Sunday, October 11, 2015

Home Stretch

Hair and makeup trial was yesterday.  I just decided to be open to whatever the makeup decided to do--after our initial discussion about preferences (YS said no heavy eye makeup; fine, but I was concerned my eyes would disappear in photos).  She asked about false eyelashes.  I said I'd never worn them before but was open to anything.  At first they felt weird when she applied them, but after a while I got used to them and they were cool.  My usual hairstylist who always just knows what to do, did her thing.  I felt and looked awesome.  Got a lot of compliments when I cantored Mass that afternoon (of course I test-drove it!).  So I can't wait for the big day to look like that all over again.

I know I didn't get the chance to write part II about the PA-side bridal shower, but to sum up: Everyone had a nice time (everyone who was there), our niece was a helper with wrapping paper trash and my consultant for making the "ribbon hat"--which YS conveniently "forgot" at our parents' house when she headed back home.  But the Cinderall tiara went home with her, I noticed.

After the shower, we packed up and regrouped at our parents' house before going out dress shopping.  (Yes, it was a marathon of a day.)  I got changed into even less comfortable underwear but frankly was happy to change any part of my clothing because it had been awfully hot both outside and in the room where the shower was held.

We made the rounds of the department stores at the huge mall a couple towns over and tried on scads of blue dresses--satiny, sparkly, long, short.  It began to be apparent that the short dresses looked good on me. . . and indecent on the other, 5' 11" bridesmaid.  There were a couple of "okay" ones but they weren't ringing the bride's bell.

Finally, as we walked out of the one dressing room and past the racks, YS stopped.  "This is what I wanted in tne first place," she said, pointing to a dress.  It was nothing like what she'd said from the beginning, at least to me--I'd seen/heard gray, blush, beige.  (Everything that would wash me out, she wanted.)  So I asked if she wanted me to try it on.  She said, "Would you?"

Come on.  How could I not?

When I opened the dressing room door, her face softened and she said, "I like it."

And then the other bridesmaid tried it on.  Good. SOLD.

Of course, there was a problem finding two of the same size--that's right, at that point I was wearing pretty much the same size as a woman a foot taller than me.  It was mortifying but I just had to deal with it and try to get better.  The other bridesmaid wound up taking the dress that was a size smaller--that's all we could find, considering it was a last-season dress (good price! bad selection!) and I could tell she wasn't thrilled mostly because length was an issue.  The following day, they scoured Lord & Taylors close to them and found the dress actually one size larger.  She said it was loose on top but she was just happy to have the longer length.

Here it is:
Definitely NOT blue.

We tried both of the dresses on that night at our parents' house, and there were sequins all over the floor.  So we might be looking kinda nekkid by the time we finish on the dance floor, but oh well. 
And I have been terrified of taking it to get altered since. Why? Well, I've been dealing with a weight issue and a height issue--I mean, seriously, how are they going to shorten this dress without changing the sequin pattern on the skirt significantly--and I honestly felt so self-conscious about how bare it is to start with.

YS said we're getting spray tans so we don't have that really bare look--which reminds me, there's no way I'm getting spray-tanned the day before the wedding.  Way too close for any color adjustments.  Can't wait to have that conversation.  She's been promising a timeline this weekend but I know she's been cleaning the house and yard like a crazy person in anticipation of the arrival of the future in-laws.  So I guess all conversation is on hold until whenever she gets to it.

In the meantime, the dress is going to the tailor on Wednesday.  I tried it on last week and it is too big on top (surprise, not designed for petite women) and too big in the hips.  But it fits just about exactly in the waist and zips, so, hooray.  I've been working as hard as I can with healthy eating and exercise, but I still hadn't tried on the dress in a month and a half, I was that scared.

And then there's the matter of a good 5" of fabric, pooled on the floor, in spite of the 3" heels on my feet.  I hope this tailor can get it done in time--and more importantly, done right.  I was referred by a bridal shop.  Around here, they won't alter a dress you didn't buy from them, for liability reasons.  So I don't know this person but she used to work for them and left to start her own business.  I talked to her on the phone--heavy accent did not make it easy--but she was nice and I figure since her name is Teresa it's a little gift from St. Therese whose novena I prayed not too long ago.

 It just might take a miracle to get it fixed up right in time.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Good Time Was Had by All, Part I

(All those who showed up, anyway. But more about that later.)

One down, one to go, and then the wedding.  I think I would call the "PA Bridal Shower" a success, overall.

The Prep

I wish I had some photos of the room before everyone entered, but Mom was in charge of photos and unfortunately got stuck at the house waiting for YS and Other Bridesmaid to arrive.  They were caught in some sticky traffic on I-95.  (Which is why I was fretting when YS emailed to say they were coming up the morning of instead of the night before, but what am I going to do, argue with the bride?)  But with the help of our parents and our cousin's (cute pregnant) wife who offered to come early to help, the room looked lovely.

--The room already was decorated with rose-colored walls, and on top of the white linen tablecloths they'd put pink napkins. . . I'd say our unofficial theme was pink and black so that was nice.  Mom and Dad went to a produce place that sold roses in bulk and placed them in some dollar-store glass vases with baby's breath, so each table had at least one vase of pretty pink and white roses.

We also had discussed having some "baby pictures," but hanging things on the walls was prohibited.  The next best thing: framed copies of photos on the tables.  Mom picked a couple recent ones of YS (solo and with YSF) as well as one at age 3 and her 8th grade cheerleading photo.  The only one YS complained about was a Christmas one where her hair looked "choppy."  (Yeah, we didn't see it that way.)  I had leftover "PRINCESS" stickers from the invitations, so I stuck one on each corner. . . the corner that seemed to be coming apart. (They were dollar store frames, after all and in fact one or two had broken at home. Mom was smart and had bought extras.)

There were also some cute/hilarious balloons.

The diamond ring one says, "I do (woo hoo!)"

Those were fun stuffing in the car, taking from car to apartment (it was already 88 degress out), loading back in the car and driving with. Not.  

Was I anxious? Yes.  But at least the cake and balloons got there safely, I had help, and there was friendly staff including my pilates teacher who works at the country club part-time.

I was also a little irritated because in between traffic status texts from YS, I was getting texts from Older Brother stating that our niece was "having a teenager moment" (she's 11! She doesn't get to have "teenager moments" so be a real parent!) but honestly I could not blame the kid.

Her mother decided at the last minute she wasn't going.

Yes, our SIL had our brother call YS (not me, the hostess) the night before to explain she was "too stressed" over her father (had a heart attack weeks ago while they were on vacation) and the home business.  Really, the home business takes up your attention over this?

Who threw her bridal shower? Oh, that's right--my mom, my sister, and I did.

Funny, she wasn't too stressed to be out celebrating her bestie's birthday the week before (evidence: tagged in facebook photos).  

When you're a parent to five kids and you're over 30, you don't have any right or excuse to be this rude and immature. 

I hurt for my sister.  I know she took it graciously, but still she should not have had to.  And I'm hurt.  Because I get the message that doing anything for her husband's family is just too burdensome.  And I know she'll show up at the wedding because her college buddies will be there.  We just do not rate in her eyes.

And we had to spend the party explaining why Niece was there (yes, she relented and our bro dropped her off once he knew I'd give her a ride home) and our SIL wasn't.

Up next: Part II, The Party

Saturday, August 1, 2015

I Know "RSVP" Is in French, but I'm Pretty Sure Everyone Understands It

Like, even my cousin's wife and my uncle's fiancee' who both speak English as a second language--and the first one ain't French--responded as to whether or not they could come.

I even got an email from my cousin who hasn't spoken to most of my family (myself included) in something like 10 years.*

But my SIL, who went on family vacation well after I mailed the invitations, didn't respond.  Not even to my follow-up text.  (But hey, no "Sorry you had to bury your grandfather this week" message either, so. . .)

I finally texted my brother to beg him to ask her for a response, but I'm not expecting a timely response there, either.  Even though I'm pretty sure they're all on the same family vacation (my bro came back for a day for the funeral).

She's not the only one who hasn't responded.

By the official RSVP date of today, I have the count as follows: 

YES = 18 (c0unting myself and the bride)

NO = 10


Phoning some people tomorrow.  Grrrrr.

*No, of course that cousin isn't coming to the shower. Everyone has a family vacation planned for that weekend, I swear.  That said, she mentioned coming to the wedding.  Extremely grateful that I have nothing to do with the seating chart for the reception.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

It's Bridal, It's Brunch-y, It's Something I'm Hosting

Two Fridays ago, Mom and I went to the little country club that hosts many of our church groups' activities--and wedding receptions, actually--and met with the assistant manager.  It turns out her family also belongs to our church and she was a year ahead of our older brother in grade school.  I asked her if she played basketball because that was the only photo of her I remember seeing her in, back when we had yearbooks. (Turns out she also did volleyball and some other sports. Wow.)

Side ramble: Yearbooks went away after a certain point, probably for monetary reasons--or that no one wanted to put one together. Or that, like in this instance which is why I remember it, many people made rude comments about that photo.  She was tall and had muscle--read: not "skinny"--and was on the floor in a split in front of the rest of the team.  I mean, helloooo, notice she can do a freaking split, not that you think she's got "big legs."  Jerks.  Can you tell I hated most of the kids in that school? Somehow I ended up dating one of the only nice ones who is still nice, 20+ years later.  Lucky me.) 

Anyway, here are the details we decided so far.

Room: We're not getting a huge one, as the most we expect to have at the shower would be around 30 women.  But the room has pretty rose-colored walls withiwindows overlooking the club grounds (without, like, golfers wandering and shouting because I think they're farther away or on the other side or something).  We're thinking probably five tables of six chairs at each.  And hey, if we want, we can ask for colored linens. . . but I'm not really into a "let's tie the theme to the wedding's theme" sort of thing, so I opted to keep them white.

Food: Mom and I reviewed the menus and we chose the Brunch Buffet.  Our party starts at noon so why not?  Of course, the first thing I think of when I hear "brunch" is the explanation of it by Marge Simpson's bowling instructor.  (If that didn't make you laugh, you might not be a brunch fan.)  So basically you can get bacon/eggs/fruit/muffins/bagels or you could opt for (also have if you're super hungry) salad/chicken/pasta/veggies.
I was undecided about the cake at the time, and I'm glad I waited to confer with YS, because it turns out she has chosen to remain gluten-free after following doctor's orders for a few months.  (So look forward to a post about my bakery adventures in the near future.)  I'm not getting a huge cake because SO MUCH FOOD ALREADY, but still, who doesn't like the tradition of "Best Wishes" written in icing on a cake?
And finally, because it IS brunch after all, there will be mimosas. In a punch bowl. Yum.

Decorations: As I said, there's not really an official theme. . . but that said, not only am I keeping in mind the whole "American-British union" thing, but I found some fun invitations at the party store and it just clicked with me.  Well, my sister likes shoes a lot, her fiance' is British so he might be royalty (aka "Prince Charming"), and there is absolutely nothing on the invitation that says "birthday"--only "Arrive in Style" above where you write in the details.  And I wrote "Bridal Shower Brunch" over that lettering so the event was clear.

The front says "A Royal Invitation"!

Which is what I had to do, many times over.  And address the envelopes, and print out directions on fancy paper to fold and stuff in them.  I'm not used to all that writing so it surprised me to discover it took me nearly all my spare time over one weekend.

Two things I will not do, as I feel etiquette has spoken strongly about them: Use preprinted labels for guests' addresses (I have silver foil return address labels for me but that's in the interest of space), and include registry information.  The former I won't do because it's impersonal, and the latter is something best left to the guest to decide if she would prefer to choose a gift on her own, or if she wants to use the registry she can ask me when she calls me with her response to the invitation.  No big deal.  But I wouldn't want to make people think they have to buy according to the registry, because that's not right.

(That said, I snapped up all the white bath towels on the registry and am going to attempt a towel cake.  Don't know what possessed me as I am not super-crafty. I figured I could decorate it with princess-y things and paper or silk flowers or sparkles or something.)

I was a little worried how the invitations would be received, but so far I have gotten positive responses.  Yay! (Nothing from YS, however, in spite of the extra glitter stickers on hers.  Hmmm. But she's not one to gush.)

The last decision I made is that we will not be doing games.  I asked my mom if maybe she could copy and print out some cute photos of YS from years back and we'll do something with those--I know we can't hang anything on the walls but maybe something at the tables.  I was thinking of stenciling something on flowerpots to hold flowers for centerpieces, but maybe Mom and I will just cruise the local craft store to get some inspiration.
Within reason, of course.  We're not really "country club people" and this setting is more to make it easier to host and for guests' comfort and convenience.   Sometimes showers are just overboard with DJs and huge meals and hundreds of people.  That just seems for show, and it's just too overwhelming.  This is more of a "just us girls" sort of gathering (as I like to think those Disney princesses do sometimes, hee!), and while it's not super cheap it's not going to be a giant affair.  I did ask that people respond by August 1, and as of right now I have eight who said Yes (counting myself and the bride) and one who said No (our uncle's wonderful girlfriend who is a band leader and--surprise--has a gig at a wedding that day).

I think it will be fun.  Now, I'd better practice making that towel cake. . .


Monday, July 13, 2015

Still Licking Envelopes

Throwing a bridal shower is serious business!  Especially when you're not accustomed to being a hostess.  There are so many details but right now I just want to get the invitations in the mail.  My hands hurt from writing them all out.

Update on the party plans coming this week. . .


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It's Really Happening!

The good news has arrived at last and the wedding will be taking place this Fall!

Already I have noticed a change in YS, more willing to discuss things instead of cutting short any wedding talk (mostly out of frustration that nothing could be planned until they got the go-ahead).  That said, she still wants what she wants and really doesn't want to hear suggestions or recommendations.  O.K., now that I know that, I just have to remind myself to listen and just respond positively.  She's not really asking what I think or for any suggestions--unless she explicitly asks.  

And even then, most likely I'd double-check that's what she wants, before answering.

There is, however, one slight piece of bad news, and it's for me.

I am being "Sixteen-Candled" out of my 40th birthday.*  

What do I mean by that?

If you're familiar with the movie, you know that the poor teenage main character, Samantha, finds that what should have been an exciting milestone birthday for her is being steamrolled by her sister's wedding which is happening at the same time.  Her entire family forgets about it, completely.

On one Sunday in October, I will be reaching a pretty significant milestone. . . and the Saturday of that same week, my sister and her fiance' will be getting married.

I think you can guess which date will have the bigger turnout.  Oh, not that it's a competition; in fact, I tend to have very low expectations for my birthday.  There have been some really bad things that have happened on that particular day of the year--to the point where I'm not sure it's coincidental.  I'm talking about stuff like finding out a friend from high school died, seeing an ex-boyfriend with his new girlfriend (a mutual friend supposedly!) only months after our spectacularly brutal breakup, an unexpected fight between the people who took me out to dinner.  It just appears to be my lot in life.  With birthdays like those, who needs 'em?

So maybe it's best that there's a big event happening the same week.  It just might deflect some of the "bad juju" that tends to come around at that time of the year.  

Or at the very least it will distract me from it!


*Should that be "Forty-Candled"? Sounds like a fire department call waiting to happen. . .