13, 2002: Why
wear white? And who needs a wedding cake, anyway?
new sassy bride book encourages brides-to-be to think creatively
If you're planning your big day and want to shy away from Princess
Diana-like wedding dresses and all the pomp that goes with a very
traditional ceremony and reception, you might want to check out
Stephanie Rosenbaum '90's new book, Anti-Bride Guide: Tying the
Knot Outside of the Box. For the bride-to-be who wants to get married
her own way, Anti-Bride Guide (Chronicle Books) is chock full of
ideas for creative approaches to everything from the ceremony to
veils and head adornments, as well as practical advice on what to
ask prospective caterers, dress designers, bakers, and the like.
"It's a fun, sassy guide to having the wedding you want without
losing your mind (or your friends)," says Rosenbaum, the restaurants
editor at Citysearch.com, who hasn't walked down the aisle yet.
She wrote the book with her friend Carolyn Gerin, who owns her own
design firm in San Francisco and has had three fun, alternative
wedding celebrations, one in San Francisco, one in Washington, D.C.,
and one in Paris all with the same man. Their guide book
is intended not only for brides but also for lesbians and gay men
who want to affirm their commitment to each other.
"Most of [the bride books] are very traditional and really
expect that you're going to spend a lot of time and money and effort
in planning this big, huge pageant," says Rosenbaum. But that
philosophy of weddings doesn't fit Gerin and Rosenbaum and their
artsy friends. So the two set out talking to professionals in the
wedding industry and interviewing anyone they knew who had been
a bride or in a wedding.
the authors, a wedding is not about having the perfect invitation
and table setting, says Rosenbaum. "When I talked to people,
no one mentioned any of that." Instead, they focused on the
emotional aspect of the event.
"There's a real need for people to reconnect with what the
wedding is about," says Rosenbaum, who majored in English,
earned a certificate in theater and dance, and has held a series
of jobs in the San Francisco area, including freelance make up artist,
cigarette girl, go-go dancer (no stripping), and restaurant critic.
People "really want to get back to the basics. They want something
that's more personal. And people are also reacting against the huge
wedding industry, in the sense that 'You have to do it this
way. You have to do everything that these books and magazines tell
you to do. And people are saying, 'Why? Why do I have to do
that? That's not me. I hate white. I never wear ruffles. ... I think
people should be able to do whatever they want."
How about a reception with an "Arabian Nights" theme,
complete with spicy incense, North African and Middle Eastern music,
piles of silky cushions instead of chairs, and stuffed grape leaves
and hummus served on round brass-colored trays. To spark memories
and conversations at the reception, the authors suggest scattering
framed pictures from other family weddings around the tables. As
for a wedding dress, one bride the authors know insisted on a "deep-crimson
dress with a sleeveless corset that pulled her in and pushed her
Rosenbaum has attended a lot of weddings and says she's "kind
of a sucker for society pages. I constantly read the vows section
of the New York Times," which inspired ideas for her book as
did the "amazing parties" thrown at Terrace Club, where
she was a member. "I have a knowledge of obscure party facts,"
she adds. Did you know that "long ago, Romans dressed wedding
attendants in the same attire as the bride to confuse any evil spirits
who might try to curse or kidnap her"?
Be a princess, the authors say, but also keep in mind that it's
all about you and your honey starting your life together. And you
shouldn't go broke on one day.