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Archive for the ‘Inspiration Station’ Category

Anyone who’s read the “About Me” section on this blog knows that the part of the whole wedding that I was least crazy about was the ceremony. I don’t particularly enjoy public speaking, and was afraid the whole seriousness of the moment would come across as awkward at best. The whole thing felt unstructured and overlooked, which it was. As a great sage once said: “I felt impotent and out of control. Which I really, really hate.” My natural need for order was battling with my complete lack of knowing (or caring?) what to do.

Meeting with the judge helped – we figured out a procession of family members that added structure, and she had a sampling of non-denominational readings that added some length to the service. I also decided to hire a couple extremely talented local musicians (violin and guitar) to play as people are getting seated and during the procession. Their only instructions being to play Simon & Garfunkel’s “Only Living Boy in New York” for the procession and “Kathy’s Song” when I appear, and maybe some Journey after we kiss – other than that, rock hits of their own choosing.

But what about our vows? For some reason this was just completely stumping me, and at the time, Google was failing me for inspiration.* I happened upon a perfect poem for my sister to read after the vows, but what about when the spotlight was on us? I wrote and rewrote heartfelt words to recite to Butch, while he seemed to be happy waiting until the night before to throw something together. After some helpful nagging, he did just that: He threw something together – and it was PERFECT! So out the window went my complicated paragraph and instead I wrote something that matched Butchy’s simple words. I guess he might know a thing or two about weddings after all…

*Now, naturally after the fact, I found a couple great lists (here and here) of readings from Offbeat Bride.

Photo from The Knotty Bride

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Recently, I was compelled to take out Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest book Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage. Not a very encouraging title, but one that I felt was very timely. My sister had given me a copy of Eat, Pray, Love right around the time my ex and I broke up, and I truthfully enjoyed reading it, despite an aversion to being seen with it on the subway along with every other woman in NYC. I found that Eat… was the perfect book for where I was at in my life at that time, and with there only being a month to go until my own wedding, I assumed that with Committed, Ms. Gilbert would be able to shed some light on the meaning of it all.

The inspiration for the book was, essentially, that Gilbert and her significant other were “sentenced” by the U.S. Government to marry, since at the time, he was a Brazilian-Australian who had been deported from the United States until further notice, aka until they get married and made it “official.” The problem? Having both been divorced they had already both made a pledge not to ever get married again, even to each other. So being a writer, Gilbert naturally used their shared time of exile – as they traveled aimlessly through Southeast Asia while attempting to secure clearance for their return to the U.S. – to tirelessly research marriage.

Gilbert attacks this subject with her unique brand of journalism, snooping, naivety, skepticism and curiosity and comes out in the end with an “answer” that justifies her particular needs. Along the way she shares marital customs throughout history and throughout the world as well as her own deeply ingrained prejudices. While our personal situations and histories may differ, I found that, as a freethinking and independent woman in the modern West, that I shared many of her reservations. I’m not saying that I am opposed to getting married (I am beyond excited to share that special day with family and friends – and most of all, with Butchy!), but I can say that I’ve always been a little fuzzy on the reasons for it all. Reading Committed showed me that the why, when and how of marriage can be for whatever reason a particular couple sees fit, and not what may be dictated to them by governments, either of the local, federal or familial varieties.

After finishing the book in only a few days (no small feat considering how short my attention span is lately), I would, without a doubt, recommend Committed to any woman about to get married, or already married, or wanting to get married, or not wanting to or even divorced. Having managed to write a lighthearted read on a serious subject, Gilbert has again charmed me with her literary skills at a time when the last thing I can think about is sitting down to read!

Book cover from Writing Through the Fog

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I know I know – I’ve been talking about working on the playlists for about 2 million years at this point, but I FINALLY finished* them this past weekend. What gave me the inspiration/kick-in-pants that I needed was discovering this post on A Song Blog. An informative breakdown of the ideal feel of the playlist…even with some of the same song choices! I guess what I had needed was someone to literally say “this is how it should be done” instead of leaving me to wallow on my living room floor surrounded by albums arranged in autobiographical order (see High Fidelity: above).

The entire post is well worth reading, but here are the basic “to-dos” that A Song Blog lists:

1. Who is at your wedding?

2. Can you dance to this song?

3. Pay attention to flow

4. What’s the mood?

5. Do people know this song?

6. Watch your language

7. Know your crowd-pleasers

8. Make it yours

All extremely important things to think about – especially #5/#7. I have always prided myself on my eclectic and varied musical tastes, but there will be no shame in me playing Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose” because THAT will get people on the floor more than, say Matt & Kim (no offense to M&K, since I did actually go to school with them and they are very nice kids, but I don’t want to see any hipster-wrapped-in-plastic-wrap moves on my dance floor).

Given the time that I have for the reception (about 3 hours), I was really stumped on finding the proper flow for the evening. A Song Blog manages to map out a suggested flow in a way that I could easily follow – starting with oldies/classic songs and moving into more dancey stuff before featuring the first set of slow songs. Then it’s rinse and repeat, increasing the tempo as you go along, with the evening culminating in a super dance-party for the younger crowd. Overall a great post for anyone DJing their own wedding or just hosting a party where they want to keep their guests happily on the dance floor.

*The term “finished” is used loosely here, since I still need to sit down with my soon to be sister-in-law and finalize the list/add some of her music to it….

High Fidelity image from theartofthemixtape.blogspot.com

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Since I’m not planning on getting too fancy, I’ve been browsing some wedding sites today, looking for casual hair and/or casual wedding dress inspiration…

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I read a hilarious post recently on Broke-Ass Bride where she mourns the weddings she’ll never have. She manages to reference both the dream weddings of the girls in Clueless (sailor hats!) and the video for November Rain…a sentiment that is echoed in even more hilarity over at HitchDied (I definitely need Slash, shirtless and chaps-wearing, to play a solo on site…). It got me thinking about themes I would have liked to explore had my resources, and budget, been limitless:

1. Alice In Wonderland: I would wear Alice’s famous blue get-up, and Butch would wear a jaunty vest with pocket watch and/or a tall hat that may or may not be for sale. Guests would have to travel via elaborate hedge-maze and arrive at exactly tea time. The officiant would conduct the ceremony in rhyme or better yet, in Jabberwocky. The dinner would feature long tables surrounded by singing flower gardens and the meal would include strawberry tarts and turtle soup (with extra pepper). And of course everyone would leave by rabbit hole! I actually thought of this theme partway into planning and kicked myself for not thinking of it in time – although I think Butch would have considered it too girlie…

2. Glam Rock: I would wear a white leather mini dress (with Butch dressed as Slash above), while guests would be encouraged to wear their rock n roll best. We would obviously have a live band consisting of any major rockers still alive, and the lighting would remain on low with only the occasional multicolored flash or strobe. All icing would be black. The night would culminate in the trashing of a hotel room and possibly an incident involving a shark.

3. Great Gatsby/1920’s: I would wear a slinky white evening gown with long black gloves and my hair done in pin curls. Butch would be either impeccably dressed or charmingly disheveled. The reception would happen at a speakeasy and all booze would be provided by rum runners. The night would feature a full orchestra complete with a line up of intricate acts a la The Cotton Club (without the racism) and everyone would dance the jitterbug. This theme could easily be translated into a 1920’s Parisian theme with the entertainment wearing nothing but bananas. For the expensive honeymoon, we could speed off in a rented roadster (without the neighbor-killing car accident, obviously).

In the end, I’m completely pleased with the theme I chose (“Handmade With Love”) as it’s a perfect chance to show off mine (and Butch’s!) crafty skills. The only regret I have is not following through on the threat I made to my parents to be married in a national park and have Bigfoot as the officiant…Oh well, guess I’ll just save that for the 25th anniversary party!

Screen grab from metalvideo.com

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An ongoing project has been the family-made dessert table. I chose to go this route, because 1. I think wedding cakes usually look better than they taste and 2. I didn’t want to spend the money on a cake. Participating bakers/pastry chefs/Keebler elves are, my mom, Butch’s mom, my sister, Butch’s sister and my brother-in-law’s mom. So far the menu ranges from rum cake to apple pie to pignolli cookies to red velvet cake to mexican wedding cakes. There will be something for everyone, and even though the buffet dinner is going to be delish, I hope everyone saves some room for dessert!

The theme of the wedding is “Handmade With Love”…We’ll all be collecting random plates/platters/cake stands/trays for a mismatched look….which will probably end up translating into a “shabby chic” look, so that’s the inspiration I’m going for with how the dessert table will look.

From My Sweet and Saucy:
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No, I did not roll myself out of bed at 6am (on my one day off) to watch the royal wedding live, but I did mosey around the internet later to have a peek at what lovely Kate decided to wear:

From shoppingblog.com

I LOVE! I wouldn’t personally do a long-sleeved and well, looong dress, but this masterpiece by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen is so appropriate for the formality of the day. It looks like something Grace Kelly would have worn, but the deep neckline adds just enough of a modern flair. Not to mention I have no idea how she poured herself into it…thank god my dress is forgiving of the mid-section – I want to be able to eat!

And how adorable is Wills? Apparently he stuttered “You look, er, you are beautiful” when she got to the altar. At least he seemed to relax a bit back at the Palace where they kissed for the screaming crowd below:

From The Daily Mail (Many more photos here)

Of course I couldn’t help notice the sour looking little girl in the lower left…who apparently got even more sour:

From FitnessNYC.com

All in all, Kate seemed pretty cool throughout the entire pomp and circumstance. I’m sure it helps that she’s not a young bride (she’s 29, like me) being thrust into the spotlight. I’d like to think that I’ll have the same confidence on my big day. If Kate can do it, so can I!

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