Wednesday, April 22, 2009

the philosophy, or sophistry, of the dress

I am going home in just under two weeks! Hooray! Unfortunately I have to get through two term papers before then, one of which I’m not very inspired to write. In good news, I passed the Level One (formerly known as the MA) Latin Exam, which has given me a boost of energy. I’m pleased that I can say I not only got my MA, but also passed the exam that, until this year, was a requirement for getting the exam. I figure that with a BA in Latin Language & Literature it’s more than due!

Latin exams have little to do with weddings, however. Wedding wise…I googled to try to find the prices of the dresses I love, and where I could find them listed online (as in “this dress normally costs X, we sell it for Y) the normal cost was right on my budget, so I’m very happy. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a picture and then having to end that love before even trying on the dress! Although I don’t want anything extravagant, I am all about unique details and those can add up. So, one more reason to be pleased. I feel a little silly thinking about dresses when we haven’t even set a date, but we can’t set a date until I get a permanent job, and I can’t get that job until we move to Britain. So!

I like watching “Say Yes to the Dress” on Slice. There is always all this talk about what dress defines Bride for that woman. Maybe it is a sign that I’ve been doing too many facebook quizzes lately (just like it is a sign that my spell check is a bit old as it insists that “facebook” is two words) but I feel like there should be a “what does your bridal gown say about you” quiz. I was all set to write about how I don’t have some sort of ideal in my head, and then I realized that wasn’t true.

So what do my dresses say about me? The ones I keep coming back to have a definite vintage feel, some of them even medieval, or what I prefer to term “romantic”. Lets get me away from medieval clichés, please! I love pre-Raphaelite art, and I love movies from Hollywood’s Golden Era, and the styles seem to reflect that. I don’t have some sort of tangible ideal in my head, just a bunch of misty ideas that various pictures seem to hit. And as a reflection of personal style, that is essentially my closet--mostly things with something unique, and something romantic (or so I’m terming butterfly sleeves and lace), or something vintage (like retro, or retro-inspired, shirts and dresses). But that’s exterior, so can I dissect my personality from this? Can I say that my clothing style defines me as a person, or at least as a Bride? Because the dress symbolizes more than just clothing, or we wouldn’t all spend a lot of time or money, or time & creativity, into having a garment we wear for one day. I don't want to be the Lady of Shalott, or the Medieval Bride, or a copy of a pre-raphaelite costume, or in-style. I just want to be me!

So, who am I? Because that is the question I keep coming back to, wedding dresses aside. If I’m planning a wedding that is about me, and David, about us--who are we? And I think what makes me uncomfortable is that I can’t neatly compartmentalize our personalities into something Germanicly efficient (as David would say). I cannot define myself, aside from IMAGINATIVE. So is that the key? Is the key to all this that we are both highly imaginative people, and that no matter what we pick, or I pick, it is going to be a reflection of that? Actually, I think I’ve just hit on the key. And solved my problem. Hooray for blog!

Everything I look at for this wedding in some way or another relates to something imaginative--a reminder of a book, or of a concept, or an artistic portrayal. I want something that feeds into my imagination, and speaks to my inner self. The question now is, on this one day of gathering friends and family together to see us at our best and at our beginning, do I take the plunge and do something very rare for me--expose my true inner self to many people who don’t know that self? I think the answer is that I don’t have a choice--I know I will be crying all through my wedding ceremony, and after being that open in front of people it seems that there will be little hope of me hiding my inner self. Also, shouldn’t I be going to the altar as completely myself as possible? This isn’t so much about a dress then, as it is about openness. So what will my dress say about me?

Also, I promise I will put pictures up soon of the ones I really like. I just want to show them to my mum first, and I don’t want to ruin the “awww omg” moment by putting them on the blog and risking someone directing her here, or her missing seeing them before her friends.

Friday, April 10, 2009

some plans

It’s 11:45 on Holy Thursday. I’ve spent the day running around and I doubt that my good intentions of doing research are going to come to fruition, as I need to get up at 8:30 tomorrow. So, I spend more time on wedding. I somehow envision my final comments on essays this semester along the lines of “A+ on wedding planning, A- in ESSAY”.

Wedding plans have been escalating. It’s a good way to procrastinate right now, and I want to have most of my ideas settled by May, when I go back to BC, so mum and I can actually get some work done on it! Plans, of course, may change but these are some things I’m thinking right now:

- mismatched bridesmaids dresses. My thing is, I like people to look good. And I realize that unless you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, you’re just not going to look as good. And I have four beautiful ladies with very different body types to clothe. We also all live in different cities across Canada. So rather than trying to coordinate and find something that looks good on everyone, I’m thinking of just giving them all the colour I want and sending them forth to match it (with my specification on length). I’ve seen pictures of weddings done like this, and I think they come out looking beautiful and unique. This way my girls can decide how much they want to spend, what kind of dress makes them comfortable (my love of plunging necklines is not for all!), and hopefully will be left with something cute and summery that they can wear again. I plan to go with a colour that the bridal salons carry for dresses, so even if they can’t find it commercially they can find it that way. I don’t mind if the colours are different, as long as they’re all in the same family. I think a multi-shaded bridal party would look spiffy. But, no mixing of cool and warm colours!

- for the men… David has a lovely charcoal gray suit that he wants to wear, and I’m all for this. Might as well make it special, right? So we’re going to match the wedding colours to the same family of blue that goes with his suit (I’m taking his tie home to match). But I don’t want all my groomsmen in dark suits in August. I like sweater vests, but my brother informs me that this is lame. And the groom wants them to wear suits, so I bow to his fashion sense in this case. I think that putting them in light grey suits will look pretty nice, especially with the blue accents. Again, I don’t want a cookie-cutter grooms side, so I figure by changing the colour of their suits I get away from this.

- location! It looks as if we’re going to get married in Port Alberni. There are various factors involved, but the two most persuasive are cost and, more important for me, sentimental value. Much as I love Victoria, it’s not my hometown. And pretty as Our Lady of the Rosary is, it’s not as meaningful for me as Our Lady of Notre Dame is. And since they’re both dedicated to the Virgin they are both equally good in my opinion! I don’t know if the priests in Port will have changed, but hopefully one of the ones I know will still be there.

- reception. I want to do something different. The idea of a formal dinner & dance freaks me out. The idea of an afternoon tea with sandwiches, or of appetizers and desserts, is one that I can get behind but still seems too formal for me. Things David & I both love are picnics, hanging out with friends, big family dinners, and potlucks. So I thought I may as well combine all that into a giant picnic/potluck reception in a park. We’re going to provide food as well, of course, but I’m really hoping that people get into the fun of the whole thing and bring a dish and dress casually enough that they can actually enjoy the park. Yes, I envision softball! I’m still figuring out the invitation wording. But basically I just want a giant family & friend reunion, set outside surrounded by the mountains and green space that I love. The potluck idea was actually David’s mum’s idea, and I’ve had numerous others say what a grand idea it is. I keep thinking back to my grandma’s story of her own wedding, when she told me that everyone in the neighbourhood baked pies for it. I love that communal aspect. I mean, a wedding is communal after all!

That’s about where things are at right now. Still no date picked, and I don’t expect to have set “for realz” until early October, but right now I’m leaning towards August 7th, 2010. This could very well change based on work and school schedules, and finances. The whole picnic thing may have to go out the window if we need to throw an off season wedding, for example. But, I’m really excited about this.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

dress excitement

I’m really excited right now, and David is not having an appropriate girly-jumpy moment with me, so I have to turn to blogging.

Basically, it is this--although I’ve been looking at lots of wedding dresses, I’ve been having trouble finding one that seems like me. I don’t want something totally period (ie: medieval), but I also don’t see myself in many modern dresses. It just so happened that I found a dress that looks perfect (to me) online. The catch is that the store selling it is in Toronto, and it is a “no name brand” in the realm of wedding dresses. Until David’s Cambridge news came this didn’t matter, because if I had to I could buy the dress here and then take it home with me for the wedding. But now it seems doubtful that I am going to buy a dress in Toronto, since we won’t be here.

But today my googling brought me into contact with a discount bridal store in Victoria that just happens to carry the same line as this Toronto one, and the dress I love is one of the ones they carry! I’m so happy! The price also happens to be UNDER the low end of my budget by about $100.

So, I’m pretty excited. The only potential downside at the moment is that the store is not open on Fridays, which is the day we are going shopping. But they have evening appointments on Thursdays, so I’m just trying to convince my mother to drive down early to Victoria. AND if I’m unable to get an appointment, it doesn’t really matter (aside from my initial disappointment) because I’ll be able to try the gown on in Toronto and see if I like it and then place my order at another date--like when/if we’re back in September before flying to Cambridge.

Obviously, I don’t know if I’m getting the dress. A lot is going to depend on the quality of construction and material. For example, if the dress is smotheringly heavy it’s probably not going to be ideal for August. And I’m still planning to go to two other bridal stores on the Friday “just in case” and I may end up finding something better on me there. BUT, it still makes me really happy because when I saw this dress the first time I melted and thought “THAT is what I want”. It has all the elements of the medieval-style “arran” gown that I loved when I was younger, but toned down a little. It’s satin with a chiffon overlay, so it has a nice ripply/moving effect (I want something that flows), and it has just a little train at the back.

So, we’ll see. I’m definitely moving towards chiffon as a dress material, because to me the shade-depth of the fabric seems richer than satin, and the chiffon dresses I’ve seen just seem to have more flow to the fabric. But, I’m not posting any pictures until I actually try on dresses because there is no sense in planting one idea only to have it change.

And I would like to state that, even if you see my walking down the aisle in a dress that looks like it’s from the pages of “cliché medieval book”--THIS IS NOT A MEDIEVAL THEMED WEDDING. I just happen to like bell sleeves!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

off beat bride

People have asked if we’re going to move the date of the wedding up since we’re moving to England, and the answer is NO. I admit that the instant reaction, even my own, to news of moving is always “get married”, but I think it’s more of a gut reaction than something practical. Neither of us wants to rush the day and take on more stress than we need, especially with all the work that is going to come with moving overseas. As well, I really don’t understand this rush to get married, although admittedly I tend to take things rather slow. I think it will be wonderful, but I also think what we have right now is wonderful in its own way. What I mean is that I’m content, not that I want to wait indefinitely. There are things I want, sooner rather than later, but forcing them to happen is not a good idea.

All that said, I’m starting to get really excited about planning the wedding. I admit the idea of planning from England is a little more daunting than planning from Toronto, but it will all work out somehow. I’m hoping to get a bunch of stuff done for it when I’m home in May. I am going dress shopping with my mum & David’s mum, which is going to be fun. I’m a bit nervous about finding “the dress”, however. I’ve been looking at pictures for awhile and although there are various styles that I like, and one I even love, until I see them on me I just can’t feel it. I’m really concerned about having something that moves and flows and is not constructed feeling. I have my own personal (unique!) style, and I want that to come through in whatever dress I end up with. It has to be me. A lot of the “gothy” or “medieval” type dresses that I like are sold by UK vendors online, so if I don’t find anything I love I may just wait until I’m over there and get something totally unique and different for a lot less money! But we’ll see. When I buy clothing I’m sold on the little bits of detail that make something different and unique. I’d like sleeves, but we’re planning an August wedding and I don’t want to be too hot.

I slacked off a little (not too much!) this evening and spent some time surfing, a site my friend Terra recommended to me. The site has lots of really cool ideas, beautiful pictures, and lovely stories. It’s definitely going to help me get away from the forms of a traditional wedding. It is funny, to me, because I don’t really consider myself off-beat, although I know I probably appear that way through many of my actions. I just find the idea of an ostentatious display really bothersome. I don’t need to spend $50,000+ to feel good about myself and to make me excited to marry David. Hence, aside from the Giant Catholic Ceremony, we are going to keep everything low key and relaxed and fun.

That’s about that for tonight. Hopefully I’ve gotten enough wedding out of my system that I can focus on work for the next couple of days.