Royal wedding favorites

Yes, I did it. I got up at 5 a.m. this morning to watch the royal wedding. I did it because my girlfriends were throwing a party, with decadent coffee cake, but I ended up enjoying the whole thing more than I thought I would. 

Here are my top 9 favorite things about the wedding:

9. Fergie’s daughters’ hats: Princesses of York looked as insane as their momma. Beatrice’s hat in particular looked like something from the imagination for Dr. Seuss. Gotta have a few crazy relatives in the pews (and holding up the bar) or it’s not a wedding.

Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, looking crazy.

8. Kate’s mom and dad: They’re a couple of regular folks who have found themselves under the media spotlight and they handled the day with more class and warmth than most of the royal family. And they looked awesome.

Kate's mom, Carole Middleton

7. Pippa’s dress: I think people will be talking about this long after they dissect Kate’s dress because it was so gorgeous and flattering. Should I ever attain Pippa’s body, I want this dress.

Pippa Middleton

6. The horse drawn carriage: This was the moment the wedding became a Disney movie, complete with Will looking like Prince Charming in his red royal suity thing. The six-year-old girl inside me squealed.

Fairy tale carriage ride time

5. The Aston Martin: Hooray for normalcy! I loved seeing photos of the newly married couple driving themselves to their home, trailing tacky ballons and streamers behind them. It shows they have an excellent sense of humor and occasion.

Riding away in the Aston Martin

4. Kate’s dress: Very Grace Kelly. Very classic. I think it will probably stand the test of time far better than Diana’s cream puff of a gown.

Kate's dress

3. The double kiss: The first one felt so rushed and thin, I was glad that they took a minute to relax and then did it again. It made them seem even more human.

First kiss in public.

2. The vows: I think you can tell a lot about a couple by how they behave at the altar. Some folks smile and make faces at each other. Some cry. Some look at each other in that way that says, “We’re so happy we’ll make you sick.” It’s hard to relax in front of a church full of 300 people, so I can’t imagine the pressure Kate and Will felt in front of millions. And yet, he told her she looked beautiful, they smiled and they looked at each other in a way that suggested there a deep and private connection between them that none of us will ever get to see.

The ring

 1. This picture: Love, love, love.

Best. Photo. Ever.

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Wedding dress: Found!

I’ve already finished the best part of wedding planning. And it only took four hours.

Over my spring break, I went home to Durham to shop for dresses with my mom and my unofficial second mom, Cindy. The three of us decided to start at a wedding dress warehouse store (no, not David’s Bridal) and ended up finding and buying “the” dress in about four hours. Afterwards, other mothers of the bride were amazed that it hadn’t taken us longer.

“I went out a dozen times with my daughter,” one said, still looking exhausted from the endeavor.

Just because we found the dress fast doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun trying a lot of dresses on. One of the best things about being at a massive dress warehouse is you can try on anything you want without a snippy saleswomen standing over you. I even tried on one of those Disney-themed dresses (so corny!) and it was actually very pretty (so surprising!).

Because I’m girlie and I love dresses, below are some outtakes from the shopping day. And, no, the chosen dress is not among them. All photos courtesy of Cindy.    


Pretty tiers of lace.

I thought this dress might be the one.
“I dunno…”
My mom, getting goofy.
Gorgeous tailored dress — with pockets!
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Wedding dress shopping: Attempt #1

Wedding Barbie brings the glamour.

I went wedding dress shopping this weekend, and it was the first time I felt like a bride.

I went with three friends, one of whom is getting married in December, to a discount bridal store in Lynchburg. Church Street Bridal gets unsaleable wedding dresses from boutiques up and down the East Coast and sells them for as little as $200. Dresses that would retail for $8,000 or more are $300.

The catch? They often require repairs, cleaning and serious resizing. But if you know what you’re doing, you can find a steal. And the best part is the sales go to benefit the local YWCA.

(If you want to visit Church Street Bridal, it’s at 626 Church St. in Lynchburg.)

Since it wasn’t a boutique, it was good we had two recently married friends along. They helped us lift the heavy gowns, zip up, fluff the tulle and cinch the extra fabric. Ladies, we couldn’t have done it alone.

I walked in with a vague idea that I wanted something with lace. Eight gowns later, I had fallen in love with Monique Lhuillier, white satin and V-necks.

But most of all, it was just weird to be the one wearing white, the one everyone was staring at. When I was dating, I never let myself think about weddings. I never imagined dresses or receptions or flowers. I wanted to make sure I focused on the relationship, not the super-fun party I wanted to have some day. So I never thought about what it would be like to be a bride. A wife, yes, but never a bride.

It felt … bridal. And kind of cool.

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This is supposed to be fun?

Hrumpf. Unhappy bride.

I thought wedding planning was supposed to be fun. Why else do most girls (excluding me) start planning their weddings at age six?

Well, as of last week I wasn’t having very much fun.

Fiance and I visited our first wedding venue sites and it was … underwhelming. While both were lovely, one required a lot of elbow grease to turn it into a wedding venue and the other was all-inclusive, high-priced and kind of generic. And, worst of all, they were both alreadybooked for next May.

I knew we had a long list of venues yet to visit, but in the back of my mind these two places set a tone. I’d either get a good price on a fixer upper or get charged through the nose for something nice but boring. I didn’t really want to do either. And I sure as hell wouldn’t be a May bride.

I toyed with destination weddings and elopements. I had stress dreams of visiting thousands of wedding venues and arriving too late to book anything, even an outdoor wedding in the dead of winter.

All of this was the opposite of fun.

Then, on a whim, Fiance and I visited a third venue today. And, voila, I liked it. A lot. So much so that I could picture things like cakes and dresses and flowers, stuff I’ve never envisioned before. It had the feel I wanted in a wedding, elegant but relaxed. In short, it was lovely and within reach.

Nothing is confirmed yet, but it was like going on a good date after a string of bad ones. It restores your faith.

And, most importantly, it’s fun.

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Huzzah, congratulations and best wishes!

Emily Gilmore

One of the fun things about being engaged is getting all the hearty congratulations from friends and family. You get to smile, tell the story, flash the ring and enjoy a few moments of being really happy about something really awesome.

In the midst of all these warm wishes and congratulations, I’ve been reminded a tiny bit of wedding etiquette I first learned from Emily Gilmore of Gilmore Girls fame:

“You say ‘best wishes’ to the bride and ‘congratulations’ to the groom,” said the TV queen of proper etiquette.

Turns out it’s true. What I didn’t know was why. After several proper Virginia gentleman wished me best wishes, I finally asked.

Apparently aying, “Congratulations,” to the bride-to-be implies that I caught my man like a butterfly in a net (which Fiance claims is accurate). “Best wishes” conveys a more ladylike scenario.

That said, I’ll take anything lovely — best wishes, congratulations, good on ya or a hearty huzzah!

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Miss MBA is getting hitched

It’s official. I have a shiny diamond on my left hand, a Martha Stewart Weddings magazine on my nightstand and a guy who’s going to be around for quite awhile (I’m actually pretty excited about that last one).

We’re getting married!

Because I’m a writer and former journalist, I feel a need to document (and I was inspired by the always excellent Bridal Bird). So here it is, the ins and outs of planning a wedding – the ridiculous, the insane, the sentimental – as seen through my journalist/MBA eyes. And since I haven’t been planning my wedding since I was six, there are sure to be some surprises in store.

It all started in business school and just about a year ago I was writing about the joys and pains of dating in b-school. If you’re curious about how the proposal went down, check out the About page.

Here we go! Wheeeeee!

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