Category Archives: bridal shower

in which planning does not occur in a vacuum

Hey. Hey there. Long time, uh, long time no write.

So I was digging around in the admin area of this blog recently (don’t ask) and came across this draft post from May of 2010. That… was a long time ago! But… it was practically a finished post! That I never got around to publishing! So that’s fun.

You know what’s even more fun than an unpublished post? A published post.

So here it is. Taking you back to the pre-bridal-shower days in three, two, one


My mom called me up the other day. She had some urgent bridal shower business to talk about. I put on my frowny face and readied myself for a serious discussion.1

Wanna know what we talked about? Are you sure? Get ready….

Plates.

“Maria,2” she said. “What about the dishes and utensils for the picnic lunch?”

“What about them?” I asked, dumbly.

“I am worried the plates you get won’t be heavy duty enough for the food,” she said.

“Uh…” I had no idea what to say to this.

“Because you don’t want the plates to start bending or folding from the weight of the food,” she explained.

“I can… I mean, I can make sure to get some heavy-duty ones,” I mumbled lamely, grasping at straws.

“But you don’t know what kind of food you’re having yet,” she reminded me, stridently. We had already established that she is Worried That I Haven’t Thought About The Food. And now the Plates. My God, will someone please think of the Plates?

Can I take a moment to point out that he bridal shower is over two months away.

plates
Okay, well maybe I would pay extra if the plates looked like THIS. // Image credit paperchase.co.uk via Pinterest

“Have you thought about the color of the napkins?”

Yes, mom. The color of the napkins will be black, in honor of my cynical shower-planning heart.

No, I have to confess, I haven’t thought about any of these bridal shower details. None of them. Not a whit. Because for some crazy reason I was convinced it was as simple as going down to the local Whole Foods, looking in the glass case, pointing out some nice-looking edibles, and paying for them. Then, I’d go and pick out some sturdy-looking plates, utensils, and napkins with an eye toward price, not color.  Then I’d take all my stuff home and put it out on tables at the bridal shower and everyone would dutifully chow down on the grub and proceed to throw away the hand-selected plastic kitchenware and then we’d all, somehow, some way, move on with our lives.

But not my mom. My mom has Thoughts. She has Worries. She has Issues. She has Plans.

Plans about Plates. Plate plans.

And you know what? Sometimes, you just have to play along. Because even though you and your partner are the only ones getting married, you’re not the only ones involved. And the people involved frequently have different priorities than you do.

Sometimes you have to let things go.

Sometimes, you just have to think of the plates.


1 My mother can detect mockery long-distance.

2 She calls me Maria sometimes. No, Maria is not my given name. I’ve learned in these situations that it’s best not to ask.

mush

I am not a sentimental person by nature. Even when commercials with heartrendingly cute kittens come on the television, I try my level best to remain stoic. That’s just the way I’ve always been. But during the bridal shower there was, um, an incident.

At the very end of the gift-unwrapping session, my mom slipped me two packages. The first package contained a funky yellow vase to be used for the table centerpieces at the wedding. The second package was mysteriously long and shallow. I carefully lifted the lid and proceeded to be ten kinds of confused. It was a… necklace? With plastic animal print beads? But some of the beads had… words on them?

I lifted the necklace out of the box to get a better look, and everybody else said, “Ohhhh!” They were very good at that, actually. It’s like they had practiced in advance. I had begun to believe I could pull a half-eaten tangerine out of a gift bag and the entire party would make noises like I’d just scratched off the final number of the winning Lotto ticket.

But they all said, “Ohhhh!” and I had just begun murmuring politely about it being a very lovely necklace when I suddenly realized that there was a word on one side of every bead, and the words spelled something out. I found the starting bead and began to read aloud:

“My shower gift to you is your choice of a necklace to wear with your wedding gown.”

They’d made this, my mom and dad. It had been my dad’s idea to begin with.* They’d gotten the beads from Micheal’s and printed up the words on little clear round stickers and built the damn thing themselves.

I was a jellied, damp-eyed mess.

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* Which, knowing my dad, is a minor miracle in itself. His skills do not lie in the delicate arts. The one time he tried to make a cake, he was bending over the oven checking to see if it was done and he burned himself on the pan, causing him to shout, “Ow! This baking shit is hard!” To this day, I cannot bake anything without being reminded of that quote.

while i’m on the subject

Listen. I have to come completely clean with you. The wine stoppers? Those weren’t the only DIY I tried. I’m sorry, OK? I wasn’t going to say anything about it, but it’s just that we’ve come to trust each other. I felt I had to tell you… that I also dabbled in tiered dessert stands.

I’ll give you a moment.

No doubt you’ve already seen a version of a DIY dessert stand tutorial floating around the wedding interwebs. Still, in order to help us all heal, I need to talk it through. So I’m gonna tell you, step by step, how I did it.

  1. First, get some plates and glasses. My glasses came from a thrift store. Plus 20 points! But I bought the plates new from World Market. CONVENIENCE PURCHASE ALERT! Minus 1,937 points. Am already flunking DIY school, and I’ve barely begun.
  2. Go the hardware store and buy some goop. Plumber’s Goop. This is different from Plumber’s Crack, which can also be found at the hardware store, provided you are vigilant enough.*
  3. Lay out all your supplies. Ed. note: Glass of booze not pictured.
  4. Play with your supplies. How do you want the glasses oriented? Up? Down? How do you want the plates stacked? Do you feel that the general themes of nineteenth century Russian literature are relevant to today’s society? Don’t you like popsicles?
  5. Eat some leftover frosting.
  6. OK! Here’s the key part: Slather goop all around the top and bottom rims of your glass. Place the glass onto the plate so that it’s centered. Ed. note: Your perception of “centered” may vary depending on the number of glasses of booze heretofore employed.
  7. Carefully set the middle plate on top of the glass.
  8. Slather goop onto the second glass, and repeat the centering thing. Finish with the final plate. Contemplate your troubled relationship with that Ke$ha song “TiK ToK.” Attempt to salvage your indie street cred by vociferously announcing to all in the room, including people you converse with on the phone who may hear it on in the background, that you’re only listening to it “ironically.”
  9. Remember that you have no indie street cred.
  10. OK, good. Now, do not move the dessert stand! Give it 24 hours to finish drying. Which means that you probably shouldn’t have built the stand right there on the dining room table, from which the stand is now emanating fumes. Whoops. Ed. note: That headache eventually goes away.

That’s it! You now have a lovely tiered dessert stand that you can use to display your favorite treats again and again, until the end of time, or at least until it shatters in the car on the way to your party while your mother is holding it in her lap. Seriously. The stems of the glasses just snapped right in half. Utterly destroyed before it even saw its first cupcake.

*throwing hands in the air*

IN SUMMARY: DIY AND I DO NOT GET ALONG. I have subsequently quit DIY and am currently in a 12-step recovery program.

Let us never speak of this again.

THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.

_______________________________________________

* Ask for Earl.

DIY hates me, and so can you

Far be it from me to turn this into a “DIY tutorial” blog but, um. That’s what I’m doing today.

See, I made these favors for the bridal shower? They were wine bottle corks. This is pretty much what they looked like when they were done:

I’m going to tell you how I made ’em. In all the gritty, sweaty, unholy* detail. Are you ready? Good. Let’s begin.

  1. The inspiration came when I was browsing an Etsy shop and saw these wine stoppers fashioned from antique knobs. I died, because HOLY BALLSMOKE I was planning on doing a WINE TASTING for the bridal shower, and HOW CUTE AND APPROPRIATELY THEMATIC IS THAT, RIGHT??? The only problem was, they were selling for about $30.** “You know what?” I said to myself. “I bet I could make these much more cheaply. I bet it would be easy.”
  2. In case you are not already hearing an ominous soundtrack in your head, permit me to set the mood: DUN DUN DUN DUNNNN.
  3. I did some research to figure out just how easy making wine stoppers might be. I found one tutorial that was basically like, “Buy corks. Buy knobs. Drill holes in the corks with an electric drill. Screw the knobs into the corks.” What. The. Hell. I could do that in my sleep! Sold.
  4. I went out and bought some drawer knobs from Anthropologie. Oh sure, Anthro can be spendy, but by digging through the sale bins I was able to keep things on the side of reasonably priced. I brought a friend and she helped me pick out a unique knob for every person attending the shower. Then we went for drinks immediately afterwards, because shopping is hard and hurts my soul.
  5. Time to order corks! I even did some research on cork quality and went for a natural cork over a synthetic or agglomerated cork. I treat my peeps right!
  6. I have all my materials four months in advance! I am whip-smart. I am prepared. Call me Martha, bitches.
  7. Three and a half months go by.
  8. Two weeks before the shower, I arranged a wine-stopper-making night. I pre-charged the battery on the cordless electric drill and everything. I pulled out the corks to try them in a wine bottle and… they didn’t fit. At all. SHIT SHIT SHIT. See, I’d gotten these straight corks that can only be inserted into a bottle via a corker. Um. Right.
  9. Turns out I needed tapered cork stoppers. Turns out that tapered corks only come in predetermined widths and lengths ranging from 0000 to 20, and then 22, 24, 26, and 28. No, I do not know why the numbering is this way. Anyway. By making some careful measurements, I found that size #9 fits a standard wine bottle. Size #9 has a top diameter of 0.937” or 24mm, a bottom diameter of 0.734” or 18mm, and a length of 1.125” or 29mm. I ended up buying these.
  10. And oh yeah, speaking of the length of the cork, those knobs I bought at Anthropologie? The screw projection extended, in most cases, 1.5” to 1.75”. Allow me to remind you that the cork length was 1.125”. Ha ha! Ah ha ha ha!
  11. I went out and bought a hacksaw. And a clamp. You can skip this step entirely by perhaps PAYING ATTENTION TO THE PROJECTION LENGTH ON THE KNOBS YOU PURCHASE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
  12. OK. Three days before the shower. The beau, God love him, volunteers his evening to help me. Are you reading this, Beau? I EFFING LOVE YOU. So gather up your materials and your own version of the beau. If you plan on blogging this DIY attempt, start taking pictures. Try to avoid doing this on a weeknight, when there is no natural light, or you may just lose your DIY Tutorial Blog Credibility.***
  13. The beau began sawing off the knob projections. Since we didn’t want the projection to go all the way through the cork, he aimed to cut the projection to about 0.80” or so. Take into account any nuts and washers that may be at the end of the projection and remove them, unless you want them to be part of the knob display.
  14. I marked the center of the cork using a ruler.
  15. I predrilled some of the corks. I found via trial and error that it was easier to screw in the knob if you drilled the hole pretty deep. However, I also found that it was impossible to drill the hole perfectly straight. Additionally, imperfections in the cork could make the drill veer to one side. This is why it’s good idea to purchase the most super-premium cork you can find: It will have fewer imperfections.

    Drill baby drill. LULZ?
  16. I started screwing the knobs into the corks. They looked… whack. I am serious. Neither the beau nor I, try as we might to control it, could get the knob seated inside the cork without some sort of drastic lean. The knobs appeared to be perpetually drunk, like they were all lurching their way through an all-night bender. It sucked.

    Evidence of the whackness
  17. I got mad and cried. I may have thrown something. Skipping this step is recommended.
  18. Somehow I staggered on. I redid the most crooked, off-kilter knobs, and this is where I began wishing I’d had the foresight to order more than just ten extra corks. HINT, HINT.
  19. After I got the knobs screwed into the corks in a manner that was sort of acceptable — if you crossed your eyes and squinted — I unscrewed them, dripped some non-toxic Elmer’s glue down the hole for added strength, then screwed the knobs back in one final time.
  20. THEN we found out that the knobs that spun around the screw projection independently? Those couldn’t be screwed into the corks, because once you got the projection gripped by the cork, the knob would start to turn and just loosen itself from the screw head. Guess how of those kind of knobs I had? About five or six. Yeah. So here’s another important tip: DON’T BUY THAT KIND OF KNOB.
  21. In desperation, we glued the inside of the “problem knobs” at the nut with Plumber’s Goop. That had to sit for 24 hours, so we gave up for that night.
  22. The next day, we managed to finally complete the damn things. None of them were anywhere near perfect, but they were done, and that’s all I cared about.
  23. Finally, remember to take some follow-up pictures of the finished wine stoppers in compelling afternoon light, so that everybody will believe you lead a talented, crafty life imbued with wonder, meaning, and beauty.
FIN.

In summary, I almost died, but the bridal shower guests seemed to like them, at least in the sense that they waited until they got home to toss them in the trash. Should you attempt this DIY project? Well, that depends on how brave and/or drunk you are at this time. If you do decide to go for it, just remember: Do as I say, not as I do.

Thank you and have a good night.

_________________________________________

* Gritty, sweaty, and unholy! The three words that unfailingly spring to mind when you think of preshus wedding details!

** Which, per the exchange rate current to today, roughly works out to $27.6 CAD, £43.5, or €36.9. I see you, non-U.S. readers! And I love you.

*** Whew. Thank god I never had it in the first place.

practice run

I just saw the last family member off this afternoon. The bridal shower weekend is officially over. So that’s, like, done. And stuff.

You know, it occurred to me way back during the initial planning process that putting on a bridal shower was like a staging a wedding in miniature. Now that I’ve come through the other side, I understand just how right I was. To wit:

The last-minute crunch. The week before the shower was particularly crazed. I rushed around like a madwoman running errands, getting supplies, making favors, checking with vendors, communicating with traveling family, and just generally coordinating shit. Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so too.

Things went uncontrollably awry. The dessert stand broke in the car on the way to the shower. Oh, and the place the shower was being hosted? The place I had visited in person two days earlier to confirm that they were still opening early for us? Yeah. We arrived to find the doors were locked and the lights were dark. No one was there. The place wasn’t clean, nothing was set up and guests were beginning to arrive. I had to make some frantic phone calls to get the owner down there. I nearly had a heart attack.

The urge to play hostess was overwhelming. I know it isn’t possible to ensure all of the people are happy all of the time, but that didn’t stop me trying. I spent the entire shower, nay, the entire weekend, attempting to make sure everyone had something to eat, something to drink, and someone to talk to. Talk about effort.

The unpredictable actions of others. My mother, I don’t know. She has a special way of driving me up a wall sometimes. Enough said.

Happy surprises abounded. Because of the snafu with the bar/café forgetting about our party, we got a few free bottles of wine, as well as a tray of shots. My friends? Adopted each other. My family? Adopted my friends. My aunts are still talking about how cool my friends are. Everyone was BFFs by the end of the day, which: AWESOME.* Best unplanned moment of the party was the spontaneous karaoke on the cafe’s patio. The song list included “Like a Prayer, “Thing Called Love,” even “Gin and Juice.” We ended up having so much fun at the shower that we all decided to go to dinner together. It was truly amazing, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

My emotions were out of control. I grinned like a fool. I cried — both happy and sad. I laughed my head off. I got mad and unfairly took it out on the beau. But my lowest of lows came at dinner the night of the shower. After we arrived, someone insisted that I move seats away from my friends. I sat there watching my friends have fun at the other end of the table, and something snapped. I started sobbing. I tried to step away and calm down, but the thought of returning to the table with a red face and glassy eyes just made me cry harder. Gah. I missed ordering any food and I spent most of dinner M.I.A. Not my shiningest moment, no.

My wing(wo)men came through. Hard. When that dessert stand broke, one quick-thinking brigadier made a last-second detour to pick up a substitute. When I broke down at dinner, another brigadier spent a substantial portion of her evening trying to talk me down from the edge. Both of them packed up the bridal shower gear after the party was over so I wouldn’t have to worry about it. I can’t thank them enough for sticking up for me.

Total overload. On the whole, the experience was totally draining, both physically and mentally. I haven’t been so thoroughly exhausted in a very long time. I wasn’t planning on taking Monday off, but when my very kind boss offered to let me, I agreed. And boy, was I glad I did. I slept 10 hours and spent the afternoon reading a book. A book!** I don’t think I’ve read a book since Christmas. It was my own personal post-shower honeymoon, and I was ever so glad for it.

And I am ever so glad it’s all over. But I’m also sad it’s all over, and I miss all my people who came out for it, terribly.

In summary, the bridal shower weekend totally felt like a test run for the wedding. The good news is that now I have about four months to figure out how to avoid the bad parts – or at least minimize them.

Yeah, good luck with that, right?

_______________________________________________

* UPDATE: I remembered after publishing this that one of my friends and my cousin became SUCH BFFs that they went out drinking and karaoke-ing until 1 in the morning after the shower. Uh, yeah.

** It was Don Cherry’s Hockey Stories and Stuff, but still. It was still a book! With words! Printed on a page!

various and sundry

A few of us were hanging out on the porch on Saturday, sipping cocktails. The topic of bridal showers came up and someone wondered aloud what a guy’s equivalent of a bridal shower would be. “A groom’s bath,” the beau said. “It would be called a groom’s bath and it would involve taking shots.”

Here is where I make the lame joke about how he’s already been participating in the groom’s bath regularly since freshman year of college, ba-dum-ching, thank you folks, I’ll be here all week.

************

I decided to open an Amazon wedding registry for us. I am very proud of this, because it only took two minutes, yet it feels like a Serious Accomplishment. Afterwards I found out that you can see which items are the most registered for in the United States by region. Apparently, the number one item that the Pacific, Rocky Mountain, Alaska, and Hawaii regions are lusting after a nonstick silicone baking mat. The Southwest is dreaming of a Pyrex 10-piece storage set. And the Southeast is all about the nonstick 6-piece bakeware set. But the Midwest and Northeast? They don’t care about boring kitchen stuff. No, all they want is a Wii.

************

The best thing I ever bought for somebody off of a wedding registry: A tent.

************

While poking around the interwebs, looking at registry-type items, I kept running into something called a charger plate. I asked the beau what a charger plate was, and his best guess was a commemorative plate about the San Diego Chargers. So I Googled “what the hell is a charger plate” and I found out that it’s basically a decorative plate that you put under the “real” dinner plate.

I know it’s supposed to look pretty, but dude. We already have enough dishes to wash. I am not about to invite more into my life.

************

EVIDENCE OF WHY I LOVE MY PARTNER:

We were folding clothes when I tossed out a question. “What should I wear to work tomorrow?” Before he could answer, I rephrased the question like the absurd person I am: “What would Jesus wear to work?”

“Jesus would call in sick,” he said.

I collapsed on the laundry and died.

a small eureka! moment

Confession: I have been avoiding creating a bridal shower registry. Like it’s some kind of wedding plague.

Here I’ve been racking my brain, trying to think of suitable solution — and quick, because this shower is now a mere month away. I just wasn’t feeling the department store registries, and Etsy still has yet to build a registry function.* So I dithered and dallied and dallied and dithered and maybe started to get just a wee bit panicky because oh hello, crippling indecision! Would you like to stay in my spare room for a while? Here is a clean towel. You can help yourself to anything in the kitchen except the vodka.**

But then, the other day, I wrote at great length about the shower deal, and in the comments we got to talking a little about registries. Nina mentioned a fantastic idea: A “book shower” where everyone gifts you with a new or used book. And Sarah of My San Francisco Budget Wedding chimed in with her own plan for her wedding registry: Donations to one of her favorite charities.

Well, I must say you ladies inspired me. Some of your good idea juju rubbed off on me. Because suddenly, last night, while eating peanut butter and jelly on toasted pita bread,*** IT CAME TO ME.

Vases. Yes!

Should my shower guests inquire with my brigadier about gifts, I’m going to have her tell them to bring a vase, bottle, or jar of their choosing. We’re picking up our own flowers from a local farmer the day before the wedding, and my plan all along has been to collect a variety of different old containers to arrange the flowers in for the centerpieces. Why not let my friends and family chip in?

I love that my shower guests will be able to contribute something that will end up being a part of our wedding. And I love that a little of their individual personality and flair will be injected into the reception.

And I really love that I finally got that issue crossed off my list.

What was your answer to the shower/wedding registry question?

_______________________________________________

* Yes, I am one of those Etsy whores. Mock me as you wish.

** DO NOT TOUCH MAMA’S VODKA.

*** We don’t tend to keep bread around, for lo, I WILL EAT IT. MUCHLY. Yet we do keep pitas around, because every Sunday we make little pita pizzas for dinner. Also: The beau is the official cook of the family. When he is traveling for work, as he is this week, I eat only what can be baked in the toaster oven or eaten straight out of the container.

wedding wars

When the beau and I decided to get hitched, I got nervous about the state of my relationship. With my mother.

Even before I got engaged, I bore witness to mountains of drama between brides-to-be and their parental units. Serious tales of mothers run amok. My own friends and coworkers were having teary knock-down, drag-out fights with their moms over everything from what to serve for dinner to how inappropriate the venue was to how the bride’s hair should be done for the big day.

I wanted to believe my own mother wouldn’t be like that, but I didn’t know. Maybe the very news of our engagement would spark a series of genetic mutations inside of her that had theretofore lain dormant, and before I could mumble “I don’t think I wanna wear a veil,” MonsterMom would stagger up from the swampy depths and rear her ugly head. I just didn’t know, right? So I held my breath. And waited.

After several months of our engagement had gone by, I was finally ready to exhale. My mom has been an absolute gem about the wedding. Sure, I could say that living on the opposite coast helps — actually, I will say it. I’ll shout it from the rooftops, even: THE DISTANCE FROM THE FAMILY. IT HELPS WITH THE PLANNING OF THE WEDDING. BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT, YOU KNOW. ALL UP IN YOUR GRILL 24/7.* Still. She deserves credit for keeping it mellow throughout the entire planning process.

Well, yeah. I threw her for a bit of a loop when I told her we weren’t getting married in the Catholic church,** but she recovered nicely. Since then, I’ve kept her informed of anything and everything that we’ve considered for the wedding: an asian-fusion menu***, farmers’ market flowers, a colored wedding dress, no favors. And on all of these matters, she has poured forth nothing but encouragement. I once marveled on her open-mindedness and she said to me: “Honey, I’ll give you my opinion if you want it, but it’s your wedding. You need to do what’s right for you.”

This is every bride’s wet dream, right?

Well, if you’re familiar with the use of foreshadowing as a literary device, then you know that this is where the plot suddenly takes a long slow fall off of a tall cliff. Because: OH HELLO, BRIDAL SHOWER, I DIDN’T SEE YOU LURKING OVER THERE.

My mom was the one who convinced me to have a bridal shower in the first place. It would be fun, she said. It didn’t have to be about games or gifts, she said. Maybe some of my aunts could even make it, and it would be nice and fun. Sure, I replied. I like fun. Sign me up.

She volunteered to help me, along with one of my brigadiers, plan and organize it. And that’s when the shit got wild, yo. Every week, sometimes more than once, she calls me up and proceeds to confound me with a new, urgent issue. So far, we have covered the following:

  1. Who must be invited so there will be No Hurt Feelings.
  2. What kind of invitations I want.
  3. Nevermind, the invitations have been purchased, and they are Very Cute.
  4. How I need to create a shower registry, even though I never wanted this “fun party” to look like a gift grab.
  5. Whether my shower registry should be the same as my wedding registry, or separate, and if they are separate whether that is rude and/or weird.
  6. What colors my bridal shower should be.
  7. Whether I’m really, truly sure that I don’t want to pick any colors for my bridal shower.
  8. What kind of tableware we need to purchase for this function.
  9. What do I mean, “What is tableware?”
  10. What food we want to serve. We must decide on the food so that we can obtain the appropriate tableware. We do not want the plates bending or folding under the weight of the food, after all.
  11. MAYBE THE COLOR OF THE PLATES CAN MATCH THE COLOR OF THE DESSERT, AND MAYBE THOSE COLORS CAN COMPLEMENT THE FAVOR BAGS.
  12. How I need to prepare favors to give to my guests.
  13. Potential favor themes, including but not limited to a “Santa Barbara” theme; and whether or not the “Santa Barbara” theme should involve cheese.****
  14. What kind of bags I want to put the favors in.
  15. Nevermind. The favor bags have been purchased. They are black and white, and Very Cute.
  16. Custom ribbon printed with the wedding date, and how awesome it would be to use it on, like, everything.
  17. Whether my brigadier has decided to make red velvet cupcakes for dessert or not, and if so, how adorable it would be to use red as the accent color.

For the record, I don’t really mind that she’s taken over the “details” part of the shower. I can let that go because it doesn’t matter so much to me, and it makes her happy to boot. But I am just a bit shell shocked by the stridency of it all. It’s like my mom and I are enacting a wedding battle in miniature, here. All I can say is: Thank god it’s not the real thing.

Your mothers: Have they driven you crazy at any point during the planning process? Or what?

_________________________________________________

* Oops. Sorry! The caps lock, she gets stuck sometimes.

** She asked me twice: Are you sure you can’t have a Catholic wedding outdoors?

*** Ah, those crazy days when we thought we had a bigger budget. Wipes tear, pours a little liquor on the curb in remembrance of the Benjamins that were lost in Ye Olde Federal Taxe Clusterfucke ’10.

**** Me: “Dude, Mom, cheese needs to be refrigerated! What are we gonna do, keep the favor bags in a cooler all afternoon?”

rebel rebel

Listen. I understand that traditionally, the maid of honor hosts the bridal shower. But all of my brigadiers are broke. They are wrestling with student loans, cuts in pay at work, working extra jobs, car troubles, going back to school. They got 99 problems and a bridal shower sure as fuck ain’t one.

So I’m putting this party on. A joint effort between me and my mom. Makes good clean sense, right?

But then today I wandered onto some site named “A to Z of Manners and Etiquette” which, I know, already sounds like a real winner. And right there, under the section about who should host the shower, it said (emphasis theirs):

A bridal shower rule that has not changed is that the bride never hosts her own bridal shower.

OH DAYYYYYAMN SON, I AM BREAKING RANK!!! Imagine how pissed my shower guests will be when they find out that my maid of honor did not have to resort to streetwalking in order to scrape together enough cash to pay for the party on my behalf! They will probably hurl their wine glasses to the ground and stalk off in a huff. Stupid bride-hosted wine-tasting trip.

But then I got back to the serious business of cruising the internets — the big, crazy, wacky world of internets — trying to see what I could learn about bridal showers. And inevitably, I ended up on The Knot.

As usual, The Knot is a great place to go of you want to make things 800 times more complicated than they actually are. I mean, take a look at this bridal shower planning checklist — intended, of course, for the bride’s maid of honor. Notice that there is no booze in the martini glass in the accompanying photo. What do you suppose happened to that booze, hmm? That’s right, the poor maid of honor guzzled it down the second she read that the bridal shower is supposed to be her “pre-wedding piece-de-resistance.” And that’s barely one sentence into the proceedings.

But you know what really threw me for a loop in this checklist? The last bullet point under “2 months ahead,” which is “Make a detailed to-do list and assign tasks.” Um. I already thought that this checklist was the list of things to do. No? Are they telling me I am supposed to start making lists of lists? Inside of other lists? That’s nice. And now the world is folding over into itself and my head is starting to hurt and oh hey look, a bottle of wine.

Ahhh.

It’s all right. It’s OK. I don’t need what the internets have to offer me anyway. Because I’ve got skills of my own. I’ll make a list that does not involve ordering linens or renting coffee urns. I’ll put together a party that does not involve streetwalking for funds. I am going to take this traditional shower concept and turn it into an excuse to get some of my favorite people — people I rarely get to see — together for a relaxing afternoon in the sun, enjoying food and tasting wine. Simple pleasures.

That can’t be too hard, can it?

where the brides fall down like rain

That cold I had last week? Turned into a sinus infection. So that was really fun, except for the fact that it wasn’t any fun at all.

On Saturday I dragged my pitiful self to the birthday celebration of one of my best friends to, you know, show support and all. And of course it started out as a sedate, mature lunch and wine-tasting affair. Of course. But then sometime after winery number two we all somehow found ourselves on a sunset booze cruise on the Landshark, and then BAM, before I knew what was happening it was suddenly midnight and I was that girl dancing by herself to “The Way I Are*” at a random bar, and SOMETIMES THESE THINGS JUST HAPPEN, and please stop looking at me that way.

The good news was that when I woke up on Sunday, my sinus infection was miraculously, mysteriously 85% gone. The bad news was that I had a 100% hangover.

I make such interesting decisions sometimes.

Like this bridal shower. Yeah, I’m having a bridal shower. At first I didn’t think I would have a bridal shower. It didn’t seem necessary. But then I had a conversation with my mother that went something like this:

me: “I guess I don’t need a bridal shower.”
my mom:
“Why not?”
me:
“Well because. That would mean some people would have to come to parties and events on my behalf, like, three times this year.”
my mom:
“So?”
me: “… Point taken.”

It’s officially official. My mom just bought her plane ticket out here. She is going to come out in May and spend a long weekend with me and we are going to do this bridal shower thing.

It sounds utterly silly. And I don’t mean that bridal showers and the people who have them are completely redonkulous. It’s just that “lyn” and “bridal shower” together in the same sentence… it seems so foreign. There’s a disconnect. Like I’ve fallen through a rabbit hole and straight into a topsy-turvy alternate universe where nothing is as it seems. Some Alice in Wonderland world where suddenly I’m a B-R-I-D-E and alcohol can inexplicably cure you of illness. And Jon Stewart is my boyfriend.**

I have been invited to exactly two bridal showers in my life. What I remember most about the first one is that I was tasked to make a wedding dress out of toilet paper, and what I remember most about the second one is that the bride’s aunts told hilariously outrageous family stories and there were cupcakes and champagne.

I’ve no clue how to host a bridal shower, but my goal is to err on the side of stories, cupcakes, and champagne.

So this is my plan: I’m going to rent one of those limos that will take you on wine-tasting tours to Santa Ynez valley, and stock it with champagne. One of my brigadiers has a membership with a group of sister wineries, so we can get up to 10 tastings for free at each place. Go team saving money. At the first winery, we’ll have a picnic lunch spread at this great spot they have outdoors. At the second winery, we’ll enjoy homemade dessert (cupcakes?). Yay!

The hilariously outrageous stories will be up to the peeps that come along for the ride. I am going to invite my brigadiers, and a handful of other friends. My mom will be there, the beau’s mom will be there, my aunt and closest cousin will drive up from the Inland Empire. If I’m lucky another aunt and her partner will be able to fly down from Oregon. The rest of my family lives too far away to make it, which will keep the guest list capped at 14.

It all still seems so bizarre. But I made a pledge to embrace the weird earlier this week, and dammit, I’m sticking to my guns.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow
Will stop this B-R-I-D-E from gettin’ low

_______________________________________________

* Note to Timbaland: perhaps a grammar refresher is in order?

** Sorry, beau.