Tuesday, January 31, 2012

stack of wedding bands anyone?

Kathryn Bentley via Amra

Is it ok to sort of fire my wedding planner?

Dear ESB,

When we first started planning our wedding (2 years ago) we hired a wedding planner to ONLY help us find a venue. This was supposed to be a trial because we want a "day-of" planner. A friend of a friend recommended us to their friend. We started working with her and basically, she was no help AT ALL. We found the venue by ourselves.

Our wedding is coming up in 8 months and for months at a time she won't even respond to a "how are you?" sort of email. I've even asked her where we should send a check to pay for the venue "help" she gave us and she still hasn't told me. Sometimes she'll message me, wanting to meet. I meet with her, she promises to help with setting up appointments with caterers or florists but then falls through. She hasn't done anything that's helped us! But she still totally expects to be our "day-of" planner!

She just messaged me this week that she fell through because her aunt just passed away. I also found out (through the friend of a friend) that her boyfriend of over 5 years broke up with her. I understand that it must be a REALLY hard time for her and I've emailed her my condolences. I'm a BIG family person so I totally understand that family comes first.

But at the same time... I need someone that I feel is dependable to help us on the day of our wedding!

Is it ok to sort of let her go? How do you politely fire someone after they've told you that they're having such a hard time? I don't want to be a diva-bride-bitch. I feel really bad for her. Also, her prices are pretty much the same as anyone else and we haven't signed a contract. It was simply implied that we would use her. I had previously tried to tell her that we would no longer need her services but she didn't get the hint even though I was pretty blunt. So whatever way I try to fire her (if I even should) needs to be nice but still painfully obvious what's going on.

Thanks for the help,
The Lone Planner


A wedding planner needs to respond to your email BEFORE YOU EVEN SEND IT.

Sorry, but come on.

Tell her you're seeing someone else. That's the only thing that ever works with men who won't get the hint.

YSL Coat Dress by Teri Chung via because im addicted

Hippie-Inspired Buddhist Wedding featuring a GENUINE VINTAGE Dress

Hi East Side Bride,

I am a California girl trapped in Pennsylvania where I moved for a job. I am a writer (my novella California was published by LA record label Teenage Teardrops) and teach creative writing at a small liberal arts college. I love what I do, and jobs are scarce, so here I am. 

My parents got married super hippie style on a cliff in Arcata, CA where I was born in the 70's and that has always been my idea of perfect. My dad wore a cape. We wanted to do something in California and something in Pennsylvania where my husband Neil is from, something super intimate and as stress free as possible, and something later where all our friends and family could be together. We decided to have a small private ceremony in December in Marin County at Spirit Rock Meditation Center with three witness, and have a reception for family and friends in May 2012. It worked out great. 

My meditation teacher offered to marry us while teaching a retreat on a hillside on this incredible preserved land -- rolling golden hills, wild turkey, deer, live oak trees, bliss. Her hair just happened to match my bouquet that day. We were lucky on a lot of counts: great weather, all three witnesses were talented photographers, we didn't have to deal with any one else's input, or go into massive amounts of debt. I've never been excited by traditional wedding gowns, and it turned out my mom had saved this old vintage dress of hers that I think I wore for Halloween one year in high school. Luckily I didn't mind that it had holes and had yellowed over the years, and amazingly enough it still fit. 

We spent four days in San Francisco with friends, I did a reading the public library there, got an incredible bouquet of ranunculus, peonies, and thistle at Bell & Trunk Flowers, and then we headed over the Golden Gate. We stayed at the Olema Cottages which couldn't have been more charming, and had a knock out meal at the Olema Inn. We splurged on rings designed by my incredibly talented pal Kathryn Bentley, and I bought some hooker-y red suede platform heels that I wore for only about 20 mins because I needed to keep my boots on for scaling the hills. All these photos attached were taken in a quick 15-minute rush to catch the light. 

Needless to say, we were really happy with our choices.

Thank you for having the only decent wedding blog. The rest of them make me barf.

(Photos by Eugene Ahn and Joanne Kim)

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Thunder

Is that tie pure sex, or is it PURE SEX?

Shop Pierrepont Hicks

This Is Not Vintage Wedding Photography

Noa got a lil bee in her bonnet about.... Well, you'll see. And she asked me if I'd let her write a post.

I said FUCK YES. Obv.

I have been shooting "vintage"-inspired photography since I was at least 14 or so. As one of the first photographers in the alternative wedding industry to be labeled a "Vintage Photographer," I was proud and happy to see that people were categorizing my work this way and that they were clearly able to see my influences. 

But in the past few years, the Alternative or Vintage Wedding thing has grown into its own mainstream. And once something is mainstream it doesn't need a name anymore, except for maybe "mainstream." It's kind of like what happened with the alternative music scene back in the 90's: eventually every band started sounding "alternative" and everyone started listening to that type of music, which made the whole thing NOT alternative anymore.

The way the word "vintage" is used lacks accuracy most of the time, and can actually suppress creativity, as opposed to how it helped open a new route for creative expression back when I started....  If anything is slightly inspired by a bygone era, we slap the word "vintage" on it. 

If you score a beautiful wedding dress from the 1930's on Etsy, it's a vintage dress. Awesome. If you use mason jars for your centerpieces, it's not vintage, it's Martha Stewart. There is nothing vintage about the balloons in your engagement photos. Air plants aren't vintage. If you process your digital images to look like film, well so does everyone else these days, so let's not call it vintage. And if you shoot actual film, that's not vintage, it's film. If you found some fabric from the 1960's to use as a backdrop, that fabric is vintage. If you have a tattoo, that's not vintage, it's a tattoo. If you throw a swing-dance-party-themed-wedding, right on, but it's Retro, not vintage. If the vibe is Old Hollywood Glam, then call it Old Hollywood Glam. If you and all your hippie friends run around naked in the forest and eat shrooms after your ceremony -- your wedding is a Hippie Wedding (and you NEED to hire me to shoot that!). If you have a photography site and you are influenced by old photos, we should be able to tell that by looking at your work -- you don't have to tell us it's vintage. Please reduce the use of the V-word. 

And, I would like to present the following idea to all creatives in the industry: what if you remove the word "vintage" from your info/description page on your web site (unless of course, you rent actual vintage items out or something) -- would you still feel fully confident that your work speaks for itself? 

Since "vintage"-influenced wedding design/style/photography is now fully mainstream for us, isn't it redundant? If we don't use it to describe our own work, we can have more freedom to be influenced by anything, and therefore we can have more space to allow our creativity to go wherever it wants to... Which is how this whole current movement began. I propose we use "Progressive Wedding Industry" instead. I like that, and it's accurate.

Vintage used to be a word that signified imagination. It meant that interesting and artistic people could actually express their own taste, personality and ideas in their non-traditional & non-generic weddings. This "new" (ironically, the exact opposite of the word vintage) wedding movement was an alternative to the boring, traditional weddings that were leftover from the 90's and all the cheesy things that went along with them. Nowadays, we're all creative and everyone is influenced by old stuff, so it's embedded into what we do. Therefore making the V-word superfluous.

If you are using the word "vintage" to describe anything but an item that is actually old, you are probably overusing the word. If you frequently use the term "vintage-inspired," you are probably, no definitely, overusing it.

(All photos by Noa Azoulay-Sclater of Feather Love)

tell me what i need to wear.

Dear ESB,

Here's the set up:

- Rustic old church.
- Barn Reception.
- Summer.

Here's the dress (more or less, I'm using it as inspiration to make my dress):

Here's the Jewelry:

and some of these enamel cuffs

Now, I've hit a wall:

I need shoes, and a goddamn necklace.

Help a sister out.

i might be barefoot.


you do NOT need a necklace. you've got pleeeeeeeeeenty of accessories going on already.

But here are your shoes:

I nailed it, right? Feel free to tell me that I nailed it.

Wanna know how I did it? I typed "sandals" into google images. 


Friday, January 27, 2012


there's a cranky one for you up on 100 layer cake. (and by cranky, i mean AWESOME.) 

v. interested to see how the cakelets respond this time.

i'm holding off on posting feather love's "vintage wedding" guest post til monday, so you've got that to look forward to.

photo of frances, my spirit animal, via cevd

At long last, IT'S EPISODE 4

Relationship drama, a thank-you card dilemma, AND a really juicy question from a (maybe?) virgin. All packed into 7 minutes.

Call (323) 905-4ESB to record your questions, comments and kudos.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

friendship bracelets are so over.

I've been rocking this big ol Macha ring all over the place and feeling like a rock star.*

And then they just tweeted THIS PIC? WHAT THE WHAT?

*I won the ring, in fact, in a "What is the most Rock n Roll Christmas present you ever received?" contest Macha ran on Twitter back in December. My answer was a mummified baby mouse carcass, obv.

Swanky bridesmaids dresses in regular AND plus sizes?

Dear ESB,

In June I am going to marry the totally awesome man of my dreams. He is SO awesome that he is even letting me pull off a ridiculous vintage circus inspired wedding, and has agreed to all my planning requests (Giant giraffe backdrop, tons of balloons, yard games, etc.) We even had a fun carnival themed engagement shoot.

I am having a ton of fun making crafty things and executing all of my plans, not feeling stressed about any of it.... Except regarding what the bridesmaids should wear.

I have three best ladies, and they are the raddest three ladies around. They are all smart and sexy, and have great individual style. While I am fine with them choosing their own dresses, they have decided that they still want to coordinate, and are hoping for something brightly colored, or sparkly, or vintage inspired... (In other words, something that will fit the wedding theme and make them look awesome).

We thought it would be easy for them to find coordinating dresses that they loved and looked good in. However, my MOH is a size 14-16, Future sister in law is a size 22-24, and my bestie cousin is a size 6. The four of us have been searching for MONTHS and haven't found anything that is even remotely attractive and available in BOTH standard and plus sizes.

Any chance you and your awesome audience can help us out?

Circus Girl


1. "vintage inspired" doesn't actually really mean anything. (more on that tomorrow.) i mean. are you going for the 1890's? the 20's? the 50's? you realize that ALL CLOTHES are inspired by the past, right??

2. RACHEL PALLY ALL THE WAY. These colors/patterns are circus-y enough for me. And definitely inspired by a vintage.

More importantly, RP makes excellent plus size dresses that coordinate beautifully with her main line.

I'll shut up about Rachel Pally now. And you can all stop asking me for bridesmaids dresses! kthxbye

Top photo by Frederick W. Glasier via Vintage Vivant

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

couple lil going-to-the-courthouse dresses

Isabel Marant (Note: you need bigger boobs to wear this dress)

Proenza Schouler (pls be not so tall)

Dear ESB: I'm having hair issues

A few months ago I felt like i needed a change, so I walked into a hair salon and asked them to "cut it all off." Little did I know, my boyfriend was planning on proposing to me the following week.  

"OMG, I just cut off all my hair," I screamed at him. Since the proposal I've been questioned as to what I am going to do with my hair. My wedding is this May, I don't really have time to grow it out. Can you please help me with a cool alternative that does not involve flowers or feathers. 

PS, I've attached a photo of my new hair cut and a link to the dress I'm getting


Rock It.

You don't need anything on your head.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I've solved your bridesmaids dress dilemmas

Okay, April has solved your dilemmas.

Rachel Pally has MANY very excellent styles and colors in the $140-250 range, and some of em are half off right now. (Or: Sign up for Rachel Pally emails and receive 20% off your first regular price order.)

She's also got bridesmaids jumpsuits, just fyiz.

A Wedding in Polaroids

And the most thorough, thoughtful, helpful write-up I have yet had the pleasure of publishing.

Take it away April:

Sitting down to write about our wedding seems an awful lot like an Academy Award acceptance speech -- there were so many incredible people and friends involved. I'm about to start blurting out a list of names before the orchestra starts playing the STOP TALKING music.

About our wedding: it happened over labor day weekend in a small town 2 hours north of San Francisco. Monte Rio is beautiful, remote and very California without having the expense of nearby wine country. The ceremony was on a meadow by the Russian River with the reception at the community center. We treated it like it like a destination wedding.

Besides our own marriage, here's what we wanted for our guests:
- to have a relaxing long weekend on the river.
- to enjoy themselves so much that they were really sad when the weekend was over.
- to leave feeling like they really got to know other people and made new friends.
(To that end we created a Facebook group to organize lodging, communicated on our save the dates that guests needed to book lodging pronto and gave people the resources to find rental houses together. We also created a custom google map with important location and people's rentals.) As far as we know, success!

Long term, WE owe the photographers, big time. We didn't have a pile of cash to burn, so we decided early on to spend on what was important to us. Pictures last forever, right? We wanted the photographs to represent the time we had that weekend and Chloe Aftel did just that. Bonus: she is hilarious and a joy to work with (she did our engagement shots too). She does magical things with Polaroids and captured the romantic, ephemeral parts of marrying someone you love. Waking up the day after the weddings and flipping through the prints was immediate gratification! We had another photographer manning the photo booth during cocktails -- Meg Messina took fantastic wedding guest portraits.

Finally, a shot of gratitude to Jennifer Tipton. She came on as the wedding day coordinator but she was indispensable long before that. She was wonderful to work with and  was on top of everything during the weekend.

The dress: it was St. Lucia sample by Jenny Packham, purchased at San Francisco's Glamour Closet. This is the place to go if you want an expensive dress for half-price. Ideal for people who a) are motived bargain shoppers or b) don't mind if their dress has a few fix-it blemishes.
The headpiece: bought a couple but settled on the Mignonne Handmade - Nature Girl Halo in ivory.
The bridesmaids: almost all wore long, pale pink Rachel Pally. She designs with modal jersey, aka feels like pajamas.

The cake(s): we didn't want a wedding cake per se. We bought basically one of every cake from Miette. Beautiful/delicious/not $1000.

And finally, here's the rest of the Rad people/places/things near California's Sonoma valley....
Artistry by Alan: Oh my, those lashes! He comes from a Hollywood background and sat me down, did his magic and I looked like myself but flawless. What cinched it for me is he did make-up on the movie Clueless. HELLO 90's girl fantasy!
Brian Ho of Dreams in Audio: the best damn unwedding DJ we could've found (sf-based)
Fork Catering: food truck extraordinaire, tasty, local, fresh food.
Pinterest: I had an Inspiration and Final Wedding board to manage the look since our wedding decor didn't really have a strong theme besides what we liked.
Virb: hosted our wedding website! Easy and (more importantly) stylish.

The last note: we ended up with 12 kids/babies on the attending guest list(!). Besides reserving the playground adjacent to the reception site we also introduced the parents beforehand via email. We had a kid activities, made programs with a colorable illustration. One of my favorite parts of the reception was the kids smashing a Confetti System-style piñata we filled with toys and candy. It was joyful having them around!

OH, I cannot believe I almost forgot to mention my favorite wedding stress coping mechanism. No, not stress eating (close second!) — my favorite way to let of irrational impulses and wedding industry wackness out was by creating the Twitter account @BRIDEHULK. In the same vein as internet meme @DrunkHulk, you tweet the rage away. I did not man @BRIDEHULK myself, I enlisted the help of about 10 other brides who were also wedding planning last year. Most of us graduated out but there are still a couple friends who are getting married in 2012. I hope the tradition will live on and would be happy to share login information with others who find themselves fed-up with one too many staged wedding blog posts, difficult potential vendors and crazy-pants family drama.


(Chloe Aftel also took super gorg digital photos. A few of em are up over here.)

business in front, party at the back

Hello to my Snarky Sister,

I am getting married in October to the artistically minded scientist I've been searching for. And found the MOST AMAZING Escada wedding dress which is completely modest in the front, but is backless. As in almost butt crack backless with beaded straps. For 85% off no less on the internet. Oh and there's a bow which snaps onto the butt area. I thought I would hate the bow, but once the aforementioned fiance took some pics of the back, with and without the bow, this minimalist woman actually decided to go with the bow.

We're having a VERY short ceremony, hopefully outside and with a mention of the Higgs boson particle and dueling accordions.

My question is this: what kind of shrug would work? All the weddingy sweaters/jackets/wraps are cropped bolero looking things and that WILL NOT WORK with the whole almost butt crack dress, but anything long will look strange with the bow.

Can you think of anything amazing-like or do I just suck it up and be cold for the sake of my fucking gorgeous backless bowed dress? (it's floor-length - I know you hate tights but how do you feel about long underwear?)


i require a photo



Because it's a large it hangs down a bit lower on me.


suck it up for the ceremony. you'll be so giddy to be getting married, you won't notice the cold.

and then throw on a dressy full-length coat of some sort to make your getaway. (snapping off the bow if you need to.)

but first things first, lady. GET THAT BUTT CRACK TO A TAILOR.

Monday, January 23, 2012

LA dress shopping tips?

Dear ESB,

My fella and I are currently taking a pre-wedding honeymoon (a funnymoon!), spending 8 months travelling up through Colombia and Central America before we fly home to Australia via LA. Once we get back we have about three weeks before the big day. I would highly recommend it to any bride to be. There is no pre-wedding angst, and you get to live and laugh through all the challenges and adventures that travelling throws at you. 

Anyway, I don't have a dress yet, and fashion in Australia is kind of limited, so I was hoping that you could point me in the direction of a few alternative wedding dress shops in LA. 

I am not a froofy bridal type. I am hoping to go for a kind of Kate Moss/Bianca Jagger aesthetic (and not spend more than about $800). I'm only going to have about four days for dress shopping, so given the tight schedule, want to collate a hit-list before I arrive. Any tips would be hugely appreciated. 

Thanks for your help and eternal good sense.  


Just so we're clear, you don't need bridal shops.

You need a list of high-end-ish dept stores/boutiques to SCOUR for a white/white-ish/blush dress you can buy off the rack. You don't have time to mess around with special orders and alterations.

Off the top of my head, I'd recommend Barneys, Barneys CoopBloomingdale's (the big one at Century City), maybe Fred Segal, and of course Opening Ceremony, if only for comic effect.

Who knows, you might fall in love with the bow princess dress (pictured above) or this simple "ceremony dress."

Mostly just posting these photos b/c I'm rly into the hair.


thought you might need this

bundle up, my sickies.

Rooby a Red Kangaroo at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Manitoba, Canada (AP Photo/Assiniboine Park Zoo, Darlene Stack) via Zoo Borns via The Daily Beast


Dear ESB,

I am a bridesmaid for a close friend. Her maid of honor lives in London, so I have stepped up with the emotional support and random phone calls. A-okay by me. My problem is that the bride wants all of her bridesmaids to wear dresses such as these (number 4 would have to be my favorite out of the choices we have been given, and there are 6 more that I won't even bother to show you at this point):

I am relieved that she has decided to stay away from teal, but now she wants us all to wear black. I have absolutely NO problem wearing black, but not in these dresses! I'm just not a fan of typical bridesmaid-y dresses that I'll spend a chunk of money on and NEVER WEAR AGAIN. I have tried to show her other options, but she feels that these dresses will be better for all of her very dynamic in size bridesmaids. 

Would it be bad to wait a bit and try and convince her to chose other dresses (her wedding isn't until MAY of 2013)? And do you have any ideas of awesome dresses that will flatter all body types AND look awesome in black AND be cheap AND look good in uniform???

AND thank you.

-Bridesmaid being suffocated by a man named David's Bridal


a) F*ck David's Bridal.

b) How do you even know what size you'll all be in May of 2013? Half of you could be pregnant. (Actually, #4 makes you look like you're pregnant already.)

c) THERE IS NO DRESS THAT FLATTERS ALL BODY TYPES. That's why they make dresses in more than one style.

Pls forward this to the bride.



Photo: Sam Ypma by Wilkosz & Way for Fashion Gone Rogue