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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Advice (8)

Monday
Jan302012

Dear Wedding Guest, An Open Letter.

I had an email chat with a Blog Buddy recently who is still in the wedding planning process. She’s having  issues regarding her family (what they want vs. what they want) and it gave me pause to recall my own family issues whilst planning.

It wasn’t pretty.

Buuuut, thinking about that got me thinking about wedding guests in general and how annoying they can be. Yes, I said it: annoying. Those people who you love and care for? The folks who have gotten you through the thick, the thin and the everything in between; your bestest besties, your peeps, your crew, your amigos, your girls, your gusbands and even your own flesh and blood? All these people can be total assholes. Each and every one of them have the chance of being so at some point in time. Go head and plan on it.

This is an open letter to all the wedding guests out there, just to help y’all understand how to be the Proper Wedding Guest. Brides, feel free to copy this and include it with your invitations (ok, don’t really do that), y’all can thank me later.

Dear Wedding Guest,

Thank you so much for being a part of the wedding celebration! You were invited because in some way or another, you mean something pretty special to the bride/bride, bride/groom, groom/groom. The couple chose to have this celebration and to invite you because they believe that they are joining not just themselves, but their families and their friends. They love you.

However.

As a guest, you have certain responsibilities. Allow me to list some of them here.

INVITATIONS

  • As a recipient of an invitation, if there is a request to RSVP, please do so in the manner outlined on the invitation. If there is an RSVP card, fill it out with your name and your guest’s name, AS LONG AS A GUEST WAS INDICATED ON THE INVITATION (see “+1” below), and place it in the mailbox before the date indicated on the RSVP card. If no date is given, do it right-fucking-away.
  • Do not call, reply on Facebook/Twitter, or email in response to an RSVP – unless specifically asked to do so.
  • I don’t care if you are the MOH, the FIL, the MOB ….I DON’T CARE! If you got an invitation, you RSVP. Period. Are we clear yet?

Are you asking why? I’ll tell you why. While the bride may know that you’re coming, she’s also in the middle of planning every-fucking-thing-else, plus she’s working, she’s budgeting and increasing her gym time and all that crap. So, please excuse her if she can’t remember YOU at the moment she’s looking at a list that’s 175 people long trying to figure out if she can afford the filet or the tilapia. She needs the RSVP so that she can check you off on her Excel spreadsheet so that it will auto-sum and give her a running total as to how close or far away she is from being able to tell the caterer whether you’ll be eating filet or tilapia. Want the filet? Send in your fucking RSVP then.

A few more tips:

  • Expecting an invitation and didn’t get one? Don’t ask the bride straight out. Do some investigative work first. Chances are if you didn’t get invited, you just saved yourself and the bride some embarrassment. Sometimes it’s a simple Post Office mishap, other times you simply weren’t invited. Opt for asking another friend to find out for you and then get over it if you weren’t. Otherwise, let the bride know with a simple message that your invitation must have been lost. She’ll most likely send you another  STAT. 
  • Are you a distant relative that didn’t get invited? DEAL WITH IT. Don’t ask the bride’s mom for an invitation. Don’t look at a wedding as YOUR chance to have a family reunion. Just because you know all the players, doesn’t mean the bride and groom know YOU. Times are tight and brides have to cut somewhere. You could just be that second cousin twice removed. If you make a big deal about it, you’ll look stupid, not the bride.

ALCOHOL

  • Open bar? Have fun, but don’t be a douchebag. Don’t get so knuckle-dragging drunk that someone has to take care of your drunk ass.
  • Open bar? Be considerate. “Open bar” doesn’t mean free reign or free for the bride and groom. Someone has to pay for the top shelf liquor, honey. Don’t make a wedding your day to start drinking  Patrón when Jose Cuervo is your normal go-to guy.
  • Mind your glass, particularly near The Dress. Don’t let this happen. 
  • Giving a toast? Hold back until you’re done with that, then get your party on. Everyone remembers the drunk one. Don’t be that one.
  • Plan ahead. Have taxi numbers at the ready if you’re too loaded to drive. Get a hotel room nearby. Don’t be cheap and don’t be stupid and don’t make the newlyweds worry about you.
  • If worse gets horrid, for the love of God, don’t puke anywhere near the bride.

 

+ 1

  • “And guest” means you can bring the date-du-jour. Just add his/her FULL name to the RSVP. If you don’t know your date’s last name? Probably not a good idea to bring them along.
  • No plus one on the invite? Do NOT call the bride/groom to ask if you can bring one. The reason there wasn’t an “AND GUEST” on your invitation is because they know you haven’t been seeing anyone for the last 6 months and they don’t want you to bring some random chick/dude  to their wedding and they are probably budgeting their reception on this fact. And yes, it makes a difference. And no, they do not care whether you’ll feel “lonely” or “like a third wheel” at the reception. Deal with it. Pull up your adult-sized skivvies and go solo to  the wedding. You might get to make out with a hot stranger.
  • If your Plus One dumps you or gets sick or goes missing after you’ve sent in the RSVP, let the bride know as soon as possible. If your date can’t come, there might be a second cousin twice removed (see above) somewhere that the couple would like to include, which in turn would get the future MIL off the bride’s back. Be considerate.
  • If your Plus One has abused the above guidelines in the “ALCOHOL” section, make sure you take care of him/her STAT.  If your date is too drunk to stand in her platforms, sit her in a corner with some water or take her home. Don’t let your guy get so drunk he wants to start some kind of bar fight or flag football game in the parking lot. In a nutshell, you’re going to miss the end of the wedding because you will do the right thing and get your drunk date outta there.

OPINIONS

  • Unless expressly asked your opinion on anything regarding the wedding, do not give it. Ever.
  • If asked your opinion regarding the wedding, proceed with care and caution. Do not be rude or obnoxious. If the bride loves it, let her love it, even if it is pink sweetheart roses mixed with gypsophila.
  • Do not compare this wedding to any other wedding, except by saying the following, “This wedding is better than the Royal Wedding!” and only say that if you actually attended Will and Kate’s shindig. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut.
  • Do not complain about the lack of a beef option, a beer/wine only bar or any thing regarding anything that has to do with the wedding you are currently attending. I don’t care how much you hate fondant. Take a slice of the cake, peel it off and eat the cake part. And like it.
  • Never, ever, EVER under any circumstances, call the bride a “Bridezilla.” This is the worst name anyone has ever come up with in the history of all the world. It’s inaccurate.  The chicks from that show are like folks on The Jerry Springer Show. No one wants to be compared to boughetto, foul-mouthed trailer trash simply because the bride decided to have a kid-free reception. A decision you personally don’t agree with doesn’t make the bride a Bridezilla. It makes it her wedding.  Don’t say it. Ever.

TOASTS

Some weddings have lots of people toasting. Some times it's at the rehearsal dinner. If, as a guest or member of the bridal party, you must make a toast please remember the following:

  • No longer than six minutes unless you are already a stand-up comedian or public figurehead. Keep it short and sweet.
  • Sober.
  • Do NOT read from a Blackberry or an iPhone. You will look like a douchebag. Use paper or note cards or memorize it.
  • Never ever ever mention anything about an ex. Do not mention a time or an event that included an ex. While you’re at it, best not to recall prior states of inebriation either. Doing so will worry the new in-laws. It’s just tacky.
  • As a guest, if you are witnessing a toast going south due to any of the above issues and you are in a position to do so, calmly intercede and attempt to distract the toast-giver; try to wrap it up without starting a brawl. 

So, dear Wedding Guest, I hope you will appreciate this letter and put it to good use. As a Wedding Guest, it’s your job to behave whether you hate the asshat who’s marrying your best friend or not. Nothing, dear Guest, is about you at all. It’s about the bride and groom. Let them revel in it.

Hogs & Quiches,

The Thirty-Something Bride

 

Tuesday
Jan172012

Your Wedding Might Be Boring

It’s true. There are people, regardless of what you do will be so over your weddings before you even walk down the aisle. As a single gal well into her thirties, I used to abhor weddings. Naturally I would be excited for the friend getting hitched, happy they’d found love, blah, blah, blah. But there would be things that I knew I’d be hating.

  • The vegetarian option. I was a vegetarian, then pescatarian for the majority of the 90’s. Let me just say this: pasta primavera served en masse is NEVER GOOD. EVER. It’s like eating glue with broccoli florets.
  • The seating chart. Woe is the single gal when it comes to the seating chart. You get screwed, period.
  • The Bouquet Toss. God, I’d be sitting on the edge of my seat just waiting for the moment when I could bolt to the bathroom to avoid the bouquet toss. Yeah, because there’s nothing quite like standing with a bunch of 9 year olds, an 87 year old widow and the lone single mom waiting to catch a stupid ass bouquet in the hope of…..what was that supposed to be again? The next to get married? Yeah, I had no interest in being married, thanks. I actually had a bride (yes, you Abby) call me out over the PA once when I was hiding out back with all the smokers. Lame.

The reality is that not everyone will have fun at your wedding. I know my wedding wasn’t the most fun wedding. I know this because I’ve been to really,  really fun weddings and mine wasn’t one of them. There wasn’t a whole lot of dancing. Folks left relatively early. I got an eye roll from an 11 year old. Meh. It happens. I could tell my friends were there to support me, but that they weren’t getting their jiggy on. And that’s ok. I do wish it had been more of a party atmosphere, but I think for that to happen, more alcohol would have been involved and then I’d have been worried. The Candyman and I both have family members who we prefer remain sober at all times.

Even though I recognized that my guests were basically just chillin’ out, it didn’t affect my good time. I loved dancing in my gown. I loved that my guests were there; they bit the bullet and spent the money and came to support me. I watered and fed them and gave them snacks and did the best I could to make them comfortable and happy and make the whole process as easy as possible. I did this because I appreciated VERY much when it was done for me. I appreciated the fact that I was sat at the same table as that hot cousin, though the 94 year old grandma got put between us and we both spent the majority of the evening giving her a play by play of the reception because she was too stooped to see and too deaf to hear. I appreciated the OOT goodies in my room, the shuttle buses and the no-bouquet toss weddings.

So, be prepared for folks not to have fun. Know that you will not please everyone with your wedding. You simply cannot take on that responsibility. Do what you can en masse and then let it go. You can’t force people to have a good time. 

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Clearly, she’d had quite enough.

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“Bitch, don’t be shushing me.”

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Leaving the questionable photo editing aside, you gotta love how these tweens are just miserable all around.

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I see  anger management classes in this child’s future.

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Aw.

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Just another reason to consider a child-free wedding.

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The multiple uses of a ring pillow.

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Who can scream louder? I know who gets my vote.

So plan the party YOU want while considering your guests, of course. As a Southerner, I’ve been taught that you must consider your guests and plan accordingly. However, as a good Southerner I’ve also been taught that it’s just good manners to show up, dance, eat, smile, praise the hostess and in a pinch,  join the 9 year olds for the bouquet toss.  Just make sure you take those bitches down.

Monday
Jan092012

Dear T30SB: Types of Tulle for Your Veil

I love questions from readers. If you have a question, it generally means that someone out there has the exact same one, so don’t be afraid to ask! Reader Courtney is having trouble telling her seamstress what kind of veil she wants and came to me to see if I could help.

Dear T30SB,

I've been 'lurking' for a while now, and I just love reading your blog. You and I would be friends, I'm convinced, if we knew each other in real-life. Your honestly and candor are refreshing when so many blogs are CLEARLY edited and photo-shopped to look like 'my life is so shiny perfect.’ And your creations are incredible. I'm getting married in May, which is the reason I first found your blog, and I drool over the winter cape you just posted about!! If I had a need .... ooh it would be hard to pass up.
I have a question that I was hoping you could help me with? I am so not a wedding-materials person, but I have been trying to describe the veil I want to our seamstress for the dress, and I don’t know what it's called. With your expertise, I was hoping you might could help your imaginary-friend/blog stalker...? :)
I die over veils made out of whatever material is in this post:

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Photographs by Houston Photographer Archetype Studio

I love how it's heavier than just the typical (cheap) netting I've seen... do you have any leads/suggestions on how I could explain this to the lady making my veil?? Or do you have one like it, possibly, in your shop??
Appreciate the help, in advance, internet-friend :)

Well now, Courtney. First off, thank you for your kind words and for being a continued reader. We like that around here. Lurkers hold a special place in my blogging-heart.

Now, let’s get down to business, shall we?

This is an EXCELLENT question, first of all. Types of tulle affect the cost, drape and overall look of a veil, so it’s good to understand what the hell your looking at in order to figure out what you’re buying. There are basically three types of tulle.

Bridal Illusion

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Bridal Illusion (which is probably the lamest name ever given to a fabric) is your standard tulle. It’s used for most veils these days. It comes in a plethora of colors, styles of shimmer and widths. For basic tulle, you won’t be paying over a $1/yard for the stuff. If you are, you’re paying too much. It is made from nylon, it has a diamond pattern and has the most body of all the tulles. If you’re looking for a high ‘pouf’ factor, this is your material.

*WARNING* do not get confused by tulle and NETTING. Netting is often used in costumes and it is much heavier. It feels coarser and is definitely not the same as Illusion, although some ass-hats like to interchange the terms. It ain’t the same thing.

English Tulle

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English tulle (also called English NETTING, gah) is made from cotton and has a hexagonal weave. It has more drape to it than Illusion. It is also a lot more expensive. I’ve seen it as low as $18/yard and upwards of $50/yard, depending on the brand/quality.

Silk Tulle

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Silk tulle is the crème de la crème of potential veil materials. It’s super soft, way luxurious and like English tulle, has a hexagonal weave. It is also WAY drape-y. When I made my own veil and was deciding on what to use, I found that I personally didn’t care for the silk tulle because it’s a little stretchy and physically a heavier material, making it less gossamer in its movement.  Silk tulle is  less transparent than Illusion and English tulle. It’s also the Ferrari of tulle in regards to cost. I’ve not seen 100% silk tulle for less than $70/yard (if it’s less than $50/yard, doubtful it’s 100% silk, check before you buy!). It can be over $100/yard for the real good stuff. Kate Middleton’s veil was made from silk tulle, as another reference point. This picture is PERFECT for showing both the drape and the stretchiness.

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Source

You can see how the three fabrics differ with the exact same construction. Each of the veils shown below is elbow length with a cut edge and is 54" wide. The Illusion is more transparent and has more pouf. The English tulle still has some body, but has more drape and is less transparent than the Illusion. And then the Mack Daddy is the silk tulle with superior drape, very little pouf and lots of pretty. It too is more opaque than Illusion.

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                       Bridal Illusion                         English Tulle                             Silk Tulle                            

Thank to this site for a posting these PERFECT pictures of the differences of these 3 fabrics!

Since tulle comes is all sorts of colors, it can be confusing as to what to pair with your dress. Here’s the best way to consider the color of your veil/tulle.

*WARNING* This is a guide ONLY. If you’re having your veil custom made or are purchasing online, it’s best to show a picture of your dress to the seller/seamstress to ensure a best match.

  • If you’re gown is labeled WHITE by the manufacturer and it is NOT  made from silk, choose a a WHITE tulle.
  • If your gown is labeled WHITE  or DIAMOND WHITE by the manufacturer and is made from silk, choose a DIAMOND WHITE tulle.
  • If your gown is labeled CANDLELIGHT, PEARL or NATURAL by the manufacturer and is made from any material, choose ivory tulle.

This little tulle infomercial isn’t going to get into Russian tulle, which is primarily used in birdcage veils. That’s just info overload for one lil’ ol’ post as that too comes in a myriad of styles, colors, sizes, widths, etc.

There are synthetic versions of silk tulle, made primarily of nylon. Sadly, they have a shine on them that silk tulle doesn’t and it looks uber-cheap, like you’re wearing a nylon slip on your head. I don’t personally recommend it, but someone out there might like it. And nylon silk-tulle knock-offs? Dude that shit would be HOT. Trying to wear it over your face like Kate or that Houston area bride shown above? Ick. Your make-up would be sliding off your face into your décolletage. NOT a good look.

And using Illusion doesn’t mean you’re cheap. It all depends on how you want to look on your wedding day. So there.

Hope this helps a bride out there wade through the sea of  veiling options. Education is the key to getting what you want for a price that fits your personal budget.

For more answers to your questions, feel free to email me. Just click CONTACT and send me your question!

Wednesday
Jan042012

Wedding Jedi Master

A few days before Christmas, I took myself shopping. I haven’t been shopping for myself in God knows how long. The Financial Lockdown Crisis of 2011 is basically a permanent situation until I either get a full-time gig or become a famous bridal accessory designer. You know, whichever comes first.

I went to the behemoth discount mall that’s-super close to my house and wandered aimlessly through the throngs of last minute Christmas shoppers. I was passing by Books-a-Million and thought I’d check and see if there were any good deals for last minute stocking stuffers. I considered The Zombie Survival Guide for The Candyman. I had the book in my hands and was wandering around the store contemplating the purchase, just browsing. I entered an aisle and nearly tripped over a woman sitting on the floor digging through books. We laughed, she moved, I stepped around her and glanced quickly at the shelves she was attacking.

Yup. Wedding planning books.

Figures.

So I stop and pretend to look at the books a section or two down from her and watched her for a few minutes. Not long. And no, I was NOT being creepy, just interested. I think it was really the way she was looking through these books that made me stop. She’d jerk one out, flip through it and sigh and slam it back into the shelf. She had a growing pile on the floor next to her that she would pick from, flip through and add back to the pile or slam back into the shelf.

I casually moved a section closer to her and watched her do this a few more times before I interrupted her wedding book assault. “Getting married?” I asked. She stopped, looked up at me with this face that I can only describe as totally exasperated and said, with the tone of someone who was NOT excited at all, “Yes. *sigh* I am. And I can’t find what I’m looking for.”

“Oh? What would that be?” I asked.

“A decent planning notebook.”

I squatted down and looked at her pile, then looked her straight in the face and said, “Can’t I give you some unsolicited advice?” She nodded, eyes like saucers. “Don’t waste your money on this shit.” Of course I got the shock-face for Swearing in the South, but I’ve found that if you ignore the fact that you just swore, so will they because they are Southerners and are too polite to do anything but be shocked.

I handed her my business card for this website and said, “You need to get online. You can find everything you’re looking at here for free on the internet. Design ideas, timelines, budget worksheets, DIY projects. And it’s all free.”

Her face lit up and she smiled. “Oh! I’ve been online! I  joined The Knot!”

“Oh. Um. No.”

“No?” The face crumbled again.

“No. The Knot is a great place to start [I was trying to be polite], but it’s a bit….dedicated to its advertisers, shall we say? Ever heard of Style Me Pretty? Snippet and Ink? The Broke-Ass Bride?”

*Deer-in-headlights stare*

Now at this point I almost launch into the whole WIC (Wedding Industry Complex) thing, but stop myself because I know this chick just wants some freakin’ relief from her own brain. Instead, I told her to go to my site, check out my Link ♥ section and review some of the websites listed under Wedding Planning Resources. I explained there were literally thousands of wedding pictures to look at with ideas, links to vendors, DIY tutorials, more than what was on the shelves in front of her and all for free. I also told her that there were brides, just like her sharing their own projects, ideas, pictures and frustrations.

She seemed a bit stunned at this information and my heart went out to her. She looked like I felt about 2 months after I got engaged, before I knew about the online wedding community. I wished her well, she thanked me and I walked away. I got an aisle or two from her and then ran back and handed her a TruLu Couture card too, you know, just in case. [Insert snarky self-promotion comment here]. When I went back, she was still sitting there, but she was just casually flipping through the books now. No more slamming. No more heaving of sighs. The panic was gone.

I decided not to get the zombie book for The Candyman and left the store feeling much like a Wedding Jedi Master. As I walked out of Books-a-Million and waded back into the pulsing river of Christmas shoppers, I gave myself a mental pat on the back and said to myself, “Your work here is done.”

Friday
Nov042011

Dear T30SB: Strapless Gown Slippage Advice

I received the following email recently and thought that the answer might be something all brides could use a little help with:

Found your blog while researching the Wtoo Liane gown used in one of your blog entries.  Any idea of what under garments the bride wore underneath?  My daughter is getting married later this month and is experiencing some anxiety with dress slippage.  She is a size 2.  Thanks in advance for any info! –Merry

Well Merry, you have a very good question here that I’m certain many brides could use some assistance with. You didn’t mention your daughter’s cup size, but since she’s a size 2 I’m going to go ahead and assume her rack is as petite as she is.

The key to avoiding strapless gown slippage is all in the alterations. Your seamstress must know what she’s doing. In order for the gown to fit snuggly in the boobs and to remain in place, the fit around the waist needs to be exact. Particularly with the Liane gown (a ruffled-skirt ball gown shape), the weight of the dress is meant to be carried on the hips. If it’s snug around the waist and your daughter has hips, the dress won’t go anywhere.

That isn’t to say that the bust line doesn’t need altering. That area should fit too, but the top of the bust line should not feel tighter than the waistline. If it does that’s where the overall weight of the dress will fall, causing slippage.

Also note that during the course of the day, the dress will stretch a little – as do all clothes as you wear them about. Plan on this. Make sure the gown fits tight at the final fitting, but not so tight that you seriously can’t breath. Slightly uncomfortable is OK, you’ll be able to breath later, I promise.

Larger busted gals: be wary of having your gown fit too tightly under your boobs versus your waist. Don’t use your gown as a support system for your massive rack. Your strapless bra is your support system. Again, the tightest spot is where the bulk of the weight of the dress will fall and you want that to be primarily at your waist, so the gown doesn’t slip down over your hips.

If your gown laces up the back, make sure those laces are tight. Have your MOH adjust them pre-reception to help keep the dress fitting like  a dream the rest of the night.

Let’s say you have your gown altered and it fits like a dream. Then let’s say you’re like me and without trying, you drop 5 pounds the week of the wedding and now your gown is too big. What’s a bride to do? Bring back up.

By back up, I mean boob inserts. I like to call them chicken cutlets. I wrote about mine here

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Photograph by Jonathon Campbell Photography

Guess which size I wore? Yeah, I went for the bigger ones. I needed all the help I could get. My dress also had sewn in bra cups so I could go sans bra. I don’t suggest this on a strapless gown though. There are 800 billion strapless bra options out there. If you’re not sure which bra will work, buy a couple you think work and feel best. Keep the tags on, try it on with your gown at your fitting and return the ones that don’t work. Check with the store’s return policy first, but you really shouldn’t have any trouble with this. Inserts will be much harder to return, usually because they are sold in a way that you have to destroy the packaging to get at them.  They aren’t terribly expensive and will be worth the boob-headaches on your wedding day.

Last but not least, double sided sticky fashion/lingerie tape with help keep the gown from moving around and showing nipple – as a last resort. DO NOT RELY ON THIS TO HOLD YOUR DRESS UP ALL NIGHT. Fashion tape is used mostly to keep fabric in place, not as a support system. If you’ve never used fashion tape before, do a little research. A make-up artist gave me some once to use on a model for a TruLu Couture fashion shoot and that shit was like super-glue. It ruined the piece I used it on because it simply would not come off. Think about how that might feel on your skin all night. Give it a test run first to see how your skin reacts to it (do this in an inconspicuous area on your bod). You don’t want a hideous rash creeping up around the edge of your gown now, do you? No, I think not.

OK, I thought I was done, but I’m not. Another last resort is a sash. If you’re gown was altered incorrectly and it’s not snug enough at your waist and hips, consider a last minute sash. You can buy one from any number of resources (Etsy, Cargoh, your bridal gown shop) or you can make a quick trip to the fabric store and buy yourself some 3-4” wide satin ribbon and DIY that sucker. Having a sash cinched around your waist will help transfer the weight there to keep your gown up. Consider it a fun reception piece since that’s where you’ll be doing most of your moving around.

Whew. OK, Merry? Did I answer your question thoroughly? Here a recap…. First: Alterations. Second: A good, supportive  bra worn during the final fitting. Third: Boob inserts. Fourth: Fashion tape. Fifth: Sash.

Good luck and let me know how it all turns out!