Friday, June 29, 2012

Chair Dance

I'm not referring to this kind of chair dance (although it is awesome).
The one I'm talking about is more proverbial. It has to do with these.
Sonal J. Shah Event Consultants LLC
Our venue comes with chairs. For free. Well, not free, but they're included in the venue's rental price. Here's what they look like.
Fun fact: This is the first photo in my "wedding planning" photo folder.
They're not great. Certainly not as pretty as these gorgeous chiavari chairs (as seen in our venue).
The Murphy Auditorium
Jessica Johnston Photography
 Sigh. So pretty.

After seeing the "free" blue chairs and then plenty of wedding porn featuring chiavari chairs, we asked our caterer to include chiavari chairs in the estimate.

They were over $1,200.

That's a lot of money, but we told ourselves it would be worth it to make our venue look that much prettier. It would put that extra-special touch on our reception. It would be worth saving money somewhere else to pay for them.

I told myself that we needed the chairs for a couple of months. Then I realized it was ridiculous. No one's going to notice the chairs. Well, maybe some people will, but the vast majority of our guests will just sit on them. Do we really need to spend over $1,200 on something people will just sit on? That money could be spent on extra hours of photography or more food. Besides, the blue chairs aren't so bad. They're Notre Dame colors, and they look pretty good in these pictures.
Photo by Mattson Pictures via Style Me Pretty
Husar Photography
That pesky WIC can really sneak up on you sometimes, but I'm glad we realized that free chairs are perfectly fine. And if I ever doubt my decision, the good people over at A Practical Wedding always have my back.
A Practical Wedding

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mrs. No Name

Photo by Dana Gallagher via Martha Stewart Weddings
Etiquette dictates that on an invitation, the bride's parents should be listed at the top as the wedding's hosts. Both Adam's and my parents are hosting the wedding, so we decided to put both sets of names at the top. Not 100% Miss Manners approved, but it's the most appropriate option for our wedding, so that was that.

Etiquette also suggests that the names of married couples should be written as Mr. and Mrs. HisFirstName HisLastName. So, John and Jane Doe would go on the invitation as Mr. and Mrs. John Doe. This relic of ancient history bothers me to no end.

I've already discussed changing my name and my decision to drop my last name and take Adam's. It wasn't a very difficult decision for me, but it is a bit strange to lose part of my identity like that. This is why the idea of becoming Mrs. Adam HisLastName bothers me so much. As the woman, I'm already losing part of my name; I don't want to lose the entire thing altogether!

But dropping the titles altogether doesn't sound formal enough. What to do?

While Miss Manners may disagree, we have decided to embrace living in the 21st century and call our parents Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Doe. It acknowledges their status as a married couple while still respecting that they are individuals.

Did you run into any complicated naming situations*? What solutions did you come up with?

*If you have not yet resolved these complicated naming situations and don't like the old Emily Post-approved methods, here's a handy-dandy modern, feminist guide to addressing invitations (and everyday mail) properly.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lend me your ear

My style is generally streamlined and simple, and I rarely wear earrings larger than a pair of simple diamond or pearl studs. On my wedding day, I want to go a little bigger. I've decided a necklace won't work with my dress, so I want to wear some dangly earrings since they won't have to compete with anything else.

I tried these on at Nordstrom and really liked them. I love that they are simple and classic, but still noticeable.
These are very similar, but a different shape.
I like the stones that look like leaves on the top of these. They add just a little extra visual interest.
These are very simple, but would make a big impact with their size and sparkle.
Or I could go with round stones.
Which ones do you like best?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Happy Pride

Today marks the culmination of Pride Week here in Chicago, and Adam and I are having our friends over to watch the big parade that happens at the end of our block.
At last year's Pride Parade with old and new friends
While it's a lot of fun to wear bright, rainbow colors and watch go-go boys dance on floats, we still recognize that LGBTQ people in this country don't have a lot of the rights that we have simply because we are in a heterosexual relationship. We aren't subjected to taunts when we walk down the street holding hands. We can't get fired from our jobs for being in a relationship. We can get married, and when we get married, we will be afforded over 1,000 rights along with the labels of husband and wife.

We have gay friends and family members who will be attending our wedding, some of whom will be participating in the wedding in various roles, and we don't want them to feel excluded by our celebration.* We've deliberately chosen readings and songs devoid of language defining marriage as between a man and a woman. I plan to attach a white knot to my bouquet, and mail in a strongly worded letter with my marriage certificate.

But my wedding day is only one day of my life. Every other day, I try to stand up for LGBTQ rights by making charitable donations, volunteering my time, voting for supportive candidates, writing letters to elected officials, and generally being open-minded and accepting.

Happy Pride, everyone. Here's hoping that the day is coming when all love will be treated equally.

*If you are interested, there are a lot of other things you can do at your wedding to show that you support marriage equality.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Brooch Bride, Part 2

The other day, I posted about brooches for my dress. But I also want to wear a brooch in my hair. My brother came up short on his European search, so I've turned to my trusty friend the internet. For the hair brooch, I'm drawn to smaller pins with a very strong art deco design. Here are some options.
 I could add a splash of my favorite color, green, with this brooch.
What do you think? Which one do you like best?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

100 Days

No, not this 100 days.
Return on Reputation
100 days from today, Adam and I will become husband and wife! Time is really flying, and I can't wait for September 29th to be here.
Andrew Collings Photography

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What I Learned in Bar Review Today

You may have heard that the tradition of bridesmaids comes from a belief that evil spirits would try to curse the bride, so a group of women would dress all the same to confuse the spirits. But today in my bar review class, I learned that the tradition of having a maid of honor and best man comes from a slightly less silly place. In medieval times, marriage was simply a property arrangement between two families. Only one witness is legally required to validate the marriage, but in order to ensure that the property transaction went according to plan and one family didn't get screwed over, each family sent a representative to the wedding to witness the transaction. These representatives became known as the maid of honor and the best man. Hopefully this shows up on the exam!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Brooch Bride

I finally got my dress back from getting cleaned, so now's the time to accessorize. I really want to wear a brooch on my dress. It will add some visual interest (and sparkle!) and while my daughter probably won't want to wear my wedding dress, she might want to wear a brooch. I asked my grandmothers if they had any brooches I could borrow, but they're not brooch people. So, I began my search at a local bridal accessories store.
Personal photo
This beauty blew me away, but unfortunately, its price did, too. At over $200, I had to walk away. I know it's an heirloom-quality piece, but I just can't justify the price.

For more budget-friendly options, I turned to the internet. I am drawn to round, art deco-style brooches with some step-cut stones (like my engagement ring). Here are some options.
 I'm kind of obsessed with this one, but it's a bit pricey.
These are similar and a lot cheaper.
 Which one is your favorite?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Matchy Matchy

I'm a sucker for photos like this...
Oh So Beautiful Paper
Oh So Beautiful Paper
Oh So Beautiful Paper I want a cohesive invitation suite. They say that the invitations set the tone for the wedding, so I want our guests to open up their mail to something beautiful and classic yet modern. We don't have a set color scheme, so I want our stationery to tie everything together.

Anyone else love the matchy-matchy look for wedding stationery?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

New England Chic

Now that we're getting close to the wedding (and it's summer time), I'm starting to get really excited for our honeymoon in Cape Cod! I can't wait to dress in my preppy best for our week-long New England jaunt.

For a nautical locale like Cape Cod, I'll definitely need some anchors...
Pink Pineapple
Kiel James Patrick

...some navy and white stripes...
Classy Girls Wear Pearls

Anne M. Cramer skirt / Little Black Sequin

...and my new monogram!
Gaudy Baubles
Bee Lines
Village Vinyl
I have some serious shopping to do before September!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Feminist v. Bride

I am a feminist and a bride, which are two surprisingly conflicting roles. Anyone who has gotten married before and identifies as a feminist is probably saying "Ummm, duh," right now, but before I got engaged, I really didn't even consider that those two roles would conflict. I can say that without a doubt, reconciling my feminist self with my bride self has been the most difficult part of wedding planning for me.

Why is it so hard? Well, the label of "feminist" is brand-new compared to the long-standing label of "bride," and the label of "bride" isn't exactly steeped in the tradition of gender equality. The dirty secret of weddings is that for centuries it was a property transaction between the bride's father and her new husband. Things that today are cute traditions have long, patriarchal pasts. All of a sudden, for feminist brides, the decision about whether to participate in these traditions becomes fraught with conflict.

There's a laundry list of patriarchal traditions for brides to consider and to fret over. Should I change my name? Should I wear an engagement ring?  Is it OK if I have a father-daughter dance? What about a bouquet and garter toss? Who will pay for the wedding? How should we word the invitations? Should I wear a veil?

Then there's the thought process. On one hand, I want to wear a veil because I think veils are pretty, but on the other hand, I know that a veil is an outward endorsement of my virginity. So if I wear a veil, does that mean I'm supporting the idea that a woman's worth to her husband is based on her chastity? And if I wear a veil in spite of its less-than-empowering past just because I think it's pretty, does that make me shallow? Even worse, does it make me a bad feminist?

That's the most difficult thought of them all. I feel guilty, like I'm letting down womankind, when - after considering all of my options - I choose the patriarchal tradition. I feel like people will see me wearing a veil (or dancing with my dad or throwing my bouquet) and not know that I'm doing it in spite of its traditional, anti-feminist connotations. When people see a bride who rebels against tradition by not wearing white or walking herself down the aisle, it's a clear statement. But when a bride has a relatively traditional wedding, how do people know whether she's reclaiming the sexist traditions or endorsing them?

I want to stay true to myself, but maybe my wedding isn't the place to make a statement about the patriarchy, feminism, and gender roles. Maybe it doesn't matter why I'm wearing the veil as long as I feel beautiful. In the end, I need to focus on what's right for me, my future husband, and our wedding and base my decisions solely on that. And really, what's more feminist than that?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Dreamed a Dream

No, I'm not talking about this. (Although it is glorious. Take notes, Anne Hathaway.)

I'm talking about this:
Bridal Buds
I never had recurring dreams...until I got engaged. Throughout the past 10 months, I've had recurring dreams about the wedding. Or, rather, everything going wrong at the wedding. At first, everyone showed up the morning of the wedding, but we had no plans. Then, once we made some plans, I dreamed that it was the morning of the wedding and I had nothing to wear. Then I bought a dress, and I dreamed I had no veil or shoes or jewelry. Now, I'm starting to think about a timeline for the day, so I'm dreaming that everything is chaotic and no one knows what they're doing. Just last night I dreamed that we forgot to pick up my ring!

You'd think that with under 4 months to go, everything is pretty much planned and my brain would run out of things to stress about. It's funny how things that I'm not even that stressed about in real life (like finding jewelry to wear) pop up in my dreams as crises.

Do you have recurring wedding dreams?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Knock It Off

Anyone who has looked for wedding shoes recently knows that Badgley Mischka makes fabulous bridal shoes. This is one of their popular styles.
I was shopping at DSW this weekend when out of the corner of my eye, I spotted this pair of shoes.
This isn't the first time I've come across knockoffs in my wedding-planning journey. Check out this gorgeous Amsale dress that I tried on while dress shopping.
Now, check out this one by Wtoo.
Then there was The Wedding Dress That Almost Was.
I tried on this Marisa dress at Macy's and loved it. I stood in front of the mirror for about an hour, admiring myself. I loved the way it felt and how tiny it made my waist look. I tried on veils, belts, and jewelry with it. I imagined walking down the aisle in it and dancing the night away in it. I priced it out with my mom and confirmed that I could afford to buy it. As I took it off in the dressing room, still smiling ear-to-ear, the consultant said, "Isn't it stunning? It's a knockoff of a Vera Wang dress!"

That one sentence was the only reason I didn't buy the dress.

Knockoffs are big business, especially in the wedding industry. Young people in the U.S. spend more than they ever have before on luxury goods, and on their wedding days, they want those same luxury items. Often, a bride's pocketbook doesn't match her taste. Enter: knockoffs.

I have made it a policy for myself that I will never knowingly buy a knockoff. A fashion designer is not allowed to copyright his or her designs in the United States, which technically makes the practice of knocking off another designer's work 100% legal. But while it is technically legal, I think that it is akin to stealing. Designers spend lots of time and money developing their work, and I believe that it is wrong to unfairly profit from someone else's intellectual property. I think that if I like someone's work enough, I should pay them a fair sum of money for it. If I can't afford it, I should move on. There are plenty of artists and designers out there fabricating their own original, affordable creations, and I would rather support one of them than "steal" from a better-known designer because I think that art is important and that creativity ought to be highly valued.

In the end, I bought a different wedding gown, and I'm proud to say that I purchased it directly from the independent designer's showroom.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Make Me Up

Guys! I stopped procrastinating and finally booked a makeup artist! This is excellent news because I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to makeup. On a daily basis, I pretty much wear blush, mascara, and a little eyeliner. At night, I'll put on a little more eyeliner and maybe some lipstick or gloss.

Left: me on a normal day, Right: me spiffed up for New Year's Eve
They're suuuuch different looks, right?

For the wedding, I want to feel a little more glam than I'm capable of doing on my own. I'm thinking a smoky eye with pink cheeks and a neutral lip. Like this:
The gorgeous Mrs. Panther on Weddingbee / Raw Photo Design
(Yes, I know Kate did her own wedding makeup, but I don't have her skills!)

I'm excited to pamper myself a little bit and get my makeup done by a professional on my wedding day. I know she'll make me look better than I could make myself look and it will last a lot longer, too. What do you think?