Royal Wedding Almost-Live Blog

I’m watching The Royal Wedding.

I have had three hours sleep, and it’s only because I snoozed for an hour that I got that many, which means a) I’m a little punchy b) I missed a WHOLE HOUR of people in elaborate hats strollin’ in while the commentators try their hardest to find something interesting to say about all this. So sorry!

I am watching the coverage on The Today Show, which is the mornin “news” program of choice in the HitchDied household, because Collin has a man crush on Matt Lauer.

So now, scattered observations, which if I’d already had my coffee I would properly liveblog, but I don’t know how to do that and eff if I’m going to learn anything new before the sun comes up. So this is live the way that Saturday Night Live is live when you live on the West Coast: sometimes I subbed in the dress rehearsal sketches, and I edited out most of the swearing.

  • Posh and Becks look unreasonably attractive. I am sort of confused why they are there, but if your wedding is going to be on television, I guess you need to put nice-looking famous people there to justify the hoopla.
  • They are talking about how Prince William must be missing his dead mom, and I’m suppressing the urge to vomit. Crack reporting: dead parents are missed on wedding days! You heard it on NBC first.
  • I am upset that Al Roker is talking and not telling me about the weather there, which I am quite curious about. I actually thought the little temperature bug on the screen telling me it is °47 F might be about the weather in London. It’s early.
  • I want to go back in time and tell 16-year-old Robin that over the next ten years Prince William will ugly up and Prince Harry will turn into a Ginger Fox.
  • I think the structure of this commentator panel is awesome. Matt Lauer is  asking the British people questions that make him sound like he just heard that the UK is a country. “What exactly is a scone?”  Meredith Viera is trying to maintain her dignity and provide her own facts, but she’s clearly nervous that she’s got American stuck between her teeth. The two British Commentators sound like they know everything that every royal has ever done or even thought about doing.
  • I’m in love with the exchange between Meredith and Lady British Commentator where LBC is all, “Well it is an undeniable fact that Kate’s mum is a social climber… not that there’s anything wrong with that!” and Meredith is all, “Self-made millionaires are the heroes of my culture!” and both British commentators chuckle politely.
  • Oh, Camille (That is what I think LBC’s name is.) “Fancy dress party” does not mean the same thing in American that it does in British.
  • The royals have BROUGHT IT when it comes to awesome hats. The red one with the loopy loops is my favorite. (I am an American so I lack proper hat terminology.) The one with the beige antlers is the biggest mishap.
  • When Pippa appears with her hair down, the ladies know it is “a sign,” and Andrew the Dude British Commenter adorably clueless: “a sign of what?”
  • Goodbye, birdcage veil fad!
  • [REDACTED REACTION TO DRESS. I can’t talk about this without giving away too much about my own dress.]
  • Kate is so pretty. I can’t say that interestingly.
  • Wait, I found it: I am feeling very insecure that my teeth are not nearly as nice as this British lady’s.  [RACIST!]
  • Is it normal for British bridesmaids to wear white? That dress is so plain and yet so awesome.
  • Harry is a scamp! I’d rather know what he just said to his brother than I would know what Bill Murray whispers at the end of Lost in Translation.
  • Awww! This was so worth waking up for.
  • Just like at actual weddings, I’m bored and wish all the singing would just be over with already.
  • They’re doing the thing where they ask people to break up the wedding! How can the country that brought us Four Weddings and a Funeral make such a rookie mistake?
  • Every time there is a problem with the sound I imagine some tech person having a stroke.
  • Ooh creepy patriarchal LITERAL hand transfer! Gross!
  • I totally want to say “and thereto I give thee my troth” in my vows.
  • Do I not understand this hand wrapping thing because I am American or because I am not Christian?
  • Boys choirs freak me right the fuck out even when they aren’t dressed to look like their heads sprout directly out of their shoulders.
  • Sorry to accidentally tap into the usually suppressed P part of my background when I’m supposed to be celebrating all things W-A-S, but the Church of England does their wedding ceremony all backwards. Sermonize before the actual nuptials so we have something to look forward to, doofs! (This goes for you too, Catholics.)
  • Collin has now woken up and offered many unpublishable comments.
  • I think it is so cute that even the people outside are singing the hymns.
  • True story: when my sister bought her first house, the previous residents were Brits. When I first heard the doorbell ring, I said, “why is the doorbell playing ‘My Country ‘Tis Of Thee’?” Totally seriously. I’m so American it is absurd.
  • Now at my wedding I’m going to be like, “Where’s my screaming throng of admirers?” Just kidding. Sorta.
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Rethinking The Bouquet Toss

I had previously decided that I would forgo the bouquet toss, for a few reasons.

1. I think it is rude and weird to single out (pun intended, because come on) the unmarried people.

2. My bouquet is made of wire and throwing it at people would be tortious.

But over the weekend I was looking at the proof book for my cousin’s recent wedding. Rocky and Lauren had a very traditional wedding (which I realize sounds like an insult when you say that on a wedding blog, but I don’t mean it as an insult because I’m not cool like that and I’m also not a jerk.) So of course they had the bouquet toss.  And the photos of it are just adorable. And looking at them made me have a pang of… “we should do that.”

Plus there is the fact that I caught the bouquet at my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s wedding, which was awesome. She threw it right at me, but I’m still proud of myself for catching it. And I was so excited and happy. I screamed like a warrior who’d just torn off her opponent’s head with her bare hands. Shouldn’t I pay that joy forward?

And I really want Collin to have to take off my garter with his teeth.

And because I don’t want to take out anyone’s eye…

You can add your own answers to that poll, so if you have a great idea for a thing to toss, please share!

GTL

I may be showing my Jersey roots here a little, but I’m astonished there isn’t more talk of tanning on wedding blogs. I thought almost every light-skinned bride took on a strict tanning regimen before her day in the white dress, especially if her wedding was in the summer.

But the Internet seems to be quiet about it, which leads me to believe I’ve misunderestimated the appeal of tanning to brides-to-be, or everyone is ashamed of intentionally giving themselves skin cancer.  [Actually, given the advent of spray tanning, it can’t be that last thing.]

I am not ashamed: I tan. I have a good excuse, which is that sun exposure dramatically improves my eczema.  But dudes, I also always like the way my skin looks when it is a little tan. I’m not gonna lie. (You can take the girl out of Jersey…)

But this summer I am going to try to avoid getting any more tan than I normally am (I go to the tanning salon about once a month). Usually in the summer I let myself get a deeper tan, feel awesome about how I’m golden and have little to no eczema, but that only lasts about a week.

Because wherever I have eczema, my tan fades faster. So I end up with a speckled look. I don’t usually get dark enough for other people to notice it, but I notice it, and it drives me nuts. So I don’t want it in my wedding photos.

But now I worry that I will look too pale, even though my dress is ivory instead of pure white. I bought my dress in August, when I was a little tan. I don’t know if I will look washed out in it. I guess I’ll find out at my fitting in a couple weeks.

I’m also worried about losing the ability to tan as needed when my eczema acts up (as it tends to when I’m stressed).

So, fess up, folks: I can’t be the only white chick worrying about being too pale in her wedding dress, right? Is anyone else tanning?

Movie Review: American Wedding

The American Pie movies are weird. They ostensibly exist to present a series of convoluted embarrassing moments involving sex, bodily fluids, or ideally, both. But they’re also supremely sappy and sometimes even genuinely heartwarming. Which means the franchise is oddly well-suited to a wedding movie, because weddings are generally a mashup of things that make you cringe and thinks that make you say “awww.”

To my relief, after the opening Rube Goldberg of Shame that leaves Jim’s erection to a restaurant full of people after he proposes, most of the embarrassments are not suffered by the bride and groom. They’re kind of sidelined for much of the movie, actually, probably because happy couples are boring (this is why so many wedding movies are about couples who should not get married breaking up).

The actual plot is a redemption story for Stifler, as he tries to prove worthy of an invite to Jim’s wedding and then win the heart of Michelle’s little sister Cadence (played by January Jones, whom I didn’t recognize until the very end of the movie, which amazes me, because how many pretty blonde actresses with a strangely flat affect can there be in Hollywood? Oh, wait…).

First he puts on a show as being a nice, intellectual, sensitive guy. But pretending to be someone you are not to find love never works. And in an American Pie movie, it also results in you having to eat dog shit.

So eventually Stifler gives up the act, but still wins the girl because she’s so impressed by his herculean efforts to save all the parts of Jim and Michelle’s wedding that he himself screwed up. Finch, who had been initially charmed by Cadence’s beauty and interest in philosophy, very rightly and adorably realizes that the real deal is that she’s easily amused and kind of shallow, so she’s perfect for Stifler.

I watched this movie because KWu suggested it after I ripped up Wedding Crashers, and that comparison makes me feel more confident that I can say I enjoyed American Wedding without shame. One thing I appreciate about the whole American Pie series is that the sex comedy doesn’t come from condemning certain people’s desire as laughable. Other movies would laugh at characters like Michelle or Stifler’s Mom for wanting sex in the first place, because they’re not within a tiny frame of acceptable desirability for young hetero dudes. The American Pie movies don’t have that limited, lazy approach to sex comedy. The jokes come from the awkward and misguided things sexual desire makes us do, not from judging people for having that desire in the first place.

So yeah, this is a movie that can depict its characters accidentally having sex with a grandmother or unknowingly partying is a gay bar and somehow manage to only be minimally offensive in either scene. It’s kind of a wonder to behold.

On Cold Feet

I probably should have ignored The Hairpin’s link to an article on women who marry the men they don’t love as soon as I saw it was from Marie Claire, but I do stupid things all the time.

The article tells us some women marry men they don’t love for various women-are-dumb reasons (they’re excited to have a wedding! they are about to turn 30!) even they know, in their gut, they shouldn’t marry him.  And then a few years later they get divorced. Thesis: cold feet? Abort engagement!

I think that is crap. Maybe I’m kidding myself because I don’t want to end my engagement or end up divorced, but I am no stranger to cold feet and I still think Collin and I should get married.  And again, maybe I’m kidding myself, but I’m guessing I’m not alone in that.  I think we’re just afraid to talk about it because of divorce statistics and the “you’ll see”s and the responding chorus of “but we’re different! I am one hundred thousand percent sure we’ll be this blissfully happy forever!”

Hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe everyone but me is one hundred thousand percent sure. And maybe my marriage is doomed. But let me be perfectly clear: I get cold feet.

Sure, I don’t have the “in my gut I know this is wrong” feeling described in that piece. But I don’t have the “in my gut I know this is right!” feeling either. I don’t think that has anything to do with Collin. It has everything to do with me: my depression and my pessimism and my anxiety.  If I had to be absolutely sure, I’d never get married.

The best I can do is “really pretty sure” and “I really want this.” That gives me a leg up on the women in that Marie Claire article who don’t really want to marry their partners. But it doesn’t make my marriage failsafe.  And I’m tired of hearing the message that doubts = doomed, because, well, that just makes me doubt more.

So maybe you’re one of the “sure you’re sure” people and you think I’m fooling myself. Maybe you’re a marriage cynic and think anyone getting married is fooling themselves. Maybe you’re Future Robin the Jilted or Divorced Woman and you’re reading this through tears of regret. But the truth is the truth: I am not sure my marriage is going to work, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. So if there is anyone else like me, you’re not alone, and at least as far as I’m concerned, you’re not a fool.

A Huge Perk

I just filed my state taxes FROM AN AIRPORT GATE at the last-ish minute1 because I am a ridiculous excuse for a grown-up American citizen.

As I flipped through the paperwork on my lap and punched my social security number in my cell phone for the fifth time, Collin said, “At least this is the last year you have to do this alone.”

Amen. Dudes, I think “making Collin do our taxes” is one of the things that I most look forward to about marriage. I know that is sexist! I know it is exploiting my straight privilege! And I’m sorry for that! But dude, Collin is organized, responsible, and geeks out about finances. I found one of my 1099’s in a pile of bridal magazines. I wish that were a joke. We’ll have the privilege of joint filing and I will be exploiting the privilege of Collin doing the joint filing. I’ll try to make up for that failure as a human being/feminist with some other mitzvah.

I could probably hire an accountant every year for the next few centuries for the cost of our wedding, but I’m not saying that I’m marrying Collin so he’ll do my taxes. I’m just acknowledging how much I like that perk.

1Taxes are actually due April 18th this year, for reasons I am too lazy to Google.

When Possible, Make a U-Turn

One of the “things only a wedding planner knows” that I already knew was to actually try out the driving directions to our venue before putting them in our invitation. So on the way back from the airport after my task-tackling trip to St. Louis, I programmed my GPS to make a stop at Station Square.

I will break here to give those of you who don’t live here a primer in Pittsburgh geography. This not-very-accurate map should cover the basics:

Basically, to get from the airport to Station Square, it looks like you should be able to take one highway (the orange one on the map) for 20 miles and magically arrive.  But the trouble is, in that last couple of miles there’s a big honking mountain1 in the way. If you stay on the highway, you’ll go through the Fort Pitt Tunnel (the left green circle). This is the route recommended by Bing maps, Mapquest, and my Garmin GPS. On the plus side, you’ll get through the mountain. And you’ll get to experience the wonder of seeing the Pittsburgh Skyline when you pop out on the other side.

Unfortunately, you’ll also exit the tunnel directly onto the Fort Pitt Bridge, and consequently end up on the wrong side of the Monongahela River (as far as our destination is concerned. It’s not like, “the wrong side of the tracks” or whatever). And then you’ll be Downtown, known to Pittsburgh historians as “The Golden Triangle” but known to people who have trouble with directions as “The Bermuda Triangle.” One-way streets that don’t alternate! Mysterious turn restriction at intersections! Perpetual construction! A multidimensional road map that makes GPS units cry blood! Making a u-turn in Downtown Pittsburgh to cross a second bridge is an ordeal I really don’t want to put my guests through.

So the next time I was south of the city I tried a new approach: I just followed the road signs. [An aside: the highway between the airport and the city was recently renamed. It went from being 279 North to 376 East. Yes, I realize those are not the same direction. Does the city? I don’t think so. As an added bonus, this meant all the exits were re-numbered. I think these changes were made under the “Make GPS Units Worthless Act” of 2010.] According to the signs, I should take Exit 69B to get to Station Square. Awesome.

Except when I took Exit 69B (putting me on the purple road) I discovered that I had two choices for how to get to Station Square: #1: The Wabash Tunnel (the right green circle with the red X), which is HOV-only some of the time, completely closed some of the time (hence the red X), and generally a mystery wrapped in an enigma.2 #2: The road my GPS suggested when I was forced to drive past the closed Wabash Tunnel, which goes OVER the mountain with a serious of hairpin turns that will surely kill one of my guests if there is even a little rain, and ultimately ends with a complicated detour to avoid a road closed for construction.3

Back to the drawing board. This time I looked up the “official” directions recommended by Station Square. This requires driving past the exit that is designated for Station Square, to an exit for Route 51 North. A road which is not part of the directions to Station Square at all. You see, Route 837 West pops up right after the exit despite zero signage to that effect. Fortunately, Route 837W is exactly where people want to go. So if they’ve made it this far, they just have to get on that road. Oh, and not turn at the first sign that says Station Square, because that’s the wrong entrance. Sheesh.

So I’ve found directions that work! Sort of! Hooray! Yay for me! But I’ve also realized how easy it is to get lost in this area, even for someone who lives here. Who is paying really close attention to the directions. Out of town guests trying to figure it out on the fly or just relying on MapQuest or their GPS are going to get lost. And that’s a terrible start to the weekend, right?

Anyone else have to deal with complicated directions to a venue or lodging? How did you work out this problem? Should I make the directions insert really flashy? Should I set up a “get un-lost” hotline? Should I personally drive everyone from the airport? WHAT DO I DO?

1For those of you who live west of the Great Plains, let me clarify it is actually a large hill.  For those of you who live on the Eastern Seaboard? It’s a GIGANTIC MOUNTAIN!
2I looked at the Wikipedia page for the Wabash tunnel to try to find out why it is so restricted, and found some blatant editorializing that I hope is not flagged for editing until it becomes outdated: “The Wabash Tunnel is a former railway tunnel through Mt. Washington in the city of Pittsburgh. Constructed early in the 20th century by railroad magnate George J. Gould, it has never been of much use.”
3What’s that you say? “The construction will be over before the wedding”? HAHAHAHAHA. Clearly you’ve never been to Pittsburgh. When we put up detour signs, we GET OUR MONEY’S WORTH on ’em. My marriage will be OVER before that detour ends.

The Full Picture

Recognize anything in that photo? Yep, it’s the feet from the HitchDied header image.  Those are the feet of one Hitch and Died, dancing about in the Pacific Ocean. Now you’ve seen the full picture.

The photo was taken last January, when we were visiting Collin’s older brother and sister-in-law in Long Beach with the rest of his family. We had, at this point, decided we were going to get married. Collin’s entire family knew that he was going to propose. They knew that I knew, too. But we didn’t really talk about it, as though it were still a surprise. This sometimes got awkward, like when Drarrie (Drunk Carrie) gave me a speech about how excited she is to have me become my sister-in-law, and how important sisters-in-law are to her because she only has biological brothers, eventually remembering to add, “I mean, IF you and Collin end up getting married.”

On the plane out to California, Collin apologized that he didn’t have a ring yet, because he knew it would be nice to become officially engaged when we were on vacation and with his family.  “I’m not just saying this to psych you out so you’ll be surprised when I pop out a ring. I really don’t have the ring yet.” (I’m glad he said that, because I thought that was what was happening.)  I asked him if he would be ok with us “announcing” the engagement to his family (even though they already knew) while we were in California, and he said he was. I had him draw a ring around my finger with a highlighter. At dinner that night Collin said something like, “Even though everyone at this table already knows about this, while we are all together I want to celebrate that Robin and I are going to get married.”

[Me and Carrie: “We’re gonna be sisters!!!!”]

The photo I used to make the HitchDied header was taken the next day, somewhere in Orange County where we met up with Collin’s cousin and his wife.  Viki told us to try to keep it from them or “EVERYONE will know” (Sorry, Steven and Anna!).  While Collin and I ran around in the ocean making kissy faces and otherwise being cute, Steven took pictures of it with my camera, and Anna said, “These look like engagement photos!”

And in my head, they kind of are. Even though we weren’t “really” engaged yet. Even though we had a proper engagement shoot later.  When I want to think about the giddy bliss of first being engaged (before all the stressful, complicated reality of wedding planning butted in on the fun) I look at these photos from California. Which is why I used one for the header of my blog.

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POLL: Address Etiquette

Because it is not 1846, I refuse to address my invitations to “Mr. and Mrs. George Guestenbaum.”

But I do not know which of these alternatives is “more correct”

 

“Mr. and Mrs. George and Louise Guestenbaum” sounds more reasonable to me, but is also bugs me with its redundant “and”s.  For what it is worth, it’s the APW-approved style of addressing a married couple with the same last name.

But I disagree with the second bit of advice in that piece, which is to put people with different last names on different lines. It is my understanding that it is proper to put married couples on the same line and unmarried couples on different lines (The only time I break this rule is for gay couples that hold themselves out as a married couple to the community even if their state won’t recognize their marriage).  What do you think?

 

Regardless of how we set up that line break, when we address couples with different last names, who goes first?

 

And finally there is the issue of children.  I realize that children over the age of 18 should get their own invitation, but that means that my little brother’s best friend gets his own invitation separate from his parents, which makes me feel OLD.  But them’s the breaks.

For minor children, proper etiquette demands their names only go on the inner envelope, but we don’t have one of those. So what do we do?

 

Also, I really, really want to address a couple as “The Doctors Guestenbaum.” But the only married couple of two doctors we know has different last names. Feminism ruins my fun once again.

Thanks for voting and helping me sort out this mess. If you have any more rules I should know or tips for how to tweak them to make me not want to barf, please comment!

April 2011 Brides Magazine, By The Numbers

# pages: 322
# pages of advertising: 207 2/3

# pages in Alfred Angelo Disney Fairy Tale Wedding ad block: 13
# Disney Princesses represented: 7 (Belle, Aurora, Ariel, Snow White, Jasmine, Cinderella, Tiana)
Sole Disney Princess on single-page spread Just guess. [Spoiler: the black one.]
# models of color used to represent Jasmine & Tiana: 1
# white models used to represent remaining five white princesses: At least 2

# models in Bill Levkoff ad spread: 1 or 2, depending on which of my friends you ask.

# of friends I asked: 9 (we were about evenly split of the “is that the same person?” vote. I vote there are two people).
# of dresses pictured: 12
# of distinct headshots photoshopped onto pictured dresses: 8
Creepiness factor: 97

# of bridesmaids dresses pictured in ads and editorial content: 90
# of full-length bridesmaid dresses pictured: 24
# knee or cocktail-length bridesmaid dresses pictured: 66

Average # lbs. lost by brides in “The Weight is Over” Feature : 49.5
Average lbs./week lost by these brides: 5.275
% these brides who subscribed to paid dieting programs to lose weight: 100%

# of “things only a wedding planner knows” I totally already knew: 7
# of creative ways to make a paper cone I need to know for my wedding: 0
# of creative ways to make a paper cone now cluttering my brain:15