Friday, July 30, 2010

Dear ESB: I wish I had a Wedding Time Machine.

If I had a WTM, I would go back in time, and decidedly NOT ask my future sister-in-law to be my matron of honor, and I would NOT ask my future niece to be my flower girl. Then, we'd only have deal with bullshit from one member of the bridal party, my future brother-in-law, whom I know my fiance would still ask to be in the wedding, even if he had a WTM, because asshole or not, my future brother-in-law is still my fiance's only brother in the world, and even though he's being a jerk, his presence matters to my fiance.

If I had this magical WTM, I'd have had the wedding a year ago in Chicago, when we still lived there, instead of choosing to have it at my parents house in Ohio, because maybe then my parents wouldn't feel obligated to pay for the accommodations of my fiance's irresponsible parents, and equally irresponsible brother and sister-in-law.

Alternatively, I'd have used it to just go back a month ago, when his brother and sister-in-law sat us down and said they weren't sure they could even come to the wedding now, which is less than two months away, let alone be in it--and instead of offering to pay for their dress and tux, I'd have said, "That's ok; I understand." And then I wouldn't have to worry about it at all.

I'd definitely go back to three weeks ago, when I received a random email; a flight itinerary forwarded to me, no explanation, saying the best man and groom's parents weren't arriving until midnight the night before the wedding. And instead of being upset that the best man was missing the wedding rehearsal, and being pissed off at his parents for choosing THIS charming way of letting us know that my parents would need to pay for the rehearsal dinner, and getting them to switch it so they could all come in on time, I'd have realized the universe was doing me a favor, and let it all go.

Or maybe I'd just go back to April, when we moved to this wretched place. Instead of deciding we should get married in September, I'd opt to wait another year and start my planning early, so I could realize that deep down, I actually did want green and black as my colors, and not what we've chosen, that I didn't want my future sister-in-law and her daughter in the wedding, that my parents would take on a big burden, and his would let us down monumentally. Oh, and that I like peonies better than calla lillies, which are in season in the spring and not fall.

I would definitely go back and reconsider asking my parents to host the wedding at all, taking into consideration the fact that I have known them for 31 years now, and therefore should have known that nothing is ever easy with them; and then they wouldn't be spending all of this money to landscape and improve the property and house that I thought was just beautiful as it already was.

Actually, maybe we should have just eloped, and let my folks have a party for us back at home for our local friends and family like they originally suggested, and then we could have had a party here, in this wretched place, but at least gotten to use my grandmother's silver rimmed punch bowl, and my great grandmother's green cake stand.

F*ing hindsight. F*ing lack of a WTM.

Thanks. And let me know if you see a time machine on etsy.


Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh lady.

The good news is, very soon you will be MARRIED. And that's the only thing that really matters.

(Photo by Jason Bright via Fecal Face via TOBACCO&LEATHER)

Sacking the Bridal Party

 Dear ESB

We cancelled our destination wedding after nearly having a mental breakdown trying to organise the silly thing. Fair enough since we had just bought our own business at the time and were trying to learn to work together and run a business, never mind organizing a wedding as well. So even though the 'saves the dates' had been sent and I felt like a knob, I told the 85 people that RSVP'd that their little holiday to Thailand was postponed - indefinitely.

That was 4 years ago. At the time, my partner and I asked 3 people each to be our attendants (and we have been attendants at their weddings). Now, I'm still friends with all of the people, just not to the same degree and I only want one of them next to me on my big day. Fickle I know. But over the years our needs have toned down and that's the reality of my feelings.

So how do I tell our bridal party that they have been given the flick from our new and improved wedding?

from the new and improved fuss free bride.


Dear FFB,

Hey, at least you're not replacing the sacked members of your bridal party with new-and-improved versions. That would be fickle.

Just tell em the truth. Or...part of the truth. You're four years older, you're throwing a different wedding, and you've simply decided to simplify.


(Image via YIMMY'S YAYO)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sauvie Island Resort Wedding (who needs a disco ball?)

Okay, so I lovelovelove to feature weddings by near and dear blogfriends and of course people who have written in to ask for advice... But it is also pretty amazing to receive a zipfile out of the blue of wedding photos like this.

Holgas taken by talented family and friends. A wild vintage dress. Some serious motherf*cking groom style. And FEATHERED INVITATIONS? I think this lady might actually be more east side bride than I am. I mean, she does practically live my neighborhood.

Here's what Joanna had to say about her wedding:

I always imagined I'd have a Fall wedding. When we got engaged on a Friday in June, I accepted what would turn out to be a very demanding 50+ hour/week job the next week. But we decided it would be the same amount of stress whether we compressed it into a few months as it would if we dragged it out over a year, so we decided to go for it. My husband is a freelance commercial producer and I'm an art director, so we had confidence that our combined talents could make it work.

My dream was to get married outside on a farm, have a reception in a barn and have a giant bonfire. I got 2 out of 3. We live in Los Angeles and our family is the Bay Area and New England. LA was never an option, neither of us feel a very strong connection to the city, plus it would just be too expensive. Next we thought New England, but mid-Oct is already too cold. The Bay Area? Again too expensive and weather is iffy. My husband used to live in Portland and we go up there a lot for fun and work. He'd shot a commercial on this farm on Sauvie Island just north of Portland last Spring and we thought the location and the setting would be perfect, plus mid-October in Portland can be really nice.

We went to visit the farm in July and let's just say, one of us had a vision....and it wasn't me. It was all overgrown and there was a lot of random junk laying around, but my husband had confidence in the location, so I trusted him. There was a Black Locust tree with a dozen trunks that would be perfect for the ceremony and there was a giant Cottonwood that created a sprawling canopy, that he envisioned being lit with china lanterns where we would have the bar. The ceremony and reception would take place on a clearing that sat about 20 feet above the riverbank. The only problem was, how do we get the guests from the reception to the beach for the bonfire? My solution was to move the reception a little north, where it was flat and we could just walk onto the beach. My husband's solution was to build some permanent stairs on the slope. He was passionate about the Cottonwood being a key element (he was right) and he had confidence that he could build the stairs in a few days with the help of our fathers (both master craftsmen) and our brothers (five between the two of us). They ended up building the stairs out of massive timbers that had drifted up on the beach as well and the stone that was already on the site. My father finished it off with handrails on both sides that were straight out of Lord of the Rings. So, while the men were busy with that and other site related chores, so I took care of the details, like dress!, shoes, invites, flowers, food, drinks, etc.

Being a graphic designer, I'd had an idea in my head for invites before I was even close to getting engaged. I wanted a really pretty poster. What we ended up with was more beautiful than I could have imagined. The overall idea was to create something that felt hand-made and delicate, both natural and wedding-y. (Which was our concept for the wedding itself.) We had a friend give us a crash course on silk screening and we made all the invites/correspondence cards in one afternoon. The posters were printed on large pieces of tracing paper that I bought in pads, which made printing on such delicate material go a lot more smoothly. I work a lot with feathers in my art, there was no question about including them in some way. I wanted to complete the package with pretty calligraphy, so I scoured the internet for a calligrapher that I could afford until I found Robyn Love, who happened to be having a sale on one style of lettering. Perfect!

For the decor, I envisioned strings of lights everywhere, a la Chanel Resort 2010, and a disco ball hanging from a tree. But a few weeks before the wedding I realized, that there was a lot I would just have to let go. Because of rain, we needed tents and because of money/resources we opted for China Balls instead of strings of lights. The result was beautiful. It rained really hard the morning of the wedding but the clouds broke and the sun came out just in time for our guests to enjoy the dramatic setting as the arrived on Sauvie Island in the late afternoon.

I found my dress at The Way We Wore. It's a 1920's cotton gauze sheath dress with white opaque seed beading and it was the very first one I tried on. The silk slip was from Hidden Treasures in Topanga Canyon, also from the 20's. The shoes were a gift from my godmother, silver glitter Louboutins. I wore a strand of feathers I made around my neck. The dress has a drop waist and I wanted something that was more fitted, so I bought a couple yards of acid yellow silk that I tied around my waist to hide the seam. The acid yellow was apart of my multi-color palette that was loosely referenced throughout to tie everything together, but not overtly seen. I also sent the palette off to my close friends and family and suggested they dress within it if they felt like it.

(Editor's Note: Are you noting that the guests do in fact match the invitations? This is an advanced move. Unless your friends are stylists/art directors/costume designers, I don't recommend that you attempt it.)

Since my dress was so delicate, I decided to change into an 80's sequin and beaded dress and black oxford booties after the ceremony. My husband wore a black suit from J. Lindeberg, a custom shirt from Brooks Brothers, Rachel Comey canvas oxfords and his tie was a family heirloom. We both brought our ponchos to the farm for when it got chilly, but only he managed to wear his.

For the reception, we decided that the three key factors were hot food, lots of alcohol and a really great DJ. We'd heard that Cindy the Bar-B-Q queen was amazing, so we hired her. Even though she was a little unprepared for cooking in the woods, the food was so great, even some vegetarians indulged. For drinks, my brother's girlfriend is a bartender in San Francisco and offered to order the booze through her connections and they drove most of it up. She convinced her friends at House Spirits to donate some gin and vodka to use for cocktails that she created. One of the bartenders drank a few too many of them and was sent home after hitting on a some guests and face planting in the field.  For desert my husband's mother made about 300 miniature cream-puffs. As for the music, our friend Heather Thompson did an amazing job. We asked her to DJ for a few hours, and then we would switch to a play list. But everyone was having such  a good time, that she happily played all night (she literally DJ'd over 7 hours). The three of us were the last ones there at 3 in the morning.

(Photos by Danielle Levitt, Shaniqwa Jarvis and Kevan Bean)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The 11th Reason Being Married Is Just Better

No, it is not "the rock."

Before I announce the contest winner, I would just like to say that H took his judging duties very seriously. He printed out all the entries (including comments from unruly things) and attempted to use a very complex starring system. In the end, though, there were so many stars he had to just go with his gut.

So without further ado...


dental insurance, baby, woohoo!
Also, initiative to buck up and GO to the dentist. No one wants to be the wife with the teeth falling out of her head when she's 40.
- Kerry

He encourages you to take a new job, which comes with a decent pay-cut, because your happiness is more important than $10,000.
- mrsbutton


when people ask us "when are you two going to have a baby?", responding with either "when we need to save the marriage" or "maybe we will make one tonight". It's fun to watch people's reactions.
- LindsFM 

(Crystal Brass Knuckles by Debra Baxter via FFFFOUND!)

*To receive bags of premium gummy worms.

**To receive the mix cd, and maybe another secret treasure or two.

And with that, I am DONESIES with contests/giveaways for a good long while. I promise.

since we all agree that the birdcage is over...

I'm kinda digging the Ava veil by Lo Boheme.*

Via Once Wed


*Could be slammin with this vintage dress. Thanks Suzana!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

pop quizzzz

I've got a guest post up on wool & misc today, in which I quiz you about the object of your sexual fantasies and give away an Astroglide gift basket.

I have sunk to a new low. Or HIGH, depending on how you look at it. *

(Photo by Rachel Aherin)


*Did you know that when Rosie O'Donnell was a member of The View, Barbara Walters recommended Astroglide to her? Me neither. Thanks Wikipedia!

Monday, July 19, 2010

best wedding recapz EVER

In case you missed it, P has blogged the sh*t out of her wedding. I recommend that you start here and work your way back. 

(The photos by Lillian and Leonard are pretty good too.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

tree-free paper plates

These WASARA plates (designed in Japan, obv) are what I was looking for two years ago when we did our rehearsal picnic-on-the-beach.

They're not cheap, but they are made of 100% tree-free renewable materials (sugar cane fiber, bamboo, and reed pulp). Biodegradable and compostable.

Available at Branch, where you can also get these bamboo Bambu utensils in bulk packs of 250.

Via wit + delight via graphic exchange

Saturday, July 17, 2010

speaking of estranged parents and weddings and MONEY...

Hey ESB,

It's me, the one who wrote in asking about who was going to walk me down the aisle. Thought you'd be glad to know that B and I have decided to walk each other down...partially to not hurt anyone's feelings, partially because we already got courthouse hitched (though barely anyone knows that) and partially because we feel it symbolizes the beginning of our new chapter together and I'd rather walk down with him than anyone else.

Well, I'm having more (biological) mama-drama. Always will, I guess. Basically, she has not helped with anything. B's mother has paid for almost everything. I have paid for the band and am saving up for the catering, and bought my dress of course, but my mother has not come off of anything. She actually called B's mother to say that we were not including her in things. Luckily, B's mom knows her history and set her straight on some things, explaining that we asked her to come meet with the caterer, but she brought my aunt and uncle with and gabbed to them the whole time. B's mom also told her that we took her to the venue to make sure she liked it, and have asked her to help us with some of the DIY decorations/flowers that we're planning to do, to which she said no thanks to. (Selective memory is a bitch.)

(I'm not sure if you remember my incredibly confusing family history from the last time I wrote in, but) I am an only child who was adopted by my maternal grandparents. She likes to take credit for everything until it comes down to actually DOING something. During the conversation she had with B's mom, she told her that she had offered to help pay for the wedding but if I didn't "ship up" and start including her in things, that she wouldn't. I feel like if she does help with anything, it will just be to dangle it over my head in the future. But my aunt keeps reiterating to me that I need to ask my mom for money to help pay for things.

In my mind, she offered then never came through with it. I'm her only daughter, and if she wants to help she should write me a check for what I need instead of making me beg and plead for it.  I'm not rich by any means, and the help would be nice. Plus, I think it's kind of shitty that B's mom is going above and beyond and my family is not helping at all. (Though B's mom is only doing it because she wants to and because she's always treated me as a daughter and knows how insane my biological mother is, firsthand.)

Am I wrong to think that she should offer money instead of making me ask for it (especially since she's already offered, but then just never brought it up again, and told B's mom that she was going to retract the offer)? Should I, once again, be the grown-up and buck-up and ask?




You're a grownup. You are fully capable of pulling this thing off on your own. Bonus: You have a terrific mom-in-law.

So cut your biological mother out of it entirely. You don't need her money, you don't need her bad energy, and you certainly don't need her help with the planning.

(Image via YIMMY'S YAYO)

Friday, July 16, 2010

July is DIY haircut month!

Kidding. I'm totally kidding.

But last week I did hack two inches off the back that were giving me a weird tail/mullet-y feeling. It seems you can't do Keith Richards and Stevie Nicks at the same time.

In my defense, Alexis was out of town. When I went in to the salon get my hair "fixed" (I.E. to beg her to make it look like I did a better job of cutting it myself), she was remarkably understanding.

Anyhoo, I blame Liv for planting the idea in my head.* 


*Why yes, that is Liv's new boyfriend. On behalf of the group, I would just like to say YOU'RE WELCOME for all the terrific move-to-London-and-make-out-with-a-ridiculously-hot-british-boy advice. Well done, lady.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dear ESB: Do I take the money from my former step dad?

My former step dad (father of my younger bro & sis, estranged) has been trying to make amends with my mom who has harbored years of resentment towards him due to child support non-payments and such, my extremely hard-headed stubborn sister (and moh) who has harbored years of resentment towards him due to abandonment issues, and my easy going affable brother.

I think he made some headway with my mom and brother but my sister refuses to talk to him. Since you are very astute you know I am getting married and while I don't agree with his actions of the past I tend to overthink things and see my wedding as not only a celebration of my dude and I declaring our love and commitment with our nearest and dearest, but also as an opportunity to reunite my hugely complicated family and maybe get past some disagreements and estrangements thru communal celebrating and crab cake eating.

I'm not delusional, I know that that's a tall order and I won't feel that my wedding has failed if that doesn't happen, but I've seen it happen before and I think my family is ripe for some Lifetime worthy hugfests.

Having said that, when this father type found out I was getting married, he called me and sent me a check. A pretty big check. Like, a third of our low-budge So-Cal DIY self-funded wedding budget's worth.

So. I was planning on inviting him anyway until my sister responded with a chinook of chilliness.

Do I:
a) take the money and send him pictures which he told me was enough being fully aware of how my sister feels about him and the situation
b) send the check back out of principal
c) try and convince my sister to at least listen to him try to make amends?*

* there is a distinct chance this will not happen. Seriously, my sister is the most stubborn person I have ever met.

ps i forgot option d) invite him and make her suck it up.


d) Invite him and make her suck it up. I couldn't have said it better myself.

It's your wedding. And whether or not this man is your father by blood, he had a hand in raising you.

p.s. You probably shouldn't say anything to your sister about that hugfest you're hoping for. Just get em all there and see what happens.

(Photography by Keiron O'Connor for Jalouse via tobaccoandleather via Le Fashion)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lauren + Willie's kick-ass who-needs-an-effing-pro-photographer? Nashville wedding

I started nagging Lauren (aka Naurnie) to send me wedding photos before she even got back from her honeymoon.

But we got held up by the professional photographer, who told Lauren she "lost" the images from the reception. (When pressed, Ms. Pro Photog confessed that the photos had been captured on a corrupt card, and she agreed to give L+W a partial refund.)

Anyhoo, Lauren and Willie's FRIENDS took such great photos, I decided I'd rather feature those.*

Here is Lauren's lil write-up about the wedding: 

The lovely ESB graciously offered to feature our wedding, and now I'm presented with the unique challenge of trying to recap without using any images from the professional photographer.

Well, we were fortunate enough to have friends at our wedding who took an insane number of photos. If you were ever wondering how to get over the disappointment of not having the photos you thought you paid for, having friends who love you + are also completely insane will do the trick (especially when they decide to take tons of photos).

Since we had a private ceremony (I am talking family only here), most of our efforts in wedding planning were concentrated on the reception. Before I go into all this, please let me inform you that I am NOT good at planning things like this, nor am I good at making decisions on things. Also? I'm a bit of a procrastinator. So while I loved looking through all of the lovely wedding blogs with the DIY garden weddings, the fantasy of me having one of my very own quickly flew out the window when I realize that I don't have a crafty, DIY bone in my body. We quickly decided to hire a wedding planner.

We knew we didn't really want any cheesy mumbo jumbo... no bouquet tosses or first dances. We really just wanted to get down with our friends. To me, nothing beats a live band, and ours certainly did NOT disappoint. Not only did they keep everyone on their feet the entire time, they played PUSH IT and RASPBERRY BERET. They never even took a break, and I am PRETTY sure it is because they were having just as much fun as we were. My friends love to dance.  My family also loves to dance. This combination is so dangerous...

I guess I should mention that at one point early in the evening (with a little help from a couple of glasses of wine), I got up in front of everyone + played a song for William with my guitar + harmonica. I seriously had not played in front of anyone in YEARS, and I must say it was a LOT of fun to be up in front of everyone with my harp + guitar.  I played "Walk the Line"... I wanted to play a Dylan song, but Dylan is not something that William + I agree on.  Cash, however, is something that EVERYONE agrees on. Also? I guess the singer of the band thought I should join them because she forced me to sing Proud Mary on stage. Um... I do not sound like Tina.

I was born in Louisiana, and a lot of my extended family still lives there. In order to pay tribute to my home state, my mom had the brilliant idea to have a Second Line parade as we were leaving. None of that bird seed/bubbles/sparkers business. (A Second Line is a traditional New Orleans parade in which people follow a Dixieland Jazz Band while twirling parasols + handkerchiefs. The big parade is the "first line" and the people that follow are the "second line."  They're typically done at weddings + funerals.)

My amazing mother spent a long time handstamping hankies with a fleur de lis, folding them all cute like, and we attached tags to them so that everyone knew what to do with them at the end of the night.  We recruited some horn players from our wedding band to lead the way, and everyone was outside twirling their hankies and shouting for us. My family was twirling parasols and dancing around... It is absolutely one of my most favorite parts of the night.

We had a lot of help from friends to make our wedding awesome. A close friend of ours is a professional musician, and he played the violin for our ceremony. My boss owns a Packard that we were driven around in. The car is gorgeous and provided for some fantastic photos. (Side note: As we were riding in the Packard from the ceremony to the reception, we passed a photo shoot at an old gas station. They were also using an old car. Come to find out, it was Annie Leibowitz shooting Jack White + Karen Elson for Vogue. I am thinking now that we should've pulled over.)

All in all, I would have to say it was my favorite night EVER.

Without the help of my mom + sister, I might never have pulled this sucker off.  I would also like to give a round of applause to ESB and her marvelous readers, who helped me keep my sanity + perspective during the planning of a wedding.  

The disappointment of the lost photos is slowly waning. 

I am so fortunate that we had such an amazing wedding and that my friends took such joyous photos of the event.  I am also really, really glad that we did the photo booth guest book, because those pictures are worth so much more than anything the photographer ever could have taken... and now I have all kinds of blackmail material! (None of my couple friends could resist the photo booth boob grab!!)

All photos by Lauren + Willie's unprofessional friends, except the last set which are courtesy of Photo Booth Nashville.


*In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that H-town spent a little time color-correcting the images in photoshop: blackening the blacks, whitening the whites, removing a red eye or two. Nothing a reasonably competent amateur couldn't achieve. Although when he tried to teach me how to do it, I have to admit I got very distracted by a marathon of Bethenny Getting Married?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

check it.

H and I co-wrote a guest post that just went up on unruly things.*

Topic: Ten Reasons Being Married Is Just Better.

If you care to submit a suggestion for REASON #11 in the comments below, the winner (to be determined by H-town) will receive a copy of the super rad mix cd I made for the swap last month but never got around to posting.

(Polaroid by Kari Hartmann courtesy of The New York Times)


*Alyson is already running off to get married! Remember when she was just a wee slip of an engaged girl...? 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dear ESB: Our siblings SUCK

My fiancee and I have terrible siblings. We don't want them in our wedding parties. Tradition says we have to. As husband-elect, I feel it's my duty to maintain the peace between our merging families. My fiancee and I don't want my sister (who is 2.5 years older than me and has been living with her boyfriend longer than I have been dating my fiancee so she's already pissed her little brother is getting married first) as a bridesmaid; she's controlling, mean, belittling, and downright unpleasant. My brother-in-law-to-be is married with two kids and one on the way and could give as much of a shit about being in the wedding as he does about my fiancee and I. Is there a way we can keep the peace and honor them or appease them in some way but keep them out of our wedding parties? I know it's our day, etc, but a full-on snub would result in years of grudges and hurt feelings. What can we do?


First of all, fuck tradition.

Does your older sister really want to pal around with your fiancée and feign interest in centerpieces and (god forbid) help plan the bachelorette party? Of course not. Her feelings will be hurt for two hours tops before she realizes how lucky she is not to have to wear the damn dress.

And you already said your brother-in-law won't give a shit.

So who actually does give a shit here? The moms?

I would say give each of your siblings some other role in the ceremony. Ask em to read a poem/light a candle/play the flute. Whatever. But if they really suck that much...

(diamond dog shot by a desert fete on her sweet old minolta)

Friday, July 2, 2010

bridal hair emergency

morning esb!

so, here's the thing.

I've got a friend who's gettin hitched this august, and just got her hair cut last week.

and the hairdresser cut it short.
she already had shorter hair, but this was much shorter than she was expecting.
she looks absolutely fabulous in this new cut by the way, but she was planning on doing a longer hair style for her wedding, and now she's kinda freaking out.

so I am trying to find photos of brides who are totally rocking short hair styles (ear length or so). maybe with some kick-ass flowers or birdcage veils or headpieces or such, to give her some ideas and show her all is not lost.

but running through my google reader I have managed to find...two.
they were both from your site.*
and you also rock a slammin short haircut, from what I can recall.**
mayhaps you have a few more images squirrelled away somewhere you could send my way?

my friend (and her future husband) will thank you!


I have in fact been known to squirrel things away. But this is a tough one.

So I searched through real wedding photos all over the blogs. Like you said, short-haired brides are few and far between, and I guess I'm just picky. The ones I found were too flapper-y, too little-girl-y (I am not a fan of straight-up BOWS) or too...meh.***

I was pretty much stumped until Garance Doré's shot of Elisa (above) popped up in my blog reader yesterday.

Don't laugh... But what if your friend tied a little white scarf or a scrap of veil around her head? Could be very 2010-meets-1985. But please don't, like, tie the thing in an enormous bow, okay?

Alternatively, she could cut her hair even shorter and go uber simple and chic like Nico (below) or Jean Seberg.

*I believe you are referring to Joy and Kyli.

**No, not really. No. But how could you possibly know that? I've deleted all the evidence.

***With the exception of this photo of Lauren. Nothing meh about it.