Tag Archives: wedding dresses

Slacking off

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I’ve been slacking off on this blog…please excuse me. We’ve been packed since Sunday evening, but we were out of town Tuesday morning through Wednesday evening (although Marianne is still in Tennessee) to attend her dad’s funeral.

I’ve also been super-scattered because my wedding/event/thing is feeling more like a wedding/event/thing and less like a lesbian, political wedding/event/thing.

Which is fine.

Except that I don’t want to write (and you probably don’t want to read) about the fact that I can’t find wedding shoes or my almost meltdown because my rib cage won’t suddenly shrink and allow me to fit into a size 10 wedding dress and admit that maybe, just maybe David’s Bridal sent me the wrong size dress and I just didn’t suddenly get fat. Must channel my inner Jessica Coyle and her fabulous martial arts plan here!

What I will do, instead, is point you to a fantabulous blog post about What Really Matters.

From the post:

I would love to romanticize marriage as a transformative process, but the truth is, my relationship with Crystal is no stronger or more committed than it was before we were married. It did not signify monogamy for us, nor did it imply I would be popping babies out any time soon or at all. The impact of our marriage was not on our relationship, it was on our family

For the writer (and for me I think), marriage is a way to become understood by our respective families. Marianne and I and most of our friends understand our relationship, but for some folks in our blood-related family who don’t follow us on a daily basis and who aren’t heavily involved in our (or any) activist politics, marriage serves as a way to bridge a cultural (mis)understanding.

Marriage is part of a language they understand – tradition, culture, ritual – and it allowed them to feel included in our very non-traditional lives.

Sometimes, I feel torn between “buying into” the heteronormative marriage idea and raging against it – Cognitive Dissonance – but the post’s author helped me work through some of that.

How do we translate “queer” to our parents? Capture the politics of it, and explain how it deconstructs more than our sexuality? I am still figuring that out, but I don’t feel the need to reject my culture in order to be a radical queer.

Maybe I don’t translate queer.

It’s not that my parents wouldn’t understand it if I sat down and explained it, it’s just that it doesn’t really matter to me if they get it or not. What matters is my mom posting condolences to Marianne after her father died, my dad always asking about Marianne each time he calls, both of them wanting to come visit us in our new house in Greenville.

What matters is that they’re going to be there on the biggest two days (ha! we get two days!) of my life up until this point. And it’s going to be awesome!

Why I think weddings are totally stupid

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Totally ready for a small ceremony and reception at Green Street.

Every once in a while, usually after I’ve watched too many “Say Yes to the Dress” episodes or visited the most gorgeous wedding/reception venue ever, I start to want a lavish wedding that costs waaaaaaay more than we can afford and one that requires me to dance (however badly) at my reception which includes a super-duper high cake.

But then I read an article today from a really smart Website called LearnVest: Why I Think Weddings Are Totally Stupid.

For the record I don’t think the author, Amy Keyishian, does actually think weddings are stupid, but I do think she thinks paying too much for them is really dumb.

I’ve had two weddings. One cost about $20,000 and had 150 guests. It was really fun, and I cut a lot of corners, and was proud of how little I (my parents) spent. The second time around…the total cost was $6,000, it was just as fun, and we had the rest of our savings for the three months of unpaid leave I ended up having to take a few months later to care for our premature baby.

Most times, there are better things you can spend your money on than a single day that could, potentially, cost more than a down payment on a house.

According to CostOfWedding.com, which is produced by a market-research company collecting information for the wedding industry, the average wedding in the U.S. costs about $25,631, possibly more depending where you live (here in the Bay Area, it goes up to more than $40,000). That is a down payment on a very nice house here–or the whole house, in large swaths of the country–and an amount many claim they just can’t manage to save up.

Also,

According to the Association of Wedding Professionals, the wedding industry nets about $86 billion per year. That’s billion with a B.

Obviously, LearnVest is geared toward getting me on the right path to a healthy relationship (with money, because M and I are good), so the piece ends with a bit of practical advice.

It’s an industry. It wants your money. Don’t give in to it. This idea that you deserve a wedding is not the point; of course you deserve a wonderful day. But what you deserve even more is financial security and a debt-free future. So plan a wedding based in reality, and who you are and what kind of wife you want to be: supportive, smart and with two feet firmly in reality.

Now that is some advice I can dig.

I’ve got a helmet Life, let’s go, what else you gonna throw at me??

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Callie does not want to move – she’s decided her best option is to hide until it’s all over

This will be a quick post – mostly to fill you in on all the wedding planning I’m not doing because of other real life stuff that’s happening. So maybe you’ll forgive me when most of my posts come off as trying too hard.

First, we’re moving. We’ve got about a week (okay exactly a week) before we pack the U-Haul and move to Greenville so Marianne can start school and I can start my work as the education reporter for The Daily Reflector. We’re moving into a house owned by a friend so although we can keep most of what we own now, we’re being forced to evaluate – right now – what we’re going to need when we get there and what we can put store in the attic. All I know is that the waffle iron better find its way into the kitchen.

Last time Marianne and I moved we about killed each other. Mostly because she had to pack and I had to kind of sort of help her when I could while also still working full time. This time we’ve got more time to get ready and we now understand Kelly’s Rules to Fighting Fair. These rules actually work really well for communication in general…but I’ve also learned to just say “yes” a lot and purposefully checked my attitude and tried (really, really) hard to work as part of the Marianne and Me team.

Second, it looks like our name change will happen in Greenville, not in Winston like we wanted. We still don’t have our Federal background checks back and nothing can happen before then. Fortunately, we had a friend of ours who lives in Greenville go through the process already so she will (hopefully) guide us through the process. I assume it’s pretty much the same as here, I just hope any judge we have to speak to will not ask too much about why I want to change my name. We’ll see.

Third, Marianne’s father passed away this morning. He had been sick, but I still don’t know that anyone was really ready for it. In between packing and moving and my trying to train the new guy at work, we will be making a trip back to Tennessee for the funeral and for M to be with her family. Prayers and good thoughts are appreciated.

In good news, we’ve got our wedding cake tasting tomorrow with our friend Deese who’s making the cake. We also talked with Angela Yarber, one of the pastors at Wake Forest Baptist Church, on Wednesday and she’s agreed to do our vows and ring exchange ceremony on the night before we have our big ceremony at Green Street. Looks like our ceremony timeline is finally falling into place.

I am currently on the hunt for wedding dress shoes. I’ve got a dress fitting coming up and have yet to find a pair.We’ve also got to start thinking about ordering our actual wedding invitations, I don’t know if we’ve decided to continue the Civil Disobedience theme or not. Regardless, the invites have to go out in mid-September. You know, right when Marianne is beginning her schoolwork and I’m still trying to find the rhythm of my job.

I’m tired, but I’m ready. I’ve got a helmet and I’m considering some elbow and knee pads, just in case Life decides to throw something else at me too…

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Don’t Forget! Support the name change!

As an update, we’ve gotten back our state background checks back and are now just waiting on the Feds. Come on, USA! Once that’s done, we’ll starting moving forward with the actual paperwork filing.

Any amount is helpful, we’ve got until the end of July to raise the money…we’re still sitting at $237 which gets us two sets of fingerprints a piece, covers the cost of the federal and state background checks for both of us and gives us money for one of the name change application. We’re still looking to cover the other $120 for the second application and some money for dinner… We’re looking to raise $375 – only $138 to go!

When planning a wedding, always consult the Centers for Disease Control first!

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I’m not sure what the CDC would say about being diagnosed with Swine Flu 48 hours before you’re wedding. Make the best of it and hand out hand sanitizer as a wedding favor I guess.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found a way to hone in on my Big Day.

The CDC’s newest public health blog post in entitled “Surviving the Wedding Day” and includes some awesome tips like:

  • “The bridal kit should include extra safety pins, makeup for touchups, maybe a few sedatives;”
  • Knowing your evacuation procedures because, after all, if a tornado rips through the area, “200 guests are not going to be able to crowd into the one windowless bathroom;”
  • “When dealing with an emotional bride…be supportive and have some bottled water from your emergency kit and a box of chocolate on hand;”
  • “And remember there’s safety in numbers (because) you never know when Bridezilla might pop up.”

In the end, there’s always NPR’s take on it:

If you really want to avoid a wedding disaster, keep it simple and elope.

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Don’t Forget! Support the name change!

Any amount is helpful, we’ve got until the end of July to raise the money…we’re up to $237 which gets us two sets of fingerprints a piece, covers the cost of the federal and state background checks for both of us and gives us money for one of the name change application. We’re still looking to cover the other $120 for the second application and some money for dinner… We’re looking to raise $375 – only $138 to go!

If you really feel you must have it all…

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I received an Oriental Trading (Wedding!) catalog in the mail the other day. Now the only thing  I know about the Oriental Trading Company is that we used to order crazy amounts of Girl Scout party supplies like glitter and bubbles and luau ridiculousness for about $5. Which means it’s super cheap…and super tacky.

So I was curious beyond belief to see they created a wedding line. I was hoping it was a bit more upscale, but I was totally wrong. So…for the bride who truly has it all (already) and just has to add more to “accessorize her big day” to quote the Web site, I gave you the Top 5 Things from the Oriental Trading Company that would totally make your day even more “perfect”:

Personalized just married Floor Clings

Because nothing says “Congratulations” like walking (perhaps even dancing awkwardly?) all over the new couples names. 27×27 feet for only $18.50.

Personalized 2 Hearts Pencils

“Add a personal touch to your wedding reception with these lovely Two Hearts pencils!” Or your second grade Valentines Day party…whichever. Only $7.50 for two dozen.

Fall Wedding Facial Tissue Packs

I mean I guess Oct. 27 is high time for allergies, right? Or not. Apparently tissue packs are super popular though, because searching for them (alone) on OTC brings about 19 results with decorations including a cross, tissues in hot orange, pink, and blue [packaging, and a “rustic western wedding” pack. Good news, they’re only $4.25 for 10 packs (8 tissues in a pack, now that’s a bargain!)

Silver Chandelier

Bring on the elegance (?)… with a silver streamer “chandelier!” Nobody’s reviewed it yet so I can’t say for certain how it’s going over, but for only $$26.50 it’s a steal of a deal! (For you more adventurous types, they also sell it in gold…just an FYI)

Birch Bark Candleholder with Elk

Last but not least (and I swear this was in the “wedding” category), there’s this lovely birch bark candleholder. I can’t think of any wedding that wouldn’t be complete without it! $15 reduced to $9.99.

O, Oriental Trading Company, how did I ever plan my wedding without you! And you’re offering free shipping on orders over $49? Y-E-S! After ordering about 15 items, I might actually meet that requirement.

Ready.Steady.Go!

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Don’t Forget! Support the name change!

Any amount is helpful, we’ve got until the end of July to raise the money…we’re up to $137 which gets us two sets of fingerprints a piece, covers the cost of the federal and state background checks for both of us and gives us money for dinner.. We’re looking to raise $375 – only $238 to go!

“I’ll take a $6 wedding latte please”

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From the Green Bean, not a $6 wedding Latte," but wonderful nonetheless.

I wrote awhile back about the fact that everything goes up in price once you start planning your wedding but I had no idea (although I totally should have known) that there’s an actual name for this phenomenon:

*Drumroll please*

The Wedding Industrial Complex

*What? You expected something sexier?*

I started thinking about this today when I stumbled upon an NPR piece on why wedding dresses cost so much. It actually wasn’t the piece itself, but many of the comments that led me to explore the WIC concept. At least the author, Caitlin Kenney, recognized that the price was jacked up just because it was a wedding dress, but she never really explored what the WIC is and how it functions:

I knew I wasn’t just paying for the fabric and the craftsmanship. I knew I was paying for the word “wedding” and all the feelings attached to it.

So I did what any good researcher would do in my situation. I googled it. And came across a whole (whole, whole!) lot of stuff about it – like the fact the parent company of David’s Bridal has their own lobbying group in Congress! But hey, so does Tiffany & Co. And Macy’s has a Political Action Committee which donated $38,000 to federal candidates during the 2010 election cycle.

Apparently there’s whole books on the subject. In an interview with Salon, Rebecca Meade, author of the 2007 book One Perfect Day, the selling of an American Wedding, said a wedding used to signal the beginning of your adult life, but anymore it doesn’t. Yet people still need that “becoming an adult moment” and the wedding is becoming a stand-in.

I think that people still need to feel that this transition is a viscerally affecting experience. Because being married is very different from not being married…It’s much harder to break up a marriage than it is to break up a nonmarital partnership. So I think people need the sense of “Wow! Something really big has just happened.

Ironically Meade thinks the wedding industry actually popped up because of feminism.

Women used to make their own dresses, cook, take care of the kids, and now we outsource all of this: childcare, cooking, even getting your eyebrows done or getting your legs waxed. Nobody does their own if they can afford not to — or even if they can’t!

What’s weird to me, and Meade touches on it in her book, is that the certain parts of the wedding industry insist on initializing the brides. First they assume that all brides have had their wedding day planned pretty much since birth and that all brides want to be a princess. Disney even offers Cinderella packages. Meade explains,

They won’t let Mickey Mouse host the weddings because it’s not “traditional,” because it would compromise the dignity of the ceremony. But the company’s idea of tradition, curiously enough, permits couples to hire someone dressed up as Major Domo [Prince Charming’s footman in the Disney version of “Cinderella”] to serve as their ring bearer.

More on the Disney wedding package. According to Meade:

When you’re in the Magic Kingdom, there are 100 places to buy ice cream, but you can’t get a drink anywhere. And when I was there, that was really what I wanted! There’s this very childish fantasy about what life is like, what married life is like and what the world is like.

Okay, so what happens if the bride and groom (because let’s not kid ourselves, most of the wedding industry in an exercise in heteronormativity) say “to hell with it all! Let’s elope!” Welcome to the land of Destination Wedding Packages. And the fact that family and friends still expect something.

It’s not that brides don’t have agency over their own weddings. It’s that by exercising agency, there’s a fear they’ll let someone down. And, even if they don’t have a ton of money saved, they still expect the big day to feel like, well, a big day. According to Meade,

It’s easy to say, “Why the hell not spend this money” and “Let’s go all-out.” But what’s bad is if the whole culture of extravagant weddings encourages women to think that they have to do it — even though they’re not going to be able to pay the rent the next month, or even pay the DJ.

Over the last couple months of my own wedding planning, I’ve noticed I’ve been able to choose when (and when not to) step into the WIC three-right circus.

Maybe because I’m a lesbian getting married in a state where it’s not legal, I haven’t had a ton of actual companies beating on my door. At one point I signed up at the knot.com so they send me occasional “bride and groom” emails even though I clearly indicated in the “other details about your wedding” category that I was planning a “same-sex marriage,” the store where we bought my wedding band sends me “buy her love by buying a(nother) $2,500 ring” emails and every once in a while, I get actual mail (!) to remind me that my day is going to be here before I know it. Otherwise I’m pretty much left alone.

Which is nice.

I should qualify that statement. I’m left alone by the WIC. But not by the friends and family that really matter. My mom couldn’t have been more excited to help me find a dress and my friends (both local and not) have at least asked me how the planning is going.

The wedding is one day in what is going to be a lifetime relationship. I get occasionally caught up in the WIC myself, but for the most part I’ve been okay.

For those of you wondering what the deal is with the title of this blog, it stemmed from a conversation at my local coffee shop today. I was telling the guy behind the counter about the whole Wedding Industrial Complex idea and he offers to sell me a wedding latte anytime I want.

It’s exactly like a regular latte, but it’s $6 instead of the normal $2!