Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crowdsourced wedding album/guest book?

Today TechCrunch posted about Keepsy, a web tool that lets you combine multiple people's photos into one album. They're currently promoting it as a group birthday gift, but it seems like something that could work for an album or guest book too.

So first, it makes it easy to use lots of different people's photos--and even copy more from Facebook if somebody doesn't upload to the tool directly. Plus there look to be a lot of ways to customize the pages.

I'm at work and haven't had the chance to try it out yet, but it seems to have potential.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Story So Far: the Food

The initial conversation about food at the wedding went something like this:

A: I want Ethiopian.
My mom: Nobody's going to even know what that is, let alone like it. There's a time and a place, and this is not it.

And so I began the lengthy process of looking for caterers, reading through menus, picking out items, getting quotes, and going back to the drawing board when the in-season mostly-vegetarian menus I'd picked cost $Z,OMG. We repeated this process a few times until something lucky, if not downright auspicious, happened: my mother went to a wedding and ate food truck food.* And she came back saying, "If you love it, the guests will love it. Or they'll at least not hold anything against you for it. Unless they're jerks or idiots."**

And so, we will be serving (as long as we like the restaurant when we go over the holidays) Ethiopian food, which conveniently lends itself to family style.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

We'll provide forks and knives for those who want them. But we'll also make explanatory cards for those who haven't tried it before, re-teaching everyone how to eat with their hands (I'd been feeling a bit light on paper goods, and the creative possibilities there-in, as we're not doing all that much in the way of invitations). And honestly, what's more fun than eating with your hands in fancy clothes? And it's true: if we love it, our guests will at the very least notice and respect that.

For dessert, we're thinking a small cake and a lot of pie.

* I'm going to pause right here. This is starting to sound more critical of my mom than I intended. My mother is not some super-old-fashioned, you-must-do-things-this-way-because-that's-how-they're-done kind of person. She is not an I'm-going-to-control-your-wedding kind of person. She is instead a thoughtful, modern, feminist who knows how to throw a hell of a party. But of course, a wedding is (or can be, and I hope mine is) more than just a hell of a party. It's a hell of a party for three times more people than any of us has ever planned for before. And she knows about as much as I do about the whole thing--namely, very little. Had I known better than to limit my own thinking on the matter, I'd have calmly explained why we wanted what we did, and why it would work.

** Last bit paraphrased. Or downright made up. But that was the sentiment.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Bridal parties according to Wikipedia:

"The Western bridesmaid tradition is thought to have originated from Roman Law, which required ten witnesses at a wedding in order to outsmart evil spirits (believed to attend marriage ceremonies) by dressing in identical clothing to the bride and groom, so that the evil spirits would not know who was getting married. Even as late as 19th century England, there was a belief that ill-wishers could administer curses and taint the wedding. In Victorian wedding photographs, for example, the bride and groom are frequently dressed in the same fashion as other members of the bridal party.
Other people cite the Biblical story of Jacob, and his two wives Leah and Rachel, who both literally came with their own maids as detailed in the Book of Genesis (29:24, 46:18) as the origin of bridesmaids. These women were handmaidens (servants or slaves) instead of social peers."
"The required duties of bridesmaids are very limited. They are required to attend the wedding ceremony and to assist the bride on the day of the wedding. Bridesmaids in Europe and North America are often asked to assist the bride with planning the wedding and a wedding reception. In modern times, a bridesmaid is also typically asked to play a role in planning wedding-related events, such as a bridal shower or bachelorette party, if there are any. These, however, are optional activities; according to etiquette expert Judith Martin, 'Contrary to rumor, bridesmaids are not obliged to entertain in honor of the bride, nor to wear dresses they cannot afford.'"

Bridal parties according to The Knot (well, I gave up looking after finding those for the Maid of Honor, since that site likes to focus more on all the wonderful things you can buy--as a bride, bridesmaid, mother of the bride, you name it! well, unless you're a groom, because men clearly don't care):

"Here's what the MOH is primarily responsible for:
  • Planning one or more showers for the bride, with the help of the other bridesmaids and/or the bride's mother, sisters, etc.

  • Helping the bride choose her dress and shopping for bridesmaid dresses.

  • Making sure the bridesmaids all go for their dress fittings and get everything they need for the big day.

  • Lending an ear when the bride wants to/needs to vent, whether it be about her mother-in-law to-be or the fact that the napkins don't exactly match the tablecloths.

  • Generally keeping the bride sane during wedding planning.

  • Making sure the bridesmaids know where they need to be and at what time on the big day.

  • At the ceremony, standing next to the bride while she exchanges vows and holding her bouquet during the ring part of things.

  • The MOH may also hold onto the groom's wedding band for the bride (although the best man has traditionally taken care of both bands).

  • She may stand in the receiving line.

  • Bustling the bride's train for the party.

  • At the reception, she's often announced along with the best man.

  • She may dance with the best man during or after the couple's first dance.

  • Generally keeping the bride sane during the wedding itself."

  • I like the Wikipedia version better. Especially the bit about not expecting anyone to throw a party for me or wear a dress they can't afford. Also the tricking the evil spirits bit, though my plans will not result in any of my bridal party looking anything like me. Here are my expectations for my Bridal Squad*:
    • Be my friends (done!) Includes all that "support the bride" stuff, but it's stuff I know they'll do anyway because that's what makes them my friends in the first place. And I'll do the same for them when they get married, whether I'm in their wedding party or not.
    • Get a dress that you love within the palette (green-yellow-orange earthy tones, with a possible hint of deep burgundy thrown in).
    • Come to the shower if you can.
    I think that's it. Really I just want to celebrate and honor these connections as part of my wedding, and to have my best friends by my side if I get anxious or overwhelmed or otherwise emotional. Isn't that what this is supposed to all be about? Well, that and fooling some evil spirits.

    * Still in the market for a phrase I really like. I don't like "bridesmaids."

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Please note:

    BridePop: Those J. Crew dresses you posted about have been there for months. And the hyperlinked "spring wedding dresses" looks like it should take me to J. Crew (perhaps even a site featuring these "new" dresses that, by the way, are not new), not to your post about Monique Lullieherreher. Yes, I love Monique Lullihereher's dresses as much as the next gal, but if I'm hoping to check out something I might actually afford, I'd rather not get randomly redirected to yet another feature about gorgeous lace numbers costing in the multiples of thousands of dollars. Seriously, BridePop, you are this close to getting unsubscribed from.

    Photographers: It's been said before, by many many people, but seriously, quit making websites that:

    • Resize my browser and/or open a new browser window.
    • Play music (don't you know looking at photographers' websites is a favorite way for many engaged persons to kill some time at work?
    • Have flashy animation.
    Instead, please make your website:
    • Clean, simple, and ideally HTML (though I do understand the need to prevent people from stealing high-res photos from you).
    • List your price range in an easy-to-find place.
    That is all.

    Friday, December 3, 2010


    There are many opinions out there about what you absolutely must have at a wedding, what you absolutely can't have at a wedding, and even--oh my!--things the WIC* has deemed it ok to not do (really? are you sure it's ok if my dress is ivory or ecru instead of white, or--gasp!--tea length?). Well, to all of that, I say, punt! As in, I punt your expectations and rules off to some faraway forgotten place, ideally the sort that people start to wonder if it ever existed in the first place. And so, I present a recurring series of posts in which I discuss some OMG-YOU-ABSOLUTELY-MUST-DO-THIS expectation, coming from the wedding industry or from some outdated tradition, and why we'll be saying 'no thanks' to it at our wedding. And so, I present...

    Punt! Registering at a housewares store or its related website

    Everyone gets the idea of the registry: couples used to get married early enough in life that they actually did need all the stuff for their home and registering for a specific flatware set ensured that not only did company not judge you for having mismatched plates but the plates stack together well when put away.

    A and I, like so many couples, have been living together for a while now, and before that lived on our own. We have a lot of stuff. We need little, and we don't want stuff that we don't need. We don't care if things match (I've actually always had a small fantasy of having completely mismatched dishes that all sort of go with each other anyway), nor would we have much in common with the kind of people who would care about the matchiness of our cups and saucers.

    But it goes further. A feels particularly strongly about not creating new stuff when there's plenty of perfectly good used stuff around. He gets as much as it makes sense to get from thrift shops--in the case of appliances, the older stuff is often more reliable than the brand new versions. We'd really prefer to not register for anything, to be grateful for the mere presence of our loved ones, and to pick up things as we need them along the way.

    Of course, we are inviting many guests, and we cannot control what our guests think about the whole thing. We already know that some will insist on giving gifts. Rather than end up with whatever random things somebody else thought we might want, we've decided we should list, somewhere, the few things we do need, and encourage guests to find used items where appropriate.

    And it turns out, there's already a place to make this list, that keeps track of how many of each thing have already been taken care of. I do know how to do a thing or two with a computer, but I'm all for saving my time by using something that already exists. So we'll be "registering with," as it were, the Alternative Gift Registry, where not only can we write our own descriptions, and thus include something simple and elegant about our affinity toward used-but-not-used-up items, but we can also ask for less tangible things like for our faraway friends and family to come visit us, or donations to a charity of their choice.

    So this one's a bit of a compromise with tradition. And that, I'm fine with. And if we get somebody's classic, solid, KitchenAid mixer (oh how I covet thee), that's been sitting in their closet for the past eight years, then all the better.

    * WIC: Wedding Industrial Complex

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Inspiration: OMG can you believe this bridesmaid hat?

    When Green Wedding Shoes titled the post Real Wedding: Maisie + Brian’s Whimsical Woodland Wedding, they weren't kidding. Can you believe this hat on the Maid of Honor?

    And those toadstools are just too cute. Note to self: Don't be afraid to have fun with the details.