Wednesday, June 30, 2010

defining a honeymoon shower

I’m still recovering from my fantastic weekend that was jam packed with wedding festivities. As promised, I am sharing details. I have been trying to organize them in my brain to present them in a comprehensive manner.
Let’s start with the bridal shower… I am going to break it into a mini-series, if you will.

The bride’s mom and I opted to plan a honeymoon shower. I had heard of this concept but never executed it before. Commonly a honeymoon shower is thrown to prepare the couple for their vacation. The idea is to shower them with travel related gifts rather than items from their registry.

We took it a step further. You could actually say about 3 steps further…

The newlyweds will be vacationing in Greece later this summer. Therefore, we themed the entire shower around Greece. This was not only a surprise for the bride but also a surprise for the guests. They knew they were invited to a honeymoon shower for the bride but didn’t know it would be Greek themed for them as well.

When guests arrived they were presented with apps to munch on like olives, hummus & pita. Once the guest of honor came, we broke into Greek dance. This was led by a very talented little boy appropriately named Alexander. He is a Greek dancer who came prepared in the traditional outfit. Alexander taught us the traditional moves.  Opa!

Think that’s better than bridal bingo? We do.

After we caught our breath from dancing, we toasted to the bride with ouzo. An anise flavored aperitif that I’m sure the bride and groom will sample more of on their honeymoon.

Finally it was time for the delicious main course, which consisted of spanikopita, tzatziki, dolmades, olives, hummus, and many many good things that I do not know how to say, let alone spell. The mother of the bride is such a fabulous cook and baker. She made it all herself from scratch! And no, she is not Greek. Check out her menu below.

Hungry for more? Stay tuned for dessert.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Monday, June 28, 2010

cocktails, cardstock & crinoline

I’ve made it halfway through 2010 ‘the year of the weddings’. I only have minor aches and slight sleep depravation. This feeling is probably evident because it is Monday morning after an insanely busy 48 wedding hours.

It started with an invitation assembly line. 10 crafty ladies with a goal of 140 wedding invitations. Stacks and stacks of cardstock surrounded us. How exciting to know that it would all be transformed into something beautiful.

I woke up early the next day and put on my best 1950s ensemble. With Kinicki on my arm we headed out to rock around the clock at the rockabilly themed wedding. Into the pastures of rural Pennsylvania we went. Soon we were surrounded by more polka dots, muscle cars, greasers, 45s & red crinoline than this century has ever seen. The morning turned into afternoon and the bride and groom turned into husband and wife.

Before we knew it afternoon was evening and it was time for our next stop. June brides share the stage with grads. I soon found myself even further into the country and looking slightly out of place when I brought rockabilly to graduation. The bonfire was burning bright but I was burning out. As tents began to line the landscape, it was time for me to call it quits on Saturday.

Sunday morning came early with another enticing theme on the horizon. The 50s were behind me and a Greek honeymoon shower was ahead. We stacked pita and scooped hummus, sampled baklava and tzatziki, toasted with ouzo but most of all truly surprised a bride to be. She opened gifts for her honeymoon to where else but Greece!

Sunday evening finally arrived. I came home to my weekend’s mail. One package with an invitation for yet another wedding!

My eyelids grew heavy but why was it so hard to sleep? Visions of Greek men in polka dots & red crinoline skirts danced through my head while holding purple cardstock and shouting opa!

Have I lost my mind?

I’m glad to see a well needed vacation in my future. A little down time from the wedding scene might do me some good. But don’t worry because I have enough content from these past 48 hours alone to keep my loyal readers satisfied. Stay tuned for details.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

first dance

I witnessed one of my favorite “first dances” at a wedding. And no, it didn’t involve the bride and groom jumping into a choreographed routine or dancing to a hip hop song. It was a simple slow dance to words that made prefect sense to the newlyweds. And it was memorable for the guests.

Have you ever seen the Adam Sandler hit “The Wedding Singer”? If so, you probably remember the song that Robbie Hart sung at the end about growing old together. The lyrics are sheer genius because they mention every day tokens of love such as doing the dishes, giving up the remote and taking care of you when you’re drunk.

Although the words are meaningful, its comedian Adam Sandler singing so naturally it is funny. (Have you heard his Hanukah song?) But that is the fun of it. Why take yourself so seriously especially if you two are not the serious types. Select a song that captures who you are together.

For the bride and groom that I saw dance to this, it made perfect sense! The words were dead on for them and the length of the song didn’t hurt either at just over two minutes.  Plus, they're a little bit silly together and so is this song. All of the guests got a chuckle and gave them around of applause as Adam wrapped up “Grow Old with You”.

-The perennial bridesmaid

“Grow Old With You”
I wanna make you smile whenever you're sad
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad
All I wanna do is grow old with you

I'll get your medicine when your tummy aches
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks
Oh it could be so nice, growing old with you

I'll miss you
Kiss you
Give you my coat when you are cold

Need you
Feed you
Even let ya hold the remote control

So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink
Put you to bed when you've had too much to drink
I could be the man who grows old with you
I wanna grow old with you

Friday, June 18, 2010

10,000 diapers

Whoa! My mailbox has shifted from wedding invitations to baby related invitations…christenings, showers, announcements & first birthdays. When did the weddings subside and make room for babies?

Oh wait, the weddings haven’t subsided! But babies are still quickly on the rise.

It appears that many of my 2008 brides are having 2010 babies. Makes sense, right? Two years of newlywed bliss equals one on the way.  The summer count is up to 3 fall babies, one already here and celebrating a baptism and a first birthday!

There’s only one problem for me besides fitting all of these events into my schedule.


I’ve got the whole bridal registry thing down. I know how to navigate Macy’s, Crate & Barrel and Bed, Bath & Beyond. I know how to put a practical, yet coordinating bridal shower gift together all while saving 20%.

But now I’m stumped. These baby registries confuse the hell outta me. What goes with what? Is buying a nursing pump for someone too personal even if they did register for it? I know I would blush opening that gift in front of 30 of even my closest female friends and family.

One of my expecting friends mentioned that babies go through 10,000 diapers in their first year. I think I heard that correctly. 10,000? It seems obvious that the new parents could really use a gift of diapers. But really? Should I give a gift that I actually know will get shit on and tossed in the garbage? This is not like gifting crystal or flatware that will be cherished for years to come.

I need help.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

only in philly

My friend recently started documenting occurrences that seem to be normal “only in Philly” but wouldn’t be acceptable outside of our domain. Typically these are brief statements that relate to our local culture – Phillies, SEPTA, TastyKakes, weathermen, mascots, you get the idea.

Why am I telling you this? Because “only in Philly” and “10,000 weddings” have collided. A direct effect of a dozen donuts. And truly unbelievable. This is no urban myth…

Last weekend’s wedding festivities started out as so many do.
Direction-giving Reverend.
The bride and groom walked into the church with smiles from ear to ear and their parents and bridal party in tow. Almost immediately, the middle aged man asked for the marriage license so that the nuptials, that would take place in 24 hours, would be legal. He stated that he could not perform the ceremony without a license to marry. It was at this point that their smiles turned to frowns and fear set in.

The couple didn’t have a license. They hadn’t applied for one yet.

Sure, this isn’t a glamorous part of the wedding planning process. No one says, “What does your marriage license look like!?” or “Have you decided what color marriage license you’re going with?” There are no frills but this is possibly one of the most crucial parts of your wedding planning if you want it all to actually be legal.

Each state, and some counties, have their own set of rules on when to apply for the license, what forms of identification are needed, what tests may need to be taken, when the license becomes valid and for how long. Some states even have a waiting period before the license is valid.

PA has a 3 day waiting period. This bit of information seemed detrimental to the wedding that was scheduled to happen in just 24 hours. What were the bride and groom to do?

This is where “only in Philly” comes in.

The couple marched down to city hall at 8 am on their wedding day. Chipper, bright eyed and with a box of fresh donuts in hand. Any other city’s workers might have laughed at the bride’s bribe but not here. The employees were thrilled by the kind doughy gesture. So thrilled that they dropped everything to process the application and even got a judge to agree to waive the 3 day waiting period. All in less than one hour.

Only in Philly can a dozen donuts get you an instant marriage license less 12 hours before your wedding!

-The perennial bridesmaid

P.S. I don’t recommend trying that one. Look up your state’s requirements regarding the marriage license application process!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

white wedding

Last Friday I was a bridesmaid in my first all white wedding. This was a relatively new style concept to me considering the age old rule that I have lived by.

Do not wear white to a wedding unless you are the bride!

Has this cardinal dress code rule been tossed? Not exactly. While a guest should still not make that fashion faux pas, it appears that the bridal party can. You know why? Because what they bride says goes!

In Friday’s case we were all instructed to wear an ivory, tea length dress that was distinctly vintage-inspired. Mine had a bit of 1950s flair with an A-line skirt covered in appliqué flower like designs…my favorite feature. It also had a boat neck with a deep V which was a nice alternative to the closet of strapless dresses I already have. Other than 50s, some of the other girl’s dresses seemed to capture 1940s styles…think form fitting, pleats & brooches.

We went with vintage themed to coordinate with the grand old mansion that the reception was held at. The bridal party complemented the décor not just in our dresses but also with our flapper-esque blue feather headbands. The blue tied in the only other accent color and the feather gave us one identifying, same feature. When allowing your bridal party to select their own dresses, I think it is important to have a similar accessory on each girl.

The groomsmen also went with the theme. Not in white but in formal, vintage-inspired tuxedos with tails. Haven’t seen those in awhile but it only seemed right on point with the rest of us.

Although, the bride’s gown was a new Maggie Sottero, it evoked lots of lace and beading detail reminiscent of the 20s and 30s. She looked stunning and stood out amongst her white-clad entourage. There was no mistaking the bride in this bunch!

Fortunately, we had perfect weather. June in Philadelphia can be traditionally hot and humid which is a combination that doesn’t agree with me! The humidity and heat went away for a few days and sent calm, early spring-like weather instead which was perfect for outdoor photos overlooking the river and sunset.

Apparently this white wedding trend is hot. I have already heard about another all white wedding taking place this summer. Maybe we can blame it on P.Diddy and his “white parties”. Either way, this is a refreshing option for summer weddings. Just don’t spill anything on your dress.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Check out some of the pictures that inspired the white wedding bride to execute her idea.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

rsvp bloopers

My friend’s wedding invitations just dropped this week. There have already been several odd responses…

First, her groom received a call with someone requesting to bring their baby to the ‘adult only reception’. When her fiancé tried to talk his relative down gently from bringing the baby, the relative responded, “oh but she’s been to a loud wing eating contest. She’ll be fine!”

Looks like the baby won with the couple feeling slightly offended by the comparison of their formal wedding to a wing eating contest.

You should always assume a wedding reception is for adults only UNLESS the invitation envelope specifically lists the child’s name OR the invitation states that ‘children are welcome’ (OR your child is part of the bridal party, of course).

The following day she receives another call from an invitee noting that her invitation is addressed to her ‘and guest’. My friend replies, “That’s correct” and the woman goes on to say that there is only one response card with the invitation. “Where will I put my guest’s entrée choice?”

Seriously people? Get a clue! Fill in your name & your guest’s name in the blank space. Then select 2 entrees. Geez. It’s pretty simple.

That’s still not as funny as when I heard someone crossed out the typed M (meant to indicate Mr., Miss or Ms. on the response card line and started with their first name.   M__________________

-The perennial bridesmaid (off to a rehearsal!)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

deco'd out

I love a good centerpiece challenge...possibly one of my favorite wedding-related pieces to come up with.

My cousin’s wedding is at a very cool retro theater turned wedding venue in Boulder, CO. This is a perfect choice for the couple who are serious dancers. I can’t wait to see their first dance which is sure to be choreographed and quite memorable as the live band plays.

The bride and groom are embracing the art deco vibe that the place evokes. As a result, they’ve chosen square tables over the typical round tops. There are plenty of sharp edges & straight lines throughout such as squares and stairs.

Their color scheme is primarily red with shots of white and black. All of us bridesmaids are wearing red knee length satin dresses. Hope I’ve created a visual of the overall look and feel of this wedding because the next decision to be made is regarding centerpieces. The bride is definitely keen on using the square glass vases that she received from a friend while keeping a minimalist yet striking display.

But how?

My suggestion is to stick with monochromatic, mono-flower and one plain. In other words, craft each arrangement out of just one type of flower in either red or white with the heads all cut on the same plain in a tight cluster. Although these are simple, low arrangements in the clear glass vases, the repetition of solid colors and flowers will create a bold impact full of texture…especially because each table will have a different flower in red or white. Here is the working list that we have so far, to be repeated throughout the theater…

Carnations ($)
Tulips ($$)

Deep Red/Black
Black magic roses ($$$)

Mini Gerbera daisies ($$)
Peonies ($$$)
Mini calla lilies ($$) 

Carnations actually are quite art deco all on their own, especially in a bold red.

To achieve this look with tulips, you must poke a hole in the stem, just below the flower head. Why? Tulip stems actually continue to grow even after they are cut. If you miss this step, the tulips will look more like a wild flower arrangement than a tight cluster of flower heads.

Black Magic roses are a very cool alternative to your standard red roses like a Charlotte. You get a much richer color out of a Black Magic. Allow the flower heads to open slightly before arranging them.

Peonies may not be available since they’re traditionally a summer flower. The texture is an amazing cross between a rose and carnation, either of which could be subbed in for the peony.

Can you picture it?

-The perennial bridesmaid


Monday, June 7, 2010

i heart ac

Oh, Atlantic City, oh how I’ve missed you.

The sight of gotti-like hairstyles.
The sound of slot machines providing false hope.
The smell of stale cigarette smoke.
Oh, Atlantic City. The ultimate bachelorette party destination on the east side of the Delaware River.

The afternoon began with beach bar cocktails… and an AC eyeful. There’s such great people watching there, especially outside of the casinos. I love to see the crazies that walk among us (as I hold tightly onto my belongings).

Oh, Atlantic City, how I love thee.

The day progressed down the boardwalk bringing us to the Tropicana for more cocktails in the Quarter. As day turned to night, we realized it was time to get ready for the main event: our reserved Jacuzzi at the pool at Harrah’s. The bachelorette requested a Jersey inspired entourage. (Think: Snooki) Once we over bronzed and over accessorized, we were ready to go. Our private hot tub was waiting for us. We all jumped in and toasted to the bachelorette. In under a week, she will be walking down the aisle.

In what seemed like just a few hours later, the MOH and I awoke in our hotel room recapping the series of events that followed that initial toast…hot tub, pool, wheel chair ride back to the room, does it get any better.

Atlantic City, you never let the ladies down.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

the X factor

How do you go about inviting ex’s to your wedding?

No! No! Not YOUR ex. That is another blog for another day.

Say there are 2 of your good friends on the guest list who started out as one couple when you made the list (and sent save-the-dates) nearly a year ago. Since then things have changed and they have split or are in the process of splitting. Who do you invite and how do you handle it tactfully?

Here is the advice that I recently gave to a friend in this situation:
Send them separate invitations without any plus ones. Let’s not make the scenario tenser by encouraging them to bring dates.

Typically when people split up, they split up their friends too. It’s not necessarily written in the divorce settlement. It goes unsaid. But it doesn’t mean they leave the relationship with the friends they brought into the relationship. Maybe “who keeps which friends” hasn’t quite been defined yet in your friends' break up.

The separated parties will most likely make the decision individually on whether or not to attend depending on the status of your friendship as it relates to the break up as well as where they are in the break up cycle. Don’t take it personal. (Unless you had a hand in the actual break up. Which is also another topic entirely.)

But before sending an invitation to both parties, ask yourself a few questions.
Am I actually still FRIENDS with both of them?
Do I even have both of their addresses (since they may have moved) or can I easily obtain this?
Have I already been faded out as a friend since said break up?

Maybe they’ve already decided for you on whether you should invite both…

This is definitely a gray area that can change from week to week based on where they are in their split. Do yourself a favor and don’t get involved. Just invite each of them separately and pray for a decline from one of them! IF they both come, don’t seat them near each other. Obviously.

-The perennial bridesmaid