Category Archives: You're Doing This Wrong

There Goes Tokyo!

The bloggy consensus is having your bridesmaids pick their own dresses is the right way to go.  It’s humble! It’s easier for everyone involved! It will make your bridesmaids feel the most comfortable and look the best! Uniformed bridesmaids are creepy anyway!

I was frankly astonished when one of today’s posts on A Practical Wedding acknowledged the “alternative” of bridesmaids in matching dresses, even though it was written about like it’s a shameful secret, and even though it was in a post sponsored by a bridesmaid dress company.

Matching bridesmaid dresses: the uncoolest.

And yet, I am putting my sister and sisters-in-law into matching dresses.  That I am picking out.  Because I am selfish, inconsiderate, and not even remotely hip.  I am a Bridezilla.

But I am also lazy!  So when faced with the prospect of dressing the women in the Bridal Hootenanny, who, unlike my sisters bio and in-law, are not all exactly the same size and shape, I decided to not bother trying to find a dress universally flattering to the whole gang.  I said, “you all find your own dresses!”

I said it with an air of self-satisfaction, because I could pretend what this is really about is that I’m not ENTIRELY old-fashioned/uncool/cruel.  I’m letting my friends pick their own dresses! I don’t like things completely matchy-matchy like those square brides stuck in the 1980s.  I am hip and considerate!  Well, uh, at least when friends are concerned.  (Sorry, family!)

But then… the time came to email the Bridal Hootenanny ladies.    Apparently, when saying, “go pick your own dress,” a Bridezilla needs to send out a 723-word email containing no less than 15 images.  And a corresponding Google document.   And while I was putting together that massive correspondence I may have also emailed my mother-in-law with a suggested dress for her. SOMEONE CALL GROOMOTHRA, I NEED TO BE STOPPED!

Or I could just chillax and own my choices.

The sisters will look good.  I’ll get the satisfaction of playing with them like Human Barbies.  They’ll get the simplicity of not having to choose.

My friends will look good.  They’ll get the fun of shopping for their own dresses.  They’ll enjoy that, whereas the sisters might not.  And this isn’t the first and it won’t be the last time my friends have coordinated outfits using a Google doc.

And for all we know, in five years, mis-matched dresses will be considered old-fashioned and lame, and the Knot will send out newsletters gushing over the  “Newest Wedding Trend: Matching Maids!”


Not Caring

The number of days until our wedding is longer than the human gestation period.

That means it is OK that I am totally disinterested in my wedding right now, right?

(OMG) Shoes

I had a wonderful weekend.  I could write the standard “going to a wedding while you are engaged can be overstimulating” post, but I am going to try to avoid it.  You’ve all read those posts! You know the drill: you think, “this must have cost so much!” “Will I be as happy/relaxed/beautiful as this bride?” “Will people dance this much at my wedding?  Even if I don’t play ‘Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy?'”

Instead I am going to write about a completely superficial, unimportant wedding detail: shoes.

I am not a shoe person.  I’ve observed from both my friends and the general culture that many women have a special love for shoes that transcends their love for other parts of their wardrobe.  Don’t get me wrong: I recently counted and I have over thirty pairs of shoes.  But I don’t feel any particular reverence for a good shoe the way I know other women do.

I’m also becoming less and less tolerant of high heels.  At the wedding this weekend, I chucked my shoes after the cocktail hour.  And then Collin stepped on my feet a bunch of times on the dance floor, but after trying to put my shoes back on I decided that would be more uncomfortable than getting stepped on a few more times.

But this should be a non-issue.  I’ll be wearing a long dress, so I can find some very sturdy, comfy shoes and just not take any of those pictures of shoes without feet in them.  No one will know! It will be fine!

Except I can’t quite shake the feeling of inadequacy on this one.  When I see pictures of other brides with badass shoes.  Shoes I can’t budget for. Shoes I probably would hate wearing.  Shoes that would make me taller than Collin.  Shoes that would make me trip. Shoes I do not want.  But I see other brides wearing them, and I think, “Shouldn’t I have a piece of art on my feet too?”

Well, there won’t be any other brides at my wedding.  But there will be a ton of chicks.  Chicks in short dresses with their awesome shoes on full display.  Chicks in my bridal party/bridal hootenanny, standing next to me in shoes so awesome that people will forget all about my Paramount Importance as The Bride because they’ll be unable to avert their eyes from the shoe pretties.  I won’t get any pictures of me with my grandmother because our photographer will have to devote most of his time to pictures of these incredible shoes, without feet in them, natch.1

Clearly, the only solution here is to start practicing wearing very high heels without tripping. And to stretch Collin’s legs when he is sleeping so I can avoid towering over him. Or maybe I should shorten my bones? I wouldn’t be the first bride to get plastic surgery in the name of looking the way I am told I should at my wedding. I’ll need to find room in my budget—my life budget, not my wedding budget, don’t be ridiculous—for appropriately wowsome heels, maybe by turning the thermostat down to 55 degrees in the winter? In the end, it will all be worth it. We’ll find some grass, we’ll import some fall leaves, I’ll take my shoes off my feet, they won’t have sweat stains on them, one will rest on its side and the other will stand tall and proud like a beautiful piece of foot architecture, the camera will go CLICK and I’ll be a real bride.

1Actually, I kind of love the idea of a picture of all my friends’ nice shoes, artfully arranged without feet in them, surrounding my no-nonsense shoes, hopefully with my feet still in them if I can hike up my dress appropriately.

The Avocado Fridge Problem

I don’t want my wedding to look dated.

Wait.  Clarification:  if my wedding looks dated to my children, well, of course it does.  If it looks dated to a friend getting married in ten years, fine.  But I don’t want it to look dated at the moment it is happening to the people who are there.

I realize worrying about this is a waste of life.  I don’t understand wedding trends, at all.  I just pulled up The Knot’s lists of hot wedding trends for 2010, 2009, and 2008.  Half the items are the same throughout the years (variations on “rustic festive”), but others insist that something is the new something (e.g., “steel gray is the new chocolate brown”), implying that if you pick the old something, your guests will judge you for it.

So, here’s my problem.  I started consuming wedding images about five months ago.  In that time, I fell in love with certain design elements (like I mentioned the other day, the birdcage veil).  I assume those have been trendy for a while now, or they wouldn’t have trickled down into mainstream wedding literature.  My wedding isn’t for at least a year.  If I wear a birdcage veil, will I look like someone on vacay from three years ago?

If you have an Avocado fridge in your kitchen left over from the 1970s, there’s something charming about it (I’m talking aesthetics here, people, let’s just assume it still works and you aren’t regularly suffering from food poisoning).   If you buy a new avocado fridge today, it could have the “retro-chic” appeal of a milk glass cake stand, a  Knot-approved wedding trend for 2010 (which I’m guessing means something that’s been a staple of bloggy weddings since I was still in undergrad).

But what if you bought someone an avocado fridge in 1982?  Wouldn’t you be much more likely to get hit with the Present Face?  There’s a dead zone in the continuum from original to trendy to ubiquitous onward to retro-chic: played out.  And as much as I don’t want that for my wedding, I don’t have the time, or energy, and least of all the savvy to figure it out.

Show Me Your Teeth

Last weekend at the Bridal Showcase Showdown, I was pretty surprised by the high presence of dentists.  Peddlers of Invisalign braces and ZOOM! teeth whitening sandwiched between booths handing out one-inch-squares of buttercream-frosted cake?  Seems a little out of place.

But upon further thought, it’s a pretty brilliant business scheme.  Seems like many people stop getting regular dental care in their twenties (I am no exception), and what better time to lure women back to the dentist’s office than their engagement, when writing scary-big checks becomes second nature?

Plus, telling a bride her teeth are inadequate is a pretty easy sell:  mention her wedding will be “the most photographed day of her life,” that she’ll be smiling with joy all day long, and likely wearing white—all the better to make her teeth look like hideous kernels of maize poking out from her unhealthy gums.

I’ll admit that I am self-conscious about my teeth, especially when I’m photographed with my fiancé, who has straight, blindingly white teeth. And I’ll probably try to drink a little less coffee and rinse with hydrogen peroxide a little more often in the year leading up to my wedding. But boy do I ever not have room in my wedding budget for cosmetic dentistry.

My teeth are one of many things the bridal industry tells me are not good enough, and I need to get used to not caring about what “they” think. When I get married, I’m going to smile with joy all day, and my smile will be a little crooked, and not-quite-white, but it will be good enough.

Why I Hate That You Hate Wedding Websites

Slate’s I Hate Your Wedding Website criticizes engaged couples—well, let’s face it, the unspecified villain of this piece is clearly the bride-to-be—for using a practical informational wedding website as an opportunity to indulge in a gauche celebration of how awesome they are and how special their love is.

I probably could have brushed this article off fairly easily—it is from Slate’s reincorporated lady-offshoot XX, the pearl-clutcher’s imitation Broadsheet; it’s yet another “you’re doing this wrong” attack on marrying women without any deeper cultural analysis; it centers on the already-tired cultural buzzword narcissism.

But I have also been reading Ms. Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding, which repeatedly warns against narcissist pitfalls such as asking for specific presents (via a registry), selecting the attire for your wedding party, and playing music at the reception that doesn’t appeal to your grandparents.

I planned on doing at least two out of three of those things! And I actually consider Miss Manners a trustworthy (and delightful) authority on etiquette! Not to mention that I have started to blog about our wedding about a year before any theoretical informational site for guests would go live! I’m a narcissist!

Sigh. It seems everyone (save bridal-profiteers) mocks the idea of a wedding as the Bride’s Special Day. If only they were doing this because getting hitched ought not be the pinnacle of a lady’s life. Instead, it feels like the mockery is directed at the idea that a woman could have even one day to feel important.

And thus a woman’s wedding, the one day she’s been allotted to feel any entitlement to getting what she wants (in contrast with a man’s ENTIRE LIFE) becomes the ultimate opportunity to judge her for her choices. Judgments which conveniently remind the bride that after the wedding is over she has to step out of the spotlight and back in line.