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judy smith Nov 2015
In June this year, designer Masaba Gupta and film producer Madhu Mantena had the quietest of civil ceremonies. It was only when she took to Twitter the next day to talk about the court registry that most people heard of it. It was a move most unorthodox, for a leading fashion designer, especially one who counts several Bollywood actors among her close friends.

At the time, she also announced “a Caribbean wedding in November”.

The destination wedding isn’t happening. But that’s not to deprive us of a grand, four-day affair, the sort that has the most coveted guest list, and is followed with the keenest interest. It will start on November 19, with the bridal showers, will continue with the mehendi on November 20, the sangeet on November 21 and a gala reception on Sunday, (November 22). Expect the works, and guest lists that boast of Bollywood A-listers (Shahid and Mira Kapoor, and Sonam Kapoor are close friends, just so you know).

In short, it sounds like any other grand Indian celebrity wedding. Except, this is Masaba Gupta we’re talking about. As we catch up with her, we get the sense that she’s approached the whole thing with the same minimalism and quirkiness with which she approaches fashion. “A lot of people are invited,” she tells us, “But I’m not going around and talking about my wedding designer or my lipstick, so on and so forth.”

Unlike most Indian brides, she’s not even fretting over the big day, or days, as it were. “When I was growing up, I always saw brides around me under tremendous stress. The pressure to dress a certain way, wear a certain amount of jewellery and make-up... I saw how uncomfortable it was. So I decided that, if I do get married, I’ll be someone who puts comfort first, and then looks at her options for cut, colour, embroidery or jewellery,” says Gupta.

So, in case you do find yourself invited (otherwise, there’s always Instagram), don’t be surprised to see the most relaxed bride, dressed so comfortably that she’d be the envy of any married Indian woman. The idea, she says, is that a bride should “dress in a way that she can interact with people and have a good time herself.”

She’s also taken charge of the whole thing, and planned a non-fussy, non-extravagant celebration. “For me, three vacations is more value-for-money than a mandap with diamonds on it.”

True to her word, for her sangeet and reception, Gupta is ditching the norm of heavily designed lehengas and saris. “I didn’t go into that heavy, couture, bridal space. And I’m the kind of designer who wears works of other designers,” she says. So, her trousseau will have outfits by several other leading designers. “There are a few people who are great at doing certain things. Anamika [Khanna] is great at reception outfits. I can do a cool, quirky mehendi outfit. For a sangeet, somebody more in the Manish Arora or Shivan and Narresh kind of space,” she says.

The designer who’s always stood apart also seems keen to set an example. By not conforming to rules, Gupta wants to make a point. “I do want it to be about comfort, but I also want to change things up a bit. I want to set an example and say that you don’t need to wear a certain colour, a certain type of maang tika; your hair doesn’t have to look a particular way,” says the young designer.

Ask her if this is the (unconventional) dream wedding come true, and she laughs. “I never had a dream wedding. I’ve never visualised anything except clothes. Certainly not an elaborate wedding setup. See, I just don’t want to starve at my wedding. So, my dream wedding is one where I get to eat a meal while everyone else enjoys themselves as well.”

Masaba’s five-point guide to a chilled-out wedding

1) Get people to help out. If you try and look at every detail, you’re going to have a hard time. You may have a great input, but get people to do it for you.

2)People think you should shop for jewellery and clothes much in advance, but I think it should be done as close to the wedding as possible. You’ll have the latest stuff, and your taste might change over time. It’s best done around the wedding, so you don’t regret what you’ve bought.

3) Shoes are important. Make sure you’re in comfortable heels or flats, so you can survive the night.

4) Always test the make-up artist. Don’t just do a demo and leave it; test it through the day. See how the make-up behaves over a few hours, then you’ll know what it will actually be like, because it takes a couple of hours for make-up to set.

5) Receptions should start becoming more informal. You shouldn’t have to have the couple on stage smiling through the evening. I’ve heard of brides getting locked jaws. It’s absolute torture.

How to be the unconventional groom

• Fusion looks work well. If you’re wearing a Jodhpuri or a bandhgala, team it up with Jodhpuri pants. For men who are slimmer, suits do wonders.

• If you wish to be quirky and know you can carry it off, team dhoti pants and a shirt with a really formal blazer and a brooch.


• I love the cropped, ankle-length formal pants men are wearing now. It’s great for a reception.

• You don’t need to wear laced up shoes. Wear a nice slip-on in patent leather or a printed pair of shoes that stand out. So, you can make the whole look black and white, and have a nice pop shoe and make that the focus.

• Don’t be afraid of colours at your wedding. Get over navy blue, black or maroon. On a darker man, a haldi yellow kurta will look fantastic when teamed with an off-white or cream churidar. Even a soft pink in raw silk — it has a silver-pink shine — looks lovely.

How to be the ‘in vogue’ bride

• We’re seeing a lot of shapewear backs. Instead of the flared lehenga, women are opting for the fishtail cuts. Girls are also wearing shararas with big flares that almost look like a lehenga.

• Brides are going minimal. Go for less embellishment, and lighter lehengas.

• The dupatta is being ditched. Either that, or it’s attached. Much easier to handle.

• The choli is becoming more modest. People are wearing longer lengths, which are more fitted; the ‘60s style kurtas with shararas are also in. There’s more focus on the body and shape.

• I’m hoping the anarkali has died. It’s the worst of the lot. And it’s not very flattering. If you’re very skinny and tall, it works for you. If you’re short, you look like you’re lost in your outfit.

• Ditch the trail. At the end of the night, it’s a rag. It’s been stepped on and is *****.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/mermaid-trumpet-formal-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/cheap-formal-dresses
judy smith Dec 2015
Weddings begin with the venue. “A venue holds everything,” says Kristin King, who is opening a new event facility, The Sloane, in Nashville’s Gulch area in 2016.

“It’s the vibe, the feeling. It’s the house for the event,’’ she adds. “It gives the whole feeling of what you’re trying to convey. Where you have an event, is to me, one of the most important things. You can dress it up however you want to, but it sends the message of what you want your guests to know about you as a couple.”

King, who has been in the bridal business for about a decade, says she envisions creating the ultimate event venue in the historic 1101 Grundy Street building. When complete, the 6,000-square-foot facility will house an office/bridal suite, glass tower showcasing the Nashville skyline, catering kitchen and double-sided elevator for vendors.

“A venue really dictates how many people they’re going to have at their wedding,” says Randi Lesnick of Nashville’s Randi Events. “If somebody picks a venue that’s great for 150 people, and they want to have 350, well that venue’s out.

“Pick the venue first, and then you can always worry about everything else.”

Book far in advance

With hearts set on the venue, plan for a date at least a year, but no less than six or nine months out from the desired date, before securing the location.

“It’s grown so fast, and I don’t think anybody knows how to deal with it,” Lesnick explains of the competition for wedding venues in Tennessee, particularly in Nashville and Gatlinburg.

“For 2016 we have almost every Saturday booked already. So if someone wants a specific date, we do recommend that they book at least a year out.”

Booking well in advance can have other benefits, says Lindsay Barrows of Custom Love Gifts and Events in Knoxville, who is also part of the Smoky Mountain Wedding Professionals Association.

“I worked with a bride who ended up saving a lot of money on her venue and some of her vendors because she booked so far in advance that when they changed their prices the following year when her wedding actually was – she had already locked in prices from the previous year,” Barrows adds.

Lesnick notes a venue could run anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, and the overall wedding could run $30,000 to $100,000. And, if it is an outdoor wedding there should always be a backup.

“Brides have a lot of dreams,” says Sarah Anne Miller, director of weddings at Randi’s. “They look at more of the décor and the prettiness of the wedding and not really the logistical part of it. They want an outdoor wedding for 200 people in September, you’ve got to think about weather.”

Five weeks after the Omni opened in 2013, it hosted its first wedding. It had about 20 last year and seven already on the books, and there are even three scheduled for 2017.

“The typical wedding is still booking about a year out,” says Shirley Langguth, assistant director of catering at Omni Hotels. The Omni has multiple wedding ceremony locations picked out onsite, and also hosts numerous day-after wedding brunches.

More details

Once the venue is nailed down, couples can move on to every other detail that needs addressing, from flowers and dress to catering and cake.

“I want to meet with somebody as soon as they know what their venue is because there are only so many in a weekend that we can deliver and create,” says Juanita Lane, owner of Dulce Desserts in Edgehill Village, about her torte-layered wedding cakes. “Once they’ve secured the venue, then I would suggest it’s time to start looking at your vendors.”

Lane hosts two tastings at Dulce, the first one just to see if the couple even likes them. The second is when they bring out the numerous cakes, curds and frostings to create the ultimate custom confection.

Couples can now get that full-on tasting experience at Dulce Dessert’s brand new cake tasting bar.

“People can basically come in and do slices of cake and enjoy the Dulce experience,” Lane adds. “The thing that used to be reserved for brides or people having large events, the general population can do now at their leisure.”

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/evening-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses
judy smith Sep 2015
In just a little bit, we’ll begin to see Christmas holiday decorations, which start showing up even before Halloween. And along with the strings of lights all over the place will be a set of emotions that accompany the presents we are supposed to give.

A recent question from a reader provides an opportunity to talk about gift-giving expectations for all occasions. In this case, an upcoming wedding triggered the gift dilemma. As part of a regular feature on family financial feuds, I will address the issues the person raised.

The background: The reader’s niece is getting married. The bride and groom both work part time. The reader relayed that her niece had dropped out of college after a year and a half. The reader checked out her niece’s bridal registry and was “kind of blown away” by the high-end items, including pots and pans that cost $200 each and Kate ***** dish towels.

“I sent my sister a gentle text about being surprised that Kate ***** even made dish towels,” the reader wrote during one of my online discussions, “and she responded saying, ‘Don’t buy her anything. I will get you the information on her student loans (which she has not been responsible about) and pay those down instead of buying her anything.’”

The gift suggestion about the student loans didn’t sit well with the aunt, who already is upset since she co-signed. “My credit score is down 100 points because of it,” she wrote.

The conflict: “There are many issues here to deal with,” the aunt explained, not the least of which is that when her own daughter got married several years ago, the reader’s sister did not give a wedding present.

She continued: “I know my sister has struggled financially since her divorce, so I didn’t let it bother me. It just feels weird to pay down someone’s student loans as a wedding gift. My husband thinks I shouldn’t pay down the student loans. I am inclined to pay down something, but also get her some small items (no Kate ***** dish towels!). Any ideas?”

The bottom line: Here’s the crux of the family financial drama: “My sister [is] basically asking me for money, when she did nothing — not even a card — for my daughter’s wedding.”

There are three issues as I see it: the student loans, the pressure to buy from a registry, and retribution.

The student-loans problem shouldn’t be lumped in with the whole gifting issue. The reader refers to the debt as “someone’s student loans.”

But those are her loans, too. When you co-sign, you’re not merely providing your good credit name as a reference. Paying the loans isn’t a gift. It’s her responsibility.

If I were the reader, I would sit down with my niece and talk about how we are going to handle the debt going forward. It may be that she has to make payments until the niece is in a financial position to pick them back up.

As for the gift registry, some people list big-ticket items they can’t afford, or they expect that perhaps a group of friends or relatives may share the cost. However, sometimes it does feel like registries are an excuse for the couple to be greedy. I routinely ignore what’s picked out if I can’t find something in my budget. A registry shouldn’t be seen as a mandatory shopping list.

By the way, just because someone is underemployed or having financial troubles doesn’t mean he or she shouldn’t want nice things or even brand-name items.

Now, let’s address the core issue here. The reader is hurt that her daughter didn’t receive a wedding present.

Gifts are sometimes interpreted as a symbol of what people think of you. But if the reader’s sister and niece attended the wedding and wished the bride and groom well, shouldn’t that count for as much as, if not more than, some gaudy gift?

As Judith Martin, the etiquette columnist known as “Miss Manners,” says, a wedding invitation is not an invoice. Yes, it’s a thoughtful gesture when people give. Nonetheless, be careful about your sense of entitlement whether it’s for a wedding or the holiday season.

I believe it’s our presence — not presents — that matters most.

You might wonder: Well, should the reader in return simply attend the wedding and wish the couple well?

If she doesn’t give a wedding gift in retribution, that’s being ill-mannered.

Just because you didn’t get doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give. And if a family member fails to give, be gracious and remember it really is better to give than to receive.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-adelaide
judy smith Aug 2015
Since a wedding is said to be the most important day of a woman's life, some brides-to-be are prepared to bring out whatever it takes to ensure that their big day is nothing short of spectacular.

A new documentary from the UK titled 'Now How The Rich Get Hitched', a provides a glimpse into some of the world's most lavish weddings.

The programme follows the glamorous goings-on at Knightsbridge bespoke wedding boutique Caroline Castigliano, where, for most customers, money is no object.

According to Daily Mail, bridal couture queen Caroline, who lives in Surrey, has been creating breathtaking intricate gowns for 24 years, cashing in on the £10 billion global bridal market.

But while the average UK bride is said to spend around £1,000 on her dress, Caroline revealed that one client, a Saudi Arabian bride-to-be is spending £40,000 on her dream gown - the same price as the Duchess of Cambridge's Alexander McQueen dress.

Despite the eye-watering prices, the 55-year-old designer claims that for most women this is one of the most important things they will ever buy.

She said: 'They buy into the overall power of the dress. I really truly believe that since they were very young they have dreamt of this day.'

Caroline's clientele aren't just drawn from the global elite, however. One of her clients, Jordan, 23, is a hotel heiress from Durham who has spent the past year travelling 300 miles with her family for fittings for her £9,000 dress.

Jordan's gown is made from one of the most expensive silks in the world, which costs hundreds of pounds a metre.

Jordan said: 'For a girl the dress is what everyone looks for. People would rather spend more money on the dress and look perfect on the day.'

Her mother Helen, who is helping to pick up the bill, added: 'I think once you see your daughter in something so beautiful and she's so happy you do stretch that extra mile.'

At around £9,000 Jordan's dress is almost half the average budget for UK weddings, which now comes in at an astonishing £21,000, but the day itself will set her family back far more than that.

The no-expenses-spared bash is being held at one of her family's hotels and costs include the £7,000 on importing 6,000 flowers from Holland, the hire of a 20-piece brass band and a Victorian carousel to entertain guests.

Gissa, 29, an Iranian socialite, who is planning a lavish ceremony in Turkey, journeyed to Caroline's boutique just to try on veils to go with her bespoke gown, which is embroidered with 200,000 sequins and 50,000 beads - and was one of the most expensive dresses in the shop.

The bride-to-be explained that her fiance was very amenable when it came to splashing out on her dress.

He said "I know this is the most important dress that a woman is going to wear in their lifetime so if you really like it and you love it, we'll get it."'

However, some brides look further afield for their dream wedding location and one of the boutique's clients, Katie, 29, was planning her ceremony in Southern Spain.

Katie admitted that she had fine-tuned every element of her wedding right down to her proposal.

She said: 'I'm a bit of a control freak, I think I emailed [my fiance] a picture of the ring after about three weeks of dating, so subtlety isn't my finest point but he's done really well.'

Katie visited Caroline for a bespoke wedding dress costing between five and six thousand pounds that has taken five seamstresses 200 hours of sewing and 250,000 beads to complete.

Another of Caroline's client, Kashmir, revealed that she took two years off work to get married and her husband is now determined to prolong the wedding celebrations with lavish gifts.

She and her husband also paid £75,000 to commission a portrait of Kashmir sitting in a chair in her strapless lace Caroline Castigliano dress, which was then unveiled at a party in the designer's boutique.

However, as any prospective bride will know a dress does not a wedding make and any ambitious bride-to-be will enlist the help of a wedding planner, with none more knowledgeable than luxury wedding planner Bruce Russell.

Bruce caters for the most ostentatious and demanding of weddings. He said: 'If it's physically possible, we'll make it happen - it might come at a cost.

'If you've got the money and you've got the budget to spend and you want to spend a million pounds why not spend it on a wedding it is the most magical day?'

Bruce's finely tuned expertise and impeccable taste come at a cost and he revealed on the show that he takes around 20 per cent of the wedding budget as commission, which rewards him with a £30,000 pay cheque for a £150,000 wedding.

The show followed him as he took one of Caroline's clients, Erina, on a tour of London's famous luxury five-star hotel, The Savoy, as a possible venue for her dream day.

Hosting 350 guests would set her back at least £70,000 and to stay in the Royal Suite, a further £10,000 a night - although it does come with its own butler.

But the documentary revealed that for women who want to up the 'wow' factor on their big day - and have the budget - couture jeweller Andrew Prince is the man to call.

But Andrew insisted that elegance is often confused with showiness: 'Glamour has changed. It became, at one point, very shiny and that's really not glamorous that's flashy. I like opulence.'

Andrew's creations may be an indulgence but for him there is no better way to spend your money.

He said: 'It's a celebration. We can be really sort of smug and factual about it, and say "oh no one should spend the money on something more practical", but what's more fun than just having a wonderful day?'

Many couples will argue that such extravagance is a waste of money and resources for just one day, however Caroline says that these are memories to last a lifetime.

She said: 'The most important people in your life have come to attend this day. It all comes down to the same thing, it's what you want to spend money on and what matters to you and how much money you have, it's all relative.'

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-adelaide
judy smith Jan 2016
You may think you’ve heard it all when it comes to wedding planning. But while everyone from your mother to your hairstylist is busy babbling on and on and on about what to expect on your big day, they’re unintentionally leaving out a few crucial details. So from the reality of post-wedding blues to the dangers of being too nice a bride, eight real women are here to share what they wish they had been told about their big days—so that you can benefit their candor, of course.

1. There’s such as thing as being too nice a bride. Says real bride Danielle, “Everyone hears about bridezilla, but what you don't hear about are the brides who get everything taken away from them because they're too nice. I was way too nice about my bridesmaids getting things done—and boy did it cause a lot of stress. My advice? Be firm with dates and express your concern if someone is slacking.”


2. You'll be pressured by others’ expectations. Real bride Jordon says, “Nobody told me how many ‘rules’ there are in the wedding industry. They tell you to create something that matches exactly what you want as a couple, but once you start to do the research, you learn how many expectations there are. For example, I can't tell you how many people think it's outrageous that we may not register, or that we're not interested in a bouquet throw.”

3. Someone will cancel last minute. Says real bride Veronica, “Someone will have a conflict and have to cancel a week—or less—before the big day. Yes, it ***** and is super annoying because your seating arrangements are finalized, but no one will notice if their table is missing two people. There's no point giving yourself a bigger headache of rearranging seating at this point—just let it go!”

4. It’s all worth it in the end. Real bride Sara says, “The one thing that no one told me was how much the stress, time, and money would all be worth it in the end. All I heard were negative points—and while those feelings of stress and pressure can't be escaped, there were so many good things that far overshadowed the bad.”

5. You won’t regret having a wedding video. Says real bride Melissa, “No one ever told me that one of the best purchases we could make was hiring a videographer. Of all the things we 'splurged' on, our videographer was my absolute favorite. There are a lot of things—in hindsight—that we could've gone without, but our videographer was the best investment because we have those memories to keep for a lifetime.”

6. Post-wedding blues are real. Real bride Anne says, “You’ve probably heard about post-wedding blues and completely brushed them off. I wish someone would have told me to take them seriously—because trust me, post-wedding blues are real. After all that excitement, the weeks after your wedding can feel like a let-down.”

7. Your groom will care about something you’ll least expect. Says real bride Cassie, “Everyone sets your expectations really low when it comes to your groom and how much he’ll participate in wedding planning. But what they don’t tell you is that he will care about something—and it’ll probably be the last thing you expect. For example, my now-husband was adamant we have a fondant cake. Who knew?”

8. Don’t expect to actually eat at your wedding. Real bride Jen says, “You won’t eat much of the food you painstakingly picked out. Between your guests—who will constantly want to gab—posing for pictures, and slicing into your cake, you’ll be lucky to get a few measly bites. I wish someone would have told me to eat well through the day—or to ask our caterer to serve us a little sooner.”

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses

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judy smith Nov 2015
WHEN Grace Gray uncovered her wedding dress from the back of the wardrobe, she knew exactly what to do with her something old – turn it into something new.

The doting gran gifted her much-loved satin gown to her daughter Michelle, so she could have it made into a christening robe for her baby Pippa.

And the beautiful wee girl was all smiles on her special day in her hand-me-down, upcycled gown.

Michelle, 32, said: “I always loved my mum’s wedding dress and never imagined it would become my daughter’s christening dress, but I’m so glad it did.

“For Pippa to be christened in such a special family dress made the day all the more amazing.”

Grace, 54, wore the pearl-encrusted ivory dress when she married husband William, 73, in Clydebank 18 years ago.

Michelle helped her mum to pick the dress and was a bridesmaid at the wedding.

She said: “I was quite young when my mum married my stepdad and I remember going shopping with her when she picked the dress.

“It had lots of pearls and diamantes and I just loved all the sparkle. She looked so beautiful.”

After her wedding, Grace packed away her dress in a box and kept it at the back of her wardrobe.

Michelle, who is looking forward to her own wedding to partner Frazer Ward, 29, next year, said: “It has been there ever since but she came across it when she was clearing out.

“It was her idea to have it turned into a christening dress for Pippa.”

The family took the dress to Fabricated Bridal Alterations in Glasgow, where the seamstresses made not only the christening dress but a head band for Pippa and a matching hair clip for her sister Tilly, four.

Michelle, who also lives in Clydebank, added: “I did feel a little bit anxious at the thought of mum’s

dress being cut up but the end result was so beautiful.

“Mum had a tear in her eye when she saw it.”

Grace said: “I can’t think of any better use of my wedding dress than seeing it given to my

granddaughter for her christening.

“I felt really honoured to share in her big day in such a special way. I was overwhelmed by how beautiful she looked.”

Andrina Greig, of Fabricated Bridal Alterations, said there was a rising trend for women to put their wedding dresses to good use.

She added: “We’ve had more and more women getting their wedding dresses made into a christening gown for their children – but this is the first time we have had a grandmother’s dress brought in to be made into a christening gown.

“Michelle’s mum’s dress was perfect for the transformation.

“It was in great condition and the beading, bow and button details were ideal for scaling down and keeping as a feature on the christening dress. We were thrilled with how beautiful Pippa’s gown looked.”

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-adelaide

www.marieaustralia.com/red-carpet-celebrity-dresses
Rosie Owen Apr 2015
Marriage is changing, from who can get married (37 states now allow gay marriage!) to who actually ends up doing it. Only 26% of millennials are married, a sharp decrease from 36% of Generation X and 48% of baby boomers, according to the Pew Research Center. But marriage isn't obsolete — in fact, in many ways it's thriving as we re-evaluate what the institution really means to us.

And with re-evaluating marriage comes re-evaluating weddings. The Knot's "2014 Real Weddings Study" found that couples are foregoing traditional wedding customs to modernize their nuptials through their choice of rings, dresses and officiants.

That includes — perhaps most importantly — the vows. Couples today are taking cues from badass brides like Amelia Earhart, who banned the word "obey" from her 1931 wedding vows, and reciting promises to one another that reflect the partnerships they strive for. Here are 12 real-life couples who vowed...

1. "To split the difference on the thermostat."

Why it's awesome: When Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston got married, Pitt pledged to "split the difference on the thermostat." While that partnership didn't last, as we all know, it was a lighthearted vow that highlights a crucial element of modern marriage: compromise. The key to a happy marriage is learning how to meet halfway.

2. "To be a true and loyal friend to you."

Why it's awesome: Marriages weren't always about intimate, caring partnerships between equals. But we know well enough now that the happiest, most long-lasting marriages are those in which partners see each other as friends (even studies have proven it true). Jevan's vows to Alithea, shared by the Knot, are a reminder that the bedrock of friendship is what makes a modern marriage stand.

3. "To communicate fully and fearlessly."

Why it's awesome: Among the traditional promise of partnership and faith, real-life couple Anne and Gabrielle told the Knot they vowed "to communicate fully and fearlessly" as spouses. In our modern world, we have seemingly endless ways to communicate — text, email, Skype, Snapchat — and yet still have to work to connect. Sitting down face-to-face, making eye contact and being vulnerable with one another is still crucial, as is being honest without fear of judgment from your partner. Emojis aside, that's what really sustains a lasting relationship.

4. "To grab your **** even when we're old and wrinkly."

Why it's awesome: As we become more open about sexuality (thank goodness), it's only natural that a wink and a nudge find their way into the wedding vows. In an open thread on A Practical Wedding, Zach and Kate shared their vows, which included the promise "to hit on you in awesome accents and grab your **** even when we're old and wrinkly." This promise to keep the spark alive even years down the line is no small thing. After all, studies have shown that all it can take is a simple touch to maintain a ****** connection.

5. "To value our differences as much as our common ground."

Why it's awesome: Love is a powerful force to bring people together, even when they're divided by cultural background, religion and, increasingly, politics. As society grows more divisive and we hold tight to our views, it's valuable to remember that our differences don't have to actually divide us, as these vows from real-life couple Greta Christina and Ingrid, told to Patheos, show.

6. "To continue to love your children, as if they were my own."

Why it's awesome: A marriage isn't just a vow to one person, it's a vow to an entire family — future and present. In 2011, Pew Research found that more than 4 in 10 American adults have at least one "step relative" in their family, including a stepparent, a stepchild or a step or half sibling. These adults are just as likely as others to say that family is the most important element of their lives. So it's no surprise that people have been adapting their weddings to encompass the commitment to an entire family, as Sara M. did in her vows, shared on Offbeat Bride.

7. "To comfort you when the Falcons lose and drink beer with you when they win."

Why it's awesome: As Mallory summed up so perfectly to Eddie in their vows, shared by the Knot, appreciating each other's distinct interests and actively sharing in them together makes a huge difference. It goes beyond just putting on the Falcons jersey: Sitting down for the game and sharing a beer is what researchers would call "shared leisure," and it makes a big difference for marital satisfaction. That football game is more than just a football game.

8. "To never try to hurt you just because I'm angry or tired."

Why it's awesome: The chaos of our lives means lots of stress, lots of late nights and lots of exhaustion. (Unsurprisingly, Gallup found that 40% of American adults get less than the recommended amount of sleep.) That can actually wreak havoc on a relationship, which is why it's all the more important to anticipate the challenge. Sarah's vows to her husband, which she shared on A Practical Wedding, are a promise not to take out her stress and exhaustion on him. Instead, she vows to trust him throughout the chaos, "even when we veer from GPS directions, schedules, itineraries and to-do lists."

9. "I have called you my life partner, my significant other, my longtime companion, my lover. ... Now I vow to love you always as my lawfully wedded husband."

Why it's awesome: The vows said by George Takei and longtime partner Brad Altman at their wedding, after the passage of marriage equality in California, were unsurprisingly moving, given they were 21 years in the making. As couples, straight and gay, wait longer to get married (and cohabit in the meantime), labels like "husband" or "wife" are less crucial for defining the relationship than the moments a couple has shared. Takei and Altman's wedding was not proof of their commitment, but rather a tribute to the commitment they had already demonstrated — a truth echoed clearly in their vows.

10. "To be your partner in all things, not possessing you, but working with you as a part of the whole."

Why it's awesome: If we're really striving for egalitarian marriages, then recognizing the equal amounts of work required by each half, as partners, is crucial, especially as women's participation in the workforce keeps growing (57.2% compared to 69.7% for men in 2013). In order for both careers to receive equal focus, a promise not to "possess" but to work to support each other is key. Much like Amelia Earhart refused to use the word "obey," real-life couple Alex and Michelle promised to be each other's "equal in all things" in the vows they shared with the Knot.

11. "I will love you no matter what makes my blood circulate, or even no matter what provides my body with oxygen."

Why it's awesome: Traditional weddings tend to be religious occasions, but with increasing rates of atheism and marriages across faiths, religion is taking a back seat to a more personalized expression of commitment. As of 2013, only one third of couples opted to get married in a church, and even more are removing religion from their vows. But that doesn't mean the vows don't appeal to a higher sense of faith — in the other person or in the world, as these scientific, "atheistic" vows, translated from Swedish and shared on Reddit, prove.

12. "I see these vows not as promises but as privileges."

Why it's awesome: Marriage might have been necessary decades ago, but these days it's more of a choice. So it's only natural that the vows we recite — traditionally a list of duties and obligations — actually reflect the happy choice that marriage now is for so many.

Yuval and Dina chose to frame their vows as honors, as they shared with the Knot: "I see these vows not as promises but as privileges: I get to laugh with you and cry with you; care for you and share with you. I get to run with you and walk with you; build with you and live with you." With between 40% to 50% of marriages in the U.S. ending in divorce, it's more important than ever that couples remind themselves that being with their partner is a privilege in itself, and one to never take for granted.

Source: http://www.graziadressau.com
Patrick Austin Sep 2018
Our Backgrounds before we met...

I'm an only child born in Montana in 1983, from a divided home. Parents divorced at seven, Mom was unstable and unfaithful. Dad obtained custody of me and we moved to Oregon Coast to live with my Grandma. I had unhealthy visits and relationship with Mom thereafter. My Grandma died at 12 and at 13 my Dad remarried an alcoholic woman, I had a strained relationship with them until adulthood when she stopped drinking. I had exposure to trauma; alcoholism, mental illness, verbal abuse and juvenile troubles. I rebelled by using drugs in my late teens and early twenties, I lived on my own for a few years after high school but had little direction.

My bride is the eldest with two little brothers, parents stayed in same area of Portland during childhood with lots of family support and her parents stayed married. They had Christian values but some anger and anxiety issues at home. She was sexually assaulted at 17 and never had good closure with this. She told me her parents didn't provide her enough help with things like this growing up. Status quo was the backbone of the family dynamic, challenging emotions were discouraged. She rebelled by being reckless with herself, financially and sexually. She decided to join the Navy at 19. She lived alone briefly, but mostly with Grandparents & Parents before our marriage.

I loved how we both grew up reading Archie comics. No other girl I had ever met had that in common with me. I think we wanted a surreal life like the one in Riverdale.

2002

She and I were 19 when we first met in my home town on the coast at an arcade. We became friends and secretly liked each other. I was too nervous to ever make a move on her. We traveled together, she stayed with me, we used drugs together and drank at times. One night she drank too much and had *** with a guy I knew at a party. I was devastated by this. She was Navy bound and I didn't see a real future for us. The next morning she left and I didn't talk to her again for two years. I figured she would be gone with the Navy soon and that she must not have been interested in a relationship with me despite the time we spent together.

2003

I was depressed about this rejection. I dated an older woman who was interested in me but was no substitute. I eventually moved to the Portland area to work and live. I still had few plans and was lonely, in or out of the few brief relationships I attempted. I never found someone that I felt safe with or had a true connection, let alone true love. She ended up not following through with the Navy and continued working her way up in her job at the call center. She attended community college and dated a few guys. She dated one guy for a couple of years who was not a good match for her but stayed with him off and on despite issues. His family was wealthy and treated her well. He slept around on her as did she. At one point he gave her an STD. She also had an ongoing affair with a married man in the military that she went to high school with. He had a child and a wife with mental health issues. She was still hurting a lot at times and not always doing well.

2004

She reached out to me via email after two years of no contact. We emailed back and forth a couple times over the next few months. We talked about meeting up. We spoke on the phone and eventually met up in Portland. We had an amazing night getting to know each other again and work past the confusion of our earlier days of friendship. I realized that she did in fact like me before but since I was timid and trying to be proper and take things slowly she didn't understand my motives. She apologized for her actions at the party as well. She claimed she was in a really messed up place and was making bad choices at that time. Getting our feelings out in the open was good and she appreciated my attitude towards being slow to make moves on her when we first met. I was worried about falling for her based on our history but eventually I was determined to give it a shot. We soon after starting dating and being intimate. Our love was extremely powerful and beyond all others we had both experienced. She broke ties with other suitors and shortly after we talked about marriage and started planning a wedding for the next year.

I remember when we first held hands. We were so shakey and she was quivering on my couch as I had my arm around her. We felt so safe with each other. We could finally be ourselves and do what our hearts desired. We knew we were on to something new and so amazing. We were so patient with each other as we navigated our new love and emotional thresholds.

I remember when we saw Matisyahu in concert together. That was a once in a lifetime experience and a life-changing moment for us. I feel it set the tone for things to come in our future.

I remember how creative my proposal to her was, in the Arcade where we first met. I hid the ring in a prize container from one of those claw machines. Pretending I got the ring from inside by reaching into the machine on one knee I was so nervous and wasn't sure if I could pull it off before she caught on. She looked so shocked and surprised. I was so excited she said yes! We took pictures in the photo machine and had burgers afterwards, I'd do all of it all over again just to see her face in that moment.

2005

We found an apartment for us in Portland. I moved in while she was still living back with her parents until the wedding. She had to change her number because the married man she was previously involved with kept calling her about changing her mind about marriage and continuing their relationship. She was offered a job in Denver and we decided to move away together after our sandy wedding in Cannon Beach. I still had a very hard time and was embarrassed with my past history with her. Many of my friends knew what had happened at 19 and how much it hurt me but I was so crazy about her I think I tried to pretend it didn't happen or that it was not a big deal because we were younger. We got married and moved to Colorado soon after. We made friends at a church, I became more active as a Christian and really loved being married. We were very involved in keeping spirituality in our marriage. I began to notice her poor financial decisions and practices more. This caused conflict but we always tried to communicate and work on things.

I remember when we went down to my folks for New Year's in 2005. We sipped tea in my Datsun as we drove to the coast over the snowy mountain pass. We told them of our engagement. We were all so blissful and excited. We never knew what was to come. We didn't even know about the opportunity in Denver yet. Our story is amazing!

I remember when I wanted to go see her in Portland and the roads were iced over. I left my car at a park and ride before I caused a wreck. I took the light rail across town then rode a bus to the Eastside shopping mall. The bus to her house was not running because it wasn't safe so I walked the rest of the 4 Miles sometimes having to crawl on my hands and knees to make it up hills in the ice and then I finally made it only to just spend a couple hours with her and fall asleep on her parents couch. Her Dad drove us back the next morning to my car so I could get to work. It was all worth it just to see her for that little extra time. I would have done anything for her.

I remember when she was interviewing for the new position in Denver? I drove all over Portland trying to find little toy cars to help with her illustration about how a team is like a car having all four wheels and how they work together to accomplish a goal. I was so proud of her for giving it her all and succeeding at earning that position. Now that I think of it, that car analogy applies to our family and us. We all need each other to be better and keep on track and be a team. I am so motivated by that and our boys. I lose my way without that and I want to be her reflection and motivation as she has been that for me. I truly thought we brought out the best in each other when we were together.

I remember when we were given tickets to see Fiona Apple. That was so spontaneous and a great way to kick off our time in Denver together. We always used to watch our same movies over and over again. Like the Friends DVDs and White Christmas every winter break and The Wedding Singer. We walked everywhere and lived simply. "I wanna be the guy, who grows old with you"

I remember in our first Denver apartment when we took baths together in our claw foot tub in the big bathroom. We put a board over the top and played cards. I liked playing Uno with her in bed too. She was so funny being slightly color blind and in the dark, mixing up the greens and blues. We played Uno in Breckenridge too at that cool bed and breakfast in the fall.

2006

We had continued fun and adventure in our new home of Denver. She was doing well as a trainer for the bank and I started working in health foods. We went camping in New Mexico a couple times with friends and we both took individual trips to Oregon as well as one together for her uncle's wedding. We had marital spats on occasion but always bounced back. The issues we had seemed like part of a normal marriage and were far better than what I had grown up around. I realized that marriage was a lot of work but I was up for the task. She occasionally became aggressive throwing things at me or breaking things during conflict.  I believed I was the problem and tried to change for her in many ways. With two incomes we still had trouble making our bills at times. She had debts that I never knew about that started to catch up with us but I took care of getting them settled and we paid off her car and traded it for an older Volvo Wagon that we both loved, I even had it repainted her favorite color for a birthday gift. Overall things seemed like they were progressing in a positive way.

I remember when we saw Midnight in concert in Boulder. That was the peak of our hippy days. We were alive with pleasure in our healthy vegetarian diets and practices living in a time and place like no other. I want to be like that again. Reggae was our music. We had much in common.

2007

We really fell into our roles in our marriage and the community; church and culture, friends etc. Things seemed very balanced and appropriate for us at that time and that age (24-25). We had separate bank accounts and jobs. I had money in savings. We started the process of buying a house so we could invest in something. She became pregnant shortly after. I embraced the challenge with positive energy but we were both in for a big change. We started having more fights. I didn't have many friends and would write to old friends via social media just so I could to catch up and tell them things were going great with being married to make myself feel better than I actually did. She hated the dawn of social media and also felt isolated I'm sure. She felt I should be doing more for her and I didn't know how to do what she needed but I failed to ask a lot of the time. After one argument, she left the house. My instinct told me to look at ******* and ******* as a retaliation. I had not done this much once we were married because she always met my needs but when things were difficult between us I felt more emotionally isolated. She walked in and realized what I had been doing. She was very upset, and because she was pregnant, thought I was not attracted to her. The truth is I found her even more beautiful and in fact when I looked at ******* I tried to look at women I found less attractive than her so that I feel good about what I have. I mostly fantasized about how these women were more submissive and loving than her. That is the part I needed to feel good about and feel better about myself with because I felt very dominated and controlled. She has never forgiven me for this and I will never stop feeling sorry to her for my brokenness. During one particular argument that year she was getting close to being violent towards me again and I pushed her away on the chest with my fingertips. She got very mad and said I hurt her. I immediately felt terrible and apologized. I never let something like that happen again. I have always avoided violence towards others especially women and of course her. I was defenseless against physical and emotional abuse.

2008

Our eldest son was born at the beginning of the year, it was a traumatic birth for everyone. We wanted a natural birth with a midwife but we were transferred to a hospital and she ended up having an emergency C-section, nothing went as planned. We had a really hard time coping with the emotions of this experience. A lot of buried feelings and trauma from both of us started coming out. We moved a month later into our new home outside of town. No more walking or biking to places, we had to drive everywhere. This house was next to our friends from church. We thought this would make us feel less isolated but we didn’t really have the community with them that we had hoped for. They were upset that they didn't have a child of their own yet and being around us might have been hard for them. My wife stopped working and stayed home with our son. All these changes made for a very difficult time. I did my best to support them but this was the first time we shared a bank account and needed to follow a budget more than ever before. We had no debt at the beginning of the year with money in savings but then the hospital bills put us down about $7,000 and rising with new home and moving expenses and baby needs. My job could barely keep up. She and I had a hard time adjusting. We could not afford to travel home to Oregon and visit family as much and we felt more and more isolated. She started showing me more signs of instability, locking herself in the bathroom with kitchen knives and scraping her legs which continued off and on for years to come. Talks of divorce and suicide threats seemed to happen more than before. I felt responsible and tried to fix her ever changing issues with me.

I remember when herr ******* were full and swollen with milk. It is so beautiful the way she could feed our babies. I wanted her in every way, our bodies belonged to each other. I was there for her and our shared pleasure. I loved it when she told me that she was mine in the heat of passion. This spark could only be a bandage for so long but I didn't know that yet.

2009

I tried to promote within my company but was not selected, they were cutting budgets and employment all around me. I felt worried about our future. I had always thought the military might be a good opportunity and could move us closer to family back home. My father-in-law encouraged me to look into the Coast Guard. I felt this would be a good way to get moved closer to Oregon.  I ended up joining the Navy because we found out we were pregnant again with our second son and that was the only way I could join a military branch. She worked off and on as a nanny and later in the year at a coffee house working nights. We barely spent time together and when we did it was a lot of hard conversations or arguments about finances with making up intimately in the middle of the night between times of caring for the baby. She once scratched my neck with her fingernails during an argument. People I worked with noticed. It was a hard time and we knew change was on the horizon with jobs and moving. We did visit Oregon that summer though and had a great vacation at the beach with a borrowed 4x4 and staying at a hotel and picnicking out of a cooler as well as going to her brothers wedding. I was 26 and about to join the Navy to provide better for my family at all costs sacrificing myself for their benefit because I would have rather died than look like I didn't try my best for them.

I remember when our babies would kick and move around inside her belly. I loved laying by her and feeling her tummy. I would hum to the baby and hear them move and squirm. I loved giving our boys baths when they were babies too. We had our little bundles of our love, wrapped in a towel in our hands, so tiny and vulnerable. I miss those days and want to remember them with her, aside from this state of melancholy.

2010

The Navy recruiters would only take me if we rented out our home and had her stay with family during boot camp and training. We moved to a furnished apartment in Denver and put our things in storage. She was 5 months pregnant and our eldest was two. I shortly after was let go from my job. Our second son was born in April. I got a contract with the Navy at the last minute but didn't leave until August. We sold our beloved vehicles and lived off retirement funds for six months and moved down to Florida where her parents had just moved out of the blue for work, to stay with them until I left for boot camp. I applied for temporary work in Florida at a dozen places but had no luck in my three months there. I took care of our eldest a lot while she took care of the new baby. Being in Florida was a culture shock for us but we had our moments of romance and made the best of it. Eventually I left for boot camp in August. It was really hard and sad to be gone. She stayed in Florida and came to visit me with the baby at boot camp graduation in October. I then went to Connecticut for five months of training. It was also hard but at least I could call home every day and be in the same time zone. I visited Florida during the winter break and saw my boys and her. We went to Disney world and had a great time on her parents. We also made a romantic home movie I could enjoy while away from her. I flew back to Connecticut and tried to make the best of things. My roommate was very abusive of substances and I resisted the temptation for a long time but the threat of being submarine service bound and missing my family pushed me to drinking every weekend and getting messed up to escape before I left.

I remember when we drove to Key Largo, Florida and stopped at a crazy bird wildlife center. I remember our oldest was so amazed hearing a bird say hello back to us. It was so foreign and fun there. I am glad we all shared that experience together.

I remember our trip to the citrus grove in Florida. That was such a great day for our family. I always look back on that with really fond sentiment. I felt like I was in a beautiful family music video with them.

2011

I finished Submarine Training and got orders back to the Northwest. The plan was all coming together. I arrived first and bought a car and got our items moved from storage in Denver to our townhouse rental in Washington. She and the boys joined me a month later. I didn't report to my Sub for another month as they were at sea. She became pregnant again with our third son right after arriving. We had just bought a small car and were not planning on another child. Towards the end of the year I was working a lot and having a really hard time, being bullied and treated poorly at work plus our financial situation was still very difficult. Adjusting to the military was hard among younger men being 28. I dreaded each day in that environment but I tried to endure it for my family. I went to sea for a couple months at the end of the year stopping in Hawaii and California. During this time She reached out to her ex married affair partner after six years of no contact. She didn't tell me until later. She said she needed closure with him, we were not in counseling yet but she decided this was appropriate. I flew home early from sea and wanted to surprise her. The stress and trauma of this quick transition home after being to sea for the first time (which was also traumatic) made me want to drink and get messed up before flying. I arrived home and surprised her but I seemed off to her which I was but didn’t explain why, I have never done that since. I got to be home for two months almost work free while we celebrated the holidays and prepared for the new baby to be born. She started getting more involved with a church and building a community for us which was great. Our financial struggles almost led us to foreclosure of our home back in Colorado but by the grace of God we got it sold with a short sale just in time.

I remember when I came back from Hawaii and brought her a beaded necklace and she wore it naked with her big beautiful pregnant goddess belly and we made passionate hippy love together. I want to grow out my beard again and spend my life making hippy love and feeling free again.

2012

Our third son was born in January. It was a very positive birth experience and much less stressful than the other two. Shortly after I flew out to finish the other half of the deployment I had missed. I really focused on being positive and spiritually connected by reading my Bible at sea which was helpful. I called her when I arrived in Japan halfway through being gone. She was upset because she tested positive for an STD while trying to get on birth control. I became suspicious of her yet she was suspicious of me. We both got tested again and I was clean, she told me she had a false positive after all. This put a big strain on our trust, especially being so far away. This forced us to be honest with each other about some things such as her contact with her ex lover and my drinking to cope. We were both very upset until I returned home and we could start some counseling to work through things. Forgiveness seemed to be difficult for us. It brought up hurts of the past when we were 19. She also had severe postpartum depression that became worse after each birth. I was still having a hard time with work and the submarine environment. Our church friends tried to counsel us but it was not the most helpful. My submarine was scheduled for extended repairs and not going to sea for three years, I would be transferred before the end of that period. I used this time to bond with her and my boys. I wanted to get better involved in our community and do volunteer work and side jobs to earn extra money. Our boys were all given diagnosis's for autism which begun to fill our lives with appointments and challenges for years to come but we were a good team in dealing with all of it. It gave us something to work together on but took our focus away from working on our own personal issues and relationship with each other as much as we should have.

2013

We had new years with both sides of our family in a snowy mountain setting in Oregon. It looked like it was going to be a great year until her Grandpa passed away suddenly. It ripped our entire family apart but especially her. He kept the family grounded and she was very close to him, he really loved all of us. She and I started going on dates again because we had Navy sponsored child care. It was the beginning of a really good thing for us. Tragically one night after a date we were dancing with the boys on the patio and I tried to pick her up and I lost my balance and fell on her, breaking her collar bone severely. She needed surgery and was very mad at me for years to come. She has a scar, a metal plate and numbness in her chest. We worked through it with our community from church but she still is very mad at me. I feel more terrible about this incident than she could ever know. I would lose a finger in place of that incident if I could. I continued having a really hard time in the Navy and I didn't want to stay in but She insisted our boys needed care only the Navy could offer. She also said she would divorce me if I ever left the Navy. I took this threat seriously even though she assured me later that she would never actually do that. Against my own convictions I reenlisted because I wanted to do the best thing for my family. We moved into base housing at the end of summer and didn’t go out to do things as much anymore. The house was nice but it ****** us in, we also had less community with people around our home. I started volunteering at church more and doing work with special needs people. I felt like I was doing good things and that I had purpose all around. I think she appreciated this about me.

2014

We started seeing a professional counselor together and individually. It became a regular event. I worked on myself and she worked on herself. I had a lot of issues with my Mom and eventually broke off communication with her for my own well-being and the betterment of my family. I got past a lot of the bad feelings I had. She worked on her traumatic experiences and our relationship dynamics. Just when things were going well I got a new boss who made things hard for me and others at work and I started messing up more. I got in trouble for messing up a job at work and was given strike one on my record. She lost respect for me as a provider but I tried to stay strong showing her that I would continue to do my best.

I remember when we had an appointment in Tacoma and we had a brunch date together afterwards. She looked so beautiful that day, I took her picture and was so proud to enjoy  huevos rancheros and momosas with her. I remember going to the Tacoma Art Museum seeing the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit, we have a great time together doing new things and feeding each other's interests. I loved laughing with her too, sometimes we just bust up like nobody's around. I loved the sound of her laughter. I loved watching Portlandia with her, it is so funny to remember the funny place where we became close and be able to relate together.

2015

I kept working hard and being involved with family and appointments for my boys and her. I still maintained my volunteer work and part time side jobs. I got strike two with the Navy for messing up again... I had just gained orders to leave the sub for local shore duty. I could not get out of the extended repair situation soon enough. She was very disappointed in me and not so understanding. I worked through this situation with our counselor as did she. He always told her I am a good man and that I do a lot for her and the boys. It's true, I care more than anything about them, I made mistakes and I feel bad especially when I cause my family stress. I left for shore duty in April. It was a hard time adjusting to the new routine but eventually we seemed to make it work. That summer we took a trip to visit Texas where her parents had just moved from Florida. We spent a great night together for our 10th anniversary in a hotel in Texas and went dancing. We had a lot more time together as my work schedule was less. The more people we had in our home working with our kids on issues the less useful my input seemed. I was not included as much in making family decisions because they all seemed to happen while I was at work, despite my objections. We tried to get our budget under control but she still had anxiety discussing spending. She continued to struggle with depression and was put on medication because she had still been harming herself. She was put on Prozac daily and anti anxiety medication as needed. He family members were not very supportive of medication which upset her but I always tried to be supportive in seeking help and continued care for both of us.

2016

We had a busy routine of kids in school now and home school and preschool and appointments for all of us. She wanted to go to church less and less. I started drinking a couple beers at night almost every day. I tried to mask my stress from her mood swings. She decided not to go to church at all anymore and focused teaching the boys about Jewish traditions exclusively which was hard for me to adjust to and confusing for the boys. I loved her and wanted to be supportive. As usual I was submissive and removed myself from the Christian church and some friendships. I feel like we lost our community at that point. We searched for a good place to have a new community with Jewish people but it was like starting over. I felt like I converted to Christianity for her when we got together and now I had to convert again, either way I would have done it for her because I loved her that much. The kids were confused by this change. After trying and failing at many synagogues we finally found one that seemed right for us.

2017

We finally had some money in savings because I kept it a secret and ended up planning a trip to visit her parents in Texas but it fell through due to lack of military flights. Instead we spent three nights away in a nice hotel resort as a family in February. We had three days of pure family time. Playing Battleship and other games in our room as a family, watching movies and eating at all the different restaurants and getting room service. Going swimming everyday in the foggy pool. I love our family and how we can have a great time together doing nothing but at the same time so much. That was so peaceful and relaxing. I wanted to keep doing things like that together as a family before our boys got too old. Shortly after this vacation she wanted to go back to school, then we bought a third vehicle so she could. Shortly after this she changed her mind about school and wanted to buy another house instead. I went along with it to please her and we practically killed ourselves trying to get the move accomplished with not much help or money. We had a good year over all. We got away for a romantic anniversary together in the summer. Just before the boys were going to start public school in the fall, her parents moved back to the area. She had anxiety with this and cut off contact with her parents and brothers for a while. Her Dad called me very upset and I tried to keep the peace until they reconciled. I was doing better with work and made up for lost progress as well as making arrangements to change jobs in the Navy to something more fitting. Since the boys started public school, I planned on leaving for Navy training in my new position after the beginning of the new year when they would be at a more settled place in their routine.

I remember when we went to the Olympic Club for our anniversary and we stayed there for a night away. We drove the long way through the countryside talking about new music that she wanted to share with me and she made notes of it on my phone notepad. We brought our own cooler and picnic that included Session Lagers and chocolate. We checked in to our room and made noisy bohemian love on the edge of the creaky bed in our small European room inches from the door. Then we went to the theater downstairs and watched the late showing of a really interesting Sci-fi movie "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets". We took showers and slept sweetly together. We made love again in the morning before we had a delicious brunch outside on the patio. We took the long way home and drove around on new roads and found our way out of cell phone reception. We figured out the road less traveled to get back to our home. We loved being alone and away together, just one night can make such a difference and mean so much.

I remember going to the Forest Theater to see Tarzan with our boys. That was such a great time. I would love to get our boys into theater and go see them someday. I wanted to keep our dreams and goals together alive and not lose opportunity and fall short by losing our partnership.

I loved going camping in Seabeck. Loading the truck with all our gear and getting away. Archer got sick from the cowboy caviar and I had to clean him and the tent up in the night. I was glad we had each other to be a team in our marriage in that situation as with all the other times. These sorts of things are what escape a person's mind when they are determined to get a divorce.

2018

We had a lot less money than the year before, again buying a house took its toll on finances as did the boys school and after school activities. I stayed very involved taking the boys to appointments and sporting practices. We stopped going to synagogue but tried to practice Judaism at home as much as possible, which I was very supportive of and involved with. She was still depressed and talking about suicide at times. I encouraged her to get help as I always had. Eventually she was diagnosed as Bipolar 2 and manic depressive by a new provider. She started taking new medicine for this and was worried I would want to leave her. I assured her I would never leave her and that I always wanted to work on things with her and help her. I left for training in Mississippi February 8th. It was going to be hard but I thought it might be good to have some time apart from each other to miss one another and reflect on things as well as prepare for times when I would be away at sea. I got in trouble in Mississippi for giving junior personnel a ride and being negligent of people who might be underage and possibly drinking, this became strike three. I never thought this could happen. I became recommend for separation from the Navy shortly after and was stuck in Mississippi for six months instead of six weeks. She was supportive through most of it but seemed to fall into hopelessness. Money was spent by her that we didn't have without discussion. She quietly leased appliances and tires and purchased a vehicle as well as having a secret bank account and email address. I discovered through our insurance company that she wanted to leave our policy for divorce. I didn't know this and she had even told the boys she wanted a divorce before I even knew. I was caught off guard and confused. I kept trying to communicate and reason with her but she didn't want to talk. I refused to give up and wrote emails and a letter but it only seemed to push her away further. By the time I left Mississippi she had filed for divorce and a restraining order against me saying I was unstable and a threat. I couldn't return to my home. My whole life fell apart in just a couple months. I found out she had been talking to other men in the Navy and keeping more secrets. I assumed this was her way of taking control during a difficult situation. I really needed her support during this hard time of transition out of the military. I became homeless, jobless and without my family in a month. I prayed to God that given time things might change between us but it was of no use. Bipolar had consumed whatever was left of my bride and there was no turning back.

I felt that our love was not one to be cast away. Other people might not understand or agree but what we had was truly special. We may have surely needed some time and space to get counseling as well as reconfigure and repair our marriage but I didn't feel like our relationship was irretrievably broken. She was so important to me and I thought she was the love of my life and would always have my heart. I wanted to be her partner in love and life, watching our boys grow up and being there to support each other. Being that she is Bipolar I knew she will need a lot of help and I was more than willing to assist her in making sure she was taking care of herself and not throwing herself into harm's way, ensuring she sticks with a plan we agree to for consistency. I cared about her deeply and had much compassion for her. I didn't believe she was thinking this through or thinking about the future. I really wanted to look at the long and short game with her, neither seemed appealing to me if we progressed but here we are. Things are not going to be easier. She will still have to face her problems and deal with me on a regular basis for the rest of our lives no matter what happens. She can believe her lawyer when they promise she'll get the moon and stars out of this in the end but they only see half of the story. Above all they want our money. It would have been good for her to face me in person and tell me she wanted to divorce and we could have started talking about it with a counselor to figure out how that could even work. Instead she chose to avoid as much responsibility for her actions as possible by doing everything in my absence as if I am not a real person. I had to find out about it from our insurance company and was last to know.

Immediately after I hear the word divorce I looked into her cell usage history and find she has a new military boyfriend that she talks to 20-30 times a day. She felt she owed me no explanation for this and it was none of my business. A mature person would have let me know about this months before and I would have seen it coming but there was no sign until it was seemingly too late. She strayed down a dark path and never turned back.

Her proposed parenting plan was cruel and had no thought put into it. Two hours a week with supervision, no holidays but father's day? She said she’s not trying to keep me from the kids but this is the exact opposite of what she’s saying with the paperwork she filed. She seems very mixed up and still you continues to make rash and sudden choices. Like a completely bogus restraining order against me that contradicts so many facts she has stated herself on record during my Navy retention process. She was so bold as to want to change her identity and even put it in ink on the divorce paperwork as well to a whole new name. That is not the actions of a stable person. She has since changed her mind again on that just as quickly as everything else in her recent life choices. I can't trust that any decisions she is making right now are for the right reasons or that she is of sound mind. I have never seen her so conflicted and confused, grasping at straws and running scared from herself.

Using the legal system so carelessly and going back and forth makes me feel like she is not ready to be making big choices and changes for her and our family. It is very unfair that she can’t consider my feelings on things and what I wish for the boys as well. Very reckless behavior. She can’t anticipate that the day would come where she has to face me and talk to me like an adult. She wants to hide behind the legal system which only leaves much to be unresolved. Ghosting me is not really an option in a marriage of 13 years with children.

Having relationship conversations is too difficult for her at this time and she would rather avoid it and skip to divorce because she thinks that will somehow be easier. I suspect she knows she is making poor choices, possibly out of fear and lust for something new and less painful than the reality of things right now. Our marriage was nowhere close to divorce when I left. She was sad to see me leave and woke with me at 3:30 am to say goodbye, making me coffee and cookies for me to take with.

Our community and accountability seems to be gone due to the continued trend of isolation that she is drawn to. The God fearing loving committed wife I thought I had is gone or trapped inside a terrified shell of herself. She cut me off from her family members and I can't discuss my concerns about her with them either. She only seems to have community with those who are not going to discourage her from these destructive choices.

I understand we have had issues and struggles but we are no worse off than other couples during challenging times. I think that because we loved each other so much it just hurt more when things got hard. I can't accept or believe this is justified or the right choice based on the positive trend we were on before I left. This was the longest break we have ever had from each other and I think she just needed someone to be there more for her, no matter who it was. Time can heal all wounds and I hope that is true for our relationship as co-parents.

She still refuses to tell me about why she wanted a divorce or talk about anything beyond caring for the kids. I have fought the restraining and I can see my boys again but I am still not allowed to my home without her permission.

I have risen from the ashes in just a couple months. I rent a room from a nice couple from our old church and obtained a good paying job while I continue paying the household bills.

This is a really hard time, this difficult spell could have been a tool to better our relationship. I wanted to experience more beautiful memories with her. We had so many more beautiful memories and dreams left to create. This is what marriage looks like to me now as I lower the casket.
This is a timeline of the major events during my 13 year marriage. Amidst the reality, I injected all the lovely memories that refuse to leave my mind.
anastasiad Jun 2017
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judy smith Sep 2015
It’s been a summer of love for many pairs in the Aspen area who chose to tie the knot near home or with a destination wedding such as these six couples below.

Natasha Lucero and Mike Conklin of Carbondale pinpointed Puerto Aventuras, Mexico, for their May 2 wedding at Hacienda del Mar Resort. Surrounded by nearly 100 friends and family members, they celebrated in the sun with a beach wedding. Though they lead an active lifestyle filled with lots of CrossFit workouts and semi-strict diets, they decided upon a decadent wedding cake (opting for one made of donut holes in lieu of something more traditional). For their honeymoon, the happy couple stayed in Mexico at an all-inclusive resort just down the road from the wedding.

Kelly Ann McColm and Daniel Conal McCarthy of Aspen chose a mountain wedding for their June 6 event. The ceremony was on the wedding deck at the top of Aspen Mountain with a reception in the beautifully decorated Sundeck. Kelly Ann’s favorite part about the wedding was the weather. “All four seasons in an hour! We started up the gondola with rain, got to the top of Ajax with snow and as I came out to walk down the aisle, the clouds parted and the sun came out for a beautiful summer sunset. The McCarthys are beach-bound for their honeymoon with a trip to Bora Bora.

Lori Augustine and Bill Small of Aspen tied the knot on June 14 on Aspen Mountain. They and their guests enjoyed beautiful summer weather for the ceremony at 11,212 feet. They’ve just set off for a honeymoon through Europe, spending the month of September in Venice, Milan, Lake Como, Capri, Positano, Rome, Tuscany, Monaco and St. Tropez.


Molly Elizabeth Eckrich and Charles Barclay Dodge of Aspen exchanged vows amidst friends and family on June 26. The Snowmass Chapel performed the ceremony in the John Denver Sanctuary in Old Snowmass. The bride noted, “We were the first wedding out there and I hope more people will use it because it was the most perfect setting.” Their reception took place at Tempranillo in Basalt. And their long awaited honeymoon will be spent in St. Bart’s and Cuba in November.

Katie Kowalski and Mickey Krentz of Aspen were married on a beautiful summer afternoon at Aspen Center for Environmental Studies at Rock Bottom Ranch near Emma on Aug. 8. “We supported a farm to table dinner there last year and both knew instantly, that is where we wanted to get married,” the bride noted. “It represented out love of the outdoors and love for good, local food, in a relaxed and beautiful setting. The atmosphere the day of our wedding couldn’t have been more perfect with the roosters crowing, ducks waddling, pigs lounging, the warm glow of the sun.” Next spring, they’ll honeymoon in Italy and France.

Maggi Whitmer and Ryan Thompson of Aspen tied the knot on Aug. 15 at Elk Camp in Snowmass under clear blue skies. “We loved being one of the first weddings in this location,” explained the bride. “Ryan and I both grew up in the valley and are passionate about skiing so having it on the mountain with chairlifts in the backdrop was special.” Sparklers, a food truck and the gondola were all little details that made it especially unique. For their honeymoon, they’re heading to Croatia and Italy in October.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-perth

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judy smith Sep 2015
Photographers are up in arms this week over an online battle between a DJ and a wedding photographer. At the center of the controversy is the question of whether or not a DJ should be able to shoot and share wedding photos when the photographer has an exclusivity agreement with the bride and groom.

Photographer Carly Fuller and DJ Ken Rochon of Absolute Entertainment were both hired to offer their services at a wedding this past weekend. Fuller says that it was during the pre-ceremony that she noticed Rochon holding professional camera equipment.


“I love cross promotion but unfortunately no other professional company may take photographs during the event,” she tells PetaPixel. She says she offered to send her photos to Rochon after the wedding, but the DJ replied that he was taking his own photos for marketing and social media purposes.

Fuller says she was surprised at 9am the next morning to see Rochon’s photos posted in a Facebook album on the page for Rochon’s other business, The Umbrella Syndicate. The photographer then contacted the DJ to ask him to take the gallery down, since she was hired to be the sole professional photographer at the wedding.

Here’s the exclusivity clause that was in the contract signed by the bride and groom.

This agreement contains the entire understanding between Carly Fuller Photography and the CLIENT. It supersedes all prior and simultaneous agreements between the parties. It is understood Carly Fuller Photography is the exclusive official photographer retained to perform the photographic services requested on this Contract.

Rochon says he was indeed photographing at the wedding, but believes that this whole thing was a “huge misunderstanding.”

“Either the bride and groom didn’t know of the clause, or they knew and didn’t tell me,” he tells PetaPixel. “The client was the bride and groom, and the bride and groom never told me I couldn’t bring a camera. The photographer wasn’t my client, and I didn’t have a contract with the photographer. I do have the right to take pictures.”

“When she delivers the photos she shot, she’s still delivering what she was hired to deliver,” he adds.

Rochon says he shared 232 photos he captured from his DJ station as a gift to the bride and broom with the couple’s full knowledge.

After word of this dispute got out into photography circles, photographers began to come to Fuller’s defense, leaving angry comments on Rochon’s album and Facebook page.

As this controversy grew over social media, Fuller named it #weddingphotogate. Rochon launched his own campaign called “Freedom to Capture Love.” Here’s an open letter he published to Facebook yesterday:

Fuller denies that she has levied fines against the bride and groom, who are currently on their honeymoon, and accuses Rochon of slandering her company and business practices.

Fuller accuses Rochon of interfering with the “organic experience” of the couple’s day and confusing guests about who the photographer was by posing people and taking detail photos during the wedding (Rochon says he was almost always shooting from his position at his DJ booth).

“I have images of them holding the camera and photobombing my ceremony photos,” Fuller says, “minutes after I had asked them to put their camera away and I would send them images.”

“Wedding vendors are hired because of their experience, talent, and vision,” Fuller tells PetaPixel. “Each of us has a right to do our job and deliver the quality our clients expect. We have a right to be able to perform our duties without another professional interfering with the process. Another vendor’s marketing needs do not supersede those rights.”

Rochon argues that he has the right to shoot photos during weddings as well.

“Why is it only the photographer that can market the event? Pretty much the only way you can market on social media these days is photography,” he tells PetaPixel “Everyone has cameras at events these days. I have every right to capture that love.”

Fuller’s position is that other professional wedding vendors should respect the wedding photographer’s exclusivity agreement and stay away from shooting and sharing photos themselves. Rochon, on the other hand, believes that photography is a basic right that even other vendors should be able to use to serve clients and market services.

“I wasn’t trying to give photos to discount the work of the photographer. I was simply marketing my company and giving my vantage point as a gift to the couple,” Rochon says.

Fuller responds: “Going forward, I hope all vendors can embrace the idea that we all should just do what we were hired to do, and BRING IT! But only bring what makes our own profession rock, and what makes our service and product the best they can be. Let’s agree to stay out of each other’s jobs – we each were hired for a reason. Let each other shine.”

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/backless-formal-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/red-carpet-celebrity-dresses
Sharina Saad May 2013
Very often I heard them say
Wedding bliss is short term, temporary
Honeymoon over and here comes the reality
Ohh really? A wedding bliss has a date expiry?

When you agreed to make that wedding vow
Relationship is sealed, the bonds of matrimony
To love to live with someone for eternity
Tell me in which line of the wedding vow
… did you ever say, TEMPORARY?

Lifetime commitment is never that easy…
Our Love travels sometimes in a smooth journey
Sometimes love puts us into a rough situation
A twist of love and life… of loyalty and commitment
sometimes the test is tough… almost unimaginable…
so we Hurt each other till we bleed inside
we are clever but we sometimes act like fool

Searching for perfection in imperfection
No relationship is perfect, we both knew
But still we hurt and leave the scars open…
Wedding bliss never let it be temporary…

Upon your eyes there is the man… there is the woman
Sometime ago he/she was the one who drove you so crazy
Who stole your nights and days talking sweet nonsense…
Who put a smile on your face
till you vowed not to cry again

Let this wedding bliss be forever…
If we should take that vow we made once again…
Let us do…
Despite of everything that we’ve gone through
Good or bad,
The bliss is there… surrounds us..
Till death do us part
We are here to stay in a blissful marriage…
Wedding bliss is forever…
By Rina
judy smith Sep 2015
Horses are the love of your life, right? So it's only natural that if you are planning on getting hitched to the other love of your life, you'll want to include your horse in the big day itself. You could go the whole hog and have your horse carry you and your betrothed down the aisle and stand beside you at the ceremony - but that isn't the easiest feat to pull off, even with the quietest of mounts!

Luckily, there are lots of other ways to feature your equine passion at your wedding; whether it's just for the photo shoot itself, or by subtle touches at the reception.

Photographers Peter and Rosemary Morris from Photoshoot in West Auckland adore working with horses and have captured several horsey weddings. They say planning a wedding with horses is not all that different from doing anything else with horses – you need to have a well thought-out plan, but must be prepared to change that plan at any stage if problems arise.

"Try to keep things simple. Don't be too ambitious and plan to a level you are confident and familiar with, not beyond," advises Peter. "There is a lot to consider actually, more than most people realise. We've had a few horse weddings where the horses were eventually dropped from the day due to the extra logistics involved."

One of the prime considerations is transport. Most brides have enough trouble getting themselves to the wedding on time, says Peter. You'll need to call in some favours, and have somebody to prepare and transport your horse, which of course includes loading which sometimes is a challenge on its own. "Try and get your best and most trusted horsey friends involved to help sort transport, grooming and tacking up," says Peter.

Another key point is the bombproof-ness of your horse. How will he or she react to a large, rustling dress and windblown veil, a crowd of people who may be nervous around horses, and a different handler? Then there is the music, clapping and flapping decorations to consider, along with the added tension and emotion the big day brings.

"Will your horse be at the ceremony, or will you arrive on the horse and have it taken away afterwards? Do you plan to have your horse take part in the whole day, including the arrival, ceremony and photos? Are you riding ******* or in a saddle? Can you actually ride your horse in a dress?" queries Peter. "There really is a lot more to prepare and organise once you commit to having your horse as part of your wedding day."

Of course, if you can manage it, Peter says horses make a great addition to your wedding photos and this is the easiest and most fun part of the day. "The bride is relaxed, the crowd disperses and what you get in the photos is just a split-second, so even if all it not going so well you should still expect to get one or two amazing shots to last a lifetime.

"This is where 'horsey' photographers can help out, knowing how to get the horse's attention and even helping to lead and pose the horse or assist with mounting and dismounting if necessary."

Run through the entire day in your mind and think about how you want the day to unfold. Try to anticipate any pitfalls, so you can address these before they become a problem.

- Always have a Plan B. Have the ceremony at or close to a stable, where you are guaranteed shelter or at least a venue for the photos after the ceremony, if nothing else. Arrange this with a friend, local club or racetrack.

- Consider wind! The beach can become unsettling for horses very quickly, so bear this in mind when making wedding plans.

- If it's a beach wedding, be sure to check access and tides. High tide may limit access and only give you soft, dry sand to work with. Low tide and wet, hard sand offers the beauty of reflections if photos. If part of your day involves walking tracks and streams, have someone check the day before to make sure they are accessible and not flooded or muddy.

- Most importantly: keep the focus on yourself and make your wedding memorable for all the right reasons.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/short-formal-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-brisbane
judy smith Nov 2015
Remini also reveals in the book that Nicole Kidman’s adopted children Bella and Connor only spoke to their Australian mother when forced to.

The New York Daily Newsobtained a copy of Remini’s exposé, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology. In the book, Remini claims that Suri, who was then seven months old, could be heard crying throughout the pre-wedding dinner.

Remini writes she went to see what was going on, only to find Cruise’s sister and an assistant staring at the child as she screamed on the floor.

Remini says the women were staring at the child as if she was [Scientology founder] “L. Ron Hubbard incarnate”.

Remini also writes about Bella and Connor Cruise’s strained relationship with Nicole Kidman. Sharing a ride to the airport with the then-teenagers after Cruise and Holmes’ wedding, Remini asked the two if they’d seen Kidman.

“Not if I have a choice,” said Bella, according to the book. “Our mom is a f*ing SP.”

(Within Scientology, SP is reportedly a Suppressed Person and designated enemy.)

Remini says that Cruise and Holmes’ lavish nuptials at Odescalchi Castle in Italy was the beginning of the end of her involvement in Scientology. Prior to the 2006 ceremony, Remini — whose mother and stepfather were Scientologists — spent 30 years in the controversial religion and donated US$2.5 million ($3.5 million).

But Cruise and Holmes’ wedding reportedly pushed the actor over the edge.

In the book, Remini recounts how she finally convinced the women in the bathroom to pick up Suri and give her a bottle of warm milk.

Remini reckons her actions infuriated Cruise, and she was then treated like an outcast for speaking up. Tensions reportedly flared as church workers tried to separate Remini from close friend, Jennifer Lopez. Lopez was the daughter of a Scientologist, and the church hoped to use the Cruise wedding to recruit her to the cause. According to the book, Cruise reportedly even pressured Remini to invite longtime friend Lopez and husband Marc Anthony.

When Remini failed to co-operate, she writes that she was very publicly snubbed in the reception line by the famous couple as punishment.

The actor also describes in the book how Cruise was left at the altar for 20 minutes, waiting for Homes to show up.

As the 150 guests grew increasingly uncomfortable, Lopez whispered to Remini, “Do you think Katie is coming?”

Remini recalled the reception as being like a high school dance filled with amorous teenagers.

She writes that Norman Starkey, the Scientologist who performed the wedding ceremony, was “******* Brooke Shields on the dance floor”.

Remini was also outraged to see Scientology’s married Chairman David Miscavige treating his assistant as if they were on a date.

And she reported the high-level Scientologists attached to Cruise and Holmes, Tommy Davis and Jessica Feshbach, “were all over each other” at the festivities.

The two later divorced their spouses and married.

Remini also revealed that Cruise had seemingly replaced Hubbard as the church’s new figurehead. “Tom Cruise seems to be running our church,” she said.

After the event, Remini was summoned to appear at Scientology headquarters in Clearwater, Florida, to explain her wedding behaviour, with the most damning accusation made by Holmes herself.

In a report so punctuated with exclamation marks that it looked liked it was “written by a seventh grader,” Holmes contended that Remini’s wedding behaviour “disturbed me greatly. [She] made the party all about herself.”

Holmes recently apologised to Remini in a statement saying: “I regret having upset Leah in the past and wish her only the best in the future.”

After months of interrogation and a US$300,000 ($420,000) bill for the “auditing,” Remini was forced to launch an apology campaign.

She sent expensive gifts to all the important guests, including director JJ Abrams, who were reportedly upset by her attitude.

Remini also apologised to Kevin Huvane, Cruise’s powerful agent who also represents the likes of Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Jennifer Aniston.

She called to personally apologise after hearing that he was telling others how “disgusting” her behaviour was.

Remini considered leaving Scientology at the time, but didn’t as it would have meant cutting ties with her mother, stepfather and the many friends central to her life since joining the church as a teenager. Ultimately, Remini’s family would also leave the church alongside her.

After Holmes left Cruise in 2012, Remini aggressively ended her relationship with Scientology a year later by filing a missing persons report on Scientology boss David Miscavige’s wife.

In Going Clear, Lawrence Wright’s damning HBO documentary on Scientology, he dates Shelley Miscavige’s disappearance from public view to 2006.

Los Angeles police closed the case with a statement that Remini’s report was “unfounded”.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/short-formal-dresses
judy smith Nov 2015
Whether or not to invite kids to your wedding is one of those polarizing First World problems that can end friendships, divide families, and ratchet up couples therapy bills. Your time can be better spent deciding what desserts will be at the Viennese table or which Billy Joel song will be your first dance. There's really no need to get defensive about the whole kid thing.

We can only invite a certain number of people.

The caterer doesn't have chicken nuggets.

It's a late ceremony.

We think kids are spawns of Satan.

Let me stop you right there. There seems to be a common misconception that I want to spend every waking moment with my children (probably because I spend every waking moment with my children). Don't tell me why my kids aren't invited to your wedding; just don't invite them. It will be magical. Here's why:

It's your day. If you want circles of doves, bridesmaids wearing Indonesian tapestries or the Electric Slide, do it. Who am I to dictate what your special day looks like? Kids create a certain, shall I say, atmosphere that is not everyone's cup of tea. I completely understand if you want the joyous union between two adults to be an adult-only affair.

I get a rare night out. You are literally forcing me to leave my house, put on an expensive dress I'll only wear once, dance with my husband, and socialize the night away. This hasn't happened since my own wedding.

I don't want them to upstage you. I'm not going to lie; my three-year-old looks smashing in tulle and sequins. Plus, she's a boss at throwing things on the floor, so tossing petals down the aisle will be a snap. Once we curl her hair, put her in matching bejeweled shoes, and turn her loose on the dance floor, all eyes and cameras will be on her. I mean, you. It's totally your day.

My kids don't want to be there either. It combines all the fun of sitting still, being quiet, and not ******* in public. What kid wouldn't love that? I've been to an occasional wedding where I've seen kids having a blast, boogie-oogie-ing up a storm, twirling in circles. But most of the time, I see them sitting in the coat room, looking surly while playing Angry Birds on their parents' phones.

Nobody really wants to supervise them. Relatives love to tell us: "Bring Junior, we will totally entertain him during cocktail hour," or "I can't wait to dance with little Nancy." Next thing we know, the bar opens, and everyone scatters to chase down the server with the mini-hot-dog tray. Friends and family always swear they'll help us out, but really, no one wants to babysit my kids at a wedding. Everyone is too busy having fun. It's impossible to hold a writhing toddler and a whiskey sour at the same time; one of them always falls. And those kids always eat all my mini hot dogs.

It'll keep your guest list in check. At this point in our lives, a lot of us have children--many, many children. If you let us each bring a "plus-4," your head count will spiral out of control, fast. The dance floor will begin to resemble the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese's, and forget about being able to hear the vows over the cacophony of little voices asking if it's "almost up to the food part"--not that my kids will eat any of their $100-a-plate dinner anyway.

You will save a ton of money for me. Forget my own dress, hair and makeup; now my 3-year-old needs an outfit, matching shoes, hair accessories and jewelry. We need to pack crayons, coloring books, toys, an alternate meal (the infant isn't into prime rib these days) and a larger hotel room. And I suppose we should probably give a nicer gift.

Mommy needs a drink. I'm not a raging ******, but I do enjoy imbibing the odd glass of wine, or six, at a wedding. Hey, it's celebratory! Nothing kills a buzz faster than having to be responsible for the welfare and safety of small children in a room filled with innumerable safety hazards. I also have no desire to explain to them why Mommy has a lazy eye and "New Year's breath."

My children have no plans to reciprocate. There is a strong likelihood that my daughter will not invite you to her 4th birthday party -- something about "limited space in the bouncy house" and "pizza only serves eight." Since no invitation is forthcoming, feel free to save the space at your wedding for your mom's second cousins or that co-worker whose wedding you were B-listed to. Everyone will have a much better time.

Especially me.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/black-formal-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/pink-formal-dresses
Bus Poet Stop May 2015
~

a woman, weeping,
at her own wedding dinner,
copiously, bleating sobs,
unsignaled, unprovoked, inexplicable.

misunderstanding guests,
shifting their weight
from foot to foot,
searching for a combo-pose of
of joyous discomfort.

all is well, say the wedding singers,
hymns of wedding songs they perform,
encouraging the standers-about
to dance,
all whom are inconsolably confused about
the wed woman's recognition of a
moment's milestone marker
which distinguishes, her totality,
feeling the differential between
the miles ahead,
the miles already passed,
but cannot answer
the singular considerable consideration question,
is this mine, the right road
and am I
who I am supposed to be,
or the supposition of others

which is why bride weeps at her wedding

~

a sober, industrious, quiet man
of many middle years,
seen sway dancing on the lawn
at 6:00 AM,
to sounds unheard,
was it music, voices,
a breaking point,
the birth of madness?

we, who watched from within,
behind a safe boundary
of glass and stucco and timber,
jealously considering alternate theories
of creation of the universe,
dual roles,
observing guests and voyeurs,
prayed for ourselves,
desirous of his wishes granted,
swayed with him,
in flagrante delicto,
co-conspirators unseen,
but jailed,
behind protective walls of
glass and stucco and timber,
sotto voce confessing priest-worthy sins
while protesting their innocent knowledge
of a man's delightful craziness,
a distraction from
weeping brides

~

the parents posts to Facebook
pictures of children,
warily unaware that their favoritism
is slip showing

oh they favor the youngest son,
beautiful Joseph with many colored coats,
possessing the practiced cuteness
and skillfully employ how to manipulate it sweetly
on suspecting adults

the  eldest daughter,
unconsciously,
is the child made over
into a physical representation,
a manifestation of themselves preserved
as parents are wont to do
just because
they can
~
the swayer wedding guest
pray~dances to the tune of:

give over, her to me, to me,
to replant her unsuspecting
in garden wild,
feed her colors of her as yet unthought of,
foresee her aching beauty,
teach her freedom dancing by the sea,
weeping at her weeping
at her wedding
simpatico with her,
confusion and joy and fear

which is why the man sway dances
on the lawn at 6:00 am and weeps
copious bereft and joyous,
at the possibilities of conquering life
and foresees
the child wedding weeping
and weeps in anticipatory empathy sympathy
at their cojoined
kinship fate

~
judy smith Sep 2015
He's a high-end fashion designer with a celebrity following, but when it comes to the perfect wedding dress, Henry Holland has admitted you don't need to spend a fortune.

The designer from Greater Manchester, who has his own fashion house, said there are plenty of options for brides on a budget on the High Street.

'Being a fashion expert, I have something to say on the subject of wedding dresses, and I think you can look amazing without blowing your budget,' he said.

'Everyone knows that wedding dresses can cost an absolute fortune. You can spend anything from £8,000 - to £50,000 if you're J Lo. But there are so many amazing different styles and options on the High Street.'

Holland reveals his top picks, which can all be bought off-the-peg for less than £1,000, in his new Channel 4 show, The Changing Room.

He's impressed by the array of bridal gowns offered by Phase Eight, earmarking one Fifties-inspired design called the Sally Tulle wedding dress, which costs just £250.

He said of the dress: 'It's a cute Fifties-style prom shape with nice tulle and it doesn't look cheap, which is important. The fit and flare style flatters so many different body shapes and the length means you can show off your shoes.'

He also loved a cowl neck, full-length ivory gown from Ghost for £395, and a lacy £450 vintage-inspired wedding dress from Damsel in a Dress.

When choosing the perfect gown to walk down the aisle in, Holland recommends brides consider what they will look like from all angles.

He explained: 'Remember how important the back is. During the ceremony you will have your back to the congregation or your assembled group of friends.

'So for one of the only times in your life, think about how you look from behind.'

He advises looking for dresses with beads and sequin detailing all the way round - and again said this doesn't have to mean spending a fortune.

Showing a dress from Clifton Brides with a price tag of £995, he said: 'You can see the work that has been put into it; the beads and sequins have been sewn by hand by a skilled artisan.'

In his other style tips for brides he recommends glittery or lacy T-bar shoes and said 'always wear a veil'.

He said brides should not feel embarrassed about buying their dress from a High Street store. He added they should also banish worries about a guest turning up in the same gown with a stark warning for those planning their outfits for a friend or relative's big day.

'Buying off-the-peg is absolutely fine. You don't need to worry about anyone else turning up in the same dress as if any of your guests turns up wearing a white dress they need to be told to leave or escorted off the premises,' he joked.

One bride who took his style advice is Alex, who will tie the knot next June in Corfu.

She features in Holland's fly-on-the-wall series, The Changing Room, where cameras are installed in fitting rooms of House of Fraser, New Look, H&M;, Monsoon and River Island stores across the country.

In the first episode, which airs this evening, Alex is filmed trying on a wedding dress from Monsoon as well as picking her bridesmaids' gowns from the Oxford Street store in London.

She was impressed with the design and price of the £499 'Elise' gown, which is embellished on the front and has a mesh cut-away back covered in gems and beads.

'I love it, I don't think I want to try anything else on,' she said.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-sydney

www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-melbourne
judy smith Jul 2015
For many couples, planning the perfect wedding it isn't just about food, flowers and invitations. These days, it's also about going green and protecting the environment as well.

"Every single part of the wedding process can be eco-friendly, and not necessarily the color green," says Katie Martin, wedding planner and editor-in-chief of "Eco-Beautiful Weddings Magazine."


photo:www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses
She said keeping things close to home is the first step.

"It's all about going local. The more local you have your vendors, the better you are at being sustainable and having your wedding be less wasteful," Martin said.

That includes local florals and local favors.

"Pick something seasonal. Pick something that comes from local farms. An easy thing to do is to go to the farmers markets and see what's happening in season now. That way you still have something beautiful that will actually be at its peak. So you're being eco-friendly but you're also going to get a better product from that," said Annee Gillett, the Director of Catering for Hotel Monaco in Alexandria, Virginia.

Items that are in season often have a lower price tag.

Greener Planning, Party Favors

Couples can also come up with greener alternative for items at the reception, such as fewer wedding programs, or having only one menu per table. Martin also suggests using recycled or seeded paper as another good idea.

"It basically has seeds from wildflowers and herbs woven within it. So the guests can actually take that home and plant it and then have a little memory of your wedding of their own when their wildflowers grow," Gillett said.

That same idea can translate to greener party favors such as a packet of seeds that can be planted or something edible. Either way, there is no waste.

For couples who want a more eco-savvy celebration, but don't know where to start, Martin says to just ask.

"It begins with you as the consumer, to say, You know what, I want a wedding that gives back to the community, and I want to know what my vendors are going to do about it," Martin said.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/****-formal-dresses
Meggn Alyssa Dec 2017
I sat on the floor of my closet. It was a summer when I still felt like a child, but wanted to be a grownup. I sat on the floor of my closet, resting on the clean carpet, sorting through old school memories. I can see the spot where I once spilled a bottle on glue and my teddy bear got stuck for a few days. That teddy bear is in the closet somewhere. Tipped over boxes flood half of my bedroom with yearbooks, photographs, study guides, and homework from elementary through middle school. Just barely a teenager the summer before sophomore year of high school, my head was full of big dreams to make a movie and go on road trips with friends who had just gotten their drivers licenses. These big adventures were still out of reach, but I was finding other adventures. Adventures through texting and what I thought was falling in love.


That day sitting on the floor of my closet, pretending I was too grown up to hold onto childhood toys and school papers, I was texting a girl. She had told me no more than two months before that she would be in Montana for the summer instead of five minutes from my home in Minnesota. We were friends at the time, but nothing special. We didn’t go to school together anymore, and I had never been to her house like you assume best friends do. I was mostly sad that she wouldn’t be around for the movie I wanted to make. I had no idea that when she left we would start texting almost constantly, and I would learn so much about myself that summer.


By July, we were a thing. Maybe not a dating thing or in-love thing because we were so many states apart and neither of us had told anyone else what we were up to. We were in high school, and I didn’t know how to talk about love and relationships yet. But we were a thing. A text from morning to night thing. A sending messages because something made us think of the other thing. A counting down the days to being in the same state again thing. This was my first relationship, so I didn’t really know what dating was like and especially not long-distance dating.

All I knew was that it was an amazing feeling to have someone I could tell everything to and plan a future with. It just happened that this person was also a girl.


I don’t remember much of the text message conversation that day on my closet floor except for the red wedding dress. I knew this girl wasn’t traditional, and she was gay so that was already pushing the boundaries of my teenage mind and our world at the time. When she told me that she wanted to get married in a red dress, I didn’t even question it. It was our normal. I thought she would be beautiful. The more we talked, the more I could see the vibrant red dress on her soft body, and I saw myself as slim and beautiful in a white dress.  


The funny part was that I don’t remember being the little girl that dreamed of a big wedding and a princess ball gown. I don’t remember planning out a dream wedding until I met someone that made me think about myself as a bride.


A red wedding dress was a new idea for me, but it must have been done somewhere before. The next logical step in my mind was assuming that this red wedding dress would be for our wedding someday. We would be high school sweethearts, childhood best friends separated after middle school but in love nonetheless. I could see myself as a beautiful bride in white, holding hands with my beautiful bride in red. We messaged about where she had seen red wedding dresses before. She never gave me a reason why she wanted one so bad, and I don’t think I ever asked. We both just agreed that that would be the way things were for us. I felt content in the deepest way, like nothing could make me feel like I was floating higher or ever bring me down again. I sat on the floor of my closet, firmly planted in a crisscross-applesauce position, but feeling like I was reaching for the sun and moon and clouds and stars.


I sat on the floor of my closet, making no progress on sorting through the boxes. I was distracted by the thought of weddings and learning how to fall in love. I thought this rush and attention was what falling in love was. Accepting the fact that my girlfriend wanted a red wedding dress was just part of my love story. Like the ones you hear in radio pop and country songs.



I thought falling in love meant never falling out of love.


I wonder how many other people she talked to about a red wedding dress.
judy smith Nov 2015
Weddings are a seasonal thing. They really pick up in spring, roll on at a steady pace through summer and then spike into the fall. But then comes November, when the frenzy of peak wedding season slows down, it can be tempting to hibernate until spring. If you’ve had a particularly busy year, it may actually be necessary for you to cool your heels for a minute.

But once you pause to catch your breath, don’t succumb to the temptation to binge on Netflix and chill with your business. The off-season is your golden moment! This is your time to out-pace your competition and really build momentum for your business.

Here are 17 off-season wedding photography marketing ideas. You’re probably already doing some of these. Some won’t work for you. And some are things you should be doing, and promised yourself you’d do last year. So let’s get to it!

Category: Content Marketing

#1. Blog Your Shoots

Blog your weddings on your blog! This sounds obvious, and maybe it is. That’s why we’re putting it first. If you have weddings you haven’t blogged yet, pick out your favorites and get them prepped and ready for the blog. Schedule them to post at even intervals off into the future. If that’s one a week, great. If one a month, also great. Get your work out there on your blog, you won’t regret it. You’re creating a beautiful portfolio as well as a giant Google-******* traffic magnet. It’s a win/win.

#2. Get Re-Blogged

Get another blog to blog your blog on their blog. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. Just look around at the wedding blogs you love, and see which of your weddings fits what they love. Then, you know, send it to them! If you don’t want to do it the hard way, you can also use Two Bright Lights.

#3. Contribute a Guest Blog

Have a friend with a cool blog? Reach out and ask if you could contribute a guest blog. Surely there’s a topic you’re savvy on that they could use. Blogs always love a guest post, as it takes a bit of the work off their shoulders and builds credibility. And for you, it positions you as an industry expert and gives you something to talk/post/tweet about!

#4. Create a Guide

As a frequent wedding-goer, you have a far greater grasp of the things that should be done and the things that must be avoided. Aggregate your knowledge into a helpful resource guide. Ten Wedding Shoes to Avoid at All Costs, Top Five People Not To Invite To Your Wedding, How To Look Amazing On Your Wedding Day… stuff like that. Make sure the images are all yours and ready to be shared. Share it on your blog, on your social networks, and then send it to industry blogs.

Category: Social Networking

#5. Tag All The Things

Do you have un-tagged photos of clients out there in the wild? One easy marketing trick is to go through all your previously posted photos and make sure every possible person is tagged. Reach out to old clients and encourage them to tag-it-up! Any new tag will cause your photos to show up in feeds around the world, which is always a good soft-marketing move.

#6. Instagram

Is your Insta-game on lock down? Review the photos you’ve posted in the past and nix the ones that don’t represent your brand today. Remember, any photo that isn’t a great photo does not need to be in your visible portfolio. This isn’t technically marketing, but it is defensive marketing, protecting future clients from old photos that might turn them off. And for every old photo you nix, add a new, shiny one that you love!

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-brisbane

www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-perth
Nigel Morgan May 2015
In a distant land, far beyond the time we know now, there lived an ancient people who knew in their bones of a past outside memory. Things happened over and over; as day became night night became day, spring followed winter, summer followed spring, autumn followed summer and then, and then as autumn came, at least the well-known ordered days passed full of preparation for the transhumance, that great movement of flocks and herds from the summer mountains to the winter pastures. But in the great oak woods of this region the leaves seemed reluctant to fall. Even after the first frosts when the trees glimmered with rime as the sun rose. Even when winter’s cousin, the great wind from the west, ravaged the conical roofs of the shepherds’ huts. The leaves did not fall.

For Lucila, searching for leaves as she climbed each day higher and higher through the parched undergrowth under the most ancient oaks, there were only acorns, slews of acorns at her feet. There were no leaves, or rather no leaves that might be gathered as newly fallen. Only the faint husks of leaves of the previous autumn, leaves of provenance already gathered before she left the mountains last year for the winter plains, leaves she had placed into her deep sleeves, into her voluminous apron, into the large pockets of her vlaterz, the ornate felt jacket of the married woman.

Since her childhood she had picked and pocketed these oaken leaves, felt their thin, veined, patterned forms, felt, followed, caressed them between her finger tips. It was as though her pockets were full of the hands of children, seven-fingered hands, stroking her fingers with their pointed tips when her fingers were pocketed.

She would find private places to lay out her gathered leaves. She wanted none to know or touch or speak of these her children of the oak forest. She had waited all summer, as she had done since a child, watching them bud and grow on the branch, and then, with the frosts and winds of autumn, fall, fall, fall to the ground, but best of all fall into her small hands, every leaf there to be caught, fallen into the bowl of her cupped hands. And for every leaf caught, a wish.

Her autumn days became full of wishes. She would lie awake on her straw mattress after Mikas had risen for the night milking, that time when the rustling bells of the goats had no accompaniment from the birds. She would assemble her lists of wishes, wishes ready for leaves not yet fallen into the bowl of her cupped hands. May the toes of my baby be perfectly formed? May his hair fall straight without a single curl? May I know only the pain I can bear when he comes? May the mother of Mikas love this child?

As the fine autumn days moved towards the feast day of St Anolysius, the traditional day of departure of the winter transhumance, there was, this season, an unspoken tension present in the still, dry air. Already preparations were being made for the long journey to the winter plains. There was soon to be a wedding now three days away, of the Phatos boy to the Tamosel girl. The boy was from an adjoining summer pasture and had travelled during the summer months with an itinerant uncle, a pedlar of sorts and beggar of repute. So he had seen something of the world beyond those of the herds and flocks can expect to see. He was rightly-made and fit to marry, although, of course, the girl was to be well-kept secret until the day itself.

Lucila remembered those wedding days, her wedding days, those anxious days of waiting when encased in her finery, in her seemingly impenetrable and voluminous wedding clothes she had remained all but hidden from view. While around her the revelling came and went, the drunkenness, the feasting, the riotous eruptions of noise and movement, the sudden visitations of relatives she did not know, the fierce instructions of women who spoke to her now as a woman no longer a young girl or a dear child, women she knew as silent, shy and respectful who were now loud and lewd, who told her things she could hardly believe, what a man might do, what a man might be, what a woman had to suffer - all these things happening at the same time. And then her soon-to-be husband’s drunk-beyond-reason friends had carried off the basket with her trousseau and dressed themselves riotously in her finest embroidered blouses, her intricate layered skirts, her petticoats, even the nightdress deemed the one to be worn when eventually, after three days revelry, she would be visited by a man, now more goat than man, sodden with drink, insensible to what little she understood as human passion beyond the coupling of goats. Of course Semisar had prepared the bright blood for the bridesbed sheet, the necessary evidence, and as Mikas lay sprawled unconscious at the foot of the marriage bed she had allowed herself to be dishevelled, to feign the aftermath of the act he was supposed to have committed upon her. That would, she knew, come later . . .

It was then, in those terrible days and after, she took comfort from her silent, private stitching into leaves, the darning of acorns, the spinning of skeins of goats’ wool she would walnut-dye and weave around stones and pieces of glass. She would bring together leaves bound into tiny books, volumes containing for her a language of leaves, the signs and symbols of nature she had named, that only she knew. She could not read the words of the priest’s book but was fluent in the script of veins and ribs and patterning that every leaf owned. When autumn came she could hardly move a step for picking up a fallen leaf, reading its story, learning of its history. But this autumn now, at the time of leaf fall, the fall of the leaf did not happen and those leaves of last year at her feet were ready to disintegrate at her touch. She was filled with dread. She knew she could not leave the mountains without a collection of leaves to stitch and weave through the shorter days and long, long winter nights. She had imagined sharing with her infant child this language she had learnt, had stitched into her daily life.

It was Semisar of course, who voiced it first. Semisar, the self-appointed weather ears and horizon eyes of the community, who followed her into the woods, who had forced Lucila against a tree holding one broad arm and her body’s weight like a bar from which Lucila could not escape, and with the other arm and hand rifled the broad pockets of Lucila’s apron. Semisar tossed the delicate chicken bone needles to the ground, unravelled the bobbins of walnut-stained yarn, crumpled the delicately folded and stitched, but yet to be finished, constructions of leaves . . . And spewed forth a torrent of terrible words. Already the men knew that the lack of leaf fall was peculiar only to the woods above and around their village. Over the other side of the mountain Telgatho had said this was not so. Was Lucila a Magnelz? Perhaps a Cutvlael? This baby she carried, a girl of course, was already making evil. Semisar placed her hand over and around the ripe hard form of the unborn child, feeling for its shape, its elbows and knees, the spine. And from there, with a vicelike grip on the wrist, Semisar dragged Lucila up and far into the woods to where the mountain with its caves and rocks touched the last trees, and from there to the cave where she seemed to know Lucila’s treasures lay, her treasures from childhood. Semisar would destroy everything, then the leaves would surely fall.

When Lucila did not return to prepare the evening meal Mikas was to learn all. Should he leave her be? He had been told women had these times of strange behaviour before childbirth. The wedding of the Phatos boy was almost upon them and the young men were already behaving like goats before the rut. The festive candles and tinselled wedding crowns had been fetched from the nearest town two days ride distant, the decoration of the tiny mountain basilica and the accommodation for the priest was in hand. The women were busy with the making of sweets and treats to be thrown at the wedding pair by guests and well-wishers. Later, the same women would prepare the dough for the millstones of bread that would be baked in the stone ovens. The men had already chosen the finest lambs to spit-roast for the feast.

She will return, Semisar had said after waiting by the fold where Mikas flocks, now gathered from the heights, awaited their journey south. All will be well, Mikas, never fear. The infant, a girl, may not last its birth, Semisar warned, but seeing the shocked face of Mikas, explained a still-birth might be providential for all. Know this time will pass, she said, and you can still be blessed with many sons. We are forever in the hands of the spirit, she said, leaving without the customary salutation of farewell.
                                               
However different the lives of man and woman may by tradition and circumstance become, those who share the ways and rites of marriage are inextricably linked by fate’s own hand and purpose. Mikas has come to know his once-bride, the child become woman in his clumsy embrace, the girl of perhaps fifteen summers fulfilling now his mother’s previous role, who speaks little but watches and listens, is unfailingly attentive to his needs and demands, and who now carries his child ( it can only be a boy), carries this boy high in her womb and with a confidence his family has already remarked upon.

After their wedding he had often returned home to Lucila at the time of the sun’s zenith when it is customary for the village women to seek the shade of their huts and sleep. It was an unwritten rite due to a newly-wed husband to feign the sudden need for a forgotten tool or seek to examine a sick animal in the home fold. After several fruitless visits when he found their hut empty he timed his visit earlier to see her black-scarfed figure disappear into the oak woods.  He followed her secretively, and had observed her seated beneath an ancient warrior of a tree, had watched over her intricate making. Furthermore and later he came to know where she hid the results of this often fevered stitching of things from nature’s store and stash, though an supernatural fear forbade him to enter the cleft between rocks into which she would disappear. He began to know how times and turns of the days affected her actions, but had left her be. She would usually return bright-eyed and with a quiet wonder, of what he did not know, but she carried something back within her that gave her a peculiar peace and beauty. It seemed akin to the well-being Mikas knew from handling a fine ewe from his flock . . .

And she would sometimes allow herself to be handled thus. She let him place his hands over her in that joyful ownership and command of a man whose life is wholly bound up with flocks and herds and the well-being of the female species. He would come from the evening watch with the ever-constant count of his flock still on his lips, and by a mixture of accident and stealth touch her wholly-clothed body, sometimes needing his fingers into the thick wool of her stockings, stroking the chestnut silken hairs that he found above her bare wrists, marvelling at her small hands with their perfect nails. He knew from the ribaldry of men that women were trained from childhood to display to men as little as possible of their intimate selves. But alone and apart all day on a remote hillside, alone save for several hundred sheep, brought to Mikas in his solitary state wild and conjured thoughts of feminine spirits, unencumbered by clothes, brighter and more various than any night-time dream. And he had succumbed to the pleasure of such thoughts times beyond reason, finding himself imagining Lucila as he knew she was unlikely ever to allow herself to be. But even in the single winter and summer of their life together there had been moments of surprise and revelation, and accompanied by these precious thoughts he went in search of her in the darkness of a three-quarter moon, into the stillness of the night-time wood.

Ah Lucilla. We might think that after the scourge of Semisar, the physical outrage of her baby’s forced examination, and finally the destruction of her treasures, this child-wife herself with child would be desolate with grief at what had come about. She had not been forced to follow Semisar into the small cave where wrapped in woven blankets her treasures lay between the thinnest sheets of impure and rejected parchment gleaned surreptitiously after shearing, but holding each and every treasure distinct and detached. There was enough light for Semisar to pause in wonder at the intricate constructions, bright with the aura of extreme fragility owned by many of the smaller makings. And not just the leaves of the oak were here, but of the mastic, the walnut, the flaky-barked strawberry and its smoothed barked cousin. There were leaves and sheaves of bark from lowland trees of the winter sojourn, there were dried fruits mysteriously arranged, constructions of acorns threaded with the dark madder-red yarn, even acorns cracked and damaged from their tree fall had been ‘mended’ with thread.

Semisar was to open some of the tiny books of leaved pages where she witnessed a form of writing she did not recognise (she could not read but had seen the priest’s writing and the print of the holy books). This she wondered at, as surely Lucila had only the education of the home? Such symbols must belong to the spirit world. Another sign that Lucila had infringed order and disturbed custom. It would take but a matter of minutes to turn such makings into little more than a layer of dust on the floor.

With her bare hands Semisar ground together these elaborate confections, these lovingly-made conjunctions of needle’s art with nature’s purpose and accidental beauty. She ground them together until they were dust.

When Semisar returned into the pale afternoon light it seemed Lucila had remained as she had been left: motionless, and without expression. If Semisar had known the phenomenon of shock, Lucila was in that condition. But, in the manner of a woman preparing to grieve for the dead she had removed her black scarf and unwound the long dark chestnut plaits that flowed down her back. But there were no tears. only a dumb silence but for the heavy exhalation of breath. It seemed that she looked beyond Semisar into the world of spirits invoking perhaps their aid, their comfort.

What happened had neither invoked sadness nor grief. It was as if it had been ordained in the elusive pattern of things. It felt like the clearing of the summer hut before the final departure for the long journey to the winter world. The hut, Lucila had been taught, was to be left spotless, every item put in its rightful place ready to be taken up again on the return to the summer life, exactly as if it had been undisturbed by absence . Not a crumb would remain before the rugs and coverings were rolled and removed, summer clothes hard washed and tightly mended, to be folded then wrapped between sprigs of aromatic herbs.

Lucila would go now and collect her precious but scattered needles from beneath the ancient oak. She would begin again - only to make and embroider garments for her daughter. It was as though, despite this ‘loss’, she had retained within her physical self the memory of every stitch driven into nature’s fabric.

Suddenly Lucila remembered that saints’ day which had sanctioned a winter’s walk with her mother, a day when her eyes had been drawn to a world of patterns and objects at her feet: the damaged acorn, the fractured leaf, the broken berried branch, the wisp of wool left impaled upon a stub of thorns. She had been five, maybe six summers old. She had already known the comforting action of the needle’s press again the felted cloth, but then, as if impelled by some force quite outside herself, had ‘borrowed’ one of her mother’s needles and begun her odyssey of darning, mending, stitching, enduring her mother’s censure - a waste of good thread, little one - until her skill became obvious and one of delight, but a private delight her mother hid from all and sundry, and then pressed upon her ‘proper’ work with needle and thread. But the damage had been done, the dye cast. She became nature’s needle slave and quartered those personal but often invisible
judy smith Jul 2015
Getting married on a beach, mountaintop, remote villa or rustic rural setting is a romantic ideal for many brides.

But what does that mean for the wedding dress?

Should you go formal or footloose? Will your gown fit in your suitcase?

A bride having a "destination wedding" should think about versatility when choosing a gown. She must be "concerned about being comfortable, more so than your typical bride. She has to contend with weather and terrain, making her gown choice critical to how at-ease she feels on her special day," says Lori Conley, senior buyer for David's Bridal.

Christine Pagulayan of Toronto and her fiancé, Ian McIntyre, jetted to Costa Rica in 2013 for a resort wedding.

"I had a (dress) style in mind: strapless, low back, white with ruching. Initially, I thought about going short, since we were going to get married on a beach, but I then realized that even if it may be heavy or sweaty, I wanted a real wedding dress. So we found one that had a gorgeous train, but it also had a bustle so I could dance," Pagulayan says.

Some dress trends for destination brides:

• LIGHT FABRICS AND SHORT HEMS: Many traveling brides favor lightweight, airy fabrics.

"Chiffon and organza are always favorites. Full trains can be cumbersome if you're navigating sand or grass," says Conley, of David's.

"A lot of brides opt for the ease of a sweep train," which just grazes the floor.

David's destination-friendly dresses include styles in full or tea-length tulle, soft lace or chiffon, Conley says. Fabrics that travel well for brides wanting a more structured gown include silk gazar, georgette and crepe, which are "lighter-weight versions of silk faille and Mikado," says Carrie Goldberg, associate fashion editor for Martha Stewart Weddings.

J. Crew's Karina short dress, for instance, has a flapper-esque fringe, and is covered in corded lace. • SEPARATES: "Tops and bottoms are not only easier to pack, they allow for mixing and matching fabric and fit to get a silhouette that feels unique to your personal style," says Goldberg.

Separates work for any destination, she says: "A full organza skirt may appeal to a bride getting married on the beach; pairing it with a delicate silk camisole suits the location. The same skirt would suit a mountaintop affair when paired with a fur bolero or a fine knit."

J.Crew's Sloane poly-cotton long skirt has a simple, draped profile; a silk cami top embellished with beads, crystals, sequins and paillettes in a floral motif creates a dressy look.

At David's Bridal, there's the crisp Mikado cropped top balanced by a flowing, organza ball-gown skirt, creating a modern silhouette.

• COLOR: Let the venue inform your choice of hue, Goldberg says.

"A sunset wedding in Napa pairs beautifully with a blush gown, while the colors of an Amalfi Coast wedding may inspire the bride to opt for something blue."

• VERSATILITY: For bridesmaids — or perhaps even the bride — White House Black Market has a clever option: a short or long pull-on gown with a customizable top. You can adjust the straps on the "Genius" dress to make a halter, one-shoulder or cap-sleeved version. Easy to pack, affordable and available in a range of colors, these might be a good option for a group of bridesmaids.

• FOOTWEAR: Flats or wedges are ideal for beach or garden: "The more surface area the sole of your shoes have, the easier it will be to walk," says Conley.

Keep in mind that satin or grosgrain might get stained by grass or sand.

Another option for beach brides is "foot jewelry," an accessory that does away with the need for an actual shoe.

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judy smith Sep 2015
Gretchen Rossi knew that she wanted to marry Slade Smiley since the beginning of their relationship. They got together shortly after Rossi lost her fiance to cancer, and Slade has been her rock throughout the years. Gretchen was concerned about getting married too quickly, mostly because of his child support issues. But it sounds like he is more than ready to marry her.

Gretchen Rossi has already cancelled their wedding once. The two had planned the wedding and set the date, but they had to cancel because the date conflicted with previously created events. Rossi could not get married on her chosen date, as many of her friends and family members could not make it out. The two have been engaged for two years.

According to a new Radar Online report, Gretchen Rossi is now canceling her wedding again — and some people believe that these two will never get married. As it turns out, the wedding cancellation has nothing to do with their feelings for one another. Apparently, it is just tough for them to find a date that truly works for everyone.

“They are definitely still getting married and are very much in love,” a source says, adding, “Why else would they do Marriage Bootcamp together? The reason that the wedding has been postponed so many times is not because they have doubts that they are meant to be together, but because they are both working on a lot of projects right now.”

It is no secret that Gretchen Rossi is working ******* her business, Gretchen Christine, and she often posts pictures on Instagram of her work. She has never been in a rush to get married and have a child, and it sounds like she is being reasonable in her planning.

“Gretchen just launched a purse line and she and Slade are pitching several different ideas to various networks for projects that have them both on camera and behind-the-scenes,” a source has revealed, adding, “Lately they have been getting a lot of pressure from their close friends to do it already. Gretchen cannot wait to be Slade’s wife and, when the time is right, they will have their huge lavish wedding. This is what they both want.”

Last year, Rossi opened up about her struggles to have a child. Gretchen shared her journey on The Doctors last year, but she revealed that they had not been successful.

“I always knew that I wanted to be a mother,” Gretchen has previously said, adding, “Slade knew that it was something that was very important to me, but he also told me he had a vasectomy. We just decided that in-vitro fertilization was a much quicker way to make things happen for us.”

What do you think of Gretchen Rossi delaying her wedding yet again?

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judy smith Dec 2015
In every tribe and culture, a wedding is cause for a celebration. And all of those celebrations involve some degree of negotiation among the couple, their families, their cultures and their traditions to make the experience meaningful and powerful for everyone.

Rabbi Adam Greenwald, director of the Miller Introduction to Judaism program at American Jewish University, said when it comes to Jewish nuptials, even born-Jews will have differences. Is one a secular Zionist and the other Modern Orthodox? Reform and Conservadox? The combinations seem endless.

But, for Jews by Choice, there is the added wrinkle of following Jewish practice while making sure beloved non-Jewish family and friends feel included.

When Jazmine Green, who went through the Miller program, and Jeremy Aluma started planning their Jewish wedding, Jazmine’s Catholic mother revealed that she had always dreamed of watching Jazmine’s father walk their daughter down the aisle. The Jewish practice of having both the bride’s parents walk her to the chuppah and remain there with the groom and his family throughout the ceremony was unfamiliar and she resisted it.

Greenwald, who each year officiates at the weddings of 15 to 20 couples in which one person is a Jew by Choice, often meets with non-Jewish families early in the preparation process to talk through these issues and answer questions. He recognizes that, for some parents, there is real sadness when a child chooses a different faith.

“I try to honor those complex emotions and assure them I only want to help create a special, meaningful day for everyone,” he said.

He suggests couples create booklets to explain Jewish terms for attendees who may not be familiar with them and that they make sure the officiating rabbi offers a few sentences of context before each stage of the wedding. These can range from a word about the Sheva Brachot, or Seven Blessings, to explaining to a Christian family that a traditional ketubah is written in Aramaic, the language spoken during the time of Jesus, as Rabbi Anne Brener, professor at the Academy for Jewish Religion, California, has done.

Of course, the wedding itself is not a classroom. Jazmine and Jeremy Aluma kept their printed program informal and friendly with questions such as, “What’s up with the circling?” Their explanation of the ketubah concluded, “It also puts a monetary value on Jazmine’s head so she can hold it over Jeremy for the rest of their lives.” About the glass-smashing, they wrote, “If you’re a Jew, you know that as a people, we’ve overcome adversity and make up a thriving global community. Being torn apart encourages us to grow and gives us the opportunity to come back stronger and more resilient than before. We break a glass as a symbol of this natural process.”

Des Khoury, another student of Greenwald’s, and Moshe Netter found a way to recognize many of their families’ traditions in their ceremony and afterward. They were married by Moshe’s father, Rabbi Perry Netter, who explained to the guests that the chuppah, which symbolized the house Des and Moshe were creating, was open on all sides to indicate that everyone was welcome.

Des is a first-generation American. Her father is Lebanese-Egyptian and her mother Armenian; her family’s faith tradition is Catholic. Her wedding program included ways to express congratulations in Hebrew, English, French, Arabic and Armenian. And after the ceremony, Des and Moshe emerged from yichud, or their moment alone, to the horah, followed by an Armenian song and folk dance, and then an Arabic tune. By that time, she said, everyone was dancing.

The material of the chuppah itself can be inclusive. Brener said she once officiated at a wedding beneath traditional Ecuadorian fabric brought to Los Angeles by the groom’s Catholic family.

Music, explanations and words of welcome are nice, but when it comes to actual participation by non-Jews, every officiating rabbi will have his or her own halachic opinion. Because the marriage liturgy itself can be completed in about 10 minutes, many feel there’s room to add appropriate ritual. The mothers of Des and Moshe, for example, lit a unity candle under their children’s chuppah.

Jessica Emerson McCormick, who was born into a Jewish family, researched clan tartans before her marriage to Patrick McCormick, whose Catholic family is Scotch-Irish. Jessica and her mother found a festive blue, red and yellow pattern, and had it woven into a length of cloth and made into a custom tallit for Patrick, as well as special kippot for him and his father to wear at the wedding.

Along with that plaid tallit, Jessica and Patrick’s ceremony included several rabbi friends reading the traditional Seven Blessings in Hebrew, followed by members of Patrick’s family reading English translations. Both of Jessica’s children from a previous marriage were on the bimah, and her son wrote and read his own interpretation of the seventh blessing.

Rabbi Susan Goldberg at Wilshire Boulevard Temple said having non-Jews read translations of the Sheva Brachot is “a nice way to include friends and family in the ceremony.”

Because all translation is a kind of interpretation, Greenwald said he also approves of participants riffing on the basic idea of a blessing to create something that especially speaks to the couple. He finds that the needs of the couple can get lost while they’re making sure everyone else is happy, and sees one of his jobs as helping them stay focused on what they need, how they can be kind and compassionate, but still have the wedding they desire.

“The most important thing,” he said, “is that the couple under the chuppah have a powerful, meaningful experience of commitment.”

Because the wedding day marks a transition to what Jewish tradition sees as a new life, many rabbis encourage couples to go to the mikveh before the ceremony. Often for Jews by Choice, it’s their first visit since their conversion and a chance to reflect on how much has changed since then.

It wasn’t clear at first that Patrick would choose to become Jewish. When he did decide, Jessica said, his family was supportive. Like the families of the other Jews by Choice interviewed for this article, his parents were happy that he had chosen to include religion in his life.

Des, who said she spent years searching for a spiritual practice that felt right to her, also found her parents accepting. “To them, it’s all prayer and God. They’ve even started looking forward to invitations to Shabbat dinner.”

Jazmine’s mother, too, witnessed her daughter’s spiritual seeking and was glad that she found a place that felt like home. In recognition of that, she even gave up her front-row seat and walked with her husband and daughter to take her place under the unfamiliar chuppah.

The officiating rabbi, Ari Lucas of Temple Beth Am, spoke to Jazmine and Jeremy about coming together with the support of their community. He reminded the guests that they were there not just to witness. Together, this mix of family and friends, cultures, languages and traditions would help — and go on helping — the couple begin their new life together.

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judy smith Oct 2015
MANILA, Philippines - The public knows me as the Father of Philippine Franchising but what is hidden from the public eye is that I am a father of five sons and a daughter. This fact became very real to me again recently when my youngest son, Sam Gregory, got married.

Like I said, I have five sons and all of them are achievers and successful in their respective fields. My eldest son, Sam Benedict, for example, has a master’s degree from Kellogg and works for a top American company. My fourth son, Sam Christopher, on the other hand, got his master’s degree from Oxford and used to work for a top British conglomerate.

When my other sons got married, I was happy and proud as I could be; but when Greg got married I have to admit that there was a certain tug in my heart realizing that my little Sam was finally leaving the nest. I am not the sentimental type, but I guess every parent has a special place in his heart for his youngest.

But don’t get me wrong, Greg is no pushover. Being physically small, he did have his share of bullying when he was in school. But Greg knows how to deal with his problems. He befriended a number of his bigger classmates and that solved his problem in a snap. He may be small but he has a big heart.

Greg is idealistic and principled. He usually volunteers for civic and charitable activities and contributes to fund drives for disaster victims. My wife and I have accepted the fact that every time there is a typhoon, we can expect our cupboards to be cleared of canned goods and our cabinets purged of old clothes, which Greg would donate.

He follows traffic rules and regulations even when there’s nobody watching and even if following is not convenient for him. He saves energy. He recycles. He even convinced me and my wife not to use narra wood flooring in our retirement home.

Being a careful planner, he is the most prepared among our family for the “Big One.” But what I find most admirable is that he keeps two emergency kits in his car in case he finds himself in a situation where he might need to help others.

Greg is also romantic, creative and dedicated. When he was studying in Beijing, he would organize a virtual date with Charmaine Haw (who would eventually become Mrs. Sam Gregory Lim), who was in Manila. They would watch the same movie on the web and Greg would order movie snacks, which he would send to Charmaine’s house. The couple would also have virtual dinner dates where Greg would order similar meal courses, which would be delivered to Charmaine’s house and then they would chat via Skype while having dinner.

When the time came for Greg to buy his engagement and wedding rings, he refused to let us — his parents — help him. He used his own money despite being the one among his brothers who could least afford it, being the least salaried employee among them. He did this as a symbol of his love and commitment to Charm.

But when the wedding came I insisted that it should be a grand wedding.

To guarantee a great party, we made sure to have great food, a great place and great companions. Being an avid sci-fi fan, Greg already had an idea of a unique garden wedding. He wanted to transform the New Grand Ballroom of the Marriott Hotel into the forests of Avatar. To do this, the wedding stylist had to import a collection of trees, hanging plants, shrubs, flowers and other plants. The images projected on the giant 15-meter panoramic LED screen added to the reality of the scenery. It was a unique and original “garden setting” and was certainly a sight to behold and remember.

For the food, Greg was at his meticulous best to make sure that the evening’s feast was memorable. The dinner opened with a mouth-watering appetizer, lemon-spiced pan-seared scallop with tomato cucumber timbale in creamy ginger soya sauce followed by Manhattan clam chowder with cornbread dumpling. For the main course, we had the beef tenderloin prepared by the master chef of Cru Steakhouse of Manila Marriott Hotel, sea bass with roasted shallots, dauphin potatoes in perigourdine and mustard herb sauce.

The espresso-infused tiramisu and the white chocolate cheesecake with mango salsa served with piping-hot coffee completed the culinary feast.

With 800 guests, I would have to admit that we did splurge a little. But we also wanted the wedding reception to be an opportunity to thank the people who have been a part of our family. These are our relatives, friends and associates who have inspired, mentored and helped mold my children to be what they are today.

To my youngest son, Greg, and my new daughter, Charmaine — quoting from the Vulcan salute of the Star Trek saga (of which Greg is a big fan) — may you both live long and prosper!

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wehttam Jun 2014
May be I’ll start writing, today.  
The story of Zen Zero.

I realized that all good things come to an end.  The tears, the affairs, and even the faintest revelation about my relationship to the Emperor of Japan.  I’ll need help and... well, the truth can be tolled.  It can be that the faintest belief, that we as free people are subject to the king, our God.
A king stands in truth as our kin.  The love that has existed for a thousand years, about justice, permanence, and legend are here.
It all started 7 years ago.  According to the book of John, the 3rd book.  The face of his majesty does have an Imperial Guardian.  In any colour, red, black, blue, white, and even green.  Each color resembles the color of trust.  
I started training in the Emperor's garden at the age of negative 6.  Before my mother can conceive her unborn child in a marriage.  Like the burning of Shin Cho' Palace.  
"Oh, how they forget so quickly, the truth?" says my mother.
They forget so quickly the majesty and power of the Emperor's memory of Mother Japan.  In his Majesty's eyes, how many lovers stir the colors of benevolence.  Where and when does it exist and stop for us as an American patriot sold to slavery for spy’s.  All of his subjects do will and listen to the cry of patience in his family’s quarters.  
My father at the time of his marriage did not know the Emperor's name, I had asked my mother in her heart if she knew the king.  They are no longer married.  They had tried to burn down the Emperor's Palace with a marriage.  But I had already existed, in the love of my family at a wedding joining men and women.  I remember some singing, all though in my mother’s ears, really bad singing. In her head or mine at the wedding, whichever is greater.  Maybe the song was worthless or was the singer already lifting her fingers to strike matches on the bamboo fortress of the young emperor.  
They have had many statesmen destroy the dream that Japan has.  Through lies, corruption, and *******.  Each of the last three I had to conquer to be his Majesty's Justice.  I did not earn the right to judge any such subject or people, it was given freely at that time to children.  I had learned to love the Emperor, even in my own desire to please him and her.  
The lies were towering revelations about the coming of man in God's kingdom, and how the will of imperial veils never existed for the properties of mankind.  The corruption was the setting of dowers or dowries for the subject of lost families, in the forbearance of lucher escaped only by the luck of liars.  And then the dreams of revelry, owned by the ungodly and chaste men of the burning palace, whether sediscious, or whether the fables absolving time in the palace to a judgment had already met the Emperor.  
All of the priests (pre-ests) had to pray; for the remaining time of eternity, for the true judgment of his Majesty's subjects. It was to be taken from the subject of srys to the Emperor's Knight.  
To many were lost in the munitions of war.  Laws that govern and sanction truths were not available to those of absolute corruption.  Stalwarts, stonewallers, and stoners were becoming of the anti-gentry.  The laws were never to be discouraged by zeal, or by trial.  The laws had to represent the ability of love to change time even if the object of factions destroyed the old way.  They had taken the truth to prepare Neoteny for where the first Imperial Guard had placed his head.  The first Imperial Guard, that I became before birth had taken his own head with a weapon made by treason.  
My mother’s dress was made out of spider silk.  A giant spider played Chinese checkers with the Imperial Guard for my head also.  Never the less, the palace, this time was not burned.  The dress was made out of falling stars and spiders silk.  She had found the Emperor's tailor and traded my soul for the wedding.  The pictures that were retrieved from the wedding of my mother and father have ruminated in antiquity since the time until by birth my life.  The seers and srys wanted my head to take up the Emperor's chalice.  His cup, filled with my blood, Simian blood.  
I did not want to go through with it, birth and death before becoming subject to royalty.  Seeing the world before consummation, as I had was never thought of, it was seen as impossible unless by treason we had chided a woman of royalty.  
I have seen the last major asteroid go through our galaxy before it had ever had been a present particle of mutiny.   It proved to the child (myself) in gestation, between man woman at the wedding that time will pass just as quickly before my mind’s eye as it had at the day of Pentecost.   More than 500 billon people were to be saved by God rather than by a humble dismantling of a defense lawyer.
I had seen how flowers are made by tiny Zen Zero bumble bees going to and leaving from daisies and roses, and orchids.  How each seed takes roots and as do the munitions for treason and tears; how each man whom chooses to change their name because of treason begins to understand change when his wife chooses his name.  (The reference is to Zero attacks, suicide attacks.)  How the time and life and essence of life begins in literacy as a language of love.  Every old man on earth can help me write the scripts, but can the country of old men help me change the prophet?
As long as there is war in the palace there will be treason?
The spirit of the samurai was trying the youth in the palace.  From the first born male to the last lady in quixic geisha.  All uniques were to be placed before the Lord for appointment.  Any dreams of or visions of truth were a breach of solemnity lost by the virginity of the family.  The parents of each state were subjects to the Emperor's people, and to the chosen for freedom and slavery.  How many shining knights were to remain in the Emperor's house?  The uniqueness was subject only to the reason of the generation of the age.  Not many of my men had anything left after the life of the quill or pen of the Knight Meteyi had begun to take its place with the heads of loyalists.  His sword remains in the hand of the Majesty of Japan.  No knowledge, no lore, no president, no kin, or liars can stop his reign.  As if the last days of our youth were spent dismantling the bombs we had made during the last few battles over crude extravagance.  Oil, crops, metals, space, as space became a way to admire men in statehood was the example of treason to the following.  Democrats and Republicans began to try as is a trail of laws to and from changes for the people without a loyal subject to observe in service to a Nation.  Freed men became a bureau of Federally Bureaucratic Investigative subjections.  Whether the phone would sense its use and had no service.  Men tried by srys had needed no way to communicate, they were objects, objections, and objective to democracies.  Any and all of the western knowledge of good or evil was not earned in monasteries, it was as it were seen in-between a marriage of a man and a woman and the consummation of the first born to be the king in his own mind. Centrally, intelligence and agency became a lost paradox.  The palace could be burned through neoteny, the truly lost man or woman had to be part of the worm.  The earthworm had to dig up the lost and the prophet from its own humanly death.  

Chapter 2
The dress as simple as it was, was taken off and laid in a box for saving.  It was to travel through time in the Emperor's Palace to serve has a mold, a pattern for quilting lovers of the family tree through the history of love.  After the child was conceived in love, the dress is worn and then placed back into the box for time travel. From a generation of mothers to another generation of lovers. No man was to wear the dress as an idea, thought or wisdom.  The reproach, the dress, and the marriage is virtue encoded into a structure of life   The wisest man let the Emperor dream life into the belly of prophets through the dress.  The smartest scientist understood the impeccable reason of lust and gave all to his bride for the grave that the earthworm had trusted.  The publican had the dress made as a dowry to the tribe of Roman man.  And the Emperor breathed life into the woman with a few breaths at the wedding.  The subjects, the publicans had tried the Emperor for their bride, by making the flowers lean toward their lovers.  They had tried to tell the knight of the Emperor's Palace that the sun had also retired due to mutiny in the ranks and castes of statesmen.  The son will bend light into the palace of wisdom, and the subjects do grieve the stories from prophets.  
At exactly 10:03 central eastern standard time, the states men forgave themselves of suicide and left to burn the palace.  
Each dressed as royalists.  The burning of Chinju Palace is the last thing I remember before giving up to the sound of a 3 or 4 year old woman singing.  The next thing I remember is being dropped on the floor in the delivery room to a rattle and brattle of childish whims.  Like, the sound of laughter, but only as a fury of deceit, the singer was hurt when I had asked her to join the wedding ceremony.  She excused herself of the ceremony as was or were not subjects to the birth of the kings men in harmony.  

She tried, and wanted to steal the dress.  

Chapter 3
There was mostly nothing in the womb. Except Dogma.  My father, as dogma.  He would whisper to her in bed and they would giggle about never understanding anything ever again.  I excepted NAME for my name.  They didn’t know if a boy or a girl were to be born.  I could know the difference at the time of their conversation.  I then realized that the 3 years prior to conception were perfect.  And I, the Emperor's Knight, was tolled.  Tolled the way bells sound and the way people love to hear the news.  The way light has no existence in the womb, I was tolled the way Sandalphon treaded upon the tribe of Israel.  
Lying was not invented yet, well,... while in the womb, but I had heard some whispers in the darkness.  The camera couldn't fit in, I called and tolled the camera from the womb, in between to friends.  I called the camera, Dragon.  The dragon is the trust moving in-between true and time.  The Dragon, Meteyi had told me that we were going to write everything.  From the believe that martial arts were stronger than prayer, and to the reason that it was not true.  Factually, there was nothing but prayer and no martial artist had a sword bigger than the lie of the Emperor's dragon.  The dragon said, to my father,..."The world is to die for, and not enough."  The dragon also said to my mother,..."The purpose is in your belly as a rainbow in disgust."  He, the dragon almost couldn’t believe that I had mentioned to hymn that there was no way out of this without a dream so relax and let me fit in.  The doctor had to have heard of the loyalist dream of a birth right.  Basically, I didn’t want him to slap me for the first breath.  I hurt bad, like out of a sarcastic Scotlandish parody.  Many, many, many, men quit trying to go through the sry after that.  My mother creeped up to me after my kin had asked the doctor to pick me up off of the floor.  She smiled and handed the birth certificate to the nurse and read my social security number to my father on the phone, he was on duty at the Air Force Base.  My ears were still clogged with seminal fluid, but I could feel her dream a name into my soul.  She can know the Emperor's knight.  After a few moments, my cry as chide by the Emperor, into being a whisper of life.  From that moment on in my life, I could not cry ever, as a child cries.  Otherwise I could be a whisper.

Chapter 4
Every chance at change that had gotten to us was used by running from the dragon.  He liked Batman and hated Robin but new to fathers, knew that hatred kept something’s safe from the palace. The palace could never get filled by whispers.  The whispers only object to democracy and help the camera.  The daguerreotype was possibly the only thing that couldn’t lie.  It was considered lye to gossip worshipers.  Gossip may have started the war on bugs.  Like bugs in ceaseless noise are prayer or whispers, like gossip.  When bugs stop whispering, some seemingly are bad with superstition and others are horrible with bugs.  
The next few years, were also perfect.  I had no idea who else, I could be.  Absolutely perfect, the Emperor subjected us to love.  I could **** all day, eat as much as I wanted and was warned when they thought, like a whisper.  When it was time to eat, when it was time to bath and when it was time to be quiet and sleep were similar to whispers.  Diapers were not invented yet, I had to invent them.  My mother used to get sick from the pain of laundry and sleeping with me.  When the diapers were *****, she wash them and place them back on my ****.  Like a good, palace guardian, I used them up.  The new diapers had an air of mutiny to them, the disposable ones.  We never kept trash in the house.  The signs that we have had a king for dinner were never to be seen, but everyone had the right to change pants.  
Many of the ideas in life shared before birth were not existent after birth.  It was not until my family had meet the Emperor that... we needed to love God by learning to pray.  

Chapter 5
When we met the Emperor, it was easy to say that no whispers were used.  Other things were.  A memory, not a book was here.  There was no time, the palace he made for me was from God and a lot of people wanted in.  The Royal subject was the Emperor's first knight, my father's.  I had to memorize time, which in turn was not mine.  The actual Emperor thought, that I, am a poet of sorts.  We spelled the word memory in the sky together without words, whispers, or gossip.  The next few years were spent dyeing as tap or a drill bit would being to make a hole for fastening life to the surface of my families.  Called a tap and die, the whole of life must be treaded through time without a spry attempt to vacancy.  After the Emperor, my mother and father did not know that meeting the pope was bad.   The Emperor is good.  

Chapter 6
Mainly my ability to learn, had started to fail.  There was not need to have ability.  But walking was hard.  When I stood, I was pushed through, walking.  Like a battle of balance and superstition.  Crawling had no sense, being picked up made things silly.  When wanting to be here, and not knowing how to get there through crawling, here I was a a chubby fat knight.  Father used lemons on my taste buds and cracked when he knew not how I loved them.  He had to make work to pay bills and I learned that without a whisper.  So we would sh
Chapter 8 to follow after inspection.
Part I

It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?

The bridegroom’s doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
Mayst hear the merry din.’

He holds him with his skinny hand,
“There was a ship,” quoth he.
‘Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!’
Eftsoons his hand dropped he.

He holds him with his glittering eye—
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years’ child:
The Mariner hath his will.

The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

“The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the lighthouse top.

The sun came up upon the left,
Out of the sea came he!
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.

Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon—”
The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon.

The bride hath paced into the hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy.

The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

“And now the storm-blast came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong:
He struck with his o’ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.

With sloping masts and dipping prow,
As who pursued with yell and blow
Still treads the shadow of his foe,
And foward bends his head,
The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,
And southward aye we fled.

And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.

And through the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken—
The ice was all between.

The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God’s name.

It ate the food it ne’er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through!

And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariner’s hollo!

In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white moonshine.”

‘God save thee, ancient Mariner,
From the fiends that plague thee thus!—
Why look’st thou so?’—”With my crossbow
I shot the Albatross.”

Part II

“The sun now rose upon the right:
Out of the sea came he,
Still hid in mist, and on the left
Went down into the sea.

And the good south wind still blew behind,
But no sweet bird did follow,
Nor any day for food or play
Came to the mariners’ hollo!

And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work ’em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,
That made the breeze to blow!

Nor dim nor red, like God’s own head,
The glorious sun uprist:
Then all averred, I had killed the bird
That brought the fog and mist.
’Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,
That bring the fog and mist.

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.

Down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down,
’Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!

All in a hot and copper sky,
The ****** sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green, and blue, and white.

And some in dreams assured were
Of the Spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.

And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.

Ah! well-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.”

Part III

“There passed a weary time. Each throat
Was parched, and glazed each eye.
A weary time! a weary time!
How glazed each weary eye—
When looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.

At first it seemed a little speck,
And then it seemed a mist;
It moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.

A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
And still it neared and neared:
As if it dodged a water-sprite,
It plunged and tacked and veered.

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
We could nor laugh nor wail;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood!
I bit my arm, I ****** the blood,
And cried, A sail! a sail!

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
Agape they heard me call:
Gramercy! they for joy did grin,
And all at once their breath drew in,
As they were drinking all.

See! see! (I cried) she tacks no more!
Hither to work us weal;
Without a breeze, without a tide,
She steadies with upright keel!

The western wave was all a-flame,
The day was well nigh done!
Almost upon the western wave
Rested the broad bright sun;
When that strange shape drove suddenly
Betwixt us and the sun.

And straight the sun was flecked with bars,
(Heaven’s Mother send us grace!)
As if through a dungeon-grate he peered
With broad and burning face.

Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
How fast she nears and nears!
Are those her sails that glance in the sun,
Like restless gossameres?

Are those her ribs through which the sun
Did peer, as through a grate?
And is that Woman all her crew?
Is that a Death? and are there two?
Is Death that Woman’s mate?

Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she,
Who thicks man’s blood with cold.

The naked hulk alongside came,
And the twain were casting dice;
‘The game is done! I’ve won! I’ve won!’
Quoth she, and whistles thrice.

The sun’s rim dips; the stars rush out:
At one stride comes the dark;
With far-heard whisper o’er the sea,
Off shot the spectre-bark.

We listened and looked sideways up!
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
My life-blood seemed to sip!
The stars were dim, and thick the night,
The steersman’s face by his lamp gleamed white;
From the sails the dew did drip—
Till clomb above the eastern bar
The horned moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip.

One after one, by the star-dogged moon,
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,
And cursed me with his eye.

Four times fifty living men,
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
They dropped down one by one.

The souls did from their bodies fly,—
They fled to bliss or woe!
And every soul it passed me by,
Like the whizz of my crossbow!”

Part IV

‘I fear thee, ancient Mariner!
I fear thy skinny hand!
And thou art long, and lank, and brown,
As is the ribbed sea-sand.

I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
And thy skinny hand, so brown.’—
“Fear not, fear not, thou Wedding-Guest!
This body dropped not down.

Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.

The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie;
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I.

I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.

I looked to heaven, and tried to pray;
But or ever a prayer had gusht,
A wicked whisper came and made
My heart as dry as dust.

I closed my lids, and kept them close,
And the ***** like pulses beat;
Forthe sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky,
Lay like a load on my weary eye,
And the dead were at my feet.

The cold sweat melted from their limbs,
Nor rot nor reek did they:
The look with which they looked on me
Had never passed away.

An orphan’s curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high;
But oh! more horrible than that
Is the curse in a dead man’s eye!
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,
And yet I could not die.

The moving moon went up the sky,
And no where did abide:
Softly she was going up,
And a star or two beside—

Her beams bemocked the sultry main,
Like April ****-frost spread;
But where the ship’s huge shadow lay,
The charmed water burnt alway
A still and awful red.

Beyond the shadow of the ship
I watched the water-snakes:
They moved in tracks of shining white,
And when they reared, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.

Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire:
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled and swam; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.

O happy living things! no tongue
Their beauty might declare:
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
And I blessed them unaware:
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I blessed them unaware.

The selfsame moment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.”

Part V

“Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole!
To Mary Queen the praise be given!
She sent the gentle sleep from heaven,
That slid into my soul.

The silly buckets on the deck,
That had so long remained,
I dreamt that they were filled with dew;
And when I awoke, it rained.

My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
My garments all were dank;
Sure I had drunken in my dreams,
And still my body drank.

I moved, and could not feel my limbs:
I was so light—almost
I thought that I had died in sleep,
And was a blessed ghost.

And soon I heard a roaring wind:
It did not come anear;
But with its sound it shook the sails,
That were so thin and sere.

The upper air burst into life!
And a hundred fire-flags sheen,
To and fro they were hurried about!
And to and fro, and in and out,
The wan stars danced between.

And the coming wind did roar more loud,
And the sails did sigh like sedge;
And the rain poured down from one black cloud;
The moon was at its edge.

The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
The moon was at its side:
Like waters shot from some high crag,
The lightning fell with never a jag,
A river steep and wide.

The loud wind never reached the ship,
Yet now the ship moved on!
Beneath the lightning and the moon
The dead men gave a groan.

They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.

The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;
Yet never a breeze up blew;
The mariners all ‘gan work the ropes,
Where they were wont to do;
They raised their limbs like lifeless tools—
We were a ghastly crew.

The body of my brother’s son
Stood by me, knee to knee:
The body and I pulled at one rope,
But he said nought to me.”

‘I fear thee, ancient Mariner!’
“Be calm, thou Wedding-Guest!
’Twas not those souls that fled in pain,
Which to their corses came again,
But a troop of spirits blest:

For when it dawned—they dropped their arms,
And clustered round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies passed.

Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Then darted to the sun;
Slowly the sounds came back again,
Now mixed, now one by one.

Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
I heard the skylark sing;
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seemed to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning!

And now ’twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute;
And now it is an angel’s song,
That makes the heavens be mute.

It ceased; yet still the sails made on
A pleasant noise till noon,
A noise like of a hidden brook
In the leafy month of June,
That to the sleeping woods all night
Singeth a quiet tune.

Till noon we quietly sailed on,
Yet never a breeze did breathe;
Slowly and smoothly went the ship,
Moved onward from beneath.

Under the keel nine fathom deep,
From the land of mist and snow,
The spirit slid: and it was he
That made the ship to go.
The sails at noon left off their tune,
And the ship stood still also.

The sun, right up above the mast,
Had fixed her to the ocean:
But in a minute she ‘gan stir,
With a short uneasy motion—
Backwards and forwards half her length
With a short uneasy motion.

Then like a pawing horse let go,
She made a sudden bound:
It flung the blood into my head,
And I fell down in a swound.

How long in that same fit I lay,
I have not to declare;
But ere my living life returned,
I heard and in my soul discerned
Two voices in the air.

‘Is it he?’ quoth one, ‘Is this the man?
By him who died on cross,
With his cruel bow he laid full low
The harmless Albatross.

The spirit who bideth by himself
In the land of mist and snow,
He loved the bird that loved the man
Who shot him with his bow.’

The other was a softer voice,
As soft as honey-dew:
Quoth he, ‘The man hath penance done,
And penance more will do.’

Part VI

First Voice

But tell me, tell me! speak again,
Thy soft response renewing—
What makes that ship drive on so fast?
What is the ocean doing?

Second Voice

Still as a slave before his lord,
The ocean hath no blast;
His great bright eye most silently
Up to the moon is cast—

If he may know which way to go;
For she guides him smooth or grim.
See, brother, see! how graciously
She looketh down on him.

First Voice

But why drives on that ship so fast,
Without or wave or wind?

Second Voice

The air is cut away before,
And closes from behind.

Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high!
Or we shall be belated:
For slow and slow that ship will go,
When the Mariner’s trance is abated.

“I woke, and we were sailing on
As in a gentle weather:
’Twas night, calm night, the moon was high;
The dead men stood together.

All stood together on the deck,
For a charnel-dungeon fitter:
All fixed on me their stony eyes,
That in the moon did glitter.

The pang, the curse, with which they died,
Had never passed away:
I could not draw my eyes from theirs,
Nor turn them up to pray.

And now this spell was snapped: once more
I viewed the ocean green,
And looked far forth, yet little saw
Of what had else been seen—

Like one that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.

But soon there breathed a wind on me,
Nor sound nor motion made:
Its path was not upon the sea,
In ripple or in shade.

It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek
Like a meadow-gale of spring—
It mingled strangely with my fears,
Yet it felt like a welcoming.

Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,
Yet she sailed softly too:
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze—
On me alone it blew.

Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed
The lighthouse top I see?
Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
Is this mine own country?

We drifted o’er the harbour-bar,
And I with sobs did pray—
O let me be awake, my God!
Or let me sleep alway.

The harbour-bay was clear as glass,
So smoothly it was strewn!
And on the bay the moonlight lay,
And the shadow of the moon.

The rock shone bright, the kirk no less,
That stands above the rock:
The moonlight steeped in silentness
The steady weathercock.

And the bay was white with silent light,
Till rising from the same,
Full many shapes, that shadows were,
In crimson colours came.

A little distance from the prow
Those crimson shadows were:
I turned my eyes upon the deck—
Oh, Christ! what saw I there!

Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat,
And, by the holy rood!
A man all light, a seraph-man,
On every corse there stood.

This seraph-band, each waved his hand:
It was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land,
Each one a lovely light;

This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
No voice did they impart—
No voice; but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart.

But soon I heard the dash of oars,
I heard the Pilot’s cheer;
My head was turned perforce away,
And I saw a boat appear.

The Pilot and the Pilot’s boy,
I heard them coming fast:
Dear Lord i
Hans Christian Dec 2018
On your wedding
I wish you all the best
On your wedding
I'll pray for the rest

On your wedding
I hope you will be happy
On your wedding
Though the guy is not me

On your wedding
I better not attend
On your wedding
I will just hear of the things that will happen

On your wedding
You will start a new life
On your wedding
Bids my sincerest last goodbye
judy smith Aug 2015
They say marriage is all about compromise. If that's the case, newlyweds Kia Parsons and Billy Bunning are off to an excellent start.

The UK couple had different visions when it came to their wedding cake; the bride wanted an all-white tiered cake with cascading sugar flowers. The groom, on the other hand, wanted to incorporate his love of comic book superheroes into the confection. So they met somewhere in the middle:

Julia Baker of Tier by Tier cake design created the cake for the couple's August 14 wedding in Milton Keynes, England. One side is the traditional-looking cake the bride wanted. On the other side, icing curtains reveal the logos of Marvel characters Captain America, Spider-Man and Iron Man, as well as Batman from the DC Comics camp.

"I loved every minute making this cake, as I knew it would be something that people would be surprised at and appeal to all the Marvel fans!" Julia told The Huffington Post.

In all, she spent 40 hours on the cake. It took 12 hours to make the sugar flowers, and the cake-baking and building took about 28 hours.

Needless to say, Kia and Billy were thrilled with the finished product.

"Julia did such a fantastic job and we were completely overwhelmed by how brilliant it looked!" the bride told HuffPost. "From most angles of the room, the cake looked like a traditional wedding cake -- just what we had wanted. It wasn't until the cake was moved for us to cut that our guests realized there was a hidden extra. Some didn't even realize until the photos went online after the wedding!"

On Tuesday, a photo of the cake began going viral when it was shared by the Life Of Dad Facebook page.

"I was surprised at how popular it was and how quickly the pictures circulated on social media," Julia said. "I have plenty more ideas to work on and I am calling these 'double-take cakes.'"

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-perth

www.marieaustralia.com/white-formal-dresses
judy smith Apr 2017
So you know you’re looking at two very different styles of dress, here. But precisely what decades? When did that waistline move back down? What details are the defining touches of their era? How long were women actually walking around with bustles on their backsides?

Lydia Edwards’s How to Read a Dress is a detailed, practical, and totally beautiful guide to the history of this particular form of clothing from the 16th to the 20th centuries. It tracks the small changes that pile up over time, gradually ******* until your great-grandmother’s closet looks wildly different than your own. As always, fashion makes for a compelling angle on history—paging through you can see the shifting fortunes of women in the Western world as reflected in the way they got dressed every morning.

Of course, it’ll also ensure that the next lackadaisically costumed period piece you watch gives you agita, but all knowledge has a price.

I spoke to Edwards about how exactly we go about resurrecting the history of an item that’s was typically worn until it fell apart and then recycled for scraps; our conversation has been lightly trimmed and edited for clarity.

The title of the book is How to Read a Dress. What do you mean by “reading” a dress?

Basically what I mean is, when you are looking at a dress in an exhibition or a TV show, reading it in terms of working out where the inspirations or where certain design choices come from. Being able to look at it and recognize key elements. Being able to look at the bodice and say, Oh, the shape of that is 1850s, and the design relates to this part of history, and the patterning comes from here. It’s looking at the dress as an object from the top down and being able to recognize different elements—different historical elements, different design elements, different artistic elements. “Read” is probably the best word to use for that kind of approach, if that makes sense.

It must send you around the bend a little bit, watching costume adaptations where they’re a bit slapdash. The one I think of is the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice, which I actually really enjoy, but I know that one’s supposed to have all over the place costuming-wise.

Yeah, it does. I mean, I love the BBC Pride and Prejudice one, because they kept very specifically to a particular era. But I can see what they did with the Keira Knightley one—they were trying to keep it 1790s, when the book was written, as opposed to when it was published. But they’ve got a lot of kind of modern influences in there and they’ve got a lot of influences from 30, 40 years previously, which is interesting to an audience and gives an audience I suppose more frames of reference, more areas to think about and look at. So I can see why they did that. But it does make it more difficult if you’re trying to accurately decode a garment. It’s harder when you’ve got lots of different eras going on there, but it makes it beautiful and interesting for an audience.

The guide spans the 16th to the 20th century. Why start with the 16th century?

Well, partly because it’s where my own interest starts, in terms of my research and the areas I’ve looked at. But more importantly in terms of audience interest, we get a lot of TV shows, a lot of films in recent years—things like The Tudors—that type of era seems to be something that people are interested in. That time is very colorful and very interesting to people.

And also because in terms of thinking about the dress as garment, obviously people wore dresses in medieval times, but in terms of it being something that specifically women wore, distinct from men’s clothes, I really think we start to see that more in the 15th, 16th century onwards.

Where do you go to get the historical information to put together a book like this? What do you use as your source material? Because obviously the thing about clothing is that it has to stand up to a lot of wear and tear and a lot of it doesn’t survive.

This is the other thing about the 16th century stuff—there’s so little surviving. That’s why that chapter was a lot shorter and also that’s why I used a lot of artworks rather than surviving garments, just because they don’t exist in their entirety.

But wherever possible, you go to the garments themselves in museum collections. And then if that’s proving to be difficult, you go to artworks or images, but always bearing in mind the artist will have had their own agenda, so they won’t necessarily be accurate of what people were actually wearing. So then you have to go and look up written source material from the time—say, diaries. I like using letters that people have written to each other over the centuries, describing dress and what they were wearing on a daily basis. Novels can be good, as well.

Also the scholarship that has come before, the secondary sources, works by people like Janet Arnold, Aileen Ribeiro. Really well researched scholarly books where people have used primary sources themselves and put their own interpretation on it can be really, really helpful. Although you take some of it with a pinch of salt, and you put your own interpretation on there, as well.

But always to the dress itself wherever possible.

What are some of the challenges you face, or the constraints on our ability to learn about the history of fashion?

Well, the very practical issue of trying to see garments—some of them I did see here in Australia, but a lot of them were in the States, in Canada, in New Zealand, so it’s hard to physically get there to see them. And often, even when you can get to the museum, garments are out on loan to other exhibitions or other museums. That’s a practical consideration.

But also, especially when I’m talking about using artworks and things, which can be really helpful when you’re researching, but as I’ve said they do come from a place where there’s more interpretations and more agendas. So if someone’s done a portrait and there’s a beautiful 1880s dress in it, that could have been down to the whims of the person who was wearing it, or the artist could have changed significantly the color or style to suit his own taste. Then you have to do extra research on top of that, to make sure that what you are seeing is representative.

It’s a fascinating area. There’s a lot of challenges, but for me, that’s what makes it really exciting as well. But it’s really that question of being able to trust sources and knowing what to use and what not to use in order to make things clear for the audience.

Obviously many of these dresses were very expensive and took a lot of labor and it wasn’t fast fashion—people didn’t just give it away or toss it when it fell out of season. A lot of times, you did was you remade it. When you’re looking at a dress that’s been remade, how do you extract the information that you need as a historian out of it?

I love it when something like that comes up. I’ve got a couple of examples in the book.

Well, it can be quite challenging, because often when you’re first looking at a piece it’s not obvious that it’s been remade. But if you’re lucky enough to look inside it and actually hold it and turn it round different angles, there’ll be things like the placement of a seam, or you’ll see that the waist has been moved up or down according to the fashion. And that’s often obvious when you’re looking inside. You can see the way the skirt’s been attached. Often you can tell if a skirt’s been taken off and then reattached using different pleats, different gatherings; that can give you a hint that it’s then been remade to fit in with a different fashionable ideal.

One of the key ways is fabric. You can often see, especially in early 19th century dresses when they’ve been made of these beautiful 18th century silks and brocades. That’s nice because it’s the first obvious clue that something’s been remade or that an old dress has been completely taken apart and it’s just the fabric that’s been used. I find it particularly interesting when the waist has been moved or the seams have been taken off or re-sewn in a different shape or something like that. It can be subtle but once your knowledge base grows, that’s one of the most fascinating areas that you can look at.

You page through the book and you watch these trends unfold and there are occasional sea changes will happen fairly quickly, like when the Regency style arises. But how much change year-to-year would a woman have seen? How long would it take, just as a woman getting dressed in the morning, to see styles just radically alter? Would you even notice?

Well, this is the thing—I think it’s very easy, when we’re looking back, to imagine that in 1810 you’d be wearing this dress and then all the frills and the frouf would have started to come in the late 1810s and the 1820s, and suddenly you would have had a whole new wardrobe. But obviously, unless you were the very wealthiest women and you had access to dressmakers who had the absolute newest patterns and newest fabrics then no, you wouldn’t have seen a massive change. You wouldn’t have afforded to be able to have the newest things as they came in. You would have maybe remade dresses to make them maybe slightly more in line with a fashion plate that you might have seen, but you wouldn’t have had access to new information and new fashion plates as soon as they came. To be realistic, there would have been very little change on a day to day level.

But I think also, for us now—it’s hard to see it without hindsight, but we feel like we’re fairly fluid in wearing the same kind of styles, but obviously when we look back in 20 years, we’ll look at pictures of us and see greater changes than we’re now aware. Because it happens on a slow pace and it happens on such a subconscious level in some ways.

But actually, yeah, it’s to do with economics, it’s to do with availability. People living in towns where they couldn’t easily get to cities—if you were living in a country town a hundred miles away from London, there’s no way that you would have the resources to see the most recent fashion plates, the most recent ideas that were developing in high society. So it was a very slow process in reality.

If you have a lot of money you can change out your wardrobe quicker and wear the latest styles. And so the wealthiest people, their clothes were what in a lot of case stood the best chance of surviving and being in modern collections. So how do we know what working women would have worn or what middle class women would have worn?

Yeah, this is hard. I do have some more middle class examples, because we’re lucky in that we do have quite a few that have survived, especially in smaller museums and historical collections, where people have had clothes sitting in their attics for years and have donated them, just from normal families over the years.

But, working women, that’s much more difficult. We’re lucky from the 19th century because we have photographic evidence. But really a lot of it will come down to written descriptions, mainly letters, diaries, not necessarily that the people themselves would have kept, but there’s examples of people that worked in cotton mills, for instance, and people that ran the mills and their families and wives and friends who had written accounts of what the women there were wearing. Also newspaper accounts, particularly of people who would go and do charity work and help the poor. They often wrote quite detailed descriptions of the people that they were helping.

But in terms of actual garments, yeah, it’s very difficult. Certainly 18th century and before, it’s really, really hard to get hold of anything that gives you a really good idea of what they wore. But in the 18th century—it’s quite interesting, because then we get examples of separate pieces of clothing worn by the upper classes, like a skirt with a jacket, which was actually a lower middle class style initially and then it became appropriated by the upper classes. And then it became much fancier and trimmed and made in silks and things. So then, we can see the inspiration of the working classes on the upper classes. That’s another way of looking at it, although of course that’s much more problematic.

It’s interesting how in several cases you can see broader historical context, or other stories happening through clothes. Like you point out that the rise of the one-piece dresses is due to the rise of mantua makers, who were women who were less formally trained who were suddenly making clothing. Are there any other interesting stories like that, that you noticed and thought were really fascinating?

There’s a dress in the book that a woman made for her wedding. I think she was living on her own, or she was living with a servant and her mother or something. She made the dress and then turned up to her wedding and traveled quite a long way to get there, and when she arrived, the groom and all the guests weren’t there. There was nobody. So she went away and came back again a week later, and everyone was there. And the reason that no one was there before was that a river had flooded in the direction that they were all coming from. She had obviously no way of finding out about this until after the fact, and we have this beautiful dress that she spent ages making and had obviously gone to a lot of effort to try and work out what the latest styles were, to incorporate it into her wedding dress.

Things like that, I find really interesting, because they talk so much about human and social history as well as fashion history, and the garment is the main way we have of keeping these stories alive and remembering them and looking into the kind of life and world these people lived, who made these garments.

Over the centuries, how does technology affect fashion? Obviously, we think of the industrial revolution as really speeding up the pace of fashion. But are there other moments in the history of fashion where technology shapes what women end up wearing?

One example is where I talk about the Balenciaga dress from the early 1950s—with a bubble hem and a hat and she would have worn these beautiful pump shoes with it—with the introduction of the zipper. Which just made such a huge difference, because it suddenly meant you’d have ease and speed of dressing. It meant that you didn’t have to worry about more complicated ways of fastening a garment. I think the zipper made a massive change and also in terms of dressmaking at home, it was a really quick and simple way that people had of being able to create quite fashionable styles on a budget and with ease and speed at home.

Also, of course, once women’s dress started to become simpler and they did away with the corset and underwear became a lot less complicated, that made dressing a lot easier, that made the introduction of the bias cut and things that sit very closely to the natural body much more widely used and much more fashionable.

I would say the introduction of machine-made lace as well, particularly from the late 19th, early 20th century onwards where it was so fashionable on summer dresses and wedding dresses. It just meant that you could so much more easily add this decadent touch to a garment, because lace would have been so much more expensive before then and so time-consuming to make. I think that made a huge difference in ordinary women being able to attain a kind of luxury in their everyday dress.

That actually makes me think of something else I wanted to ask you, which is you point out in your intro the way we casually use this word “vintage.” I think about that with lace. Lace is described as being a “vintage” touch but it’s very much this question of when, where, who, why—it’s a funny term when you think about it, the way we use it so casually to describe so much.

Oh, yes. It’s crazy. I used to work in a wedding dress shop and I used to make historically inspired wedding dresses and things. And brides used to come in and say, “Oh, I want something vintage.” But they didn’t really know what they meant. Usually what they meant is they wanted something with a bit of lace on it, or with some sort of pearls or beading. I think it’s really inspired by whatever is trending at the time. So, you know, Downton Abbey became vintage. I think ‘50s has always been kind of synonymous with the word vintage. But what it means is huge,
judy smith Nov 2015
Bride Abbey Ramirez-Bodley looked for a vintage-style wedding gown, but soon realized everything she liked was over $1,000.

So instead, she took matters into her own hands -- literally -- and decided to crochet a long-sleeved dress for her October 27 wedding in Parkerfield, Kansas. It took eight months to complete and cost about $70 for the yarn and $100 for the green dress underneath.

When Abbey was 3 years old, her aunt Jennifer Wollard taught her how to crochet. Growing up, she would help her aunt with various projects. All these years later, they teamed up once again to create Abbey's dream dress.

"It was wonderful because my aunt and I spent so much time together and she's really important to me," the bride told The Huffington Post. "This is always a piece I'll have with her. When I look at it, I'll remember the wonderful wedding I had and also the eight months I got to spend with my aunt making it."

On weekdays, Abbey and her aunt would work on the individual doilies by themselves; they got together on weekends to stitch them together.

A month before the wedding, Abbey finally tried on the finished product.

"When I put it on, I was, for one, amazed that it looked exactly like what I thought it would look like in my head," she told HuffPost. "We didn't have a pattern so it was hard -- I couldn't take the image I had in my head and give it to my aunt and say, 'This is what I want.' It was amazing. It was emotional. [Especially] when you put that much time and love into something."

Abbey's husband Jake Bodley saw her working on the dress in the months leading up to the wedding but didn't see the finished product until their big day.

"He was really impressed," Abbey said. "He knew we would get it done, but I think he was worried about us getting it done in time and he wasn't sure if it was going to work like I thought it would. It was a new thing for him. But he was amazed by the final product."

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/pink-formal-dresses

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judy smith Nov 2016
Now that the Ben Higgins Lauren Bushnell wedding is on once again, many are wondering why Higgins called it off in the first place.

In the previous episode of the reality show, Higgins decided to call off the wedding. Many were shocked with his decision, including his fiancee. Bushnell admitted that she was totally blindsided by Higgins when he revealed during their therapy session that he wanted to postpone their wedding.

At the time, Higgins said they felt an enormous pressure on their relationship since The Bachelor finale.

When asked about how their respective families reacted on Higgins’ decision to call off the wedding, the 28-year-old software sales rep admitted that most of them already knew and their families were not surprised by the emotional episode.

In Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? finale Tuesday night, Higgins revealed to his fellow Bachelor stars that the wedding was off and he and Bushnell have been in couples therapy. Everyone was shocked and saddened. The group, however, still managed to pull their emotions together and made a dinner plan for the couple.

They also decided to surprise Higgins and Bushnell with a montage of their journey together showed on a screen atop the Marque. Higgins then called Bushnell to meet him at the top of the Skyfall Lounge, overlooking Las Vegas. Higgins then told Bushnell that he still wanted to be her husband.

“I know that these last couple of weeks have been hard and confusing and tiring and sometimes something we both can’t understand. But through it all, I want you to know that I never thought for a second I could live a day without you in my sight. Lauren, I’m gonna be your husband. Lauren, you’re gonna be Mrs. Higgins.” Bushnell asked if Higgins’ words mean the wedding is back on. He replied yes.

Ben Higgins Lauren Bushnell first met and fell in love in The Bachelor 2016. Higgins popped the question at the season finale. Shortly after, the two moved in together in Denver. However, split rumors continue swirling around their relationship.Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com | www.marieaustralia.com/****-formal-dresses
judy smith Jul 2015
Bride and groom Erika and Joshua Garza say they thought their Durham wedding was set and all planned. The owner of the Fayetteville-based "Bragg About It Catering" company had driven up a month earlier so they could sample her wedding wares.

"She had the food ready. It was good," said Joshua Garza. "We tasted it and everything seemed great, and then she wanted to meet at the venue to see the kitchen and kinda get an idea of where she wanted to set up like that. So then we met with her at the venue and everything still seemed great."

They moved forward with the company, signed a contract, and say they prepaid caterer Jennifer Debrue $1,100.

"We talked to her all the time. We kept in contact. Everything was fine," Erika said.

That was until the day of the couple's wedding. The two say they received some surprising news.

"Nobody told us anything until we were in the limo and they were like 'Yeah, your caterer's not here,'" Joshua Garza recalled.

The Garzas now had more than 100 famished family and friends and no caterer. Fortunately for them, they did have some resourceful relatives who were able to run out and grab food for the wedding and save the day, but that did not change how the couple felt about the no-show caterer.

"I mean you don't do that to somebody on a day like that," said Joshua Garza. "You just, you ruin somebody's day."

Joshua and Erika tried to contact "Bragg About It Catering" but never received a call back or a refund.

"I don't want her to do this to anybody else, said Erika Garza.

But unfortunately, Sergeant First Class Anthony Baxley says it also happened to him at his retirement party.

"We didn't want to have to be running around," Baxley said, "We didn't want to be cooking. We didn't want to do any of that. We did a lot of research. We actually contacted probably over 10 different caterers before we settled on this one."

Falling in love with everything on the menu that Debrue offered, Baxley, too, chose "Bragg About It Catering". He says he prepaid the full cost of $1,500 and, like the Garzas, was left with an event with no caterer.

"After the ceremony was over I was immediately told there was a couple of problems with the caterer ... she never showed up, Baxley said.

Stressed to the max after receiving the news, it was Baxley's family and friends who also stepped in and saved his special day.

"A lot of the people found out before they went over to where we were doing the actual reception and they went to the store and purchased a whole bunch of food for us, he said.

With two costly no-shows, I tried to track down caterer Jennifer Debrue, but she did not respond to our phone calls or emails. We decided to go to the address listed on her contract information and spoke with her husband who seems surprised.

"They paid $1,100 and their wedding day came and went and she never showed up," I told him.

"I'm shocked. I don't know," he responded.

He told me Jennifer DeBrue would call us back, but she never did. Meanwhile, the newlyweds and Baxley are trying to spread the word that "Bragg About It Catering" is not something to brag about.

Our advice to viewers would be to pay by credit card so you can dispute it when something like this happens. Both Baxley and the Garza's said they did that.

read more: www.marieaustralia.com

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judy smith Nov 2015
It's the most wonderful time of year...for a wedding? That's right! If the thought of getting hitched outside during your favorite snowflake falling time of year is intimidating, don't fret. Where there is a will there is a way. Warm your friends and family up to the idea of an outdoor winter wedding ceremony by taking these cold weather tips to heart.

Get hitched in a warmer climate


Because obviously, an outdoor winter wedding ceremony set in Southern California or Miami, is a lot more bearable than say, being stuck in the middle of an NYC blizzard. Yes, it will still be a bit cool out, but more along the lines of early fall (think 50s and low 60s), as opposed to below freezing temperatures. Destination wedding, anyone?

Warn your friends and family

There's nothing worse than showing up to a winter wedding, only to discover it's being held outside and you had no idea. "Give your guests a forewarning so they come prepared," advises lifestyle expert and event designer Jung Lee of Fete NY. If you plan on moving the party indoors after you say, "I do", having a coat check for guests is an absolute must.

Gift your girls a cozy faux fur shrug

It's the least you can do for forcing them to stand by your side in the freezing cold. Kidding! Seriously though, a chic faux fur shrug will not only keep your bridesmaids warm for photos and throughout the ceremony, but it's an item they can definitely wear again post-wedding. Plus, it looks killer in pictures! "I also love the idea ofthe bridesmaids having warm hand muffs and the groomsmen tucking a flask in their jackets," says Lee.

Crank the heat up

Like it or not, you're probably going to have to bring in some heaters. Everyone has a different tolerance for chilly weather, but after 10-15 minutes of sitting outside in the cold, most people become uncomfortable, cautions Lee. "Heaters then become a good solution. Remember that some can be loud and others don't provide warmth unless you're in close proximity to them, however."

Provide blankets, wraps or both for guests

They serve a practical need by keeping everyone warm and also make for a cute design opportunity styled up in a cozy corner, points out Los Angeles-based event planner Leslie Kaplan, owner of ENCORE. The softer and bigger the blankets, the better! Bonus points to brides and grooms that incorporate an area for guests to gather and warm up pre or post-ceremony: think a rustic fire pit or a more modern fireplace, suggests Kaplan.

Embrace warm drinks

Upon arrival, Kaplan recommends greeting your guests with a toasty beverage, such as hot chocolate or having a cider bar. Lee, on the other hand, loves Hot Toddies served in a footed glass with a cinnamon stick. "Mulled wine is another great option," she offers.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-perth

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Cné May 2018

Today's my daughter's wedding day.
And a wonderful thing it is;
To see her so excited,
So happy to be his.

But once she was my baby girl;
My only girl, love of my life.
But now she is a woman,
And just became his wife.

Once she was my baby girl,
Loved her mommy, and her toys;
But then, I couldn't stop it,
She grew up, and loved the boys.

Today's my daughter's wedding day.
How fast the time did go;
From little feet, and Sesame Street,
To a wedding gown it flowed.

From pretty locks, and lollipops,
She grew up straight and tall.
From baby things, to a wedding ring;
How I loved her through it all.

And now she will go forward,
To enter married life.
To share the good and bad times,
The happiness, and the strife.

I wish them both, the best of luck;
With a prayer that I will see;
Him bless them with a baby girl,
Just like he gave to me....

judy smith Dec 2016
Since its inception, Aarong has been determined to bring about effective changes in the lives of artisans and underprivileged rural women, by facilitating and advertising their handicraft. Today, it has become the foundation of independent cooperative groups and family-based artisans. Now, it is known as a contemporary life outlet, among people not only in Bangladesh, but all over the world.

This wedding season, you can adorn yourself with one of Aarong’s festive looks. On November 17, Aarong launched their latest product line – the Wedding Collection.

Aarong has introduced a series of looks and styles to try out this wedding season for brides, the bridal entourage and the wedding attendees. What’s more, they are promoting Jamdani, Muslin and Katan sarees as the choice of outfits to wear for the bride and her close ones.

The line is introducing bridal wear in some uncommon hues, moving away from the routine “red” to peach, pink, purple, blue, green and beige. These unconventional colours can also look grand on the big day, and this is the idea that the creators of Aarong are attempting to establish.

Jamdani saris will be incorporated with remarkable embroidered and printed blouses, helping ladies look regal on their special day. The wedding entourage also has a lot to look forward to. This special compilation includes Katan and Jamdani sarees, paired with embroidered blouses, ideal for any reception soiree. Katan sarees can be worn in bright or bold colours and contrasted with multi-layered pearl jewellery and complementing blouses. Furthermore, the collection also includes Jamdani saris in light shades such as light pink, peach and white, and these can be paired with frilled petticoats or dupattas.

Along with gold, the creators encourage the brides to try out silver jewellery with complementing stones, layered pearl neckpieces and hair ornaments. Hence, the looks are a mix of modern and traditional, and are not only advised for the bride, but also for the close relatives or wedding attendees.

This collection also comprises of saris, appropriate for the bridesmaids, the cousins, the sisters, and even the parents of the to-be-weds. Aarong has prepared similar ‘matching’ attires for the bride and the groom, that are perfect for particular occasions like Holud, Mehendi, Aiburo Bhaat, and so on. For the bridegroom, as well as his family and friends, there is also an exclusive range, that includes Sherwanis and Panjabis. Aarong also provides a variety of gift options such as ceramic dinner set, cushion and bed covers, as well as women’s accessories, such as bags and purses.Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/white-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/backless-formal-dresses

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