Friday Rant: Bridesmaid Dresses

Ah bridesmaid dresses. Those traditionally hideous things that “you can totally wear again.” As if. Typically, bridesmaid dresses are formal. Very formal. Like Homecoming dance formal. Since high school, have you found yourself in a situation requiring a gown of satin or taffeta? Most likely not. So why should you drop $150 on a dress that you have no need for? Because the bride said so? Do you even like it? What’s that? It’s an awful shade of orange? Oh it had to be that color to match the tablecloths and napkins and centerpieces and flowers? Are you an accessory? No? You’re a person you say! It doesn’t sound like it. You’re wearing identical dresses in the same shade as the table settings  while you stand next to the bride. You’re a stage decoration.

In an effort to not be a demanding bride, I thought I would let my girlfriends have a say. I know some of you out there will suggest that I have them buy whatever dress they want in a certain color. You can read here why I opted not to go that route. I decided for financial considerations to go through Little Borrowed Dress for bridesmaid dresses. Basically, just like a tux, you rent the dress and return it when you are finished. The goal of the company is to eliminate the words “you could totally wear it again” from bridal vocabulary. The dresses are pretty, comfortable, fairly casual, and flattering. They have a few styles in lots of colors. My idea was for my friends to pick whatever dress in whatever shade of green they wanted. So I sent them the greens: mint, sage, and dark green.

The reaction I got was not what I expected, and it threw me a bit. More than one said “mint if it’s a daytime wedding otherwise the dark green.” Like there are some sort of unspoken, rigid rules on what colors you can wear. It’s not the 1890’s, we wear white after Labor Day here. Another said that, “I think  if we are all having different dress styles you should pick one color.” It’s almost as if they didn’t want choices. I personally don’t really care. I don’t view my friends as stage props. If they are there for me and supportive, they could be naked and it wouldn’t phase me. Okay maybe that would be a little inappropriate. Maybe a bathing suit. But it threw me off because it came off as superficial. I wanted them to have fun with it. To pick something they liked, not to try to adhere to some industry standards. I guess I should have explained my stance on wedding details beforehand.

 

Friday Rant: Wedding Diets

We have all heard it before. Your wedding is the biggest day of your life. Everything has to be perfect. Especially you, the bride. One of the first things on the majority of wedding planning checklists is “Start a wedding workout routine.” I take issues with this on a couple of levels. First, this suggests that you are trying to become someone else on your wedding day. I’m all for getting healthy and incorporating exercise into your life but I firmly believe that it’s something to be pursued for its innate benefits, not so you can look hot for one day. I ignore this list item because diet and exercise are part of my daily routine, something I make time for to stay healthy both physically and mentally. And as much as I am an advocate of healthy food and exercise, it’s not part of everyone’s personality and values. If INSANITY workouts aren’t your cup of tea or if you have a routine that works for you but are naturally curvier you shouldn’t try to change the way you are to look nice in pictures.

Second, obsession with one’s waistline can lead to some extremely unhealthy habits. Especially if you are trying to drop weight rapidly. Take this woman who used a feeding tube to lose 10 lbs. in 8 days. That’s horrifying. The majority of fad diets “guaranteed” to make you lose weight quickly don’t necessarily make you healthy. The only real way to improve health and aid in weight loss is healthy diet and consistent exercise. And it’s not a fast process. If you’re making lifestyle changes to lose weight in a healthy way, you can only expect to lose 0.5-1 lb. a week. So if you’re trying to drop 15 lbs. it would take about 4 months. In my own experience, I lost 15 lbs. in a whopping 8 months.

Getting in shape is a huge undertaking and it is not something to be treated as a side note in your wedding planning. If you want to lose weight and get healthy, more power to you. But it should be for you, not for some pretty pictures in a slinky dress.

Friday Rant: Pinterest

Here’s quite a beast to tackle. Pinterest. The platform on which 20 something women plan their fantasy weddings. A collection of people who appear to be simultaneously crafty and pretty good photographers because damn, there are a lot of dramatic photos of hands making paper flowers.

Despite having a Pinterest account myself, I am not really a fan. This is due to the pressure it puts on women to make their weddings (and their lives) “Pinterest-worthy” when in reality they will probably just end up being a Pinstrosity. I look at the Pinterest board that my girlfriend has going for my own wedding and it stresses me out a little bit. Like really, I don’t necessarily want to deal with light canopies and candles and creative escort cards and decorations in general. I have more of an attitude of “stick some flowers in a mason jar and get on with the party.” I think Pinterest cultivates this idea that you need to have cute homemade favors and hand crafted centerpieces and flower balls (fleurtesticals?) hanging from the trees swaying gently in the wind. Pinterest places an inappropriate amount of emphasis on how your wedding looks rather than how your wedding feels. A wedding is not about having the prettiest centerpieces, it’s about celebrating the start of a marriage with the people you love most and having a damn good time doing it.

So a disclaimer on my own Pinterest endeavors. When I first joined Pinterest I saw it as a productivity tool. My initial board was ideas for decorating my sweetheart’s apartment. It was easy to have everything visually in one spot. I also have a board with the clothes from my Project 333 challenge. My own wedding board is more of a collection of bookmarks for websites, vendors, logistics, and a few crafty things thrown in. There is some inspiration thrown in and a lot of crafted flowers because initially I wanted to save money on flowers by making a bunch of paper flowers instead. I don’t really participate in the social side of Pinterest (spending hours browsing other people’s pins, re-pinning, “liking,” etc.), I just like it better than the bookmarks bar in Google Chrome. It’s has a nice visual interface that I like and that’s the extent of it.

Friday Rant: Transportation???

Okay so I was flipping through a bridal magazine last night and came across something in their “to do” lists that baffled me. It told me I needed to “provide transportation” to my wedding, and “rent a party bus or limo” to get our guests to the ceremony and reception.

What on earth happened on the way to weddings that suddenly we need to rent party buses to get our guests to a previously agreed upon location??? I mean, maybe it’s because I live in a driving city but the majority of the people I know have a functioning car. And generally when I go to any sort of event you just kind of, you know, drive there. Suddenly I’m expected to pay $125 an hour so what? People can drive somewhere to have a bus take them somewhere else? And for those out of town guests, well we have family and friends in from out of town all the time and they never seem to have a problem getting around the city.

Yeah, let’s put grandma in the bus with the stripper pole…

Friday Rant: Budget Savers

I know, it’s been a while since I got a good rant in. Work has been chaos these past few weeks, so I haven’t had enough time to think! But today we are going to talk about something that really pisses me off: the budget saver.

Allow me to explain. With the average American wedding costing approximately $28,000 lots of people are out there looking for ways to save some money, myself included. And the advice from every single google result is the same: cut the guest list.

I think that’s the worst advice ever. Yes, you should only have people there that you really want to share the day with you, but that number is not always going to be small. For instance, Tristan has a very large family. I know quite a few of them very well and adore them and I couldn’t imagine them not being there for this momentous occasion (especially since Tristan is the oldest grandchild and the first to get married, his family is already excited and we don’t even have a date). Well with just his family that’s like 75 people already.

This page here is a glaring example of how kind of messed up this is. If you didn’t read it, the gist of it is summed up as

  • Splurge on: dress, hair/makeup, photographer, food
  • Save on: Flowers, guest list, bar, wedding favors

The implication here is that your single use dress and the food you serve is more important than the company you keep. And we all know how I feel about wedding dresses. I don’t know about you, but I would rather celebrate with everyone I love and naked in the middle of nowhere than have to exclude people that I would have wanted there a so I could wear a fancy dress. As for food, you don’t have to spend an obscene amount so everyone can have a fine dining experience. Especially if there are kids. What foods does pretty much anyone like? Pizza? Hot wings? Tacos? None of those things cost a lot and I doubt anyone worthwhile would complain about a delicious taco bar.

Friday Rant: Wedding Cakes

*This is not a real cake

Okay so I might be biased on this one because I’m not a huge fan of cake/sweets in general, but I just don’t get wedding cakes. It seems like people act like the cake is THE most important thing. The centerpiece of the wedding. Has to match the theme/color scheme and such. Guys, it’s a cake. The idea is you eat it. I promise you that regardless of how beautiful you’re ephemeral little $600 3-tiered cake is, it’s going to look the same as a $50 Costco cake at the end of the day (post-digestion). Not to mention once you call it a “wedding” cake they mark the price up.

And get this, people are getting fake cakes now. Like they have a cake made out of artificial material with a little segment of real cake for the “cake-cutting ceremony” (which I also don’t understand). Do you really care so much about how your cake looks that you’re sacrificing the functionality of a cake (remember, cake is for eating…?) in order to have the perfect beautiful wedding cake. Aaahhhh it’s like Frankenstein’s monster and it’s totally creepy and TOTALLY superficial.

Yeah, for some reason the concept of wedding cakes weirds me out even more than spending $2000 on a dress. I don’t see the reason for the expense, and I think it would be much cooler to make and decorate my own cake. I actually used to be a cake decorator, so I can totally do it! Or since I’m not much of a baker (just a decorator) maybe someone can bake it for me and I’ll make it pretty. Or I’ll make it from a box. Honestly the best cake I’ve ever had is melted ice cream cake with cream cheese frosting.

Friday Rant: Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties

Disclaimer: This entry uses strong language. Proceed at your discretion. I promise it’s worth it 😉

Okay, let me start off by saying that apparently bachelorette is apparently not a real word. Spell check flagged me for bachelorette, but not bachelor or, funny enough, spinster. So apparently spell check is sexist. Fuck you spell check, Merriam-Webster says bachelorette is totally a word.

Anyways, last summer I had the pleasure of going to Las Vegas for the first time in my life. It’s not an experience I’d care to repeat as I’m neither a fan of clubs nor gambling. When we were there, I observed that approximately 87% of the people we encountered there were groups of a dozen men or women celebrating an individual’s bachelor/bachelorette party. There is a weird pressure around these gatherings. It’s like a combination of a weekend pass to free infidelity immediately before your nuptials (which is fucking weird) and an attempt to out-party everyone else like you’re never going to have fun again.

Not to mention how obnoxious they are. Waiting to check into our hotel, we encountered a large group of woo girls parading through the lobby and shouting “wooooooooo!” every 12 seconds. It was quite literally the most ANNOYING thing I have ever experienced in my life. Not to mention the brides all acting like they’re some sort of diva, wearing an expensive white clubbing dress and a sash and a crown and thinking they’re hot shit. Look around sweetie, you’re one of 1500 brides here in Vegas this weekend. Getting married doesn’t make you special, lots of people do it. Being together after 50 years, now that’s fucking special. Come back then and throw a party celebrating your awesomeness. And on top of the affianced expects their attending friends to cough up a bunch of cash for a trip they may or may not want to go on. Because if they don’t then clearly they aren’t a good friend.

I think the bachelor(ette) party culture is really damaging to the institution of marriage in two ways. One, there is this idea that it’s totally okay to cheat on your soon-to-be spouse because “it was the bachelor party maaaaan, no big deal.” It is a big deal. Infidelity is NEVER acceptable. Besides, what a horrible way to start your marriage? Oh hey honey, I might have slept with a stripper in Vegas the week before we got married. No. Get that shit out of here. Second, the bachelor(ette) party is structured like it’s the last opportunity for the bride or groom to have fun before they’re chained down to the shackles of marriage. Way to take something beautiful and wonderful and turn it into something to be avoided and dreaded.

Meanwhile, I’m gonna go drink wine at California Adventure and ride the Pirates of the Caribbean over and over and over again. Hell yeah.

This is not my passion

If you didn’t know already, I work as a quality control analyst at a pharmaceutical company. When I was earning my chemistry degree, I knew I never wanted to work in industry. Specifically, I knew I never wanted to work in pharmaceuticals. More specifically I never wanted to work in quality control. And yet somehow I ended up here.

That somehow was this: as an undergrad in 2009, the ice cream shop I was working at went out of business. Well being a poor college student trying to put myself through school, I needed something. My professor sent my resume to this pharmaceutical company that was seeking interns. I got the internship, and worked 10-12 hours during the week and 40 hours during holiday breaks. After I graduated I had $200 to my name and $30K in student loan debt and I was starting graduate school. So I continued at the company as an hourly part-time employee while trying to balance graduate classes.

A month in, I dropped out of grad school. I was pursuing a 1-year intensive teaching credential/M.Ed. program that was going to require me to commit my daytime hours to student teaching, a schedule conflict with my paid employment. I needed money. I had no other way to make rent. And quite frankly I was burnt out on school. As an undergrad I had forfeited all of my breaks, Spring Break, Summer Break, Christmas Break, everything to research and internships in order to make enough money to pay for rent and gas and to get some experience. I needed a break from having every minute of my day dedicated to working and studying.

So my company offered me a full-time job. Benefits, 401K, the whole deal. For a while it was great. I had enough money to make all of those purchases I had put off. A car to replace my gas guzzling monster that was on its last leg. An iPod. A haircut. A full tank of gas. Food that wasn’t from a can. My body healed. I dropped 15 lbs. I cut out coffee and energy drinks. I reduced my drinking by 80%. I got massages twice a month to finally work out all of those knots I had acquired over four years of tediously maintaining school/work/life balance. I started taking yoga classes once a week. My head cleared, and my life slowed waaaaay down.

And then after a year things weren’t so shiny. Office politics became more visible. All of the other departments hired while we downsized. The expansion of the rest of the company increased our workloads. And my projects became tedious. Every misstep, every failure meant a pile of paperwork. If anyone has worked in quality, you know it’s a bureaucratic nightmare. Dozens of volumetric flasks (pictured above) kept me company. My desire to teach resurfaced. I found it harder to relate to my peers in industry when my heart was in academia.

So in 3 months and 2 days, I’m leaving my job. Tristan and I are going to Idaho for a week to enjoy the company of family, friends, and the Sawtooth Mountains. And then I am going to graduate school.

Friday Rant: Say No to the Dress

Okay this one has always bugged the shit out of me. Wedding dresses: the single use, completely impractical, totally way too expensive, and for some reason absolutely indispensable part of a wedding. The average cost of a wedding dress is $1,100 dollars.  Let’s break it down logically and see why that doesn’t even make sense:

  1. You will never never ever wear this dress again. Seriously. It’s beautiful no doubt, but when will you ever again be in a situation where you can wear something like this: 
  2. They’re not comfortable. Most of them wear like a corset and how the heck are you supposed to navigate a mile-long train? And seriously, do you know what corsets do to your body?

    This. It does this.

  3. You want to spend $700 preserving the dress for your hypothetical future daughter? One, wedding dresses are HUGE. That is going to be dragged from place to place every time you move, then sit in a closet somewhere collecting dust for like 30 years. On top of that, this is what our mothers wore when they got married:  How do you think your daughter is going to feel about your dress?
  4. It’s one day. I don’t even spend more than $30 on a pair of jeans I wear for years. Why on earth would I spend thousands on a dress I will wear for less than a day?

And about that teary aha moment you have when you find The One. That’s called marketing. The One? Really? Do you really want to lump your wonderful partner-who-you-love-more-than-anything-into-the-world-and-want-to-spend-everyday-of-the-rest-of-your-life with in the same category as a single use inanimate impractical item of clothing? Just sayin’.

As for me, this is my dress:

At least I can wear it to the symphony or something.

Friday Rant: Registries

I’m thinking of doing a Friday Rant series. Seeing as I pretty much detest everything related to the Wedding Industrial Complex, I’ve got lots of ammunition. So in honor of today’s post on “I Just Want It To Be Perfect,” I will be ranting about wedding registries.

First, I think wedding registries are outdated. Sure it made sense to register for housewares 60 years ago when people were moving straight from the family home/university dorms/bachelor pad into cohabitation and a shiny new unfurnished house. But please tell me, when was the last time you went to a wedding for people who had never lived on their own. Regardless of whether you have been “living in sin” or not, chances are the parties being wed already have homes with blenders and wine glasses and towels and bedsheets. Why on earth would you need MORE of these things?

So I definitely prefer the idea of a honeymoon fund instead of gifts. Rather than cluttering up the newlywed’s most likely small apartment, why not contribute a lasting memory they might otherwise been unable to afford? Or contributing to saving for a down payment on a house? That’s something practical! I hate giving/receiving gifts where you’re all like, “Oh wow… uh… thanks!” and pretend excited because then everyone just feels crappy. Or writing fake enthusiastic thank you cards. Cash is never a bad gift. Ever. It doesn’t show thoughtlessness, it shows you actually care about what the recipient would want. And you’re not cluttering up their life with unneeded “gifts” they feel like they can’t get rid of without offending you.

As for those detractors of things like Honeyfund or cash gifts (see the God-awful The Knot Etiquette boards), y’all can just f*ck off. If you’re hell-bent on giving a gift out of propriety rather than from a place of caring and unconditional love for your friend/family member/tribal deity/whatever then just DON’T BOTHER. I would rather have nothing than a resentful “I did it because I had to” gift.

Besides, Emily Post doesn’t give a sh*t.