Thursday, November 12, 2009

How to pick your bridesmaid's dresses

After you've finally drudged through picking your own dress, now you have to pick the dress for those lucky girls that will wait on you hand and foot before, and then stand at your side while you pledge the rest of your life to someone.

But how do you pick the perfect dress for them?

Take a deep breath, grab a piece of paper and a pen, and let's pick out the dresses!

1. Step 1- Pick the color.
Many brides already know what color they want, or have discussed options with their fiancé. If you've not yet decided on a color, this is your first order of business. Choosing the “right” color for your wedding is ultimately your choice, but these ideas may help you if you are unsure.

First, you may want to consider the time of day, any embellishments you want at your wedding that you have already decided on (flowers, banners, etc), and the season of your wedding.

In considering the time of day, generally, the earlier in the day, the lighter the shade of the color with the opposite holding true as well (darker shade for later evening). In considering the season, light, pastels are popular for spring. Vibrant colors in oranges, reds, yellows, and bright hues of other colors are common for summer. Fall’s colors are usually browns, rust, orange, deep red, or black. Winter shows us more silvers, whites or shades of white, deep blues, holly greens, and berry reds.

If you chose not to go with a seasonal pattern for picking your color, you may choose the psychological associations given to colors. For example, blue stands for tranquility, yellow is cheer, red is passion, white is purity (hence the white tradition for wedding gowns), green is fertility (not necessarily of the maternal sort), black is authority and power, purple is royalty and romanticism, orange is associated with life and energy, and brown is genuineness.

2. Step 2-Uniformity?
Next comes uniformity (or not). Are they all going to wear the same dress? Many women now are choosing to allow their bridesmaids to pick their own dress as long as it's the bride's chosen color, and with simple guidelines. This isn't a bad idea, really. This allows each one of them to pick something that suites their personalities, and it is something that you know they'll love. If each dress is different, but the colors are exactly the same, your wedding will still be quite coordinated and so personal!

If this isn't for you, move on to step 3.

3. Step 3- Pick the style of their dress based on your own dress.
On your piece of paper, write down what classification of dress you have for yourself. Is it traditional, sexy, ethnic, beach, formal, informal? Now that you know what you have, you know that you can rule out all of the other kinds of dresses for the girls.

4. Step 4- Outline the dress.
Okay, you know what style to look for. A general rule of thumb for step four is that you want to make the generic outline of the dress as far as what type of lines the dress has.So for step four, make a sublist. It should look like such:

4A. Straps- (i.e. spaghetti, bell, full)

4B. Neckline- (i.e. sweetheart, square, jewel)

4C. Waist- (i.e. natural, basque, a-line)

3D. Hem- (how long is the skirt? Floor, tea, knee)

For this step, think of the weather, time of day, and your own dress.

If it's in a warm period, small straps, spaghetti straps, or strapless is ideal (for their comfort).

Also, the warmer it is, the shorter the dress can be and still look tasteful (well, to an extent, of course).

Time of day comes into play because generally the earlier in the day the wedding is, the less formal the dress-code is, and this, too, is an indicator of the appropriate dress length.

The final thought is of your own dress. When in doubt, go with the same characteristics as your own dress. If you are strapless, they will look very smartly uniform with you. If you have a full/ball skirt, give them a not so full floor length.

5. Step 5- Pick the specifics of the top.
How embellished is your dress? You don't want the girls upstaging you with sparkles and bling unless it matches your own.

If you picked spaghetti straps for them, will they be ribbon, rhinestone strands, or just cloth? Will their neckline be embellished or plain?

6. Step 6- Pick the specifics of the skirt.
For my dress, there is extensive appliqué' on the full skirt. For my girls, I wanted quite a bit of uniformity, so I ensured that their dresses all had some type of work done on the front.

Will your bridesmaids have a train on their dress if it is full? Do you want them to have wide skirts or narrow? Remember that they must walk down the isle with the groomsmen when choosing how large you want their skirt.

7. Step 7- Accents and accessories.
Here you should choose if they will wear jewelry, and if so, what kind? If you are unsure about what bridesmaids gifts to get them, here is a good chance to buy something personalized and pertinent to the wedding.

Outside of jewelry, you must pick a few other factors. Will they require hoop skirts or crinolines? Should they have gloves? If their legs are to show, what type and color of pantyhose? Do you want them to carry scarves on their arms or neck? What height of heel will compliment their dresses?

Tips & Warnings
• Be as creative as you want, this is your wedding.

• If you are still having a hard time with any of the factors of the dress, discuss your thought with your mother, mother-in-law-to-be, or even with the bridesmaids themselves.

• The perfect dress need not break the bank. Try Macy's, Dillards, or my first choice,

• Think of the costs of the dress you've picked out. You chose the type of dress, accessories, etc, but your girls are going to have to fork over the dough for it. Choose an economical dress for them if you feel they can't afford hundreds of dollars for it.

Article found at

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For My Followers

I've noticed so many new Followers to my blog!  I am so excited!  I really help that you are finding the information on here useful.  Please let me know any topics you are interested in.  I'm more than happy to dig up some new information that would be helpful to all the brides out there.

In case you've noticed that I haven't been posting as much as I have in the past, it's because I've really been getting into my other blog.  Check it out when you get a chance!

Bridesmaids: 9 Tips for Who to Pick

Stressing over which friends and/or relatives will be bridesmaids? Choosing the bridal party is no laughing matter. Scan these deciding factors, and the selection process will be a breeze.

How Many Maids?
One of the first things to consider when selecting your bridal party is how many guests you're planning to invite. While bridal parties can range anywhere from a single maid/matron of honor to more than a dozen attendants, most wedding experts agree that a good rule of thumb is to have one groomsman and one corresponding bridesmaid for every 50 guests. (This doesn't mean, though, that you have to go ask a stranger to be in your wedding just because your fiance has one more attendant than you do. Life will go on if you have uneven numbers of groomsmen and bridesmaids.) Also, a large wedding party traditionally signifies a formal wedding. So if you're planning a small, intimate gathering, ten bridesmaids might be a bit too much.

A good guideline is to have one groomsman and one bridesmaid for every 50 guests.

More isn't Merrier
Speaking of size, remember that the more bridesmaids you have, the greater the potential for complications. In other words, you'll need to get more people to agree on a dress or decide on a bridal shower date. And if you're on a limited budget, think about who has to pay for all those bridesmaids bouquets. That's right -- you.

Blood is Thicker Than Water
If you're close to your sister or future sister-in-law, the thought of not including them in your wedding party probably never even occurred to you. But if you suffer from a serious Jan Brady complex, the thought of asking your sister (or sister-in-law) to be a bridesmaid probably ranks right up there with getting a football in the nose. Still, it's usually worth including family members just to avoid unnecessary conflict. Think of it as having more bargaining power when you're battling with your mom over the guest list.

No Backsies
You don't need to ask someone to be in your wedding just because she asked you to be in her wedding. Don't ask the college roommate you haven't spoken to in five years just to return the favor. Weddings are no time for quid pro quo. Period.

Location, Location
What do you expect from your bridesmaids? Will simple moral support suffice, or do you expect them to be your personal Pollyannas, addressing wedding invitations and tying tiny ribbons around your wedding favors? If it's the latter, think twice about asking friends who live far away or who have extremely hectic schedules. You don't want to find yourself getting frustrated with a friend you knew wouldn't be able to give you all the help you wanted.

Don't Assume
Try not to make hasty assumptions. Don't write off some friends simply because you think they don't have enough money to afford that Vera Wang bridesmaid dress you have your eye on. If you want to ask a friend whom you know is having financial difficulties, you can always say something like, "I'd love for you to be a bridesmaid, but I understand the tough time you're going through now. If you can't do it, I'd love to find something else for you to do in the wedding." (Or, you can offer to pay her way if you can't stand the idea of her not being in the wedding.)

Guys Count
A bridesmaid doesn't have to be a woman. Despite the prevalence of feminine pronouns in this guide, if your best friend is a guy, there's no reason why he can't be in your wedding. Today, many brides (and grooms) are including members of the opposite sex as attendants. In these cases, a man on the bride's side is simply called an attendant or bridesman, while a woman on the groom's side can be called an attendant or a groomswoman.

Other Honors
Still stuck? Keep in mind that there are plenty of other roles good friends can play in your wedding if they don't make the cut -- do a reading, hand out programs, or perform a song.

Spread the News
Once you make up your mind about your bridesmaids, you'll want to get the word out. The only thing worse than a coworker who thinks she's invited to your wedding is a friend who assumes she's going to be a bridesmaid. If you're afraid of hurting someone's feelings, remember that, as cliched as it sounds, any true friend will understand whatever decision you ultimately make. And finally, the sooner you make your decision, the sooner you get to check off one more box on your endless wedding checklist.

-- Emily Ehrenstein

Article found at

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wedding Rings: 4 Wedding Ring Trends for Men

Today's wedding bands for men have come a long way, baby. Hook your one-of-a-kind honey up with one of these 4 wedding ring trends.

Kiss the traditional flat, gold wedding band good-bye, guys. Today, the world of men's wedding rings is all about options. We're talking about more comfortable, hand-friendly bands. And why not? You're going to be wearing it for the rest of your life, so find one you love. Here are today's best trends:

Personal Wedding Rings Are In
The one-size-fits-all wedding band is an antiquated concept. What you do every day -- whether you work in construction, sit at a desk, or go to the gym every morning -- should guide your wedding ring choice. What does this mean for you? If extreme is your middle name, choose platinum over gold (for durability); avoid matte finishes (which show scratches), decorative details (easy to blunt after repeated knocks), and gemstones (which can chip, fall out, or trap dirt); and go ergonomic.

Pinched Skin Is a Thing of the Past
Designers are using ergonomics to make rings more comfortable to wear. Look for interiors that are curved, not flat. Some wedding rings distinguish between the top and bottom of the ring: The bottom is plain and tapered to absorb the brunt of abuse. Its taper also allows a man to always wear that section on the bottom, so that the top part will stay relatively unscathed.

Diamonds Are a Guy's Best Friend?
Diamond wedding rings for men have gone from unusual to totally acceptable. Stylish guys love the subtle sparkle and sophistication they impart. In fact, after watches, diamond wedding bands are one of the leading categories in men's jewelry today (they also coordinate well with diamond-studded timepieces and her diamond-set wedding band).

The best-selling styles are subtle -- involving less than a full carat of diamonds -- and wearable. The stone is usually set to be flush with the surface of the ring to create a totally smooth exterior and to provide good security for the stone. Two popular men's styles incorporate gypsy- and channel-set round or square diamonds (baguettes are not usually used for men's rings). And we're not just talking icy white diamonds, either -- black, champagne, and yellow diamonds are hot gems for men's rings.

Platinum Is White-Hot
Today's couples appreciate the beauty of platinum and want their wedding rings to be of the finest quality. According to wedding ring jewelers, a subdued matte finish is most popular at the moment. This treatment requires maintenance, as scratches can quickly mar a matte finish.

Article found at

Need Help With Your Wedding Colors?

Can't decide on your wedding colors?  These are three really cool websites that will help you find your perfect color combinations:'ll need to create a free account, but this wonderful site has user-created palettes aplenty that you can search by keyword. Once you've registered, hit the "search schemes" button and enter words that fit your vision, like "fall,""garden," "sunset," "winter." Or free-associate with adjectives like "nautical," "peaceful," "modern," "preppy" or even "trendy." We promise, you'll be hooked.
Hit their site, and choose "FIND COLOR." Click on any color that draws you, and you'll automatically pull up two accent colors that complement it. Cool.
Have a photo on your hard drive that seems to capture your wedding's heart and soul? Upload it to a palette generator, which will kick out most of the main hues involved. Unless you're on the beach, use one of the more neutral, calming colors as a primary (e.g., use it for bridesmaids or table linens), and the more nervous, high-energy colors as accents (use these in table napkins, chair sashes, ribbons, and some of your flowers.)

Enduring Wedding Traditions . . . Customs and Their Origins

Wedding traditions go back about as far as early civilization records. Through the years the origins of many traditions have been forgotten. In some cases, as in the earliest roots of the tradition of a "best man," that may be for the good. Some traditions have their beginnings in the very practical needs that accompany an occasion as complex as a wedding. Some have their basis in superstitious beliefs. Let's explore some of the traditions that have become so much a part of tHe wonderful event that is a wedding.

The word "bride" comes from old English for the name for "cook," while the word groom comes from from "male child."

The term "wedlock" comes from the old English word "wedd" and old Scottish "wad," which both appropriately mean "to pledge." "Lock" comes from the old English term "lac," which means to carry out an action. That, in keeping with the original meaning wedlock which was the pledging of property, as payment for his daughter, to the bride's father.

The custom of proposing on one knee hearkens back to the days of knighthood and chivalry when it was customary for a knight to dip his knee in a show of servitude to his mistress and his master. The knight would kneel before before a tournament and wait for "his" lady to toss him her ribbon or colors, as an indication of her favor.

While on the subject of proposing, we need to mention the origin of the very popular custom of allowing women to make Leap Year proposals.This special privilege given to women on the 29th of February dates back hundreds of years to when the leap year day was not recognized in English law. The day was simply "leaped over" and ignored. Hence the expression "leap year." Since the day had no legal status, one could assume that standing traditions could be broken. Many unmarried women took advantage of this glitch in the law by proposing to the man they wished to marry.

Engagement rings can be traced back to Anglo Saxon history, when the gift of a ring became a token of promised love. The circular band became a symbol of eternal love and unity, and in later years the diamond, because of its composition, became a sign of the strength of never-ending love. We can trace the custom of a wedding band back to the Egyptians who presented their brides with circlets of hemp or rush.

The origin of the ring on the third finger has several theoretical explanations. One says it dates back to the 17th century. Presumably, at Christian weddings, the priest touched the three fingers on the left hand, while reciting "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." Another theory claims the custom dates back to ancient Egypt, where it was believed that the "ring finger" followed the vena amoris (vein of love), which runs from this finger directly to the heart.

The ring pillow has its origin with the pillow that traditionally carried the coronation crown for royalty. The tradition has evolved as a symbolic way to prominently present the most precious of gifts.

Marriage announcements are a custom that date back almost a thousand years. In the past, the purpose of an announcement was to give the members of the community an opportunity to object to the marriage, either because the prospective bride or groom was already married, already betrothed, or for some other justifiable reason.

The tradition of asking for the bride's "hand in marriage" comes from a Roman custom called "joining of hands." In a symbolic purchase, the groom would give the bride's father a coin, and the bride would then be passed from her father's "hand" to her husband's.

The tradition of a best man has its origin with the Germanic Goths, when it was customary and preferable for a man to marry a woman from within his own community. When women came into short supply "locally," eligible bachelors would have to seek out and capture a bride from a neighboring community. As you might guess, this was not a one-person operation, and so the future bridegroom would be accompanied by a male companion who would help. Our custom of the best man is a throwback to that two-man, strong-armed tactic, for, of course the future groom would select only the best man he knew to come along for such an important task.

The role of the best man evolved. By 200 A.D. his task was still more than just safeguarding the ring. There remained a real threat that the bride's family would attempt to forcibly obtain her return, so the best man remained at the groom's side throughout the marriage ceremony, alert and well-armed. He continued his duties after the ceremony by standing guard as sentry outside the newlywed's home. Much of this is German folklore, but is not without written documentation and physical artifacts. We have records that indicate that beneath the altars of many churches of early peoples (the Huns, Goths, Visigoths, and Vandals) there lay an arsenal of clubs, knives, and spears. The indication is that these were there to protect the groom from possible attack by the bride's family in an attempt to recapture her. Traditionally, the bride stands to the left side of the groom. This was much more than meaningless etiquette. Among the Northern European barbarians (a name given to them by the Romans), a groom placed his captured bride to his left to protect her, as he kept his right hand free to use for defense. Also originating from this practice of abduction, which literally swept a bride off her feet, sprang the later symbolic act of carrying the bride across the threshold of her new home. And speaking of carrying the bride over the threshold, tradition dictates that the bride must never trip and fall as she enters her new home or she will have bad luck for all the years to come.

It may well be that even the honeymoon had its origin with this capture scenario. It may have served as a cooling-off period for the bride's family. It was the groom's hope that when the newlyweds returned from their honeymoon, all would be forgiven. An entirely different theory says that the honeymoon is based in Babylonia about 4,000 years ago. Tradition held that the bride's father would supply his new son-in-law with all the mead (honey beer/wine) that the young man could drink. Their calendar was lunar-based, and, as it turned out, this tradition, called the "honey month," was just about the the time it took the groom to consume his gift. Ultimately, this period of time just after the wedding became known as the honeymoon.

The infamous kidnaping of the bride soon turned into a fun ritual. The bride surrounded herself with "maids" who dressed identically in a symbolic attempt to confuse the groom and his accomplices.

Bridesmaids and ushers have their roots in Roman law which prescribed that ten witnesses be present at a wedding to fool evil spirits who, it was believed, were in attendance at marriages with the purpose of causing mischief and disharmony. The bridesmaids and ushers were instructed to dress identically to the bride and groom, in order to confuse the evil spirits who presumably would then not know who was really getting married.

The bridal gown has always been a symbol of purity, and was in history an outward sign of a maiden's worthiness. The concept of a white wedding gown dates back to Queen Victoria. Marriage was considered a union between two families and it was essential that the bride be an honor to both. Purity was valued above all else and so great care was taken to ensure that the bride be presented as an unspoiled, protected, and valuable treasure. So, the white dress became the symbol of all these things, and a symbol of the bride-to-be's innocence. The elaborate styling of modern wedding gowns can be attributed to Empress Eugenie, the bride of Napoleon III. She was quite the fashion plate of her generation and wore what was to become worldwide style, replacing the customary wedding finery of the day.

It was thought that the white wedding gown also served to ward off evil spirits. Omens and evil spirits and good luck tokens were always a part of the wedding gown tradition. It was said that the bride should never make her own dress and should wait to have the last stitch sewn until just before she entered the church. It was also a popular traditon that the bride should not try on her complete wedding outfit before the wedding day or, it was felt, she would be "counting her chickens before they hatched."

Traditional bows, or love knots, which resemble a number eight on its side, originated in the late 1500's. The sideways eight, you will note is also the sign for infinity (i.e., eternity). In years past, brides wore dresses covered with love knots and after the wedding, guests would snip them off as souvenirs.

The bridal bouquet had its earliest beginnings as a bunch of fragrant herbs who "job" it was to discourage evil spirits from getting close to the bride. It started not as a bouquet, but, with Greeks and Romans, as a garland of fresh herbs which the bride wore in her hair. In Victorian times, the flowers in a bride's bouquet carried messages, because each flower had its own special meaning.

The practice of the bride tossing her bouquet before she leaves on her wedding trip is said to have started in the 14th century, when getting a piece of the bride's clothing was considered good luck. In those days, the bride was treated poorly. Guests would grab at her wedding dress in order to tear off pieces of it. Although brides continued to believe they would not be wearing their wedding gowns again, they objected to its wanton destruction. Instead of allowing guests to tear at their gowns, brides found an alternative and instead, started to throw personal items, such as the garter, to the guests. Today, the groom removes and tosses the garter, while the bride tosses her bouquet. The unmarried man who catches the garter is asked to put it on the leg of the unmarried woman who catches the bouquet. It is said that they will be the next to marry (not necessarily each other).

Yet another version tells us that the garter had a very practical beginning. When silk stockings were standard garb, this accessory was a necessity. This "version" of the customs origin tells us that the tradition of stealing the garter began in England. Young men took this pre-ceremony procedure quite seriously, as it was considered very good luck to "win the prize." To avoid embarrassing the bride, the custom evolved from stealing the garter into throwing the garter.

The groom's boutonniere is a nod to medieval times when a knight wore his lady's "colors," proudly displayed for all to see.

The flower girl and the tradition of walking before the bride and tossing petals date back to old English tradition. It was customary then that the entire bridal party would walk behind a small girl as she tossed flowers . . . all the way to the church.

The wedding veil has a bit eerier history. It is a tradition believed to have developed from the Roman custom of having the bride wear a full-length veil that was later used as her burial shroud.
And, back to that capture theme . . . another theory is that the veil is reminiscent of the act of throwing a sack over the prospective bride's head while she was being carried off. Roman superstition also held that wearing a veil would confuse the evil spirits that loomed near the bride. It was said that the spirits might be jealous of the new couple's happiness and that covering the bride's face would keep them from recognizing her.
And yet another explanation . . . In ancient times, marriages were arranged by families and were often nothing more than good business deals. It happened more often than not that the first time the couples saw one another was standing at the altar on their wedding day. To ensure the groom wouldn't have second thoughts at the sight of a bride perhaps less attractive than he's assumed, veils were used to cover the bride's face. The veil was not lifted until the very end of the ceremony, only after the groom had already said, "I do."
This may also be the reason why traditionally the bride and groom are not allowed to see each other the day of the wedding.

Some traditions are rooted in superstition and closely connected with good and bad luck. One superstition proports that it is bad luck for a groom to see his bride on their wedding day. Another, also well know superstition is the tradition of "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a lucky sixpence in her shoe." This most familiar of wedding-related sayings dates back to Victorian times.

"Something Old" symbolizes the connection the bride will maintain to her family and the past. Many brides abide by this tradition by choosing to wear an heirloom piece of family jewelry or the wedding gown belonging to a grand mother or mother.
"Something New" connotes good fortune and success in the bride's new life. The wedding dress is most often the chosen new item.
"Something Borrowed" serves to remind the bride that friends and family will be there for her whenever she may need their support or assistance. The borrowed object can be most anything of her choosing, such as an antique handkerchief, an item of jewelry or a handbag.
"Something Blue" denotes faithfulness and loyalty. The symbolism dates back to biblical times when blue represented purity and constancy. Brides often choose to wear a blue garter to keep with this tradition, or, blue ribbons in their hair to symbolize fidelity.
"A Silver Sixpence in her Shoe" represents the wishes of loved ones to the bride, in the hope that she will have both financial security and happiness.

And then there is the kiss at the end of the wedding ceremony. In ancient times, the kiss was legally binding and signified mutual acceptance of the contract of marriage. It is said that the bride and the groom "exchanged a bit of their souls" with the breath of a kiss!

With the ceremony concluded the bride and groom have tied the knot, an expression which dates back to when, in ancient times, the bride and groom literally were tied at the waist with wreathes to signify that they had been united. Another piece of bridal lore tells us that in ancient Roman times, women wore girdles made from long strips of material. Buttons, hooks and snaps having not yet been invented, the girdles were tied in knots to keep them secure. On a bride's wedding day, the bride's attendants made sure the knots were tied well and could be untied easily, on the wedding night.

Throwing rice and old shoes at the end of the ceremony is a custom that has its origin with the ancient Assyrians, Hebrews, and Egyptians who gave or traded sandals as a symbol of good faith when striking a bargain. In the case of marriage, the bargain was the transfer of a father's authority over his daughter, to her new husband. The bride's father would give the groom one of her old shoes and the groom would tap the bride over the head with it. That act symbolized the groom's acceptance of his new responsibility.

There is reference to rice throwing in Roman history, in about 400 B.C. Then, a bridegroom would "say" goodbye to his bachelorhood by distributing walnuts to his "old" friends. That makes walnuts and hazelnuts the forerunners of today's rice and almonds.

Other sources make reference to the tradition in Tudor times of guests throwing shoes at the newly married couple. Presumably, this was done with "good intentions," because it was thought to bring good luck and fertility to the bride and groom, if they or their carriage were hit. This, incidentally, is where the custom of tying old shoes to back of the car may have originated. Yet other theories tell us that the tradition of tying shoes to the bumper of the car originated with "bride-stealing." As a sign of his anger, the bride's father would throw his shoes at the kidnapper groom with the stolen bride. Incidentally, it was also believed that leather had the power to ward off evil spirits!

To the ancient Assyrians, Hebrews, and Egyptians, rice symbolized fruitfulness, so it was "a natural" to be thrown at the new couple, after weddings, as a symbol of good wishes. The origin of throwing confetti over the newlyweds goes back to the Pagan rite of showering the couple with grain, as a symbol of fruitfulness. Pagans held the simple belief that the fertility of the seeds would be transferred to the couple. The symbolism of throwing rice holds same symbolic meaning. Beginning in the Middle Ages, rice became a symbol of fruitfulness amongst many early peoples. The tradition of throwing of rice may also have been a way to ward off evil spirits that hung around near the bride and groom. It may also have its origins in the "food tossing ritual," discussed elsewhere in this article.

In Italian, the word "confetti" comes from the same root word as confectionery and actually refers to sweetmeats, grain and nuts that are covered in sugar and thrown at the newlyweds. More recently, we substituted paper confetti, but today most ceremony sites don't allow confetti because of the cleanup nightmare . . . so wedding bubbles now offer an environmentally safe alternative.

The concept of a reception originated in France and is based on the old custom known as a "charivari" (shiff-a-ree). Traditionally, friends would figure out where the newlyweds were spending their wedding night. They would gather under their window to sing, blow horns, and make as much noise as possible to keep the couple awake.

The clinking of glasses creates a bell like noise. In years past, and by those who are superstitious yet today, that noise is said to repel the devil. Many couples today follow the ritual of kissing as glasses are clinked, taking the opportunity to "connect" when the devil is not around to create havoc.

The custom of a "First Dance" harkens back to ancient times when the "Bride Kidnapper" would show off his "hunting" skills by parading his "stolen" bride around, in front of his warrior friends, so they could see how well he had done. The feasting would begin immediately after this display. Today, the "First Dance" still traditonally marks the beginning of the reception.

A wedding cake is the traditional centerpiece at the wedding reception. You might find it interesting that originally, the cake was not eaten by, but thrown at the bride! It developed as one of the many fertility traditions surrounding a wedding. Ancient Romans believed that wheat and barley were symbols of fertility and so, wedding cakes included one or both of these ingredients. Incidentally, wheat was among the earliest grains (predating rice) to be ceremoniously showered on the bride and groom. In its earliest origins, the unmarried young women attending the wedding were expected to scramble for the grains to ensure their own betrothals, much as they do today for the bridal bouquet. Somewhere around 100 B.C.E., Roman bakers began creating small, sweet cakes with it. The tradition of pelting the bride, or breaking it over her head, died hard. The Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius in "On the Nature of Things" ("De Rerum Natura") wrote that the throwing tradition mellowed into a custom of crumbling the sweet, wheat cakes over the bride's head. As a further symbol of fertility, the couple was required to eat some of the crumbs, a custom known as "confarreato," translated into "eating together." After all the cakes were used up, the guests were supplied with handfuls of "confetto," a sweet meats mixture of nuts, dried fruit, and honeyed almonds.

The tradition of eating the crumbs of the wheat, sweet meat cakes spread throughout Europe. In England the tradition "broadened" to include the practice of washing down the cakes with a special ale called "bryd ealu," translated as "bride's ale," words that eventually became the word "bridal."

In the Middle Ages when food tossing became rice tossing, the once decorative sweet meat cakes evolved into small biscuits or scones. Guests were encouraged to BYOB (bake/bring your own biscuit) with them to the ceremony. After the wedding, leftovers were distributed among the poor. It is those very simple biscuits and scones that became the forerunner of the elaborate multi-tiered wedding cake we know today. Legend has it that throughout the British Isles it became customary to pile the biscuits, scones, and baked goodies on top of one another in one huge heap. The taller the pile, the more the future prosperity of the young couple, who exchanged a kiss over the mound. In the 1660's, during the reign of King Charles II, a French chef (unfortunately nameless) visited London, and, it is said, was appalled at the cake-piling ritual. It was his idea to transform the messy mound of bland biscuits into a beautiful work of art, an iced, multi-tiered wedding cake. [Click here for "Wedding Cakes Around the World," and more information of wedding cake customs.]

The tradition of saving a piece of wedding cake is an old one, that some couples still hold to today. The custom is said to have orginated with the concept that it was a sign of wealth for a couple to freeze the top portion of their wedding cake, thaw it out and eat it on their first anniversary. Most cakes don't freeze well for long periods of time, so couples wishing to practice this lovely traditon, should ask their baker to prepare a freezer-safe layer that will last the year in the freezer.

Many a groom and usher have pondered the origin of the famous (infamous) tuxedo. It was fashioned after a coat worn by the Prince of Wales, Grisworld Lorillard, a tobacco heir in the late 1800's. He wore a tail-less black dinner jacket to a ball in Tuxedo Park (yes, the one in Orange County). His outlandish style set his contemporaries back on their heels and established a new tradition.

The lovely custom of distributing Wedding Favors has been around since ancient times. In the the late 17th century, guests were given favors such as scarves, garters and gloves. Today, some brides follow the custom of giving each guest five sugar coated almonds as symbols of health, wealth, fertility, happiness and long-life. This custom dates back to a Greek legend about Demophon who fell in love with the Tracian princess, Phyllis. Before the marriage ceremony could take place, Demophon's father died and Demophon returned to Athens for the funeral. He vowed to his beloved that he would return, but seriously miscalculated the amount of time it would take him to go to Athens and return. With him away for more than three months, Phyllis became convinced that he was not going to return and, in dispair, took her own life. The gods, the legend tells us, were so moved by her love for Demophon, that they transformed her into an almond tree. Upon his return, the grief stricken Demophon offered a sacrifice to the almond tree, and declared his undying love. The almond tree responded by immediately bursting into blossom. It is for this "reason," that the almond tree has become the symbol of impetuous youth and undying love.

Some also believed that eating five almonds wards off drunkenness and keeps the celebration from getting out of hand.

There is also historical evidence of the practice in 15th century English court. The custom was to give out little boxes of precious metal filled with almonds. The act symbolized good wishes for the coming year.

The wedding guest book was once a necessity. In days of old, everyone who attended a wedding was considered a witness and was required to sign the marriage document. Today, even though the legal requirements for witnesses has changed, the concept of a guest book remains as a wonderful remembrance for the wedding couple.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Coolest Garters You'll Ever Find

I've just stumbled upon the coolest garters I've ever seen!  They are Mia Von Mink's Garters and you can find them at or  Here's a few of my favorites:

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