The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

Wedding Salutations April 28, 2010

This past weekend I was part of a wedding party. It’s always an honor, and this was especially exciting, as I introduced the bride and groom. (I made sure to brag about it, too!)

photo by Anne Harrigan

After having been in so many weddings (this was my sixth) and having been a guest at many more, I have yet to find a go-to wedding gift. I’d written earlier about finding the perfect go-to shower gift, but weddings are a whole different animal. Usually, I resort to something off of the registry.

But then there’s a new problem: what do you write on the card?

It doesn’t help when you leave to the last minute (even during the reception!) and you brain is so mushed you can’t think of much to say beyond something generic like, “Congratulations! God bless!” But when you’re at the wedding of a writer, that hardly seems to suffice.

So, I’ve tried to come up with some creative wedding salutations since then. Here’s what I have so far:

  • For those Dr. Who fans: “May your love be like a tardis, normal to the typical passersby, but unbounded by time and space by those who enter in.”
  • For those Creative Memories scrapbookers out there: “May all your memories together be creative.”
  • For all the Photoshop lovers out there: “May your love for one another be like Photoshop: able to turn a grey sky blue, a frown to a smile and change your focus to what matters most.”
  • For those supermodels who marry each other: “May you love looking at one another as much as you love looking at yourself.” (Okay, I don’t have any friends who are that vain, but I was trying to think of something out of the box.)

How about you? What creative wedding salutations can you come up with?


Go-To Gifts for Bridal Showers March 16, 2010

It seems like everyone dreads a bridal shower. Whether it’s the games or the socialite interaction between people who have only the bride in common, it’s an accepted obligation that people do not seem to look forward to when they are preparing for a friend’s wedding.

And then there’s the gift. What do you get for a wedding shower gift? According to most bridal shower etiquette web sites, I have found that the gift should cost anywhere between $25 and $75, depending on the type of shower, and it should be something useful for the house. That makes sense to me.

But it also says that the bride’s registry should not be advertised in the invitations and should be spread via “word of mouth” or on a wedding web site. This is  something I think a lot of couples are starting to ignore, as most of the invitations to wedding showers I’ve received (or sent) in the past couple years have included registry tags.

If you haven’t noticed already, I am “going through that phase in life” where all my friends are marrying and being merry. After not knowing what to get after the first one or two, I decided I needed to find a unique go-to gift that I can give so that I don’t have to end up buying a bunch of dish towels every time someone got married. (It’s just not fun enough to give just that in my opinion.)

It didn’t take me long to find something fun that people will remember and that people will find practical: Plungers!

How often does a person get a gift of a plunger? And women who are getting married usually don’t think of the fact that guys tend to need a plunger a little more often than girls do.

From that decision came the question, “How do I wrap this?” That’s when I was able to get a little bit creative.

The first time, I found a bucket to put it in and wrapped it using some black towels rather than some paper. (Make it as useful as possible, right?) That worked for a couple of times, but it’s difficult trying to wrap a bucket in a towel. Normally, it’s a towel in a bucket, so I decided to decorate the plunger like a flower.

I used the bucket as a pot and bought two brown towels for the dirt. I wrapped the base of the plunger in the towels and taped on construction paper petals and leaves. It was cute, I’ll admit. The bride even gave me the “award” for the most creatively wrapped gift. But I kept thinking back to my logic before, “Why not make all of it useful?” That’s why I’d wrapped it in towels instead.

So, last time I had a bridal shower to attend, I scoured the shelves for something that would look like flower petals and for something I could use as the leaves. I found a green dish cloth for the leaves and some sponges for the petals. I ended up tying both of them on with ribbon. It turned out cute, and the bride loved it. Of course.

Each plunger is specially chosen for the couple’s situation and personalities. Not everyone can use a full-size plunger, so I even bought a sink plunger for my friends who would be travelling by airplane back and forth between London and the States.

If you’re attending a shower sometime soon, you’re welcome to use my idea, just make sure I’m not already going to the shower, too. Otherwise, neither of us will get the award for most creative gift.

And one last thing: when I get married, I just ask that everyone else does not get me a plunger. Trust me, I own too many already.

So, what’s your go-to gifts for a bridal shower? Or even for a wedding?


The Follow-Through June 25, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 8:43 am
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One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone says that they’re going to do something, and then there is no follow-through. I take people at their word, and I expect them to take me at mine.

The worst part of this, I think, is when I find myself doing exactly what I hate most. (Romans 7, anyone?) It’s an awful cycle. I’ll give you an example:

Sunday nights I generally reserve for watching the children at my parents’ small group. There are usually two kids I spend time with, occasionally three. We have a lot of fun playing in the backyard on the swings or in the basement with blocks.

But early last month, I had a Sunday afternoon bridal shower to attend. I had figured in the length of time that the shower would take, but I had forgotten that there would be about an hour drive in each direction, not to mention time I’d spend after the shower talking with friends from high school. By the time that we were on our way back home, I was already late, so I canceled on them.

The kids were devastated, and the small group didn’t accomplish near what they normally do due to my absence.

My guilt drove me nuts that next week. At first, I felt awful that I’d told the parents (and the kids) that I would be there later that evening and wasn’t. Then, after realizing that I complain most when people do this to me, a new wave of guilt washed over me as I began to see myself as this horrible hypocrite.

I’ve found that I guilt others in the same horrible way. If someone promises me something, I expect it. I take people at their word. If it doesn’t happen, if there’s no follow-through, I become angry and unforgiving. I don’t leave room to consider for miscalculations like the one I had or for confusion or a just plain change of the mind. You would think I would be more understanding, but that’s not usually the case.

This recently happened with a friend of mine. I’m trying to decide if I should just let it go or if I should stop trusting this person. I watch as just about everything this person says to me falls through, and then this friend wants to shrug it off as if nothing happened.

So, the question is, is it time to no longer believe anything this person says anymore? Or do I forgive and pretend as if nothing happened?


Parties May 18, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 2:15 pm
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This weekend I had the privilege of being involved with two separate parties, one I planned and the other I only attended. The first was my parents’ 50th birthday party, and the second was a bridal shower for one of my close friends from high school.

There were aspects of both that I truly enjoyed. It was great seeing the joy on my parents’ faces as they saw friends and family come celebrate with them, for instance. But it was also great to be able to win the door prize at the other party, a bag of kitchen towels, dish cloths and scrubbies. Both parties I was able to just sit back and enjoy the interactions between the other guests.

On the other hand, there are downsides to both roles in a party. For example, it was draining to have to do the planning, decorating and cooking for my parents’ party. I enjoyed it, but it was draining (on both my energy and wallet).  At the other party, I found myself like I typically do at parties: not knowing what to do with myself because I didn’t have a specific “job” other than just being there and enjoying the company.

Looking back at both parties, I’m not entirely sure which role I would rather take. I love to entertain, and I like being in charge, but it’s stressful to have that much weighing on your shoulders. At the same time, however, it’s nice to enjoy the work that others have put into a celebration as well. I guess that it is important to have a balance between the two now and again.

Which role would you rather take: the person planning the party or the person attending the party?