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03 November 2010

Back from the Wed.

I didn't initially intend to take such a long hiatus from the blogging thing, but there were things outside of my wedding plans that couldn't be ignored, including (but not limited to):

... wrapping up our Where the Wild Things Are performance camp

... teaching a Monster Mania workshop for 3 to 4 year-olds

... packing up the house and leaving my Dad detailed instructions on how to use the PS3 to watch Netflix while we were away in Connecticut

... spending almost a week in Connecticut for a masquerade-themed wedding and visiting with Sean's Italian relatives

... visiting the vet several times and medicating our newest addition, Olive



I mean, how could you ignore that face in favor of anything wedding? 


Attending the wedding in Connecticut definitely was an experience. It's almost impossible for me to attend weddings anymore without analyzing the hell out of them, and this wedding was no different. The only difference now is that I feel more compelled to bite my tongue, as it is family (well, future family) and unfortunately, when it comes to weddings, no amount of criticism is going to help because a wedding is (ideally) a one-time thing, so you can hardly apply anyone's constructive notes after the fact. And besides, who the hell am I to tell anyone how to have a wedding, anyway? Right?

Sean said to me that he thinks I'm someone who just doesn't like weddings that much. At first I protested, insisting that I love the idea of weddings - the food, the music, the dancing. But then I realized, he's absolutely right. It never fails that I get to a wedding and I find myself complaining - why is there fruit in my salad? Why are they playing Kool and the Gang for the umpteenth time? And why is there never anything to do except dance?

Because I am FINICKY. And I am a PAIN IN THE ASS.

And this is an extremely liberating and important thing to realize, not just for me, but for you (I hope).

It's not that your weddings suck, because I look around and see every single other person in the room having a marvelous time. Clearly, fruit in the salad and Kool and the Gang and conga lines are preferred by the rest of the population. It's a matter of personal taste.

It's not you, Wedding. It's ME.

Part of the reason why we brides freak out so much and succumb to pressure is because of the fear of guests like me. We oscillate between extreme concern for our guests and an "Eff 'em - it's MY day" attitude where rarely a balance is struck, because let's face it, we all know you can't make everyone happy. I am the guest you don't want at your wedding, because you're going to stress out that it will never be good enough for me, and truth be told, it won't because I am not fit for weddings.

It's not your wedding. It's ME.

There are things about your weddings I totally love, don't get me wrong. The way some of you write your own vows is touching and has brought me to tears. The way all of you get all gooey when you say your I Do's makes me sigh and colors the room all pretty-like. The way you all have such concern for throwing a beautiful, memorable celebration of your new lives together is better than any signature cocktail. It's just all the pseudo-prom reception stuff afterwards that makes me all... well, you know what it makes me.

The fact that someone like me is going to be at your wedding should, hopefully, empower you to say "eff it" and put as much fruit in your salad as you want. At the end of the night and the start of your new lives, it's about you, not ME.

12 October 2010

Zilla of the Bridal Variety.

This blog post from one of my favorite all time blogs - wedding or otherwise - is what planted the seed for my fascination with Bridezilla many months back.


Said fascination blossomed into a beautiful bulb of bitchy right here... that's it.... ( Comments always encouraged! )


What's weird is I got really into that Bridezillas TV show back in 2007, long before Sean and I got engaged. I was definitely not one of those girls who wanted to be a bride, and was always too busy staging musicals with my Barbies to be bothered fantasizing about my wedding day. In fact, up until I met Sean I was pretty convinced I was gonna be rocking the single mom thing... not that I'm a mom, but... well, I just figured I'd have a kid at some point. Partner optional.

Digression. Yes.

Every time it came on, my eyes would be fixed to the tube. And the thing is, I know better than to like this smut! I am quite proficient in Brit Coms, and love me a good documentary ( aka - reality entertainment's ethical cousin ).

I know it's crap. Better than crap - it's trash. Crap trash.

It's not helping feminism any. It's just furthering the bride bashing problem that already exists. And it's only heaping pressure onto the rest of us so-called level-headed brides to steer clear of any emotional outbursts whatsoever. It's cultivating hostility in its viewers, which they express via nasty comments on YouTube (which reminds me a lot of this passive aggressive anonymity thing when it comes to bathroom graffiti at the bar I work at - the things they write they'd NEVER have the balls to say to your face).

Yet here I am gorging on it like a fat kid with a tube of cookie dough - it tastes soooooo good, but will ultimately be my undoing.

05 October 2010

On Disney Dresses and Damage Control

I can't tell you how many articles I've read on The Princess Complex, and though the story rarely changes, it never gets old. It's like a fairy tale you want to be told over and over again.

( Much like my bibbity-bobbity-bitch fest, found here, that you will no doubt watch over and over again? )

Considering that the princess programming starts at such a young age and doesn't let up until well into our 30s, I can't imagine why people are still astonished at the way so many brides act on their wedding day! Disney and Alfred Angelo just released a video showcasing their new line of Disney princess-inspired wedding gowns, and let me tell you, it's just... gah... there isn't enough pixie dust in the world to help me find a word that can explain how I feel at this moment. Maybe a sound, but... how do you articulate this sound?

GRRRUUUHHAAAAAAHHYIRBKZBSFUAGRGkEJ! (The "j" is silent)

From an aesthetic standpoint, these dresses are supposedly inspired by the likes of Ariel, Jasmine, Snow White, etc. but look to me like  little more than straight up wedding dresses. The touches meant to specifically tie in the dresses with the characters are so subtle that unless you had the dress designer with you to repeat her spiel on a loop for all your wedding guests, the whole meaning would be lost on them. These are glorified ballgowns with the word "princess" emblazoned on them to make them "magical" or "special", when what lies underneath the sparkles and fanfare is just another dress sewn by toddlers from a country whose name we can't pronounce.

When you wish upon a star... you can sew our wedding dresses from afar!

I am also annoyed that all my efforts to comment on the dresses and the princess complex and the ridiculousness of the whole thing were for naught. Damn YouTube and its pre-approved comment posting option! What happened to the days when you could leave a rude comment on someone's video and watch all hell break loose?

No, these Disney Living people were smart - they are taking charge of their image and making sure not one negative comment breaks through their impenetrable force field of fluff. With over 1 million views in 1 week, the last thing Disney Living can afford 1 less-than-loving critique.

So I am relegated to the shadows like some sick stepsister, screaming my head off to anyone within online earshot, bitter and bitchy and by-God-not-buying-into-this-bulls**t.

Care to join me?

23 September 2010

On Dog Weddings and Marriage Equality

Honestly, I hadn't planned to post today as I am sick in bed with an awful phlegmmy throat thing. But when this headline about two greyhounds getting married caught my eye, I just had to say something about it.

Any comments in protest over this story are generally from the "it's okay to be a dog lover, but this is going too far" camp. I for one am never the first to say what is going too far when it comes to a passion - be it dogs or bedazzling denim jackets. My issue is that a wedding between two dogs is being permitted while there are human beings that still aren't being recognized as legitimate couples.

Any of you LGBTQ kids out there - how do you feel about dogs getting hitched while you're having to fight for your rights to have the same privilege?

Does anyone else find this ridiculous?

Holy Muttrimony.
What's more, this isn't even the first dog wedding ever - there's a dog wedding web series called Puppy Weddings on WEtv's website, wherein dogs are humiliated as their owners dress them in scraps of tulle and march them down the aisle for their owners' amusement.

Yes. This definitely makes sense. People of the same sex have no business getting married, because it's not God's design for family. Two dogs, on the other hand, totally fits in with the concept of the traditional family unit.

If the cornerstone for the conservative camp is that marriage and family is based in the ability to physically procreate, then what about dogs who are snipped? If a spayed springer spaniel and a neutered newfoundland want to tie the knot, well, I guess they're doing it purely for fun just like the gays are. We can't have that, can we?

Or can we?

10 September 2010

Wedding Movie Review: The Wedding Planner and American Wedding

Here comes the suck. And two of them, too. And I ranted all about it via video here.



Sure, they're relatively old compared to some of the more recent wedding fodder to be released on the big screen over the last few years. Don't worry. I'll get to them, too.



But all this ranting and writing means nothing without a comment. Show me some love, people! xoxo

- Chan

09 September 2010

The Hidden Cost of Weddings

This week I decided to define and explain what the WIC means to me in this video here. Everyone knows all too well the obscene average costs quoted by The Wedding Report, but the question remains, how does the WIC get away with charging so much for its services and products?




There have been countless posts on wedding blogs about the wedding upcharge for various event services and products, and for good reason. The insane cost of an average wedding is high not only because we choose to include all those questionably mandatory elements (photographer, flowers, etc.). The cost of the products and services themselves are generally jacked up when associated with a wedding – white pumps become bridal shoes, a vase of flowers becomes a wedding centerpiece, etc. The reasons for the upcharge are supposedly to account for higher quality and attention to detail, the extra work required to adhere to a bride’s vision, and to offer the bride an implied all-day bitch pass.



The elevated costs – while normal by WIC standards – are meant to justify a suggested craftsmanship that the average wedding requires. Meanwhile, plenty of brides have taken to telling little white lies for their big white events in order to get a fairer price. While some vendors feel slighted, I will be the first to wave her big white pom poms in support of these fibs.



Why?



Because they are paying for the level of service they find appropriate for their weddings.



When a hairdresser says, “Oh, well if I’d known this updo was for a wedding, I would’ve done it differently”, I demand to know in what ways they would’ve done it differently. By working harder at it? By paying closer attention to detail? By adding more bells and whistles that they think a bride should have?



The fact that the incognito bride asks for an updo doesn’t change the fact that she wants an updo. No doubt she’s given some direction as to what she wants done, so the word “wedding” shouldn’t change the shape or quality of the updo – that is, unless we’re meant to understand that an ordinary party guest doesn’t deserve the same respect a bride would? And assuming there is some huge difference between a party updo and a wedding updo, the incognito bride has chosen to have a party updo, for all its flaws and plainness. Is it really the responsibility of the hairdresser to make sure the bride adheres to a standard of bridal hair she didn’t ask for?!



True, honesty is generally the best policy, and I am by no means suggesting going to the lengths Jessica Vega did to score her freebies (wherein she didn't limit her scamming to the WIC, but relatives and strangers as well). But in this instance, I say “an eye for an eye”. If the WIC chooses to be dishonest when it comes to their practices, why should brides feel obligated to divulge any more details than they need to get the products and services they want? This isn’t like stealing from a food bank – this is robbing the rich to give to the less rich. We’re talking about a billion-dollar-a-year industry whose decline since the recession has been but mere pocket change and the difference between an affordable celebration and a lifetime of debt for couples trying to start their own lives together. And for my money, I’d rather pay for ordinary party goods with no strings attached than a host of services with the word “wedding” emblazoned on them.

01 September 2010

Wedding Movie Review #1: Our Family Wedding

For the first of many wedding movie reviews, go check out my video on the subject here.




This movie doesn’t deserve another word from me. I need to purge via something preferably non-wedding related... not that Our Family Wedding was really wedding-related… oh damn you, Our Family Wedding - you got me again!

31 August 2010

The Theme of the Wedding Is...

I just posted a vlog entry about our wedding theme and our reasons for picking it here. With that in mind, I wanted to take a moment to talk about the different ways you can approach a theme for a wedding, and how to find which one is right for you.



While I’m not a big fan of either/or thinking, the way I see it, you have two options with executing a theme for your wedding.



1. Follow the theme exactly.

2. Reinterpret the theme.



Anything in between ends up looking like either you weren’t trying hard enough, or you didn’t have the resources. And let’s face it – a wedding, whether you like it or not, is about what you’re doing and how it looks to other people. If guest opinions didn’t matter, we’d all be eloping in sweatpants and Crocs, right?



One of the things I learned as a Media student was that parody has to go all the way in order for people to get it. If the right aesthetic details aren’t there – an iconic costume, a memorable prop, a specific line of dialogue – then the familiarity is lost, and with it, the joke. If you read the many definitions of parody, most mention mimicry or imitation as a means of ridicule. Whether or not the intention is to get laughs at your wedding, it essentially holds true – if you want your meaning (punchline) to come across, you gotta go all the way with it (the set-up).



There is something extremely satisfying about being able to recreate details. Paying close attention to the tiny accents and the big picture and how it all fits together can be immensely fun. There’s something to be said about the talent required to create replicas, you know? It’s like creativity for the inside-the-box, follow-the-rules type – like my Mom and her needlepoint, where you get to create but you still work with a blueprint. Why else do you think wedding inspiration boards are so addictive? They allow us to express ourselves within acceptable boundaries. But for those of us who like to defy those rules, reinterpreting a theme can be just as satisfying in a whole new way.



Taking the gist of a theme and reimagining it allows for a lot of personal style, and with it, a lot more risk. Tim Burton’s attempt at Alice in Wonderland is a perfect example: he took the gist - a blond little girl and a rabbit hole and indirect psychedelic metaphors blah blah blah - and pissed everyone off when he reimagined it as a bleak, post-apocalyptic, unmagical Underland. He made Alice a young woman, not a child. He had a little too much fun with CG, and introduced us to characters that weren’t in many of the other film versions (for good reason). He took a risk, and while it didn’t pay off in legions of Alice-obsessed fans, it did pay off at the box office. And even for all the backlash, there is something to be said about the fact that he dared to take on a classic and reinterpret it. Love it or hate it, Burton made it his own.



Using a theme as a launching point for your creativity is risky, but is such a home for expression. For our wedding reception, we took the elements of Alice that we like best – wonky sizes, mismatched d├ęcor, silly hats, and lots of color – and decided to build from there, in any way that strikes our fancy. Part of it is because I don’t know a person on Earth that is totally satisfied with following one theme and one theme alone – even a purple fanatic can appreciate a good goldenrod now and then, right? Budget constraints are another reason to look at a loose theme – you have more freedom to include stuff, and can repurpose items on the cheap without worrying that it won’t fit in. Reinterpreting your theme lets you relax a little and allows more of you to come through on the big day, which I am completely for!

27 August 2010

I Went to a Wedding Website and All I Got Was This Stupid Checklist.

I went to a major wedding website recently when it came to my attention that I only had nine months left to start planning this wedding. After printing off their checklist and subsequently ranting about it via video, I wanted to take a moment to specifically point out items that irked me on this list via my own checklist. Yes, I see the irony. One useless checklist deserves another.


[ For copyright purposes, I did not duplicate their checklist items but instead rephrased them to avoid violating any laws. Words they used specifically are in quotes. ]


5. Wherein brides are instructed to follow an exercise regime and eat well in order to get into "wedding day shape".

While I see the importance of good physical, mental, and emotional health, what is this “wedding day shape” standard? Was the shape I was in when we got engaged somehow not good enough? You mean he proposed with the hopes that I would eventually buckle down and achieve this bridal shape? And note that it says “wedding day shape”, not “marriage shape” or “lifelong good shape”. Further note that it says “shape”, not “health” – because let’s face it, the two are not always natural bedmates (as the daughter of an anorexic can tell you – a skinny figure does not a healthy mother make). Making positive life changes for a lifetime is one thing, but making these changes on the basis of a single day is not likely to last and more likely to deprive us of much needed confidence… and sleep…



8. Wherein brides are urged to find the "perfect" reception site.


I promised myself when I was attending a Liberal Arts college that I wouldn’t become one of those people that got all hung up on semantics, but here I am getting all bitchy and Birkenstocky and about to dissect use of the word “perfect”. The idea that there is a perfect reception location is as ludicrous as the notion of “the” dress, or “the” soulmate who was put on Earth just for you. The word “perfect” can be damaging, and it can add unnecessary pressure and imply an impossible, unachievable standard of flawlessness that threatens to overshadow the truly important aspects of your wedding day. What makes a perfect reception location, anyway? Who is to say what is perfect? Words like “ideal” or “suitable” would be more effective and empowering for brides, and just a wee bit less ulcer-inducing.


10. Wherein brides are told to plan for their engagement party by creating a guest list, setting a date, and ordering another set of invitations.


Wait, wait, wait… one set of invitations wasn’t enough? Now I have to think about two sets? And another location, menu, guest list, and kitschy favors or decorations? Where’s the checklist for this party? Maybe I should hire an engagement party planner… hmm…


16. Wherein brides are told to begin researching wedding dresses via magazines and websites.


There’s this psychological phenomenon known as “exposure effect” which suggests that people become fond of things they find familiar. In reference to advertising (such as you might find of wedding gowns in bridal magazines and on commercial wedding websites), the exposure effect tends to be most powerful when the product or company is unfamiliar and fresh. To a first-time bride, these images would be rather attractive, no? After all, these dresses are new to her - and once they stop being new, they become familiar by virtue of the fact that they are dominating print and online wedding media. The ads set the standard or the norm – the brides see it and love it for its newness and simultaneous familiarity – and a quest to find the perfect big white dress is born. Nevermind that white makes you look washed out, or a $500 gown isn’t in your budget. You’ve been shown the norm. You now must grapple with forcing yourself into the standard, or defying it at the risk of pissing off friends and family who want you to have a “real” wedding.



… and this is just the 9-11 month checklist. We have so many more to go! Weeeeeeeeee!