Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Weddings

With 2011 taking its final bow, it’s time to celebrate this year’s marriages – from the dress shopping, to the pre-wedding jitters, to the embarrassing toasts, to the love and support of friends and family. Here’s a shout-out to 2011’s brides and grooms, who made it through the stress and chaos of planning on wedding so they could ring in the new year with their new hubbies and wifeys.

Ilsa Chapple & Matthew Gabriel
Ilsa & Matt
         Ilsa and Matt married on September 5th in Seattle, and I had the pleasure of attending their wedding. This couple is a true example of partnership and support, since they recently moved to Georgia together and they plan on moving to Germany! To see their relationship blossom while Ilsa and I worked together at Seattle U was so amazing, and I wish them only good things in their future side-by-side.

Erin Crittenden & Jason Shook
         My cousin, Erin, married Jason Shook in an intimate ceremony in September. Congratulations and best wishes to Erin, who is one of the sweetest people I know, and her hubby as they plan for the arrival of their baby boy!

Maria Crittenden & Hunter Calloway
Maria & Hunter
         My second-cousin, Maria, and Hunter were married on August 6th in Virginia. I was so happy to reunite with Maria before she got married since we had fun exchanging wedding plans before our big days (or really DAY since we had the same wedding date!) Congratulations to Maria and Hunter – I cannot think of a more adorable couple.

Ashleigh Darnell & Gustavo Ruiz
         Congratulations to one of my best friends from middle school, Ashleigh Darnell, who married Gustavo Ruiz in March. They now have an adorable little boy named Diego, who is just too cute for words! I cannot wait to see how Ashleigh, who has always been the personification of love and warmth, and her hubby raise their adorable baby boy!

Katie Crittenden & Brandon Morris
Me & My Hubby
         Let’s not forget my favorite married couple of the year (no offense to anyone else – I’m clearly biased)! After Brandon and I got married, the question that everyone had for us was “How’s married life?” Our answer was always the same: “Exactly the same as it was before.” Having lived together for three years before our wedding, it felt like we had been married for years already. However, after some much-needed reflection, I realized that our outlooks had changed. Before, everything was leading up to the wedding, and now, what’s in front of us is our lives together and whatever else gets thrown our way.

Bottom Line: 2011 was a great year for love, but I can’t wait to see what 2012 has to offer! Happy New Year to all readers of The “I Do” Guru, and to the newlyweds of 2011.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

“Bride Wars” & Sharing Your Wedding Ideas

“Bride Wars” is the tale of two best friends, Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway), who become enemies when they accidentally schedule their dream weddings for the same day. The film is a back-and-forth battle of the brides, attempting to ruin the other’s big day.

This film is definitely a chick flick, and so I did not subject Brandon to watching the movie with me. I felt that the characters were unlikable and insincere, with very shallow personalities. I had a hard time sitting through this movie, especially the second time I watched it (don’t judge me). The ratings are:

Bride – 3/10
Bridesmaid – 7/10 (Venus, I love you, but … really?)

As a bride, I can understand the incomprehensible desire to have a unique wedding that is all one’s own. However, this blog serves as evidence to the fact that although I wanted a wedding that fit our individual style, I still share my experience with other brides. This is because I appreciated others’ desire for me to have the perfect day, and I want other brides to have their dream wedding.

Is it okay to be a little selfish on your wedding day? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. There are those that will want the weeks/months leading up to the wedding to be all about them. However, laid-back brides should not feel surprised if they develop a selfish instinct at some point. For me, it was the dress. In planning my wedding, I wanted to share the day with my then-fiancé, my wedding party, and my family – in other words, I never wanted the day to be all about me. However, when I bought my wedding dress (a full eight months before the day), I became so possessive of the gown. I was so paranoid that another bride in my life would wear the same dress for her wedding, but fortunately for me, my unique style came through for me!

Bottom Line: It is expected for a bride to be a little selfish on her big day. But as everyone else puts her fulfillment of her wedding dreams as a priority, the bride should do the same for others. There’s no harm in keeping your details a secret just in case, but the characters in “Bride Wars” are downright malicious and petty. Watch it with your bridesmaids - not safe for grooms.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Veil

Cathedral Veil - David's Bridal
         The veil has become a bridal symbol, just as the white wedding dress. Although the modern veil is worn primarily as an accessory, demonstrating a woman’s status as a bride rather than just a lady in a white dress, it was originally a symbol of nobility, modesty, and virginity. The veil has served as a part of brides’ ensembles for centuries, with ties to multiple religions and dating back earlier than the Bible, and is an accessory that every bride considers.

         The first recorded instance of a woman being veiled is from Assyrian legal texts. The Assyrian laws demanded that noble women be veiled when in public, but forbade others, stating:

I.40. If the wives of a man, or the daughters of a man go out into the street, their heads are to be veiled. The prostitute is not to be veiled. Maidservants are not to veil themselves. Veiled harlots and maidservants have their garments seized and 50 blows inflicted on them and bitumen poured on their heads.[1]

Yeah, bitumen is tar. Don’t mess with Assyrians.

         At the time of the Assyrian Empire, wives were considered to be the property of their husbands, as were his daughters. The veils were used to cover their beauty from suitors or wandering eyes, much like the burkah in Muslim culture.

         Up until recent decades, the veil was used more often as a symbol of respect when entering a place of worship, like a yarmulke (or yamakuh, to those of us who don’t recognize the word and tried to sound it out but it ended up sounding like “your milk”). In the past 50 years, the veil has been tied to weddings more than any other event in western culture, creating an archetype for which a veil goes hand-in-hand with a bride on her white wedding day.

         If you paid attention in Sunday School, you’ll remember the story of Jacob and Rachel from Genesis. The story goes like this: Jacob had a thing for Rachel, so he vowed to serve her father, Laban, for seven years so that he could marry her. However, Laban wanted to marry off his oldest daughter, Leah, first. So on the wedding day, Laban dressed Leah in an opaque veil and sent her down the aisle instead of her sister. After they were married, Jacob lifted the veil and discovered that he had been duped, and vowed to serve another seven years in order to marry Rachel, as well. So, after 14 years, he got the girl. And her sister. Yeah, it’s gross. But you know what’s worse? Leah and Rachel were his nieces. Enjoy that fun fact.

         Like the superstition that the groom isn’t meant to see the bride before the wedding, an opaque veil would shield the bride’s face so that the groom wouldn’t see her and run away (like Jacob would have, if he had known he was marrying the wrong sister). Today, it’s much more common for a bride to wear a sheer veil. Clearly, the veil no longer serves the purpose of hiding her beauty, so why still wear a veil in a modern wedding?

         The first reason is very traditional: a veil is meant to symbolize virginity, and so accessorizing with a veil shows that the bride waited until marriage to do… stuff.

         If a groom has seen his bride before their wedding day (as we hope many have), then the veil can be used to shield the bride’s beauty as a way of symbolizing that he is marrying her for her inner beauty (because without botox, her looks will fade).

         Another reason for wearing a veil is to symbolize the introduction of husband and wife; although the couple knew each other as boyfriend and girlfriend, they are meeting for the first time as married folk.

         The bride could also choose to wear a veil as her bridal right. As the veil is symbolic for showing that it is one’s wedding day, if a bride wants to wear a veil then she should, even if for no other reason than she wants everyone who sees her to know that she’s getting married.

Veil - Nordstrom
         Of course there are tons of other personal reasons for wanting to wear, or wanting to forgo, a veil. If a bride is unsure about wearing the traditional long veil that covers her face, then there are other options that may suit her, and her dress, better. Along with the classic veil that covers the face, brides can wear veils that attach in the back and do not cover the face at any point during the ceremony.

Birdcage Veil - David's Bridal
         Another very fashionable choice if the bride does not want a long veil, but just a short one as an accessory, is the birdcage veil. Worn like a headband, the birdcage has a small amount of material that covers a portion of the face, often accompanied by a cute adornment on the headband.

Headpiece - Nordstrom

         I chose to go without a veil on my wedding day, and instead wore a gorgeous headband with pearls and gemstones that matched my dress. I loved it because it showed off my funky style, while still playing along with traditional bridal fashion. Wearing a tiara or a stylish headband is a great alternative for the bride who doesn’t want to wear a veil, but still wants to have a little bit of glamour on her wedding day.

Bottom Line: Although originally used to hide beauty, the modern bride wears a veil to accent her gorgeous ensemble, and show off that she’s the bride! Veils are a classic accessory, and have a variety of options to match the dress and the bride’s individual style. Of course a bride will still be recognizable without the headpiece, but a veil does not have to hold special significance, like it would have in centuries past. Veils, while filled with history and tradition, are a gorgeous finishing touch to a bridal ensemble.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Friends" Weddings

          NBC’s late comedy sitcom “Friends” was one of the most popular and highest rated television shows of all time, and a frequent source of wedding-related jokes and conversation. Although “Friends” fans will remember that the most common source of the material was serial groom Ross, who was married a total of three times over the course of the 10-year series, the program featured five weddings (including Ross and Rachel’s drunken Vegas wedding). In real life, five of the six primary cast members have been married. This blog is for the “Friends” fans that want to know every detail about their weddings, on and off the air.

         Although the first wedding featured in “Friends” was the civil union of Susan and Carol, Ross’s first wife (televised a full fifteen years before gay marriage was legal in New York), the first wedding involving one of the primary cast members was that of Ross and Emily. Although the marriage of Ross and Rachel (whoops, I mean Emily) did not last long, their London wedding was gorgeous.
Ross and Emily had a church wedding, lit by candles and white Christmas lights. The bride wore a white empire waist gown with a cover-up (lace and sequined sleeves), a tiara in lieu of a veil, and carried a bouquet of white and dark red roses, baby’s breath, and fern leaves. The groom and groomsmen wore black tuxes with grey vests and ascots and white rose boutonnieres. The bridesmaids wore red spaghetti-strap column dresses and carried bouquets of white roses, brown berries, and camellia foliage. The wedding party walked down the aisle to the song “Tired Old Souls” performed by real-life band The Hormones. The bride was escorted by her father to the traditional “Here Comes the Bride”.

That marriage came and went, and next up was Ross and Rachel (really Rachel this time) in Vegas. The on-again-off-again couple was married at The Little White Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is home to a slew of celebrity weddings over the past 60 years and has been featured in many television programs. The wedding of Ross and Rachel interrupted the impromptu nuptials of Monica and Chandler, who after seeing their friends emerge from the chapel decided to wait to get married so they can have the wedding of Monica’s dreams.

The wedding of Monica and Chandler took place on May 15 inside of a New York City museum in front of approximately 56 wedding guests. The groom wore a black tuxedo with a black tie, gold vest, gold pocket square, and a red rose boutonniere. Ross, his best man, wore a black tux with black tie and a white rose boutonniere while escorting Rachel and Phoebe down the aisle. The two bridesmaids wore silk chiffon column dresses with olive and pale yellow design beading made by NY designer company Victoria Royal for a cost of $795[1]. They carried orange-pink calla lilies and wore flowers in their hair. Monica wore a strapless v-neck white wedding dress, with a floor-length veil covering her long hair. The dress was made by House of Bianci[2], which has been out of business since 2001. However, a similar dress can be purchased from Marisa Bridals for a mere $149.99 (much lower than the original, I presume). The wedding party walked down the aisle to the tune of “Groovy Kind of Love” on violin,  and Monica makes her entrance with her mom and dad to a cover of “My Love” by Paul McCartney and Wings[3].

The last "Friend" to get married during the show’s run was Phoebe, who wed Mike in season 10. The pair got married in an outdoor winter wedding, and all guests were fitted with large coats except for the bride (as she said, she would be her ‘something blue’). The bridesmaids wore dresses with a square neckline, gold and silver beading on top, and blue/grey A-line skirts (in addition to their large winter coats). The groomsmen wore black tuxes with grey ties, and Mike’s best man wore an orange rose boutonniere. The groom wore a black tux with a white bowtie, and the bride wore a light lavender gown with cap sleeves, a fitted bodice, and an A-line skirt. Phoebe’s dress was a St. Pucchi wedding gown, designed by Rani Totman for a whopping £8,500 (that’s $13,430)[4]! She carried a larger version of the bridesmaid’s wildflower bouquets, filled with flowers such as pink roses, orange roses, lavender, and many other ones unable to be identified by watching YouTubes clips repeatedly (and knowing very little about flowers). The wedding party walked down the aisle to “Fools Rush In”  by Elvis played on the steel drums, and Chandler escorted Phoebe to “Hey, There and Everywhere” by the Beatles[5].

         Ironically, Lisa Kudrow was actually the first "Friend" to get married in real life. Kudrow married husband Michel Stern on May 27, 1995 in a white off-the-shoulder column dress by designer Amsale Aberra. The groom wore a black tux, gold vest, and a white rose boutonniere matching the bride’s corsage.

In the season six premiere of "Friends", the cast and crew members added last name “Arquette” during the opening credits as a tribute to the recent nuptials of Courteney Cox and David Arquette, who were married June 12, 1999[6]. The bride wore a long-sleeved silk column dress by Valentino, a tulle veil, and carried a bouquet of red roses (similar to her character’s wedding ensemble in "Friends"). The groom wore a long black tux jacket with a silver tie and a red rose boutonniere. Courteney was escorted down the aisle by her father to the song “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney (again, similar to the show). In attendance were Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, and over 200 other wedding guests.

        On July 29, 2000 Jennifer Aniston married Brad Pitt in an evening ceremony in Malibu, California. The ceremony took place at a friend’s house that overlooked the ocean in front of 200 wedding guests, including Jen’s BFF on and off the show, Courteney Cox[7]. The bride wore a glass-beaded silk and satin Lawrence Steele wedding dress, ivory suede Manolo Blahnik shoes, and a Swarovski crystal tiara with a draped veil. She carried a bouquet of Dutch Vendela roses and walked down the aisle to a gospel choir singing, “Love is the Greatest Thing” by Al Bowley. The groom and best man wore black tuxedos, white shirts, and black ties. The bridesmaids wore pale green Lawrence Steele slip dresses. The wedding reception was decorated to look like a zen garden, with lanterns, candles, and floating lotus flowers. Table centerpieces included roses, wisteria, and tulips. Guests feasted on lobster, beef, and Italian fare for dinner, a white wedding cake for dessert, and then enjoyed a fireworks display at the end of the evening.

          Next up was Matt Le Blanc, whose bachelor character Joey was the only "Friend" to never marry in the show’s run. Matt married his fiancée of five years, Melissa McKnight, in a Hawaiian wedding on May 3, 2003. The groom wore a black suit, a lilac shirt, and a ginger lea. The bride wore a slip dress with chiffon overlay and a tulle veil and carried a red bouquet[8]. As guests arrived at the wedding that took place on a Kauai cliff, they were greeted with purple and white orchid leis. The reception had traditional Hawaiian food including jumbo shrimp, spring rolls, and Mahi Mahi[9]. In addition to the 75 wedding guests were "Friends" stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox Arquette, and Lisa Kudrow.

        The last "Friend" to marry was David Schwimmer, who, unlike his character, had his first marriage in a secret June 2010 wedding to Zoe Buckman. Unfortunately for us, no wedding details or pictures were released following their nuptials[10].

Bottom Line: Due to the show’s overwhelming success, "Friends" has shown to have a major cultural impact on the United States. Since weddings were a primary topic on the show, the individual details of the televised ceremonies could spark a trend in western culture. And with the fame that these six actors earned, and the eight-figure salaries, their weddings were put on with the anticipation that millions of future brides would be reviewing every detail – therefore, the utmost amount of effort, beauty, and class was included in each of the "Friends" weddings, on and off-air. After all, when considering what elements to incorporate in to your own event, who better to lend you some useful wedding ideas than your "Friends"?


Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Bouquet

In the summer of 2010, a naïve young woman caught the bride’s bouquet at her friends’ wedding, thereby symbolizing that she would be the next to marry. Did she believe the tradition? Of course not! It’s just a silly superstition…right? A year later, her sticky fingers struck again when she beat out a dozen other single ladies and caught another bride’s bouquet. Still a silly wedding day custom? Oh no, my pretty little friend - IT’S A SIGN!

Wedding day superstitions have been around for centuries, dating back thousands of years. Although most of these beliefs were forgotten long ago, including having good luck for finding a spider in your wedding dress (ew), many of them are still celebrated in modern weddings. Ever wonder where the traditions of tossing the bouquet, wishing for rain on one’s wedding day, or avoiding seeing the bride came from?

The bride’s bouquet is synonymous with the wedding outfit, and it considered an essential part of the ensemble. Before the tossing of the bouquet, wedding guests would tear off pieces of the bride’s dress at the end of the reception for good luck, often ripping it to shreds. In order to preserve the wedding dress, the tossing of the bouquet and garter began so that unmarried guests could keep pieces of the bride’s ensemble as a beacon of luck in joy, fertility, and love[1].

Although most couples would hope for sunshine on their wedding day, it is actually considered good luck if it rains on the day. Living in Seattle, I tried to see the upside of the chance of rain on the day, and so (without prior research) I advertised this silver lining to my family. The normal response was “Well, of course we’d tell you that! If your wedding day gets rained out, it could at least be good luck.” As it turns out, rain is meant to make the marriage stronger. Since the term ‘tying the knot’ came from the actual act of tying a knot, the rain would make the damp rope more difficult to break[2].

One of the most popular wedding superstitions is that bad luck comes from the groom seeing the bride before the wedding. When fathers arranged the marriages of their daughters, it was common for the bride and groom to meet for the first time after the ceremony had finished and they were husband and wife. The bride would wear an opaque veil covering her face, because if the groom saw the bride before the marriage was made official, he might run away.

Of course, one of the most common wedding traditions comes after the ceremony: carrying the bride across the threshold of her home. This tradition has roots in many different cultures, and many different origins. The first reason is based around the idea of the groom ‘stealing’ the bride from her family (as previously mentioned in “Father of the Bride”). This also has to do with the second reason, which is that the bride being carried in to the house gave her an alibi against appearing too excited to be married off. Other reasons include supernatural beliefs, as the bride is so vulnerable on her wedding day, that she risks being invaded by evil spirits, who lurk in the doorway and enter her body through the soles of her feet (weird!). The Romans believed that it was bad luck for the bride to trip while entering her new home, and so the groom would carry her to keep her from falling[3]. It is surprising how this tradition was implanted in many different societies for a variety of reasons, and it is even more surprising that husbands carry their wives to keep demons from attacking her feet.

Bottom Line: Wedding day superstitions are common and are accommodated during weddings to spread good luck to wedding guests and avoid bad luck for the bride and groom. Not only does sharing a piece of love or finding a silver lining in a weather malfunction benefit the members of the wedding, but it also keeps modern brides in touch with old school wedding traditions.
Venus, you're next...


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Guess the Price!

One of my primary beliefs when it comes to planning a wedding is that a bride shouldn’t have to sacrifice quality when sticking to a budget. In fact, that’s part of the reason that I created this blog! Weddings can get expensive in a hurry, but with a little research and determination, it’s easy to find alternative options that fit both the dream wedding, and the realistic budget.

So, do you think you can tell the difference between the inexpensive and ornate? Below are sample wedding dresses, rings, bouquets, and photographers (all wedding essentials) – see if you can guess which picture belongs to which price point! 

*Answers are at the bottom of the page. Click on an image to make it larger.

Princess Dress
The classic strapless ball gown – which one is:
1)    $350?
2)    $800?
3)    $1,248?
                       A                                                B                                               C

Chic Sophistication
Which elegant gown is:
1)    $178?
2)    $350?
3)    $750?

          A                                              B                                                 C

Romantic Detail
Which one of these showstoppers is:
1)    $675?
2)    $1,050?
3)    $3,300?

         A                                                B                                               C

Short Dress
Which one of these short dresses is:
1)    $178?
2)    $350?
3)    $550?

         A                                                B                                               C

An engagement ring is an investment that will last a lifetime. Carat, clarity, shape, and color will help determine price. So which of these solitaire engagement rings is:
1)    $699?
2)    $1,699?
3)    $4,095?

          A                                                B                                               C

Ring Sets
Which set is:
1)    $591?
2)    $1,000?
3)    $2,800?

         A                                                B                                               C

Men’s Wedding Bands
Men’s bands differ on price based on material, design, and carat of gold. Which men’s ring is:
1)    $96.75?
2)    $343.20?
3)    $1,499?

         A                                                B                                               C

Bouquets designed by florists are priced to include the cost of the flowers, design, and delivery, so they will generally cost more than if you pick up and arrange the flowers yourself. Which florist-designed bouquet is…
1)    $50?
2)    $180?
3)    $400?

        A                                                B                                               C

The photographer is one of the most expensive parts of a wedding, and prices can vary based on hours and availability, prints, style, and turnaround. Which photo is owned by a photographer whose pricing starts at:
1)    $975?
2)    $2,300?
3)    $3,495?

      A                                                    B                                                  C

Princess Dress: 1C, 2A, 3B
Chic Sophistication: 1B, 2A, 3C
Romantic Detail:  1C, 2A, 3B
Short Dress:  1A, 2B, 3C
Solitaire:  1B, 2C, 3A
Ring Sets: 1C, 2A, 3B
Men's Wedding Bands: 1B, 2A, 3C
Bouquet: 1C, 2B, 3A
Photographer: 1A, 2C, 3B

So, how’d you do? Share your results on The “I Do” Guru Facebook page!

Bottom Line: A budget shouldn’t have to be sacrificed in order to have outstanding style, quality, and the wedding of your dreams. If you know what you want, do some research to see what other options are out there. Photographers, florists, and even dress designers like Vera Wang understand budgets, and would be willing to work around your price point. And you never know: you might not be able to tell the difference between the inexpensive and the overpriced!

Princess Dresses:

Chic Sophistication: