THE PARENTALS (AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS): HOW TO DEAL: PART III

The next issue links into a previous post about something I consider to be a "dirty word" in the world of wedding planning (not because it's a BAD thing, but it's bound to, at least for many brides, bring up controversy and certain issues--particularly among family members).

So what's the word? KIDS. The issue of inviting children is an issue in and of itself (and one which I've devoted much time trying to explain/resolve), but when you throw children of family members into the mix? There's potential for a world of tension.

For example, it's one thing if you decide to take a "NO KIDS" approach as a blanket rule for your guests. It gets tricky, though, when you have to consider those who are part of the familial relationship. So.... what about the kids of your fiance's sister? Or your closest cousin? What then? Although limiting children at an affair may be a step you are willing to take, it gets more difficult when you have to explain it to those who are actually linked to you in the family chain (ESPECIALLY if you have a relationship with those children--even if they are younger).

Take my friend Kelly, for example. Kelly's husband (Ben) had a close cousin with a young infant. Ben really wanted to allow said cousin to bring the infant to the ceremony and at least part of the reception. Kelly wasn't particularly thrilled with the concept, as she feared that a 10 month old at the ceremony would fuss, cry, or in some way distract from the nuptials. Personally, I don't think Kelly was being high maintenance--having children at a ceremony, in particular, is a risk. While some don't care about children behaving/remaining quiet during a wedding ceremony, Kelly, in fact, was concerned. Given that it was an evening, black tie affair, she didn't feel it was appropriate. In fact, Kelly had told Ben that she didn't want children at the event---those of family members or not.

So, what did Kelly propose, given that Ben felt strongly about the situation? She told him that she would be more than happy if the cousin's child attended the rehearsal dinner and post-wedding brunch--and she would pay for a babysitter for night while the cousin attended the event.

I think this was a fair solution. It makes sense to try and accommodate family members who want to bring children, particularly as they may be traveling to your event in order to be there. However, if you have a no kids policy, STICK TO YOUR GUNS. And don't feel like a bridezilla because you don't want kids at your wedding!

Of course, if you DO, that's great, too.

What I would say is to try and accommodate your family members to the extent that you can-- by offering to pay for a babysitter, or having them attend other events during the weekend where they won't be as disruptive, but they can still feel included in the festivities.

If you are honest with your family members about the presence of children at your wedding, and you are trying to accommodate them without killing yourself, that's the best you can do, in my opinion.

More familial intrigue to come! Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

THE PARENTALS (AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS): HOW TO DEAL: PART II

Before we get into the juicy details of the relationship a bride has to her future mother-in-law, I thought I'd start with the basics.... (i.e., "MOM").

Like it or not, moms are pretty much part and parcel to the wedding planning process (of course, this doesn't go for every situation, but I unfortunately have to make some general conclusions, as each reader's experience is slightly different).

A mother's participation partly results from the fact that a bride and/or a bride's family traditionally foots the bill for the wedding (at least in contemporary American society--for those outside the U.S., please feel free to comment upon your own experiences). If the bride's mother (and father) is shelling out the bucks, shouldn't she (and he) have a say in what's going on?

My friend Julie found out the hard way that her wedding would come at a price -- "Ironically, I wanted to have a small, understated affair, and sort of keep the "do it myself" mentality - my mom wasn't having ANY of it. She said that if she were paying for it, she wouldn't put up with having "crap" as wedding favors or decorations-- It was definitely a little tense as I started planning, because she was intent on controlling the whole process."

A mother's level of involvement can run the spectrum - some become UBER-planners, becoming involved in every last minutia including reserving veto rights over reception locations or floral arrangements (and subsequently driving her daughter crazy in the process), and others take the DO-IT-YOURSELF approach. There are, of course, those mothers in the middle--willing to help but not willing to go crazy over it.

Even before a bride gets started in the planning process, she should do some thinking about the role her mother will play--and if this role is appropriate/comfortable. Communication is the key here.

Talk to your mother--as well as your immediate family--before you get started, in order to determine how much time/effort your mom wants to put in. Determine guidelines and outline responsibilities (will your mom come with you to look at reception halls/floral arrangements? Or will she merely provide suggestions beforehand, and you and your fiance will do the actual looking? How much lee-way does your mother have in terms of making phone calls, setting up appointments?). Have a frank discussion about what you want to get out of your wedding day, and how your mom can help (without getting in the way).

The downside of NOT communicating with your mother can lead to tension and hurt feelings-no matter how involved your mother wants to be. My friend Barbara, who is planning her May wedding, was surprised (and a little taken aback) that her mother--with whom she is very close--took a more distant stance with respect to her nuptials. "My mom basically was like 'do what you want to do--everything is up to you. Your planning, your decision.' I was really upset by it -we talk every day on the phone, and she's generally pretty involved- but after talking to her about it, she told me that it was her "mom-ish" way of not wanting to be too bossy, and her wanting to respect my decisions. It was really miscommunication--it's good we had a conversation, otherwise I wouldn't have understood her motivations."

The lesson to be learned here is that your immediate family may be the most important guests you invite--and your mother may end up as a key element in the planning process. Therefore, make sure to be honest with her about how you feel regarding her involvement, and whether or not you want to seek such help.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

THE PARENTALS (AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS): HOW TO DEAL (PART I)


I love this picture. Why? It brings me back to when I was a little girl, playing with my father, not knowing the words "deadline" and client"--and only worrying about my Barbies and Cabbage Patch Kids.

This image is a sharp contrast to what life is like now -- I absolutely adore living in Manhattan and hanging out with TallGuy and my friends, but I could certainly do without the stress of work and having to pay an endless pile of bills.

I haven't had to deal with planning a wedding yet, so that's not an additional stress on my plate, so to speak. However, I have seen many of my engaged friends struggle with a type of aggravation/pressure that, at least to me, seems rather counterintuitive about the planning process. Especially for people close with their family (mother or father, sister or brother, aunt or uncle), it's hard to imagine that FAMILY can become the source of so much stress with respect to wedding issues. Aggravation from your wedding planner? The florist? Sure. That makes sense. But from your sister (i.e., your closest friend)? That's not as obvious. Friends of mine who have planned their wedding have told me that this was the most surprising aspect of their experience (i.e., fighting more with their relatives than the people actually involved in making the wedding happen).

My next series is devoted to the concept of FAMILY--and how the family affects the planning process (and the tension that may result). The obvious starting point would be your parents and future in-laws. I'll certainly cover these concepts. But issues and conflict can arise anywhere in the family tree--no matter how close you are to your relatives.

I'm not a psychologist. So why, then, am I talking about familial relationships with respect to the planning process? Not to delve into a bride's psyche--but to pinpoint and target problem areas--which will hopefully help people figure out how to most tactfully deal with their family (without tearing their hair out).

While dealing with your family during planning may not render images like the one above, the process should be harmonious for all involved.

The point of all of this? Your family members (who may or may not be involved with helping you plan) are also going to be guests at your wedding. You should remember to treat them well, as you would anyone else in attendance.

Stay tuned!