Monday, July 21, 2014

second-time bride: white dresses

Can a second-time bride wear white?  According to modern etiquette, anything goes.

I actually quite like the idea of non-traditional white or ivory dresses for encore brides.  But I personally think veils and long white wedding gowns look ridiculous on divorcées and older brides... in a mutton dressed as lamb sort of way.  It's not good.

From the second Robert slipped Jackie onto my finger,  I knew I wouldn't be going the traditional bridal route. I've done the white dress and veil and now I want to wear something that reflects my style and who I am as a woman, wife and bride.

For about 10 seconds, I entertained the thought of a vintage tiara and a knee-length 50's inspired a-line dress in ivory, but something about it was still too bridal and seemed reserved for a demure type of bride that just doesn't exist post-divorce and close to forty.

Taking inspiration from Gibraltar's most famous bride and groom, I could go mod with a minidress and white boots or platform sandals.  The 60's are my style muse and I can totally get onboard with this idea, but if I don't pull it off 100%, it'll end up looking costumey and result in deep, lifelong wedding photo regret.  Ill conceived and poorly executed wedding themes are a modern tragedy... I won't be cruel enough to post links, but take my word for it ;-)

Or I could go with an elegant, slightly slinky bombshell-inspired dress in white or ivory.  While I like the idea of a non-traditional white or ivory dress, I'm not sure I see myself wearing one. 

My grandmother chose my first wedding dress... a cheap, scratchy meringue from David's Bridal.  It smelled like fish, and the veil was decorated with rhinestones and faux pearls that photographed like bugs caught in a mosquito net!  I looked ridiculous.  I looked like me dressed up in a bride costume.  It's been 14 years and still hate that dress!

Wedding gowns are a racket anyway.  The price-tag on that horrible David's Bridal meringue wasn't exactly cheap but it was definitely built not to last.  The stitching was sloppy and coming apart, the beading was substandard, and the fabric was embarrassingly third-rate.  For the same amount of money, I could've had my pick of designer dresses that looked amazing, felt amazing, and could've been worn time and time again.

This time, screw the wedding industry! I want a stunning designer dress that I'll wear again and again because I love it so much that I cannot bear not to wear it again.

Here are my top choices for ivory and white wedding dresses for me as a second-time bride...

Alexander McQueen wedding dress
This one is from Alexander McQueen and it's the most wedding-y of the bunch.  I can't see myself rewearing it, but it's an Alexander McQueen and I can totally see myself wearing it in Gibraltar with my Christian Louboutins and a hand-tied bouquet of red roses to match those beautiful red soles!

bombshell style wedding dress
This one is by the Italian label Fairly, which doesn't have the pedigree I'd like, but there's something about this one.  It looks like something Marilyn Monroe would've worn to one of her weddings... and that counts for something ;-)

 Be still my beating heart!  It's a Gucci...  need I say more?

60s style wedding minidress
This is a no-name dress that has that 60's vibe I was talking about, but also a high possibility of regret...

white wedding dress for the second time bride
This one is from a label called, "Snob Inside."  Apropos? I'd need to do something about those faux pearls,  like tear them off and burn them, but the hemline of this dress is very sexy and makes me want to dance the tango.  If only it came in red...

60s a-line wedding dress
And finally, here's an actual vintage 1960's shift dress.  I love the idea of getting married in vintage, but trying to find a vintage dress in London over the course of one weekend is cutting it a bit too close for my taste.  Maybe I'll be able to talk Robert into a vintage dress-vow renewal-handfasting after we've fled Denmark ;-)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

gin & elderflower cocktail

This gin and elderflower cocktail is another popular choice on our balcony this summer!

elderflower martini
1 shot gin
1 shot apple juice
2 t elderflower cordial
lime
ice

We use Tanqueray or Bombay Sapphire gin.  The botanicals in your gin will affect the taste of the cocktail, so use a good quality gin!
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add the vodka, Cointreau, a shot or so of cranberry juice, and a squeeze of lime. Shake the heck out of it.  Strain it into a martini glass, top it off with a bit more cranberry juice and another squeeze of lime.  - See more at: http://www.sageandsimple.com/#sthash.yZp74OyR.dpuf

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add the gin, apple juice, cordial, and a squeeze of lime. Shake it well, then strain it into a martini glass, and garnish it with a slice of lime... or not.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add the vodka, Cointreau, a shot or so of cranberry juice, and a squeeze of lime. Shake the heck out of it.  Strain it into a martini glass, top it off with a bit more cranberry juice and another squeeze of lime.  - See more at: http://www.sageandsimple.com/#sthash.yZp74OyR.dpuf
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add the vodka, Cointreau, a shot or so of cranberry juice, and a squeeze of lime. Shake the heck out of it.  Strain it into a martini glass, top it off with a bit more cranberry juice and another squeeze of lime.  - See more at: http://www.sageandsimple.com/#sthash.yZp74OyR.dpuf

I make my own elderflower cordial, but once my homemade stash runs out, it's available in nearly every grocery store here in Denmark.  I don't recall ever hearing of elderflower cordial when I lived in the States, but I've heard it's available at IKEA, and I suspect you might also be able to find it at Whole Foods. 

I promise you this cocktail is totally worth the hassle of tracking down the cordial...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

how to get married in gibraltar

After deciding to marry in Gibraltar, the obvious question was, "how do we plan a wedding in Gibraltar when we've never even been to Gibraltar?"

I've worked as an event planner and a wedding waitress, but I've never actually planned a wedding.  The first time around I got married in Jamaica on one of those "free wedding if you stay 3 or more nights at our resort" deals.  Basically, I told them what date and time we wanted to be married, and showed up.  Gibraltar is a bit tricker.

We were initially going to use a wedding planner.  At more than twice the price of arranging everything ourselves, Sweet Gibraltar Weddings seemed worth the premium for the peace of mind of having someone local to arrange the date, paperwork, flowers, etc.  That was until I asked to reserve our date and they told me that the price they'd quoted was a "special offer" and that the price had since gone up by £100.  Less than 10 minutes after telling them "nevermind," they replied saying that they'd honor their original quote.  I don't deal with vendors who pull those kinds of shenanigans, so I decided to do it myself! (and I'm glad I did)

The cost of a Registry Office wedding in Gibraltar, including the license, ceremony, notary, and certificates is around £160.  With the visa and residency requirements, we were looking at around £1100 for the same in England.   And this, my friends, is why I abandoned my dreams of a midwinter handfasting to get married in Gibraltar!

This website told me everything I needed to know about the logistics of planning a Gibraltar wedding.  For a Registry Office wedding, you don't need a wedding planner, just a little patience :)

The days and times of Registry Office weddings leave a bit to be desired.  You can only get married on weekdays between 9:00 & 2:00, and most of the days leading up to Christmas and just after New Year's are also off limits. 

For those keeping score at home, that means no midwinter wedding date, and no evening ceremony! I'd hoped to keep at least some our original vision intact, but alas, we'll be married at 1:00 on an insignificant date in late September.

Reserving the date was a very slow, uncertain, and stressful experience.  After emailing our document scans and preferred date/time to the Registrar, I heard nothing for days.  I sent a follow-up email and still nothing.  I called and they said they'd "look into it."  Still nothing.  Nothing for two weeks!  I was beginning to think the Registry Office was in cahoots with the wedding planners and that we wouldn't be getting married in Gibraltar, near Spain after all.  Then one Saturday morning, I got the email I thought would never come and I was happy I hadn't freaked out completely and hired a wedding planner!

The Gibraltar Registry Office has been very pleasant to deal with and I get the sense that they're just very busy.  So if you're planning a Gibraltar wedding and are reaching freak out stage because they haven't confirmed your date, make a Cosmo and chill out.  They'll get back to you :)

With the date finally confirmed, we had to decide on a florist and a photographer.  Wedding planners will try to tell you they have access to the "best" vendors, but Gibraltar is small and there's a limited number of florists, photographers, salons, etc., so DIY brides have the exact same access as the wedding planners have.  Since Gibraltar is a British territory, the local language is English, which really simplifies things. Trip Advisor has been an invaluable resource, there are plenty of people in the Gibraltar forum who have been married in Gibraltar and they're very helpful to aspiring Gibraltar brides.

 Gibral-Flora is doing my bouquet.  I'm still deciding on the specifics but as long as I finalize the order 30 days in advance and they'll be able deliver it to our hotel on the morning of for around £35 inclusive.

With the money we've saved by skipping the wedding planner, we're splurging on our first choice photographer... I knew he was it as soon as I clicked on his portfolio! He's based out of Spain and does both weddings and commercial/glamour photography.  It's just going to be the two of us and my choice of dress is trending more towards designer than bridal, so he'll approach the day as a fashion shoot, not a wedding... no botanical gardens, no bridal poses, nothing lame;  just glamour and romance around the Rock! 

The day before the wedding, we'll need to bring our original documents to the Registry Office, and get something notarized and returned before close of business.  To minimize stress, I'm going to arrange an appointment ahead of time with this notary which is very close to the Registry Office.  At £20 per signature, it's the most expensive in Gibraltar, but you know what they say about location, and we can't be bothered to chase all over town to save 20 quid.

We'll have to leave witnesses until the last minute, but that's part of the adventure!  I'm sure we'll find someone who will love telling the story of how they became our impromptu maid of honor/best man whilst on holiday in Gibraltar ;)

All in all, planning a wedding in a place I've never been to has been remarkably easy, and if it was good enough for John and Yoko, it's good enough for us!  

Now let's talk dresses...
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