Monday, October 31, 2011

All The Things

Today, Kim Kardashian filed for divorce from her brand-new husband. They married 72 days ago in a lavish ceremony that cost a reported $10 million.

This is just the latest event in recent days that has given me pause about the wedding industry and what I (OK, not just I) like to call the Wedding Industry Complex (WIC). The WIC is what makes you want to buy All The Things for your wedding because "It's the best day of your life!" It makes you feel guilty when you don't buy All The Things or decide you don't care what the tablecloths look like. The WIC is perpetuated by the magazine publishers, fashion houses, the diamond industry, and others who profit off of weddings. It is also perpetuated by society's high expectations of brides and weddings.

The WIC has reared its ugly head in recent days. It started when I saw a darling pair of shoes on the biggest wedding blog around. This pretty pair of glittery flats, lauded as "must haves" by the blog, are made by Jimmy Choo and cost $345. The WIC popped up again on Sunday when I attended a bridal show. At the beginning of the fashion show, the MC congratulated us brides-to-be and gleefully told us to give ourselves a round of applause. For what? For getting married?

My problem with the WIC is that it simultaneously trivializes and exaggerates the act of getting married while barely addressing the subject of marriage at all.

The WIC turns the act of getting married into an overblown, theatrical event, minimizing the importance and gravity of the commitment that weddings represent. Have you ever read an article in a bridal magazine about how to maintain a good, loving relationship with your partner for decades to come? Me either. Instead, you get articles like "516 Ways to Wow Your Guests!" and "10 Surprising Beauty Foods: Eat Up Girls!" (These are real headlines from real bridal magazines I have in my apartment right now.) The WIC makes women (and their partners) feel that they have to spend all their money on the perfect dress/ring/shoes/hairstyle, or else they risk offending everyone. The WIC is what makes people look at you a little funny when you say you don't have wedding colors or you might not do a bouquet/garter toss.

And I totally get it. Weddings are a multi-billion-dollar industry. A lot of people make a lot of money by urging brides to buy All The Things for their special days. I'm not against the buying of pretty things. I love pretty things and will have plenty of them at my own wedding. What I am against is the way the pretty things have changed the way we as a society view weddings. A wedding has become more about the dress, the flowers, and the cake than the love and commitment of two people making a solemn promise to one another. I wish everyone spent a little less time thinking about the wedding and a little more time thinking about the marriage that will continue long after the party ends.

Now, if someone could just forward this post to Kim Kardashian...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I survived a bridal expo.

Today, I went to a bridal expo at a hotel downtown. I got 4 free tickets, so I figured I'd check it out with three of my friends, Anna, Jacqui, and Erin. I called them my "bridal brigade."
We had a delicious brunch and then headed over to the hotel for an afternoon of bridal madness.
We checked in and I was handed a sticker to wear that said "V.I.B." Oh, Lord... I also got a cute new tote bag that was quickly filled with magazines, brochures, pamphlets, and business cards from the various businesses at the expo. There were vendors for all kinds of different things. We saw lots of bouquets, invitations, and tuxedos, and we sampled prosecco and cake. We even tried on rings! (Don't tell my friends' boyfriends, but they got in on the action with some gorgeous engagement rings while I looked at wedding bands.)

The headline event of the day was the fashion show.
This was my favorite dress. Love the lace jacket.
 Pretty, one-shouldered bridesmaid dresses
A tad short on the model, but I would definitely wear this in white as a bridal gown. I love the pleating around the hem.
 What do you think? Should I wear this hat on my wedding day? I'm thinking yes.
The expo wasn't incredibly helpful since we already have a lot of vendors booked, but I had a fun time with my girls. Who doesn't love spending an afternoon looking at pretty dresses with friends?

Monday, October 24, 2011

I knew this was too easy.

Adam and I have been amazed by the ease of the wedding planning process so far. We booked the first venue we looked at and the first photographer we met with, and the second caterer we talked to. Everything's been falling into place and we haven't experienced any wedding-related stress...until now.

Last weekend, Adam's parents looked online at hotel prices for our wedding. The Marriott, where they always stay, was priced at over $400/night. WHAT?!? They immediately called to inquire and were told that the price hike is due to: 1) Ryder Cup going on in the suburbs and 2) a medical conference* in the Gold Coast.

I began to panic. Booking hotel rooms wasn't even on our radar and probably wouldn't have been something on our to-do list for another few months. All of a sudden, it had to happen NOW. When I started calling other hotels in the area, most of them quoted me prices like $279/night or $309/night, significantly higher than I hoped our guests would have to pay. Fortunately, I was able to find a few places that were much more affordable. I guess the silver lining is that we got to check something off our to-do list without it ever being on there to begin with.

Wedding problem #1 down. Probably dozens more to go.

*Ironically, the medical conference is being hosted by the American College of Surgeons, the same organization that owns our reception venue.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

"Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh everyday, ah, that's a real treat." - Joanne Woodward

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

True Colors

One of the most common questions people ask me about the wedding is "What are your colors?" I feel like a bad bride-to-be because I don't have a very straight-forward answer to that question. The other day, I told a potential vendor that our colors are Everything Look Nice.

Why is it that conventional wisdom/The Wedding Industry says you can only pick one or two colors? Why does everything have to be matchy-matchy? There are already enough aspects of our wedding that have the potential to stress me out. I don't need to also worry about making sure the bridesmaids' dresses match the tablecloths match the invitations match the icing on the cake.

The other reason I don't want to pick wedding colors is because I don't want to detract from the beautiful spaces we've booked for our wedding.

Instead of traditional "wedding colors," we're going with a color palette made up of different neutral and metallic colors.

Judging on this inspiration board I made, I guess that means our colors are white, black, grey, silver, gold, and a little bit of green.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Food, Glorious Food!

Adam and I had our first tasting with a potential caterer. We went in yesterday over lunch for a 4-course feast! We sampled hors d'oeuvres, salad, soup, entrées, side dishes and even wine! It was a bit overwhelming, but a lot of fun.

The catering company set up a table with gorgeous linens, fancy chairs and some of the plates and flatware we'll be able to choose from. It was nice to get a visual of what everything would look like all set up.

We sampled 10 hors d'oeuvres for cocktail hour, a salad, a soup, 4 entrées and 4 side dishes. Everything was presented beautifully and, more importantly, it was very tasty.

Salad with candied walnuts, strawberries, sweet potato strings and a sherry vinaigrette dressing
4 entrée options - vegetarian ravioli, lemon tilapia, tomato-stuffed chicken breast, and skirt steak
4 side dish options - roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, carrots, and potatoes au gratin
 We aren't sure yet which caterer we're going to pick in the end, but I'm definitely looking forward to doing more tastings! Planning a wedding is pretty fun sometimes.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Today, someone asked me what I had envisioned the centerpieces to look like.

Is this something I should be doing?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Queen of the Great Lakes

This is a great video I found from 1945. It's fun to see what the city looked like then v. now. Lots of things are different, but a lot are the same, too. I love living in a city with such a rich history!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

12 months

Our to-do list for the month of October:

  • Pick a caterer

    Yep. That's pretty much it. We met with one caterer today and we have a tasting scheduled with another caterer for lunch on Thursday. At the tasting, we will be sampling 10 hors d'oeuvres,  2 first course options, 4 entrées, 2 starch sides, 2 vegetable sides, plus any desserts/late-night snacks we want to taste. So much food! I'm confident that Adam and I are up to the challenge.

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Our Practice Honeymoon

    This past weekend, Adam and I took a trip to New York City. We went because flights were cheap and we wanted to get out of town for a weekend. Because it was happening exactly a year before our wedding weekend, I decided to call it our practice honeymoon. Despite a rough start to the trip, we had a pretty good time.

    Adam hates New York. I love it and would move there in a heartbeat. To compromise, I promised to keep Adam out of Midtown and show him that New York has some character and charm, not just suffocatingly tall buildings and crowded streets.

    We stayed with our friend (and wedding party member!), Phil, at his new apartment in SoHo the Village. Here we are at a delicious brunch that, despite serving Mexican food, turned out to be part of an Oktoberfest celebration on a cute side street in the Financial District.
    We explored the Financial District and saw Wall Street and the new Freedom Tower being built.
    We went to TriBeCa and saw the fire house from the Ghostbusters movies. Adam was excited about this one.
    Even though I promised Adam he wouldn't have to go north of 14th Street, I did break that promise when we checked out the High Line. This park was built atop an old freight rail track in the Meatpacking District. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Manhattan. 
    I considered this trip a success when, while exploring the cobblestone streets of the Financial District, Adam told me, "If I were ever forced to live in Manhattan, I think I could live down here. Lower Manhattan isn't so bad." A successful practice honeymoon, indeed.