Thursday, March 31, 2011


Emily Thompson has just been crowned New York's "floral designer du jour."

Nobody who knows her expected any less.

I mean, I'd go for a tablescape of lady slipper orchids, maidenhair ferns, daffodils, crocuses, and dried beetles any day.

(Photo: Kirsten Luce for The New York Times)

What should my Mr. Bridesmaid wear?

Dear ESB,

I need some fashion advice. My fiance and I are having a pretty large wedding party. Eight groomsmen and 7 bridesmaids. Uhh...I know. He has a lot of friends and just couldn't part with any of them. Anyway, my dilemma right now is I have a male bridesmaid. He's been my friend forever and ever and I really wanted to include him. I've seen pictures of wedding parties where a male bridesmaid is involved and they are dressed like the groomsmen. I think it looks so funny in pictures….like a groomsmen didn't get the memo on where to stand.

Here's the wardrobe breakdown. So my ladies are picking out any hot ass navy blue dress of their choice and the men will be wearing grey pants with suspenders. The groom's will include a suit jacket. Now what should my Mr. Bridesmaid wear? Should he wear navy blue pants or different colored suspenders? Is my wedding party going to turn out way to matchy matchy? Uhh I hope not! Please help! 

Also, what should we call him all day? I think Mr. Bridesmaid might not go over well.


The bridesMAN should wear a "hot ass" navy blue shirt. Without suspenders.

I think he'll appreciate being disassociated from the full-force a capella group you've got standing on the other side.

(Photo by Neil Krug via Ms. Mack via blushless)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pop Quiz: How many wedding trends can you spot?

I count seven, but I'm sure I must be missing something.

Photos by welovepictures via 100LC

Please note: I wouldn't bother poking fun if the photos weren't gorg. You guys know that, right?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Dear My Readers,

What do I wear to an April wedding in the Texas Hill Country?

I want to look uber cool, obviously, but without looking like I tried to look cool. And need to look SMEEOKIN hot because at least one of H's crazypants ex-girlfriends will be in attendance. But again, just sort of casually smokin hot. Like, "Oh, this? I just found this on the floor of my closet" kind of hot.

So. Would some form of t-shirt dress be too casual? (Like I care.)

Should I attempt to rock my snakeskin cowboy boots?

Would sequins be too much?

I'm lost now that Rob has killed all my romper fantasies. Please advise.


p.s. My budget is $17.

Photo: Cosmic Wonder via I'm Revolting via ermie + Houyhnhnm

how bout a bridesmaid's romper?

I can't believe how down on rompers you all are. I am determined to find a romper that EVERYONE loves.

(Twenty8Twelve at Shopbop)

Should I limit my number of bridesmaids?


I recently stumbled across your blog and I love it! I appreciate your candor and general badassishness. That being said, I have two questions for you:

I am having a simple backyard wedding with my man who I've been with for 5 years. He isn't much of a man's man, so he doesn't have a lot of guy friends to be groomsmen and I'm one of those anal people who think that the number of guys on his side should match the number of girls on mine. So far, we haven't invited anyone to be in the wedding party officially, but I have at least 4 or 5 ladies who I love and want to be a part of our wedding while he only has two guys to include. I have three brothers that could be added to his side, but I'd prefer they weren't, even though I was in their weddings. They won't mind, in fact, I think they'd rather not have to get a suit/tux and stand up front. I don't want to just throw somebody we don't care about on his side to make them equal, but I really would like our numbers to match.

The girls on my side know and love him just as well as they do me, so I could send a lady over to him, would that be weird? Or should I just limit my number of bridesmaids? I don't want to give these girls other stupid roles like candle lighting or poem reading, that just seems like a pity-invite. Am I being completely ridiculous and just let the numbers be uneven? Is 4 or 5 too many bridesmaids for a small backyard wedding? What do you think?

My second question is simpler. I love all the girls on my bridesmaid list, but none more so than another. I don't have any sisters or anyone who stands out as MOH material. Do I have to have a maid of honor? Do you have any suggestions for how to choose a MOH without offending the other girls in the bridal party?

Bridal Party Confused


1. Yes, you are being ridiculous. And 4 or 5 is not too many bridesmaids. ELEVEN is too many bridesmaids.

2. No, you don't have to have a maid of honor.

p.s. It's actually "baddassedness." Unless you meant to imply that my badass was "ish." Which I know you didn't.

Photo by SAGA SIG via Charles Hall

Monday, March 28, 2011

Girl (You know it's true)

I'm digging this Girl by Band of Outsiders Froissè silk dress, even though "partially lined interior" should read: DEFINITELY REQUIRES A CAMISOLE.

Did they airbrush out the nipples, or what?

Via DailyCandy's Wedding Dress Roundup

HEY DAILYCANDY WEDDING PPL, I'm not offended that you left me off your "favorite bloggers" list, even though you clearly scoured esb for dress ideas. Tots. Not. Offended.

Here's something new: AN STD DILEMMA

Dear ESB,

I think I might be an asshole. Here's my predicament: Our wedding is in October and being an overanxious bride I sent out our save the dates in January. Great, now it's off my to-do list. I'm an asshole though, because now I want to cut our guest list. We've recently taken a closer look at our list and there are people on there that I'm now thinking, 'why did we want to invite them?' It's not that we've had a falling out with anyone it's just that they're not so important to us that I really want them at our wedding...when we first made the guest list it was more about inviting "fun people" to make it a great party. But now in hindsight, I'd rather it be smaller and more intimate with just our really close family and dearest "fun people." 

Would I be a total ass to not send an invitation to a few people that I sent save the dates too?

Thanks for the brutal honesty!
Overly Eager Bride


Dear OEB,

You fucked up. But don't let it ruin your wedding.

Let word get out (NOT by mail or email or facebook or any of that bullsh*t, but via word-of-mouth) that your plans have changed and you're doing an intimate thing with just your nearest + dearest.

If you piss a few people off, who cares? You don't want em there anyway.


Tanya Dziahileva* by Carlotta Manaigo, Mixte Magazine March 2009 via Charles Cherney via IAMHAUTECOUTURE.

*Are you paying attention to the hair? This will be on the final exam.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hello, FASHION-FORWARD Bridesmaids.....

(And, oh yeah, I guess the vintage-clad bride is okay too.)

I actually don't know if these ladies are her bridesmaids or just rad friends, but I am WAY INTO their shimmery, watercolor-y dresses.

Wren has a similar vibe going with their spring collection.

Shop here and here.

(Wedding photos by Becky Holladay via Once Wed via frolic!; Wren spring collection via Oh Joy! via Gilda)

Friday, March 25, 2011

How bout you get married in a romper?

(The turban is optional. I'm not a big fan of the whole turban thing.)

"Taupe Japanese polyester suiting romper for your inner Carole Lombard," by Vena Cava. Those ladies have a brand spanking new site up, which I for one am pretty excited about.

p.s. No new "If I were to get married now..................." for you today, but I've got somebody good lined up for next Friday. If you have any nominations, feel free to send em my way. The only rules are: must have been married five or more years + must not be a wedding blogger.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My wedding is not a popularity contest

Dear East Side Bride,

Honestly, I NEVER ever thought I would be the one to write you.... I love your blog, don't get me wrong, but I just never thought I would be in the middle of any wedding related drama.

We are getting married in the fall in a really small wedding (45 people) on the east coast, which is halfway between my current home (and my man's homeland) in Europe, and my home state of California. When we started doing the guest list, it was really easy for me to be cut-throat and decide who I want to celebrate with, it will be a long weekend together and more like a vacation with a party rather than a wedding. So obviously only people I would want to spend a fair amount of time with. I came up with some arbitrary rule of "if they haven't spoken with me in the last six months, they ain't coming." I thought that seemed fair. and still do.

I live halfway across the world from my family and friends and most of my very tight knit group of girlfriends make an effort to stay in contact and updated on my life. There was one girl who I was very close with at different points in my life, but in the last 8 years have only seen on occasion, and are not really involved in each other's lives. She is the type of girl who constantly has a boyfriend and ditched my group of girls in high school when the first cute boy came calling and has really only made appearances when she is between relationships. I resent that.

ANYWAY, She was not included in the first list, and quickly after I got engaged she wrote me a facebook message with congratulations... but I still think that doesn't really count for my six month rule. I made this clear to my friends who talk to her, and was told she was crying after she heard the news because she was so happy... it seems really fake to me. None of my family or friends were emotional, and neither was I, so that seems like a heap of nonsense. We were home in California for the holidays and she accosted me and asked why she had not received an invite to the engagement party we were having, and I told her she was welcome to come if she wanted, and she did. She wasn't exactly nice to me, nor did she even say hello to my boyfriend at the party until the end. It was awkward.

Now she writes me a facebook message again asking when the date is because she needs to request the time off and buy her plane ticket. I was horrified. That seems wildly inappropriate to me, but maybe I am the bitch? I realize it is ONE person as I assume she would come alone, and it should not be a big deal. But i feel like she only cares because she wants to feel included, like it is some weird high school popularity contest. I am at a total loss and my friends are split on her being a crazy drama queen and her being genuinely happy for me. I am at a total loss here and could REALLY use some advice from you and your readers!!

A girl who HATES drama

p.s. we haven't even sent out invites yet. only save the dates, and I didn't mail her one. Because, I don't have her email, phone number or address.

I know this probably seems clear, I don't know if it is worth losing a friend over. or causing drama since we aren't close, but i kind of just think she is a bitch and will make this a much bigger problem than it is. I also heard she was upset that SHE is not the one getting married... since she has had so many boyfriends, and I have not, that she figured she would be the first.

HELP! I need perspective.


I almost put this up on mmohiac, what with the facebook messages and the crying and the friends taking sides, but you really don't need a thousand crazypantses weighing in. And anyway, I couldn't justify it. You know, since this girl is not your maid of honor.


Don't invite her. Period. Done. End of story.

(Freja Beha Erichsen by Rafael Stahelin for Vogue Korea September 2010 via Paper Mode via Blushless)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

more barrettes PLEEZ. and thank you.

Inspired by The Curve of Forgotten Things, a short film directed by Todd Cole in collaboration with Rodarte The Queens of the Barrette (and starring Elle Fanning), fieldguided put together a terrif French barrette round-up.

If you can't have one that's hand-carved and sprayed in gold (or are they HAND-CARVED OUT OF GOLD?) go with something tortoise shell-y for sure.

No Swarovski Crystals. Ever.

(Images via NOWNESS via fieldguided via Jazzy McG)

Spring Shopping for the Groom

There's a good wedding-y* men's shopping guide over on Refinery29 today.

I especially like these Heutchy bucks, and the J. McLaughlin silk print bow tie.

*Okay, some of it is wedding-y. I see weddings everywhere.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

For the Shotgun Bride

Hey ESB,

I am getting married in a few months and I'm looking for a dress that's short, not too fancy, and maybe kinda 50s or 60s looking. I have a lot of tattoos, and would prefer to have something with a little sleeve (no spaghetti straps or strapless) to keep the less wedding-appropriate tattoos concealed. I don't want to spend a lot either. I'm also pregnant, so the dress needs to be somewhat forgiving and have some boob room. I'll be at that not-sure-if-you're-pregnant-or-fat stage at the wedding... 16 weeks pregnant. Here is the dress I've been thinking of getting, but it's not the most flattering.

Could you or your readers point me in the direction of some amazing dresses? I am lost on what to wear!


Shotgun Bride


Hey SB,

I'm gonna go ahead and ignore the 50's/60's request (zzzzzzzzzzzzzz) because I just found this Haute Hippie dress, and it is SO PERFECT for that is-she-pregnant-or-is-she-just-getting-fat phase. Bonus: You can show off those boobs!

Whoopsie. You said you didn't want to spend a lot of money. Maybe this is for a different shotgun bride.

Just don't buy the BCBG dress, okay? On anyone with a tummy it would be, as Celia says, no bueno.


Happy Tuesday

There's a new Dear ESB up on 100 Layer Cake this morning, in which I attempt to offer ideas for a Lady Gaga-esque bachelorette party.

(Everything I know about Gaga I got from Google yesterday afternoon. Pls feel free to weigh in with more pertinent suggestions.)

David Bowie, Aladdin Sane (1973) by Brian Duffy via Creative Review

Monday, March 21, 2011


Dear Eastsidebride,

I had been feeling quite smug and delighted with myself as wedding planning so far has been breezy but have come across a major stumbling block that I need your help with!!

Am wearing this dress by Elizabeth Dye in four weeks to my wedding. Fell in love with it instantly and as I'm a ballet dancer it just seemed like kismet that it was named Giselle. Shoes, rings, honeymoons, menus and even guest lists haven't been a problem but am recently starting to feel like the hair issue may get the better of me.

I have always had quite bold hair that just won't do what it's told. It's long and blonde-ish and resembles a lions mane and not in a cool way. It's pretty much the bane of my life! at work I leave it down, shove it up in a bun and generally ignore it but it's only starting to dawn on me now that I should figure out what the hell to do with it soon as there will be photos (ugh) and people looking at me (double ugh). My mom insists that I have to wear it up because otherwise it will ruin the line of the dress or some such nonsense. I do take her point though that I don't want to be at it all day trying to tame it. Basically I just want to know what to do with it so that I can tick it off my damn list and not have to think I have wonky hair on the day!

Things to consider

-not a fan of flowers/buns/hairbands on the side of the head. the lack of symmetry makes me feel lop-sided and a little disturbed.

-I have a fear of hairdressers so nothing too drastic (I know I know I did threaten to shave it!)

Please help me so that I can go back to feeling smug and practicing drinking champagne!


Would you PRETTY PLEASE wear a big sexy ballerina bun on top of your head?

Martha Stewart endorsed the look months ago (and then of course what's-her-name tried to rock it on Project Runway) but I haven't seen a real bride knock it out of the park.

p.s. duh.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

UM. Really?

Tank dress (if we can call it that) made in Los Angeles by Raquel Allegra.  

After I defended you, LA.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

For Japan with Love

Tomorrow I'll be joining 100 Layer Cake and others in a Blogger's Day of Silence.

I've been feeling a bit frivolous, running around, going on with my life, blogging about weddings for fuck's sake, when such enormous things are going on in the world. I'll be on set tomorrow, so it's not a full-on day of silence for me, but I will be off the blogs/twitter trying to have a more thoughtful day than usual.

My heart goes out to anyone who's been affected by the earthquakes.

(Help Japan poster by W+K Studio, net proceeds to benefit the Red Cross relief efforts)

Lost Love and Los Angeles


I trust you, stranger, and need some sense. I seem to remember that you exited a longish relationship and moved to LA for grad school?

In September, if not before, I'll be moving to LA from Boston to start a PhD program, and my boyfriend of 3 years doesn't want to come with me. Or be my boyfriend after I leave. I'm sad about it, but not sad enough to forget the occasional "this-isn't-the-right-guy-for-me" and "I-don't-want-him-to-come-with-me" feelings I've had over the last year.

So I should be feeling relieved, which I do a little bit, and excited for an LA adventure, which I do a very little bit. But two things are in my way. One: fear that I will never find love and never get married and not be able to have kiddos and blah blah blah cliche freakout. Two: I'm a midwest girl that has found Boston difficult to adjust can I not hate LA?

Any assurances?


My dear stranger,

I can't promise you'll meet Mr. Amazeballs and get married and have babies and all that shit. Maybe you will. But maybe you'll meet Mr. Amazeballs and live in sin for the rest of your life, sans babies. Or maybe you'll meet a series of Mr. Amazeballses and have a baby on your own.


Kick some ass. Get your PhD. Have fun in LA. (LA is much more fun than Boston, I promise. And the people are much friendlier.)

As I told Liv,* you'll only meet Mr. ____ when you're not looking for him.

And whatever happens, you're better off on your own than with the wrong guy.


(Downtown Los Angeles, as viewed from the top of Griffith Park, from the feaverish etsy shop via Jessie Atkinson)

*Who, incidentally, met a new guy, fell in love, and moved in with him the instant she got to London.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

So many good things happening at once

1) I ♥ Kirsten Dunst.

2) I ♥ Band of Outsiders.

3) I am a sucker for polaroids.

4) These photos were taken at The Huntington Botanical Gardens in Pasadena, which I just visited for the first time with my dad and his lady. The cactus garden, in particular, is fabulous.

4a) You can get married at said gardens for only $100,000! Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

(Band of Outsiders Spring 2011 via DESIGNLOVEFEST via Fashion Gone Rogue)

Holy Vintage Engagement Rings, Batman

Check out what Erie Basin just hauled in.

Maybe Ms. Fussypants should send her bfriend the link?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pleez help me with my wedding makeup

Dear ESB,

Help! I am pretty pale, with long red hair and blue eyes. No idea how to do makeup. Looking for photo inspiration to share with the friend who will be doing me up the day of, and whose first go at it was a bit more theatrical than I'd feel comfortable with (plus fake eyelashes make me feel like my eyeballs have shades on). I want the photos to look good, sure, but I also want to be recognizable in person. Hair will be up (hot summer wedding), dress is super plain, probably will rock huge earrings.

-Not wanting to look like a clown


Not only am I not a redhead, I am soooooo not a makeup expert. (Come on, does this really surprise anyone?)

But the day I got your email, I also got an email introduction to a team of beauty experts. So I figured I'd ask them to handle this one.

Beware. The following post is a little more polished, a little more, shall we say, magazine-y? than the off-the-cuff rants you have come to expect from me and some of my guest bloggers. But I think it might actually help you.

Hannah Kuhary is a writer and resident redhead at Beauty Bets. Here she shares easy tips and no-fail makeup suggestions for keeping your bridal look naturally chic, not freakishly clownish.


Prepping the skin with a primer will ensure that your makeup lasts all day. I love Korres Face Primer ($28), which is silicone-free, 99% natural and creates a perfect canvas for makeup application.


Most redheads have pink undertones, which can make imperfections hard to cover. Use a light, yellow-tinted foundation to even out skin tone and minimize any redness. I like Bobbi Brown Natural Finish Long Lasting Foundation ($45) or Chanel Pro Lumiere ($54). Both are long-wearing and have a natural, semi-matte finish.


Bronzer is a great tool for contouring the face, but many are too orange for fair-skinned redhead. Instead, try a sheer, luminous blush. Two favorites for a gorgeous glow are Bare Escentuals All-Over Face Color in True ($18) and Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Antigua ($33).


BECCA Fine Loose Finishing Powder ($35) is perfect for setting makeup because it creates a touch-proof, sweat-proof finish, which is ideal for any wedding day. And, because it's finely milled, skin looks natural.

Eye Shadow

Warm, earth-tone eye shadows will make your eyes stand out without competing with your striking hair color. I wore Orb, Charcoal Brown and Satin Taupe from MAC ($14.50 each) on my wedding day.


In addition to shadow, eyeliner really makes eyes pop—especially in photos. I recommend a waterproof or smudge-proof liner on the top only, so eyes look big and bright. Make Up Forever Aqua Eyes in Pearly Brown ($17) or Smashbox Limitless Eye Liner in Java ($19) are great choices.


Even though most redheads have fair lashes, it's still important to wear dark mascara to define the eyes. For weddings, wear a waterproof formula so lashes stay full and lush, even after happy tears. Try DiorShow Waterproof Mascara in black ($24).


Your face can look washed out in wedding photos unless you have some color on your lips. To bring out their natural shade, try Midimauve by MAC ($14.50) or Josie Maran Argan Oil Lipstick in Rumi Joon ($20). If you want to try a bolder look, Chanel Rouge Coco in Cambon ($32) or MAC Sophisto ($14.50) are sure bets for redheads.

Photo #1 by Craig McDean for Interview Magazine via dirty_fashion; Photo #2 by Tec Petaja via Style Me Pretty

Monday, March 14, 2011

Portland is coming to San Francisco

ESB sponsor and all-around cool lady Elizabeth Dye will be in San Francisco on March 26th, along with her entire 2011 dress collection for you to try on and order.

Duchess will be there too, so why not drag your man [or your lady who wears suits]* along to try on a suit or two?

(More info here.) 

*I already felt uncomfortable about the heterosexism of my language when A Bicycle Built for Two pointed out that Duchess makes terrific suits for women "who prefer a masculine or androgynous look."

Does he really want to barf at his wedding?

Dear ESB,

I'm getting married next month, and my fiance is just now getting around to planning his bachelor party. His latest idea is to go out drinking on Friday night after the rehearsal dinner, and then get up on Saturday morning to go skeet shooting. Our wedding is at 5:00pm on Saturday.

It's going to be a really busy weekend, and I am worried he's going to be dead and exhausted by the time we're at the reception. He's the type of guy who's ready to go to sleep at 9 or 10 on a normal day. Of course he parties really hard when his buddies and his alcoholic father are around, so I am doubting his ability to resist their pressure to stay up late. I don't want his lack of sleep to catch up to him at the wrong time (i.e. on our wedding night). Plus, we're flying to Ireland for our honeymoon and I can't imagine how shitty he'll feel when he's battling jet lag combined with no sleep for days.

His best man is flying into Houston and staying with us for the entire week before the wedding. We're driving to Austin on Thursday. And Friday afternoon we're decorating the banquet hall, doing our rehearsal, then having a huge fajita cookout in the park with 60-70 people. The earliest he'll get to sneak off for his beer-drinking hooplah would be 8:00pm, and it's a thirty minute drive into town. Let's pretend that they have a super-calm evening of drinking beers and go to bed by midnight. He's talking about getting up at 7:30am on Saturday to eat breakfast, get dressed, and go skeet shooting. He would only have one hour to be able to skeet shoot before he needs to drive back to town, eat lunch, then go out to the venue to get the chairs (being delivered on Saturday), and set up a few other items. Then he needs to get a shower, get dressed, and be ready for pre-ceremony pictures.

My question is, 1) Am I being unreasonable to think he shouldn't go skeet shooting on our wedding day? 2) How do I get him to understand the hugeness of our wedding day and the importance of him being well-rested?


Hasn't your fiancé seen Bachelor Party? Or The Hangover?

A bachelor party the night before the wedding is A VERY BAD IDEA. A few beers with his buddies: no problem. A full-on bachelor party (anything, really, involving the words "bachelor" or "party"): no way. He needs to get that shit out of his system at least a month in advance.

But. Dude wants to get up at dawn to go skeet shooting on his wedding day, fucking let him go skeet shooting.

You seem to have him scheduled within an inch of his life. Couldn't someone else pick up the chairs to give him a little breathing room?

Photo by Meg Wachter (thanks Amy!) via YIMMY'S YAYO and Happenstance

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Speaking of backpacks....

New High M(art) in Los Feliz has the coolest collection I've ever seen. I would actually choose one of these Heritage Jansports (first introduced in 1969 and 1972) over a Rachel Comey.

If I were in the market for a backpack. Which I am not.

I guess backpacks are BACK?

I'd really like to have a Rachel Comey backpack to tote my scripty things to the set of the semi-crap web series I'm working on this weekend.

But if I had the $$$ for a Rachel Comey backpack I wouldn't be working on a SEMI-CRAP WEB SERIES now would I?

No, I would not.

(Via Kylea Borges via n &n via TENOVERSIX)

Friday, March 11, 2011

If I were to get married now...................

from Chandra of Greer Chicago

Our wedding was a stripped-down affair with a finely-honed list of attendees that included myself, my husband Steve, Judge Hogan and a nice lady whose name I didn’t catch.

Steve and I had been long-time cohabiters when I decided to put a ring on it and proposed to him in mid-December. We set a date of January 12 because that was the fastest we could get all of the legalities taken care of. When we make a decision we like to get on with it.

Our wedding (appointment?) was scheduled for mid-afternoon so we both worked in the morning and met up in the lobby of my office, the Amoco building. At the appointed time I glided down the escalator in a humble grey sweater and grey wool skirt to meet my nervous betrothed in his shirt, tie and only pair of good slacks. He later told me he was scared I wouldn’t show up although that was unlikely since we were living together and I’d have to show up eventually. Maybe he thought I’d throw him over for a rousing discussion of oil shipments from Venezuela. Mmm hmm.

Anyway, we walked over to the Daley Center where Judge Hogan fixed us up. We’ll never forget him saying we seemed to be very much in love. Nor the other young bride and groom who were waiting outside his office and seemed to be very much in a hurry to get married if you catch my drift. I think Judge Hogan’s retired now, but for years, whenever he ran for reelection we affectionately voted for him. 

After the ceremony we celebrated at a long-gone restaurant, Randall’s for Ribs. We should have played it like that scene in “Tom Jones," but we kept it civil. We honeymooned in Paris but unfortunately it was about 4 months later.

When East Side Bride asked me to write about what I would do differently if I knew then what I know now I asked myself “Would you have a ‘real’ wedding?” “Would you still hang with Judge Hogan but throw a big party afterwards?” Honestly, the answer is “No” and “No.” I like how we got married. It’s a memory that only we will share and we think there’s something powerfully romantic about that. Neither of us likes being the center of that much attention, anyway.


If I had it to do over I would ramp up the fabulous factor, oh, about 10000%. 

1) First of all, I’d wait until the weather was warmer, perhaps late-May, so I wouldn’t have to celebrate my wedding anniversary in the dead of winter for the next fifty years.

2) I’d still go to work the morning of only because I love a good day into night challenge and this would be the ultimate -- from “Work to Wedding!” in just a few wildly-expensive steps!

3) I’d start with this dress by Michael Kors.

4) And just to keep the guys – and they were ALL guys – in check I’d demurely cover up with this jacket by Willow.

5) I like being on-time for meetings both professional and social so I think I’d need this Gucci watch.

6) Before the ceremony, I’d exchange these for this pair of Rene Caovilla t-straps.

7) I’d sprinkle these Marni crystals on the lapel of my jacket or maybe along the neckline of my dress.

8) And because I need a feminine pop of color I’d exchange my work bag for this Christian Louboutin clutch. I don’t know what I’ve actually done with my work bag but I can’t worry about that right now.

9) A simple black Alexander McQueen suit for my man, paired with a Lee Allison tie and a well-made Church’s brogue. And, yes, he’d wear these things, he likes to look sharp.

10) He’d be carrying a bouquet of pale blue roses from Suzanne Cummings for me (although the little Carnation-laden bouquet he actually gave me was very sweet).

11) We’d upgrade from ribs to a mind-blowing dinner at Alinea.

12) Followed by a night in a mind-blowing suite at Trump Tower and Hotels where we’d have a cake from Bittersweet Pastry waiting for us (we’ll need something that’s been frozen for a year to force down on our first anniversary.)

13) Finally, instead of sending out wedding announcements (which perhaps raise the expectations of gifts which we wouldn’t want) we’d write notes on lovely, heart-shaped Twinrockers paper to our family and closest friends telling them how much they mean to us and how we looked forward to continuing to share our lives with them as wife and husband. Despite the fact they weren’t invited to our wedding.

So that would be our nuptial extravaganza. Over the top, oh yeah, but this is all hypothetical anyway so what the hell. But 24 years later I can honestly say how we were actually married was just fine. More than fine. We’re still together, still in love and that’s what counts. Oh, and we’re going to Paris for our 25th wedding anniversary. In the dead of winter.

(Catch up with the rest of the series here.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I don't want a $20,000 ring

Dear ESB,

My boyfriend and I are completely in love and totally different. I don't think either of us ever thought we'd end up with someone like the other. I consider walking down the aisles of organic co-ops the ideal all-day outing. He eats buffalo wings and enthusiastically dumps hot sauce over gourmet salads. He reads the Wall Street Journal; I read David Sedaris. He works in finance; I work in education. We agreed some time ago that we want to be together forever. It's beautiful, actually. Now all that's left are logistics. 

We've gone shopping for rings a bit, and to no one's surprise we like very different things. I like handcraft detailing, antique, vintage looks, and appreciate the mysterious story, beauty, and consciousness of estate engagement rings. I don't care if a diamond has inclusions or is small or cut unevenly, as long as it has a personality. He likes clean lines, large solitaires and classic settings. He wants to be spendy and blingy; I find so many different types of rings at so many budgets beautiful that I would rather put the money toward a more bomb wedding, honeymoon, home etc.

We realized this during ring shopping, and recently he made it known he doesn't want me to know what's in the box at the end of the day. I get the sense that I'm being cut out of the process because he is overwhelmed by looking for what I'm looking for. I am afraid he is going to go into Tiffany's and spend 20K on a ring that someone else would love, when I would prefer a different one that is far, far less expensive. In fact, I know the jeweler he is working with can't produce the kind of ring I hope for. And as lovely as my beau is, he's unlikely to hit the mark without direct guidance from me, assuming that bigger = better (which is the preference of many, I know). 

Some of my male friends feel that I've offered my input (more than some gals get to do) and now I must let the ring choice be his. They say we will undoubtedly make many financial decisions together down the road, but that this ring is a symbolic gift from him to me, and therefore he should pick it out and make the decision on whether he'd like info from me.

Any thoughts?  Should I shut up or should I speak up again for my ring finger? I want this to remain an exciting and fun-filled experience for both of us but it sort of has the potential to make him feel like I don't trust him, or make me feel like he isn't trying to understand who I am--- it's a sparkly, small loaded trinket. Don't want to cramp his style, but pretty sure where this is headed...

As always, value your wisdom. 

- One Half of The Odd Couple


Imagine the worst case scenario: a ginormous, UGLY rock. Would you be willing to wear it?


I mean, at that point, of course I WOULD, but... it would be an unfortunate miss (and not a cheap one or temporary one, either)



Once you've got a wedding band on your finger (which you get to pick out, b/t/w), you can retire the damn engagement ring to your jewelry box.

Image by Russell Leng via Design For Mankind

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Embroidered duchess-satin by Alexander McQueen. Only $15zerozerozero*

(Just don't wear it with the matching shoes, okay?)

*Actually, if you want to split hairs, it's $15,065

help me choose a dress on a deadline

Dear ESB,

I just started planning for my spring 2012 wedding.  I live a plane ride away from home and want to get married in my hometown so on my last trip home, I tried on dresses at a great little shop with my mom.

After trying on like fifteen gowns, I narrowed it down to two vintage inspired dresses from different decades, so they look very different.  One is a 1920s glamorous, long silk silhouette, and the other is a 1950s cupcake puffy skirt with lots of volume.

Since my fiance and I haven't planned much yet, I thought I would have at least 6 months before I have buy the dress, meaning we could book a venue and set a time of day for the ceremony and reception before I buy a dress.

HOWEVER, I just got word that one of these two dresses will be discontinued at the end of this month, so if I want one of them I have to place the order before April.

So, my question is, how do most ladies pick their dress??  I've asked my friends and they have been various shades of helpful, but ultimately this is my decision.

I am not one of those girls who had my wedding planned or have a clear "vision" of what kind of bride I want to be.  I like pretty dresses and I love vintage styles, but BOTH dresses are vintage styles and they look totally different.

The prices are similar, and I don't like the "choose the dress your fiance would like more" advice because he will love me even if I wear the cat veil.



Don't let the store scare you into making a decision. If you haven't set a date, booked a venue, etc, YOU ARE NOT READY to buy the dress.

1920's glam says evening cocktails to me, while the puffy 1950's silhouette* makes more sense for a ceremony/reception earlier in the day. Neither one will work if you change your mind out of the blue and run away to Mexico to get married on the beach.

There are a kajillion options out there, and even if both dresses get discontinued you'll have plenty of time to find another one before the wedding.

(Photo: Rodarte via .v via j.fro)
*You can't MAKE ME say cupcake.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bridesmaids' Dresses for Spring.....

I've recently gotten a few rather specific requests for bridesmaids' dresses, but instead of giving you what you asked for, I figured I'd just show you a few things I like.

Listen, you might have this idea that you want them to wear a "really fun, tea-length skirt, maybe with a cream or white sleeveless top," or "THEY HAVE TO WEAR SAGE GREEN TO MATCH MY INVITATIONS," but you'd be much better off looking around to see what's actually in stores. (And what's, you know, cool. If you're into that.)

1. Mina Stone Hera Dress at Steven Alan

2. Wren Julia Dress at Refinery29 Shops

3. Kimono Dip Dye Dress at Calypso

Is it cool to haggle with wedding vendors?

Hello esb,

Perhaps I shouldn't care about this, but I don't want to be an ass. How do I politely tell vendors that I got quotes from that they are way off base on price?

I feel like if I didn't want to pay that, perhaps I shouldn't gone these vendors. Like perhaps I should have started with the reception hall next to the guns and ammo store instead of venue with a wild flower garden overlooking the river with filet mingon and lobster on the menu. But I didn't. And now I am suffering from sticker shock. And quite frankly, I really don't want to have my reception next door to a hunting store.

Is there really room for negotiation like stupid bride magazines and blogs suggests there is? Or will I look like and ass and cheap skate if I tell these vendors I don't want to pay that much?



I don't feel qualified to answer this one, so I forwarded your question to Noa of Feather Love Photography because I knew she'd give us an honest answer.

(I didn't know she'd give us such a loooong answer, but it's so good I couldn't bring myself to cut anything.)

Anyhoo. Here's Noa:

Thanks for asking me to answer this question ESB, because I have lots to say about lots of things, and I shoot weddings for a living. (To start I would like to say that I can’t stand the word “vendors” but for lack of a better one, I will use it way too much in this post- can we come up with a better word please?)

Everyone is surprised when they start researching the costs of having a wedding: It’s pricey. Firstly: there are low, medium, and high-priced vendors in the wedding industry. Stick to what you can afford. I was a bride too a few years ago and my photography budget was $500. I worked in partial-trade for some vendors, saved money, and with the help of our parents, did whatever else I could innovatively think of in order to afford the wedding that I wanted. Which in this industry’s standards was a “low-budget” wedding, totaling at around $14,000 for 130 people.

Some vendors will offer small discounts if your wedding is off-season, or on a Sunday/Friday, or if you choose enough items off their list of services. But in general, it doesn’t make sense to go to a medium-range-priced vendor and ask them to lower their prices to match a low-end-priced vendor. Think of it like you have Valentino taste, but can only afford the thrift store.

There are ways to see if there is any room to move the price around. Let the vendor know right off the bat what your budget is and ask what is possible within that budget. That is the polite, respectful way to approach it. And this will also give you a clear and quick answer and save you & the vendor the time of going back and forth. They understand people have budgets, and they also always have a limit of what they can & cannot do.

However, the least favorable way to approach it is the following (this is a real email btw):

Bride: How much would it cost for 8-9 hours of photography and the negatives? Is there a discount for Friday weddings?

Me: Please see my price list attached. Rates start at $5,500 for 5 hours of coverage. Additional hours can be added per hourly rate. The limit is 7 hours. Otherwise the additional 8th hour after that is charged at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate. Depending on which package or items you choose, I might be able to offer a Friday discount, so please let me know what you are interested in from the price list, which also includes my Associate Photographer’s rates starting at $3,800 for 5 hours of coverage.

Bride: We would really like to stay around 2000-2400 for 8 hours of photography and the edited digital files. Can we possibly make something work?”

Yea. No. We can’t. The hourly limit was clearly stated & the price list was sent. She seemed to ignore all that information and still ask for my rate to be cut by more than half, then work some crazy over-time, and then she totally blew off the option of selecting the more affordable Associate Photographer choice.

That email kind of surprised me since I haven’t gotten any hagglers for a long time. In fact, I found that 5 years ago, when I was priced low, I got tons of hagglers who always mentioned how they could get more from another photographer for a lower price in order to try and get me to reduce my rate. Hey I’ve done that too as a bride so, I get it. As soon as I was priced medium-high, I stopped getting hagglers… Interesting… (Except for that rare email response above which ironically arrived in my inbox 5 minutes after ESB’s email asking me to guest post on this subject.)

Something I would strongly recommend would be to try and find talented newbie vendors who want to build their portfolio. People say that a lot, I know, and it’s more work to find them, but that IS one option.

Then of course there’s using your resources. Ask family and friends who have specific talents to help out, as a wedding gift to you. This cuts the costs down & and also gives you a more personalized, intimate DIY feel for your wedding. I once shot a wedding which was one of the most beautiful & fun weddings I have ever been to- almost everything was done by the couple and their family and friends. It was on a friend's property; beer was brewed by the groom; bbq was grilled by friends for dinner; the bride’s brother was the officiant; mom, grandma & aunties made the cakes; friends & bride made all the decorations & invites; the groom created the ipod playlist for all the music that day…

All images by Feather Love Photography. You can view all the pretty details from Emily & Royal’s DIY wedding here…. also featured on ESB! :)

Put down those bridal magazines, and utilize the plethora of fresh, innovative wedding blogs out there more (it’s free!) to come up with unique locations and ideas. My personal favorite: backyard weddings… do your parents or friends or parents-of-friends have a cool backyard? Can you drive 30 minutes out of town to some quiet areas and see if there is a Bed & Breakfast or a restaurant with a pretty view? Have you been somewhere that you really love that might work as a good location? Emilia of Sweet Emilia Jane had one of my favorite backyard weddings: her own. We were guests at their wedding which took place at her parents’ home in Massachusetts. All DIY, budget-conscious, and absolutely beautiful.

All images by Davina & Daniel Photography. You can see the entire gallery on Style Me Pretty.

And one of my biggest recommendations is: cut down your guest list. Nobody likes to do that but I can promise you that 5 years after my wedding I can look back and cut my guest list of 130 down by at least half, easily. And if anything, I would much prefer to have a 20-guest wedding if I could do it all over again today, for a million different reasons. And btw, most brides say that, and I really wish I would have listened back then.

I shot a wedding in Carmel where instead of having a sit-down reception, they had really tasty food stations that went on all evening where guests could balance out their blood-alcohol levels by having something to munch on consistently throughout the night. It felt more like a party or a really long cocktail reception where people went from dancing, to eating and chatting, to dancing, to drinking, to eating, and it moved smoothly & was super fun. No rush. No millions-of-things-to-get-done-before-the-cake-cutting. The bride & groom got to hang out with everyone and have a good time. More importantly, the catering cost a LOT less than a sit down reception, and it tasted better. The whole thing was less… stiff.
[Editor's note: YAY HEATHER!]

There are so many ways to cut costs and stay innovative but it’s hard to come up with ideas like that if you are reading traditional bridal magazines who tell you what a wedding SHOULD be comprised of, instead of coming up with what an ultimately fun party would look like if you could decide on it all by yourself. Imagine there was never a wedding before yours, start from there, and come up with ideas that would make you and your fiancé happy. Personalize it. Those are the best weddings I have ever been to or shot, and they are by far the most fun for everyone.

Here is one idea for example, depending on what your personality is like: Consider having a ‘picnic wedding.’ It’s easier to gather up & borrow 20 colorful blankets, rugs, & a bunch of floor pillows than it is to pay to rent 100 chairs & 15 tables. Have it catered by your local middle-eastern deli, buffet-style (I’ve always wanted to do that! In fact it was my initial idea and it would have been a lot better than the catering we had) at $10-$15 per head. Borrow all tableware & serveware from friends and family, mismatched looks great! Decorate by throwing decoration parties where your girlfriends come over & drink wine with you whilst watching Project Runway or Jersey Shore or whatever is entertaining that you can talk over, & make cool stuff that you can hang everywhere at your wedding. Hire a pro photographer for just two hours to cover the main event, and then provide all your guests with those cheapo table film cameras to capture the rest of the day with. Personally, the table camera shots from my wedding are my favorites. 

When you prioritize what is most important and what is least important to you, you can spend more money on your higher-priorities like location, food, photography, alcohol, dress etc. Also browse for more “contests” on blogs to get some potential freebies that will free up your budget for other priorities. Broke-Ass Bride is great with posting contests & stuff like that and she has tons of other great ideas too.

To summarize, I would focus on creative ways to make your wedding fit your budget more, and focus less on the vendor-haggle: Have an off-season, Friday/Sunday/weekday wedding. Let vendors know your budget & ask what can be done with it. Use the lovely, fresh ideas & resources available on blogs to inspire you. Find a cool backyard. Have an ongoing cocktail reception with food stations instead of dinner. Cut that guest list down- way down. Get your friends and family to help make decorations & invites etc. Get grandma, mom and the aunts to make the cakes/desserts. Look on etsy or ebay for a pretty, vintage, non-traditional, non-wedding dress for under $200. Find talented new vendors that are just starting out and get their rates… You will end up with a more affordable, personalized, intimate wedding plan that will look rad, feel rad, taste rad, and might spark the interest of some creative vendors enough for them to offer you some discounts, because they love being able to show off their unique work in the blog world. 

Or alternatively, apply for a new credit card to pay for everything you really want. But please don’t haggle.

(Top photo of Noa herself by Chloe Aftel. See the whole amazeballs shoot here. Almost makes me want to do my own photo shot before I get... you know. Old.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

when ONE ugly-ass cubic zirconia engagement ring just won't do

A knuckle cubic zirconia engagement ring.

By Kate Bauman and available at Flash Trash (yes, I would say so) via The Hairpin via Refinery29

With special thanks to Amanda, who doesn't blog enough anymore. What, do you have a life or something??

Plus One is a Jerk-Baby-Man

Hello ESB,

First off, I am a gigantic fan. Being a relatively newly engaged person, I find your insights and posts to be even more fun to read. So thank you for being awesome.

Secondly, and mostly why I am writing, I have a situation brewing that I could really use your/your reader's thoughts and opinions about....

My man and I have finally decided on a small wedding in the summer this year. We got engaged last July and after much hashing over, we decided we would do a small 4-day wedding gathering with immediate family (i.e. parents, step-parents, siblings, step-siblings) plus their significant others. Beyond this, we would each get to invite 5 other important people to us (plus ones). Here's where that gets tricky...

Our close friend, M, has a boyfriend who we just do not get along with. After months of a lot of drama with our friend, discussing both "sides" of the disdain, and fighting a lot, we (my fiance and I) have come to peace with the understanding that he thinks we are weird, or as he puts it "invasive", people and doesn't want to put in any effort getting to know us or spend time with us. We are hurt by this but our energy is better spend living our lives and enjoying each other/what we do have. 

She has been my fiance's long-time friend. They dated forever ago (10 plus years ago but which stands to be a part of the reason he does not like us/want to spend time with us, he has major trust/jealously issues) and now both of us find ourselves in a very strange place. We definitely want her to present at our celebration. She is a person who means a lot to me, to us, and who I want to share this super exciting time with. But, I don't want him there. He makes me uncomfortable and I really want this gathering to consist of the people who support me and my fiance the most. People who will want to be there, too.

So, I wonder what your thoughts are? Do I have a direct conversation with her here and risk offending her completely? She understands we all don't get along but I don't want to make it worse... We haven't even begun to send invitations, etc. but I really wanted to get some fresh, outsider perspective from someone who knows what the hell she's talking about!


Yeah, I think you tell M upfront -- before you send the invitations -- "We really want to have you there, but Mr. Baby-Man isn't invited."

Keep in mind, there's a chance she'll skip the wedding out of loyalty to her boyfriend. So before you say anything, you'd better be sure that not having him there is more important to you than having her.

Images by Irina Werning (you have to check out the rest of her BACK TO THE FUTURE series) via VIVA VENA CAVA

p.s. We need an update from the bride who didn't want Mr. Conspicuous-Pot-Smoker at her wedding. Any chance you're still reading, lady?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

for the bride who loves LOL cats not wisely, but too much

Maison Michel Heidi Cat Ears

I know I say this all the time, so I may be crying wolf here, but WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GET MARRIED IN THESE?

Dropped into my inbox -- title and all -- by the ever-watchful Stephanie.*

(I think she knew I needed a little something to tide you people over while I sleep in tomorrow. It was a long hard weekend script suping.)


*The very same who spotted the fancy wedding jeans.

Friday, March 4, 2011

If I were to get married now...................

from Lauren of kidchamp dot net

our wedding was an ice core, with bits of sediment and atmosphere from each of our lives' layers. i proposed to joe in college and bought my dress immediately (off the rack at south coast plaza, but that's another story); it sat in my mother's closet for six years, waiting for us to be ready to be married. my grandfather knew he would be too sick to come abroad with us, so he gave me the heavy coins he'd saved from his final trip to england; i carried them in my jacket pocket after the ceremony so that i could buy myself a pint from him, as he'd instructed, on my wedding day (i wore the shoes i'd found when i went home to california for his funeral). our people read shakespeare for when we ditched class to fall in love in stratford upon avon, rilke for our turbulent early twenties, and wallace stevens for the miraculous stillness in Finally Getting Our Shit Together. how could any other wedding be ours?

i'm hugely change-averse, but i'm also a greedy little maximalist. i wouldn't edit the wedding we had, but i'll happily pile all kinds of things on top; call it a second wedding, if you like. "i have bad news," i tell joe in the morning. "i love you more today than i did yesterday." i'd buy myself two pints this time.

piled on top:

- a comme des garçons collage dress. comme des garçons pieces make me feel like dancing with everyone i've ever met.

- a rick owens boiled-wool jacket. i wore a grey denim motorcycle jacket over my wedding dress the first time; "we'd have cued up madonna on the jukebox if we'd known," said the delighted bartender at the turf.

- stella mccartney faux patent heels. i've upped my vegetarian game lately and have stopped buying leather.

- the grey shih messenger bag i've carried nearly every day for the last four years. one's wedding day is not the one on which to mess around with a bag which can't hold anything. (i'd also bring my camera.)

- an omega seamaster, because that's what james bond wears.

as for extra intangibles, i'd add a fourth reading for our ceremony: a letter from felix gonzalez-torres to ross laycock.

(Visit kidchamp's Polyvore set for complete photo credits. And catch up with the rest of the "If I were to get married now..................." series here.)