Monday, November 24, 2008

The Ick Factor Part 2

HELP, I am being invaded by cheese!
No, not Brie or Camembert—that’s the kind you eat and enjoy.
I’m talking about the kind that makes you gag because everything just seems too much—got it?
Planning my impending nuptials I have noticed a lot of what I call the ‘‘cheese factor’’.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a little bit of romance but when people starting clinking their champagne glasses every 30 seconds to see the bride and groom share a smooch, it can all get a little too much.
Add to that the Everything I do, I do for you song choices, the Birdy Dance and Macarena line dancing and the releasing of doves or butterflies...it all screams ‘‘cheese’’to me.
Whose bright idea was it to come up with dancing in sync with fellow guests to cheesy songs like the Macarena—or dare I say it, Achy Breaky Heart?
I’m no expert on this matter, but that isn’t my idea of fun, just a form of torture.
Speaking of torture, a couple of weeks I attended a friend’s wedding (no, I’m just kidding it really wasn’t that bad).
The couple, both of European backgrounds, celebrated in style and what I would describe as ‘‘different’’.
Put it this way, an outsider looking in would have wondered what sort of ritual was going on.
Similiar to the Greek wedding I wrote about earlier this year, this wedding had all that and more.
The guest list was 300 plus and the church was a little place that could fit no more than 60 guests.
People were gathered outside the church, unable to get in, while others inside were packed in like sardines.
Inside, the groom, a shy type of guy had a red velvet crown on his head— his blushing bride also had the head piece on.
The ceremony went for more than an hour and included the dance around the altar, the ‘‘times three ritual’’ and a money throwing ceremony.
Yes, you heard right, in the middle of the ceremony guests got up and starting throwing money at the bride and groom and there was no busking in sight.
At the reception there was more money throwing, dancing in circles and a band who were not paid but smacked on the forehead with $100 notes.
Again I reiterate that every wedding is special in its own way and seeing this tradition certainly got me thinking of some of the quirky traditions Ari and Imight pull out of a hat to surprise our
guests.
One thing I know for sure is that it won’t involve cheese of any kind.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The joys of a wedding coordinator.

I had my first wedding disaster last week. Everything has been running relatively smoothly over the course of our engagement so I guess there had to be something to throw a spanner in the works. Regular readers of my column would know I really put my skates on during the past month and have organised a range of things including the cake, invitations and my wedding coordinator. I met with my wedding coordinator last week to discuss the finer details of said event and was assured everything was fine and going as planned. Fast forward to a few hours after the meeting and—surprise—what I had booked with her was actually double booked and therefore no longer available to me. Now I know brides hear of this sort of thing happening all the time but I thought I was actually going to be one of the lucky ones. As it turns out, I’m not, and I have to start again—with the wedding coordinator that is. I did say it was a wedding disaster but maybe I’m being a tad dramatic. Some brides and grooms book venues and months later are given the bad news their venue has been double booked—now that is a nightmare. I couldn’t imagine planning everything according to the venue, sending out invitations and then being told the venue is unavailable —crisis central. This weekend I have another meeting with a different wedding coordinator and unlike the first one, I have already been given confirmation, along with receipts, that what I need for the epic event is all mine on the day— crisis averted. Now I can continue with the more important things like working out what I will be doing for my bachelorette party and no, it does not include me wearing a tiara, veil or anything else brides put on their head— it’s just not me...

We're getting MARRIED!!!!

I started this blog to release some creative energy but as I'm planning my wedding I thought it would be appropriate to share with you the joys and stresses I will experience planning my big day. You see, my fiance, I’ll call him ‘‘Ari’’, proposed to me late last year and although we had been together almost six and a half years, it still took me by surprise. Our family and friends on the otherhand, well apparently they expected it — or so they keep telling me. After announcing our engagement the questions were endless. Everyone wanted to know when it as happening, where it was happening and whether I’d be a Cinderella bride or a modern bride. I still can’t answer those questions but one thing I know for sure is it’s going to be a challenge. Now I’m no bridezilla but with both of us coming from big European families we are looking at an event that could quite possibly hit the 250mark...so let the games begin. Having just attended only my second bridal expo (trust me, there are many more to come) I know there is a lot of work to be done and my first mission is to book my reception and find someone, somewhere, who will feed the masses. Any suggestions?

Questions, questions!

It has been a busy couple of weeks in my wedding world and I’m already tired of listening to the sound of my voice – it goes a little something like this. “We are looking for somewhere to fit 250people. “No we are not sure if we will have a sitdown, cocktail or buffet style menu. “No we haven’t come up with a theme yet...do we really have to right this minute?” It seems the questions are endless and I should have a pre-recorded message on me every timeI’m asked something. You see the last two weeks have been focused on finding a venue to hold this mighty soiree and let me tell you it’s been no easy feat. But nevertheless Ari and I have now finally narrowed it down to two places - one a little more formal and the other, a little more relaxed with gorgeous views. I’m hoping we go with the latter but only time will tell. Now we’ll spend the next two weeks weighing up the pros and cons and working out what will best suit our needs. The reception is where our guests will spend the majority of their time so making it extra special will surely leave a lasting impression. I’m hoping to create something different, a little classy and timeless and between the two I’m sure this will be achieved. The task now is to bite the bullet and make the decision, oh and choose the caterer, pick the dress and choose a theme. Oh no, here we go again with all the questions, where’s that damn tape recorder.

A Greek tradition

Ari and I attended our first traditional Greek wedding at the weekend. It was a momentous occasion and one we both had been looking forward to for a long time. It was something neither of us had seen or been to before and after last week’s column about ceremonies and receptions I thought it would be nice to touch on how different one’s special day can really be. It went something like this. A two-hour ceremony, although in this case it was a mere 45 minutes (a fraction in comparison). Guests are not allowed to sit down unless told to do so by the priest, in our case this meant we stood for the entire time. Women are not allowed to wear pants to church or cross their legs, sort of like the peg game women play at hens’ nights. And lastly everything is done in threes including the exchanging of the rings, the crown ceremony and the final dance which takes place around the altar (yes, all of this happened in the one ceremony). The one thing that caught me by surprise however, was the verbal communication between the bride and groom – there was none. No vows, no loving glances, no “I do” and definitely no “you may now kiss the bride”. Everything that was said came from the priest while the bridal party and we the guests looked on. Coming from a very vocal family, I’m not sure I could do this myself but I have to say it was a nice change to see something different. The reception on the other hand was pretty much the same as all the others we have attended – a big celebration, but this time there was a lot of Zorba dancing and plate smashing too. It really does go to show there are different ways to celebrate the big day. It’s now high time I worked out exactly how to celebrate mine!

A little surprise.

The past two weeks have been extremely busy for Ari and me. We’ve had family come from overseas and juggling that with organising the important parts of the wedding has been a bit of a struggle, but needless to say I cannow cross off two big items on my ‘to do’ list. We have finally booked the church and we now have a venue for the reception. The church was the easy bit, the reception, well that’s another story. After much consideration and a lot of scoping of menus we have settled on a place that suits both our budget and our needs. The view is gorgeous, the venues pacious and the staff, ever obliging — what more could we ask? Now with that out the way it’s time to think of a theme and how traditional or modern we want to go. I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve so it’s just a matter of working out what best works with our personalities and trust me, Ari and I sit on either end of the scales when it comes to that. He’s a little too relaxed for my liking and I’m a stress-head who likes things to run smoothly, so imagine my dilemma.Oh well, it’s nothing a little push and a shove won’t fix. Speaking of shoving, last week I received my first wedding gift from my future sister-in-law. She summoned me to her room and proudly presented me with an organza bag. “Enjoy it,” she said, shoving it into my hand. Not sure what to expect, I opened it slowly and found a pair of white, lacyknickers with an unexpected veil attached. “What’s this?” I asked. “Use your imagination,” she replied. “Oh, I get it,” I said. Something tells me this bride-to-be is in for a few more surprises along the way.

The dress!

Love is definitely in the air at my work place. Since I announced my engagement in December three more loved up couples have decided to tie the knot—one in our administration department, one in sales and one in our editorial department. Speaking for myself though I can say my plans are running along nicely, so where do I begin? We have booked the photographer, chosen and ordered the bridesmaids’ dresses—and I bought my dress. Notice how I kept you waiting on that bit of information. That’s right, the most important part of the a bride’s day is the dress, and that too is now taken care of. I bought it a few weeks ago after initially trying it on in January. I know this may seem early but these things can take up to a year to get in— hence the hurry. So I tried it on in January along with about 10 other styles ranging from the sleek and simple to the marshmallow kind. Lo and behold, it was the last one I tried and the one I’ve had my eyes on since he put the sparkler on my finger. A lot has been asked about the gown in question and tempting as it may be to gush about it all day long, this is one thing I’m keeping to myself— everything else in due time people ...

The dress, the humiliation!

There is nothing funnier than trying out wedding gowns with a bunch of girlfriends. It is a memorable experience. I already have my gown and got to try it on in front of my bridesmaids and my mum and have to say it is one of the most humiliating things women have to go through in life. Sound a tad dramatic? Let me explain. The sales assistant takes you into the change room, strips you down— note to self, wear appropriate undies — and then puts a calico bag over your head. So picture this—or not—me, underwear, calico bag over my head, wearing white hand gloves a la Michael Jackson in Thriller days. I could laugh about it as I helped one of my colleagues buy her dream dress. I jumped at the chance to help her choose her dress and like me, she too went through the humiliating process that is wedding dress shopping. ‘‘We are only going to have a look,’’ she said. ‘‘No problem, whatever you want—it’s your dress,’’ I replied. In we walked with ideas and budgets, ready to take on any sales assistant who approached. ‘‘Try on a few,’’ I said. ‘‘It will give you an idea what you want and don’t want.’’ ‘‘OK,’’ she said. ‘‘I may as well, seeing we made the effort to come.’’ She walked into the change room and I could tell she was mentally preparing herself for what came next. Just as I predicted, in walked the sales assistant ready to pop the dress on as my colleague was standing there in her undies. I could tell she was worried, but whether that was because I could see her or because she knew she would be the butt of all my jokes for the next few months was another question— pardon the pun. In short, yes, we need help trying on these gowns, some of which are big, tight and hard to get into, but if there is another way we can do this and salvage our dignity, please let me know. Until then I will be more than happy to offer my services to any other brides-to-be ready to face the daunting task—any takers?

Decisions, decisions.

I've had trouble sleeping lately. There are just over seven months to go until the big day and I think I’m starting to freak out. Last night I had a dream I was getting ready and the dress was too big— disaster numero uno. Secondly, I got to church and there was nobody there—very strange. Lastly I arrived at the reception and nothing had been set up—a bride’s worst nightmare. See the pattern formulating here — is this all because my plans have come to a sudden halt and I really need to get a move on? I think so, and this week I’m on a mission to change all that and get as much planned as possible. Wedding coordinator—tick, invitations—tick, cake shop—tick. What comes next? That’s right, dj, video man, accessories, transport and flowers. See my dilemma? There is still so much to do when planning a wedding of epic proportions — not my idea of fun by the way, it is just the sort of thing that happens when both parties are from big European families. It seems there are so many people to look after, and so many little things that are easy to forget, for instance RSVPs and seating arrangements. Uncle John does not get along with Uncle Joe, swap them around and oh yes, that’s right, Uncle John does not eat chicken or fish unless he knows where it was caught and what sort of fish it is.See what I mean? Hard work. Now don’t get me wrong, I love our families, but sometimes it would be nice, not to mention cheaper, to take off somewhere exotic like Los Cabos, Mexico and just elope. Me in white strapless dress, sans heels, and Ari in a shirt and shorts, sounds like my idea of a dream wedding, pure bliss. Oh yeah, that’s right, I am dreaming, time to snap out of it and get a move on and organise those flowers. Now where was I? Roses, lilies or tulips? Decisions, decisions...

The Chief

Last week I met with my bridesmaids to work out their accessories, hairstyles and shoes. My chief bridesmaid, who also happens to be my older sister — let’s just call her ‘‘Chief’’ — is very laid back. She is always late, has no sense of urgency and thinks everything can wait until later. Some people have even suggested that rather than me being late for the wedding, we will be waiting for her. So picture this...I’ve planned a day of shopping with the ladies and I’m ready to tick some more things off my list. I ring my bridesmaids to confirm the 11am appointment only to be told by ‘‘Chief’’ that she has nothing confirmed for the day and is actually going in to work to get some extra cash for our upcoming Singapore holiday. For starters, do you know how hard it is to get four full-time working women over the age of 18 together — it’s extremely hard work. One bridesmaid works for an airline and does shift work, the other works full-time as well as weekends, the third works full-time and is a student and me, well, that’s another story. To have ‘‘Chief’’ casually tell me she is going in to work to earn extra cash and does not have anything confirmed in her diary does not make for a very happy bride-to-be! As it turns out she was able to knock off at lunch-time and meet us in the city and although we did not get far on the accessory, shoe and hairstyle front, I did buy my dream shoes. I’d seen them the week before and needed a second opinion. The minute I put them on I knew they were the
ones and so did everyone else — they were perfect and I could tick another thing off my list. Now I just have to arrange another day out with the girls to get them sorted. This weekend’s out, ‘‘Chief’’ is going in to work — again...
!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The experts

THE bridal industry is ruthless, so I've come to learn.
Do it this way, no you can't do it that way; it's got to be done like this seems to be the common theme resonating in my head.
Last month I took a week off to organise the last few things on my list.
It felt good crossing them off but the process was oh so painful.
Little things you would not even think about kept creeping up in conversations with suppliers and I guess they are the experts so they know what's right -I hope.
Organising the flowers was simple.
The florist, a personal friend of mine was ever so helpful and even suggested I talk to the reception people to find out their rules and regulations on what you can and cannot have in the reception area.
I know it may sound strange but believe it or not that very helpful piece of advice saved me a lot of money and stress.
What I wanted as my table centrepieces turned out to be a big no go at this wedding venue so lucky I didn't ignore said florist's advice and go ahead with the whole plan.
She would have looked a little silly turning up with 25 floral arrangements only to be shunned and turned away.
So this is where my problem lies, how are we brides-to-be supposed to know what is ok and what is not?
Obviously you ask questions, but when something as simple as a table centrepiece causes you grief it makes you wonder what other silly things could go wrong.
Speaking of silly things, Ari and I met with our DJ the other night to talk all things wedding entertainment.
Again it was another eye-opener with me and Ari questioning our nuptial plans.
Ari and I are not your typical Shania Twain, Leeanne Rimes or Celine Dion fans so picking a song outside this playlist might prove a little difficult.
Going through the extensive list was like sifting through mud, songs like Grease megamix
and Dancing Queen just didn't fit into the jazzy, soulful music plan we were hoping for.
My DJ however, has assured me that a happy medium between the two is what will work best and who am I to disagree, he is the expert after all - right?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm new at this people!

Working in the publishing industry is a good thing. I love it - it's my dream job. Lately though I've felt the need to express myself just that little bit more. Yeah there's FACEBOOK - my latest addiction and yeah there's news, there's always news but I feel like I need to get a little creative. Now I'm from the dark ages so when a friend suggested I start a blog, I was like, a what the!!!Hence the title of this post.....All this computer stuff scares the bejeezes out of me. Did I press the right button, will the pic upload and why the heck did it not save mmmh. Really all I want is an outlet where I can just play and write about things that amuse me and interest me. These include my three F's Fashion, Food and Footy....and yes I mean all at the same time. I'm also planning my big Portuguese/Italian wedding so if you have any advice drop me an email, I'd love to hear from you!
Belle xox

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