Tag Archives: bride

Beauty in the Movies: Muriel’s Wedding

This week for Beauty in the Movies we look at Muriel’s Wedding, a film that falls into the sadly rare comedy/drama category and is as heartbreaking as it is hysterical.

Muriel Heslop (Toni Collette) is unemployed, obsessed with weddings, and living with her parents in her hometown of Porpoise Spit Australia. All the Heslop children still live at home under constant verbal assault from their overbearing and often cruel politician father (Bill Hunter). Muriel still hangs out with the popular girls from her high school. They treat her like trash, call her fat, and berate her for embarrassing them with her bad clothes, love of 70s music (specifically ABBA), and general un-coolness (this is the 90s after all!). When they plan a getaway and tell her they don’t want her to come, Muriel uses a blank check from her mother and heads off to the same resort alone.

Once at the resort she coincidentally meets Rhonda (Rachel Griffiths), another friend from high school who helps her stand-up to the bitchy girls who scorned her. Rhonda and Muriel become fast friends and move to Sydney where Muriel vows to start a whole new life, but escaping the family she left in Porpoise Spit might be harder than she thought. When Rhonda is forced to suddenly change her partying ways, it’s the true test of her and Muriel’s friendship.

Australians really have a knack for creating hysterical over-the-top characters who can also be deeply empathetic. Films like this one, as well as Strictly Ballroom and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, give us overblown humor mixed in with dark subjects, but the characters feel honest so the two integrate as naturally as they do in all our lives. I get sick of movies that are all sad or all happy, everyone is either living in expensive apartments having wacky romances or everyone is dying of cancer and losing children, it’s just too much sometimes.

A great portion of the success of this film belongs to Toni Collette. A lesser actress couldn’t make Muriel, whose actions are often morally questionable, such a sympathetic character. Muriel is obsessed with getting married, not because she wants to fall in love, but because she wants to show everyone that she has changed—that she is a success. Muriel is an incredibly selfish character, she lies, she steals and she doesn’t seem to care much about any of it, of course that’s the point of the movie, but if the audience didn’t care about the character despite her many flaws, it wouldn’t mean anything when she finally realizes the error of her ways.

Muriel’s father is abusive, he doesn’t hit his children, but he might as well because the verbal abuse he heaps on his whole family (including his wife who he seems to have pushed to the edge of sanity) does more damage to them in the long run. Sadly, it’s all too common a thing to see in families, and it’s not talked about very often. Muriel’s real success is that she escapes from her prolonged adolescence and stops believing that she has to run away from who she is.

Despite what you might think, Muriel’s Wedding is not a romantic comedy, it’s dark, and despite its incredible humor, it’s depressing at times. This film completely breaks the mold in terms of what we think films about weddings are supposed to be. It’s not about two people overcoming obstacles to be together, or about living happily ever after, it’s about life, both the bad and the good. In this story there isn’t a white knight, or a perfect guy, because often in life the real person who saves you isn’t the one who comes sweeping in for the rescue, but the one who will sit beside you through anything—and make you laugh about it.

If you’re still not sold, this film is worth seeing for the awesome ABBA filled soundtrack and dance number too. Give ABBA a chance, it’s worth it, really.

Muriel's Wedding

Muriel’s Wedding by justinez featuring bridal shoes

Twirl Posy Floral Dress
35 GBP – fatface.com
Fat Face dresses »

Maje Anabelle leather dress
$685 – net-a-porter.com
Leather dresses »

Blue flower bell sleeve tunic
23 GBP – dorothyperkins.com
Blue tunic »

Stripe Crop Tee
$26 – metroparkusa.com
Raglan t shirt »

Naline cotton macramé vest
$51 – theoutnet.com
Cotton vests »

454 AMOUR Bridal Garter
20 EUR – pret-a-beaute.com
Fogal »

BKE Hoop Earring
$2.55 – buckle.com
Hoop earrings »

Gold Spiked Hoop Earrings
$75 – charmandchain.com
Hoop earrings »

Long Various Bead Necklace
$5.80 – forever21.com
Forever21 necklaces »

White Satin Elbow Length Gloves
$12 – unique-vintage.com
White gloves »

Alkemie + Spiral Flower Buckle
$240 – econsciousmarket.com
Buckle belts »

Lanvin Ostrich feather-trimmed veil
$860 – net-a-porter.com


Scrunchie
scrunchies.com


7 Comments

Filed under Beauty in the movies

Post-Wedding Daze

Guess what? I’m married!! Huzzah!

I never thought I would be taking a break from blogging for two full weeks, but the week leading up to the wedding got so crazy hectic that posting just didn’t happen. I spent this week walking around in a total daze after returning from our little honeymoon weekend on Monday night. It took me way too long to unpack and respond to all the nice e-mails, and then there were the pictures. Between my dad’s 300 hundred plus snapshots, facebook galleries of friend’s pictures and hundreds of others from various family and friends, I’ve spent most of the week clicking through sideshows. Just when I would sit down to be productive again, I ended up going back to look—just one more time, at the best night of my life so far.

I definitely suffered from some post wedding let-down, how can you not? Our culture forces this idea in to your mind:

“this is the BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE—ever! No seriously, you will not have as good a day for the rest of your life, it’s all down hill from here. You won’t get to have fun or be pretty again, not like this.”

Obviously that’s not true, and it runs in direct contradiction to the whole point of marriage, but that is the bill we’re sold from the beginning. Then you spend months planning every detail, and by the last few weeks everything has become saturated with wedding preparations. Finally the anticipation reaches fever pitch and you can forget about sleeping or relaxing. Once the day actually comes, it passes by faster than any other day in your entire life.

People told me it would go by fast, and I kept telling myself  “enjoy this, remember this”, but no matter how hard I tried, the whole thing ended up a beautiful, joyous, magical blur that was over in the blink of an eye leaving me with memories that feel like nothing more than the best dream I’ve ever had. All those smiling people, the people I love, the people I wish I could see more often, they were all there with me. There is definitely something heaven-like about your own wedding, it feels like a fantasy. Not only do you get to marry the person you love and commit to stay with them forever, but you get to be surrounded by all your favorite people, and wear a really nice outfit too, what more could you ask for?


You pretty much get to feel like the luckiest person in the world on your wedding day, and then it’s over and you go from being a fianceé, to a bride, to a wife in one day, and all the while you feel like exactly the same person. In some ways that’s the strangest part, all this hubbub and joy, all this talk of “crossing a threshold” and transcending, but when you get home from your honeymoon your cat is vomiting, and there is dirty laundry where you left it, and you and your new husband still dance around the kitchen singing in funny voices like idiots and you realize that you’re both the same people you always were. The only difference now is the affirmation that you have amazing, wonderful, generous, kind people all around you and that you’ve made the promise to be a goofball with your best friend for the rest of your life—and those are both truly things to be grateful for.

Forgive me for my recent lack of posts, and for not getting it together to do Beauty in the Movies this week, it will be back next week—scouts honor. I’ll share more pictures once they come back and do a more in-depth wedding post soon too!

*Special thanks to David Shazar for the great photos!!

11 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Fabulous Hats

I’ve been meaning to do a post on hats for a long time now, and after watching Glee last week and seeing Kurt’s fabulous church hat, I decided I had to pull it together and make this post happen—so thanks for the inspiration Kurt!

I’ve always admired people who can really pull off an amazing hat. I’ve tried before but I always end up feeling awkward and obstructed somehow. Winter hats are a different story, they’re much-needed and practical, what I’m talking about are statement hats, they draw attention, they express an attitude, and they require a special kind of confidence to pull off.

I put together this collage of fabulous hats worn by fabulous women as inspiration for myself, and maybe for all of you too. Nothing shows off your confidence like an amazing hat.

(Click to enlarge—you want to see these hats!)

I consider this to be the ultimate fabulous hat, so it gets its own picture. If you haven’t seen the film My Fair Lady, it’s worth it just for Cecil Beaton’s costumes and this hat.

One of the reasons I wanted to do this post is because at my wedding in 17 days (Ahhh!!) I will be wearing a hat. I kind of love the idea of a “wedding hat”, it seems so old-fashioned somehow. I had it made at a great little hat shop on Thompson street in the village, they did the purple bow, feathers, and lavender veil custom for me, which I love! Since most bridal salons charge upwards of $200 for a row of Swarovski crystals pinned to a piece of tulle, having a custom wedding hat made doesn’t seem extravagant—it seems like a lot more bang for your buck.


I can’t wait to wear it—it goes perfect with my purple shoes!

Wedding hats—and any statement hat, are a great way to add some pizazz to an outfit, and unlike other fashion risks, you can always just take the hat off if you decide you don’t like it.

Anyone have pictures of themselves in fabulous hats? I’d love to see them!

*Sorry my posting has been so sporadic, this whole wedding thing takes up a lot of time.

7 Comments

Filed under accessories

The Going Away Outfit, and The Trouble With Dress Shopping

Ok, so it’s not really a going away outfit for me as much as it is a brunch the next day/going away outfit, but I’m calling it my “going away outfit” anyway. I like the idea of it, it’s a bit of a throw back, a little retro, a bit traditional, but practical too. Years ago brides would buy their outfit as part of their wedding trousseau and change into it before they left for their honeymoon while the wedding was still going on. Maybe I just like the idea of buying a new outfit, but I keep thinking about Shelby’s little pink suit in Steel Magnolias, and Cameron Diaz’s character wears one at the end of My Best Friend’s Wedding too—maybe it’s Julia Robert’s who’s responsible, but either way, I like the idea.

My wedding ends at 1:30 in the morning so I won’t be changing into anything but pajamas afterward, the next morning there will be brunch though, and then the fiancé and I are going away for the weekend, so as far as I’m concerned, the occasion calls for a cute outfit.

The going away outfit is usually a suit, but the problem is, it’s hard to find suits that are cute and feminine, and if I did find a cute suit I would probably either never wear it again (and I already have an expensive dress I’ll never wear again) or if I did ever wear it again it would be to an interview, and that would just take all the fun out of it. So I thought I’d look for a going away dress instead.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been having any luck, sometimes finding dresses can be exceptionally hard. It seems that everything is either a party dress, a work dress, or a sun dress, anything else is really hard to find. My mother says it’s because in your twenties you end up in-between the juniors section and the ladies section—that theory is reserved for mall department stores, and is also completely true. All the stuff in the juniors department seems flimsy and ill-fitting, and most of the stuff in the ladies department is best suited for the office or the MOTB (that’s mother of the bride in wedding speak). So what’s a girl to do? Not shop at department stores I guess.

I checked out Anthropologie too, and maybe it’s just me, but it seems like their clothes (especially dresses) just keep getting more expensive and less wearable. Everyone knows that Anthropologie has a tendency to take a perfectly lovely article of clothing and stick a weird flower or pom-pom on it and ruin the whole thing, I’ll do a whole post on it one day, but right now all I can say is they have a lot of weird expensive dresses. When you need to find something it’s impossible to find it, but finding cute dresses seems harder than usual recently.

I only have 29 days more to look, and I’m generally sick of the state of available dresses. That seems like a crazy complaint, but the more I trek around to stores and click through pages online, the more I’m convinced that dresses only come in three categories.  You could draw the conclusion that the fashion industry only sees women as one of these three archetypes—business woman, party girl, or cutesy teen, but maybe it’s a supply and demand thing. So what I’m wondering is, do other people have this problem when searching for dresses? Is it just me who hates spaghetti straps or low backs because I have to think about what bra to wear with it? Or who feels like every dress is either too short or too frumpy? Anyone else who longs for tailoring and fit without sacrificing personality and femininity? Maybe I’m just crazy, but I’m also a lady who loves dresses, and I’m fed up with my lack of options.

Anyone have suggestions—perhaps a favorite store I haven’t thought of? I’d also appreciate any insight into why dresses have to be sleeveless, because that’s something I’ve never understood, who wants to have to search for a sweater after all that dress shopping?

7 Comments

Filed under shopping

A Wedding Miscellany

I’m sorry to do another wedding post, but I have them on the brain. I am breathing, eating, and sleeping weddings recently. Whether it’s putting together my wedding play-list, ordering candy for our wedding candy bar, or painting bridal card boxes for others with upcoming nuptials, it’s a huge part of my life right now.

I’ve written before about the stress of planning a wedding, but there are so many things to keep track of that you can’t keep your mind from running all over the place, so this post might be a bit scattered, and I apologize for that.

All of the illustrations featured below are from an adorable little book my mom bought for me when I got engaged—it’s called The Little Big Book for Brides, and it has all sorts of cute advice, customs, and strange facts you never knew about weddings, here are some examples:

“Feed a cat out of your wedding shoe for good luck”—hmm, kind a gross, but I could try it!

“If in October you do marry , love will come but riches tarry”—this doesn’t surprise me at all, sounds about right actually. Darn.

My favorite part of this book is a whole long excerpt from an article entitled “The Instruction and Advice for the Young Bride”, it was published in an 1894 newsletter and it will blow your mind! For example:

“One cardinal rule of marriage should never be forgotten: GIVE LITTLE, GIVE SELDOM, AND ABOVE ALL, GIVE GRUDGINGLY. Otherwise, what could have been a proper marriage could become an orgy of sexual lust.”

Cracks. me. up. Here’s some more sage advice:

“Clever wives are ever on the alert for new and better methods of denying and discouraging the amorous overtures of the husband. A good wife should expect to have reduced sexual contacts to once a week by the end of the first year of marriage and to once a month by the end of the fifth year of marriage.”

I hope you’re listening ladies!

Moving on, today I am officially starting my pre-wedding diet. I know, I wrote a whole post about how I wasn’t going to let the pressure get to me and I wasn’t going to starve myself, but here’s the thing; I went for my final dress fitting and things changed. The good news is that the dress fits perfectly—too perfectly. It fits so perfectly that breathing is a bit of a problem. If I had money to spare I’d probably just let it out a little, but money is an issue, and the cost of alterations on bridal gowns are astronomical. So in the interest of saving a few hundred dollars, I have to cut back on my beloved cheese, ice cream, fried anything, and all the rest of my favorite foods. It’s just for a month, so I can handle it, and I just need to keep thinking about all the food I won’t be able to eat on my wedding day and my inability to dance if there is no room to move in my dress as motivation. So for the next month I’m counting points, snacking on carrot sticks and praying that come October 29th, I can breathe, move, dance,—and eat comfortably.

To those of you who are getting married soon, or planning on getting married soon, or have some kind of big party or event to plan in general, here is some advice—start planning now. Months ago, even a year ago, I kept poo-pooing things “oh, we have time” I’d say, and now I wish I could go back in time and knock myself upside the head. Not only do I wish I had taken care of some things earlier, but also, spending money in small bursts over a year is far easier than doling out large amounts all at once. So, if you see something you like—whether it be a wedding dress or favors, buy it, or at least bookmark it now, you’ll thank yourself later.

So, right now I have to order my favors, and research hairstyles and follow-up with the florist, the hotel, the venue, and so much more, and every phone call will hopefully soothe a bit of the madness, but really all I can hope is that I fit into that dress and actually get to eat some of my wedding cake, and of course, cheese.

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Beauty Grab Bag: Please Help Me Choose a Wedding Nail Polish!

I need to choose a nail-polish color to wear for my wedding, I’ve narrowed it down to five and I need help. Let’s meet the finalists.

Alright starting with my pinky we have Orly nail-polish in “Charged Up”, on my ring finger is OPI in “A Grape Fit”, on my middle finger is OPI in”Rumple’s Wiggin”, on my pointer is OPI “Do You Lilac It?” and on my thumb is OPI “Louvre Me, Louvre Me Not”. Right now “Do You Lilac It?” is the top contender.

And I’m thinking of having the nail salon do white tips with a nail pen or something too. Or maybe something like this, with purple instead of black?

Anyway, any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Also, at first I was going to paint my nails one shade after I took the pictures, but then I kinda liked the multiple shades of purple, so I painted the other hand and went with it. I kind of dig it. I apologize for my less than perfect manicure job and the fact that I’m covered in shiny sunscreen in this image (it’s not sweat I promise!).

Speaking of nail-polish, Chanel debuted its new Fall nail colors, they aren’t available until september 10th but I’m already totally bored with them. I know everyone is going crazy for greige (grayish beige), and don’t get me wrong, I love a gun-metal or even true gray nail polish, but these just don’t get me excited.

The green one might look nice, I’d try it, but not for $23, and I’m sure Essie or OPI will be coming out with similar colors soon (if they haven’t already). Also if the military trend is so hot this fall then won’t these colors just look boring against the already toned down army-like palette? I like rich colors for fall, so I say “meh” to khaki and also to Chanel.

Alright, I have to go work on some bridal boxes, but in case you’re having a rough day, I stole this picture from Jezebel because it’s so effing cute and makes me smile every time I look at it, so enjoy!

Corgis are ridiculous, look at his little legs! Too cute, I can’t take it. Alright, meet me back here tomorrow for Beauty in the Movies, this week I’m featuring a recent film, Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut—Whip it!

16 Comments

Filed under cosmetics

Shameless, Shameless, Self-Promotion

Yesterday I talked about being an unemployed bride. I also mentioned that I’ve been trying to keep myself as busy as possible so I don’t give into the unemployment misery. So today I’ll share with you one of those things that keeps me busy. I had sort of wanted this blog to be anonymous at first, but when you’re writing about your life that gets difficult pretty quickly. I thought I wanted to keep parts of my life separate and I didn’t want to seem self-promoting either, but whatever. The point of all this is that I have an etsy store! Ta-dah! Aren’t you so excited? That’s what I thought.

For real though, I paint these boxes, and make other products too, and I really enjoy it. I’ve come to realize that people who blatantly promote and embellish all their talents, are inherently more successful. I’m naturally predisposed to be annoyed by people like that, but they always get the last laugh when they have lots of money and accomplishments, and I’m sitting in the dark muttering to myself while I make clothes for my cats. So, I’m adding my etsy shop in my links section, you can check it out over there to the right, farther down, under my blogroll. It’s a big part of me and it’s something I love doing, and now when I say that I’m “working on a bridal box”, you’ll actually know what I’m talking about.

My shop is called Sweet Gum & Oak as a wink and a nod to my deeply missed grandfather. My sister and I were city kids growing up in an apartment in Queens, so when we would go visit my grandparents on Long Island my grandpa assigned us each one of the tall trees in their backyard, because we didn’t have any trees of our own. Mine was a Sweet Gum, my sister’s an Oak, and there they still stand in my grandparents backyard. This fall when my grandmother moves out of the house she has lived in for 58 years another family will inherit those trees, I hope they love them as much as we did.

So yeah, I’m an artist, I have trained myself to say that as much as possible because I have thousands and thousands of dollars in student loans from art school that I’ll be paying off for the rest of my life, so at the very least what that money bought me is the unabashed right to call myself an artist with confidence.

I could paint more “meaningful” art, or stuff that was harder to interpret and therefore seemed more meaningful, but honestly, getting to make these for people’s weddings makes me very happy, and as sappy as it sounds that really means a lot to me.

I love to make things and give them away to people, for years I’ve been doing that, every Christmas my house is like a workshop, and I love when I’m in someone’s home and I see something I painted for them sitting there. It’s like “oh hello old friend, look at you!” (I don’t actually say that out loud because then everyone would know how strange I am, but I always think it). At some point I realized I needed to start charging for my work because it takes a lot of time and supplies.

Etsy is great because while it has some really weird/cheap/bad stuff, it also has some amazing/gorgeous/beautiful stuff too. I have spent hours paging through regretsy, and it can be pretty damn hysterical, I pray to god I never end up on there, and if I do, I hope I can maintain a sense of humor about it.

There is just something different about things that are hand-made, they’re almost always better made, and they just feel special.

Recently while watching the show American Pickers (if you haven’t seen it check it out, it’s on the History channel), there was a moment that really struck me. In the midst of their “picking”, the guys came across some object or other that was hand-made in the USA (I think it was a tin toy), one of the guys then said something to the effect of “It’s important to preserve this stuff so that future generations know this country used to be producers and not just consumers”. For some reason that moment hit me hard, because it’s incredibly sad. Pick up most things in your house and you’ll find that they’ve been made somewhere far, far, away. I’m not talking about beautifully crafted traditional items like Indian scarves, or South American woven blankets—things that are made with love, care, and tradition from other countries. I’m talking about products that were mass-produced for incredibly cheap, and specifically to be marketed to American consumers. These things rarely have any meaning, and in the years to come they won’t have any real value, if they have any now.

It can be expensive to buy hand-made products, just like buying organic vegetables. But a piece of furniture or jewelry, or even a pair of socks, will last much longer (and probably bring you more enjoyment) than a bundle of produce, so it’s worth it. I can tell you that everything I make is made with precise attention, I want to be proud of what I do and I want the person I make it for to feel like it’s unique, because it is. I love that through etsy I get to connect to people all over the world. I’ve sent things as far as Australia, and I love thinking about items I’ve made being sent off to new homes where I hope they’re loved and appreciated.

Maybe the nest time you need to buy a gift, instead of going to the mall you’ll check out etsy.com, there are lots of great sellers on there and I hope to feature some of them specifically. I’m not asking anyone to buy anything from me, I just want to draw your attention to the idea of hand-made products and hope that you’ll check some out. On etsy you deal with real people, so you can customize your gifts and also barter with sellers to create something for you in your budget. Maybe, if we all do that, we can start a revolution, and MADE IN THE USA won’t just be a piece of nostalgia, but a part of America’s future.

11 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Unemployed Bride

I just spent my morning on the phone with unemployment. It turns out that you have to re-file your claim after a year, even though the unemployment homepage and help-line both imply otherwise. What you actually have to do is sit on the phone talking to an automated system for hours screaming “yes” or “no” into the phone until it eventually cuts out on you and you have to start the whole thing over again. If you’ve never collected unemployment, this probably seems pretty confusing—well, it is. Thankfully, after a whole morning on the phone I’ve been assured I’ll still have money to pay my rent and buy some food soon, so that’s good.

Yes, I’m unemployed and I’m getting married in two months. My parents are paying for most of our wedding (which makes me incredibly lucky and eternally grateful), but I’d always planned to be able to contribute something, and to pay for all the little details for myself too, but that’s become nearly impossible. I’m not saying “oh poor little unemployed me”, what I’m saying is that in this economy everyone is learning that you can’t just put your life on hold until things get better. Getting married while unemployed, might seem irresponsible to some, but spending your life saying “I’ll just wait until I get a job before I (insert life event here)” gets old fast. I personally think we have way too little time on this planet to keep putting things off like that, especially when the job market doesn’t seem to be getting better—especially if you’re in a creative field like me.

(I’m interspersing this somewhat depressing post with images of kittens to cheer you up)

I’m not alone in being an unemployed bride, I’ve heard of dozens of others, and I’m sure people might think we’re crazy or impractical. I wasn’t unemployed when I got engaged, but you know, life has a funny sense of humor sometimes. Being unemployed has given me more time to focus on wedding plans, but it has also given me far less dispensable income to spend on it—leading to many panic attacks. We’re not having a crazy expensive wedding, we’re cutting costs wherever we can, and it’s hard. It makes thing far more stressful, I’m sure of it. I can’t help but believe that brides with more money have less sleepless nights worrying over things, not just bills, but also stresses that could be cut out by throwing cash in the right places.

Being unemployed means feeling guilty all the time. Guilty for not having a job, guilty for not having money, guilty for spending any money, guilty for feeling sorry for yourself, and right now I’m feeling guilty for even writing about this, because I know how many millions of people are so much worse off than me. I worked for three years at a large company, I haven’t found work anywhere else. I rarely ever go out to eat or go shopping anymore. If I do it’s at Costco, or Target, or the drugstore. Being unemployed isn’t a ticket for fun, nor is it a free pass to slack, it’s limbo, and trying to plan one of the biggest events in your life while you have no idea what’s going to happen in your financial future, can be pretty damn stressful. I haven’t spent my summer being carefree and living it up, I’ve spent it trying to stay as busy as possible to keep my mind off the worry that plagues me, which includes writing this blog, and maintaining my etsy shop, but more on that tomorrow.

We all have events that haunt us from the future, teeming with uncertainty. Maybe it’s a job interview, or going away to college, or moving, but it’s a constant. For most of my life (especially the last year while I’ve been living in permanent panic) there is always something brewing stress. I keep waiting for the calm, thinking, “once I just get past this” but one thing I’ve learned is that it never stops. It seems silly to put so much pressure on this one day, this one day that will fly by just as fast as all the others in my life, it’s illogical to put that much weight on anything. We strive for perfection on a daily basis in this country, so much so that sometimes we miss true perfection along the way. I’ve barely been to the beach all summer, obviously that’s no tragedy, but with labor day weekend signaling the end of the season this weekend, I realize how much I regret not allowing any time to relax. This is a time in my life where I should be endlessly and unabashedly happy. I’m a “bride-to-be”, it should be all magical perfection and cooing sweetness. That’s what the movies and magazines tell me, but for me, and I’m sure countless other men and women, it’s a time of intense pressure, stress, and self-reproach for being so bold as to enjoy your life while jobless.

I want to enjoy these last two months before my wedding. I want to push past the guilt and stress and go for a walk on the beach with my fiancé without panicking that I should be doing something “more important”. Because really what’s the point of living if spending time with the people you love ends up on the bottom of the pile? I may be unemployed, but I’m still a person, I may be in limbo, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get to live, and I may be unsure of the future, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t enjoy my present.

15 Comments

Filed under acceptance

The Stress of Weddings

I’m getting married in 79 days. Writing that feels scary. I feel like it wasn’t too long ago that I had months to plan, but now it’s all come down to these last 79 days and suddenly I feel like each day flies by in an instant.

When I first got engaged everyone kept saying, “oh you must be so busy with the wedding” and “you’re probably so stressed out” and I kept wondering what the big deal was, it seemed so easy. We were so ahead of the game, we got engaged in June, I had my dress ordered by July and the venue booked by August, all that done with more than a year to go. There really wasn’t much to do after that—until now.


I know I’ve done a few other posts about weddings, but I can’t help having them on my mind, and in less than three months I’ll be married and I won’t obsess over them anymore, promise. I hate that I’m obsessing over this wedding at all, but it becomes a huge part of your life and for at least a few months, it occupies most of your thoughts. It had seemed so far away for so long that I can’t believe how close it is now, and it’s pure anticipation from here on out. In the next couple weeks all those final arrangements are being made and people are going to be asking me a lot of questions about things I’m not sure I know the answer to. For example, “what color would you like your chair covers”? I actually asked if I could just have the chairs without the covers, but you can’t, so I don’t really care what color they are. Details like that don’t worry me, I know all those trivial little details won’t really matter, and if they do matter to someone, I’m glad it’s not me. I’m more concerned about the weather, or nervously laughing during the ceremony, or not being able to walk in my shoes.

There is also all this stress about changing your name, I’m not sure why some women chose to keep or change their names, but needless to say it’s an incredibly personal choice. Since I am one of seven granddaughters, with no grandsons, I always thought I’d keep my last name. I like it, and it never occurred to me that I would want to change it. In spite of all that, I think I’m going for the hyphen, because I like my last name, but I like his too and it just feels right, much like the way it felt when we decided to get married in the first place. It will however involve paperwork, which brings me back to the stress.

When you’re involved in a wedding there’s a whole bunch of stuff to keep track of, and it’s not that these things are terribly hard, there are just a lot of factors working together. You have people coming from all over, you have to arrange a hotel, and transportation, and of course the guest list and seating chart. If you can afford to hire a wedding planner that’s fabulous, but if not, it can become a full-time job. While some of us can shake our heads and think, “that’s crazy, when I get married I’m doing ___ or ___”, you never really know until you start researching and planning for yourself. Trust me, these things can snowball, that’s how they work. Not to mention that even uttering the word wedding gets you charged extra on everything from flowers to music, people know there is money in weddings, and even a restrained event can cost you dearly.

People don’t seem to understand how expensive weddings are, especially in and around big cities. Getting married in Manhattan, or even the outer boroughs, can cost double what it would anywhere else. When we first got engaged I thought we’d have one of those beautiful little weddings you see in Real Simple or on Theknot.com, you know with ball jars as vases, mismatched table cloths, and everything handmade from etsy or by someones mom. I thought “we’ll be thrifty, we’ll be simple and different—do a buffet, rent a tent, it will be sweet”, and  you know what I discovered? It costs twice as much to have an event that appears laid back, quirky and handmade. Maybe if you have a lot of land, or a lot of people willing to help, you can do it on a low-budget, I’m not sure. I was shocked to see how much less expensive it is to have your wedding at a catering hall, and that’s what we chose, because I can’t spend all my time stressing about this, and I don’t want anyone else to either. It might not be a custom experience, but I’ll know that the people we’re trusting to hold our wedding have done this before and do it all the time, they know what they’re doing, and I don’t.

Getting married itself is stressful enough, all the pressure that “wedding culture” puts on to it just adds fuel to the fire. Even if you walk down to city hall and exchange vows in front of witnesses, it’s still a stressful event, because it changes your life even while things stay the same. The ceremony is deeply significant, whether you have a big party or not, that moment you exchange vows you’ve entered into something new. My name will change, all the sudden—boom, new name. I’ve seen it on facebook, and in the office, one day someone is Jane Doe and the next week she’s Jane Smith, or Jane Doe-Smith, and even though it’s the same person it denotes something has changed. In my post about my incredible bridal shower, I spoke about how the wedding craze that consumes America loses sight of what weddings and marriage are all about, I think the same thing happens when you get caught up in the planning.

I’m really excited to marry my fiancé, and I can’t wait to celebrate with all my family and friends, there will be so much mirth, so much enjoyment in just 79 days, I can’t wait. What I need is to keep telling myself that the stress will pass, and things will fall into place, it will be perfect in its imperfection. The favors won’t be elaborate or custom-made, the cake won’t be gourmet, and some people might think the ceremony is a bit different, but all that stuff doesn’t matter, because as long as all the big stuff comes together—we’ll be married at the end of the night, and that’s the least stressful part of all.

9 Comments

Filed under acceptance

Post Bridal Shower Daze

My living room looks like a warehouse, there are empty boxes, ribbons and tissue paper which my cats have been enjoying as they rip it to shreds. There are Hawaiian leis and dozens of rolls of toilet paper (from our toilet paper wedding dress competition), there is left over carrot cake and huli huli chicken and I am sitting here in a complete daze. I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to have received so many beautiful things, and I have no idea where to put any of them—we have to buy more shelves.

While Chelsea Clinton was getting married upstate in Rhinebeck this weekend, down here in the southernmost part of New York, I was thrown an amazing surprise island-themed bridal shower. Though I’m sure Chelsea’s wedding was incredibly elegant and beautiful, I’m willing to bet we were having more fun down here. I was surrounded by generations of women (and a few men) who are all unbelievably kind, generous, and supportive, some of which have known me since long before I was a twinkle in my mother’s eye.

(my mom pulled the whole thing off, it was a perfect day!)

I sat there with my future husband on Sunday night, looking at the epic pile of amazing gifts we had been given and I just couldn’t understand what we had done to deserve them all. We made a big decision, we decided to choose each other as partners, and obviously that’s important, but so are dozens of other things. Starting a business, graduating from law school, moving to a strange country, these are all major life changes and accomplishments, and we should really be celebrating all of them. Deciding to marry my fiancé seemed so easy, I  can’t believe people do such wonderful things for you just because you’re happy. Looking around my shower it was easy to realize that weddings aren’t just about the bride and groom, they’re about all the people who love them. Weddings are way bigger than just you, and not because they’re expensive or over the top, but because it’s a happy occasion, and unfortunately, sometimes the joyful times in life are far outnumbered by the painful, and that’s why the good stuff is always a big deal.

(My friend, and bridesmaid, Jessica made me this gorgeous sign)

When we went around looking for wedding venues, the place we finally chose isn’t the hippest, it’s not slick, or cool, or modern, but it is welcoming, warm, beautiful, and has amenities like huge amounts of parking, and lovely clean bathrooms. Those might seem like little things, but while a wedding is a big party for you and your future spouse, it’s also really for your guests, and all the people who love you and come to celebrate with you. That’s not to say that if you want a small wedding at city hall you should go all out just because your family wants you to, but it does mean that you should consider all those people who are coming from all over the world, taking off time from work, dressing in fancy clothes, and giving you not just their time and love, but generous gifts too. My goal for my wedding is fun, my fiancé and I want to have a big party to give back to all the people who have supported us and cared for us throughout our lives, and I want them all to be happy and comfortable. When they look back twenty years from now, I don’t think people are going to remember if our chair covers were tacky, but they will remember if they had an awesome time, felt welcomed, and maybe danced their butts off too.

Weddings bring people together, they have for thousands of years. We need joy in our lives, with all the suffering and sorrow, it makes sense that when there is occasion to celebrate we tend to go a little overboard. Everyone has different opinions about what a wedding should be, to some it could be a simple dinner with friends, and for others it’s an event worthy of a lifetime of savings, either way you’re surrounded by your favorite people and the only goal is to witness your happiness and then celebrate it with you. When I think about the ban on gay marriage, or even marriages where families disapprove for any reason, I find it hard to understand how anyone’s joy can be seen as less worthy, how a celebration of happiness can ever be a bad thing, and how love can be contingent on who a person chooses to be with. If you love someone, a child, a friend, a sibling, how could you ever deny them the joy of celebration, and how could you not want to rejoice right along with them? I can’t think of anything more important.

(toilet paper wedding dresses; Tim Gunn would have been super impressed!)

(it’s called teamwork people!)

Before I got engaged I never fully understood why people got so misty over weddings, but now I know I’ll probably cry at every single one I attend. It’s not just two people getting up in front of everyone they care about and professing their love and commitment, it’s not that simple. A wedding (and all the excitement that surrounds it) is a true celebration of life, it’s the beginning of a journey, it’s a demonstration of love not only between the couple, but between family and friends. Watching all these women I know from so many different places come together to have silly bridal shower fun, I was surprised how deeply I was touched by it. So many of the wedding shows that are on today, Bridezillas, Say Yes to the Dress, Rich Bride Poor Bride, they all focus on the drama, and yes there is a lot of stress and drama that goes into getting married, but there is also a whole heck of a lot of joy and excitement, and I think we sometimes lose sight of that.

(yes I was made to wear a silly bow hat, but it’s pretty isn’t it?)

Today I feel exceptionally lucky, and eternally grateful. Even if there are parts of my life that cause me major stress and worry, I have some phenomenal people in my life, not only my fiancé, but so many more. I can’t wait to celebrate all the happiness in their lives, I’m prepared to go all out, just like they did for me, because simply being together is reason enough to celebrate!

17 Comments

Filed under acceptance