Via bridebook: In Praise of Girlfriends

My second post as a Real Bride blogger for bridebook went up yesterday! It celebrates my awesome girlfriends, and you can read it by clicking on the title here:

In Praise of Girlfriends

(or, A Shower and Spice and Everything Nice)

A beautiful bridal shower is the icing on the (wedding-dress cup)cake. What really makes my heart sing is having my friends beside me, before, during, and after being a bride.

A few more pictures from the shower—to see the aforementioned cupcakes, check out the essay on bridebook!


Bratty Bride Reality Check Needs a Hug

Lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed.

Many of my days recently have begun well before the sun crests over the mountains, waking at four or five AM wired and restless, my brain making lists, sifting through the worries piling up like student papers, filing and re-filing any number of questions and possible answers: What are we going to do for ceremony music? When do we introduce Steve’s dog to my cats? Are the bridesmaids’ dresses I selected going to work?

Then I feel silly, and guilty. After all, I remind my inner Bratty Bride (she is quite the worrywart), marrying the love of one’s life is a privilege, not a pain. A quick look at the world outside my sphere reveals tragic events genuinely worthy of worry and grief: an Amtrak train derails outside Philadelphia, killing 8 passengers and injuring many more. A second devastating earthquake strikes Nepal, decimating the land and its citizens.

To sit and fret over the fact my hairdresser of three years is moving to South Dakota in June is…well, I can’t even even finish that sentence. There’s no comparison. It’s too absurd.

Yet a wise friend of mine once observed that while comparing (mis)fortunes can offer much-needed perspective, your own experiences are still real and valid, and you need not deny your own feelings just because others have feelings too (even ones bigger and harder to bear). And it’s true that some of the decisions we’re facing aren’t exactly trivial: How do we stay within budget and still include everyone we want to include? Will we keep separate checking accounts or merge our finances? Where are we going to live after we’re married? And whose sofa stays, whose goes? Continue reading

FsFTB Has a New Gig!

I’m thrilled to announce Forty-Something First-Time Bride is now a Real Bride Blogger for bridebook magazine!

Bridebook is a great resource for Virginia brides, and they highlight real weddings in every issue. I’m excited to share more stories about marrying at mid-life with their readers.

I’ll be writing for bridebook once a month, in addition to my regular posts here. My first piece went up on their site yesterday–click on the title below to check it out!

It’s hard to believe that our wedding is just four months away. Read on for a tale of some serious (and not-so-serious) mother-daughter bonding.

MomandMeMothers, Daughters, and Wedding Dresses:

A Middle-Aged Bride Shops for “the One.”

 ♥ ♥ ♥

If you missed my first dress adventure, check out Funny Story About My Dress… here on Forty-Something First-time Bride. And for a bit more backstory on my mom–that lovely lady in the photo above–try A Mother’s Dream in honor of the wedding that wasn’t.

Funny Story About My Dress…

Not long after Steve and I got engaged, people started asking about my wedding dress: had I looked for a dress yet? Did I know what kind of dress I wanted? When was I going to go shopping for my dress? Those who knew me well knew, enthusiastic fashionista that I am, that finding The Dress would likely be at the top of my bridal to-do’s.

I hemmed and hawed in response to their questions. Of course, I’d thought about it. Yes, I had a pretty good idea of what I liked. Then as fast as I could, I’d change the subject.

Because the truth was that buying a dress wasn’t just at the top of the list. It was already checked off.

Temptation strikes

True confessions: I bought my dress before we got engaged. Continue reading


Crème de la Dress de la Crème

I found the most incredible wedding dress. It’s handcrafted, designed by a local artisan, and made of marshmallows.  Isn’t it awesome?


Well, not about the awesome part, or the marshmallows: this work of art, featured in the window of downtown Roanoke dress shop La De Da over the holidays, was pretty darn awesome. Created by owner Carole Hughes with the assistance of one of her employees, Robyn Gross, it made for a dramatic, even show-stopping, display.

LaDeDadress2Both beautiful and whimsical, the marshmallow gown does in many ways reflect the overall aesthetic I hope to create at our wedding. Nonetheless, I won’t be wearing this confection to walk down the aisle. (I hear there was a hot glue gun involved…ouch.)

So, what will I be wearing? Lots of folks have asked whether or not I have a dress yet. The answer is…

Stay tuned for next week’s post, to hear a funny story about my dress. 🙂


Here Comes the Bridal Show

Brideness earns you entrée into a strange world you never had access to before and (god, spouse, and lawyers willing) never will need access to again. Witness: the bridal show.

Technically, I suppose, anyone could go to a bridal show. For the disinterested, it would be a strange and uneasy universe. When I was younger I considered crashing just to see what magic lay behind the lacy white curtains. But I suspected the free cupcakes wouldn’t compensate for the sting of being surrounded by members of a club I wanted to belong to but hadn’t been asked to join.

Now I’ve got my credentials and the club is open. But I’ll be darned if they still don’t look at me funny when I come knocking on the door.

Bride’s Night: Boa Contradicter

Back in the fall, I invited my girlfriend Melissa to join me at Bride’s Night, a biannual event put on by Caroline LaRocca Event Design that travels to different wedding venues around town. It’s marketed as a girl’s night out, with a fashion show, stylists on hand doing quick up-dos, an on-site mobile spray-tanning booth. I’d modeled for a previous incarnation, but I’d never attended as a bride.

Melissa and I met at the venue, the beautiful Corinthian Ballroom. At the door, Melissa saw someone she knew and stopped to say hello, so I went ahead to the check-in table.

The greeter’s eyes slid across my face then quickly flicked to either side of me, checking for companions. She hesitated and said, “You’re not…are you…a bride?” Continue reading