Archive for the ‘weddings’ Category

Because my job is so far from my loved ones, I feel like I tend to miss out on a lot of stuff — especially when it comes to my friends.  Most of my college friends settled in the South, which is not exactly accessible from Toronto in terms of time and money.  Much as I want to go to every wedding, every weekend get-together, and every birthday party (especially this year when we’re all turning 30!), it’s hard for me to justify a $750 plane ticket from Canada on my pitiful postdoc salary.  Plus, you know, there’s this book thing I’m supposed to write, and also the work that I’m being paid to do.  I can’t just bail on a Thursday afternoon whenever I feel like it.

That’s life.  I’m at an early stage in my career, I don’t have money to burn, and jobs come with responsibilities.  Most of the time that doesn’t bug me, but given the grim academic job market, it’s hard not to wonder if I’m neglecting my friendships for a career that I’ll probably have to give up anyway.  I also wonder if I’m trying hard enough to be the kind of friend I want to be.

So this week, when I found out that two dear friends of mine are getting hitched the same weekend as a big conference in my field, I decided to ignore my usual travel anxieties and tackle a whirlwind schedule of flights that will (knock on wood) get me to my Friday afternoon session in the Midwest and then deposit me in South Carolina exactly 2.5 hours before the wedding starts on Saturday.

Under most circumstances I’d have written off a flight that cuts it so close; so many things can go wrong, especially when you have to make a connecting flight.  But these are close friends, I really want to go to their wedding, and this is the only way I can make it without completely bailing on my professional obligations. Flights may be late, it’s possible I’ll get stranded at my connection, but I’d rather be sitting on a tarmac *trying* to make it there than sitting in the conference hotel Starbucks feeling sorry for myself because I’m missing out, you know?  Sometimes you take a chance on the last-minute flight for friends who let you drink their vodka and stayed up with you until 2 a.m. the night your parents announced they were getting divorced.

Does anyone else find it hard to balance money and work on the one hand with all of these 20- and 30-something events on the other? Also, a query for the fashion-inclined: what exactly does one wear to a November afternoon church wedding in South Carolina?  (Preferably something that travels well, just in case I need to change in the airport bathroom during my layover.)


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One year ago

There were flowers …

… and cake …

… and dancing …

… and oh yeah — this happened.

Happy anniversary sweetie!

All photos by Photocraftz Inc.; weird headless cropping by me.

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Get out the vote, Part II!

A Los Angeles Love made it to the final round of the Wedding Channel’s Best Bridal Blog competition! Voting ends soon, and if you haven’t yet, I really encourage you to vote!

A Los Angeles Love is currently neck-and-neck with The Wedding Chicks, an inspiration blog with lots of glossy photos of quirky decorations and stylish shoes.  The Wedding Chicks is, admittedly, a beautiful website that showcases some amazing photography.  But I’d like to see A Los Angeles Love win because it represents the kind of conversation about weddings that you can only get when someone smart and thoughtful shares their own journey through this crazy wedding planning world, and when that person is brave enough to tackle issues beyond designer gowns and hand-painted escort cards.  In a way, a vote for A Los Angeles Love is a vote for all of those smart bridal blogs like A Practical Wedding and Accordions and Lace and Cupcake Wedding and Souris Mariage and Wedding for Two and anna and the ring that talk about real issues, real relationships, real weddings, and real marriages.

So vote already!

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Get out the vote!

I think that most of the people who read this blog already read the wonderful A Los Angeles Love, but just in case you haven’t heard, the blog is a finalist for the Wedding Channel’s “Best Real Bride Blog”!

I’m not normally gung-ho about directing people to internet contests, but I truly believe that A Los Angeles Love represents the very best in wedding blogging.*  This is not just another breathless blog that squeals with delight over color schemes and favor bags (although those are fun too!) — it’s a smart, thoughtful take on wedding planning that tackles issues like money worries and family pressures and ethical considerations and how sometimes you’re just so sick of your wedding that you want to scream.  Oh, and it shows us pretty pictures too.

So if you’re a fan of smart, thoughtful writing, I really encourage you to vote for A Los Angeles Love before the deadline tomorrow night.  Heck, vote multiple times — apparently we get 1 vote every 4 hours!


*  In the spirit of fairness, I did look at the other contenders before I wrote this, so I can honestly say that A Los Angeles Love is my favorite of the finalists.

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Sis and Captain Awesome have a date all picked out for their fall 2011 wedding.  Which is fantastic, since now it’s on my calendar before anything else and damn it no one will be able to make me plan a conference on that weekend because Sis and Captain Awesome were there first, so suck it academia!

Er … right.  Ahem.

After seeing pictures of Sis’s current favorite wedding dress (it’s this amazingly chic Jenny Yoo number with an awesome train that folds up into an obi-style sash), and hearing that she thinks she might want a veil, I offered to let her use my two-tier fingertip veil if she wants.  I also sent her some invitation samples I’d procured during our planning.

"Wait, how does this veil thing work again?" Photo by David Wegwart of Photocraftz, Denver.

It’s been a ton of fun anticipating another wedding, and I want to be there for Sis and Capt. A if they need anything.  But at the same time, I worry about offering help that isn’t wanted.  Without naming names, I can definitely think of some “help” Econo Man and I could have done without!  I don’t want kindhearted Sis to think she’ll hurt my feelings if she’d rather have a mantilla veil, or if she and Capt. A really don’t want invitations with flowers on them.  In fact, I think every e-mail to Sis so far has ended in a PS assuring her that she will not hurt my feelings if she doesn’t want my veil or if they hate my botanical taste in stationery.

So, current planners and fellow wedding graduates, what’s the best way for a well-meaning sister-in-law to offer just the right amount of support and help, without putting the bride and groom on the spot?

Michael Westen, hero of the spy drama Burn Notice: “Like a wedding, an armed extraction requires a lot of planning if you want it to go well. And like a wedding, it’s not the sort of thing you want to do twice. Which is why you hold a rehearsal before the big day.”

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I’m a big fan of Top Chef and its spinoff, Top Chef Masters.  Right now, Top Chef Masters is on the air, and eight (now seven) famous chefs are battling it out to win $100,000 for charity.  This week, Hulu has posted a Masters episode featuring one of my favorite challenges: Wedding Wars!  The chefs are divided into two teams.  One caters to the bride’s tastes, the other caters to the groom’s tastes, and the critics and guests pick the winner.

It’s a fun episode, but one thing about it surprised the hell out of me.  The bride told her team that she wanted bananas foster instead of cake.  They did the bananas foster, but they also insisted on making her a wedding cake!  It was barely even a question — when the bride left the room, the chefs all said, “well, we have to do a cake.”  I was so surprised to hear these smart, creative food professionals dismiss the idea of not doing a cake out of hand, even when the bride said she didn’t want one.  Maybe they were worried they’d be at a disadvantage in the judging without a cake, but I can’t help suspect that even the Top Chef Masters view any non-cake desserts as second-class citizens in the wedding world.

I won’t spoil the episode by telling you who won, but I will say that the bride’s team would have been better off taking the bride’s advice about dessert.  The bananas foster were a huge hit.  The cake … well, take a look.  Unfortunately I can’t seem to find a photo of the cake online, and I can’t embed Hulu videos on WordPress for some reason, but trust me, the clip speaks for itself!

EDIT:  Oh, wait!  I found a picture of the tragic cake!  Thank you, Eater.com.  Still, you should check out the clip, if for no other reason than to see the look that judge Jay Rayner gives this cake.

Image from Eater.com

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Thank you to everyone who weighed in on my post about wedding costs and the media!  It’s probably a futile hope, but I’m crossing my fingers that soon we’ll see an article about wedding costs that takes a slightly more sophisticated approach than “spending money on weddings is bad and stupid.”

After reading the comments, I decided a follow-up post was in order.  I was interested to see how many people responded to my closing comment about cake-baking aunties being sick of being asked for free wedding cakes.  It seems like this hit a nerve, especially for those folks who do have useful wedding-related talents, like photography and music, and who haven’t attended a wedding as a guest in years because they keep getting hit up for free professional services.

In case it doesn’t go without saying, I was definitely not trying to suggest that you shouldn’t ever ask family and friends for help!  A Practical Wedding recently featured a fabulous wedding that involved lots of help from loved ones, and it’s obvious that contributing to the festivities made the whole event even more special for the guests.  But, at the other end of the spectrum, we have Julia’s recent experience:

I was, quite literally, The Help at a recent wedding. No advance notice or thanks later. It was not cool and I’m still trying to get over feeling used.

So how can you ask family and friends to pitch in, without making them feel taken for granted, or worse, outright used?  I have some ideas.


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