January 24, 2012

While We're on the Subject of Trends....

We might as well have some fun pointing out all the ridiculous, hideous shit that people think is wedding-worthy.  For reasons unknown, the newest and trendiest theme to hit the pages of bridal magazines is garbage.  And no, that's not editorializing, I mean actually garbage.  People are fishing things out of their dumpsters and calling them decor.  Let me show you what I mean.

My primary pet peeve is the twine-wrapped tin can.  I will never, ever understand why this happens:

This is not pretty.

Chef Boyardee does not belong at your wedding.   And tying ribbon around something or gluing rhinestones or paper flowers onto it does not make something not garbage anymore.  In fact, it makes it more garbage.  There is no excuse for pulling something out of the trash, wrapping string around it, and putting it on your table.  None.

Speaking of putting trash on your table, can anyone explain this?:

Excuse me, waiter, but my drink has a distinct "marinara" aftertaste.
You know who serves drinks exactly like this?  The campy, backwoods-hunting-lodge-style steakhouse down the street that I sometimes go to before a movie for nachos and beer.   On your birthday, they'll come out with a gigantic furry hat that has antlers on it, stick it on your head and sing to you, then pie you in the face with a pie-tin full of whipped cream.  When you serve me a drink like this at your wedding, I crouch down in my chair to duck the very real threat of pie-in-the-face and wonder whether I got lost on my way to your wedding since I apparently ended up at the cookhouse instead and where the fuck are my nachos?

And for those hardcore weddings which need just that extra dash of silly to set them apart from all the tired, done-to-death mason jar uses, there are mason jars on sticks.  Otherwise known as "rustic wine glasses", or something.
Just.... what?

Also filed under "rustic" wedding chic, burlap:
No, that's what I said.  Burlap.
Burlap.  That brown, itchy stuff that is used to haul sand or coffee or to keep weeds from coming up in your garden.  Not just for sandbagging rivers anymore, folks!  The only reason I've been able to come up with for using burlap as your wedding tablecloth is to dissuade ill-mannered guests from putting their elbows on the table during dinner.

Then again, apparently causing your guests discomfort is chic. Which is the only explanation I can imagine for the extremely high reputation of that wedding staple, the Chiavari Chair:
Hideous AND hideously uncomfortable.  Swish!

These things look like cheap bamboo furniture that someone sprayed with gold paint.  Whatever marketing genius turned this crap into the pinnacle of wedding seatery deserves a fucking medal for being the hands-down world's best bullshitting salesman of all time. I am in awe.

And of course, when your garbage bin has been wrung dry of all its wedding accoutrements, then it's time to raid the gutters and backyard leaf pile for twigs:

Just like being in a whimsical forest, am I right?
Yes, seriously.  Grab some twigs, hang some shit on them, and call it a day. Perhaps my earlier comment bears repeating here: tying ribbon or gluing paper flowers on garbage makes it more garbage

When did ugly become the new pretty?  Next thing you know, people will be ruining their wedding dresses just to get interesting photos.

Oh wait....

November 05, 2011

Wedding Trends

One thing to keep in mind when planning a wedding is that nobody else cares

It's difficult for many brides to remember, or even accept, this small truth.  They are surrounded by wedding; it gets under their skin and into their brain.  They see wedding everywhere.  Every conversation they have seems to be about their wedding.  Lunch and after-work hours are spent on various wedding tasks and appointments.  Even decisions about what they'll eat for dinner are determined by their wedding ("can I still afford my aisle runner if I spring for takeout?", "will I still fit into my dress if I eat dessert?").  It can make them believe that weddings are ubiquitous, and as a result, that everyone else is just as preoccupied with weddings as they are.  Note to brides everywhere: they're not.  Nobody cares.  Just you.  Also (hopefully) your fiancé, and possibly your mother-in-law, but otherwise nobody. 

You're welcome.

Fortunately for brides, this nonchalance can actually be a blessing in disguise.  I've seen too many brides stress about whether their guests will be bored with the trendy touches they're dying to add to their big day.  The truth is, they won't.  Probably. 

In my time wandering through weddingland, I have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of "trendy" ideas floating around out there.  Wedding websites and craft stores are full to overflowing with knickknacks and details, and it can begin to look like everyone's been shopping at the same place.  Blogs post photo after photo of the same apparent wedding but for a new cast of characters.  Sometimes it seems that absolutely every bride in the world is spraying glitter onto manzanita branches for their centrepieces or hand-crafting kissing balls, and I don't even know what either of those things are.  And then I realize that the reason I don't know what half of these things are is that I have never actually seen any of them at a real live wedding.

See, when we remind ourselves of the fact that most of our guests have likely not spent the last year browing wedding sites, trying on gowns, flipping through bridal magazines or obsessively reading wedding blogs the way we have, it becomes somewhat clearer that they are not even going to know what the trends are.  Other brides may be sick to death of cupcakes, or bored to tears with brooch bouquets - but your guests have probably never seen those things before.  The fact is, most of these so-called trends aren't as popular or overdone as you might expect.  Most people only go to a wedding or two a year, or less.  Which means that any trends they have witnessed are probably past their expiration date, and that oh-so-boring photo booth you were considering will be something new and different for them.

"Overdone" trends that I have never seen:

  • Save the dates (seriously, not once)
  • Chiavari chairs
  • Moustaches on sticks

Why does this happen?

  • Ribbons on sticks
  • Actually, anything on sticks
  • Brooch bouquets
  • Manzanita trees
  • Oversized balloons
  • Photo guestbooks
  • Cupcakes
  • Pet involvement

What happens if he runs off with the rings?

  • Fairground games or live dancers (unfortunately)
  • Midnight buffets
  • Birdcage veils
  • Mason jars
  • Burlap
  • Signage 

In case anyone forgot why they were there?

  • Choreographed dances
  • Candy bar (again, unfortunately)
  • A "two dress" bride
And more.  So, so much more.

Naturally, since I've been to my share of weddings, there are plenty of trends that I have seen (such as old-fashioned cars, the horse-and-carriage, signature cocktail and alternative footwear), but none more than once.  Most weddings seem pretty much the same to me, and truthfully, I'm okay with that.  But if you're really pining away to put something on a stick, don't let a fear of "trendiness" stop you.  (Especially when there are so many good reasons not to do that).  It's your day, and the point is to have fun.  So go have it!

March 18, 2011

The DIY Conspiracy

I constantly hear that one can save money on their wedding by doing things themselves rather than buying them somewhere else.  It sounds reasonable, but theories like this often do at first.  But it's not.  It's insane.   DIY is a conspiracy.  It's been invented to make people believe they can afford a wedding by doing it themselves.  Or to make those of us who are less domestic feel really bad about ourselves because we're just buying everything and not putting anything "personal" into our weddings.  Or to sell glitter, who the hell knows?  But does anyone ever sit back and really consider what's actually involved in this magical money-saver?

Think about it. 

First, you go to your nearest craft store to collect materials.  If you're lucky, they have exactly what you want and everything you need.  If you're not lucky, you have to try store after store until either you get lucky, or you have to compromise your vision.  Then you go home, set up your work zone, and get out your how-to instructions.  Just to be safe, you begin with a rough mock-up to get an idea of how it will look when it's done.  Probably the end result is ten kinds of hideous, but hey, it's only a mock-up.  The final product will be gorgeous. 

Now it's serious business time.  There's no looking back.  You've got your glue-gun in hand, you're making cuts in the fabric/paper/ribbon that can't be uncut, you're folding and spraying and stencilling, you're a DIY machine!  A few hours later, you're covered head-to-toe in glitter, you've got a papercut, there's an ink-stain in the carpet, your manicure is ruined and your neck hurts from bending over your work, but you've got your first real, finished DIY project sitting in front of you.  And it sucks.  Except you don't know it sucks.  Some part of you might have an inkling that it sucks, but you don't know.  It doesn't exactly look like the picture, but that's okay - you're not freaking Martha Stewart.  It's fine.  It's better than fine.  It's perfect, it's personal and best of all, it was cheap

So you call your fiancé in to behold your work (and maybe massage those DIY kinks out of your neck) but he gets that squinty look on his face like he smelled something bad and it's back to the drawing board.  Into the garbage goes your first effort, back out come the crafting supplies, you re-read the instructions to figure out what you missed.  More cuts, more glitter, more glued-on craft feathers.  Voila!  Attempt number two! And it's better, it's so much better than the first one!  Oh man, you're so on fire with this shit!  Another squinty face.  So maybe it's the cheap materials, or the misleading instructions. Spend an hour or so Googling yourself up an easier-to-follow tutorial, hit the craft store to refill your glitter pots, refresh your supplies with better quality pipe-cleaners and glue-sticks, and off you go again!

Repeat as needed.

Eventually, you're done.  You've made all 35 centrepieces yourself, and they kick ass.  This time, nobody can convince you that they're not one-hundred-percent FABOO.  You've posted them online for other DIY brides to ooh and ahh over, and none of them said anything about the visible paperclip holding on the feather, or mentioned the wrinkles in the paper.  You've spent too much damned money on stick-on rhinestones and worked too many hard hours for anyone to ever convince you that it's ugly as fuck.  And it is, I assure you, it is.  Unless you do actually happen to be Martha Stewart or my freakishly-domestic aunt who could MacGyver herself a wedding dress out of napkins and paperclips, it's ugly.  But you've invested so much time and so much money and so much blood, sweat and tears, and no way are you ever going to believe that it still doesn't look like the picture.  It's sloppy.  It looks homemade.  And the number one rule of DIY is that if homemade looks homemade, you're doing it wrong.  Observe:

After you've hit this wall, your options are as follows:

  • Stick with it.  One day you'll look back and realize the mistake you made, but whatever.  You've worked too hard to let little things like "reality" get in your way.
  • Realize your error and start over, further compounding the cost of craft supplies and your time (not to mention sanity).
  • Realize your error, give in and just buy the damned things from a professional.

Regardless of what happens, when you calculate the total cost of supplies, gas, your time, and the intense therapy it's going to take for you to recover from this madness, you actually haven't saved a dime.  But your wedding has a personal touch!  Good job.  I guess me and my still-perfect manicure over here will just have to live with that.

Yes, I will bend to the fact that there are crafty women out there who are capable of baking beautiful cakes and penning pristine calligraphy.  But those women are typically the ones who do that shit all the time!  They, unlike you and I, don't have to go to the craft store to get their projects started; they already have embossing stamps and glue guns on hand because they have a frequent need for them, and they know how to use them without out step-by-step instructions found online.  They are not cheapass girls who spontaneously decided to bust out the scissors and construction paper to save a couple bucks on their table numbers.  They're the scrapbookers and seamstresses of this world.  And if you're not that woman today, you are even less that woman the day you first put on your engagement ring.

Being a bride on a budget does not automatically transform you into a DIY pro.  Not DIYing a damned thing does not make your wedding any less personal or less special.  There has to come a time when a bride comes to terms with these truths, and says to herself "my dignity is worth more to me than this shitty tissue-paper rosette".  For me, that point came well before I ever started making one.

March 16, 2011

The Bridal Shower

No matter how many of these I go to, I still get twitchy and uncomfortable every time I receive an invitation to one.  I just can't get used to them.  I've been to several, and I spent approximately the same amount of time and energy deciding what gift to get, what to wear, how early to show up, how late to stay and bracing myself for small-talk for each of them.  Somehow, I never get any better at any of it.  Until recently, I had attributed this awkwardness and discomfort to my complete lack of sociability, which seemed reasonable, and looked no further into the issue.  I counted myself lucky that I wasn't expected to have a shower of my own, mostly because I don't really have anyone to throw one for me, and I don't like being the centre of attention anyway.  But yesterday my aunt insisted that she will be hosting one.

Naturally, I'm oodles of grateful to her, because as horrified as I am by the idea of sitting in a room wearing a silly hat with everyone staring at me, I'm also touched that she would offer - and who doesn't love being showered with gifts?  Now that my bridal shower is suddenly back in the proverbial game, I've had to actually think about how I feel about it, and I find myself faced with the reality that my vexatious relationship with bridal showers can't be entirely blamed on my own social ineptitude.  It seems that I have somewhat of an issue with the showers themselves.  Imagine that.

I'm getting married.  To me, that meant buying a dress and walking down an aisle one day.  ONE day.  One.  I'm realizing that weddings are not one, but MANY days, and I'm having difficulty reconciling with it.  Why does a bride need a shower?  Think about it seriously for a second.  Gifts, you get at the wedding.  A pre-wedding party with all your girls?  That's what the bachelorette party is for.  What purpose, exactly, does the shower itself serve?  Why is every female guest in attendance expected to purchase two gifts and give up at least two (if not three) separate days to celebrate with you?  The groom doesn't get a shower, and he usually takes it pretty well.  So what's the deal with showers?

I looked it up on wikipedia: "The history of the custom is rooted not necessarily for the provision of goods for the upcoming matrimonial home, but to provide goods and financial assistance to ensure the wedding may take place." I'm not sure I've heard of people giving monetary gifts at a bridal shower, and I don't think a toaster or sheet set will help the wedding, so I'm not sure this really applies. I guess you could use your new towels as chair covers and dress your bridesmaids in gifted lingerie... but I probably won't go that route, myself.

Wikipedia also has this to say: "Sociologists like Beth Montemurro write that the ritual of the bridal shower "socializes women into the hyper-feminized traditional wife role," with its emphasis on the future role of the bride-to-be as family cook, homemaker, and sexual partner."  Now that sounds a little more realistic to me, but I don't really expect to be socialized into June Cleaver at my bridal shower.  Unless "shower" is code for "intervention" and my family has finally conceived of a way to forcibly cure me of my decidedly undomestic ways.

When I really think about it, I suppose it comes down to brides and their loved ones just needing to make the wedding a little more special.  That little bit of extra attention that makes a bride feel like she's on top of the world.  Spending some time with friends and family before she's gone forever into matrimonial bliss, gossiping about her husband-to-be, giving and receiving advice about the future, or simply reliving the past.  

Or maybe the point is to just enjoy a pre-wedding girls' day that won't give grandma a coronary. 

February 20, 2011

The Entourage

The awesomest thing (read: worst fucking thing imaginable) about weddings is, it makes even the simplest of tasks needlessly complicated.  You know who your friends are.  Of course you do.  We all do.  Or think we do, until we have to select our wedding parties.  Then, for some reason, it's all up in the air.

I hear about brides who have to narrow down 18 possible choices to 9, or who need help deciding which of two girls is the more appropriate choice.  I have difficulty understanding this, but I won't judge, because I have no sisters and it's my own fault that I don't have more friends.  I think it's a little nuts that brides don't just know who they're close to, or that anyone would want 136 people in their wedding party, but to each their own.  Apparently, there's also a possibility of being turned down by your would-be bridesmaids.  This had not occurred to me.  "You are one of my closest friends and I can't imagine getting married without your support, will you stand with me on my wedding day?" ... "No thanks".  The horror. Sometimes your family forces you to choose other family members that you wouldn't otherwise have considered, and often you also feel obligated to include members of your new family-in-law, just to be nice.  Lucky for me my fiancé is an only child, and none of that will come into play.  And of course (as all things wedding-related), these decisions must be made with the utmost care and foresight - because now you're stuck with them.  It doesn't matter what your expectations were, or how their plans match up (or don't) with yours, you can't fire a bridesmaid.  Firing bridesmaids ends friendships.  But after all these obstacles and decisions, eventually the maids are chosen and then the "fun" begins.

I have never been a bridesmaid.  Bridesmaids to me are just a smiling group of girls that wear the same outfit and hold the bride's dress while she pees.  A position of honour, meant only to showcase special people on a special day, and to make the bride feel like she's got some serious support.  As it turns out, I was wrong.  (Imagine my surprise). 

Apparently, being a bride makes a lot of things okay.  Like slavery, for example.  I pulled this little gem off the internet and noted a few of my favourites:

Attend the ceremony rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. (Keep abreast of all prewedding parties, and go to as many as possible.)  Keep abreast of all prewedding parties.  All of them. Part of your job description is to maintain complete symbiosis with my social calendar.  Actually, it might just be easier if we sync our electronic calendars so it will be impossible for you to miss anything.  Lord knows a bride can't go anywhere without 10 tulle-wrapped clones trailing behind her.  

Help to plan, cohost, and pay for the bridal shower and bachelorette party with other bridesmaids. I guess this isn't included in the previous one?  Interesting.  Now I have a whole bunch of NEW questions about what they meant by "prewedding parties".

Scout out bridesmaid dresses, shoes, jewelry, and other wedding accessories. Pay for the entire ensemble.  I did not know this.  One of the pitfalls of never being a bridesmaid, I guess.  It might just be me, but I can't imagine asking my best friends to be with me on the happiest day of my life, and then expecting them to pay me for the honour.  "I'm getting married, you're one of the most important people in my life and I can't imagine doing this without you by my side.  Would you do me the honour of standing with me on my wedding day?  PS: You now owe me $1,000."  A position of honour no more!  Being a bridesmaid is a job.  A job they have to pay me to do.  I am so disillusioned right now.
Accompany the bride on visits to the restroom, if asked.  Holy shit, I got one right!

Hit the dance floor when the music kicks in. Dance with groomsmen during the formal first-dance sequence. Also, be on the lookout for toe-tapping guests who might need encouragement and/or a dance partner.  Exactly what any socially-awkward wedding guest wants: to be pinpointed and pulled out on the dance floor for a public display of embarrassment.  And sucks to the bridesmaid who wants to rest her feet from the pinchtastic shoes I made her squish into - bitch is a fucking dance coach/partner for hire now, work the room!

Run last-minute errands. On the day of the wedding, be on hand to confirm flower delivery times, meet and greet the ceremony officiant, or satisfy junk food cravings.   The junk food thing I could get down with, but confirming deliveries?  Isn't that the job of the people actually planning the wedding?  You know, people like... me?  Maybe my wedding planner?  But hey, anytime I can give out someone else's phone number instead of my own, I'm all for it.  I'll tell my maid of honour to clear space in her basement to hold my centrepieces.

Offer to help with prewedding tasks. Try to be specific when you volunteer. For example, say, "Would you like me to help you shop for bridesmaid dresses/stuff invitations/pack for the honeymoon?" instead of just, "What can I do?" Pack for the honeymoon?  Am I the only one who has certain.... expectations for their honeymoon?  The kind of expectations that maybe would be best kept private?  I have never packed for a honeymoon before, so I might be misassuming what's involved, but I can guess at a few things it's no bridesmaid's business to know.  Sweetie, I love you and I appreciate that you want to help me out, but Put. The Underwear. Down.  I'll pack my own honeymoon gear, thanks.

Be a trooper, no matter how stressful the ordeal becomes. Try not to complain about the bridesmaid dress -- even if the color is horrendous. Be gracious and tactful.  Now this one I like! This right here is my free license to be a freak bitch and get away with it.  I can put my bridesmaids in the ugliest possible dress and stress them within an inch of their sanity, and there's not a thing they can do about it but be "gracious and tactful" and "not complain".  Smile and nod, girls, smile and nod.  DO IT NOW!

There once was a time when I was kind of sad that nobody has ever asked me to be in their wedding.  That time has officially passed.  I also now understand why there is a possibility of women refusing the request to be in the bridal party.  It's expensive, time-consuming, exhausting, there's a risk of potentially unflattering photos in hideous outfits, and a high possibility that you won't like the other girls you get stuck with.  I can't do any of this to my girls.  For me, it's going to be exactly what I always thought it was, before I was "educated".  I think it's honour enough for me to have them there, and I want to show my appreciation by not emptying their wallets or destroying their sanity.  Obviously I mean something to them if they're willing to go through this with me - probably with the expectation that I'll be the same bride as all the others they've worked with.  I think it says a lot for them that they're willing to let me zilla them into the ground, even if they kind of suspect that I won't.  Also, you've got to really like someone to hold their dress while they pee.

Kate and Celene, I love you.

February 03, 2011

Whose Wedding is it, Anyway?


Or so I'm told.  I was confused, naturally, because up until then I had been labouring under the apparently mistaken idea that TWO people were getting married.  Not so!  The wedding is the bride's day, all the groom has to do is show up.  I'm glad I know this now, because I might have spent the months planning my wedding bothering my poor fiancé for his input, and BOY would my face have been red! 

I must admit I have accepted this fact somewhat begrudgingly.  I find myself resisting the idea that the groom has no business planning his own wedding, if only because I don't want to do everything myself.  Wedding planning is a lot of work, and I am not looking forward to being on my own with it.  I also don't want to be the one taking the blame when the flowers are the wrong colour or the bridesmaids' dresses are three sizes too small.  Let HIM help shoulder that burden.  That's what marriage is about, right? 

I'm especially flabbergasted because of the persistent sterotype that brides wish their grooms were more involved.  We've all heard this.  In movies, on TV, women's magazines, bridal forums, it's everywhere.  Men don't care about their weddings, and women wish they would.  My fiancé and I came into this wedding thinking we were ahead of the game, because he actually gave a shit what the venue looked like.  Imagine our surprise to discover - it's all a lie!  Women don't really want their men involved, they just want people to think they're victims because he isn't, or progressive because they pretend they want him to be.  It's the biggest wedding hush-up I've come across yet.

The touchiest issue I've experienced in this she versus he debate is clothing.  Naturally, many women subscribe to the tried-and-true tradition that it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony.  This has somehow been extended to the wedding dress, which is off-limits for all men until their women walk down the aisle.  If you're an old-fashioned girl, and you want that special surprise on your wedding day, I can get behind that.  I do, however, object to being told that I'm somehow deficient for not being similarly superstitious.  In my eyes, the only person besides myself who needs to like my dress is my fiancé - so why shouldn't he help select it?  Neither I nor my fiancé feel any shame for going to bridal salons together.  Nobody can give me a more honest opinion on how he'll like it than he can.  You do your thing, we'll do ours.

I got another shock on the same issue when I was bluntly informed that even modern women do not believe the groom has a place in wedding planning.  I expected to meet opposition from traditional, virginal brides, but not from women who tout equal rights and contemporary values.  It seems that these brides have gone completely the other way into "it's my dress, and I'm not going to let any man tell me which to wear".   And of course, who cares what he thinks of her dress - it's not like she needs to please anyone besides herself on her own wedding day, right?  I'm not suggesting that any bride wear something hideous because her fiancé told her to, but surely he has as much interest as she in having her look her best on that day.  I'm boggled at the prospect of completely ignoring your fiancé's preferences in favour of your own.  Is it anti-feminist or oppressive to do something nice for the man you intend to marry?  Why not allow him to choose between the gowns you love best, and wear the one he prefers?  Yes, he probably will love whatever you choose, but he'll love it more if he liked it even before you were walking down the aisle in it.

I ended up in online fisticuffs recently with a few people insisting that the groom has no right giving his opinion on certain items.  They claimed that the bride dresses the bridesmaids, and the groom dresses the groomsmen, and he had no business crossing that line.  My attempts to point out that no bride I've ever heard of would allow her man to put his boys in fluffy orange leisure suits without stepping in fell on deaf ears.  Some of these women had just the day before been complaining that their fiancés were uninterested in wedding planning, and now they were calling someone else's man a "groomzilla" for wanting to contribute.  As a woman who intends to give her fiancé full rights to his own wedding, I was amazed and offended at their hypocrisy, and overwhelmed with pity for the guy.

While there are certainly women out there who just want complete creative control, I think a larger part of the problem is that women just assume that men are incapable of distinguishing between flowers or associating colours, and so don't bother to involve him.  Maybe they think he won't care whether the invitation envelopes have liners or not.  Maybe he won't.  But why not ask?  Why shouldn't a man be given the opportunity to put forward his opinion on the color scheme, the music, the bridesmaids' dresses?  Let him come to the cake tasting, the florist.  It's his wedding too.  Shouldn't he like how it looks?  You might be surprised.  My fiancé's idea of what my wedding gown should be was drastically different from what I had been considering, and admittedly, superior.  I wish I'd asked him sooner.  His priorities for the venue and the food were right in line with my own.  There was no frustrating "I don't care", no "do whatever you want, honey", no hideous ideas that I had to talk him out of.  He blew that old-hat stereotype right out of the water.  If women gave their men a chance, they might see how out-of-date and off base their tired clichés really are.  They might learn something about their husband-to-be.  Or (*gasp*) they might even make him feel a part of his own special day.

January 24, 2011

The Colour White

Wedding dress shopping.  Fun, right?  Store after store, dress after dress, styles and shades and appliqués.  It's horrific.  I knew it would be, though, so I wasn't terribly disappointed.  Some girls love to shop, they love playing dress-up.  These girls are probably the same ones who know exactly what kind of dress they want, down to the last detail, and are bubbling over with excitement to hunt it down.  I'm not a shopper, never was.  The very idea of going into a mall gives me the shivers - all those people milling around and dozens of stores who want to get into my pocketbook.

The worst part of shopping is that I am the pickiest person on the planet, as well as the most indecisive.  Either I know exactly what I want (which means I have absolutely no chance of actually finding something satisfactory), or I have only a vague image of what I want (which means I have absolutely no chance of actually finding something satisfactory).  As I have mentioned before, I was not one of those little girls who dreamed about her wedding, which has left me with almost no clue about the kind of dress I want.  I know I want glamour that's not overly busy, but that's not much of a description.  Especially since almost every consultant in every bridal shop everywhere describes pretty much all of their stock that way.  And after I've finally found my dress, I'll have to pick the colour.

Say what?

No joke.  As it turns out, wedding gowns aren't white.  Usually.  They are off-white, oyster, diamond white, ivory, champagne, bright white, natural white, insert-generic-pretty-sounding-word-here white.  Sure, you can get regular white if you want it, but (from what I've seen on various wedding blogs and forums), women rarely do.  Now, I have nothing against the various shades of white, or even the fact that there are names for them (even though they all look pretty much the same).  And I'm certainly not suggesting that plain old white be the only option for dresses; I'll probably wear an off-white or ivory myself.  But I do take issue with other people taking issue with the "colour" of a dress.

I saw an episode of a reality wedding show where the bride set out to buy herself a white dress and fell in love with an ivory dress.  She hemmed and hawed and dragged her feet and wrung her hands about how she felt about not wearing white.  Seriously.  She eventually bought the dress, showed it to her mother, who then also spent quite a bit of time coming to terms with the fact that the dress was not white.  I have also seen a similar debate on some of the above-mentioned online forums.

This is one of those (many) situations where I have to bite my tongue, lest my blunt, no-nonsense inner devil escape.  These are times when I wish I could reach through the screen and violently shake people.  White is white.  Nobody is going to care (if they even notice) that the price tag on your dress said "ivory" instead of "white".  Because ivory is a shade of white.  In photos, they both look white.  Is this really something you need to stress yourself about?  Are you doing something wrong somehow by wearing a dress that isn't the brightest possible white?

Historically, people didn't wear white.  They wore the best dress they could, in luxurious fabrics and colours, such as red and even black.  The colour of purity (and virginity) was blue, not white.  This "tradition" came into being when Queen Victoria wore a white dress and people scrambled to copy her, just the same as any fad accidentally started by a celebrity today.  170 years later, white is the way it's done, and apparently ivory just won't do.  Who made this decision?  And why were they allowed to insist that only one particular hue out of a large spectrum of colours is "appropriate" wedding attire?  It's ludicrous. My fiancé told me today that he'd actually prefer me to wear something more Victorian. We picked a favourite out of a magazine and I've been calling around for a store who carries it. It's black.

If I've learned anything during this process, it's that brides need LESS to stress about, not MORE.  Fewer details, that's the ticket.  Caring what colour your dress is is the absolute pinnacle of typical bridal overkill, micromanagement, and creating issues to fuss over where none exist.  Back away from the craziness.  Get whatever shade suits you and your vision, and call it white. Hell, wear red. Be happy.