17 day wedding countdown

I have been letting Shannon do the heavy blog lifting as I have been quite distracted with the whole wedding she-bang. Which is in 17 days. NOT THAT I AM COUNTING.

I won’t lie, I have been a bundle of nerves. Some days I can’t eat. I’m not worried about marrying the dude (he’s the best), but I’m worried about being the centre of attention. I’m worried about people staring at me all day. I’m worried about not being a good, gracious host. I’m worried about people being disappointed in me because I wasn’t fun, or vivacious, or the life of the party. I’m a shy person so thinking about this makes me feeeeeeeeeeel a lot of pressure.

Plus there are all the normal wedding related worries – vendors don’t show, guests don’t come, the priest gives a terrible homily.

But exciting things – I will be MARRIED to my best friend in 17 days. All my friends and family are coming to town and I am so happy to see them. I am almost finished my projects, and the to-do list is getting smaller.

ALSO! A few good things have come from the wedding planning.

1) I have realized that exercise is the best and I’ve moved towards a healthier lifestyle. I feel so much better about myself and I have the tools to make some great changes in the coming year.

2) When I started wedding planning I dismissed myself as not creative, or not able to do stuff. This is not true. I am creative and I am able – so I’ve regained some faith in myself. I used to paint and draw all through school. It stopped in university, but now I feel like it might be fun to play in watercolours and pastels again.

Here are some pictures of wedding DIYs (some wins, some fails) that I have been churning out.

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Always a Bridesmaid

As you may have heard, Laura is getting married soon. Really soon actually. I can tell it’s getting closer by the number of times a week day I get an email with an excel spreadsheet attached or a picture of her photo-shopped into a new sash or pair of earrings. It’s the worst adorable.

This is my 4th time up the aisle (should have been my 5th, but that is a story for another post) so, I’ve got this down by now. People seem to love to bitch about being a bridesmaid, and I always find it strange. First, aren’t these people you’re doing this for your closest friends? If they are complete bridezilla, egomaniac assholes then maybe you need to reconsider the kinds of people you’re friends with. Or maybe you too are an egomaniac asshole – you know, birds of a feather and all that.

Second, you understand the completely voluntary nature of bridesmaidery, right? If you can’t stomach the idea of throwing a shower, or wearing a dress you maybe didn’t pick, or helping your friend drunkenly pee at 1 am because her organza tulle princess ball gown is totally not urination friendly, then just don’t agree to do it. There are a number of ways to bow out gracefully. You can site finances, scheduling conflicts, a satin allergy. Or, and this is the crazy one,  if this person is really your friend, you could be honest and say that while you love her and want to be a part of her day, you just know you’d be a shit bridesmaid and don’t want to put that strain on your relationship so, ‘no’.

Anyway, I love a wedding so I always say yes. Literally, if you called me – yes, you Internet stranger who is potentially just trying to lure me to a basement to kill me – and asked me to be in your wedding I would probably at the very least consider it. Such is the pull of the nuptial ceremony. I just like it. I like getting dressed up, I like the anxiety and excitement of the morning, I like drinking a mimosa in a limo or party bus, I like taking pictures and dancing all night. Annnnd I guess I like the idea of people taking a meaningful vow to love each other for ever and ever amen.

Laura’s wedding has been a bit different than the others I’ve stood in. Previously, everyone was local, if anything I was the sole out of towner. So there were always a bunch of showers and parties and gatherings leading up to the big day. Which is fun, but somehow not having all those little meet ups before hand is making the big day here feel bigger. Laura’s bridesmaids and old friends and both or their families are spread across the country and over seas so they haven’t had the opportunity to have a lot of the other celebrations. Which, I’m sure has made her a little sad. But in a more positive light this lack of lead in gatherings will mean that Laura and James’ wedding day won’t just be the thank God it’s over culmination of a bunch of other parties and celebrations, it will be the party and celebration. 

Also, we get to pick our own dresses! There are a few guidelines: Black – because how easy/classy/awesome is that? We must also be able to wear a longish dangley pendant she got us as a gift – because awww, presents! And don’t look like a whore in it – because she didn’t really say that, but I feel like it’s implied. I’m going to America next week to look for dresses. I’ll be bringing along my oddly compliant and fashion savvy boyfriend; we’ll take pics.

Below please find me in my previous bridesmaid attire. Please, feel free to post shots of your own shame um, joy in the comments. Please note that these are two different weddings, three years apart. And, yes, they’re both chocolate brown. Also note that there are literally zero pictures from my sisters wedding that aren’t completely humiliating, so, Internet, you don’t get to see those.

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CURLS CURLS CURLS

So many of my decisions over my wedding planning “journey” have followed this pattern: decide on something, decide I then hate it or no longer want it, and then go in the opposite direction. And then sometimes go back to the original inspiration. I have so many examples – cake, wedding day jewelry, shoes, hair piece, veil. What can I say, I’m one of those indecisive bitches.

But the one thing that has never changed is my vision for my wedding day hair. I have always envisioned hair that is half up and half down, with long cascading curls. I’ll be honest – I’ve been growing my hair for about two and a half years in anticipation of my wedding day hair, one and a half years longer than I have been engaged. Yah. That was a topic up for discussion for a while, obvs.

There were really two things that made me want this specific look. One was that I truly believe that my head looks very tiny on top of my body and an updo only makes it look smaller. I realize that this is crazy and my head is in fact NOT pin sized. But I knew that I could never feel truly comfortable with an updo. Because of my ridiculously tiny head which only exists in my brain.

The second was our own Patron Saint here at Backwards Heels, The Duchess of Cambridge herself AKA Kate Middleton AKA K.Middy. Yah thats right. Her hair has made quite the impression on me. I realized it when I found myself pinning pictures of her out and about at charity events, instead of like….normal wedding hair pictures.

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Both my Mom and Future-Mother-In-Law thought I should I have an updo, and I considered it for a while but no….I need cascading curls. And for my head not to look tiny. That part is very important!

Anyway, all that text to say that I had my hair trial last weekend and I LOVED it. It was pretty much exactly what I wanted. There are a few changes we will make, but otherwise it is good. Some height in the front and CURLS CURLS CURLS in the back.

First up, an inspiration picture from pinterest:

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What I Wore When I got Engaged

It was a really special weekend for both of us!

Not only was it Shannon’s birthday but you guys. Guess what. I got engaged on Friday night! It was wonderful. Hubert and I (you remember this guy) are so incredibly excited and happy. We have been dating long-distance for 5 years, so we are beyond thrilled to be getting married.

Had I known what was going to happen, I probably wouldn’t have worn an old plaid button up and a cardigan. I would have worn a cute dress and heels! But you know what, I don’t think he cared what I was wearing.

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Wedding attire: Suit Up!

Greetings fashion mavens! Hubert is once again at the helm of the good ship Golden Gals to steer you through the stormy straits of wedding wear for your special fellow. Actually the straits are decidedly less stormy the more formal the wedding as there are fewer and fewer things that you are actually allowed to wear. Today’s case, the formal wedding, is just strict enough to save you from the choppy waters of too many choices but still offers you enough choices to have some fun.

Chances are your man already owns a suit and I will bet that it’s either black or navy blue (stripes optional). If you’re ok with this, then I say run with it. Since it will be quite warm and sweat is highly probable I would recommend a white shirt. It is less likely to show sweat than a coloured shirt and has the added benefit of looking hella formal (editor’s note: Hubert may well be slightly crude but he speaks the truth). Remember that fun that I mentioned earlier? This would be the time to have it! If the suit is a solid colour, why not contrast the black and white with a cool patterned tie. The choice is yours but I will leave you some of my faves for different seasons below:

Ties

Let us now put on our imagination caps and gaze at a few other possible formalwear scenarios:

#1 Your fellow doesn’t own a suit
If it’s a spring or a summer wedding this might not be a big deal (depending, of course, on how formal the couple wants you to be). At least that’s what you could be thinking. I’m telling you now as a friend (read: Internet blogger that you’ve probably never met but still looks out for you because he’s cool like that) that it is a big deal! Get the gentleman a suit post haste! Not only do you have the opportunity to shop with your guy (surely a bonding experience) but you now have the chance to influence his formal future. Traditional wisdom is that black is the most versatile colour for a suit. I have trouble arguing with that (and as Steph can attest, I love to argue whether it’s necessary or not(Ed Note: OMG SO TRUE)) so if that’s what you’re keen on then I say skip merrily down that path. If, however, you’re feeling more adventurous I highly recommend gray. There are loads of shades to choose from and you have the option of adding stripes. I am more enthusiastic about gray than sane people ought to be. See why below:

Grey Suits

#2 Your fellow doesn’t own a suit BUT he has a number of dressy separates
To this I heartily cry “HUZZAH!” Although the previous heading certainly places me solidly in the pro-suit camp I like to have options. As you well know, mixing and matching is a blast and looks awesome. Below is something close to what I wore to the last fancy dinner that Steph and I went out for. A variety of somber colours all pulled together by striped tie. Your guy will dig it.

Dark Grey Suit

#3 Your fellow is well equipped to attend a wedding but wants to try something new
If this is the case then your guy is definitely a keeper. He is also probably open to the “dress up” (as in “Let’s play dress up”) aspect of dressing up. I say let your imagination run wild! Here are a few products of my overactive imagination:

Grey Suit

Guest Post: Steph’s boyfriend, Hubert, on casual wedding wear for guys

Good morrow fair readers! As you can tell, this post isn’t being written by Steph or Irene. I’m Steph’s fella but you can call me Hubert (largely because there aren’t enough people called that anymore). I’m in town visiting her all week and I couldn’t resist writing a guest post on her wedding theme: specifically what you can wear to a casual or semi-formal wedding. I chose these largely because they’re the least rigid and they give me the most opportunity to show off in front of Steph with my awesome fashion knowledge (this is not actually a chance to show off as all I knows about fashion is essentially regurgitated like half chewed worms from the mouth of a particularly well dressed mother bird—i.e. Steph).

Nevertheless ladies, think of this as a chance to play dress up with the grown up equivalent of Barbie dolls (i.e. your boyfriend). You can sell it to him with the following sentence: “Yes I got it from a fashion blog. But it was written by a boy. Who likes girls. He has a beard, too.” Well, it’s worth a try…

Ladies, speaking as a a guy I can safely say that there is one thing that men love: that’s right, the plaid flannel shirt (editor’s note: the sound you hear is Steph yelling “NOOOOOO” across the interwebs. Never fear, it’s not what she thinks). Now, you can’t wear such a fabulous garment to a wedding for fear of upstaging the bride or groom but you can wear a pair of plaid pants. Not pajama pants or those weird things that your guy friends wore to ska shows in high school because they thought it was “so spirit of ‘77” but actual plaid dress pants. Essentially, you can use one of your man’s favourite patterns to trick him into being stylish. It’s the perfect crime!

After you perpetrate this fashionably spectacular ruse your guy will feel as though he has pulled one over on you. This gives you a chance to move in for the sartorial kill. He will be vulnerable and in the mood to try and give something back to you (editor’s note: when guys feel like they’ve fooled their girlfriend the guilt kicks in and you can ask them to do almost anything). This is when you choose a shirt in a complimentary colour that he would not usually wear for himself. He feels like he’s doing something nice for you and you get to be seen in public with a man that looks like he knows how to dress himself. Everybody wins!

Finally we have the tie. Chances are your boyfriend has had to dress up for something at some point in his past and probably owns a necktie or two. The possible problem with this situation is that they will likely be hideous (use the comments to ask Steph about some of the things I have worn in the past. She still has nightmares). Once again though, you have a surefire method of getting your way. Remember those plaid pants from the first paragraph? The ones that made your guy feel all sly and crafty like? They’re your ace in the hole. Not guilt. Not this time. Simple practicality is what will win the day. Plaid is a pattern. A strongly defined pattern. It takes a keen fashion sense to find things that will match them without looking hideous. You know it. He knows it. He’s not going to want to look ridiculous after seeing how hip he’s looking in the threads you picked out. In this particular case, a solid colour is probably best (but that doesn’t meant you can’t have fun) but if you feel really ambitious (read: confident) you can go for a complimentary pattern. I’m not going to elaborate. That is a regurgitated chunk of sartorial bird food from Steph. She’s gonna help me find the pic. I hope.

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See you tomorrow (read: Whenever Steph says it’s ok) for the semi-formal post!

-Hubert McOppenheimer

Putting on the Ritz: Black-Tie, White-Tie and Casual wedding attire

I received word that a wedding invitation is currently on its merry way to my mailbox. Its arrival ushers in the 2012 season of weddings! The season that was once typically June to September now seems to have stretched itself from May to October (at least based on my own experience as a bridesmaid and wedding guest).

We have had a few questions related to wedding guest attire (What do I wear to a casual lakeside ceremony? Can I wear black? Can I wear white? How do I keep warm in the evening? Are sparkles appropriate?) so we think this week is the perfect time to answer some of those questions! Spring and summer collections are hitting stores this month, so it is the perfect time to go out shopping.

The first thing we will deal with is required dress codes. Martha Stewart, with from help from Emily Post, breaks it down like this:

Informal (casual)

Separates like dress pants, dress shirt, and tie (sport coat optional) is fine for men. Sundresses are appropriate for ladies, but not in dressier fabrics or with elaborate embellishment.

Semi-Formal (Black-Tie)

Dark suits (or tuxedos if the invitation states Black Tie) for the menfolk, fancy cocktail dresses for the ladies.

Formal (White-Tie)

This is the fanciest of the fancy. We’re talking Mr. Monopoly or Mr. Peanut levels of fancy. We are talking tailcoat, white shirt, white vest and tie, white or gray gloves, and black opera pumps. Do you know what black opera pumps are? Shoes without laces. I know. That is why you and I don’t get invited to White Tie events, baby!
Oh yeah, and the ladies must wear floor length evening gowns.

And what if there is no stated dress code on the invitation (as has been my experience)? Martha Stewart Weddings says that a dark suit with shirt and tie is appropriate for men. For ladies, suitable attire is a cocktail dress or dressy separates. I agree with Martha – if there are no stated dress codes, you can’t go wrong with these guidelines.

Here’s a cute example of something me and my guy might wear to a summer wedding with no defined dress code…

Wedding Guest Attire

Hola! Steph’s on vacation

Hola darling readers! I’m in Cuba this week, living the glamorous life and reading trashy magazines on a beach with white sand and turquoise waters. I’m here for a relative’s wedding, and apart from the blessed event, there are little plans. Just sun, sand and the sea.

Try not to be too jealous.

Posts might be a bit light this week, as I’ve left Irene to fend for herself, so please be patient with us. And make sure to send lots of comments and tweets to her, as I’m sure she will be a bit lonely!

See you all next Monday!

Kate Didn’t Invent That: Wearing Your Hair Down

This weekend I attended a lovely wedding. I wore a great blue dress and beautiful gold heels. I carried a super glittery (i.e. my favourite thing ever) gold clutch and a pearl bib necklace.

But my #@$#! hair! Seriously, you guys! Seriously! I had no idea what to do with it. I put straightening product in it, then I I blew it out. Then I straightened it. Then I tried to do an up-do. Then I tried the half up / half down thing. Then I teased it and put hairspray in. Then I re-did the up-dos a million times trying to make them look right, with lots of teasing in between each attempt.

Nothing looked right! Nothing worked! My arms were sore. I was all sweaty. Finally I just said ‘you know what? if it’s good enough for Kate Middleton, its’ good enough for me! That is right, I wore my hair down. If royalty can wear their hair down, then I can too! It is officially appropriate!

I don’t know when Kate Middleton became Duchess of wearing your hair down, but she has. I know WHY thought. Her hair is fantastic. It is all bouncy and shiny and pretty. Sometimes it has little curls at the end. So much prettiness.

I am not sure if anyone is as big a Kate watcher as I am but she went to a wedding on Saturday, too. And you’ll never guess this part but try! Guess how she wore her hair! Guess!

Courtesy Daily Mail / Ikon Pictures

Did you guess right? She wore her hair down! We’re style twinsies. That is correct. Me and Kate. Style twinsies.

She didn’t invent wearing your hair down, though! Lots of people wear their hair down all the time. Celebrities I can name off the top of my head: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie (Brad Pitt likes hair, yes?), Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson, Salma Hayek, etc.

Anyway, it has really become her Thing though, and that is okay. She looks great, she’s happy, and if makes it officially okay for us peons to feel like we can wear our hair down and unadorned* to a special event, then I’m all for it!

* I’m sorry but in Canada, those giant fabulous hats are not a thing. People have been trying to make it happen, but generally if you wear one of those hats to a wedding, most people will look at you like you forgot your crazy pills that day. Unless you are the bride. Then its your day and you’re good.

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