Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Bridal Show Quiz

You may never have been to a bustling bridal show, but that doesn't mean you're not an expert. Take this quiz and find out. Just read through and when prompted, select the phrase that best completes each sentence. And remember, if you haven't been to a bridal show, you're already a winner:

"Hi, and welcome to the (bridal show/ worst of humanity expo). Here you'll find a wide variety of (helpful / pushy) vendors. Feel free to look around and talk to everyone. And remember, all of our participants are just dying to get (your business / your information for their mailing list). Before you get started let me give you this (tote bag / phony smile)."

"Hello there. This is the booth for Professional DJ's. First things, first.... we're having a giveaway contest! It's the perfect opportunity for us to (give you free stuff / get your information for our mailing list). Please fill this out. Now a little bit about us: Professional DJ's has been employing (great DJ's / failed actors) for the past twenty years. We know that your wedding is (your special day / our chance to find a talent scout in the crowd) and we look forward to (working with you / mispronouncing the names of everyone in your party). We'd love to (hear / ignore) any thoughts our desires you have relating to your ceremony. We can't wait to work with you and (create a beautiful day / play Personal Jesus for the ten millionth time)."

"Howdy. I'm here representing Videographers R'Us. I'm (curious / obligated to ask), have you chosen a videographer yet? You haven't? Well that's fantastic. Hey before we go any further I should tell you that we're having a great sweepstakes. Just fill this out so we can (enter you in the contest / get your information for our mailing list). Fantastic! Did you know that all of our employees at Videographers R'Us have (extensive videography knowledge / the ability to point a camera and push a button)? If you'll just draw your attention to that monitor behind me, you'll see some of our work. You can tell that the gentleman who filmed this has (stylish sensibilities / one leg longer than the other). I'll bet you've always wanted a wedding video that had (great production values / an excessive amount of fades). Well we here at Videographers R'Us can provide that. That's why it's so important to us that you (book early / don't know anything about videography) so we can (best help you / hide our incompetence). Hey great chatting with you, and have a nice day."

"Pardon me, I'm from The Tuxedo Shop. I couldn't help but notice you're here by yourself. I'll bet your bride is off (watching the fashion show / fantasizing about killing everyone here). Well this is a great chance for me to tell you about our tuxedos. But first you should know that we're having a sweepstakes contest. Just fill out this form so we can (give you free services / pester the shit out of you). Awesome! Now, as for us, we have all sorts of tuxes. We've got black tuxes if you're a traditionalist or white tuxes if you're (non-traditionalist / mentally deranged). Not to mention a special sale that we're running (this weekend only / anytime we're desperate for business) that includes a free tux for you when all the rest of your groomsmen purchase with us. We know that you like (saving money / passing the cost of things on to your friends). Worried about finding the right color vests? Not a problem. As you can see by our (samples behind me / twelve sales people) we pride ourselves in providing (a wide variety / overkill). I hope you'll consider us. Just remember, the most important thing to us is (your business / buying more hair gel)."

Well, how'd you do? Think you passed? If you didn't, you've probably never been to a bridal show before.... to bad. But don't worry, you can always take the quiz over after actually going to a bridal show. And who knows, you might even get entered to win a fabulous prize!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Top 5 Wedding Photography Blunders

Looking over photographer's websites to screen possibilities was an amusing project. Some pictures made me laugh out loud, some made me gasp in horror, still others left me totally speechless. It took quite a bit of hemming and, indeed, hawing to make a choice... but the winner was a company called Z-media. Particularly because of the photographer's easy-going attitude, the fact that we get a CD with the rights to the pictures, and the fact that they seemed to understand what it was we wanted. Or, more accurately, what it was we didn't want. That brings me to the aforementioned amusement. In that spirit, I give you...

The Top 5 Wedding Photography Blunders

5) Ridiculously posed still-lifes
I understand arranging detail shots to have a nicely composed still life. However, my suspension of disbelief only goes so far. I have seen shoes hanging from a chandelier, boutonnieres balanced precariously on the rims of champagne glasses, and (as you can see here) a crab ring bearer. If you have to harass wildlife, leave it out of my wedding, please.

4) Aggressively tiled angles
Look out! It's a "Titanic" wedding! If your photo is not interesting enough when viewed at a normal angle, perhaps you should re-frame it, as opposed to tilting your camera 45 degrees. Alfred HItchcock used this gimmick fewer times in the film Vertigo.

3) Weird picture superimposition
Um, did the bride and groom die at the end of the ceremony and are now perpetually forced to hover over their wedding as ghosts? Did they eat themselves? Get tiny wedding action figurines (collect the whole set!) in their likeness? What is the point of this?

2) Poorly composed shots (with BONUS! Bad Vignette fade!)
Good photographs are not just a snapshot of events, but they should also follow the same rules as all forms of art. That is: balance and composition. A good idea (say, the feet of a child dancing on those of an adult) needs good composition (say, being able to see both legs of said child).

1) Extreme color retouching
I'm just going to let this picture of a bride and groom on the onset of armageddon speak for itself.

Monday, August 10, 2009

With butter and everything.

My mother recently arrived with Shanda in tow to perform a little wedding dress shopping. Leaving good Sir Robert to fend for himself this time, we headed straight for David's Bridal where I desperately wanted to try on this dress. I loved everything about this dress, especially the back... that is, until I tried it on. It just didn't fit, even after going up 2 dress sizes.

I was, as can be understood by anyone who has gone through this farce, annoyed. Not just at the disappointment of my dream dress being less-than-dreamy, but by all of a sudden finding myself looking at 4 numbers higher on my dress tags.

I find it easier than to bitch about wedding dress trends, rather than worry about whether or not my diet will slim me down in time. Take the disturbing phenomena of looking precisely like a Disney princess (tiara and all) on your wedding day. Listen, if Princess Grace didn't wear a tiara, what makes you think you can? Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh... but I really don't see the appeal of wearing anything that appeals equally to 5 year olds and brides.

Or how about the dresses where you look precisely like you're standing in mashed potatoes? Come on, people!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

455 days to go!

It's amazing what a difference mailing out a check can make. Rob and I have officially gone from simply "getting married" to "getting married on October 23, 2010 at Landerhaven".

It all came down to table linens. You may recall that we had fallen in love with Manakiki's outdoor space, but were annoyed at the price tag they gave us for removing the ugly curtains. Imagine our surprise when we were told that, for the same price, we could rent aubergine satin table linens at Landerhaven. We decided that not only was it a much better way to spend our money, but...

1) They have an in-house decorator and florist, which means two fewer things to worry about.
2) They have free valet parking.
3) There's a hotel literally next door.
4) Two words: Guacamole Bar.
5) Our consultant has been communicative, interested in our specific wedding, and all-around awesome.
6) The outdoor space is not quite as nice, but is well within acceptable limits.

There are still a few things that aren't perfect... like the fact that we had to schedule a different date than the one we originally wanted due to a previously scheduled bar mitzvah. Who says that 15 months is a long time to plan a wedding? Jeez! We better get on the photographer fast!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shadow Over South Park Mall

A man at a wedding dress trunk sale.... insanity! But I was intrigued by the processes that went into this supposedly huge decision undertaken by the opposite sex. And I was determined to be an accommodating groom.

As the sale day was upon me I found myself optimistic while en route to the local mall with my mother, my mother-in-law-to-be, and my beautiful, brilliant, bespectacled bride. Also along for the ride was my book of H.P. Lovecraft stories, should it be necessary to retreat into a more comforting, rational world.

The dresses were condensed in the center of the mall, as if a small island walled up by a border of other wedding vendors. Wedding cakes stretched up like mountains, shadows of salespeople creeped out from every corner. A man supposing himself to be a DJ stood next to a cardboard cut-out of himself. His comb-over was something of unspeakable horror. A short deranged creature reached out to my fiancee and me. She claimed to represent some kind of event space as she asked if we'd already decided upon a reception locale. "Yes" we answered. She insistently gave us her card anyway. I felt myself beginning to slip away from sanity. These things all made no sense. Around me women clamored for gowns like half-wild beasts. The massive white monstrosities that claimed to be dresses seemed as if they had been fashioned from some strange other world or time. I gasped for my breath, trying to make sense of the ritual that surrounded me. But before I could, a frilly white obscenity came collapsing down upon me. Oh the fabric.... Oh the lace.... Oh the horror!

I gathered that my darling Erica too was struck by the madness all around us. Yet she fared better. Perhaps there really was some genetic gender-specific disposition that allowed her to comprehend that which we were witnessing. She was steadfast and when she grabbed some dresses to try on and beckoned I leave I couldn't have been anything other than appreciative. Ah to the safety of my book.

Millenia later my darling emerged displeased by the ensembles she had donned. We were all going home. The nightmare had ended, yet I shan't forget that place where satin, taffeta, tulle and comb-overs converge in a grotesque paean to unholy things that no man should ever have to know.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

If it's not one thing, it's another

Rob and I have been hitting reception halls, actually meeting with real human beings, which makes us both want to tear our hair out. Not that we're anti-social or anything... but this world of 80" rounds, chair rentals, and wine selections just is not our thing.

Last weekend, we checked out Manakiki, which until recently was at the very top of our list. I say "until recently" because although the outdoor space here is nothing short of breathtaking, the indoor space is bland at best... and that's only if we take down the curtains, which are an unfortunate floral affair entirely incompatible with our fetching color scheme. This they will do... for a charge of course.

This is the problem we've run into with finding a reception hall. Each place seems to have one thing we really love, and one thing we really hate. I find myself wishing we could combine all of the best aspects of each place, because I'd rather not have to pull a Sophie's Choice. If the place is awesome, it's way too far away. If the indoor space is nice, there's no good outdoor ceremony location. If both are nice, it's too small... and so on.

We wanted to make a decision by the end of June... but it's looking like mid-July is going to be more realistic. So it goes.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Detail work

There are many details involved in planning a wedding. Oh sure... a lot of it is great fun. You get to look at pictures and go to tastings and feel nice papers and such, but the real pain in the ass is that each of the details spawns its own little set of details, which can send a couple into a head-spinning spiral of decision making. Case in point: the invitation.

Rob and I recently ordered some samples from The Green Kangaroo, and fell pretty instantly in love with them. "Let's get these!" we proclaimed, grinning at each other full of love and awed that we're really going to be able to pull this wedding thing together. This is good, I suppose, to have this one little detail put together... but, wait a second... is it really together?

Well, there's the reply cards to consider... should we go with postcard style, or traditional? Should we have the envelopes printed with raised ink, or colored ink... or raised color ink? That's going to be extra, huh? What about calligraphy? Is our handwriting legible enough to write all these out by hand? Will it still be legible after 10 or so envelopes? Oh, that's right.. we have three colors for the wedding, how can we include them all with 2 color invites? Should we include a map/reception card or just print out something on nice paper? Is that gauche? Are we gauche? Is this how you spell gauche?

And who the hell are we going to invite, anyway... and how should we address them? One book says the woman's name always comes first and another says that a cohabiting couple is listed alphabetically... what the crap? Wait a minute, shit... do our thank you cards have to match, too? For that matter, do we have to use phrases like "request the honour of your presence"? Is that how you spell honour? Is that gauche?

But I suppose I'm happy. Happy that we have at least something done, whether or not we seem to opening Pandora's Box.

...what the fuck, now we have to choose a font, too?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Location, Location, Location

"Now, Erica... I know you wanted to have your wedding in an old mansion"

My mother is, as always, privy to my innermost desires. Not that I remember ever saying anything about a mansion, mind you... but when mom took me out to see reception halls on Memorial Day I was actually very happy with three of the places I never would have found because I, unlike mother, never googled for "Old Mansion Reception"

Manakiki Ballroom: Located on a golf course of all things (and featured above), I fell in love with the outdoor space here immediately. I'm a bit nervous about an outdoor October wedding. says the average high is 61°F, and the average low is 43°F. That's not so bad. On the other hand, the record high and low is 83°F and 29°F, respectively. The former would be wonderful. The latter... well, I don't even want to think about it.

The Lodge at Geneva on-the-Lake: My mother fell in love with this place on sight. It is, indeed, a beautiful hotel with a picturesque gazebo overlooking the lake. I like the idea of having a bridal suite (yes, with hottub), and the picture-taking opportunities are pretty ideal. It's also in the middle of Ohio wine country, which means it would be nothing short of beautiful in the fall. However, there are problems.
  1. I mentioned it was in wine country. This is a nice way of saying "East Bumblefuck". It's not that I'm not willing to drive for an hour to go to my wedding... but it's all the other little drives, not to mention finding bakers, florists, hair dressers, photographers, etc...
  2. Rob and I went last week to look, and the place was COVERED in midges. It was like something out of a Hitchcock movie. We were literally covering our ears, closing our eyes, and running full-tilt through clouds of the tiny insects in a failed attempt to make it to the aforementioned picturesque gazebo. I know there's another swarm in fall... and I'm not sure I'm willing to take the chance.
Mooreland: I think one of the first things I said about this place is that my friends Jeff and Becky Moore would find the name hi-larious. That aside, this is a really nice place. It's an old mansion on a college campus, catered by the culinary school (read: probably inexpensive). It might not be the best place for a ceremony, although the gardens are beautiful. The main problem is that it's an old mansion that has not been converted to throw a party for 100+ people. This means that the entire wedding would probably have to be broken up amongst several rooms. Now, depending on the layout this could be great or terrible.

I guess there are always going to be issues with sites, and I'm willing to take chances on things. We're just going to have to pick our poison. Should it be hours of driving with the possibility of having pictures with bugs in our teeth, risking my family missing the ceremony because they got a late tee time, or having to not only provide table cards for guests... but table cards along with room assignments and maybe a little map on how to get there.

Getting married is fun!

Adventures in Engagement Ring Shopping

Consider the salesman. Mankind invented the salesman for two reasons. To pester you while you're "browsing" and to help you in that rarest of occasions that you actually need help in purchasing something. Can you imagine arriving to purchase something (anything... a car, a couch, a hallucinogenic) and being told by your salesman "oh I can't possibly help you."

I certainly didn't anticipate that one morning when I headed out to peruse engagement rings. Oh sure, I didn't know a lot about a lot (I thought that's what shopping was for) so I completely anticipated looking like a doofus. But men looking like doofuses was something I expected ring salesmen to be intimately familiar with. They would be, I thought, humble, helpful, guides leading me through the darkness of stone settings, diamond cuts, carat weights, colors, imperfections, white golds, gold golds, platinums and cubic zirconium. Not so much. Picture this conversation:

Well meaning blond haired, bearded doofus: "I'm looking for an engagement ring."
Evil sales person: "Ah, what kind of diamond setting does your girlfriend want?"
Well meaning blond haired, bearded doofus: "I'm not sure"
Evil sales person: "Well then what kind of cut does she want?"
Well meaning blond haired, bearded doofus: "I don't know"
Evil sales person: "You mean she hasn't told you everything she wants in a ring in great detail?"
Well meaning blond haired, bearded doofus: "No"
Evil sales person: "And you haven't asked?"
Well meaning blond haired, bearded doofus: "No"
Evil sales person:"Well then I can't help you. You should go back and ask her exactly what she wants."

Did you catch that? Every single place told me to plainly ask her exactly what she wanted down to every detail. Now I know that the ring shopping ritual takes many forms these days. Some girls tell their beaus what they want. Some couples shop together. But is it that rare for a brave man to venture out on his own in the hopes of an engagement surprise? Am I really that much of a dinosaur?

Anyway, the moral of the story is: Salesmen are horrible people, and when they say "can I help you?" they lie. They can't help you at all. They can just take your money while you stand there looking like a doofus. Instead shop on the Internet. It's salesperson free, and you can watch funny videos while you shop!

A blog is born

It occurs to me that in planning a wedding there are many things I'd like to:

1) Rant about because they make me angry.
2) Rant about because I'm confused as hell.
3) Rant about because I am excited.

I'm not a bridezilla or anything (hon, do you want to confirm this?), but I do love planning things and making *lists*. This should be fun.

Oh, and if you ever need to get back to the wedding website there's a link in the sidebar.