Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why The Groom Shouldn't See The Bride Before The Wedding Ceremony (From the groom's point of view)

This post is written by Pete. For all his posts, check out this link.

Last week I wrote about wedding traditions. Many of them are merely a reenactment of some bizarre medieval ritual that has no relation to modern society.

While I still stand by my belief that many wedding traditions are bizarre reflections of a society that is thankfully long gone, upon reflection I must admit that there is one that I was wrong about. Let me just say, before I even get started  that I guarantee you the reason why I was wrong was not because I believed in the tradition. Back in the day (of witches, astrology, and a lack of toilets and showering), the bride and groom were not allowed to see each other before the wedding. In case you didn't read last week's post, I'll remind you why. sums it up perfectly:
The wedding symbolized a business deal between two families (romantic, huh?), and a father would have been pleased for his daughter to marry a man from a rich, land-owning family. But he also feared that if the groom met the bride before the wedding and thought she wasn't attractive, he'd call off the wedding, casting shame onto the bride and her family. Therefore, it became tradition that the bride and groom were only allowed to meet at the wedding ceremony so that the groom did not have the opportunity to change his mind. 
Yes, that's right ladies. Women were once considered to be their father's property, like a horse or a cow. If her next male owner (husband) had the chance to see her before the wedding and didn't like what he saw, he may cancel the business deal because he thought she was ugly. That's why it was believed that the groom shouldn't see the bride before the wedding ceremony. That's just one of the disgusting and sexist stories behind most of the wedding traditions we all take for granted. Yet many couples participate in them, just because.

Because why? Because: "That's just what people do." I don't know about you, but personally, I think that is the worst reason to do anything.


One of the first things I said to Lisa when we were planning our wedding day was, "Come on, why can't I see you before the wedding? Why can't we just hang out and get ready together? That would be so fun, like all the guys and ladies together getting ready, having cocktails, and having fun and stuff." But she didn’t see it the same way; she insisted that we not see each other until she was walking down the aisle. She got ready at home with her bridesmaids and she made me book a hotel room for the night before/morning of the wedding.

"Yo that's wack!!" I remember yelling numerous times, but it's what Lisa wanted so I respected it ... even though I thought it was wack and it made no sense to me, just like why are pizza boxes square, the pies a circle, and the slices a triangle? C'mon man, pick a shape; this ain't geometry class.

But I forgot all about it in the ensuing chaos of the wedding morning -- my buddies, all of us in the hotel room, getting ready, laughing, drinking beers, dancing, yelling -- I know it probably sounds cliche or corny, but it's like I wasn't there, like I was outside of myself watching me, while my actual "me" was in shock and disbelief, lost in the amazement of it all, stunned, confused, thinking, "This can't be happening ... I can't believe I'm getting married ... this can't be real ... I didn't think this was in the cards for me ... I'm too much of a mess to be 'marry-able' ... I can't fathom that a woman like Lisa exists ... she saved my life ... "

Suddenly I was at the front of the church, facing forward, then the music started. Everyone stood up and looked towards the rear of the church. I did the same. But as I turned, everything slowed down, I felt weightless. I looked down the aisle, all the way towards the entrance and from my left I saw the most unbelievable and breathtaking sight of my life -- LISA, accompanied by her dad (a man I told Lisa is my idol). Then I wept ... in front of everyone ... I wept and I didn't care. I was flooded with hope and for what's to come, with inspiration, with confidence, with purpose, with direction, with visions of a life I never thought was possible for me.

And that is why I was wrong about this particular marriage tradition. I think this tradition should be completely redefined and modernized to reflect a more accurate and beautiful concept: a bride's beauty concealed and then unveiled at the perfect moment, reminding the groom just how lucky he is (and always was).
Lisa's note: This photo above is our wedding twin Kay's husband Scott's reaction to seeing Kay walk down the aisle. Isn't this one of the most beautiful series of wedding photos ever? What an absolutely heartwarming reaction to see when you're walking down the aisle about to marry your best friend. To have this emotion, from both sides, right before you are about to say your "I Do's", you can't beat that. And that's why I was never a fan of the first look. You miss this, in front of your friends, family, and loved ones, moments before you are wed.

BRIDAL BABBLE: What do you think? Do you agree that the groom shouldn't see the bride before the wedding ceremony?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

5 Bachelorette Party Ideas (That Don't Include Chippendales)

Last weekend, we went out to see The Spill Canvas, a band that has been in my top six bands of all time for the last decade, open for Motion City Soundtrack, who was on tour to celebrate the 10-year-anniversary of its breakout album, Commit This To Memory.

Last year, to celebrate my birthday, Pete and I went to see Yellowcard on a similar 10-year-anniversary tour. And not too long before that, I saw Fall Out Boy -- not on a 10-year-anniversary tour, but FOB is in my top six bands. In May, Pete and I went to see Brand New, a band that has changed my life during the last 14 years, and, if all goes well, I'll see New Found Glory in a couple months, checking off five of my top six bands (for the last decade) in a span of about a year.

The only band I haven't seen is The Starting Line, which is my absolute favorite band of all time. So much so that once upon a time, I said that I don't want a bachelorette party filled with drunk antics because I don't drink. At all. What I wanted was to see The Starting Line. I said I didn't care when, exactly, during my engagement this happened, but I wanted to go with my favorite gals to see my favorite band. That's it.

The Starting Line went on long-term hiatus in 2008, but reunites every year for an annual holiday show every December. I was engaged for two Decembers (in 2012 and 2013), so how I didn't have a bachelorette party at any of those shows is a mystery to me. But, truth be told, I didn't have a bachelorette party. It just didn't work out, despite my bridesmaids and maid of honor really wanting to make it work. But just because I didn't have one doesn't mean I don't know a thing or two about them.

If you're planning a bachelorette party, and you're looking for something other than some drinks and strippers, you're in luck. I have five non-traditional bachelorette party ideas (no Chippendales or penis pops here -- real quick, that link is not safe for work; it leads to penis pops, in case you're into those).


5 Bachelorette Party Ideas (That Don't Include Chippedales)

1. Spa Day
Planning a wedding can be stressful, really stressful. Sometimes, all a bride wants to do is sit down and forget about it for a while. What better way to do that than with a massage, a foot rub, and a pedicure. It's a great way to unwind.

The spa that we go to in town serves a really delicious tea while you're waiting. If your local spa doesn't do that, you might want to call and see if you can arrange to bring in your own calming beverages (chamomile tea, mimosas, whatever the spa will allow). When you're calling to book, be sure to let them know you are bringing in a bachelorette party. Some spas might not be so apt to the idea because they are meant to be tranquil and serene and bachelorette parties may not be.

Favor idea: Spa robes and pedicure slippers would be perfect for this outing.

2. Gambling Trip
Personally, I love gambling. It's in my blood. I wanted so badly to go to Vegas for my bachelorette party, but it was too much to ask all my bridesmaids to travel to Vegas for my party and travel to North Carolina for my wedding. I just felt so guilty over the idea of asking them that I wouldn't even have it.

If you are having a local wedding (so all your bridesmaids aren't traveling to it like mine were), book a weekend in Vegas or Atlantic City. Most casinos have really good restaurants and clubs too, if you need a little break from the slots.

Favor idea: Casino chip key chains would be a fun reminder of your trip.

3. Beach Road Trip
I love the beach (although, this summer, all the beaches by us have had shark attacks -- seriously -- so I've been skipping it this year and using the pool instead). How fun would a road trip to the beach with a car packed with your best gal pals be? Pack a beach blanket, a cooler filled with drinks and snacks (personally, I like to pack frozen edamame and when it's time to snack, it's defrosted), and enjoy the sunshine.

Most beach towns have boardwalks with bathing suit-friendly restaurants (with bars) too, so you can grab a bite to eat too. Plus, what bridal party wouldn't like a little extra sunshine before the wedding?

Favor idea: Bikini bags (You put your wet bathing suit in them and the water stays inside so the rest of your bag's contents stay dry. They're a must have!).

4. Comedy Club
Everyone likes to laugh, so what better place to do it than a comedy club? I've been to a bunch of them and they're always a good time. Some of them have cover charges and a two-drink minimum, so be sure to let party goers know about that ahead of time. If you have a guest who doesn't drink, she can always order something and pass it along to the bride.

Just be aware if you do head to one of these adorned with bridal party shirts and sashes, there's a good chance the comic will heckle you a little.

Favor idea: Groucho Marx glasses (these would make for a fun photo) or Mad Libs.

5. Baseball Game
My cousin and I accidentally crashed a bachelor party that rented out a suite. It was so much fun so we stayed a while, ate their food, and watched the game ... until they realized we were just party crashers who wandered in and then we left. The party was such a good time that I really think it's great for bachelorettes too. Baseball is a long game (those nine innings can go on forever sometimes), but that gives you a lot of time to eat, hang out, and just enjoy the party. If baseball isn't your thing, any other sporting event will work too.

Favor idea: Baseball hats for the team you're rooting for.

BRIDAL BABBLE: What other bachelorette party ideas do you have?

Monday, July 27, 2015

When DIY Turns Into D-I-Why Did I Do This (And why you can't Pinterest your whole wedding)

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and one of my friends shared a photo of a very cute "balloon wrapped around a bottle" project. The next day, another friend sent me the same link. Two sightings in two days meant I was going to try it.

You wrap a balloon around a bottle and tie a ribbon up top. I even figured I would fill the bottle with baby's breath. And, as luck would have it, I had two small Krispy Kreme Iced Coffee bottles in the drying rack just waiting for a project.

Off I went to Walmart for baby's breath and balloons. I walked to the flower aisle ... no baby's breath. That should have been my first sign that I was in trouble. But, no worries, I thought. I'll just brainstorm and come up with something else. I went to the balloon aisle, grabbed a pretty pastel pack, and noticed swirl lollipops out of the corner of my eye. Perfect, I though. I'll turn it into a lollipop holder for a candy bar.

I went to the candy aisle and couldn't find a single package of plain lollipops. Sign two? Should have been. I finally found a bag of caramel apple pops and decided to go with that.

I got home, set up everything on my porch (including my camera and its dying battery), and got ready to craft.

Pinterest Fail

Nothing went as planned. I tried to wrap the balloon around the bottle, and it took me holding the bottle between my legs to get it to wrap. As I pulled it up, it snapped. It was too small for my small bottle.

Pinterest Fail

I tried to salvage the project and decided to go with the balloon inside the bottle, wrapped around the top. But the balloon turned inside out somewhere along the way so it wouldn't stay inside.

Pinterest Fail

So I decided to put the balloon inside first, then wrap the outside around the lid. If I couldn't cover the entire bottle, I would at least cover the twist. When I finally did get the balloon inside, it just looked like a basic project.

Pinterest Fail

And I laughed.

I tried to salvage the project by finishing it and sticking lollipops in the hole the balloon created.

Pinterest Fail

But there was no way that I, in my right mind, could encourage any bride to make this project for her wedding. And then I let out a sigh of relief because if I was planning my wedding, had my heart set on these, and this was the outcome, it would ruin me. I would just be so upset and struggling to make it work. Thank goodness this was just a blog post gone wrong.

But the truth is, sometimes, it just doesn't work. Sometimes a project you see on Pinterest ends up being nothing but a big fat fail. Your DIY turns into D-I-Why Did I Do This and making it work might take more time, energy, and materials than you have at your disposal. And that's okay. Just because you have an engagement ring, you don't automatically turn into Martha Stewart. It's not a magical piece of metal that awakens the crafty gene in you.

BRIDAL BABBLE: What DIY projects turned into DIY disasters for you?