Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Couple of wedding-y T by Alexander Wangs

Sparkly Vegan Wedding Shoes

May I also point out that they're waterproof?

1. The Aldo verson of Beth's sparklers*

2. Melissa Ultragirl

3. The Melissa Campana Zig Zag, also available in black, red and silver. (I saw a friend wearing these in gold other day, and they are pret-ty jammin.)

*Which were also Melissa, sold out long ago.

um, hi.

These are some of the more adorable wedding photos I've run across EVER.

Emma Case Photography via I Heart Flowers, who did the gorg flowers, via P&P, who fancies herself a wedding planner today.

p.s. holy sh*t. it's anna. of ANNA AND THE RING.

Groomzilla, no srsly

Dear ESB,

My boyfriend and I are currently experiencing a year highjacked (both vacation time and disposable income wise) by weddings. So far the tally is up to 8 and let me be clear that we are very stoked about all of them.

There is one, however, that is proving to be... well kind of a bummer. My boyfriend is a groomsman and he like most of the wedding party is from a place in the Central Time Zone. The wedding is on a Thursday in a place in the Pacific Time Zone (not the bride's home mind you). This of course means that we will have to leave on Wednesday and miss work on Thursday and Friday, BUT I forgive them this because it's a great way to save money, and from what I understand, the bride's fam is causing major dramz. Plus we decided that we would stay in this city (that neither of us have been to) for the weekend and enjoy some sightseeing and much needed malarkey.

Well, it turns out the groom wants my boyfriend to come in on Tuesday for the bachelor party and to be present for the rehearsal which is actually early Wednesday morning. Both the groom and the bride are in academia, meaning summers are still summers in their world. Also, the groom expressed some major discontent about the prospect of bros not showing up for any of these weekday events.

Now, ESB, I personally can't imagine scheduling the way they have if I sincerely wanted my friends to attend any of these nuptial related events. In fact, I am blood boiling annoyed with the whole situation. We have other friends and family that are getting married this year that mean a heck of a lot more than this guy and we'd like to use our finite vacation time for them instead. Am I getting my bloomers unnecessarily in a twist, or is my mood warranted? How would you handle the situation?

Keep in mind that we have another wedding in another city the next weekend.

Terse And Really Disappointed in the South (TARDIS) <-- Yeah that's right


Straight-up tell the groom, "We can't take more than two vacation days."


Mug shot via F/F via THESE AMERICANS

Monday, May 30, 2011

Tiny Skully Ring

I know this is the perfect engagement ring for somebody.

By Iwona Ludyga. Available in 14k yellow or rose gold with plain white or black diamond eyes.

Via Of a Kind

I. Dig. This. Wedding.

Hey ESB!

We just got back our wedding pictures and we couldn't be happier. Our wedding turned out to be way better than we imagined it could be. We had a blast!

The planning was easy since we had a teeny tiny budget and only had 2 months to do it so we knew it wasn't possible to obsess over details. We had the wedding in my family house that my grandparents have lived in since the 60s. My cousin played the viola as we walked down the aisle.

My husband's mom & sister took care of the dessert bar & wedding cake (they thrifted all the cake stands and bowls and made all the desserts themselves!). We filled the ipod with all our favorite music (lots of Elvis, Ronettes, and Ramones) and just let it play. We got the In-N-Out truck to pull right up to the garage to sling burgers out.

A friend helped me load up on flowers at the LA flower mart and fill tons of vases and bottles with flower arrangements. Another friend married us (we wrote our own ceremony... it was about 3 minutes long). Our friend Andy Riddle did all the photography. It was an amazing group effort.

When the day came, it was just overwhelming how everything came together and it felt so fantastic to be surrounded by family and friends. Our not so perfect road leading up to our wedding helped us lower our expectations and let us relax and just let things be. Thanks for the advice, not just for my dress (which I didn't end up needing after all) but for all the advice from past brides who've written to you. It all just helped me remember that the whole point of this all is to be a fun & happy time for the two of us. It was.

-Lisa aka Shotgun Bride


What could be better than In-N-Out Burger + a gorgeous beau?


Friday, May 27, 2011

wedding jumpsuits

My friend wants a wedding jumpsuit. So.....help.


Man are there a lot of harem-pant-y drop-crotch-y jumpsuits out there. YIPES.

The only wedding-worthy jumpsuits I could find were on net-a-porter. (I tried to shop elsewhere! I really tried!)

The Paul & Joe (left) is what you might call disco fabulous. Nothing drop-crotch-y about it.

And I'm not mad at the minimalist chic Phillip Lim (right).

p.s. MAJOR POINTS to this writer-inner for brevity. Like, major.

how to finish a screenplay, in 12 easy steps

1. shut off your phone + your internet for 24 hours. you heard me, 24 HOURS.

2. do 3 loads of laundry.

3. take a nap. a long one.

4. stare at the computer.

5. stare at yourself in the mirror.




9. sleep

10. go for a run. (i'm kidding! that didn't happen.)


12. DELETE. nothing drastic. just a couple of extraneous scenes.

tada! only one year after i started work on this draft....


still a little rough in patches, but it's finished, you guys. as in, it has a motherf*cking ending. the previous draft didn't have an ending, so i consider this a major accomplishment.

i'm mixing a martini as we speak. (not kidding.)

Exorcism of the Last Painting I Ever Made, performance by Tracie Emin, 1996 via TeenAngster via myloveforyou via You Should Take Care + Flash glam trash!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


dear esb.

Going to an outdoor wedding in early June in Salt Lake and I need to figure out what to wear. 

I'm a little confused about the dress code: husband says the groom, his cousin, will be in a tux but will also be wearing flip flops.

Maybe I just can't quite get my head around that bit of information to the (literally) bigger problem. 

I'm knocked up. Like 6 months and some change worth. I'm taller and tiny framed so unless people know me they still can't tell yet. The difficult part is not my damn stomach but that I've gone up 3 bra sizes. I can wear most of my jeans still but I can't fit into any t shirts or dresses I own. So basically I guess I just don't know how to shop now that I actually have boobs.

Not that I think you are in the mood to start online browsing for some random pregnant lady... but I had to ask just in case I caught you at some particularly vulnerable, bored moment. If not, send this one to the trash folder... I'll still love you anyways :)



Srsly. Will you guys help me?

Photo by Peonies and Polaroids, obv.

Species by the Thousands: Cave Collection

Salt Ring ($130) + Underworld Ring ($180) in coated brass or white bronze.

If those aren't badass, recession-friendly engagement rings, I don't know how to help you.  

For sales contact jessica@theshinysquirrel.com

Moping motherless maniac--I should be a show on Lifetime.

Dear ESB,

I'm a just-shy-of-thirty bride to be. My Mom died of cancer last year, while my now-fiance and I were dating. It was life-shattering, blah, blah, blah (not to undermine the importance of the event in my life, but to preserve the importance of your attention span reading this email) but things are on the up-and-up. Got a great job, an amazing man, and just got engaged. I have my sh*t together.

It was one of those engagements where we had discussed getting married to death, went ring shopping many, many moons ago, and I was assaulting the UPS man every time he came to the door, hoping he had my mail-order ring in tow. Because I'm uber type A, I started planning our wedding a LONG time ago. I mean, to the point of making computer mock-ups of our invitations that won't be sent out till summer of 2012. Yea, that kinda Type A. And the plan in my head is quite perfect. An intimate wedding in the crimson-velvet-clad room of the city hall in Florence. 25 guests. The glory of the renaissance juxtaposed with my ultra-modern architectural dress (No, I haven't picked that out yet). The whole freaking thing was basically planned.

And then I got a ring on my finger and boarded the plane for Crazy Town, South Africa. People ask me when we're getting married and I just shrug and try to melt into the wall paper. There's already drama about people trying to bring their kids along--a no-no in my book--and all the resolve and toughness I'd practiced all these months when I imagined having to deal with this issue just evaporated. Now I'm making the boy handle it while I scream and grumble into my pillow. Don't get me wrong, I am PSYCHED to marry this guy. I'm just afraid of my own wedding. I'm scared of being the only one responsible for the wedding planning, even though I know my fiance will help. I'm scared of people hating our Italian wedding, which is just so US, because I'm so emotionally attached to our vision for the wedding. I have a big ball of tension in my chest when anyone asks about the wedding or I get palpitations when I get emails from the wedding planner.

I have this amazing fiance, a glorious wedding in the works, and at the end of the day, I just miss my mom. I'm so afraid that I can't do this without her. I'm afraid that no one will give it to me straight and tell me I'm on the wrong track like she could, when I try and force people to wear venetian masks and duel each other at the reception. I can't believe this planning has gone from a wonderfully fun thing I do at work when I'm not busy to a source of all this pain and worry! I feel like I can't breathe.

So what do I do? Do I suffer through this and give myself a sleeping disorder to have a wedding or is it too soon after Mom's death and I should elope and focus on my marriage to the man of my dreams?

Hyperventilating Into A Paper Bag


Postpone the wedding. You can do this without your mom, but you don't have to do it now.

Florence will be there in a year or three when you're ready to force your guests to wear Venetian masks (RAD) and actually enjoy it.

Image by Pom Pom Factory via Oh Joy! via Design*Sponge

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

MANgagement ring for my super cool younger brother

I don't usually post two Dear ESB's in one day, but time is of the essence here:

April 18

Dear ESB,

My adorable younger brother's equally adorable partner called me last night to ask a favour. He is planning to propose to my brother and wants me to help with ring shopping when I visit my home town later this week.

My brother doesn't mind wearing a bit of bling, but in a tongue-in-cheek "I'm gay and loving it" kind of way. I have a feeling that with a ring he'd be wearing forever he'd err on the more traditional side. It'd have to be white gold or platinum or in that colour range at least (he doesn't wear gold), but he loves black so I'm not adverse to the idea of tungsten either. And I think a nice diamond would be, well, nice.

I defer to your sartorial opinion on this matter as men's rings tend to be boring and my brother is anything but.

As his cool older sister I feel like my rep is on the line if I get this one wrong.  Help!


PS: he has long skinny fingers if that makes a difference
PPS: thanks again, and thanks!


May 13

SHIT. I was so excited about this one and somehow I missed the fact that it was time sensitive.

What happened? Did you pick out a ring??


May 13

I have a new appreciation for what guys go through in picking out rings. Seriously hard. Rings look SO different in person than in a catalogue (duh). And picking for someone who doesn't have a distinct 'jewelry style' (and is frustratingly vague during recon conversations) is doubly hard.

My brother's partner has a family jeweler who is making up a ring as we speak. However he's not obligated to buy and he keeps wavering which makes me think it isn't the right ring?

I'll try to send pics of similar styles but would still LOVE to hear your advice. I think it's lovely but maybe a bit boring?

Oh and no tungsten (boo), just straight up white gold, or my preference, platinum.

Thanks again and again


I didn't really like the options the family jeweler came up with (shocker). But I could not for the life of me come up with anything better. I searched THE ENTIRE INTERNET for a cool white gold ring with a little bit of bling.

There are very few cool rings for men at a higher price point that aren't straight-up wedding bands.* I actually emailed COS yesterday to tell her I'd given up the search.

And then late last night my ladies at catbird swept in and told me they could do the Yayoi Forest Belt Ring (with three black diamonds!) in white gold.

I think it's pretty perf.

*Cool jewelers, take note.

Is it okay to just ask for cash?

Hey there,

So I'm getting married in two months and have been a bit unsure of how to go about registering for gifts. I think almost every option here is a bit a tacky, but what seems really tacky is just asking for cash up front. But my fiance and I are moving to London (from the US) after the wedding, so we really don't want to have more stuff to ship there. So- is it okay to just ask for cash?

I mean, I know I don't have to ask for anything at all, but what do I say when people ask?



IT'S NOT OKAY TO ASK FOR CASH. What, were you raised in a barn?

When people ask, you say, "We're about to move to London. We really don't need anything."

They'll give you cash if they feel like it.

Photo: Joanna Kustra via Huong Nguyen Fralin via Megan Boltz via Sunday in Bed + Design You Trust

For more on this subject, you might want to peruse "Is it tacky to register for a honeymoon?" + "A forkless wedding, and showers for $$$"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

his + hers turquoise wedding rings

I'm way into Max + Molly's turquoise rings. WAY.

Also, am I mistaken or is she pulling off that headpiece in a big way?

(Photos by Braedon Photography via Once Wed)

WTF do I wear to a wedding in Montauk?

The invitation says
"Beach Formal: Upscale casual to beach cocktail attire. Seersucker welcome."

Oh, and I'm pretty broke.


"Upscale casual" means the groom may or may not be wearing a navy blazer with khaki pants (see above), and the groomsmen may or may not be wearing socks.

The bridesmaids and/or female guests, I suspect, will mostly be strapless and beachy and boring. If you want to fit right in, feel free to buy a seersucker Lily Pulitzer.

Or, if you'd rather KNOCK IT OUT OF THE PARK, why don't you wear a sexy silk tank dress?

With killer wedges, obv.

1. Patterson J. Kincaid's aptly named Tie Dye Hamptons Tank Dress, on sale at shopbop

2. Carin Wester Naamah Tank Dress at Mohawk General Store

Top photo: Karen Wise Photography via Style Me Pretty

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blog of the Week(ish): The Burning House

If your house was burning, what would you take with you?

The Burning House is hands-down the most fascinating blog I've come across in forevs. Not only do you get a glimpse at people's favorite items of clothing, their most prized possessions, their PETS, you get a wee glimpse, not into the way they actually live, but into the way they imagine they could live.

(Pictured: Sam Alden's submission)

Via F/F

Mormons are stylish too

dear east side bride,

you're awesome, and so is your fashion sense, which is why i'm coming to you with my dilemma.

alright so, i'm mormon, which means i get married in the lds temple, with the fancy underwear we call garments that extend (almost) to the knee and cover the shoulders. i love it and its symbolism and everything, but it's pretty limiting fashion-wise. if i were getting married in fall/winter, it wouldn't really be a problem, just throw a sweet white leather jacket over a white dress (or something, you get the point) and call it a day. but i'm getting married in the summer time. in the desert. because cap sleeve wedding dresses are awful, and i'm kind of over the bolero, i was wondering if it's tacky to wear a t shirt under the dress. kind of like this, except, you know, white t shirt, white gown.

if that's super tacky, do you have any other ideas for me? do i have to get married in the fall or winter time just to avoid the dreaded cap sleeve? thanks! all my love.


Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaah. I dunno about a t-shirt under a wedding dress. (Though i'd be all for a t-shirt with a maxi-skirt, if you wanted to go that route.)

How bout this ? It's modest without SCREAMING modest, if you know what I mean.

Accidentally modest?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Is it okay to proceed without any money?

Dear ESB,

Never thought I'd be writing this, but here it is....

I am currently planning two weddings for the end of this year, one in Shanghai and one in Singapore. Two weddings, because my family lives in Singapore, the man's extended family in Shanghai, and the both of us in Australia.

We've only been out of uni 3 years now, and aren't earning big bucks at all. And, we have a 4 year old mortgage. Why so soon, you ask? It's a long, complex story involving his parents that I won't go into because this email is going to be long enough on its own, and basically there was very little choice for him but to do it. His family has always been quite money-poor, and he worked very hard to rustle up the initial deposit, working 5 hours a day while attending uni full time. At that point, I was not involved in any of this - we were still just dating, albeit very seriously, and he didn't ask for any financial contribution on my part (not that I would have been able to afford it!) When we eventually moved in together, we were already discussing marriage. Naturally, I began contributing toward the mortgage, and with our combined earnings we got by very smoothly.

We had a registry marriage a year ago and have since combined our savings into a joint account, which is where our salaries go and where bill payments, mortgage repayments etc. come out of. Neither of us have savings anywhere else. Basically, the two overseas weddings are for our families - it is not negotiable, we are expected to have them. I didn't mind so much, as we were maintaining a good savings rate and have sufficient equity now to borrow against should we need more money for the wedding. I'd been planning and organising everything with confidence because in the back of my mind, I KNEW we had a lump of money sitting in our account and could definitely pay for the photographer, the gown, the flowers, the smaller things like that y'know. The massive wedding dinners were another matter, but because everything else was sufficiently covered, I didn't feel too bad about borrowing to pay for them.

And then! Two days ago he comes and tells me that he actually borrowed a substantial amount of money from his aunt when he initially bought the house, and that she wants to collect her dues because she's going to invest in some real estate. So we needed to pay her. It was like being hit in the face with a brick. Suddenly, our bank account balance is sitting at the frighteningly meagre sum of $560, and I can't help but feel like crying or running into a wall every time I think about it.

We have booked the church, the priest, and a 20-table restaurant in Singapore at the cost of $1,000 a table. I have spent $500 so far just on getting the lining fabric for my wedding gown and securing the dressmaker's services, and will need to spend another $500 on the remainder of the fabric alone, not to mention the remaining $500 I will owe the dressmaker at the end of it all. Last week, I signed the contract with the photographer for his services, which will cost us $2,300, minus the $500 deposit. I have already started to tackle the invitations, floral arrangements and bridal party attire. I am freaking out now, wondering how we're going to pull this off.

Our combined earnings is $6,000 a month, currently, and our mortgage repayments are $2,000 a month. Typically, credit card bills amount to another $2,000 (includes utilities, transport, food etc.) That leaves us with a savings of $2,000 a month, if we don't spend on anything extraneous, which would mean at best we would have $14,000 by the end of November. Why couldn't he have told this me before so that I could have planned accordingly?? We can't borrow money from his parents because they have almost nothing. We can't borrow money from my parents because they've just lent a bucketload to my eldest sister for the down payment on a $1.2 million apartment, who incidentally also just got engaged, and they are still supporting my younger brother who is still in school. I honestly wouldn't mind scaling down the wedding at this point, except we've BOOKED things, we've laid down oodles of cash as DEPOSITS, we've informed family members who have cleared calendars and booked plane tickets and arranged accommodation etc.!!!!

Am I being unreasonable for freaking out like this? Is this really okay to proceed without any money like this? Or should I cut our losses: dump whatever we've booked and postpone the whole bloody thing (we HAVE to have the weddings, both our families have made no bones about it)? Also, is it fair of me to fly off the handle at him for this? He didn't intentionally keep it from me, it's just that when he did it I was not involved, and when I did start contributing he didn't realise that I didn't know. And her asking for it now is just really, really bad timing. But I FEEL like screaming at him and I FEEL like chucking the whole thing out the window. I'm so angry and upset I can't even think straight. Please help!

Losing it


When I got this email I knew that a) you needed not to cancel your wedding(s) but to streamline and b) I was in no way qualified to tell you how to do that.

So I tracked down Becca of A Los Angeles Love, who dealt with a lot of money + family issues when she was planning her own wedding. And who (lucky you) turns out to be a whole lot more patient and nurturing than I am.

Anyhoo. Here's the wee response Becca dashed off on her way to New York yesterday:

Dear Losing It,

First of all, you’re clearly NOT being unreasonable about freaking out like this. In fact, if you didn’t have a bit of a crying/screaming meltdown, I’d assume you either had superhuman control or a hidden trust fund you aren’t telling me about. So. Rant and scream a bit and, once you’re done, let’s pick apart this tangle of issues and emotions. Because, from what you wrote, I actually think there are two big-picture problems and it would be best to address them separately:

    The breach of trust between you and your husband
    The complicated mess of a wedding, which included:

    The cost of the wedding/lack of money
    The pressure of family expectations and obligation

Trust Stuff
Finances are about more than accounting. Having savings is about feeling secure. Having joint finances requires complete trust in your partner. It’s no wonder you want to scream at your husband, because this situation violated both of those emotions. Luckily, it doesn’t sound like he meant to keep anything from you, but you probably can’t get rid of the feeling of betrayal until you both clear the air.

Therefore, you need to have a come-clean session about finances. It has to include all debt (private, school-related, or family-related) and all assets and accounts. You need to both be on the same page that you’re really in this together by developing a full repayment plan and defining your joint long-term goals. You need to create entirely transparent histories and financial systems. Mostly, you need to feel like you’re working as a team again so you can move on.

Wedding Stuff
Since you HAVE to have the weddings (and I know something about family obligation and weddings you’re paying for yourself) I’d recommend just getting it over with. There’s no perfect answer here. If you postpone, you’ll have more time to save money. However, a) people will be upset about changed travel plans/costs, b) you may lose deposits anyhow and, most importantly, c) you don’t sound that enthusiastic about these weddings, so you’ll probably be resentful that you have to scrimp and save for a whole damn year to throw these two shindigs in the style you originally planned (I also know something about long engagements due to saving up for a wedding. ie, they blow.) Don’t postpone, just get realistic and creative about the budget you have.

Wedding Budget/Expenses
Focus On What You Have: $14,000 by November isn’t chump change, and you’ve already partially paid for some vendors. You also said your original plan included debt/borrow against the house. Figure out the real amount you're comfortable borrowing. $14,000 plus your borrowing is your new budget. The resulting event may look a lot different than the wedding you imagined, but you can absolutely throw a wedding (or two) for $14,000+.

Start Over: You have to cut back. $14,000+ buys you a wildly different wedding than your original budget, so you need to start over again. You need to redefine your wedding priorities from the ground up. You can mourn the weddings you lost, but it’s time to move forward with a new vision without clinging to the downmarket leftover remnants of the original vision. Get excited about something new.

Reevaluate Each Vendor: In the process of redefining, you may realize that a photographer isn’t important to you anymore. In that case, ditch the deposit. Yes, you already spent $500, but forget about it. It’s already gone and this decision saves you $1800. Research cheaper alternatives and do some big-picture math to figure out if you’d lose/gain more by cutting your loses.

Ask For Help: It sounds like you’ve taken on the whole burden of this yourselves and you’ve assumed your families can’t help. Stop assuming, especially since you’re doing this for them. See if family (including extended family – like that inconvenient aunt) can help with paying for a specific aspect of the wedding as their wedding gift (paying for the dress, paying for the invitations, paying for the booze, whatever). People like to feel involved with weddings and like giving gifts, especially when the gift feels so concrete.

Don't Assume Help is Only Monetary: Reach out to your friends and family and tell people what you’re struggling with. See if they have any creative ideas or skills. See if they have connections. I assumed my friends were busy, bored, and not crafty. That was before friends played our ceremony music, baked us a three-tiered cake, cut flowers for centerpieces, stamped placecards, and did boatloads of other insane wedding crap that saved us lots of money and (even better) made our wedding so much more personal and special. It can't hurt to ask.

The situation is different now. If they are requiring you to have these weddings, they should either help with the weddings or get comfortable with your changed circumstances and pared down wedding. They aren’t paying for this – YOU are, and you need to put your financial health first, or no one else will do it for you. And frankly, if they love you, they don’t want to see you in massive debt for a party on their behalf. Period.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. I’m reading between the lines here but, if your sister just bought a $1.2mil apartment, your family is probably in an income bracket that has some weighty expectations for The Way Weddings Are Done. And that means their wedding pressure on you is really about the social pressure on them. Battling expectations, social pressure, and financial reality is hard stuff, so tread carefully but remain firm. Because the reality is you simply can’t afford the wedding you had originally planned on and, apparently, neither can they. That may be hard for your parents to accept, but having these hard conversations is the real point of a wedding. Redefining family obligations (your primary obligation is to your husband and your new couple-family, and not to your parents' pressures) is a hard adjustment and doesn't happen without some painful battles. But you have to do it now, or these pressures can haunt you for the rest of your married life.

You have to remind them (again and again if necessary) that having two weddings, even two inexpensive-ish weddings, is honoring their wishes and your family. To honor family, you do not need to pay $100 per person for a restaurant bill. And if they honor and respect you, they shouldn’t expect you to go into tons of debt for a wedding you can’t afford.

Good luck.

(+ ♥'s from me)

Anna Selezneva by Mariano Vivanco for Vogue Russia June 2011 via Fashion Gone Rogue via {this is glamorous} via cevd

Thursday, May 19, 2011

adorbz wedding sandals, anyone?

$100 counts as low-budg, right?

Jeffrey Campbell via Design Crush

p.s. A quickie note to my dad, who thinks i'm going to burn in hell (or, you know, whatever the atheist version of that is) for my "regrettable materialist ways," WHY THE EFF ARE YOU STILL READING?

Big Family Blues

Dear ESB,

My shacking up (of 18 months) boyfriend (of 6 years) and I have been going around in circles about having a wedding for about a year. For ourselves, we don't care one way or the other about having a celebration. It is important to my parents because they are quite religious and important to his parents because his sister eloped and this is their one and only chance to have a big, fancy party. We have agreed these are compelling enough reasons to have a reception. We plan to go to the JOP in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

The problem becomes who to invite. We would prefer something small (50 or so folks) and (relatively) inexpensive. I have a large family (30 first cousins, not including their spouses, children, and step-children). We are quite close with some cousins from both sides and we have lived with a few of them, making a hard and fast no-extended-family-rule impractical. My parents have indicated that this would need to be an everyone or no one occasion.

Our circular conversation goes something like this:

I guess we should have a wedding with our families and a few close friends.
Yes, that's a great idea. I bet we could do it for under $5,000 if we are careful and have a small guest list.
Whoops! I have a million cousins, some of whom have helped us out in major ways and who we care about a lot.
We can't have a wedding because we can't invite so many people.
It would be really nice to mark our relationship somehow.
Repeat, ad nauseum.

Once this decision is made, the rest should fall into place. So... what's the answer?


Are your parents paying for the wedding?

IF NO --> Why are you letting them tell you who to invite?

IF YES --> Why don't you scrape up the $$ to pay for it yourselves? Then you can keep it small and (OMIGOD) invite only the cousins you're close to.

Collage by Colette Saint Yves via curiouser & curiouser via Bailey B via Kristin Kane

We get a lot of variations on this one, don't we?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

pretty pretty headpieces

Made from vintage millinery flowers by Alexandra Grecco.

It's been a while since I was this excited about anything, bridal headgear-wise.

Terrific photography/styling certainly doesn't hurt. Also: BANGS.*

*Just when I'd finally gotten over my regrets about growing out my bangs for the wedding.

Damn You, Lars von Trier

You put a wedding in your new movie?

Plus Alexander Skarsgård? Plus Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg?

Now I have to see it. In spite of the reviews. And your bizarro press conferences. And the way your other movies made me feel sort of sick to my stomach.

Speaking of wedding movies, who saw Bridesmaids?


If that is not wedding-meets-badass, I don't know what is.

Is it cool to wear a choker with a sweetheart neckline? I know eff-all about sweetheart fucking necklines.

Tangled chain choker necklace with three vintage pearls by DLC via lauren (she is a wealth, that one)

statement necklaces under $200


I need help finding a necklace and you're the girl to go to for these sorts of things.

I saw your necklace post about a month ago, and while I really liked them, I need something with a bit more drama.

Yea, I said 'drama.' I need a statement necklace. The dress is simple, so I want the accessories to be a big deal and since I'm wearing my hair down, my ears will be covered - so drama earrings are out. I'll probably just wear some studs.

It's a strapless dress with a sweetheart neckline.

Please help. I'm scouring the internet on a daily basis trying to find something. I no longer read books, only shopping sites. It's that bad.


Hokay. Since I haven't seen your dress, I figured I'd better give you some options (clockwise from top left):

1. Felt Ball Necklace from terrain

2. The Druze Crystal Choker by Luv Aj (Love Her.)

3. Tiered Snaked Pearl Necklace by Annie Costello Brown (This one's on sale, so if you like it, JUMP ON IT.)

4. Mida Necklace by Laura Lombardi

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Payless beats BHLDN

So I ordered these from BHLDN and they came in this NASTYPANTS embroidered bag and shat glitter all over my apartment and legs and general person. I knew they'd have me bleeding within an hour, and I thought I could get better, less sheddy results spray-painting a pair myself. I then ordered ALL OF THE SHOES (seven pairs?). 

My truly desperate pair from Payless won out. And I really, really liked them.



There's a new Dear ESB up on 100 Layer Cake for you. Guess what it's about?

No, not True Blood. Silly Buttons.

Photo of Alexander Skarsgård by Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Styling by Michael Philouze for VMAN via Charles Hall + Will is Crazy

Dear ESB: I have wedding band issues.

I am getting married in August and have yet to decide on bands. I have a fantastic antique engagement ring that is similar to the one in this photo. I really, really love it - the stone is an heirloom from my fiance's great aunt, and the setting is circa 1915. The "filigree" or whatever its called is a little more geometric than the ring pictured, but I am not tech-savvy enough to attach a photo of my own ring, so, you know, this will have to do. 

Anyway, the problem is that I don't know what kind of wedding band to get.  I have tried on curved bands but they don't work because a) i hate them, and b) they make the ring look lopsided and take away from the cool shape of it. So, I'm at a loss. I really want a band, but they all look so weird with the ring. Is it ok not to have one? Can i get something simple and wear the engagement ring on my right hand? help! 

I also would ideally like my band and my future husband's band to be somewhat similar. Any suggestions there?



It is okay not to have a wedding band. It's okay to do WHATEVER YOU WANT.

But I love your simple-band-on-the-left-hand, fantastic-antique-on-the-right idea.

Re simple, matching bands: Catbird, Bario-Neal, Bittersweets New York (pictured above), Sarah Perlis and OK all have simple, beautiful bands that you can order in varying widths and weights and colors and finishes.

I happen to like a wide wedding band on a guy, in the same color + finish as his wife's more narrow band. In case you were asking me to get that specific.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Make me droll.


There has got to be a place for these hand-carved rubber stamp sets somewhere in the wedding world. If you defaced your engagement photos before you sent them to me, for example, I might even put them on my refrigerator.

By Patricia of Memi The Rainbow. (See more photos on Memi The Rainbow's blog, and don't miss the donut + macaron stamps.)

Via Creature Comforts

My little sister is trying to upstage me

Dear ESB,

I've already tweeted at you about this, but I decided it was time for some straight up no-nonsense ESB advice.

So, my younger sister and I do not have the greatest relationship in the whole world, but we are ok most of the time. I didn't ask her to be my bridesmaid because that's not really her cup of tea and also it just didn't really occur to me. But I thought it would be nice to have her involved in the wedding so I asked her to be my witness to our marriage. It was important to me pick someone close to be my witness and I hoped she would honoured. She told me she was.

I have subsequently discovered that my sister is planning to wear a full-length, very pale grey evening gown to our daytime wedding. I am rather upset about this. I think that, at my wedding, I should be the only one wearing a full-length, pale-coloured dress. Moreover, it is a daytime wedding, and everyone else will be wearing smart daytime outfits. She will stand out, which I presume is her intention.

If I hadn't asked my sister to be my witness, I would be pissed off yes, but ultimately would decide that if she wants to make a fool of herself in front of all of our friends and family, by attempting to upstage the bride, then that's her problem. But I did ask her to be my witness, and I feel her decision to wear a pseudo-wedding dress to my wedding, shows that she is unsupportive of me and my marriage, not to mention self-absorbed and self-aggrandising, and if that is what she is going to do, I don't want her to be my witness.

I am not sure what to do. I have written to my sister, explaining that, for various reasons I feel her choice of outfit is unsuitable (I was I hope, tactful and diplomatic) but have had no response. Should I tell her that unless she wears something else I will have to ask someone else to be my witness? Should I just let it go for the sake of family unity and to reduce drama? I feel this is my usual tactic with my sister - just let it go, but this time...I dunno.

Thanks, as ever ESB, I know you will cut to the chase.


I was just about to tell you to suck it up when I remembered I always get the sister ones wrong.

So I emailed my lady Celia (the big sister of all big sisters) to ask if she would offer her two cents. She sent back A WHOLE DOLLAR'S WORTH:

Hey there, Older Sister!

Me thinks the best way to approach this is to give you some no-bull shit, sisterly advice. So, let's pretend for a minute that I am also your sister; your older, wiser sister who's already married and been through all the drama of planning a wedding and dealing with her own sister brouhaha. Here's what I'd say to you...

1. You asked your sister to be your witness, in other words, NOT IN YOUR WEDDING PARTY. Totally fine. Being your sister doesn't mean that she automatically gets to be a bridesmaid, or even win the coveted MOH role. That being the case, just like you can't control all your other guests' attire, you most certainly can't tell your sister what she can or cannot wear. You do have every right to voice your opinion and suggest that she wear something else, but ultimately, it's her decision. You may think that "everyone else will be wearing smart daytime outfits," but unless your wedding will be a spread in some J. Crew catalogue, there's always going to be one jerkface who shows up in jeans and a Hawaiian shirt. That's the guy that should be embarrassed.

2. I'm assuming your sister hasn't responded to your email because she thinks you're overreacting a bit, and you kind of are. BUT, in your defense, you're planning YOUR WEDDING, and what's wedding planning without a little insanity mixed in? Everyone gets wrapped up in the madness of creating the "perfect" day, and it's hard to not let something like your sister's outfit make you go batshit crazy. She also might not be responding because she's wondering why the f*ck you EMAILED her regarding this matter. She's your SISTER. If you can't grow a pair and CALL her to give her a piece of your mind, then who can you do that with? That's exactly what sisters are for. They're the only people we can unleash the fury on and know that all will be forgiven in the end. You should be taking advantage of this. Please note: voicemails and text messages also don't count.

3. I know a lot of brides are scared of someone stealing their thunder at their own wedding, but unless she shows up in your exact gown, wearing a veil with her hair all did, holding a bouquet, and walking around with that natural bridal glow, there's no way she'll upstage you. Your guests are there to see YOU, and everyone else will just fade into the background. You think this girl* stole the show? Nope, she most certainly did not.

4. I keep going back to the part where you say that your sister's decision to wear a "pseudo wedding gown" means she's "unsupportive of [you] and [your] marriage". That's kind of a weird thing to say. Umm, call me inappropriate, but I'm getting a gut feeling that this whole situation has very little to do with a dress, and a whole lot to do with some other underlying issue. Maybe *that's* what you should be talking to little sis about. But, revoking her role as your witness is childish and way uncool. It's not like she's some girl you went to junior high with who's all of a sudden gotten on your last nerve. Friends come and go, but little sisters are forever.

All the psychoanalysis aside, here's my REAL advice to you: If come wedding day, you're still so preoccupied with this pale grey dress, then you're missing the WHOLE point of your wedding and what it truly means. You're committing yourself to the person you love in front of all the other people you love most. Not to get all hokey pokey on you, but it will be the most amazing, mind-blowing experience of your life. Believe it or not, all the pinwheels, fabric photo booths, or even inappropriate formal gowns worn by clueless sisters in the world can't even come close to touching that shit.

xo- Celia

Hello Coachella Photo: Daniel Kincaid, Styling: Alexandra Sherman, Model: Chelsea (Photogenics), Makeup & Hair: Sunnie Brook Jones for fashion lane via PAPERFASHION via Jodie Askyou via because im addicted

*I have a feeling that linking to the royal wedding is making ESB cringe, but I love her like a sister, and pushing buttons is what sisters do best. ;)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

How about a silk-satin dungaree dress?


(Shop here.)

Can our friendship be salvaged?


This has been something that has been causing me stress since my wedding in early August 2010. I am not good with confrontation especially when it comes to people that mean a lot to me. So I tend to avoid it all together. I have spoken to a couple of friends about this, but I need someone who sees it from the outside to see if I am in the wrong.

Our wedding was small, about 60 people, with 40 being from out of town. It was exactly what we wanted and couldn't have had a better day. My problem lies in the fact that 2 of my closest girlfriends feel that I didn't spend enough time with them, so they are not speaking to me, even nine months later. The only reason I now know why, is I spoke to one of them in Jan. (after I called them both multiple times). She acted like nothing was wrong, that she had just been very busy. I had made a comment about visiting this coming summer and seeing them and she replies with "if you have time." It didn't really hit me at the time of the call, but it did later on that day. This is the one and only time we have spoken. Needless to say I am extremely hurt by the fact that I am now being ignored.

To give a little more background, my husband and I moved to CO in 2008. We were not engaged at the time, but knew it would eventually happen. When we did get engaged we decieded that we wanted it in our new home town. My two girlfriends and their significant others came out the Thursday before our wedding. I invited them over to our apt, since this was their first time out. They declined and went to a local restaurant with bad margaritas. There was no invite for my husband and I. The next day, I went to get my manicure/pedicure done and a few friends joined. The two friends joining as well. Things seemed fine. We had a dinner that night with everyone who came from out of town, after dinner we went for drinks and my friends secluded themselves and then left without saying goodbye. I wonder if I should have made more of an effort to include them, but they weren't trying. Do I ignore everyone else, so to talk with them? At the wedding they did the same thing. I went over to their table and said hello, then when I went to find them later, they were sitting inside on a bench. Everyone else was outside. I got pulled away and again they left without saying goodbye. They were on a plane early the next morning.

I have known these two girls since freshman year of college and now we are in our early 30s. I feel at this age, we shouldn't be acting like this and I don't want to, I am just at a loss as to what to say.

I feel that at this point, I am not sure our friendship can be salvaged. Was I in the wrong or what do I do now?


Please don't waste ONE MORE IOTA of energy worrying about these "friends" of yours.

Bubye friends. Bye! We had some good times, but I'm moving on.

Life's too short.

Image: Rupert Shrive via PourPorter via obia, the 3rd

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fab wedding dress, or v. expensive towel?

You tell me.

(It's Thakoon, if that matters.)

Tracey Tanner = the sh*t

One million years ago when we were planning our wedding, I ordered distressed leather pouches from Tracey Tanner to give some of my ladies as thank-you gifts. (I've told you this story before.)

Anyhoo. My ladies are all still using those pouches, and I luuuuuuuuuurve the one that H bought me.

Tracey just launched her new site, and to celebrate she's offering 15% off through May 30. Use coupon code MEM15 at checkout.

She's also happy to offer a discount for bulk orders on bridesmaids' gifts or whatevers. No expiration date on that one.

Sick of the Overdone

Dear ESB:

Since you are the maven of all things cool and not overly done here's a conundrum for you. How do we go about this whole guest book thing at our wedding?

I think traditional guest books are just not interesting, but feel like the signed mat around a photo of the bride and groom is equally overdone. We're not really a "wish tree" kind of couple either...

Any new and funky ideas?

Sick of the Overdone


Fuck the guest book.

(Photo by Henrik Adamsen via Rackk and Ruin + whitezine)