with Lynne and Leslie
Category Archives: flowers

Solange, my sister and me: Rocking our natural hair down the aisle

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here!

So the talk of the Internet in the past few days – well, some of the talk, anyway – has been about Solange Knowles and her fierce, fierce wedding style. Lynne and I were so impressed, we were both wondering if we could get remarried so we could rock fly wedding capes. And that all-white attire rule for the guests made everyone look like they were posing for some lost ’90s TV movie called “A Very EnVogue Wedding,” a videotape which I would totally have owned.

So caught up was I in the capes and the monochromatic wedding guests that I plum near missed another aspect that some people found notable in both good and hideous ways: Solange’s gorgeous, gorgeous wedding Afro. Although she’s straightened her hair occasionally, Miss Knowles’ tall proud crown of queenly poof is her signature, so I didn’t even notice it in the wedding photos, other than that it added to her fierceness.

And why shouldn’t she wear her hair natural? She’s a beautiful woman. Why shouldn’t she look like her on her most special day?

Apparently, some people disagree. Those people are cordially invited to…well….obviously their opinions are of no tangible use to Miss Knowles, who is a diva and don’t care. But as the young lady above can attest , the Web was wild with ignorant folks who had rather strong objections to Solange having not straightened her hair before saying “I do,” either because it’s not fancy or polished enough for such an auspicious occasion, or because they just don’t see it as polished enough for work, or the club, or yoga class or taking out the trash. You know, at all.

The Huffington Post story the beautiful Charnel Grey references in the video makes the same point – that it’s annoying to have to defend the way the hair comes out of your head, to black people, to white people, to anybody. A) It’s not your business B) We’re done changing for others. If we want a ‘fro, we’ll wear a ‘fro. If we want a weave, we’ll get a weave. Mind your own business and your own daggone hair.

Obviously, this is a topic Lynne and I both feel strongly about, because we both have natural hair – I with an Afro, and Lynne with her dreads. And having both been natural for a decade before getting married, neither of us even considered straightening for the day. I had thought about doing some sort of crazy updo, but at the end of the day, I let it ‘fro out even more than usual, and just went with it. I looked like the best version of me – better dress, better makeup, better jewelry. And a better ‘fro.

This pic wasn't their first date, but this was also a memorable one :).

A ‘fro for a fancy Palm Beach wedding

Lynne, meanwhile, let her dreads grow out and had them twisted into the most exquisite updo-drop-crown whatever that was. (She also rocked a veil, a rhinestone headband AND a big ol’ orange flower, to the objection of some people who thought it was too much. Knowing Lynne they should have known it was just enough.)

Loc'ing in on love.

Loc’ing in on love.

One of Lynne’s friends was talking about the whole Solange situation and, told that we’d both worn our hair natural for our weddings, suggested we write something about it, which got Lynne to tell her a story about another bride who wore the most smashing mod daisy-covered wedding dress for her 1970 wedding. And under the Minnie Mouse-esque veil, she wore a sleek Mia Farrow pixie…

Except that the day before she’d been wearing a ‘fro. But she bent to pressure from some older family members that it wasn’t appropriate, not special enough, for a wedding. Our Daddy told us that when he saw her at the rehearsal dinner his first thought was “Who’s that?” Because his bride was supposed to be wearing a ‘fro. Not for political reasons. Not for fashion reasons. But because that’s how she wore her hair, in her life as her, and that’s how she’d wanted to wear it when she married the love of her life. (Her sister and maid of honor, the late Aunt Ann, made up for it with her own Afro. Fly, fly fly).

Again, our mother looked amazing on her wedding day. But she didn’t look like she wanted to because she accepted the pressure that she had to change herself to be proper. I suspect she wouldn’t do that now. But as for you and your own wedding – if you want to get tracks, flatiron, shave your head, whatever, do it. This is not a political speech. It’s a hug, a cry of love, that says “IT’S YOUR WEDDING. DO YOU. BE THE MOST EXCELLENT SPLENDID VERSION OF YOU. NOT OF WHAT YOUR MAMA OR YOUR SISTERS OR THE INTERNET SAY. BE YOU.”

And then you’ll never be more beautiful. Trust us.

How I learned to stop worrying and stop hating Valentine’s Day

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here!

In the film “Valentine’s Day,” starring apparently everyone on director Garry Marshall’s email list, Jessica Biel’s character throws an “I Hate Valentine’s Day party, because she’s single and fed up with the glaring pressure to be coupled up, at least for that evening, and the disgusting displays of happiness and cannoodle-ness of the stupid happy people rubbing their stupid happiness in her face.

I, too, was glaringly single for most of my adulthood, so when this guy from high school I had been hanging out with as friends asked me out for an official first date for that Saturday night, I did some quick math and screwed up my face.

“That’s Valentine’s Day!” I said. “That’s not a good idea. That’s too much pressure for a first date. Can we do it some other day?”

What I didn’t know was that this guy had decided that he was in love with me for months, since we met for a friendly drink and he’d laid eyes on me for the first time in 20 years. He says he knew he was going to marry me in that moment. He also decided to keep all that to himself, aware that this could sound a wee stalkery, and because he correctly identified me as a skittish tiny fawn with a sketchy track record who was just looking for a reason to flee out the back door and run far. Far. Away. He also says he knew that I might balk at having a first day on a such a traditionally loaded date, but took the chance.

And so did I. And now we’re married, so I guess he was right.

Here’s the thing – just because I’m now a wife doesn’t mean I forgot all of those years of being solo on the supposedly most romantic day on the calendar, right up there with the anxiety-inducing New
Year’s Eve and its all-important midnight kiss, and Every Wedding Where The Line For The Bouquet Toss Gets Whittled Down To You And The Bride’s 10-Year-Old Niece. I have tried very hard not to be a so-called “smug married,” as Bridget Jones would say, because I was single way longer than I’ve been married and would never assume that having a ring on my finger qualified me for knowing anything more than my single friends. I hate those people and I’m determined to never, ever be one of them.

I noticed that a bar when I spent about a year as a regular in my single early 30s was having the Jessica Biel special, the anti-Valentine’s Day party. And if they’re going to make a lot of money on it, I wish them well, because times are rough and any occasion that can draw more business to you is awesome. And if you’re single and need an extra special reason to go drink, or a fun night out with single friends who don’t wanna be alone, or don’t want to face the smoochers, I get it.

Then again…I wish that when I was single I had not let some arbitrary day get to me, like it was extra-illegal to be without a partner that day, or the Pathetic Police were gonna show up and cart you out while slapping a scarlet “S” for single, or spinster, or sadsack, on your chest while the villagers mock and laugh. It’s just a day. You were single yesterday. Maybe you’ll be single tomorrow. Maybe you’re good with that, and maybe you rue each day. But rather than allow Hallmark and your coupled friends and your mama make you feel bad, remember that while it may be a bummer not to be included in something that seems to welcome all your friends and their partners, that its better than being thrown into depression, or maybe even talking yourself into some sloppy kissing situation you would have avoided on any other day.

I’m not going to say “Be your own Valentine” or anything like that, because that’s condescending. And I’m not going to say “Just buy something for your cat, or your Grandma,” because while those folks deserve something good, it’s not the same. So just know that you’re awesome, no matter what the date. Focusing hate on a fake holiday doesn’t do anything but make you want to drink and eat chocolate, and possibly hate-dial your Xs. You’re better than that. And tomorrow is another day. Maybe there’s a nice non-stalker around the corner waiting for you. One could always hope.

The perfect-ish day, or the happy accidents of an awesome wedding

by SweetMidlife
See? This didn’t happen!

Leslie here!

When my sister and I first started this blog, back in the dark ages, or, like, three years ago, it was called “Bride At 35,” and was about the experience of being married in your later 30s and beyond, like we were. Eventually, we expanded the concept to be about the whole of being this age, whether it’s marriage, friendship, children, weight, hair, whether to wear nail polish, or just delicious cheesy carbs, filtered to our crone-ism wisdom that comes with age.

But we still love a wedding, maybe because they’re pretty or because we’ve been in so many of them – I’ve been a  bridesmaid 9 times, including several stints as Matron of Honor. That experience brought me to the most excellent of days this past Saturday, where I acted as my friends Kim and Matt’s day-of-wedding coordinator. I’m not the wedding planner because I didn’t plan anything – I’m much better at telling people what to do. And the first thing I told her when I accepted the challenge was this:

Something is going to go wrong.

This is not easy to hear, but I’ve learned it in my 20 year career as a bridesmaid, from the time in 1995 when all our shoes were dyes the exact same wrong color, or in 2010 when my husband, the groom-to-be and my sister raced around town looking for lemon curd for the wedding tea, or in 2008 when the track for “At Last,” which I was about to sing for the cake cutting, wouldn’t work, and somebody distracted the bride while I ran across the street to find my laptop. The more weddings I was in, the more I learned to take a breath and not freak out. Nobody got eaten by a shark. The pastor never got caught at customs. A sinkhole didn’t swallow the cake. My experience taught me to chill.

Hopefully, at every wedding (or party or funeral or Bat Mitzvah) the snafus are minor, like somebody left the extra programs at home, or the bride’s shoes need a polish…something easily fixable. And sometimes, it’s a little more pressing, like a member of the wedding party can’t get there, or a car carrying the bride breaks down, or stuff is just whack. My job was just to make sure that the fires that erupted were put out, with as little fuss or actual burns as possible.

So even though my wedding bossiness has previously been on a personally procured basis, this couple of kind people put me in charge of calling their caterer to confirm times, of hiring a bartender (I write about drinking, so I know a few), of observing the set-up of the DJ booth and the sweetheart table, and of grabbing the bride’s hand when a frog, whose kind she is not fond of, jumped on her dress as she and her new husband walked from the parking lot of the reception spot to make her entrance.

And it was amazing. The thing is, as many weddings as I’ve been involved in, stuff still didn’t go perfectly. And I didn’t do it alone – the bride’s cousin was my family point person and co-stuff-getter. Her brother was amazing, as was her mom. And her bridesmaids, led by her resourceful sister, sat on the floor of the reception space in their beautiful dresses, as guests milled around outside for the cocktail hour and cut their beautiful bouquets into flower arrangements, because that’s what the bride said she wanted and someone (me) hadn’t remembered. That was beautiful.

Did everything go right? Uh, no. Besides the frog and the thing with the flowers, it was overcast the whole day and when it started to spit rain on the outdoor ceremony, the string musicians almost had to leave for fear of damaging their beautiful instruments. There was some confusion over pins for the boutonnieres. Some dude from another rental company arrived at the hall as I was taping the place cards to the wall with non-sticky art tape (the bride’s sister’s genius idea) and insisted that some of the tables already set for the cocktail hour might be the ones he was there to retrieve. (They were not). And I missed a few things, like making sure that both bartenders were clear on what time they were expected.
But it all worked out, in some cases because of powers beyond me like the rain holding off (Thanks, God!), in others because of all the loving family Kim and Matt have, or because I was calm and just handled it, like when the restaurant they’d talked to about having a casual brunch with family the morning after the wedding didn’t remember, and I just walked to the place across the street that the groom had called as a replacement and said “Hey, my friend just called, can we make this work?”

And it did.

There are things that apparently zigged when they were to zag, even before I got there – Kim’s family figured it out – and the band played on (Well, the string duo played on). The day was saved. The vows were sealed. The dinner was delicious and “Jump Around” and “Easy” by the Commodores both happened.

It wasn’t flawless. But it was perfect.



When Weddings Attack….And Love Fights Back

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here! The following is the personal account of the activity and, well, craziness that surrounded the nuptials of our best friend/kinda triplet Nikki Turner Lewis and her now-husband, Sam. It really was like something out of a movie, except you couldn’t really write the stuff that happened. But darn it if it was not one of the loveliest weddings I have ever been to. The love that these two have? Well, it outweighed everything that went wrong. Which is good. Here is Nikki telling her story.

1. Sam had a stroke-like episode and couldn’t work for a while, so we had to re-plan the wedding in about a month.

2. Due to his medical problems, he couldn’t fly, so there was some worry about whether the groom would get there in time for the wedding (I had to go to Texas and drive him back to Baltimore). But it was lovely bonding time.

3. The day before the wedding, my mom had to get rushed to the hospital with low blood sugar (she was okay!). In addition to being extraordinarily scared for my mom, I missed my hair and spa appointment. I had to find another hair dresser at the last minute (cuz the one doing my hair was going out of town later that day which is why my hair was scheduled for early the day before).

4. While getttin’ my hair did, and only having in half my tracks (she was getting a weave, y’all) ), my doc calls and tells me my routine blood work came back and OMG! and I had to rush to the hospital and get re-tested, because if the results were right, I was a ticking time bomb and needed to be admitted.

5. At hospital checking blood work, I get two idiots who didn’t understand what STAT meant and tried to tell me that my wedding rehearsal wasn’t important enough for them to rush results. Fortunately a female PA came in, listened to me and my sis cry about what was going on and got me out of there with CORRECT and NON-LETHAL blood work so I could get to my wedding rehearsal on time where I found out…

 6…that the photographer had a heart attack on the plane on the way from Austin to Baltimore and was in a hospital in Chicago (where the plane had a layover)
7. Fortunately, Sam’s friend Myq (who is also a photographer) came to the wedding and he stood in for us. We also had the mom of the flower girl taking pictures (and she did a really great job!).

8. I had to leave my own wedding rehearsal dinner to go the the nail place at Owings Mills Mall to get my nails done. That was my spa time.

9. The day of the wedding, the make-up person was 45 minutes late, which put me behind schedule. Then…

10. The flowers were late because some drawbridge in Baltimore got stuck open and the florist couldn’t get them delivered on time. So I wound up getting to the ceremony an hour late.
11. Oh!! And because the flowers were late, my two best friends couldn’t even ride with me in the limo (cuz they had to get the flowers to the menfolk at the church), which was something I REALLY wanted to happen.
12. Somehow, my mother didn’t get walked down the aisle by my brother-in-law (which totally wasn’t his fault) like she should have – which honestly STILL bothers me. Mom should NOT have to walk down the aisle by herself.
13. There was some mix-up with missed song lyrics and arrangements, and there was no music playing when the wedding party left, which was kinda eerie.

1. It was a beautiful sunny day.

She is so pretty, says the writers of this blog, and everyone with eyes.

2. We all got to witness the ring bearer be coaxed down the aisle by my brother with candy. Everyone should witness this once in their life.

3. Our mothers both spoke and gave advice that made everyone cry.

4. The ceremony was full of love. (Says Lynne. Who was a bridesmaid and could see everything)

5. There were tears all around, including the Groom, the Mother of the Bride (who is NOT a crier), and the singing bridesmaids.

6. The pastor based her message on “The Princess Bride”, and that is awesome.

7. We have beautiful memories of people we love that aren’t here anymore, like my mother-in-law and Uncle Butch.

8. The reception was a tea, and my beloved Sam prepared most of it, and all of our friends pitched in to set it up, including the wife of our eventual photographer, who happens to be a chef.  (And it was BEAUTIFUL and lovely and comfy. -Lynne)

9. There was eating and laughing and loving.

10. Everyone enjoyed the beautiful cake. Look in the bottom corner.

11. But most of all, this happened….

So it was a good day.

What a dog taught me about gratitude, or “Yay! Grass!”

by SweetMidlife
Stop and smell the grass. Or rub in it like a sweet crazy dog.

Leslie here! I don’t have a dog, but I have become close to two of them, Kira and Doubleday, the canine children of my friends Libby and Adam. My husband and I had the pleasure of sitting for them while their human parents went to Key West for New Year’s weekend. The time with them clued me on not only on the world of doggie drama – brief squabbles over who gets the best floor pillow and Kira clocking Doubleday’s extra food – but how it’s possible to stop, drop and literally roll into life’s simple pleasures without the world stopping in its tracks. In other words, nobody’s gonna die if you take a minute and smell some flowers.

Or some grass.

Enter Doubleday.

Libby and I took a walk with the doggies on the Intracoastal Waterway yesterday, on one of those delicious Florida winter mornings that feels like a temperate spring that make people want to move here. Kira, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, was on my arm, and is a pretty chill walker. Pit bull mix Doubleday, on the other hand, always runs outside as if she has never seen outside before – she glances every which way, smelling the air, feeling the ground under her and getting so overwhelmed by all the exotic wonder that she sees every single day that she can barely stop her little doggie head from exploding.

It’s hilarious. And it was especially awesome yesterday, when, mid-walk, Doubleday just dropped to her back and started rubbing herself from side to side in the grass, like a little gray fur-covered pendulum, her tongue hanging out dramatically and her ecstatic panting seeming to say “OH MY GOSH! IT’S GRASS! DO YOU KNOW GRASS? HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THIS BEFORE? WHERE DO THEY MAKE THIS STUFF?”

This dog gets walked every day, in the same place. Nothing here is completely new to her. But Libby says that at least once a walk, her sheer puppy joy at the simple pleasure of rubbing in the grass takes over and she just cannot help herself.

I’m about to sound like an Afterschool Special here, but don’t you think we can learn something from this goofy lovely dog, who doesn’t care what’s happening as long as she can lose herself in the wonderfulness of a moment? Of course we can. I’m going to start posting Doubledays of the Day, small ways in which we can shut down our day for a few minutes, without hurting anybody, and let life in.

Today, I took five minutes between writing stories to make a cup of tea. Tea is underrated. And it’s the most chill time of my day, even if I have to get up to make it.

Do you guys have suggestions? Bring them on! And go smell some grass!

Trees and plants and Gwyneth Paltrow

by SweetMidlife


Lynne here.

As I write this, I am watching an interview with Gwyneth Paltrow and she’s talking about being a mom, and how moms give each other a hard time (which we’ve talked about before), but first she talked about the death of her father, Bruce, a few years back.. She was actually with him in Italy on a trip, just the two of them, and she was with him when he passed away. Theirs was the strongest relationship in her life, so she was devastated when he died, but she talked about how she had grown since his passing because she has had to find her own way.

Living. Something that those left behind have to do.   Growing.  Something we hopefully will do.

The idea of growing and going on has been summed up for me lately in green things.  Four times in the past few months, after my Dad died, I have been given some sort of plant or flower or something.  First, a close friends sent me flowers that arrived at my Mom’s house the morning of my Dad’s funeral in Arkansas.  They were beautiful and vibrant and smelled so good. They brought brightness to what was going to be a really sad day.  Next, a dear friend who lost her mother a few years ago sent me a lovely letter with comforting words about how hard losing a parent is, but how you get through it.  Inside the envelope she included flower seeds.  She explained that someone close to gives her seeds, not already living flowers,  because you have the opportunity to watch them grow.  She said that I should plant them and think of my Dad as they sprout, live, and go on.

The next time was at my Dad’s memorial service in September, that we held in Maryland for the friends and family who couldn’t travel during the summer.  One of my very best friends had a beautiful green plant delivered to the church, and it sits by my door.  It is lovely, and alive, and is, thankfully, very resilient, as it bounces back when I forget to water it.  But bounce back it does when it is cared for and tended to.

Today, our elderly neighbors, a really sweet couple in their 80’s, drove down the street to give me a Poinsettia that someone gave them, but that they had to part with because they were afraid their cat would eat it.  “We remembered you said that your parents were coming for the holidays, so we thought it would be nice.”  “Parent, singular, ” I wanted to remind them, but that wasn’t necessary, or the point.  The point, it hit me as I walked back inside, a little teary, is that it was bright, and flowering and currently flourishing.

All four living things, some that need to be enjoyed now, because they have a limited shelf life. One, green and sturdy, has the potential to last a long time if it is nourished.  One, not yet born, but full of possibility, soon to sprout. I am not sure where I am on this scale of plants, in terms of growth and healing.  I feel in some ways like the seed, at the beginning of this process, while at other times I am like the plants, full of life because I have to be, because the baby needs a mom who is present and my husband needs a wife who is present, and I need a me who is present, and growing, and living the life that is in front of me, as God and those who love me tend to me. And that brings me back to being the seed.  I am not sure all of the time where I am going, and some days I feel like I am going backwards in sadness as I mourn my father and my time with him, but mostly, I see the possibilities in this life that I have now, and the one that lies before me.  And it gives me hope.  Daddy got me this far. And now I go on. Growing. Flourishing. Living.


Putting Off the Big Day Because of the Big Dollars

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here.

Okay, so I was watching the 6am news last week, and they were previewing a story that I think was going to be on the “Today” show about how because of the economy, there were brides and grooms putting off their wedding for as much as two years so that they could save up and have the dream wedding they wanted.  And this made sense and made me sad at the same time.  I LOVE weddings. LURVE them. I have been planning weddings in my head since the first time I got my hands on a bridal magazine at like age 10.  I always had a list of bridesmaids in my head that changed over the years, and I would hear songs on the radio and choreograph my entrance into the church in my car. Mind you, this started way before I got engaged, and shoot, when the engagement was imminent (we did pre-engagement counseling with a pastor to uncover any issues before we bought stuff), I did this wedding guest list on a plane and just with my people it was a bunch of folks. Seriously. But when we started planning, it was back to life, back to reality. This was because we were paying for our own wedding and couldn’t afford that, and also due to the fact that after dating for 2 1/2 years, we didn’t want a long engagement.  We just wanted to start that part of our lives together, and that meant that we got married 2 months after the proposal.  Which meant that once we made that decision, it logically meant that we had to plan a wedding with the resources that we had in front of us. It did mean that there were things that I had always thought I would have at my wedding that I couldn’t (like a mashed potato bar, but I finally got that at my baby shower), and people that I wasn’t able to invite because the guest list was smaller.   We didn’t want to owe money later, so used savings. money from a retirement fund, and the unsolicited but TRULY appreciated help of friends and family who did our photography at a discounted rate, or contributed to our flower budget, or bought my veil (GRANDMA!!!!), or straight up gave us money to put towards the wedding bill.  And I found that when I had planned the wedding in my head, I didn’t take into account that maybe the person I married would also have an opinion, so there was a lot of compromise. So in the end, I didn’t have the wedding I had been dreaming of for almost 30 years, but it turned out to be the wedding I couldn’t have possibly dreamed of. Because even with my vivid imagination, I never could have come up with something so beautiful and lovely and loving and heartfelt and musical and honest as what we got. And there were waffles involved.

Now, this is my story. I know people the same age as us who took time to save towards the big day and had year-long engagements and big, beautiful weddings that were just as authentic and passionate and touching as ours was.  But it goes to personal preference.  And they didn’t postpone their weddings so they could have bigger ones. They just knew that having the wedding they really wanted meant taking some time.  How about you? If you had a wedding planned but realized that you couldn’t afford it in the time you wanted to do it, would you revise your vision to start the union, or would you be okay with holding off until you could get what you have always wanted?  Tell us what you think, and share personal stories/opinions/stuff if you got it!

TV wedding ditchers: Free spirits or fools?

by SweetMidlife

Be a free spirt all you want. But I'ma need my deposit back...

And you...I really need that gift back.

I have always been annoyed by rom-coms where some dithering commitment-phobe ditches his or her wedding either at the altar, or right before, because of their new incredible love for some other person, a person who should take note of the ditherer’s track record. Because running out on someone at the last possible moment is not only a waste of every one’s time, heart and money, but it doesn’t bode too well for their future commitment. To you.

Two ABC programs recently featured that scenario in two unsavory, wavering flavors: the patented “I just can’t do this” wedding day flee to uncharted and more glamorous waters (“Pan-Am”) and the “No traditional wedding for us, no matter that we wasted the time and money of everyone who’s sitting at the church RIGHT NOW” deal (“General Hospital.”)

In both cases, what was supposed to be, respectively, a sheltered young woman’s desperate attempt to escape a conventional future and two non-traditional characters rejecting the harsh and overbearing confines of society’s oppressive blah blah blah, came off more like immature people whose doubts all along should have urged them never to agree to these shenanigans in the first place.

Be as non-traditional as you want. But at least stand up and be an adult about it.

On “Pan Am,” a sweet, almost too-perfect looking upper middle-class living doll named Laura (Margot Robbie) has a hyperventalating freak-out right before her pretty 1960s society wedding, escaping in her parents’ convertible with her Pan Am stewardess sister. Yeah, I know she’s a plot device, shiny shorthand for women whose individuality was suppressed by societal and class expectations. And I know that in 1962 or whatever, this girl might not have thought she had a choice besides marrying some hand-picked dweeb and living the life her mom designated for her, especially because her sister Kate (Kelli Garner) is apparently the family disappointment.

Still, she bugs, maybe because I’ve planned a wedding and know how frigging pricey they are, and because I got plenty annoyed when other people seemed so too casual about the money I was spending (ie. not showing up and not calling. thus wasting my non-refundable money. Like buttheads.) And yes, the only reason she probably bolted – changing the trajectory of her life and of this show – was because her sister witnessed her freakout and recognized from her own experiences how damaging it would be if she stayed. I get that.

And it’s a generational thing, and to ignore that would be to place 2011 standards of equality on the early ’60s, which is what I apparently do when people yell at me about not loving “The Help”  (Hi, Daddy!)

And I also have to admit that as a middle-class 40-year-old who paid for my own wedding, I kept looking at all the prettiness surrounding that would-be wedding, like the dress and the hair and the  gifts and decorations, and it all seems like giant spoiled princess waste of someone else’s money and time. I know that all the money in the world won’t replace the time and heart spent on a bad marriage. But don’t accept the ring, then. Phooey cakes.

Pretty little Laura’s fleeing can be chalked up to youth, but the not-wedding of longtime sweethearts Jason the mob hitman (Steve Burton) and Sam the P.I/former seafaring con woman (Kelly Monaco) just seems like careless idiots who don’t so much know their own style as know how to avoid the responsibility of the wedding you let someone else plan. See, Sam, an iconoclast who never needed conventions like marriage (or dating someone who wasn’t a criminal) let herself be talked into this huge wedding that wasn’t at all her because of the expectations of her mom, young excited sisters and friend Maxie (Kirsten Storms), a meddling, annoying chatterbox who pulled a similar non-wedding stunt at her own nuptials.

So these two criminals free spirits have an 11th-hour realization, after half-heartedly agreeing to this spectacle that was clearly never for them, that they just can’t be tamped down by the evil boot of the Bridal Brigade and their sinister arch ways and floral arrangements and such. So they run to some previously unseen part of town where they keep the wise Chinese  stereotypes people and their delightful ethnic ways that are helpful to white people, and get married by the convienient liscensed minister in the family, in their T-shirts and jeans.

And then, Sam has the nerve to wake up and thrill that they’re miles away from (and I’m paraphrasing) “that awful wedding that Maxie planned.” Well, hold on a second, Boobs McGee. You’re not some oppressed ’60s princess being forced into a marriage she doesn’t want by her family. You’re a 35-year-old woman, marrying a 41-year-old man, who has lived your life freely and flautingly up till now, and NOW you’re a victim of the wedding pressure of a woman who weighs about seven pounds and could be distracted by bright shiny objects?You could literally pick her up and sit her somewhere until she calmed the heck down. No sympathy from me.

That doesn’t make you a free spirit. It makes you kind of a wimp. A selfish, ungrateful And yeah, yeah, Jason and Sam showed up at the church and explained, and then had the reception at the Chinese restaurant with the nice stereotypes family who obviously have nothing else to do on a busy Saturday night than host impromptu weddings for strangers.

Yeah, there was some lame explanation that the food for the planned reception had been in an accident, and the dress was wrong (actually stolen by a serial killer played by slumming movie star James Franco, which you can not make me explain). But still, I’m thinking that they wasted everyone’s time, and that their last-minute evasion isn’t becoming to people who supposedly know their own minds. And are older than 12.

(Note: ABC did something similar two years ago with Meredith and Derek’s Post-It cop-out wedding, something that seemed organic to Meredith’s patented dithery, navel-gazing personality, and basically confirmed that she wasn’t a grown-up.)

A Bride35 Quiz: Favors or Flowers?

by SweetMidlife

During the “Platinum Wedding” era, which I think we’re beginning to edge out of because a lot of us brides are now more hundredaires than millionaires, the prevailing wisdom in some circles was that you should spend a major part of your budget on flowers. Also, you had to have crazy inventive personalized favors for your guests, even if they were gonna go “Oh look! A personalized plate!” and then chuck it in the backseat.

Since we’re all about the truth here at Bride35, we want to know – If you have only a certain amount of cash, would you rather skimp on flowers or favors? (Of course, you don’t have to splurge on either – Leslie spent a total of $200 on flowers, including her bouquet from a local farmer’s market and Costco centerpieces). Which would you choose?

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