A Little Vent-age...



Okay, so I'm feeling the need to spill some guts here. The wedding is getting closer, and lately I've been feeling a little — how should I put it? — sick to death of weddings!

Before you start freaking out, let me explain myself a little further. I'm not saying that I'm sick of my particular wedding — because, believe me, I am really starting to get psyched. It's just the wedding stuff that I see and frequently run into that are becoming a little frustrating to me.

Heh, that still sounds terrible, doesn’t it?

Hmmm… well, this is what I mean: last night, I was browsing a particular channel on television when a show came on that some of you might have seen — "Bulging Brides." Basically, this is a television show where brides-to-be have ordered dresses that are much too small on them so they have to diet and work out like madwomen to lose the extra sizes before the wedding.

I have multiple problems with this, the first being that these girls feel the need to order dresses that are so small. Why can't they just order dresses that fit in the first place? Why does everyone feel the need to be this tiny, socially-correct weight? I know it's not a new problem, and certainly not exclusive to brides, but it still angers me... and I think I've discovered the culprit to why it happens to brides, at least...

Wedding magazines! Yes, those thick, glossy, 500 page bride bibles that you see lining the shelves of every magazine rack around. I bought a few when I first got engaged out of sheer excitement, but I have slowly become disillusioned to them as the months roll by. First of all, the pages are about chock-full of advertisements, so out of your 500 page weddingfest you're going to get about 150 actual articles and picture pages, I kid you not.

The advertisements are also all for these super over-the-top items, like three carat diamond and platinum rings (which I tend to think are showy and pretentious), couture dresses costing upwards of $8,000 on terribly skinny models, and crystal "wedding trees" (which, if you haven't heard of them already, are Swarovski crystal-laden manzanita branches that can cost anywhere from $250-$600 just for one — and they are often used as centerpieces!).

Now if I were a millionaire or someone who enjoyed blowing cash on things like that, I would probably love these magazines. If you are one of these people, that's fine — it's great to have enough money to spend on things like that, given that you actually like them and aren't just being taken advantage of by the companies who produce these items and tell you that your wedding must be the biggest, the showiest, and the most expensive. I've seen so many of these TV shows where the engaged couple says that they wanted everything to be over-the-top because that's "just who they are." It's surprising how many of these seemingly down to earth TV couples suddenly morph into members of an elite class of glamorous big spenders when a marriage is brought into the picture.

Wow, I just did a lot of complaining! I know I probably sound like a jerk by saying all of these things, but my main point is that I think people lose the true meaning of what is behind a wedding when they are planning one. (I know I've lost it a couple of times!) I have definitely done my share of admiring extravagant centerpieces, ogling expensive dresses, and wishing that I was having my reception at some exotic location. I always feel ashamed afterwards, though, because every time I lust over a pair of white Manolos while shoe-hunting, I feel like I lose a little piece of why I'm getting married in the first place... it's kinda like those over-commercialized holidays that card and gift companies take advantage of, like Christmas and Valentine's Day; as we’re running around to give these companies who produce holiday gear all of our money, we tend to forget why we're doing it in the first place.

Diamonds, dresses, cakes, and gifts aside, at the end of the day you're married. A wedding is supposed to be a nice day to celebrate your commitment to a lifelong relationship, to be shared with your family and friends – not an all out impress-fest. So what if you can't afford a $15,000 wedding band or Swarovski-encrusted seat cushions? Big deal if you can't spend $150 a plate? And who cares if you can't afford a band, or even a DJ? Chances are you'll be happy no matter what you're eating, wearing, or sitting on — if you're not, maybe your heart's in the wrong place. That's the way I see it, anyway — and I doubt there are many out there who would disagree!

Soooo... that being said, I'd like to include some useful bits of advice from HudsonValleyWeddings.com about seating arrangement, since I've been thinking a lot about that lately. My seating arrangement stories aren't even close-to-notable enough to share with you at this point, but maybe you'll get something useful out of these tips. Take care!

~Laura =)

HudsonValleyWeddings.com Tip: Something New in Place Cards: Make or buy cookies and inscribe each with a name of a guest.

HudsonValleyWeddings.com Tip: Keep It In Place (no pun intended): Instead of ordinary place cards, reserve your guests' seats with hand-labeled stickers with each guest's name.

HudsonValleyWeddings.com Tip: Cozy Up: If tables are placed adjacent one another, guests can converse with one another by visiting "next-door."

HudsonValleyWeddings.com Tip: It's All in the Colors: Using color-coded index cards for each category of guests (e.g., groom's side) makes it easier to shuffle seats while you're setting up your tables.


The Blog For Hudson Valley Weddings

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Liz Stein

Laura Calhoon
Dover, NY

A Hudson Valley native, Laura Calhoon grew up in Poughkeepsie and earned her Bachelor's degree at SUNY New Paltz in May of 2007. Laura, who has worked for both Hudson Valley magazine and the Taconic Press in Millbrook, is now teaching at a nursery school in Brewster. She is thrilled write Behind the Valley Veil -- mostly because it gives her an outlet for all that wedding talk! Her hobbies include reading, drawing, singing opera (minus the viking hat), writing fiction, and performing with her band "What's in this Juice?" -- and, of course, hanging out with her wonderful fiancee, Tim. She currently resides in Dover -- not all too far away from her husband-to-be.

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