It’s the little things that count

As the size of my to-do list seems to grow exponentially longer every day, so too does my talent for wasting time on the “little details” I never knew I would care about.

Take, for instance, the table number holders. You see this type of thing at restaurants where you order from a counter and food gets delivered to your table. They are usually constructed from wire and have a double loop to hold the number in place but are otherwise unremarkable. This is fine, even at a wedding, because they exist only for function. Furthermore, at weddings there are presumably flowers on each reception table and therefore little need for additional ornamentation. I got it into my head that I could find these table number holders online for about a dollar each. If they didn’t look pretty or “personalized” enough, I could tie ribbons around them. (When in doubt, just add ribbon!) Unfortunately, store-bought table number holders are a lot more expensive than they should be. We’re expecting to have about 200 guests — so that means about twenty tables — but I would strongly prefer not to spend close to a hundred dollars on yet another silly little detail that hadn’t even occurred to me until this morning.

So, I’ve spent the last few hours daydreaming up some potential handmade table number holders (my regular job has really taken a backseat to such noble pastimes). And of course all my ideas are insane. And of course I really want to put them to use, but won’t. Blast you, social convention! And of course, all you devil-may-care brides- and grooms-to-be are welcome to use these ideas…if you really want.

1. Potato table number holder. Everyone who knows me well knows of my fondness for the humble spud, so this idea would have added a “personal touch” at my wedding. Would have. Sigh. Anyway, according to my vision, each table gets a nice big baking potato with two grill skewers sticking out the top of it. The skewers are close together enough that you can just slide a piece of cardboard with the table number between them and it should stay in place. Alternatively, you could use just one skewer and stab the number through it. I really was serious about this potato idea for a good ten minutes or so.

2. Lego table number holder. They would have to be the big fat kind of Legos that toddlers play with, to both save time on construction and minimize opportunities for choking. Put your ringbearer/flower girl to work: just have them make a Lego tower about a foot high for each table and tape on the table number at the top. Then they and any other little kids at your wedding can play with Legos while they are suffering through the speeches and dances. It will keep them preoccupied for at least three minutes.

3. Gingerbread House table number holder. This one is quite a bit more time-consuming than the last two. Make a gingerbread house. Okay, now make 19 more gingerbread houses. Each one needs to have a chimney. Affix the table number to the chimney with frosting. I don’t mean to brag, but this idea would be really cute for a wintertime wedding. Too bad mine is in July and I hate baking. For a summery, gluten-free alternative, maybe I could try building 20 popsicle stick houses instead.

4. Pipe Cleaner table number holder. Now we’re talking – this idea is both cheap and easy, my favorite adjectival combination. Take four or five pipe cleaners, twist the top halves together and make a fluted base with the bottom halves. “Fluted base,” doesn’t that sound classy? Now, if you would like your table number holder to be taller, just keep adding more pipe cleaners and twisting them around until you have reached the height of your floral arrangements. Then stick the numbers in somewhere. Easy, huh? And pipe cleaners come in every color, so you’ll have no problem finding some that match the groomsmen’s cummerbunds or whatever. I only wish it were so easy to make Gimp stand up straight.

5. Wedding Present table number holder. There are two ways you can approach this one. You can assume some guests will bring gifts to your wedding, so just appoint a helper to set them up on your reception tables and sit a foldable number card on top of each gift box. No sweat! But I like this second approach better, because it shows your friends and family that you really are putting your gifts to good use. Open up the gifts you receive in the mail before the wedding and place them on tables as centerpieces, displaying the table numbers on top. I’ll bet you never thought that coffeemaker or that butcher block had more than one function! Suitcases, vacuum cleaners – anything tall and noticeable is fair game. Your aunt will be delighted to see the 36-quart stockpot she bought you, taking up the entirety of Table 15. Just make sure she gets to sit there too!

6. Birthday Candle table number holder. I don’t mean the little birthday candles that come in a 24-pack; I mean the big number candles that the older crowd gets to blow out sometimes. You will need to find tall candlesticks to hold them in place (I recommend searching thrift stores; for some reason department store candlesticks cost the average American a full week’s pay), unless you have a better idea. Then put the corresponding birthday candle number(s) on top and light them. For this method, timing is everything – you don’t want them to melt while everyone’s still at the cocktail hour! Other than that, this idea almost makes me want to pat myself on the back. I hope BHLDN doesn’t steal it.

7. Litterbox table number holder. You knew I was going to go there, so I did. But don’t be silly – I’m not saying you should bring 20 giant litter pans to the reception and put them on the tables where people are going to eat. That would be absurd. Just use cute little metal buckets and fill them up with cat litter (or sand, if you are a dog person), then pick up some sticks in your yard, use twine to tie the number cards to the sticks, and place the sticks in the cat litter. It’s a rustic touch that can do double-duty as an ashtray.

8. Handcrafted Wire table number holder. Of course, one can also channel his or her inner Alexander Calder. Just buy some wire at the hardware store and sculpt it into shapes that are capable of both standing up and displaying a cardboard number. You could get really inspired and attempt to mold the wire into figures that resemble the newlyweds themselves or their different interests and activities. I can see it now, at our tables: an old Buick, a cat, a badminton raquet, a frying pan, a pinball machine, and of course a potato. In the meantime we’ll have to start pursuing 15 new interests and also master the art of wire sculpture. No problem.

Readers, I’d love to hear your ideas! Postmaritals, what did you use for your table number holders, if you had them? Where did you buy them/how did you construct them? And, uh, can I borrow them from you? I know sometimes it’s hard to tell, but I’m being serious this time.

Above image stolen from It’s a very strange site and I’m quite confused by it. 


Toile and trouble

Remember when I wrote about how I judge other people’s registries? Well, now I know how the other side feels. A couple weeks ago, my mom sent me this email about my unlikely choice of dinner plates:

Hi Diana,

I looked at your Macy’s registry today and I was surprised to see the china you picked.  When you told me you picked the Villeroy and Boch with different patterns I thought you meant the French Garden pattern which has a whole bunch of different french garden patterns in plates and serving pieces that you can mix together, giving you a lot of variety.  I wanted to make sure that they posted the one you picked.  It just doesn’t look like you, with the hunt country scenes.  If it is the one you picked, that’s fine.  I hope you don’t take offense.  My mom thought my wedding china was “boring and mamby pamby” but that didn’t stop me from choosing it.  If it isn’t the one you ordered you should let Macy’s know.  It doesn’t look like anyone has ordered it yet.
Moth [yes, I often call my mom “Moth” — short for Mother — and she refers to herself as such.]

I actually didn’t pick out the “hunt country scene” pattern from Macy’s — although that’s what appeared on my registry site — but it still managed to cause quite a stir among my shower and wedding guests. My aunt told my mom she thought I would come to regret these plates, with the polite qualification “I know Diana likes quirky things, but she might get really tired of those,” while another friend came right out and said my plates are ugly.

Thanks, Macy’s, for starting rumors of my questionable taste. It was embarrassing enough that I just took the plates off the registry and am too overwhelmed with other details to replace them with something different. (It’s sooo hard being me!!) Oh well, I’m just as happy eating off the mismatched thrift store plates I’ve had since college and am looking forward to adding Special Someone’s plates to the dinnerware collage. On the other hand, the mamby-pamby “hunt country scene” plates I accidentally registered for would have nicely complemented the background on this blog.

BHLDN: Crzy Sht 4 Ur Hd!

Oh BHLDN, you are such a g-ddamn goldmine (gdmn gldmn) that I don’t even know where to begin with this follow-up post. The plan was to focus on the Hair Adornments collection, but when I went to your web site I saw you had added a whole new lingerie department! Like most brides, I aspire to look just like my great great grandmother probably did on her wedding night; also like most brides, I don’t want my “something old” to be a musty pair of bloomers dating back to the McKinley administration. But with a little help from BHLDN, I can look like the 1890s without smelling like the 1890s — see, for instance, the Vanity Table Peignor ($250), Tranquil Morning Knickers ($90), or the Perennial Garter Belt ($70). Okay, I have to admit some of the other items on this site are pretty cute, but who spends $64 on a thong? And don’t let the giant satin butt-bows fool you into thinking that’s a fair price.

Anyway, I did come here to talk about Hair Adornments and that is what I will do – mainly for selfish reasons, since I am still figuring out what to put on my head on my wedding day. My rules so far: no long veils, no birdcage veils (only because I heard they are sooo 2000-late and I want to be a “cool bride”), no headbands, and no bows. Of course, a few months ago I also said I did not want a big wedding with a sit-down dinner at a country club, and look what happened! So I might be willing to bend the rules if the right birdcage comes along. BHLDN, show me what you got!

Oh dear. James Coviello, designer of this veil, took the birdcage motif a bit too literally. Did he really mean for the “knotted velvet starbursts” to resemble trapped doves? I can’t handle the symbolism. Feminist rant commencing in 5…4…3… alright, let’s just move on to this next…babushka?

If I were a rich bride, ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum, I’d pay $160 for some cotton, stick it on my head, if I were a wealthy briiiiiide. The catalog description calls this Dotted Voile Veil “50s-inspired” but somehow I’ve been transported to a shtetl in Tsarist Russia.

Now, why is this model looking so pleased with herself? It can’t be that she’s so happy about posing for awkward senior class photos with the rest of these models. It must be the satisfaction that only a neo-nautical headband — “stunning and wide as the sea, with a striped straw bow and a jaunty rope tie” — can provide.

I’m pretty sure this Swarovski-studded headband is just a repurposed Birds of a Feather Cake Topper from the Decor Collection. Never mind that it is still $160 – what’s more striking to me is the model’s Brontë-esque capelet below that icy blue gaze. She may look fragile, but I wouldn’t want to meet her on the moor on a dark night.

Speaking of fragile. When I first noted this hairpiece is called the “Damselfly Headband,” I thought, “UGH. What a stupid play on words, calling it a damselfly instead of a dragonfly just because it’s bridal attire and everything has to be all girly and sweet.” Boy, was I wrong! Turns out a damselfly is, in fact, a real insect. And I determined after looking at a few pictures of damselflies that this thing is as entymologically correct as any crystal-encrusted hairpiece can be. Conclusion: if I want to wear a giant, realistic-looking-while-also-quite-sparkly bug on my head, I can do that for just $245.

Put on this disco headband (mysteriously named the “baguette halo”) and the only other accessories you’ll need are a slack jaw and unkempt hair. Is she on drugs or is that the face of cold feet? I’m inclined to believe it’s just sticker shock: she’s actually wearing two headbands, and each one sells for $140. Such is the strange world of BHLDN, where we pay hundreds to look completely insane on the alleged most important day of our lives. I manage to look insane on a regular basis for far less than that, thank you very much.  I must admit, though, this Dogwood Flower Hairpin caught my eye for a minute.

Then the price caught my eye: $240. For a barrette. Does the store Claire’s still exist? I am way overdue for a trip there.