April 11, 2010

Choosing china: An unexpected impasse

Posted in General wedding, Registry, Vent at 8:15 pm by Andrea

Earlier this week there was a thread on Weddingbee about what strange thing(s) (in the wedding planning process) your fiance has had a strong opinion about. The first thing that popped into my head was The Great Compromise of 2010, wherein I gave up any say in our first dance song. But wait! That’s not all! (Do you like how I totally just channelled my inner infomercial voice there?! “Fettucine! Linguine! Martini! Bikini!” Okay, I’ll stop). I thought when it came time to choose our china The Guy would be completely disinterested. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s as much of a foodie as me, but it turns out he was not willing to sit idly by while I (okay, and my mother, let’s be honest) chose our china.

We checked out the department store where we registered. We also looked at a local, independent department store that has a lovely china department. But to no avail. The Guy couldn’t find anything that met his (evidently, very high) standards. So next weekend, we are off to Toronto to enter into the labyrinth of china that is William Ashley (AKA the store with North America’s largest selection of china patterns — over 8,000 from which to choose!) with high hopes of finding a pattern on which we can both agree.

You know what the most frustrating part of this whole roadblock is? That we aren’t coming from completely opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s not like my style is French Country and his is American Classic (points to anyone else obsessed enough to get that reference!). No, on the contrary, we are about a millimeter apart in our tastes and preferences.

Let me give you some idea of what I mean.

This is our everyday china (well, except that we got the mugs instead of cups and saucers, but, you know, tomato tomahto):

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Gordon Ramsay Everyday by Royal Doulton

The Guy would like our good china to be virtually the same a our everyday dishes. I’m not kidding. He wants the same pattern with a platinum/silver line around the outside border of the plates.

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Gordon Ramsay Platinum by Royal Doulton

I, on the other hand (but not really the other hand, because we’re both only talking about white plates with silver borders, maybe the other finger?), think that good china should be just a teensy tiny bit more special. So I lean toward these:

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Lace Couture by Lenox

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Pinstripe by Jasper Conran for Wedgwood

I know, you probably fainted with all the colourful excitement above. What can I say? We like a modern look with minimal embellishment.

So we are officially splitting hairs now.

When I made our registry appointment at William Ashley, the Sales Associate asked me if we had chosen a pattern. I said, “No, we are of separate minds on the matter.” He assured me that they dealt with that regularly and would be able to help us find common ground. Little do they know that the common ground we’re looking for falls somewhere between a 2mm silver border and a 4mm silver border with the tiniest bit of embellishment. Hail to the nit-pickers of the world!

Which white and silver china will reign supreme? I’ll be sure to report back with the results.

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March 14, 2010

Bad Bridesmaid

Posted in General wedding, Vent at 5:13 pm by Andrea

A couple weeks ago, I was chatting with my coworkers about how guilty I felt over asking my best friends to shell out $200+ for dresses for my wedding. I mean, I know this is the way it happens, but I just couldn’t seem to keep the guilt at bay. One of my colleagues assured me that she had something that could assuage my guilt. She returned from lunch triumphantly clutching a book, which she thrust into my hands and encouraged me to read, “This will definitely make you feel better!” she said.

The book? Bad Bridesmaid: Bachelorette Brawls & Taffeta Tantrums — What We Go Through for Her Big Day by Siri Agrell.

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I started the book a couple days later (it made for a good bit of fluff between a couple of nail biters: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire). And sure enough, I felt better.

Agrell tells the story of when she wrote a somewhat sarcastic column about being a bridesmaid and was subsequently kicked out of her close friend’s bridal party. Intrigued by this incident of bridal megalomania, Agrell talked to women across North America about the travesties they’d faced as bridesmaids — frankly, some of it was appalling, and it goes beyond ugly dresses.

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Yes, believe it or not, it can get worse than those.

Examples, you say? Sure, how about the bride who offered to pick up the bridesmaid dress and courier it to her bridemaid’s home…only she wrote the address incorrectly on the package. When the wedding day rolled around and the bridesmaid was without anything to wear (due to the bride’s error), the bride wasn’t sympathetic. No. Instead she kicked her friend out of the bridal party.

Or, my personal favourite, the bride who decided she wanted to give every single guest at her wedding a one-of-a-kind hand painted rock (because that sounds like SUCH a fun favour, no?!) so she enlisted her bridemaids to sit in the sweltering heat of her backyard and paint 150 rocks with very specific design instructions for each one.

Another good one? the bride who, virtually seconds after the engagement ring was on her finger, sent her bridemaids a six page long list of their “duties,” which included picking her dress up from the dry cleaner’s the day after the wedding and addressing her thank you cards while she lazed on a beach on her honeymoon.

Suddenly the $200 dresses didn’t seem so bad to me!

Why is it that these women think their bridesmaids are their personal slaves? I invited my ladies (and bridesman) to be in my bridal party because I wanted to share a very important day with them. I want them to stand beside me when The Guy and I exchange our vows. But I certainly never banked on them doing chores for me (I’m pretty sure if I asked them to they’d tell me to snap out of it and get over myself).

Do you have a horror story from a time you were a bridesmaid? From the sounds of Bad Bridesmaid, most of us do!

March 2, 2010

Conversations with my mother

Posted in Attire, Reception, Vent at 9:09 am by Andrea

I love my mum. She and I are incredibly close. We share the same sense of humour (quirky), the same sense of style (classic elegance) and the same “shapely” thighs (you win some, you lose some). We also differ in some areas, one of these being our thresholds for stress. My mother has had more sleepless nights due to the wedding than I have (well, I haven’t had any…I excel at sleeping).

Actual phone conversation that occurred last night:

Mum: MOH’s mum [my mum’s best friend] called and MOH is going to order her dress tomorrow.
Me: Great!
Mum: Wait! Don’t you think there are some things you should do before she goes ahead and orders the dress?
Me: *thinking* Um….no.
Mum: Don’t you think you need to get a sample fabric swatch?
Me: No, I think I’m good to go.
Mum: But Andrea, how are you going to know what the fabric looks like in different light?
Me: Um, I’m not. I imagine it will just look like chocolate brown taffeta….
Mum: [increasingly frantic] And what about the tablecloths?!
Me: What about them?
Mum: Well don’t you want to get a fabric swatch and bring it to the decorator’s appointment on Saturday to make sure the bridesmaids’ dresses match the tablecloths?
Me: Why in heaven’s name would I want them to match the tablecloths?! No one’s going to check to make sure that they’re the same colour. I’m not planning to use the bridemaids as centerpieces. Why would they have to match?! I don’t understand!
Mum: [exasperated] Forget it. I’ll tell MOH’s mum that MOH can just order the dress. And I’ll tell her you don’t care about the tablecloths. She won’t be happy to hear that.

Can anyone explain this to me?! Why would I want everything to match EXACTLY?! I can see how it might have its uses if we needed to camouflage right into the tablecloths…but other than that…what would the utility be?!

[I apologize for the over-use of exclamation points above, but….seriously?]

In the words of the sulla tips (wise words I always try to heed while planning the wedding), “[N]obody ever leaves a wedding saying, “Yeah, it was soooo great! The mother of the groom’s dress was the SAME EXACT SHADE as the bridesmaids’ shoes and the writing on the matchbooks!” People leave a wedding thinking it was great because it felt great – because the bride and groom were in love and happy, and the party felt appropriately joyous, even if there’s not a single Martha Stewart-ish detail anywhere in sight.”

That is all.