Friday, August 29, 2008

Every Silver Lining's Got A Touch Of Chardonnay

I had a mega-conversation with my mom yesterday. As a teacher, she has her summers off (or as I like to call it "the period of three months when my mom forgets other people have jobs") and just spent the last couple of weeks with my cousin in the British Virgin Islands. (If you've been reading this blog for a while you would put two and two together and realize this is the one and same place that I originally wanted to get married...if you haven't been reading this blog very long, then - Welcome! And may I introduce you to a month of blog postings called June...take a stroll through any time you like and learn about where this wedding began...on a small island two hours south of Florida...and you will better understand where we are now - two hours north of a place I call Nuptial Hell).

Anyway, I haven't spoken to my mom in a couple of weeks so I had to catch her up on all the wedding-related details that have transpired. Here's the great thing about moms (or at least my mom) - she can sit and listen to all the wedding details and lap them up like it was a white chocolate double whip latte. It's nice to actually speak with someone (outside of the blogosphere) who actually cares about the color sash I selected for the bridesmaids to wear with their dresses or who thinks it's very important to talk about each of the songs I will be using for the processional and recessional. Talking about this with just about anyone else results in a look more glazed than a dunkin donut. Even my oh-so-patient bridesmaids have their limit (as they should). So yes, moms can be wonderful.

And yet...moms can also be such a DOWNER.

I began telling my mom about the photographer I booked and how EXCITED I was (which I haven't actually gone into here - but I will say I am very excited - evidenced by the use of ALL CAPS (!) but will blog about it later, assuming it all doesn't go to crap). And she sat on the other end of the line listening to me go on and on and on breathlessly discussing the angles she caught on a groom's socks while sending her the link to her webpage and explaining how she agreed to drive in from 300 miles away for our wedding at a great price and just about everything else anyone could want (or not want) to know about a photographer. After I finished, the words just popped out - the ones I know I should say, but the eager child in me secretly seeking my mother's approval just can't help it: "So, what do you think?"
[Long pause. Sound of dreams shattering.]

"Wellllll honey, I'm really happy you're happy. And I don't mean to rain on your parade BUT you know, she is going to be coming in from out of town and and it will be you're going to have a very big problem if it snows. I think you really need to think about this."

"Um yeah...right, thanks for bringing that to my attention Mom."

And so I quickly changed topics to the music for the ceremony. I began to tell her about the great deal I negotiated for our music for the ceremony and cocktail hour and how one of the four musicians would play for the ceremony and then go down and join the jazz trio once everyone left the ceremony. To which she responded "welllllllll, I don't mean to point this out, but it's definitely unfortunate that the quartet won't have its fourth member for a good 15 minutes during the cocktail hour...and since it is only an hour...that's something you should really think about."

"Um yeah mom, thanks for pointing that out."

I closed my eyes as I sat on the couch listening to my mom give me other "pointers" and "helpful hints." I needed to take control of this situation.
Squeek. Squeek. Squeek. Pop!

"Honey, what in the world are you doing? Are you...that sounded like...are you opening up a bottle of wine to drink by yourself?"

"Um, yeah...thanks for bringing that to my attention, Mom."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Long and Winding Road.

This will be a short post. I just thought I would provide the following fun anecdote. And by anecdote, I mean The Story of My Life.

On Sunday night, Mr F said to me, "You know, it's really calmed down on the wedding front, huh? It was really crazy for a while, but now it seems like everything's worked out."

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Hasn't Mr F ever seen "Forget Paris"? Mr F's statement was equivalent to the old "piece of cake" line. "'Piece of cake! Piece of cake.' You never say 'Piece of cake'!" Argghhhh.

And so, like clockwork, when I checked my email this morning, I saw that I had received a four paragraph email from FMIL that raised issues about a variety of wedding-related topics, yet none of those four paragraphs contained their guest list, which I have still not received (and yes, our wedding is in five months). And then tonight, Mr F told me his father was not happy about issues that previously arose with said guest list. And oh, by the way, I sent a follow up email today (that hasn't gotten a response) because a week has gone by and I have yet to get a contract (or quite frankly even heard a peep) from the musicians who were to play for our ceremony. And I have really bad heartburn.

Pass the tums, please. And some milk, since apparently I'm surrounded by pieces of cake. *sigh*

Saturday, August 23, 2008

These Boots Are Made For Walking (If Not Actually For Wearing For Extended Periods of Time, Let Alone During a 6-Hour Wedding)

I'm in love. Birds are singing, sunshine is everywhere. The world is a beautiful place. I am absolutely enamored.

With Neiman Marcus Last Call.

(Sorry, Mr. F, you're nice and all, but you don't provide me the opportunity to get Prada shoes at an astounding 75% off retail.) How did I not know about this place before? How is this possible? I am quite familiar with the following fabulous department discount stores: Saks Off 5th, Barney's outlet, and Nordstrom Rack. This is of course in addition to these wondrous stores: TJ Maxx, Loehman's (which as a kid was the most dreaded destination that ever existed because of the communal dressing room - now, I'll strip down to my underpants quicker than you can say "wrap dress" if I know there's the promise of a hefty discount off Diane Von Furstenberg), Marshalls, and Filene's Basement. (I also know about Ross, but I hate it. Yuck.) Not to mention any and all outlet stores. Yes, all of them. (Except GAP Outlet, which I also hate. I could explain, but it would take too long.)

So anyway, I am shocked that I have never been to Neiman Marcus Last Call before. Let me tell you - it is a magical place indeed. Picture Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. But instead of a chocolate river, there are chocolate colored leather handbags galore and rather than gummy bears on trees, there is every color and style of designer jeans, and rather than Oompa Loompas, there's...well there's nothing, because everyone knows there's no such thing as an Oompa Loompa. But of course, all of these items are only by the best designers and offered up at a huge discount! Now it is certainly possible that I just lucked out since we are at the end of the summer season (or at least department store-wise, if not actually weather-wise), but I was like a kid in a candy store. I picked up every brightly colored jellybean and gumdrop and tried those beautiful and tasty little babies on my feet. All of my favorite designers and all on SALE! I mean massive sale. I can now say that while landing on the moon, a baby's laugh and the blooming of a flower are some beautiful things, nothing - I mean nothing - is more beautiful than a yellow tag on a pair of Michael Kors high heeled black patent leather stiletto pumps. Gather near my friends and I shall tell you why - because the yellow sticker means those pieces of black licorice are 60% percent off. Which is just insane. inSANE!

I truly was in sugar shock. I couldn't stop myself - and by God - I didn't want to! Oh, the shoes! All told, when I left I had purchased two (yes TWO) pairs of snozzberry-colored shoes to wear to my wedding (both with incredibly high heels which will have the dual pronged effect of making me taller than the groom and possibly keel over from pain half way through the wedding ceremony), the black leather Michael Kors shoes (which yes, do actually exist and feel fabulous and are NOT part of his crappy lower end line which every time I watch Project Runway and they ask a text voting question (like "Who would you rather see in drag? (A) Tim Gunn or (B) Michael Kors?), I almost text in "C" and give a "write-in" answer of "C as in 'Couldn't you make the clothes a little less heinous for that lower market line of yours'?"), and a melange (indeed, a cornucopia) of dresses that I firmly believe I will wear for wedding-related events in the next 6 months. (Including by the way, one very fancy coat. Now I don't know where I will wear this fancy coat - and indeed it is fancy (pronounced like fawncy - as Madonna would say it with her fake British accent - because otherwise, well it's not nearly as fawncy) - but I had to buy it. It has a jeweled collar; I will leave you with that tidbit to ponder.

Oh, and I'm leaving out one tiny detail. (Hoping again Mr F is not reading this.) Uhm, I got one other thing at Neiman Marcus Last Call.

A Neiman Marcus credit card.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Music Makes the People Come Together

I'm two for two. Two for two, people! I had another pleasant wedding experience. (Note to reader, although I am using the word pleasant, what I really picture when writing that is a war-torn raggedy individual holding a chicken, which is uhm, a peasant holding pheasant.) Anyway, back to being "smug planner". My latest experience was not that interesting or funny or really even worth writing about, except for the fact that I got positive feedback on my last uplifting and non-negative post and I like the idea that I am perceived as a happy and positive bride instead of a snarling angry bride.

The catalyst for this post: I decided on the musicians who I will book to play my ceremony and cocktail hour. And it was an enjoyable and seamless process. Well maybe not seamless. Maybe a little more Abbott and Costello than I had hoped, but on the whole it involved a drama level of about 1, which is a nice place to be. To wit:

Wedding Drama Level Scale:

5 = Abort! Abort! Parental and Future In-Law Interference Occurring. Decisions are made by parents. Money is held hostage. Wedding is unrecognizable as that of bride and groom's own. This step is easily identified by the fact that E&E is huddled in a corner rocking back and forth addled with CTSD (current traumatic stress disorder) and humming "Here Comes The Bride" softly and slowly.

4 = Interference via Bride's Extended Family (see, e.g., Aunts, Uncles, and spawn of same). E&E's parents take thoughts and feelings of their siblings to heart and pay the crap forward to E&E. You know you have arrived at this step when you see E&E curled up in fetal position in bed, with a mostly empty pint of Ben & Jerry's likely found in left hand.

3 = Interference via Groom's Extended Family (i.e., Sister in Law of Mr. F.). Through Mr F's family grapevine (which is so flourishing that it should yield buckets of wine, but instead only results in stomach cramps), E&E gets message that people "aren't happy." And neither is E&E. Recognizable by the massive amount of wine E&E has consumed (and obviously deserves given lack of grapevine production of same) and through sloppily written blog posts completed therewith.

2 = Factors Outside the Control of Bride Conspire Against Her. Changes to wedding venue, being married on the most popular weekend of the year for couples, and having a wedding coordinator who will not respond to any of her emails are all fodder for angst of E&E. You can diagnose this stage by tracking long periods of couch-related immobility; television programming will include marathons of "America's Best Crew" and "America's Next Top Model." Slices of cheddar cheese on Triscuits are also involved. It is not recommended that you try to communicate with E&E during this period since the only response is likely to be: "Things are fine. (sigh)".

1 = Wacky Hijinks, Crazy Vendors, Misunderstandings Galore. Pretty much nuttin compared to levels 2 through 5 above. E&E is a phoenix, rising up from the ashes to form a beautiful and strong bride who plans for her impending wedding with a smile on her face and warmth in her heart (a little of the warmth is from the Jack Daniels Lynchberg Lemonade she is sipping, but this is a relaxation-induced drink, not an anger-induced libation, see "Level 3" above). This phase is identified by failure to find E&E. She is off happily shopping at department stores, visiting friends and being healthful, including trips to the gym and/or farmer's markets, in an effort to focus on...can it be? Yes indeed. HERSELF!

We are all on the same page now, oui? Back to the musicians. I had a lovely conversation with Mr. Bandleader during which we discussed what type of music I would like played for our wedding on February 15th. We spoke for about a half an hour and he was friendly and accommodating, even giving us a bit of a discount for our "off season wedding." (Which I highly recommend to those on a budget since every single vendor has deducted money when I asked based on our winter date.) And then, the conversation ended like this:

"Well great, thank you so much for speaking to me! So, you'll draw up a contract for our date of February 15th of next year and I'll sign it and send you a check. As you suggested, when we get off the phone, I will call the pianist and chat with her about song selections to see if she has the sheet music."

"Absolutely. February 16th, I've got it down."

"No, it's February 15th."

"Right, February 16th."

"No, SUNDAY, February FIFTEEENTHHHH. Uhm, the day after Saturday, February 14th and the day before Monday, February 16th."

"Whoops! Apologies - I got it now, February 15th at 3:00. Perfect."

"Perfect! Thanks!"

I then look down at the name and number that the bandleader gave me and I decide to call up the pianist to see if she has the music we wanted her to play for the ceremony. I dial her phone number and she picks up right away.

"Hi, my name is E&E, and I spoke with your bandleader earlier today. He mentioned that you would be available to play at my wedding ceremony on Sunday, February 15th, 2009 and he suggested I reach out to you about some of the music I would like played."

"Thanks so much for calling us! It would be my pleasure to talk to you. We can certainly chat about music and you can even come over my house and we can try out some stuff on the piano so you can approve the sound."

"Wow, that sounds fantastic! Thanks so much - that would be great."

"Hmmm, hold on a sec. [Pause] I just looked at my calendar and I don't think that's going to work. I have an event on the 16th of February."

"Uhm, I said the 15th though. So is that ok?"

"Oh! The fifteenth. Well, that should be fine."

In sum, I will be having a few of the nicest vendors I have met thus far playing the music for the ceremony and the cocktail hour of my wedding. That being said, there is a part of me that has some reservations about two musicians playing for the biggest day of my life who clearly have severely weak listening skills. But really, since when is a good ear important to play a little music? [Blissfully cruising along at Level 1 of wedding drama, E&E skips off into the sunset, ignoring the moderately problematic issues sure to balloon into possible full-fledged wedding day drama on her day of. But that's neither here nor there. Or it is. But who cares?]

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Wear My Sunglasses (And A Satin Tea-length Dress) At Night

I'm not 100% sure about this, but I'm pretty sure that this is about to be a normal post. A post like all the other wedding blogs, free of sarcasm, drama, and uninvited parental intervention. I am so curious to see how this goes. Let's take the journey together, shall we?

Anyway, lest you think that my life only involves trips to New Jersey and visits to photographers (yeah, still haven't booked that one - I'm having trouble pulling the trigger which leads me to believe I'm not in touch with my subconscious feelings regarding the Kodak moments of my Big Day), this post is intended to disprove that belief. I went to Chicago this weekend. First of all, my first visit ever to Chicago was in January. So pretty much every visit after that is guaranteed to be much better. In fact, every time I get off the plane and it isn't snowing / sleeting / flurrying / icing (yum, icing), I feel pretty confident that things will be good.

I decided to bring Mohammad to the mountain, i.e., one of my co-maids of honor lives there, and I thought it would be fun to do wedding-y stuff together. (This is what happens when not a single bridesmaid lives in the same state as you; planes are involved.) So for the first half of the weekend the poor girl filled in as groom and was forced to look at website after website of photographers' wedding photos while I cooed at every picture of the couple kissing, of their parents kissing, of their parents crying and/or any picture of a baby dancing or eating cake (and no I'm not a hypocrite for thinking these babies are cute; they are at someone else's wedding - not mine).

After the photographer-stravaganza, we decided to spend the day looking for a bridesmaid dress. The day being Sunday. Have I mentioned that my foresight is somewhat lacking? I had been smart enough to look up all the bridal boutiques in Chicago in advance of my trip. I was not smart enough to look at the days that they were open. As we sat having coffee on Sunday morning, we decided to choose which store we would go to. Except that our choices were limited as we soon learned that all the "cute boutiques" in the hip parts of Chicago were closed. And closed and closed. I know, I know, if one of the reasons you're going to visit someone is to look for a bridesmaid dress, doesn't it make sense to check that the store is open on the day you'll be there? Yes, it makes perfect sense. Doesn't mean that's what I did. (And yes, we could have gone on Saturday, but a hangover from Friday night and the proximity of Anthropologie to my friend's house meant that we never strayed more than 10 blocks from home. Well, until dinner and more drinks. [Dialing AA.])

We did find one, yes ONE, store that was open. As we made our way through areas of the city that scared me, I peered out the window at more hot dog restaurants than I had ever seen before in my life. Not just stands - whole restaurants, or at least booths (i.e., stores not on wheels). These people are serious about hot dogs. We pulled up to a run-down storefront that promised oodles of dresses inside. As we stepped inside the stillness of the store was a little disconcerting and I pictured murdered brides (along with her supportive bridesmaids) stacked up in the dressing rooms. A woman looked at us from behind the counter, "Can I help you?"

"Yes, we're here to look at bridesmaids dresses." Not a crinoline rustled, not a satin swished. The store was as empty as could be. She looked down at her scheduling book. "Hmmm. Do you have an appointment?"

We looked around for other patrons. We looked at each other for clues. "No?"

Looking at us with her judging eyes, she let out a sigh and said: "Well ok then, why don't you take a look at some dresses." Had we just passed some sort of potential bride test? Do a lot of people come in off the street to try on brightly colored dual-satin frocks in size 14? We started to browse through some of the most disturbing concoctions of dress I had ever seen; there were more sequins in this room than at a 1950's burlesque show, or at the 2007 Ms. Universe pageant for that matter. Lost in a daydream about putting my bridesmaids in all sequin applique, I jump when I hear a piercing voice behind me. "Do you have anything I can put in a room for you? Do you want help? Do you have something in mind?" I turn around and sweet holy Jesus, it's Magda from "There's Something About Mary." The smallest, tannest, most wrinkled woman wearing the most lipstick I have ever seen on one mouth is descending on us. (Luckily, the woman, not the mouth per se, is descending upon us.)

By this time we had gathered a few dresses by national designers which I could order from my local dress shop in Baltimore. Magda continues to hover over us talking about dresses and weddings and wedding dresses and Cameron Diaz. Ok, she doesn't talk about Cameron Diaz. But she should have. Because I am SURE she was in this movie.

We begin to try on the dresses and are hopping around the dressing room in our skivvies trying to squeeze our size 6 bodies into size 12 dresses (yes, I wrote that correctly) when all of a sudden Magda decides to just pop right in. Now while I'm not shy, I prefer that I get a little bit of notice before I show all my lady parts to someone. I felt like a teenager caught reading magazines instead of doing my homework, scurrying to cover up the evidence with whatever is nearby (in this case, a large purple taffeta evening gown). She wants to know if we're ok. Yes, undressed and embarrassed, but doing ok. (And doing even better once she skedaddles out of our dressing room.) Really, couldn't this information have been obtained without opening the door? I have never had a sales clerk at Bloomingdales or Saks just burst in through the door. Why is this permissible when we are in a bridesmaid gown situation? (And by the way, this also happened to me when trying on wedding seems anyone who works in the store has an open invitation to just walk into the dressing room when I am putting dresses on.)

All that being said, I did find what I wanted (which was a certain dress in a certain color) and we knew our mission was accomplished. Only problem - how to leave without filling out a card with the dress information and being contacted and harassed about buying a dress from this store. Co-Maid of Honor and I get dressed and make a beeline from the dressing room to the door, only slowing briefly for MOH to say a meek "thanks" (her upbringing not allowing anything less) before we run to the car and get the hell of of dodge.

As we drive to the airport, I sit idly in the passenger seat looking at more hotdog stands along the road, thinking about Magda and the bridesmaid dresses and muttering to myself "franks and beans, franks and beans." I'm pretty certain that this is a jinx (a la 7th grade), but I'm feeling like this wedding planning thing may be turning around.

Is still available?

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Warning: A series of post titles and subjects will likely follow over the next few days which may or may not include multiple quotes and/or references to "Fiddler on the Roof", "The Chosen" and/or "Yentel" (the latter of which I haven't seen but apparently is very jewishy so I thought I'd throw it in there just to be safe) and may include, but is not limited to, such Hebraic references as chuppahs, yamulkes, ketubahs, horas, and latkes. (OK, not latkes, but of all the things I listed, that one actually got me excited about posting.) For those of you who did not grow up in New Jersey, NYC, Long Island, LA and/or Boca Raton, might I suggest the following: or

To catch you up, I just finished booking the Big Three of wedding vendors (DJ, florist, photographer, the powerful trifecta that is the foundation of any good wedding). [Patting myself on the back. Even though I shouldn't. I'm lying a bit...the photographer is not actually booked per se...but I do have a contract that I'm procrastinating on and swear I WILL put in the mail tomorrow.] Anyway, I decided that I deserved a wedding breather. Not total wedding lockdown, but more of a zen-like state intended to take me away from all that is wedding, so when I was forced to return to planning in earnest, I would be like a fresh lotus blossom, poised to calmly make nuptial decisions with ease. Needless to say, when my phone rang this morning while at work and I heard FMIL (Future Mother in Law) on the line telling me she was with our Cantor (the officiant who will marry us; for the non-jews out there: he's a guy who works in the temple but is not a Rabbi. And if you don't know who the Rabbi is, I just can't help you here. Email me and we'll have a talk. I'll cook you some matzoh ball soup and we'll talk about Madonna and Kabbalah and dance to "Like A Prayer").

So it's 8:30 in the morning and the first thing she says is "You have to talk to the Cantor. You need to talk to him now. He's right here in the office and you have to talk to him. Oh wait...what? Oh ok. Ok, forget it, he'll just talk to me and I'll talk to you."

Hmmm. That seems efficient. "Ok, so first, he says he needs a piano. Or a synthesizer, like a keyboard."

To which I dumbly respond, "Why, does he play the keyboard?" And FMIL says, "NO! It's for the chanting!!"

THE CHANTING? "Uhm, but I'm not really sure we're having...chanting. You know that we're not really, like uhm, religious?" To which FMIL replied breezily, "Well that's fine, but you know that it will be lovely with the accompaniment of the keyboard so for the singing he does, it will be lovely." (Translation: I'm ignoring you and your decision to decline synthesized music and Hebraic chants.)

And then I hear this elderly voice in the background yelling "Tell her she needs two male witnesses who can write their Hebrew names on the ketubah. They can't be blood relatives! TWO MALE WITNESSES!!"

I am now a wilting lotus blossom having heart palpitations. You see, I don't believe that witnesses should only be male. The idea that it should be male offends me; in the days of yore, or old, or BCE or whatever, a woman couldn't be deemed to be a witness since she didn't have the same standing as a man. Sorry, but that doesn't fly with me. And I'm certainly not going to perpetuate the idea of a woman's diminished status by permitting it to happen with my marriage. F*** that. I'm not into the glass ceiling, so I'm not about to bow down to a parchment ceiling either. But how I am supposed to have a dialogue on the new Jewish feminism while on the phone with my future mother in law who is sitting in a dentist's office and yelling my comments to the Cantor who is supposed to marry us, but who I have never met and who may very well feel that a marriage is only valid if two male non-blood witnesses are there to watch? So instead I say "I can't hear you, we have a bad connection. Let's talk later" and immediately hang up.

I call up Mr. F to tell him what transpired, feeling a little apprehensive about what he'll say when pitted against his mother's religious wishes. I tell him about the Cantor and the chanting and then the male witnesses required for the ketubah. And he's silent for a moment and says "F*** that. They'll be no chanting. And we'll have female witnesses. I'll take care of it."

For today, I love Mr. F.

Monday, August 11, 2008

You're Never There

One quick thing - why is it that whenever I go to add things on my registry at Bloomingdales that I can get right on the website - 1, 2, 3 - done! But whenever I determine (as happens really often) that there is no way I can justify paying (even if I'm not the one actually doing the paying) $200 for a crystal cake stand, and that I have made a terrible mistake by registering for this item and that I must remove said crystal cake stand off the registry immediately before someone buys it - at 11:00 pm on a random evening in August not remotely close in proximity to my wedding or shower - and I try to hop back on the website to delete, that I can never get on the damn thing. For a store that charges so much for a cakestand they have some SERIOUS webserver issues. Or do they? [Musical sounds of an evil plot unfolding here.]

Achtung Baby

I should have known. I was feeling smug. And sure, I have posts and posts and posts...and posts about ridiculous wedding debacles, but I had escaped one quagmire which I knew plenty of my friends and fellow brides were forced to grapple with. Wee lil invitees. (Also known as children.)

Now there's a good chance Mr. F is going to read this post. And there's also a good chance he's going to get pissed off. But shit, since I can't please anyone anymore, might as well please no one. I'll try to do a bunch of rapid fire posts after this one and maybe it will get pushed down to the bottom and he won't see it. But I need to vent (er, I mean share important insights), and I'll be damned if a silly thing like the sanctity of my relationship will get in the way.

I have no younger generation in my family yet. None of my cousins have offspring (which does double duty in that it also holds off questions such as "Did you see how cute Amy's baby is? Don't you want kids of your own? Are you going to start 'trying' right away?"...and note to self: do whole post later on that last statement, which in itself is enough to make the too-big dinner I ate shift uncomfortably in my stomach...just the word "trying"...ew). While a few of my friends do have children, I don't really feel obligated to invite them. Not sure why, maybe because there are only a few, but I don't.

Mr. F's side of the family is for the most part the same. "For the most part" being the important part of that sentence. In fact, Mr F's brother has a kid. Who is two. And the CUTEST FRICKIN KID EVER. Adorable. I love him. And there's a little of me that wonders if I would have said "yes" to Mr. F's proposal if maybe just maybe cutiepie wasn't his nephew. This kid is cute. So here are my thoughts on cutiepie nephew being at the wedding.

I want him to be at the ceremony. The ceremony itself is the important part of this event - it is the marriage of his Uncle and his Aunt and I hope, just maybe he might remember that one day. However, I don't think he needs to be at the reception. I just don't. Sue me. (But first, hear me out.) The reception is not the "wedding." The "wedding" (a verb, the actual act of entering into wedlock), occurs at the ceremony. The "reception" that follows is entirely an adult affair which includes a section called the "cocktail hour". My thinking: if you are at the point in your life where going to the bathroom involves never even having to go anywhere near a toilet, you probably should not be attending an event that has the word "cocktail" in the title. Moreover, this is an event that will be in the evening. If you are two, and Dr. Spock (or whoever is doling out baby advice these days) suggests that you be in jammies and all tucked in by 7:00 pm, you probably shouldn't be dancing the night away. You should be asleep. Not running around tugging on the skirts of adults and spilling cheerios on the specially-ordered linens. It just changes the feel of the event. Which blows. Because I wanted an adult party. Not fucking Sesame Street. At this point, why don't I just trade in the white gown for some yellow feathers and a beak and call it a day? (Can you see where I lose it there? Making good points, following up my statements with supporting facts, and then just - bam - all downhill making obnoxious remarks and being mean about Big Bird. Who I love. And by the way, who I just discovered like a year ago - actually fabricated Snuffulupagus - did you know that? I didn't. I had no idea - I didn't know he was an imaginary friend! I thought he was just another character. I wasn't the brightest kid. Or adolescent.


And it sounds like I'm taking this out on cutiepie, but I"m not. I think there might be something else behind my frustration, but it goes back to Baskin-Robbins and I've bashed her so much already that I can't decide if I should tell-all on this one. So I'm going to sleep on it. Which is a bit of a risk because it means that Mr. F. might read this and get mad before I get a chance to post more and hide this post. (As you might guess, Mr. F strongly disagrees about whether cutiepie nephew should be invited. I think he's just thinking how much he loves cutiepie and not about the realities of the actual event. And I can't even say this without Mr. F thinking I'm blaspheming his little guy. *sigh*)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Mysterious Ways

I'm such a blogosphere dork. A cyber-loser. I have no idea what I'm doing and I can't figure out how to work my blog. I just want to put that out there to explain why my blog is so visually, well, LAME. There are weird spacing issues that I can't control. I also can't find a template that really suits the blog. I know I write ridiculously long posts and so I want something wider than what I have. And finally, I really want a cool name design like all the other blogs I like, but despite my ability to put pen (and brush) to paper (or canvas), I don't have the foggiest idea how to do anything on a computer. Just wanted you all to know. I'm not happy with the status quo, but that's what it is. M'kay?

On another note, unrelated to weddings or blogs or anything really, I got my house cleaned today (yes, I plunked down $80 and paid someone else to clean the grout in the tiles of my tub, and I work hard during the week, so don't judge me!) and I have to admit, my whole life just seems better now. Having a tidy, clean house just makes me feel like I can do anything! I am the model of efficiency right now. Making lists, paying bills, not crying because things seem overwhelming - my my, this might just be a whole new chapter in my life!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

You're The Real Thing, Even Better Than The Real Thing

The Rehearsal Dinner. [Nervous rustling of papers. Twisting of hair. Large sigh.] It's been "challenging." It's "special." It has a "good personality." I think you see what I'm saying here, si?

Despite the craptabulousnes of the RedEye (that would be Re(hearsal)Di(nner), named such because this event has been more painful that a trans-continental flight with 5 hours of sleep in an upright chair disguised as a full 8 hours), I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that this one I saw coming. Well, a little bit. As I've mentioned before, my brother got married last October and his rehearsal dinner invite list almost caused a wedding riot by my dad's side of the family. I won't go in to details on his RedEye flight, er, plight, but I can assure you it was miserable, despite ultimately working itself out.

But before I proceed with my own tale, I would, as usual, like to take a moment to digress. It's actually not really a digression since it's on the topic of rehearsal dinners, but it's also not directly related to my current story. So if you don't feel like reading, just skip down two paragraphs and read the direct progression of my narration. Otherwise, hear me out.

Am I missing something? Other than keeping in with the theme that weddings are not about the bride and groom, but about everyone else, can someone explain to me why people seem to get so offended if they are not invited to this event? Actually, I get it; I understand wanting to spend more time with the people you flew in from out of town to be with if you love and care about them and are excited for them. (And were it not for cost limitations, I would love to have all of our truly nearest and dearest spend more time with us.) So instead of talking in vague generalities, I'm going to lift the veil and be more direct: why is it that we need to tiptoe around the feelings of a bunch of people who neither I nor my groom are close with, are friends with, or quite frankly really even like? Why do they expect to be invited to an event simply because they have the same last name as one of us does? Shouldn't the event be about who you want to have there? Instead of creating a lovely memorable dinner for a couple on the eve of their wedding, it's about protecting the feelings of family members who you barely know, who don't call you on your birthday and who can't even be bothered to make small talk with you on Thanksgiving.

Curtain falls. Digression complete. Applause.

So in addition to my brother's experience, I knew that there would be another issue with the RedEye. First up, the date. I am getting married on Sunday, February 15th. That would make my rehearsal dinner on: YOU GOT IT. Zing. Valentine's Day. And not just any Valentine's Day - a Saturday night. You can imagine how eager a restaurant might be to give away a whole area of their restaurant to a group that will sit there for 5 hours instead of giving deuce tables to couples looking to spend massive amounts of money on bottles of wine and who will turn over a table in two hours. So I ignored Martha Stewart's suggestion that the rehearsal venue can wait for a while, and started calling restaurants the moment we booked that date. NO ONE WANTS TO HAVE US. No one. Actually, I take that back. One restaurant told us if we guaranteed $10,000 on food and beverage that they would let us use a private space. Thanks, asshat. (I know that the owner wasn't really being an asshat, but that's one of those words I love so much that I use it excessively and improperly.)

So instead of calling around I decided to walk from restaurant to restaurant basically begging (it's my experience that it's harder to turn down someone in person). I finally found a place that was willing to close part of their restaurant for us [hear that? angels singing!] in Little Italy. Perfect! What's cozier than a big Italian meal with some good red wine and a nice long table and your closest friends on a cold night in February? Nothing!

At which point I wanted to run everything by Mr. F. before signing a contract. We had previously decided that given financial constraints, our RedEye would be a small intimate affair for just the wedding party, our parents and our siblings. Total count: 30. Thus, my Italian Savior was a restaurant which had a small room that seated 28 comfortably, but could just squeeze in 30. So I ran all of this by Mr. F. while dancing around the room like a lunatic. "I've found a place! I found a place!!!" [Dance of joy.]

My excitement was not met with the response I anticipated. I looked at Mr. F's face and actually saw his lips moving and then watched his forehead crease and his eyes widen and then look sad.

He turned to me and said, "So you said only wedding party and parents and siblings, right?"


"So you know that two of my groomsman are my first cousins, right?"


"So you're saying we aren't going to invite their mom - my aunt - my mom's sister to the dinner?"


And then I started thinking. And my forehead creased, my shoulders drooped, and the corners of my mouth turned down as it all came together. Obviously we have to invite the first cousin's groomsmen's mom (Mr. F's aunt/FMIL's sister). And ob-vi-ous-ly if we invite her, then we have to invite Mr F's other aunt...and uncles...and grandma...and other first cousins.

And if we invite all of Mr. F's aunts, uncles and cousins, then...yes, we have to invite all of mine. Dinner for 30 is now dinner for...sixty. Not to mention the fact that...[thinking how I can say the following thing nicely...realizing that is not possible]...I don't like my first cousins and don't want them at my rehearsal dinner. And "not like" is a euphemism for "think they're spoiled brats who both judge and are overtly snide to all those who they deem 'conformist'; this being done of course from the comfort of a NYC downtown apartment paid for by their parents, who not only cover the bottom line, but managed to get them accepted into the colleges that they dropped out of to join a band. Cause having mommy and daddy support your like totally alternative lifestyle is like sooo non-conformist." Yeah, that wasn't nice. But it's true. Now you see why this Blog is anonymous, yes?

Goodbye! Arrivederci! Did you see it? My sweet little Italian family-style dinner just flew off...into thin the wafting aroma of homemade lasagna out through the window of a brownstone and down the street...goodbye.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

These People Round Here Wear Beaten Down Eyes

First off, who knew that the lyrics to "Come On Ilene" were so...dark? If I recall correctly, weren't these the same people who were wearing overalls and dancing through the streets in their 80's video for the same song? They didn't strike me as quite so melancholy. But my track record for 80's song lyrics and/or their meaning is not good (think "She Bop" and later, "Pour Some Sugar on Me"), so I'll let this sleeping dog lie.

And while I'm digressing (or procrastinating) from the Rehearsal Dinner, I'd like to go off on a music-related tangent (which doesn't related to the Blog Title like the Rehearsal Dinner does, but life's short and this blog is not, so deal).

I am experience quite the conundrum on the wedding music processional. The one piece of music I always envisioned walking into at my wedding was "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwoole (by the way, if you haven't heard it already, go on and take a listen - - it's just beautiful). I heard it probably ten years ago for the first time and loved it ever since then. (And there are not a lot of things I love for ten years in a row. *Mr. F., don't worry, I'm SURE you'll be the exception to the rule. Ahem.)

The problem is that when I pictured myself walking down the aisle to this music, it was on a beach somewhere (and if you listened, you would understand why). Now clearly, that is not happening (feel free to read, oh, the first 10 posts on this blog to understand why that dream has died). Instead, I'm getting married in a historical venue with Corinthian columns and marble floors in the middle of the winter. Not quite your Hawaiian ukulele-strumming love song.

So since then I have been searching for a different song. And I know the song I want. But I'm conflicted by (get this, we're coming very full circle here again) its music video. And this is worse than being led astray by men dancing in overalls.

The song I love: November Rain. The video: Total wedding hotness. Stephanie Seymour marries badass Axl in a wedding for the ages; she struts down the aisle in a mini leg-baring wedding dress and then Slash plays a solo in front of a church somewhere in Kansas (presumably). And then it rains. And she dies.

Now when I mentioned the problem with this song (which both Mr. F and I love), Mr. F. looked at me as if I were crazy. "What are you talking about? She doesn't die in the video! Right? She was wearing that super hot mini-dress. By the way, are you going to wear a dress like that?" No That's not right. But that is just about what most hot-bloodied-Gen X males remember about the video.

So to prove my point, Mr. F and I pulled up November Rain on YouTube - - and watched it together. You got it. She dies. (But you should have seen how attentive Mr. F was to that video - I truly hope I get as much attention on our wedding day as Ms. Seymour did when we watched that video. A tsunami would not have moved his eyes away from that screen.)

So really, there's nothing to say except I need to decide whether coming down the aisle to a video about a woman who gets married and dies is too macabre for an extremely superstitious (and slightly fragile by this point, let's not kid ourselves) bride-to-be. I'll throw it out to the crowd. Thoughts?

Monday, August 4, 2008

You Know What I Mean

One quick story:

Today I decided I would send out my STD's ("Save the Dates" for the amateurs among you). I also resolved to call them STD's [giggle] as much as possible because I think it's funny. And no one else in the wedding blogosphere acknowledges this as frequently as they should. So I brought my STD's to work. [BROUGHT MY STD's TO WORK! HILARIOUS]

I decided that I would make myself mail at least half of the STD's today since they have been sitting on my kitchen counter for at least two weeks now and were (a) starting to smell like burnt food (long story) and (b) becoming a symbol of my non-starter wedding.

So I labored over the computer and figured out how to import addresses from Excel to print clear labels (and NO, I would never ever steal Avery clear labels 5660 from my office supply room for my own STD's [hee hee], how dare you even think so!) and bought a boatload of stamps and licked all of the envelopes which tasted like crap (and got me thinking about the "Seinfeld" episode where George's fiance, Susan, dies from licking all the envelopes and thinking how it seemed a lot funnier now than it did then) and sealed them. Nice and tight.

And then I realized I was an idiot. A big ole dumb idiot. I forgot to include the hotel information (which I printed out on separate pieces of paper) in the envelopes. Goddamn STD's. Pure frickin agony. So I ripped them all open and used the remainder of my envelopes, which YES, means I now have to order more envelopes and wait for them to arrive (because no I did not take the option where I could order extras from the outset in case something like this happened), which will surely ruin any sort of wedding momentum that I may (or may not) have created. And as I pulled out the STD from each envelope and restuffed them into the newly-labeled second set of envelopes, I chanted silently to myself: "idiot" "idiot" "idiot", in time, with each STD I stuffed. (Note: generally recommended to close door to office during mantra chanting.)
My suggestion when it comes to STD's: protect yourself by abstaining. (I think we all saw that coming, didn't we?)

I need to retire for the evening now since tomorrow I have to regain my energy to fight The Rehearsal Dinner Battle which began yesterday and rages on across the east coast, from north (NJ) to south (FL), even whilst I sleep. [Peels a grape, looks back at Tara, consumed by angry flames and grimaces as she marches on away from the plantation...sits down briefly and has a mint julep...falls asleep and decides to fight the fight later...tomorrow is another day.]

Come On, Filene

After hearing about this miraculous event called "The Filene's Basement Sale" (and more popularly and disturbingly known as "The Running of the Brides"), I resolved to participate. So yes, my mother and I found ourselves at 5 a.m. in Towson, Maryland sitting on a line with at least 300 women seated in front of us. As we walked to the back of the line, I looked at the women who had been waiting for hours, sitting in camping chairs, holding mugs of coffee, and huddling together in gaggles of seven and eight, each member of the group wearing fuschia-colored or lime-green T-shirts that said things like "The Bride" or "Tara's Bridesmaid!!". I realized that I was far out of my league. As my mom and I did the Filene's Basement walk of shame past the women who had been sitting there all night, we got the evil eye: I could feel them judging whether we would be faster at grabbing a dress and stronger at holding on to it than their group. It reminded me a lot of the prison walk when the new inmates are brought into a penitentary and the current prisoners judge whether they will be a threat to their current fiefdom within the prison walls. (Hey, I have been unduly influenced by the "Shawshank Redemption", so cut me some slack on my analogies.) A meager group of two we were: me at 31 years old along with my 55 year old mom. I can safely say we were judged no match. Good call by the 250 lovely ladies sitting in front of us.

So we sat on line and actually chatted with a very sweet girl behind us who brought along 2 other women and we decided to join forces to form our own coalition (neon-colored t-shirts bearing too much information aside). Rumors floated up and down the line of women like high school. "They're not letting people in at 8 am because the dresses aren't here yet." "If you bring a little kid, they'll let you in early." "They won't allow you to bring your camping chair folded up because they're afraid you'll hit someone with it." This last one actually turned out to be true. And soon enough security guards were coming through and collecting chairs from ladies sitting on them.

Then we get an informational sheet. It included little nuggets of information on how to navigate the sale. Savvy suggestions like "don't be alarmed if there are no dresses when you arrive; we recommend you leave, go have a cup of coffee, and return a few hours later, when dresses people don't want are returned to the racks." Riiiight. So I got up at 4 a.m. to sit on line for 3 hours in an effort to leave the store, spend $4 on some crappy ass coffee and return to contemplate purchasing for my wedding all of the dresses discarded by women who thought they were ugly. Thanks, Filene. You are very wise.
At ten minutes to eight there began some movement among the women. People began to pack up their belongings. There was a palpable electricity in the air. Engagement ring prongs were sharpened and veils knotted in noose formation, readying for the war. Like some sort of estrogen-fueled wave at a stadium, we began to stand up one after another. After another few minutes we began to move. At first we began to shuffle forward, talking with each other about our strategy and how crazy this was. But then we noticed that women were infringing on our space, pushing around the corners and coming from behind to try to cut in front of us! (Yes, I know how juvenile that sounds - but that is exactly what it was. I was cut in line.) My mother and the 3-strong-girl-squad we previously merged with locked arms to form a wall to keep out line cutting intruders. Then we stopped. What was going on? Why the hold up? Then we realized. No one had been allowed in the store yet at all. The initial movement was just to close the gaps and push everyone as far forward as possible so the true running could be like shoulder-to-shoulder connubial cattle. And then it began. We started to shuffle and then jog. And then women were everywhere, cutting in line, pushing and shoving, and most of all - trying to push into the doors of a bargain basement discount store. I broke away from my group and ran into the store. And I couldn't believe my fucking eyes: there wasn't a damn dress left on the racks. The doors had opened approximately two minutes ago.

I spied a dress laying on the floor and sprinted over to pick it up. As soon as I had a hand on, so did two other women who started pulling at it. So I did what I had to do.

I dropped the damn thing and walked away. No dress, wedding day or otherwise, is worth a girlfight and my dignity (which already had a lot of recovery to do from my dash into the store).

Ultimately, our coalition was able to get a bunch of dresses to try on. And you know what? They were fug-tastic. You got it: U-G-L-Y. $249 dollars of hideousness. All the talk of designer dresses? If they were there (which I'm sure they were, I don't doubt you, Filene), I didn't see 'em. And so for two hours I stripped down to my skivvies in the middle of a major department store to try on dresses. (Did I not mention this part? - when you have 250 people vying for four dressing rooms, the recommended course of action is to drop trou in another department (preferably by a mirror) so you can try on dresses more quickly and discard or barter for other dresses as needed. Let me tell you how shocked the man who was there to buy a pair of sweat socks for his company baseball game was.)

After two hours elapsed I simply called it a day. Dunzo. Filene's Basement and the hordes of angry (and more dedicated) brides had beat E&E and Mom to a pulp. Mmmm. All this bridal brawling made me want a mimosa.