Monday, October 31, 2011

An excellent pair of bridesmaids' dresses

Ugh, holidays.

Hi, hoping your straight to the point advice can help me out on this one:

We've been married for 2 years, which makes this holiday season coming up our third go at the whole splitting up holidays thing, which is always painful. My family lives 2 hrs away, his is 45 minutes. We both love spending time with our immediate families, but I feel as though I do because my family actually has fun together and he does more out of obligation. Our first year, we did thanksgiving at his mom's and Christmas at mine. Then my dad passed away, so last year we did both holidays at my mom's house. Now, when I say "holiday," I'm referring to the actual day, we always see everyone, but it's the actual day of the holiday that gets us in fights.

So, here we are in 2011 - I want to be with my mom on thanksgiving and my sister has already invited us over for her to cook her first bird. He says it's not fair that we spend thanksgiving day with my family two years in a row. But since my dad passed, I feel like it's emotionally more important to be with my family for the actual holiday day than his.

What would you do here? Does anyone else out there have a hard time splitting up holidays between families?


I was just ranting about this very problem.

H and I both have divorced parents, PLUS he's very close to his sister, who has her own complicated set of holiday obligations. Try splitting 2 holidays btwn 5 families who live all over the US + Canada.

I keep hoping one day we can just fucking stay home by ourselves.*


Regarding your dilemma. Because you spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas with your family last year, you should let your husband pick which holiday he wants to spend with his family in 2011.

You can be there for your mom without physically being there on THE ACTUAL HOLIDAY DAY. It's just a day. I promise.

And if you start trying to measure the emotional importance of being here or there, or (god forbid) get into it with your husb about whether or not his family "actually has fun together," you are really asking for trouble.

One more photo from Holly's wedding by Kristopher Orr

*Mom, Dad, anyone, if you are reading this, I totally don't mean that. L, K, T, L, we are so excited to be coming to Indiana for Xmas this year.

Holly rocks the bouquet.

She was too cool to send a follow up re: the bouquet post so I snagged these photos off her blog.

Also, a coupla direct quotes: "I'm a little ashamed of how much I loved having a bouquet. Can I carry one around all the time?"

"Thanks to ESB and company and my mother-in-law, I decided to make a bouquet last minute.
It had coffee beans in it (those pink things). We met in a coffee shop. Cute, right?"

I had to throw in the "GLITTAH IN ACTION." Plus Stanley the skull.

(Photos by Kristopher Orr)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I just found your wedding shoes.

These Rodarte for Opening Ceremony Pom Pom Sandals are WAY ON SALE. Buy now for spring, amirite?

Avail in tons of sizes in burgundy, moss + black.

You're welcome.

Pen + Ink Drawings by Sylvia Plath

On display at the Mayor Gallery in London, from November 2 to December 16.

Via Dangerous Minds. (See more images at the Telegraph.) 

Thx, 17 beats!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What does it take to make a marriage?

Dear ESB,

How do you know you have what it takes to make a marriage?

My guy and I have been together for a few years, live together, got a kitty, the works. We've recently been through a series of big changes (me graduating, us moving away from my country for my job, him struggling to find work in the new place), and were planning to get engaged when we'd settled in and he found a job.

However, out of nowhere I started having these big doubts. I felt so guilty and scared for a couple of days then did what I always do- I talked to my guy about it, thinking that we'd discuss things, he'd make me feel better and then I'd stop having doubts. I explained where my worries were coming from: that every time something bad happens (I've had a few family deaths early this year) he doesn't know how to support me because he almost always wants me to tell him what to do/say; when we have fights/issues we don't know how to compromise because he gets emotional and irrational, I get angry, and we end up fighting until we get sick of fighting and make up; when my depression is really bad he can't deal with it and gets angry because he does't know what to do. (I know that looks like I bombarded him with all that but I didn't). Anyway, he denied that there were any problems and changed the subject. Then I got angry and he got upset. We did sit down and talk like adults for a while but didn't get anywhere constructive and this morning he's pretending that nothing happened.

Despite all this, I keep telling myself that we've got this far and have been mostly happy, we've got through some really massive fights, so that must mean we have something to build on, right? And when things are good, they're really good. He's sweet and kind and funny. He's so good to me even when I don't deserve it. We have the same sense of humour and fun. My family adore him.

Is that a strong enough foundation to build on? Can we work through those problems or are our personalities when things are bad just never going to work?

I keep swinging between two thoughts: that maybe I'm just having a crisis because of all the big changes in our life recently; or that maybe all the upheaval has woken me up and made me realise we're not right for each other.

I want so much to make this work, I just don't know how (or even if we can) and I've not eaten for days because of all this stress. I really hope you can give me some wise married lady advice.


Hungry and confused.

PS sorry for the terrible grammar/punctuation. I really am very hungry.


There is no magic formula for marriage, lady. You REALLY have to trust your gut.

In this case, I think your poor gut is talking loud and clear.

Photo by Jonathan Levitt

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Our little lady (okay Leigh's little lady) is getting ready to be in our movie tomorrow, and she is SUPER EXCITED.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Not the dress of my dreams...

Dear East Side Bride,

caution: lots of Catholic guilt to follow.

Evening garden wedding is in 5 months and my grandfather is critically ill in his final stages of cancer. I moved my wedding to my hometown of Miami to make it easier for the older generation to attend, and am crossing my finger so that they all make it.

Don Mario (Lilo to his grandchildren) is the quintessential grumpy old man. As far as I can tell, he only likes his mini-Daschund, Rambo (which had to find a new home a few months ago), reciting poetry at dinner parties, and his orchid garden, which he can no longer tend to. Everything else under the sun, he hates. Quite sure that he has never told me he loves me, but know that deep down in that old Cuban heart of his, he does. I am, after all, the youngest daughter of his deceased [only] son. 

I was told about a few weeks ago that he cries whenever the subject of my wedding comes up because he thinks he will not be able to make it. Lilo, crying? I was completely shocked. And also surprised by the sadness it brought up in me.

Cut to me visiting him in the hospital room last week. First and only words, "Did you try on THE dress?" What dress? "Your cousin's dress. It will look so beautiful on you...your uncle told me you can have it. I heard they paid $16,000!"

Followed-up by a phone call from my aunt an hour later, describing said "Vera Wang" dress and how I had to go try it on that weekend.

So kind and gracious of them all, no? On goes the dress, my mother, aunt, cousin all ooohing and aaahhing, and I am freaking the fuck out because I look like a bride. The ivory lace dress (not Wang, but L’Hullier) is quite beautiful. Something Grace Kelly would have worn. And to Lilo's credit, it fits like a glove. But it is incredibly traditional, and just not the dress I would have chosen for myself. I pictured something short, vintage, silver, I don't know, ANYTHING but long and white and lace.

I agree with you that it is obnoxious to have a wardrobe change mid-game, but should an exception be made in this case? I wear the dress for 30 minute ceremony and swap it for a more glamorous party dress that is more me? Am I a total brat for not jumping for joy at a free (beautiful) dress or am I not being true to myself if I actually go through with wearing it? Or both?


p.s. already going against family wishes by outdoor v. church ceremony...


Fuck that dress.

It belonged to your cousin?

Bambi Northwood-Blyth by Tierney Gearon for 10 Magazine via because im addicted via Studded Hearts

Monday, October 24, 2011


New York is kicking my ass.

Last night I consumed 3 bourbons + 1 panini sandwich* and i tossed and turned and tossed and turned dreaming about MODELS.

I know I tweeted it, but I don't think I mentioned on this here blog.... I'm directing a short film in collab with the Catbird ladies.


We shoot this Thursday, which is why I've got models on the brain. A herd of em are coming through my apartment tomorrow to show us their stuff ;)

Photo is of K Mattis

*i know. WHEAT WHEATY WHEAT WHEAT. i have to eat it every once in a while just to remind myself, "WHOA. I CAN'T EAT THAT."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wanted: One Oscar-worthy frock

Dear ESB

OK, so let me preface this email by admitting it's got absolutely nothing to do with bridal fashion.

Except wedding dresses are basically formal wear, right? And there is no occasion more formal than the Oscars red carpet (see where I'm going here?) In fact now I come to think of it, slebs seem oddly sold on quasi-bridal red carpet style. Which is not always a good thing. (See: Exhibits A + B)

Sorry, I got a bit distracted there. My point is that I am in need of a dress to wear to the Oscars. Sadly not the kind of wonder-gown that comes from Elie Saab or Marchesa. Alas, I am not a famous person. Or the other half of a famous person. Or even a hot shot producer. I'm a lowly reporter.

And I have no idea where to start - fancy, full-length frocks aren't really part of my day-to-day fashion repertoire. So if you or your gang of mean hipster mates felt like giving me some pointers, I'd be one grateful hack.

I'm on a distinctly non-designer budget ($250 max), I'm, um, curvy (read busty. Going without a bra is not an option here), a size 8-10, and I'm a pale redhead, so pastel colours tend to make me look like a bloated corpse. I'll be wearing the dress for most of the day and night, and running around from place to place, so it needs to be something that I can stand, sit and walk in comfortably. And although technically, I guess all I need to do is blend in, rather than sticking out like a sore thumb among the rake-thin famous people, I'd really like to look like the most awesome version of myself possible.

Any suggestions?



how bout you guys put your suggestions in the comments and i'll throw the best ones up for a vote on monday? (no copping out this time i swear.)

maybe i'll even add an anonymous submission of my own.

**Update: I finally posted a little html how-to in the sidebar. No more shitty links, you guys.**

Photo: Camille Rowe by François Rotger for Marie Claire Italia via Fashion Gone Rogue via Claire Cottrell

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Punk Pop Barbie?!

In my day, if you wanted Barbie's hair to be pink you had to color it yourself. With MARKERS.

Tokidoki via Racked

A topic that never bores me...........

Oct 6

Hey ESB,

Wondering if you have any recs for a jeweler or vintage shop for modern wedding bands in LA? We love the look of Bario-Neal, Catbird, etc. but the FH wants to try stuff on. 

We'll check out OK but the rings they have online are out of our price range. (Trying to stick around $500 each for simple but chic gold bands.) And of course the wedding is in November. 


Oct 19


I emailed you the other week about jewelers in LA and then saw you asking Paige Appel about it on Twitter.

We went to Roseark (totally forgot about this place) where I ended up with this beauty and the fiance felt comfortable enough after trying on cigar bands to order this from Bario-Neal after all.

Many many thanks! 

(Photos: Labradorite Stack Ring from Roseark, Milla Hammered Band from Bario-Neal)


Look Paige! You didn't even have to answer me!


Dear ESB: Will you be my Fairy Godmother?

Hi there,

I love your blog, and I knew that I'd be writing you for advice sooner or later.

Can you help me find something like this dress but white and not in a synthetic fabric? With a V-cut back, if possible, for some drama but something that I can wear again without screaming BRIDE. Obvs, if it's not $$$$, that would be perfect.

I found it in the book Style Clinic.

And shoe recommendations?? Not too high, and the weather could be cold or hot in May. Thank you. Thank you.


No problem.

Will you be needing a sparklepony or a narwhal to ride in on?

Photo of Nicki Minaj via My Pink Friday

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What sort of dress goes with these SHOES?

Maybe they don't want a dress. Maybe they just want a pair of white jeans, roughly cuffed.

(Shop Topshop)

whichgoose: gorg headpieces under $100

I know we can't all pull off the woodland fairy tiara look...... But gaaaaaah these are lovely.

Via littlewinterbride. Again. Are you all following her?? You should be.

(Photos 1-2: Danelle Bohane, Photo 3: whichgoose)

Help me shop: from frumpy to FOXY!

Dear ESB,

I have three weddings coming up (not mine, I'm already married) and I have nothing to wear. I know. What a stereotypical thing to say! Thing is that it's actually true. 

I had a baby a little while ago (ok, his first birthday is in about two weeks) and I haven't exactly got back in shape since then. I've also had a real lifestyle change to being a stay at home mum and, to be honest, have been in enough denial about my body that I haven't really shopped for it. All of these issues need remedying on their own but, in the meanwhile, I have to go to these weddings, and I'd like to look foxy. Especially as one of the weddings is actually a good old friend of my husband's and he'll be on tour so I have to go alone! Well, alone with the baby. 

I was hoping that you and your readers could help me scour the Internet for an appropriate outfit. I've been looking but I think I'm putting too much pressure on myself to find something perfect. Each wedding will be attended by three completely separate groups of friends, so I'm trying to get away with one outfit for all three weddings. 

I live in the southernmost part of Australia so, while it's spring, it's not uber hot. I'm an Australian size 12 (US size 8) and really quite short (I think I'm 5.3, but it might be just under that), with size 38 feet. I'm also curvy.

I don't mean curvy as fat, although I've already told you that I'm a bit of a chunker at the mo, I mean curvy as in I have massive boobs and a big butt, but tend to be a bit smaller in the waist. The other thing to keep in mind is boob access. I'm still breastfeeding so, while I can probably get away without easy access, if I am able to just pop out a boob my life is easier. I know this is probably a very different body than most of your readers are used to shopping for but I figured that, if anyone could help, it would be you ladies!

Hope you can help!

From One Mumsy Aussie

p.s. I'm pretty shy, so I feel like a dork for writing to you, but I really am desperate for help.


A fab reader sourced this Dote Noir Maxi Nursing/Maternity Dress for herself when I failed to respond to a similar query.

I think you should rock the short version with blue suede pumps.*

I mean. GREAT BOOBS + GREAT SHOES? What more do you need??

Top image: Palm store via Aasia Abbas via Elizabeth

*Thanks, Melissa!

Monday, October 17, 2011


They're Norma Kamali Sleeping Bag Coats. (You know, like from the story.)

Woot woot! to wool&misc for alerting me.

What sort of shoes go with this dress....?

Bow-on-bow is kinda overkill, no?

I'm thinking these Stella McCartneys might rly do the trick.


(Dress by Phoung My via Fashion Gone Rogue)

Do I speak up, or ROCK THE SLUTTY?

Dear ESB,

I got married last year (for the record: lovely ceremony, fun party, still read your blog, obvi). My sister and my husband's sister were bridesmaids, and they were great. Looked beautiful, super helpful, just perfect.

Now my husband's sister is getting married, and she has asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. I'm very touched. We don't know each other that well, but we did some good bonding over my wedding, and I'd like to continue to get to know her better. 

The problem arises with the bridesmaid dresses. I know she is the bride and I will rock whatever dress she picks out for us. But... she picked out dresses from a lingerie store. They look like the kind of thing you'd buy as a prank for a bachelorette party.  I'm talking built-in padding, hemline at the ass crease, etc. When I asked her what style she was going for, she said, "slutty."

So, I can rock the slutty. I'll wear the damn thing with a perfect pucker in all the photos if that's what she wants. But I'm afraid this wedding is going to be a tacky train wreck! Although I know my main job is to make the bride happy, I really doubt that seeing 5 grown women in skin-tight polyester minis is going to make anyone happy.

So what to do? Say, "girl, do you really want grams to see my cellulite jiggling down the altar?" Or should I just suck it up (and in with some Spanx)?

I Don't Want To But I Will


And The Bridesmaid Of The Millenium Award goes to........... YOU.

But yeah. No.

What you really ought to ask her is: "Aren't you afraid we'll steal the focus?"


UPDATE: Per Rob's request, our long-suffering bridesmaid sent a link to the NEW! Miraculous® Push-Up Ruched Bra Top Dress.

"Yeah, the red one."

In case that changes anyone's mind.

Top photo: Britt Maren by Hugh Lippe for Russh #42 via Fashion Gone Rogue

g'morning, you guys.

I just stirred my coffee with a fork.

To say our house is in chaos post-arrival-home-from-Vancouver would be an understatement. Also: We may or may not have contracted SARS from a director just back from Argentina who coughed all over us at the VIFF closing gala.

KIDDING. But if I don't get rid of this cold before I fly to New York on Friday I'm gonna be p-i-s-s-e-d.

Bwahahaha. I HATE that bloggers feel the need to inform their readers each and every time they contract any sort of virus. (My theory: It's a captive audience. And NO ONE ELSE CARES.)

But now I went and did it.

At least I didn't describe my phlegm.

(Pony photo courtesy of the lovely fieldguided.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

speaking of weather....

This Ottoman Puffer Jacket from Zara doesn't suck. ($169!)

Via Refinery29

wrap sweater weather

I've got a hella 70's wrap sweater I bought at Wasteland last spring (ONE HUNDRED PERCENT ACRYLIC!) that I can't seem to work up the nerve to wear out of the house.

Doesn't prevent me from admiring the terrif selection of wrap sweaters from Salvage Life Vintage.

In related news, I saw more than one Vancouver girl rocking the hell out of a Lebowski sweater.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Do I tell my parents we're getting engaged?

Dear ESB,

I am planning to propose to my boyfriend in about a month. I'm buying him a gun that he's always wanted (I figure gun is his equivalent of a ring -- expensive, shiny and pretty much useless for anything other than having his guy friends drool over it), I got his mom to go in on it with me and get the ring he was planning to give to me (someday, I'm not ruining any elaborate plans on his part...I hope...well, no it would be ok if I am because we're one of those competitive couples and it would make him SO MAD & also happy that I beat him to the punch) sized. I'm planning a mountain-top proposal after an airsoft game we're attending in early November, I have a photographer lined up, it's perfect for us.

Here's the thing though, we're also planning on moving in together at the end of the month. Now, my parents are mid-range conservative Christians who live very far away and are NOT ok with us moving in together. I am struggling with whether or not to tell them that we're going to get engaged in November because I really don't want to share that information until after it happens to avoid any family pressure or weird expectations or jokes that make me feel terrible or anything like that. I want no negative feelings associated with this engagement. But I know if I tell them we're getting engaged they will feel 50% better about us living together. They will feel 100% better once we're married. They would honestly rather have me live with a random stranger than with my boyfriend before we're married. So, help. 

I also don't want them to be so mad about us living together that they're not happy about the engagement.



Don't jinx yourself and/or spoil the surprise by telling your parents you're planning to get engaged.

If you're going to live your own life, you might as well start now.

(No idea what to say about the gun thing. You're awesome? Or: YIKES.)

Tati Cotliar by Jason Kibbler for Twin #5 via Fashion Gone Rogue

Thursday, October 13, 2011

AWAY TO CAMP wedding invites

Hillary's wedding invites/sleepaway camp brochures are so gorg, they deserve their own separate post. 

When I asked her if she did em herself, she said, "Yeah, we made the invites. They are little booklets. MK took the photos and did a lot of the copy editing. I did the layout / design and wrapped the feathers."

(MK also took the photos. See a few more here.)

I have the coolest readers.


I wanted to write and thank you for your blog. In planning my wedding, it was invaluable - not necessarily for any particular piece of advice or info but for the overall attitude and community.

I am a designer and wannabe party stylist, so I follow the wedding design blogs, too, but yours and APW are the ones that kept me sane; the ones that helped me stop day-long internet searches and settle on a dress that maybe wasn't "the one" but that I loved and was in my price range; the ones that helped me and my husband write our ceremony and vows. Your blog helped me to appreciate that the ceremony IS the most important part of the day and they helped me to really (truly) let go of the projects that weren't done and to give up some control to friends and family that wanted to help. For all of this (and more), I'm thankful. 

I saw the link Meg @ APW shared the other day from a photographer urging bloggers to showcase ALL weddings, the average bride. While I don't agree that the wedding blogs focused on design and styling are under any obligation to feature these typical weddings, I do hope that more blogs spring up like yours that help all brides feel special, understood and a part of a more interesting community.

Thanks again for your humor and independent spirit,

P.S. If you are at all curious, my husband and I got married @ a sleep-away camp in Michigan on October 1st. Aside from the ceremony, my favorite part of the weekend was the Friday night talent show (think spoken word "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and a re-enactment of the bee-girl dance from "No Rain").

We had some cliche things like mason jar mugs, bunting and a photobooth but we did NOT have a bridal party, bouquet toss or cake cutting. We didn't intend to have a first dance either but our DJ friend played some slow song of his own choosing and forced it on us. I wore shoes and accessories I already owned and did our flowers myself (well, with the help of my generous friends). We did not have a budget wedding but we spent all of our money on things like bedsheets and custom targets for the rifle range.

// end over-share //



You rule.

♥ ♥ ♥,

(Hipstamatic photos 1-5: Renee Prisble, Instagram photo 6: emyduck)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jr. Bridesmaids Contest FAIL

REALLY, you guys??

I am so meh on the dresses you picked. The only two I liked were either in the wrong color scheme or not avail in the size we need.

Nobody gets a postcard.

Lauren's probably right that you need to take the minimaid shopping. Why not buy her some other clothes while you're at it?? And yes, rip the tags off.

But just to school you on how it's done.... Here are a few minimaid-ish dresses I like from Revolve clothing (which has a lot of XS options in fall colors).

At top: Vava by Joy Han Gabrielle Mini ($63), Directly above: BB Dakota Nelly Scattered Leaves Tank Dress ($52)

 Indah Jordan One Sleeve Mini Dress ($83)

Patterson J. Kincaid Harlow Belted Dress ($97)

Beach Wedding, Anyone??

This Mason by Michelle Mason feels totally timeless.

Or totally 90's?

Whatevers. I dig it.

Why the F*@% does it cost so much?? Sponsored by Whoa Nelly! Catering

Yep. I'm branching out into Sponsored Posts (or at least a sponsored post).

But instead of giving you the usual "this company is so wonderful because blah blah blah" in my voice, I thought it would be a lot cooler to let Elizabeth of Whoa Nelly! Catering have her say in her own voice.

And her voice is perfect for ESB. So without further ado....

hi, i'm elizabeth griffiths, the co-owner of Whoa Nelly! Catering. my partner, stephanie bone and i opened Whoa Nelly! Catering to be a fresh voice in the often stale world of special event catering. we love catering weddings, but there is one question that we get so often that we felt like we wanted to address it in a public forum: "why the f* does it cost so much!?"

catering a wedding is expensive. there are lots of caterers out there, and there are a wide variety of price points to choose from. that being said, if you want a caterer who cares passionately about the caliber of food being served at your wedding, get ready to spend more money than you would on an enchilada bar from the neighborhood taco joint (not that there is anything wrong with going that route. god knows, steph and i love a 'lada and a marg'...)

we're just going to lay it out here: if you hire us to cater your wedding, you should expect to pay between $75 and $100 per person on food and service. (note, that does not include rentals. why the f* rentals cost so much should be a blog of its own, not just a post...) but back to our average quotes: can we do it for less? yes. will you have to be flexible, and willing to streamline what you want? yes. is it our job to give our clients the very best value for their money, and get them as close to their vision as is financially possible? every. single. time.

so, you might ask, then why does it cost so much to have whoa nelly! cater your wedding? well, here are three basic reasons:

1. ingredients. there's a lot of lip service given to using farmers market ingredients. most of it is BS -- like if you use a local, farmers market ingredient in one dish, all of a sudden you're legit. we buy every single piece of produce we use at the farmers markets. one bunch of the beautiful, spicy, picked two-days-ago arugula that we buy from flora bella farm costs almost as much as a 3# bag of the pre-washed, picked-2-weeks-ago, flavorless stuff. But because we use these vibrant, delicious, heirloom ingredients, our salads look like this:

not like this:

one more note on ingredients. we buy all of our meat and dairy from companies who are raising their animals with care. one thing that boggles my mind is the prevalence of "filet mignon" on catering menus. one pound of niman ranch filet mignon costs $22/lb. one pound of commodity-grade, industrially produced filet costs $9/lb. If you are being quoted $35 per person for a menu that involves filet mignon, just take a minute and do the math. I think you can guess where your caterer is getting their meat.

2. labor. it takes a lot (seriously **A LOT**) of hours and a lot of people to make food for 200 people at one time. it is obvious that it take a lot of people the day of -- to make sure that everything comes out at the right time and the right temperature -- but it's the prep that makes a wedding sneakily expensive. Stephanie and i will EASILY spend a week's worth of 12 hour days in the kitchen prepping for an event (that's how long it takes when you actually peel your own garlic and pick your own thyme...) this sounds like a complaint, but it isn't meant to be. we are proud to run a company that doesn't cut corners by buying garlic in a jar, or using dried spice blends. stephanie even makes our pesto with a mortar and pestle (email us to find out why it makes a difference). if we were the kind of company who served the same menu at each wedding, it would make our lives easier, and our menus cheaper. but we really, truly believe in the value of creating custom menus for each of our clients. as is always the case: bespoke = be ready to pay more money for what you want.

3. time. the third thing we almost always get asked about is our "catering service charge." we charge this service fee as a way to compensate our administrative team (read: elizabeth and stephanie) for the time we spend working on your wedding, outside of the kitchen. i think with bigger companies, it's not such a big deal to have an assistant fire off a menu, or have an event manager be the one who's on site for your wedding. at Whoa Nelly!, we are the assistants, and the event managers, and the dish washers, and (of course) the cooks. that makes our operations small potatoes compared to some of the behemoths in the industry, but for the right type of bride, we hope it's reassuring to know that our personal hands are going to be all over every single aspect of your event -- from the first email to the last dirty sauce pan.

there is a pervasive myth out there that you say the word "wedding," and all of a sudden, the prices skyrocket. i say this is a myth not because weddings aren't expensive, but the myth is that the only reason the cost goes up is because of the "W-word" itself. it's expensive to produce a menu for 200 people that requires 8 cooks, 12 servers, and a full outdoor kitchen build-out. that being said, our worst nightmare is to have a bride who feels like they didn't get what they paid for. we want to have the happiest brides in town. we want all the girls and boys getting married out there to tell their friends about what an AMAZING experience they had working with us -- that's how we want to build our business -- not through gimmicks, or groupons, or trade shows (jesus, lesson learned the hard way on those...)

so, the bottom line is this: your wedding is supposed to be your BIG DAY. it might be a big budget day (that's what having a 200 person guest list will do for ya), but it doesn't have to be. what it should be is a chance for you to think about your priorities for how you want to celebrate. one of the very best weddings we did this year was a cocktail-style reception for an incredibly fun and creative bride and groom. we were able to work with them within their budget, because they understood that with only $25 per person to spend, they weren't going to get that lame-ass filet mignon. what they got instead was this. it didn't cost a whole f*ing lot, but it was a lot of f*ing fun.