Sunday, August 31, 2008

Succombing to the latest fad

I'm foregoing the pink princess parties and the "Love Beyond Measure" souvenir measuring spoons given out as wedding party favors; I am doing no walking down any aisle to be given away by my poor father, who has already given me away once, only to find me bouncing back like a particular bad gift in a white elephant gift-giving circle; I won't be enveloping myself in several thousand yards of polyester Priscilla of Boston; I will not force my to-be husband into an ill-fitting, rented tux, nor my dearest female friends and relations into taffeta dresses with big bows adorning their backsides; I won't wear any kind of veil, and I will have nothing to do with birds' nests; I won't fill tiny little boxes with jelly beans or Sweet Hearts to pass out as party favors; I won't have a line of trumpet players from the local high school band blare out All You Need Is Love to signal the end of the marriage rites.

In short, I am foregoing many trends, old and new, that the wedding magazine industry plugs and repackages and replugs.

However, I am (we are) going to succumb to one early 21st century trend and marker of stylish weddings; we've decided to do it green, or at least as green as possible, short of growing our own food for the party. This means recycled paper for the invites, figuring out a location that is closest to the bulk of the invited, local ingredients for foods as much as possible, locally grown flowers, no standard disposable plates and such, and, finally, buying carbon offsets for the whole affair and having that be our "party favor" to our guests so they don't feel [too] guilty about using the resources to come.

As for that latter, the purchasing of carbon offsets looks to me like a rip-off racket opportunity of magnificent proportions, so if any of you know of truly reputable organizations in the offset business, let me know. One I've checked out, -- which even has a calculator for determining what your wedding's footprint is, including guests' travel -- seems interesting but one can never be too sure.

I almost feel embarrassed about doing all this, because the 'green wedding' is treated as such a trendy trend, the latest thing all the kidz are doing (that and birds' nests), as brought to you by Martha Stewart. That said, it's a fad that strikes me as unusually sensible. So there you are.

I will not, however, under any circumstances, wear a dress made from hemp fiber, nor will David wear the ganja suit, either. Nope.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just looking for reasons to play with the guurls

After the wedding fest is all said and done, it doesn't have to end there. At that point, I can start looking forward to the divorce and yet another opportunity to plan a big, fun spree.

Or so this article in a peculiarly narrowcasted magazine called Girlfriend Getaways suggests:

Heck, there's even a kitsch industry just for this niche market complete with services that can turn a picture of your ex into a cutting board, and wedding ring coffins from online retailer,
"I was just so beyond excited to get divorced," gushes Andrea, an L.A. publicist, to GG. She went with a "princess theme" bash, handed out rhinestone tiaras to all her guests (guurlfriends, presumably), and they spent the evening giving "each other facials" (yes, that's what it said), playing guurl games like "Girl Talk" (also comes in a Hannah Montana version), and eating chocolate off of pink Cinderella plates.

Suddenly, sitting here typing this out, I'm overwhelmed with a great longing for the days of "angry feminist" sisterhood and grim consciousness raising sessions. All this over the top, kitsched-out celebration of guurliness is beginning to grow tiresome. Women are more fun when they're intelligently pissed, in my opinion. All that gleeful screaming in the Sex and the City movie curbed my appetite for certain types of camaraderie with the girls for a while, and my self-imposed exposure to the fluffy, pink exuberance of the guurlfriend-industrial complex is threatening to turn me into a misogynist.

But never mind guurlicious divorce parties. There's plenty of screamy guurl festivities to be had before the Big Day that leads to the other Big Day of the glittery, pink-frosting divorce bender. Browsing through the retail site (warning: may contain photos of cupcake and inflatable phalluses), I see I am supposed to have a pre-wedding party (or several) during which I get together with all my guurlfriends dressed in clothing that identifies me as the groom's possession...

...and my friends by their wedding party honorifics.

I can go with the fluffy Pretty in Pink theme, for which I can get an entire package of goodies and favors...

...or go the Oh So Naughty route.


And me and the guurls can snap each others' pictures with special throw-away cams festooned with photographs of other guurls having the appropriate fun, so we know just what we should be doing at this little shindig.

(must be sure to get one of someone whispering in my ear)

All that horror aside, I have been contemplating making my own wedding cake out of cupcakes, and having a little cupcake festooning get together with friends in place of the standard shower or Naughty But Nice themed bachelorette party.

First things first, though; we need to come up with some kind of date for this grand affair. People are getting restless. Apparently those who might want to be present have lives and plans of their own, and the Bride must not start to think like a "Bridezilla," operating under the delusion that the world is at her beckoning.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Extreme Bridal

I don't feel a particular need (or ability) to comment much upon the following....

Ines Di Santo. Does the dress come with the naked man striking the David pose?

Oops. The bride fell down. And the dress (by Monique Lhuillier) is called "Swanlake." Didn't the swan in that story die tragically?

Pictures from The Wedding

How much did you say...?

While scoping out venues for this bash, I looked into a garden spot in nearby Philomath that I've heard is rented out for weddings. It's a lovely place, all very Merchant and Ivory with fields of tulips and dripping rose arbors and weeping willows and ladies floating dreamily about in white lace and dashing, mustachioed gents in boaters and striped jackets and all that. To say nothing of the dog. You get the picture.

For a wedding with up 350 guests, the rate is $18,000. Events with up to 750 guests require one to plunk down $24,000 for the privileges. OK, they do provide tables, chairs and a couple of small tents, but $18,000? Who around here spends $18,000
just on the venue? I mean, even when locals (Corvallisites) are rich, they tend to be pretty cheap. Not to denigrate the good people of Corvallis, but in my experience, they lean toward miserliness, grousing much about being nickled and dimed all the time, and $18,000 goes well beyond nickles and dimes.

The other day I said something to my betrothed about a $2,000 budget. He seemed to think that was reasonable, and started listing things this $2,000 might cover. I had my first indication of potential trouble when he threw the honeymoon into the mix. I don't know where he's going for a honeymoon... I am horror struck at the thought of the newspaper wedding announcement reading: "...and the couple honeymooned in Lincoln City." Even with no marriage party at all, we're not going on any kind of a decent trip anywhere for $2000.

Here I am fantasizing about shoes and cakes and some musically inclined brazeros to rally 'round with some rousing conjunto and mariachi dance music, giving a respectful nod to the groom's Mexican-American heritage, all followed by a trip to Panama or Portugal or some such (see poll on sidebar).

And then there's the acquisition of a house that will hold all my stuff to consider. One of the great advantages to this marriage business is being able to operate on economies of scale; two can live as cheaply as one, etcetera. However, it's easy to forget (or for it to not even occur to you) that this old chestnut does not take into consideration the initial layout of cash to make it all happen. Mergers may save money in the long run, but they aren't necessarily inexpensive to undertake. As we can see, it's incredibly easy to spend lots and lots of money just on the public recognition of the merger. That said, I've thrown some parties in my day, even some fairly sizeable parties. The 'Come as Your Parents' costume bash I put on some years back was probably at the top of the heap, as far as crowd-size and lavishness go, and it was quite the merry spree, but it certainly didn't cost me $2000.

That party was held at my parents' house. My first wedding reception was held at my parents' house. My parents' house is big, decently holding a crowd of some 75 people, with the wood-floored kitchen dining area cleared out for as decent a ballroom as I've seen in many smaller European manor houses, measuring somewhere on the order 300+ square feet. Where am I going to find some other venue like that for free? See, I'm a cheap Corvallisite, too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Great Sucking Sound

There is nothing quite like the thought of a wedding to turn rational people right 'round and pushed into the land of the unreasonable. As you can see by additions to my sidebar, I am referring to myself. The sucking lure of dresses, shoes and funky cakes has been affecting me. Rather badly, I'll admit. No, I am not going to play princess, but I would like a nice dress and a cool pair of shoes, and it would be nice if we had a little nod to tradition in the form of something approximating a cake. I don't really want a wedding ceremony; I just want a party with some of the wedding trappings. The cool wedding trappings, not wedding kitsch. No limos, no color coordinated wedding favors, no muscle shirt tanks for me and the girls with "bride" and "maid of honor" and "bridesmaid" rhinestoned across the front to wear at my shower, no maid of honor, no bridesmaids, no shower.

As for the rest of it, as Ms K notes about the dress shopping scheme, at what other point in my life would it make sense to sit around fantasizing about even just the cool stuff, even if I don't ultimately do anything about any of it? It would be a little peculiar if I kept a running blog with pictures of Fabulous 50's dresses suitable for getting married in, if I were not, in fact, getting married. But I am feeling rather puerile here with my online 'scrapbooking' of shoes and cupcake wedding cakes and old pictures of Audrey Hepburn. Lahk, o mah gawd... it's all so kew-aht.

But I won't feel too very bad about it, because even David says -- perhaps jokingly, but only just jokingly jokingly -- that he'd like to wear a tux. He'd be happy going to the justice 'o the peace and having a quiet little informal supper with immediate family members, full stop, but he wants to wear a tux? See, now that I consider pretty irrational. What's the point of a tux if you don't strut it out there a bit for the viewing pleasure of the many-headed?

Speaking of wedding kitsch, Ms K and I stumbled across a wedding gifts, accessories and supply store down in the Pearl the other day. I've seen all that stuff on the various wedding sites populating the web such as and It was kind of stomach turning to see so much of it in an actual enclosed space. The layout was all very tastefully done and all that, as much as you can layout polyester satin garters, decks of love cards and sports-themed invitations to bachelor parties in a tasteful manner, but it really drove home the fact that this is a bona fide
industry, complete with captains and marketing departments breathing down the necks of graphic artists as they toil to pull out every possible wedding trope they can come up with to package in a thousand different kitschy ways.

I'm trying to imagine what my friends, family and colleagues would think (because they would say nothing at all...) if I pulled out on them heart-shaped bottle openers ("
He unlocked the key to your heart! Celebrate your love with these charming key bottle openers....")

...or "The Perfect Pair" candle favors

... or "Love Beyond Measure" souvenir measuring spoons

... or "The Perfect Blend" mug and coffee packet sets.

There's little doubt in my mind what David's reaction would be. He'd call the whole thing off and have a new ad up in the personals on Craig's List before the day was over.

You know what this stuff is, of course, or at least those of you familiar with the corporate world do. It's the marketing through trade show give-aways of the couple as corporate entity. It's branding. Oh, I need to chew on that one some more... link it to the ubiquitousness of corporate entities in our everyday lives and all that... deconstruct, deconstruct, deconstruct.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Industry

For the past several days, I've been scouring the Internets for wedding related stuff. It seems appropriate enough that I do so, given that I scoured the Internets for the groom. I found the groom, miracle of miracles, but good ideas for a second wedding in my middle years seem somewhat less likely to pop up via online mediated methods for coming up with ideas.

The wedding industry these days is huge. Enormous. Obscene. I haven't fact-checked these stats, so until I do, take them with a certain amount of healthy skepticism, but one source I've found claims that the average price of a wedding these days is $20,000. One of my students last term did her paper on weddings and the processes people go through to decide what they are going to do. One couple she interviewed was given $12,000 by the bride's parents, then took out a loan themselves for another $15,000. The most elaborate wedding I've ever attended cost about $12,000. I cannot imagine what $27,000 might bring to the whole affair to make it worth going into the same amount of debt as a Honda Fit. The whole package would buy a Mini Cooper S convertible. Can I have the really cute car, please? I mean, if I'm going to be all materialistic and all that....

But this is what I find the really big, confusing mystery; the average honeymoon only costs $3,800. What's wrong with these people? I could put on a really rockin' party for $3,800, and use that $27,000 for one heck of a great trip. I mean one HECK of a great trip, lasting several months and covering several countries. Who on earth in their right minds would do it the other way around?

In an unthinking, impetuous moment, I subscribed to a site called "" and am now inundated with daily emails about reception sites in my area, great deals on wedding favors and the latest news on the latest bridal trends. Short veils and bird's nests are apparently all the rage.

Bird's nests?

In an effort to get outside the proverbial bridal box, I googled "alternative wedding gowns." No. No goths, no saucy wench dresses, thank you. How about "nontraditional weddings?" No. Washing of feet will not be done. "Offbeat weddings?" No. No clown themes, pirate themes, circus themes, biker themes, marriage ceremonies performed in hot air balloons or vows recited while bungee jumping off bridges in New Zealand. No, no, no, no, no and no. No.

This afternoon I went up to Portland to tell one of my bestest friends the news. After the requisite gasps and hugs, she took me by the shoulders and said, "You HAVE to go dress shopping, and I HAVE to go with you." Ms K and I go back a ways with the whole fascination over clothing thing, so it's not as funny as some of you might think. Besides, that was the advice that one of her friends gave to her upon the announcement of her engagement, and she acknowledged that it was a remarkable experience. I am not going to buy the traditional wedding dress, and certainly won't be spending $10,000 on a Vera Wang, but at what other point in my life will I ever have a legitimate excuse to go into high end bridal shops and be waited on hand and foot as I try on clothes priced in the multi-thousands of dollars? I don't have a daughter, and never will, so I can't hope to one day live vicariously through her while she fantasy shops for a wedding dress she would never in a million years buy, so why the heck not do it myself when I have the opportunity to walk into those shops and say with a straight face that I'm getting married and need to see about a dress?

I told David about this Grand Idea this evening. He sounded slightly anxious, like perhaps I might actually decide to plunk down that $10,000, or worse, that I might want him to tag along on my shopping trips. No, darling... it was kind and sweet of you to offer to go see the 'Sex and the City' movie with me, but that's as far as I would ever expect you to go to indulge whatever gurlie tendencies I might have, and even that was above and beyond the call of duty. (He did not actually go to see 'Sex and the City' with me; I went with Ms K and her mom, and he went to 'Hellboy2' with my son and nephew.)

Bird's nests?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Auguries and Other Coincidences Afforded Great Significance

A few of days ago, my "Free Will Astrology" advised the following:

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): The light in your eyes looks a little foggy,Virgo. The fire in your belly seems to be smoldering, and your brain has been hiccupping. At least your heart isn't exactly broken. (Though I'm tempted to make suggestions about how to fix it anyway.) Am I worried? Not at all. After the nonstop breakthroughs you enjoyed there for a while, I expected that you would eventually need time to slow down and let everything sink in. So I suggest that you cultivate a state of low-key contentment as your deep mind integrates the transformations you set in motion.

Let's see... In October of 2006, I went on my first date in seven and a half years, and after a bit of a slow start, I proceeded to keep on dating until I had racked up meetings with somewhere on the order of 50 men in the space of one year. One memorable weekend, I had dates with five different men. Out of that 50, I dated approximately 15 of them more than once (i.e. went beyond just an initial meeting). Of those 15, I had something approximating a potential relationship with five. Of those five, I entered into something exclusive with two. Of those two, one quickly turned out to be the quintessential Dud and the other turned out to be the quintessential Keeper.

The Keeper and I agreed upon exclusivity in December last, thus ending my epic, year long od[d]yssey through the Metaverse and Beyond in search of True Love, or at least pleasant companionship. And on August 5, at about 8:45 PM, in the third tier behind homeplate of AT&T Park in San Francisco, looking out over the Bay, between the bottom of the fifth and top of the sixth during a game between the Giants and the Atlanta Braves, with the Giants down by two (see... I'm learning the lingo) and a cracker in my mouth, David Muñoz grabbed my hand and asked "Will you marry me" while shoving a ring on my left ring finger before I could say anything -- there being a cracker in my mouth and him playing Quick Draw McGee.

People ask two things: "it wasn't during the seventh inning stretch?" and "was it up on the big screen?" No to the former and thank god no to the latter. I would have had to decline if he had proposed on the scoreboard big screen. That would be a go straight to jail, do not pass 'go', do not collect $200 maneuver, and he's lucky he thought better of it when it crossed his mind to do just that.

So, you see, now is the time to let things sink in and cultivate a state of low-key contentment after a whirlwind of activity lasting now, including my 10+ months of exclusivity with David, almost two years, as advised by Rob Brezny. There is no date and there really is no big hurry, I shouldn't think. The first time I got married, I managed to pull something off within three months. I would not advise that, particularly if 'pulling something off' includes actually meeting the person to whom you will get married within three months.

This is where I will keep all and sundry up to date on what's planned for when and related tales of what it's like to get married and all that in one's middle years in the early 21st century. It's safe to expect a party, but don't be counting on some big tah-doo with tuxes and publicly expressed vows and other bridal tropes and hoo-hahs. We're too old for that. Besides, I want to spend my money on a really great trip that's conveniently and coincidentally called a "honeymoon."