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)