Engagement Par-tay

As promised, here are pictures from the big engagement party that my parents threw for my youngest sister (along with her mother-in-law-to-be, whose house it was at). As any of you with divorced parents know, these kinds of events are fraught with all sorts of stresses and this one was certainly no exception. However, things worked out and the party was great — though it would have been better without my mom repeatedly telling me things that I should be doing according to some unwritten 1970s rules because I’m the maid of honor. Gah.
Photo courtesy of my sister’s boyfriend who’s a fantastic photographer. Faces are blurred rather than cropped to show more of the outfits. I have no idea where my sisters’ clothes are from.

My dress is actually a cheat bought during the 30 for 30. I needed a dress for the party and I ended up getting a great deal on this one. I was a little hesitant about it at first but I totally love it now. It’s a nice thick jersey so it’s super comfortable and hangs quite well. I even think I can make it work for teaching with different accessories. Ideally, I would have worn heels with it but because I was going to be setting things up and then walking around someone’s house for several hours, I went with the flats. Also, they were easier to fit into my over-packed suitcase.
Dress: Lane Bryant
Tights: Hue
Shoes: Old Navy
Necklace: Anthro
FYI, I love the mini-FR’s stare of deadly purpose in this picture.
I’m hesitantly posting this shot of the back of the dress because I think it’s kind of cool and pretty flattering.

Anyone got any other “maid of honor” rules I need to get in front of before July?

How’s everyone surviving being back to work? Managing the shift out of 24 hour yoga pants?

29 thoughts on “Engagement Par-tay

  1. I almost bought that same dress! It really looks fantastic on you, the blocking of the colors gives shape and a tailored look which we know I'm a sucker for. Gorgeous darling!I've been a matron of honor twice and had nothing to do because I lived about 800 miles away from the brides. So I've got nothing for you. The only thing I can think of is to just help the bride chill out and enjoy her big day. I had three lovely brides maids at my wedding and between them I was relaxed and laughing and having a great time. At least that's what the pictures show. It's been almost 14 years so I can't really remember off hand.

  2. aftk: Okay, so it IS ignored mostly in practice. I can't recall a wedding or bridal shower that wasn't thrown by the family.The wedding I'm in is my cousin's, so I'll call my aunt to see what I can do to help her host the shower, aside from making petits fours (because I really want to try making them). E-Jo, like you, I have distance keeping me from doing much. I'm a 4 hour drive from where the wedding will be, and the bride currently lives on another continent so there's not much for me to do outside of the ceremony. Except find a cute bridesmaid-like dress. Do you get to pick your own dress out?

  3. Oh dear, I was maid of honour once. I don't think that I followed any of the rules… The dress looks great and is super flattering. I think it will be really versatile and can be dressed up or down.

  4. awftk: I've never heard that shower rule! Wonder if that's regional or something? Every wedding shower I've gone to here in the Midwest has been thrown by the mother of the bride or groom, and a couple times by an aunt of the bride.

  5. I probably should, because when you find the right dress, you just know. And I shouldn't just wait around for a proposal to score a fabulous dress.Also, I really like D-Med's suggestion of pairing your dress with red. That'd look sharp!

  6. I am totally late to the part-ay, but I love this dress and I love it on you. I would absolutely wear this to teach in, probably with a bracelet-length sleeve sweater in either black or red and maybe some knee-high black boots (if I owned a pair). And a chunky bracelet.And I've said this before, but I love that necklace. It is just the right amount of sparkle and fun for this outfit and occasion. Well-played, E-Jo, well-played.

  7. SU: Thanks! It does feel good to be back! I love the office blazer suggestion — I'm going to totally try that out!A-Dubs: The bride has vetoed dyed shoes — though my mom thinks they're the only way to go…Anne: Buy that dress immediately. It is awesome. And I'm sure it totally won't creep out Fella if you buy a wedding dress just 'cause.Janey-Emm: Ugh. Plastic shoes. I've seen you in action at weddings so I know that you know of which you speak. Especially if cheetos and mojitos are involved…K.Bean: I think we're aiming for bronze shoes but silver would look pretty sweet too. Also, your Bride Emergency Kit is GENIUS. I'll start assembling it soon!!

  8. I love the dress pictured here, and I think you totally classroom it. Your wedding togs look gorgeous, and that color will be amazing on you. I'm voting for silver shoes for everyone.Like Janey-Emm, I was half-maid-of-honour. The other maid handled the ceremony aspects and I handled reception stuff. Your job is partly to make sure shit runs smoothly so that the bride doesn't have as much to stress about. Oh, and assemble a Bride Emergency Kit: safety pins, bobby pins, two-sided tape, lip balm, eye drops, blotting papers, bandaids, gum, chocolate, wee bottle of vodka.

  9. I have half-maid-of-honoured once (splitting duties with madalone, except for the shower, which the bride's sister held while I was out of the country, not choosing to tell me until the day of) and maid-of-honoured-by-default once (the bride refused to pick a maid of honour, so all the bridesmaids shared all the work, until it was time to figure out who stood where and the photographer picked me for prime real estate 'cause I was tallest).In both cases, I did my best but fear I made a mess of my duties. In both cases, I coped with dress-fit disasters (who needs to lift their arms above their waist, amiright?). In both cases, I ended up stumbling around in horrifying plastic shoes purchased at Sears in a desperate attempt to contain my wedding-related expenses.Learn from my mistakes. Drink lots of wine, don't leave the tailor until you're satisfied, and, for the love of all that's good and holy, BUY GOOD SHOES. Not that you need any help with that one.

  10. Wow, that is gorgeous! I think you could probably wear it again for an evening wedding or something nice and fancy. You should, because it's beautiful. I'd go for the dyed shoes if you can, those would definitely be fun to wear again!And ideally, if I were getting married, I'd want something that would allow for nice elbow-length gloves. But this would be pretty sweet too: http://www.etsy.com/listing/62095153/jackie-vintage-inspired-wedding-dress (stumbled upon it while looking for bridesmaid dresses, I swear). It's like Joan Holloway with lace.

  11. Just checked out your dress and I agree: it IS beautiful. AND an awesome colour for you. I bet you could make it work for another wedding. Also, are you wearing dyed shoes? Do people still do those?

  12. Anne: Ooh, a Jackie O wedding? Nice! Also, excellent news about the complete say in the dress. My dress is this one: http://www.dessy.com/dresses/bridesmaid/d461/ in Niagara. The other dresses are in the same line and color but different styles — one halter, two different strapless ones and a one shoulder number (my other sister is wearing this one and it is AMAZING on her). Realistically this probably isn't a dress that I'll wear again, but at least it's beautiful.

  13. E-Jo: Dresses with a Mad Men vibe? Oooh! I want to see! I've always said that if I get married I want to look like Jackie O (I've been obsessed with the 60's long before Don Draper came into my life), but a cool bridesmaid dress is more likely to happen first. I have complete say in the dress – it just needs to be a light blue. I'd also love for it to be something I can wear again (since I have more than a few weddings coming up over the next couple of years).

  14. Oh E-Jo! This dress is beautiful. I love it. Could you pull off the office blazer by day/fancy necklace for cocktails combo in this dress? I wonder. Glad your back 🙂 Seeing you pose at your house gives me comfort, like everything in the blogosphere is getting back to normal ;0no info about bridesmaid…i sucked at it.

  15. TIoBM: I also like how the color-blocking gives what is essentially a giant t-shirt the look of tailoring. Another thing I'm going to help the bride with? Making good use of the open bar they're paying for — I'd hate for them to feel they hadn't gotten a good deal!!LHdM: I also prefer the back of the dress — but the front has really grown on me. C&B: Thanks! Anne: I helped pick out the bridesmaid dresses — which are all pretty awesome. They all have a "Mad Men" vibe. Once I've got mine tailored so it fits a little more reasonably, I'll totally post some pictures. Do you have much say in the perimeters of the dress?

  16. aftk: Okay, so it IS ignored mostly in practice. I can't recall a wedding or bridal shower that wasn't thrown by the family.The wedding I'm in is my cousin's, so I'll call my aunt to see what I can do to help her host the shower, aside from making petits fours (because I really want to try making them). E-Jo, like you, I have distance keeping me from doing much. I'm a 4 hour drive from where the wedding will be, and the bride currently lives on another continent so there's not much for me to do outside of the ceremony. Except find a cute bridesmaid-like dress. Do you get to pick your own dress out?

  17. Anne, to echo Charlotte, the rule is set in stone. I know this because I have something of a love affair with etiquette books. Mostly Miss Manners, whom I love. But there is universal agreement on this in the land of the rules. It is also, as far as I can tell, almost universally ignored in practice. This bothers me, which is kind of weird, since my scholarly work is basically all about how people ignore rules that are set in stone.

  18. I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of the front of the dress, but the back is fantastic. And that Anthro necklace is a truly fab piece. The basic duties of maid of honor = hold her bouquet/hand her tissues as needed during the ceremony, help her dress and hold dress as needed for the washroom, arrange her bachelorette party (if she wants one), host her shower, and make a toast at the reception. Honestly, though, a lot of the etiquette rules are no longer set in stone, especially as wedding traditions become democratized and de-Westernized. And much as I hate people who don't send in their RSVP's I think that's a good thing.

  19. I almost bought that same dress! It really looks fantastic on you, the blocking of the colors gives shape and a tailored look which we know I'm a sucker for. Gorgeous darling!I've been a matron of honor twice and had nothing to do because I lived about 800 miles away from the brides. So I've got nothing for you. The only thing I can think of is to just help the bride chill out and enjoy her big day. I had three lovely brides maids at my wedding and between them I was relaxed and laughing and having a great time. At least that's what the pictures show. It's been almost 14 years so I can't really remember off hand.

  20. Allison: Thanks! I'm not super concerned about the rules personally (and importantly neither is my sister–seriously she's awesome) but this is the first wedding in my immediate family so my parents are at their high-strung best about it. In other words, rules, rules, rules!!AFtK: Basically the engagement party operated as the shower so I'm off the hook for that. Though, really, since I live a 6 hour plane ride away from the bride, I'm off the hook for most things. Anne: We can totally be fabulous maids together! As far as I knew, I need to arrange the bachelorette & do a toast at the reception. My other sister and I are going to share these responsibilities though. So, basically, all I do is sign something at the ceremony. I didn't think of the dress as a chestal highlighter before but I totally see it now. The shoes are a white & gray faux-snakeskin.A-Dubs: I think this exact combo is a little too formal for me — though with a slightly less fancy necklace, it should be fine. I think it was the exposed zipper that sold me on the dress in the first place.Charlotte: Those are excellent rules! I can manage them! This also makes me feel better about being unable to throw a shower in any way (see: 6 hour plane ride away).

  21. The shower rule is set in stone: Family members don't throw showers for the honoree (this includes baby showers, too). The other rule is that if you're maid of honor, it's your job to catch her when she faints and be there with tissues to blot her tears so her mascara won't run.

  22. Sweet buckets of awesome, that is a great dress! It's definitely highlighting all things hourglass – and the exposed zipper is the perfect touch. Also, I don't see why you couldn't wear this exact combination to teach. Unless you feel it's too formal for classroom attire?

  23. awftk: I've never heard that shower rule! Wonder if that's regional or something? Every wedding shower I've gone to here in the Midwest has been thrown by the mother of the bride or groom, and a couple times by an aunt of the bride.

  24. Wait, what unwritten Maid of Honor rules are there? I'm going to be one in September, and I've never done it before. Help me, E-Jo! Can we learn how to be fabulous Maids together?That dress is awesome! If I may say so, it really accentuates your chestal arena. I love the necklace and the white (or silver? can't tell) shoes with all the black.And since you asked, being back at work after 10 days off is brutal. I only have 1 hour left (plus my 90 minute commute) though.

  25. I love the dress and think it would work well for teaching.The only wedding rules I know put you in a catch 22. 1) The maid-of-honor throws the shower, with help from the other bridesmaids. 2) Since the etymology of the word shower is "the shower with gifts," you may not hold a shower for a member of your immediate family, because it is tacky to set up and occasion on which people have to buy presents for your relative. Have fun with that.But seriously, get yourself some Miss Manners books about weddings. She is super funny and sensible, as well as knowing all the rules. The funny should carry you through.

  26. Oh dear, I was maid of honour once. I don't think that I followed any of the rules… The dress looks great and is super flattering. I think it will be really versatile and can be dressed up or down.

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