Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Merry, you guys.

I plan to stay off the blogs until the new year, but I'll be tweeting now and then (and thinking of you fondly).

Photo by you fail via @TeenAngster

p.s. Should you care to eat chocolate chip cookies until you feel ill, I highly recommend this recipe from Gluten-Free Girl. My dad keeps saying, "They're just as good as any regular chocolate chip cookie." And he takes his chocolate chip cookies very seriously.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dear ESB: Can I have a 2-TIER wedding?

Mother said I should ask Dear Abby  but you seem so much cooler...

Issue: Due to the budget (my mom and dad are paying) we have a small guest list... about 80 or so immediate family and family friends. Because Fi and I both LOVE our friends so much and to us they seem more like family I had a GRAND idea of doing what some have referred to as a 2 Tier wedding *GASP*.  80 guest invited to ceremony and dinner.... 80 plus invited to PARTY with us all on the same day. Wedding will start at 7pm with dinner immediately following. Party will start at 9:30pm.

How should I do the wording for the "partay" invites.... and would you be offended if you were only invited to party and celebrate rather than pray, eat, party oh and should I tell the party people they will be missing out on the wedding ceremony and if so HOW do I do that????


Are your friends local?

I wouldn't be offended to receive a 2nd Tier invitation, but I definitely wouldn't fly across the country just to attend a party.

Joy, of Crash-My-Wedding fame, has some more specific advice:

before you get too worried about wording i would check in with your caterer.. we were fortunate enough to work with an amazing group of guys who LOVED the idea and didn't charge us for the additional head-count* 

my 'wording' advice is to be up front about it.. your friends/coworkers/neighbors are going to understand that you have to draw the line somewhere and will be excited that you found a way to include them.. we threw together a flier style invite and emailed it to our crashers with a quick note of: 'Because we're having such a small wedding we had to get creative to come up with a way for all of you to make it!' Pretty much everyone we invited to crash made it (granted, they were all local) and they all thought it was the coolest idea.. there was no grumbling, no weirdness, no hard feelings..

when it comes down to it people go to weddings to celebrate your marriage, not watch you make out and sign your life away.. your family is going to get the intimate feel of a smallish wedding and your friends are going to get wasted on leftover alcohol..
win win.

on a side note.. one of the best things about having crashers is being able to invite people right up to the wedding and not worry about it f'ing with your guest list..

*it didn't hurt that we were providing the alcohol..

Monday, December 13, 2010

is 'no manners' the new 'casual manners'? (Regarding the RSVP)

dearest esb-

my lovely fiance and i will be married in less than three weeks. we are 31 and 30 years old, which i feel is relative to my inquiry. prior to all the wedding rigmarole, i thought myself to be on the up-an-up side of things when it came to attending parties, showers and RSVP-ing. however, after recently looking at both of these situations under a microscope, i have to admit that I WAS WRONG and could have been doing a much better job at both. you read the printed word? i hereby pledge to always RSVP in a timely fashion. where's the blog icon for that?

what boggles my mind, though, is the generally apathetic informality of people my age when it comes to party behavior and manners. i anticipated the lack of RSVP's, but i did not foresee the very bad and downright tacky behavior by our ADULT friends. we were thrown a co-ed stock-the-bar party yesterday and i was horrified to learn that of the 60 invited guests (all local area friends whom we have recently hosted in our home or attended showers/parties for), twelve returned the courtesy of a reply to the hosts. TWELVE. and yet over thirty attended. as to further odd behavior, the party was from 4-6 pm, and the best man arrived wasted. one guest texted us hours before the party to say that they (plus six other guests) had planned to attend, but had a rec-league softball game that evening, and thus couldn't make it. two guests, who we visited the day before, said that, nah, they didn't really feel like it, when we asked if we'd see them at the shower. a coworker handed me her invitation with CAN'T COME written on it, and asked if i could please let my friends know. one girl told me, as her actual response, 'we have a baby now.'

now please don't misunderstand me. our friends, despite the appalling lack of tact, are a great bunch. i'm not some crazed bride who thinks it's ME o'clock, ready to hold grudges against half of our close(r) friends who weren't there for whatever reason. it isn't that i expected everyone to come. it isn't that i assumed everyone on that list was my BFF who wouldn't miss it for the world and it isn't that i presume to be the most important thing happening on a sunny sunday afternoon.

i just found it fairly rude to the hosts.

they had no idea what to plan for, and fortunately, had tremendously over-compensated. even if only twelve people had attended, there was a large amount of finances and planning that went into the whole event, and i find it more a matter of respect for your peers. i mean, we are adults... adults living in the supposedly genteel south, i might add. i'm already slated to host the next bridal shower, and i am dreading the guessing game of who will and who will not be there/RSVP/RSVP and yet not attend, and so on.

it occurred to me that this breach in etiquette amongst people my age is either an epidemic that rights itself with maturity, or just another revolting sign of the downturn in manners, but regardless, applies to all party and event situations. so i ask you, as a future RSVP-requester, is this just the way things are for today's modern couple? is 'no manners' the new 'casual manners'? will manners come back into fashion, much like skinny ties and martini lunches and hats on women, a la mad men? when is it okay to NOT RSVP? what constitutes a valid reason to NOT attend a good friend's party? is it okay for hosts to contact non-RSVP-ers as the event grows near? what is the best way to convey that A TIMELY RESPONSE, even if it is no, WOULD BE REALLY, REALLY NICE.

répondez s'il vous plaît.



First off, I think "RSVP" and "répondez s'il vous plait" should both be permanently retired. I mean. We don't live in PARIS, do we? "Please respond" is much more direct, and everyone knows what it means.

I'd say it's never okay not to RSVP, er, respond. (Note to self: Must RSVP to that holiday thingee...) But you don't get to decide "what constitutes a valid reason" for not attending your party/shower/wedding. Welcome to friends with babies.

Part III. It is absolutely okay to call or email nonrespondents to say "HEY SHITBAGS: ARE YOU COMING TO THE PARTY, OR WHAT? WE NEED TO KNOW HOW MUCH BEER TO BUY."

(Image via TaHe)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Is it tacky to register for a honeymoon?

Dear ESB,

My fiance and I have been living together for almost four years and pretty much have all we need. And while I could make a whole list of pretty things, I would much rather have some money to pay for the honeymoon.

I recently came across a gift registry site that allows you to put things from anywhere on your list for your guests to purchase. You can also put a trip (i.e. honeymoon!) on there and guests can make donations toward it. While the idea sounds awesome, I am wondering if this is tacky to ask of your guests?


I give you this anecdote Naurnie emailed me recently:

My mother's very good friend was at my wedding shower + we were having a discussion about people who register for cash or one of those 'honeymoon' things. 

Her response? "You can't afford a honeymoon? Put that in my 'I-don't-give-a-shit bucket.' I am NOT paying for your damn snorkeling excursion."

(Michele Lamy via Alison Feldman via Love is the new black)

here's a SLAB for you

Rosa Maria via unruly things

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

slab wedding rings

I can't decide if these are too slab-y?

By seb-brown via all the mountains... (with thanks to jamie once again for the tip)


In other news, I was on the fence about BILLY BRIDE's rings until I saw them on every single mothereffing blog on the planet. But yeah. Now that this one is sold out, I can't stop thinking about it. 

I didn't sign up for THIS.

Me (handing H his new AAA card): When did we become such grownups?

H: I dunno. It sucks.

You guys, I signed up for automatic renewal in order to save FOUR DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS. What is happening to me?

I don't suppose there's a way to be responsible and yet blissfully irresponsible at the same time?

(Charlotte Gainsbourg via The Morning After Pills via Cass Kovel)

Will my friends with kids come to my wedding?

Dear ESB,

My partner and I are planning a wedding for next summer at a lovely state park about an hour and a half outside our city. We'll be renting an isolated barn-type building in the park for the ceremony/reception and there's camping allowed on the grassy lawn outside the barn as well. In addition the park has rustic cabins AND there's a retreat center with nicer accommodations for parents, grandparents, and others who need their own bathroom and other comforts.

This sounds like the best of all possible worlds (we get our rustic, camp wedding and the family will be comfortable as well), but I'm getting freaked out that my friends with kids won't come. I have a number of friends who have young kids, are pregnant now or trying. Do you think they'd drive 1.5 hrs to come to a wedding in a state park where they might have to stay in a cabin or camp? Some of these people are very close friends and it's important to me that they're there and feel comfortable/taken care of.

Thoughts? Any other tips for making a wedding attractive/doable for families with young kids?


Since I'm no expert on kids (THANK GOD), I passed this one off to Kristina, of Lovely Morning and 100 Layer Cake and mom-of-Dashiell fame.

Here's what she had to say:

Your wedding already sounds perfectly attractive/doable for families with and expecting kids! My totally unprofessional opinion is that you're way over-thinking this. It's super nice that you want to make your friends with babies feel welcome and taken care of, but don't stress that they won't come. It's not like you're asking them to fly to Italy so you can be married in an ancient Tuscan farmhouse four hours from the nearest airport. You're asking them to drive 90 minutes up the freeway. We haven't attended a wedding that close to our house in at least 3 years. And we're the friends with the baby. Next year we're flying to Costa Rica and Florida for good friends' weddings because regardless of the effort it takes to schlep our little dude and all his stuff with us, we wouldn't miss their weddings for anything. (Plus how cute is 1st birthday in Costa Rica!?!)

Your BFFs will be there no matter what. People with newborns aren't going to be fired up about bedding down in a tent for the weekend, but like you said, there's a nice option for those who are feeling less adventurous.

Check this little piece of stress off your mental list, lady. You're good!

(Photo of Nye and... is that Ella or Amelia? by Peonies and Polaroids)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

DIY side chignon

I never bother going over to Martha Stewart Weddings anymore, so I have to thank hip hip gin gin and {this is glamorous} for spotting this DIY side chignon.

Glamorous put together a lovely, streamlined version of the instructions so you don't have to click... click... click... click... while juggling your hairbrush, hairdryer, curling iron, hairspray, etc.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dear ESB: Can I pre-wear my wedding shrug?

would you tell me i'm insane if i purchased this [to wear to holiday parties]...

realizing that it costs more than i normally spend on almost anything. i'm thinking it would double as wedding wear. is it kosher to wear something at your wedding that everyone has already seen you in elsewhere? because i couldn't possibly convince myself to spend that much on something unless i wear it many, many times.


if it were a pair of shoes I'd say HELL NO. you want them to be brand spanking new the day you get married in em. (see: genevieve)

but a shrug? pshaw.

do you already have the dress picked out? do you know when + where you're getting married? i.e. how chilly it will be? do you care?

i say buy it.

Non-cheesy first dance songs

Dear ESB,

You must get asked this a lot, but do you have any suggestions for non-cheesy first dance songs?


I asked The Flashdance (aka Michael Antonia) to field this one. Obv.

He sent this missive from the beach in Mexico:

i do get asked this question a lot and it always makes me uncomfortable. to me it is like asking an artist to paint a picture of you in the dress you will be wearing without ever having seen it (or you!). honestly i would be no better at picking one of the most sentimental songs of your entire life without any more information than your first name! i can give you a bunch of songs that i think are great, which would work, but really they will always be my favorite songs and will likely mean very little to you... my suggestion is to stop thinking about it in terms of a first dance, the way your guests might interpret it, or the lyrical content etc and think of it only as a song that means a lot to you and your fiance.

but, esb didn't ask me to wax philosophical on you, or make you feel bad for not having the right song... she asked me to give you some advice. try this link out. there are 17 songs i chose that i think would make a beautiful first dance (and you can download them all for free!) but do me a favor... drive your car to the end of a dirt road somewhere in the mountains and make out to these songs for a couple of hours before choosing one for your first dance!!!

(Jack Kerouac via FFFFOUND!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

better in pairs.

H and I have spent the past two days sleeping, eating cheese and crackers, catching up on Dexter, sleeping, and oh! let's not forget the trip to Whole Foods. The biggest event of the weekend.

To be fair, we're both recovering from a cold.

But driving to the store with this guy, and listening to a v. geeky podcast, and then coming home to put away groceries and do the two-week-old dishes and watch last week's episode of Gossip Girl seemed like the perfect Saturday night to me.

(The gorg photos from Iceland -- and the title for this post -- are borrowed from the ever-inspiring SAIPUA)

Friday, December 3, 2010

What do I give my secretly pregnant sister for her super secret wedding?

Dear ESB,

I need a rockstar gift idea for my secretly pregnant sister's secret wedding. Superduper secret, like her man and I are the only ones who know about it. Being the only one there to celebrate, I'd really like to present them with something fabulous for the occasion. Any ideas?


I haven't exactly been batting a thousand with the sister posts,* so I asked two of my favorite bloggers-who-have-sisters to field this one.

Lauren said:

first, friar lawrence, congratulations on being the +1 at a secret wedding! from this i infer that you are both trustworthy and awesome. were i you, i'd give the happy couple either A) something that'll stick with them forever or B) the complete absence of things.

if A's your route, i suggest you offer to go out and spring for matching tattoos to commemorate the day you're all sharing. seriously. they don't have to be big or visible, just on each of you for good; nothing says "i've got your back forever" like "i've got this on my back forever."

if you're more of a B, i think you should give them a day that's complete from start to finish, no input needed. they've been making decision after decision for this secret wedding and secret pregnancy - engagement and conception force you to have opinions about and make calls on a frightening array of things - and could probably use some "don't worry, i've got this one." book them a dinner someplace they'll love, a room in a hotel that will treat them right (whether that means making them feel like serge and jane or making them feel like wills and kate), and a day of something they've talked about wistfully. if you happen to be an oil magnate, throw in some plane tickets so all of this can happen in a place they've been meaning to visit.

(psst: A.)

Celia said:

Lucky you! If I had only had one other person at my wedding, I would have also chosen my sister. Seeing as she's pregnant, and this super secret wedding is a tiny celebration, I'm assuming that your sister and her fiancé might be on a bit of a budget. If I were you, I'd hire the most badass photographer in town to document every special moment and all the sweet details of the day.

You don't even have to reveal your rockstar gift before the wedding. Just arrange everything with the photographer before the big day, and have him/her show up to surprise the bride and groom. Not only will they have gorgeous photographs of what will most likely be one of the best days of their lives, but your sister will also have great professional pregnancy photos. Trust me, when you're pregnant, you're kind of desperate for beautiful and tasteful pictures of yourself. 

And the cherry on top? Not only will this be a great gift for them to cherish forever, but it's something that your future nephew/niece will treasure too.

(Image via Vejde Gustafsson)

*Celia pretty much schooled me here and here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Where can I find a gray wedding gown?

Dear ESB,

I am hoping to get a bit of help from you and your readers when it comes to wedding gown selection.

My fiancé and I have been engaged for two and a half years and we have an adorable two year old son together. We are so happy to finally be at a place in our relationship where we can make our commitment to one another official. Our wedding will be a small, around 50 people, January wedding and will include a religious ceremony followed by a restaurant dinner.

Our families both take tradition very seriously and I would prefer not to wear a white gown out of respect for others. Most wedding gowns have two color choices, ivory and white. What I am looking for is a long gray gown that is elegant, fashionable, and young.

My budget is about $2500.


It turns out gray gowns are not easy to find. Even in the TWO THOUSAND DOLLAR RANGE. Who knew?

But. I wrote another letter to our lady Leanne Marshall and this time she answered! She said she'd be happy to make this lovely number in gray. In fact, she said "Gray seems to be the popular new 'it' color for wedding gowns."

Consider yourself ahead of the curve.

(You can message Leanne through etsy to discuss the dets.)


p.s. Elizabeth Dye's Tempest also comes in pale grey. (I was trying to be consistent with the gray/grey thing but I just effed myself. Oh well.)

My sister is a WEDDING BASHER

Dear ESB,

I'm in need of a bit of help. And the people I usually turn to are, in fact, part of the current problem.

You see, I got engaged many months ago, and am now about 6 months out from the wedding. When it came time to decide if I was going to have bridesmaids, the answer was an automatic YES, and I asked my wonderful sisters, as well as a dear friend. Shortly after I got engaged, one of my sisters also became engaged, and her wedding date was a few months before mine. I was thrilled for her! I was excitedly looking forward to planning together, and bouncing ideas off of each other, as both of our weddings will have some traditional and many non-traditional aspects.

However, it has been anything but. She has been bashing all of my ideas from my shoes, to my guest list, to my choices in general! She yelled at me when I mentioned a signature drink to cut down on liquor costs, saying it was her idea and I stole it from her. She made fun of me when I mentioned that my fiance's nephew would be our ring bearer, saying ring bearer's are tacky, and in turn, make a wedding look tacky. And she's been criticizing my decision about having non-matching bridesmaids. There have been more, but we'll just stop at 3 examples.

First, I'm pretty sure she does not own the rights to having a signature drink at weddings. I'm also pretty sure she wasn't the first one to come up with the idea. Second, I'm not the biggest fans of children in weddings either. Mainly because it is sad to see a poor kid stuffed into a tiny tux carrying a satin pillow. My fiance really wanted his nephew to be apart of the wedding, as it was very important to him. It's his wedding too. But we BOTH want the nephew to be comfortable, and, basically, just run down the aisle before I go. No tuxes, no satin pillow. And finally, I wanted my bridesmaids to like what they are going to wear on the day of the wedding. I did say it should be a dress from J Crew in any shade of blue; I thought it was the best of both worlds. I get bridesmaids in great little blue dresses, and they get to pick what style and shade best suits them. But it wasn't good enough for her, and she promptly decided to tell me non-matching bridesmaids will look silly, and I should force everyone to wear the same thing.

On top of all of this, she bashes all other weddings (including mine), and says all weddings are stupid and tacky. Except hers. Because hers is the most special of special. Not only that, but she's wrangling in my other sister (who loves everything and anything about weddings), to go along with her opinions.

Now, I don't want to kick her out as a bridesmaid; I chose her for a reason. I love my sisters very much, and I value their opinions. But what I don't like is being told my wedding ideas/plans are silly and tacky, and I should do BLAH instead. I decided not to tell her anymore plans/ideas because I'm sick and tired of being made to feel my wedding sucks.

She is constantly berating me about wedding plans, even if I don't tell her anything. What should I do?

Many thanks,

- bummed-out bride


Um, yeah. I'm pretty sure Martha Stewart coined the phrase "signature drink" in 1987.

Here's the thing. Almost every bride is seized with the bizarre conviction that the way she is doing it/did it is the right way/only way to do it. It's like there's some piece that snaps loose in their brains.

Try stroking your sister's ego. Tell her how much you loooooooooooove the stupid dress she picked out for all of you to wear. How cool you think her dumb wedding's going to be. Etc.

But don't FOR AN INSTANT feel like you have to justify any of your choices.

(Photo of Audrey Tautou via Anj Ali)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Those Berliners know how to get MARRIED

I have no idea what's going on with this wedding. But I know I like it.

(Photos via glamcanyon, with special thanks to anonymous for the tip)

Monday, November 29, 2010

My FH wants to dress like Willy Wonka

Dear ESB –

My fiancé and I have had little to no issues while beginning our wedding planning. We’ve picked a lovely old house that has been turned into a restaurant for our wedding and reception. We’ve rented the whole place which has separate rooms for dining and dancing, and a little courtyard where we will have our ceremony. It will have a very low-key house party feel which we are so excited about. I’m wearing an ivory gown and a birdcage veil for the ceremony – I’ll be switching to a flower in my low chignon halfway through pictures and for the reception. My bridesmaids are wearing knee length cocktail dresses in pewter (with pockets!)- Something they all love and can wear again. To bring this all together, I fell in love with the idea of the guys in black suits with fedoras. The groomsmen would have pewter vests and to separate ourselves, my fiancé would have a cranberry vest to match the fun cranberry shoes I’ll be rocking under my dress. To my surprise, my fiancé has recently been expressing a desire to wear a top hat and coat tails – possibly with a cane! All I could envision is him whistling into a little flute and somersaulting down the aisle like Willy Wonka. I am having a hard time not viewing this top hat ensemble as something a little over the top for what would otherwise be a not black-tie event. Have you seen any recent pictures of grooms in top hats where they don’t look silly? Should I just embrace this newfound classiness in him and let him rock it despite what I had originally envisioned? Or is it too much? 


I think you know what to do.

Ix-nay the op-tay at-hay.

I don't want to invite my stepfather

Dear ESB,

Here is another one of those "to invite or not invite" problems: I will be getting married next summer and I do not want to invite my stepfather to the wedding. He has ruined most of my childhood and we are not speaking to each other since five years. In brief, I avoid him whenever I can. If it weren't for my mother I would not have a problem now but she is still very attached to him, although they have officially separated a long time ago. They spend a lot of time together, visit family together, travel. She understands how I feel about him, but does not want to come alone to my wedding. She says she will not have anyone to dance with. It might also appear strange to my family who see those two together all the time and I will probably have to explain a lot to them about why he is not present at the wedding. But it is not like I can invite him and have him seated at a table far away from mine. If he comes as my mother's plus one, he will be sitting at my table. I do not want my mom to feel sad and alone at my wedding. She already tries to convince me that he is not all that bad and reminds me of some rare nice moments we had as a family earlier on. How can I tell her that she cannot bring him, without hurting her immensely and having to listen to her complaints for years to come?!

PS: Sorry for my English, I am not a native speaker.


Grab your mother by the shoulders and tell her "THIS WEDDING IS NOT ABOUT YOU."

Is she also planning to wear white? You'd better nip that in the bud.

(Photo by Mert & Marcus via Rosie Keszek)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Elizabeth Dye for 2011

I'm digging Elizabeth Dye's new collection. It's boho chic meets 50's prom...

Via {frolic!}

p.s. It may appear that I am ignoring t-giving, but I'm just stoked that I don't have to cook anything. Happy happy everyone!!

here's a WEDDING NECKLACE for you

By Emma Cassi for Anthropologie

(What did I just say about all the cool kids getting snapped up?)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rocking the mother-in-law's pearls

Dear ESB,

Here's my dilemma: my future mother in law has asked me to wear a pearl necklace to my wedding that has sentimental value to her. Here is a link to the David's Bridal dress I'll be wearing. On my curvy figure the dress comes across as a little more sexy than it does on the model in the picture. The pearls are small, single strand and fall just below the collar bone. I think the necklace and dress look perfectly fine together and I want to wear it since it seems to mean a lot to her. But the look is
very simple and classic and doesn't really feel like my style. I've been thinking about layering a few necklaces together, but I'm worried that it might offend her if I wear more than one necklace. Also I'm wearing my hair down and I wonder if a bunch of necklaces, plus lots of hair, plus a sparkly dress is going to be too much? I actually don't usually wear much jewelry.

I've known her five years now and we are fairly close. I could talk to her about it but I feel like she's the type of person who would say it was ok when she was actually upset about it (or completely misunderstand my intent), so I'd like to have a better idea of what I want to do before I bring it up. If I do decide to wear more than one necklace when is the right time to tell her? I might feel kind of funny just showing up to the wedding like that without mentioning it first.


According to the Allure I picked up at the salon the other day, "A single strand of pearls is dated; a bold necklace of imperfectly knotted ones is strong and stunning."

But you knew that already.

Just tell your FMIL that you've decided to go a little nuts with the necklaces. This is your big day to be sparkly! Surely she won't begrudge you that.

p.s. Will someone please get married in this Vera Wang bustier?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Topshop wedding flats

Pretty sweet, right? And they're only $55!


Friday, November 19, 2010

My parents slashed our wedding funds

Dear ESB,

I am in Kenya interning and since I've been here my boyfriend (in GA) and I have realized how much we really mean to each other. We want to be married as soon as possible. My parents have not really had the chance to meet my fiance because they live in another state. We planned the date for 27 December 10 (2 weeks after I get back) after checking with both families to make sure this would work. My parents were very excited for me and approved the date. They had set aside $5000 for our wedding. A couple days ago my father informed me that out of that money comes the money for their accommodations, meals, and a flight for my brother and sister-in-law to attend. I was upset, because I was surprised by this new expense. I talked to my parents about it and they got really hurt and told me I was being incredibly selfish and greedy. The whole thing blew up and now my parents are incredibly hurt and don't want to speak to me. I apologized for being selfish and they have said they forgive me but still need time.

In the meantime, I asked my fiancee to write them an email introducing himself and "declaring his intentions." He did so, even though he felt my parents were being childish and doesn't like the way they treat me. In a second email, he mentioned to my parents that we were grateful for the money and he wanted to let them know that everyone else was paying for their own travel expenses. My parents haven't responded yet, but I can only imagine what they'll say, and it won't be nice.

I don't want to hurt my parents so deeply, it's important that they attend my wedding and support me, but I also don't agree with the way they're handling things. We have already started planning the wedding and his parents have already put money towards things so we can't change the date, not to mention the fact that I absolutely don't want to! My fiancee always tells me that I don't stand up to my parents, but I just hate to see anyone hurt! Especially by me! I don't know how everything went wrong all of the sudden, and I don't know what to do.

Parental Woes


Dear PW,

I'm sorry if your parents are acting like a*holes, but throwing a tantrum and insisting that they give you all the money they promised you is not the way to stand up to them.

Demonstrating that you and your fiancé are grownups and you're capable of working within the reduced budget (or coming up with the difference yourselves) is.



Another image from mother via all the mountains...

dried wedding flowers?

Dear ESB,

I've been thinking that I only want to have dried flowers for my wedding, specifically dried peonies. For table decorations, it would be a mixture of dried peonies, larkspur, sweet annie, german satice, sea lavender, and ammobium, all dried as well. I just really love the vintage feel they give, not to mention the price.

What say you? Is this too tacky?


dried flowers = much bettah than plastic flowers. but there is something a tad melancholy about them, i have to say.

(Image courtesy of mother via all the mountains... via scout & catalogue)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The perfect dress for winter in London?

Dear ESB,

I'm going to London for 4 months for a study abroad this winter!

Obviously, I'm psyched out of my mind. But this poses a dilemma: minimal clothes, but optimum warmth. The solution, i think would be a good shirt dress or shift that can be worn with tights and sweaters and adorable coats.

But I have searched high and low for a good dress that is vintagey, walkable, goes to my knees and has sleeves.

dilemma, dilemma, dilemma.



If I were searching for that perfect dress to wear 5 days out of 7, I'd go Steven Alan all the way.

p.s. The plaid one is on sale!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I may have found the perfect wedding flats

Embossed metallic suede leather? Come on.

And while we're at it, this spotted pony is pretty good too.*

Repetto + Golden Goose via Jeana Sohn


*Wait. They're not really made out of ponies, are they?? Forget I said anything.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kissing cousins

Dear ESB-

I have been engaged for 5 months now and am getting married in the summer. Since I have gotten engaged I have been constantly worrying about the guest list. I am not very close to my dad's side of the family and I have always felt uncomfortable around them, my cousin especially. I only have one cousin on that side of the family and he is mentally disabled. Since we were kids he has always insisted on sitting as close as possible to me, he is always trying to rub my back and kiss me on the lips, even when it is quite obvious it makes me extremely uncomfortable and I dodge him when he tries to do this. His mother, my aunt, never said anything to him. I finally mentioned something to my dad last year because I now avoid family events like the plague. It has gotten a little better but I still feel nervous around him and I can't relax.

To get to the point, I would really like to NOT invite him to my wedding. But at the same time I don't have an excuse to give to my family if I don't (since they think his actions are perfectly normal).  I am not having a small wedding either so i can't use that as an excuse. I feel like I am being a little ridiculous and I think I just need to get over it but I want to be able to relax at my wedding and not worry about what he might do.

Am I being unfair and if not do you have any thoughts about how to best handle this situation?

-Kissing cousins


Try to keep "mentally disabled" out of the scenario. If you had an agile-minded cousin who had been sexually harassing you since you were kids, you'd leave him off the guest list, right?

So leave him off the list. No apologies, no excuses.

(I have a feeling your aunt -- and the rest of the family -- are more aware of his behavior than they are letting on.)


Masquerade by Saul Steinberg & Inge Morath via modern nostalgic via Vejde Gustafsson

Thursday, November 11, 2010


H-town suggested that I share these creatures with you.

Also, I have a new Dear ESB up on 100 Layer Cake this morning re: The Dreaded Guest List.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I could make this, right?

Minus the fishhook thingee, which I happen to know would snag on everything.

Maybe I'll DIY a bunch of jewelry for xmas presents this year? It could happen.

Giles & Brother via scout&catalogue


Quick question: Is it inapprops/unethical to post photos of stuff that I am inspired to knock off? I mean, it's not like I plan to sell the stuff...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Men's Tea Party

These dudes are from Brooklyn (obv). But the fingerless gloves and the brown bread and the little tin of sardines remind me of my Da, who lives up on the West Coast of Canada.

This is pretty what my dad's lunch looks like every day. Maybe minus the cakes. Definitely minus the rabbit-fur cosy.

Anyhoo. I can't wait to get up there and have tea with him.*

Photos by Susanna Howe for the NY Times (via Scout Holiday via justlikehoney)


*You guys, I might be getting a teensy bit of Christmas fever. Is it too soon? I mean, I'm not DECORATING THE HOUSE or anything.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dear ESB: Should I scrap my lovely summer wedding for the sake of my sanity?

Dear ESB,

My fiance and I were engaged this spring after having been together for 4 years. I love him dearly, but his parents (as much as I really do love them, too) can be a bit controlling and critical of our choices, and have "elite" standards. Our wedding has proven to be no different. To clarify everything I am about to write: my fiance's family is very well off and mine isn't. We're students (studying on the other side of the country from where the wedding will take place) and can't afford much, and seeing as the FINs didn't like any of our initial budget-friendly wedding options, we started falling down the path towards the FINs paying for a fifty-thousand dollar wedding. We had always dreamed about having the wedding at the FINs waterfront home, which has a built in bar and amazing downstairs area perfect for dancing, but they didn't think they wanted to host 70 people there. So we reluctantly moved ahead with finding somewhere else. It started small at first: we began planning to have our wedding ceremony outdoors at a neighbour's property, and then move it to another venue for the reception. The neighbour's place is remote and has limited parking, so we would have to pay to get all of the guests transported to and from the site ($$). And this wouldn't be just any old outdoor ceremony: there would be a tent (a fancy one) with caterers and cocktails and flowers and rental chairs etc. etc. etc. ($$$).

When our reception venue fell through (kind of a blessing (-$$$$)) we asked the neighbour if he wouldn't mind hosting the entire wedding on his property, seeing as it wouldn't be too much more going on than the ceremony anyway, and he agreed. His property is really really beautiful and we loved the idea of having everyone in one place and not having to over-complicate the logistics of the day. I personally loved it because then I only needed to worry about decorating one venue instead of two or three. I should mention that in our city there is a very limited amount of wedding venues, none of which really challenge the conventional wedding reception style. I spent weeks and weeks looking for a more interesting place where we could have a great dinner and also be able to dance, only coming up with the previously mentioned venue that eventually fell through. So anyway, we were excited about keeping everything at the neighbour's. But then the FINs didn't seem so keen. They worried about it getting cold at night, the minimal lighting on the property, bugs etc. - all of which are very legitimate concerns, but I felt that we could work around them (complimentary bug spray, anyone?). His mom additionally argued that holding everything there would get expensive, which is frustrating because she just uses this argument when she doesn't like something. As an example, she was more than excited about renting out another venue that would have cost $10,000 more (the likes of which my fiance and I refused on principle).

So now the agreement is that the neighbour's place is a fall-back if we can't find an appropriate reception venue in time, which I know we won't because I have already done all the leg work. But I just want things settled. Every conversation we have with his parents is about the wedding, and his mom is relentless in searching for "the best" place instead of agreeing to go with the place that makes us the most happy. I don't want to talk about wedding venues and logistics anymore - I want to study for my finals!

Suffice it to say, our plans to have a low-stress, beautiful but inexpensive wedding have been hijacked by the FINs incredibly high standards (which I have certainly participated in as well as a blinded-by-the-bling bride). Everything is snowballing, and when we start to look at the numbers, we just know that this thing is going to be stupid-expensive. Not to mention the fact that I am worried the whole event is going to be incredibly stressful with all of my FMINs nit-picking and over-spending. I really value my close relationship with her, and I am incredibly worried that this wedding might irreversibly strain things between us. Throw in her side of the family, all of which will most definitely expect a free ride across the country to come to our wedding in the first place, and this thing is starting to look like a soulless monster to me.

Then...the epiphany. I started to think back to all of the fantastic family New Years parties my FMIN throws at her home with great food, dancing, champagne and a "disco tree" (it's her very cute tradition to throw about 10 tons of tinsel on the Christmas tree for New Years). I wanted to capture THAT for our wedding, and so I started wondering why we couldn't just incorporate our wedding into the New Years festivities. It wouldn't be a stretch: we'd keep the guest list to immediate family, a few other family members who are very close and already live in town and a few close friends. Anyone who is invited to the New Years party would have been invited to our wedding anyway, and our families already know each other (in fact, our moms get along famously). Plus it will save about THIRTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. This idea makes me very very happy - like, I haven't felt as happy as this since I initially got engaged. And my fiance is really warming to the idea....but he needs to tell his folks about it. I can't be involved in this because they seem to think that all of my ideas need to be second-guessed no matter what (yeah...another problem), and the only way they are going to truly be on board is if they understand how much this means to their son.

It really sucks that they get to wield so much control, but money is power in this case.

I suppose what I am asking from you, ESB: do you think I am insane for wanting to scrap my lovely summer wedding for the sake of my sanity? Probably one of the biggest 'pros' is that I would be eliminating about 7 months of additional stress and drama. There are only a few small details from the summer wedding that I care about but wouldn't be able to pull off for the New Years wedding, and we would have to wait for our honeymoon in the summer. I also wouldn't be able to order the dress I wanted in time, but maybe this is my opportunity to rock an awesome white cocktail dress and killer heels instead? Any advice/suggestions/therapists you can offer would be appreciated.

Many thanks,
The Game Changer


What does "FIN" stand for?


...Future In-Laws. I came to a rather quick conclusion that this plan of mine wasn't going to alleviate many problems, just create new ones. Who the hell tries to plan a wedding on New Years in less than two months?! It did, however, allow me to appreciate the wedding I was originally planning and look forward to it more this summer.... and the GORGEOUS dress I was planning to purchase. But please, if you can find the time, I would still love advice on navigating the in-laws/financial scenario.


ummm, and yeah....just realizing my incredibly stupid typo, too. FIL, not FIN... its mid terms and I am stressed in all directions! Sorry about that!


I still think you should do it. It is totally possible to plan a wedding in two months.

The question is, how do you get your FMIL on board? And: Are you willing to let her be in charge? (Let's face it, the woman is in charge already. The only way you can take charge is to pay for the wedding yourself.)

Start off by telling her how much you love her annual party, and how you'd always dreamed of getting married at her house. And then show her this post about the surprise wedding that Marisa and John planned in SEVEN DAYS.

I think a surprise wedding with an ginormous disco tree would be too terrific for words.

Plus you'd get to celebrate your anniversary on New Year's Eve every year. What's better than that?

(Image from Design Crush via Erin Dudley)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Emi Fukuda

I'm not quite sure how I feel about these.

I think I love them.

(via enid hwang)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dear ESB: Is this dress not appropriate?

my husband-to-be wants to veto my favorite dress because he says it looks too much like my robe (which is kinda precisely why i love it). we're getting married in central park at the end of may, and partying at a beer garden afterward. is this dress not appropriate? thoughts?


Who cares if it's appropriate? If your H-T-B doesn't think it's smoking hot, you shouldn't get married in it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

monday morning dance party

There's a dance party every morning in scout&catalogue's studio.

I may need to hijack the wee disco ball that's languishing in H's office and put it on the window sill above my desk....

I mean. Couldn't we all use a little dance party in the morning?

(Via fieldguided)

In other news, I love that I married a man who owns a disco ball. I don't know where I got this disco ball obsession, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the rad photos that keep turning up all over the internets.