Tag Archives: royal weddings

The First Big Trip — Part Two

Can it even be called “Part Two” when “Part One” was two months ago?  I don’t want to think about it.

Let’s instead focus on the wedding of the year.  This wedding was spectacular for a myriad of reasons: it was the marriage of one of my best, closest friends I’ve known since I was 13, it took place at an extraordinary farm on the same road as the farm my parents lived on during their first year of marriage (I mean, seriously!), and it was on July 26 — the twins’ first birthday!  All of this just further reinforces our life-long friendship connection.

Plus it was gorgeous.  But when this lady is the star of the show, isn’t that obvious?

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The ceremony was a Catholic mass, which was beautiful and solemn and celebratory all at once.  The bride’s brother sang, her sister served as maid of honor, and her parents radiated joy the entire day (that’s her happy mom Anne to the left in the photo).

Plus this was the jaw-dropping cathedral.

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Amy married Brian, who you may remember from Italy, and he is one of the funniest and most generous people I know.  Now, he’s also one of the luckiest.

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Side note: that dress.  I cannot even.  It is exquisite.

During the ceremony my family took care of the babies, one of whom fell fast asleep.  Hint: it wasn’t the one in the tiny tan suit, it was the one in the tiny Parisian dress.

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Their bridal party was top-notch — entirely supportive, hugely fun, and, if I may say, uncommonly attractive — check us out just working it during the photo sesh:

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They couldn’t have been more welcoming to this lone bridesmaid from the west, to the point that I’m keeping in touch with a few of them…this bride has great taste in friends.

Plus we really excelled at kicking back.

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The reception site was a completely updated and renovated farm.  It had a gorgeous hundreds-year-old farmhouse where the ladies got ready, a refurbished barn for the dinner and dancing, and picture-perfect grounds with lush weeping willows and a peaceful pond.

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I mean, look at that magazine-worthy barn.

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Amy is probably the most thoughtful bride I’ve ever encountered.  She told her photographer in advance to take family photos of us because it was the twins’ birthday.  We couldn’t believe it and we’re so thrilled with these priceless memories we’ll always treasure.

A little back story: last year, the babies were scheduled for induction on July 25, and I was so wrapped up in that it didn’t even occur to me that the following day was the one-year-prior-to-the-wedding day.  Once the babies were born on that day instead, I think it took a full day afterward, in my drug-addled state, to turn to my mom and say, “Wait, what day is Amy’s wedding?  Is it today next year?  Were the babies born on her wedding day?”  And as I said it I knew.  And I felt a mix of new-mom joy and anxiety, with an exclamation-ridden thought train that looked like this:

“Oh my gosh Amy and Brian and the twins are going to share this day forever!!”

“Amy will be with the twins on their birthday!”

“I’m a bridesmaid so I will be busy the whole day…away from my babies on their first birthday…I had these children hours ago and I’m already feeling like the worst mom ever for missing their birthday!”

“It doesn’t matter, this is her WEDDING day!  FAR more important than a million birthdays!”

“We can just have their birthday party the week before!  This isn’t a big deal at all!”

“I can’t be away from them on their first birthday!  I am just going to pretend this isn’t happening until it is.”

“I hope this doesn’t occur to Amy so she doesn’t worry about it!  It’s NOT her problem, she’s the BRIDE!”

You can see I didn’t over-think it at all.

Well, I shouldn’t have given it any thought.  Amy humbled me to my knees with a mini-birthday party right in the middle of the reception.

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Her parents announced that it was Henry and Arden’s birthday and out came custom cupcakes and the entire room of guests sang happy birthday.  I was so moved, so totally overwhelmed, I did a lot of the thrilled-while-half-crying face.  A lot.

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Who’s the luckiest boy in the room?  Usually the groom.  In this moment, Henry.

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In a moment I’ll always remember, Mike lifted Arden high in his arms and she did what she always does when he does that — she kicked her legs in unison and we yelled “swim swim swim!” while she went crazy with happiness.  To our surprise, everyone started yelling “swim swim swim!” and she just kicked her little heart out.

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My heart was so full.  Standing next to the new Mrs. Fuga, surrounded by her wonderful family and mine, amazed that we’ve been friends since she was 12 and I was 13 — and here she was yielding the spotlight on her biggest day to celebrate my precious babies.  It was just overwhelming and so undeserved.

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After dinner…the dancing, which was phenomenal.  It may be worth your time to inquire about this DJ.  He killed it.

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(Bridal party entrances are key.)

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Weddings with family are everything.

What a spectacular wedding filled with an enormous amount of love.

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And I have this girl to thank.  Seventeen years and counting, my friend!  Cheers to you on marrying the love of your life.  Thank you for allowing us to share in your joy.

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Yawn (Amid Scandal)

Prince Albert II married Charlene Wittstock last weekend, and it really didn’t rise above expectations.

At least I prepared you — when you saw her signing her marriage license in the legal ceremony, her pantsuit didn’t alarm, did it? 

Thanks to some decent WBO fashion sleuthing, you were totally prepared for a wide-legged, powder-blue pantsuit.  Though it hasn’t been condemned adequately in the fashion blogs, the fact that you can’t find a full-length picture of it anywhere speaks volumes.  It’s like the Monaco police are trolling the internet, deleting the offense.

Despite the Eagles concert, fireworks show, celebrity chefs and oceans of champagne, the occasion failed to herald the kind of attention Wills and Kate received.  In fact, the event fell so low on the British royalty priority list that they only sent Prince Edward as a rep. 

(You know, Prince Edward, the youngest of Queen Elizabeth’s children, the groom in another forgettable royal wedding, the Earl of Wessex…OK I know you stopped reading half a sentence ago.)

Let’s take a look at the Armani dress in the religious ceremony the following day:

According to a press release, Armani explains his design:  “The idea was to go for a completely modern look, without an obvious sense of nostalgia or revivalism.”  I’m not sure what that means, except that apparently it took a lot of work.  According to multiple sources the dress took 2,500 hours to create and featured 40,000 Swarovski crystals and 20,000 mother of pearl teardrops.  The veil alone took 100 hours to embroider.

And yet…it doesn’t wow me.  It is certainly beautiful, but it didn’t send me to the moon the way Kate’s did.  I’m pretty sure it’s the chest and stomach area — something about that just doesn’t win me over.

As for Albert, he looks like he’s on a float in an age-inappropriate Disney World parade, dressed as an unattractive version of Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid. 

But it’s not like anyone was looking at him anyway.

I will say the ceremony setting was beautiful, and the castle was a picturesque backdrop.

Something is amiss, however, when the bride is  the only one at the wedding who sheds a tear.

Though I don’t think we have to struggle to suppose what brought the waterworks.  It was widely reported that just days before the ceremony, yet another woman hit Prince Albert with a paternity claim.  According to The Telegraph, “Monaco officials privately admitted there is “truth” in a rumour that Albert faces a paternity test.”

Nothing like a paternity test to get you excited for the big day!

Did I mention the woman accusing him hasn’t had the child yet?  She’s still pregnant…I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure that didn’t happen prior to Charlene and Albert’s four-year relationship.

See?  Even princesses have to deal with baby mama drama.

In the end, Charlene may be getting the last laugh.  After all, her new name is Her Serene Highness, Princess Charlene.  Even Duchess Kate isn’t an actual princess by title (though when you’re guaranteed to be queen one day, who’s counting?).

I, for one, am rooting for her, and will raise a glass in the hope that all of Prince Albert’s future children are Princess Charlene’s.

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The Other Royal Wedding

Pop quiz:

1.  Did you know that a royal wedding is happening this Saturday, July 2?

2.  If you did know, can you name the bride?

I didn’t think so.  And that’s my point exactly.

We’ve gone from the biggest royal wedding in history to a royal wedding two months later for which no one is even bothering to purchase new hats.  Let’s explore why.

First of all, the wedding in question is that of Prince Albert II of Monaco and former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock.   Hmmm, a prince marrying a commoner…this sounds familiar and compelling…so why isn’t it?

Let’s look at the less-than-appetizing facts:

  • He’s 53.  She’s 33.
  • He has already fathered two children out-of-wedlock with two different women; his daughter is 19 and his son is 6.
  • Charlene has spent the last four years living in an apartment in Monaco, paid for by the prince.  She hasn’t had a job in that time, and seeing as she’s only just learning French, it doesn’t seem like she could have obtained one.

But before I get too critical, let’s not forget that she is going to be a princess.  Of MONACO, easily one of the most fabulous areas of the Mediterranean.  She’s going to live in a castle, with staff, with nothing more to do than produce an heir and appear at state events.  Sounds like a good deal to me.

Oh, and she gets a ring that takes up half her finger:

On second thought, I don’t think I would take all of that if it meant marrying him.  No offense, Al.

One advantage Charlene has over Kate is two sisters-in-law to turn to for guidance.  Kate married a man with one brother, while Charlene is marrying a man with two sisters, Princess Stephanie (shown below) and Princess Caroline.

One can imagine it would be quite helpful to have a few experienced princesses around to show one the ropes.

Though apparently they haven’t been jumping to serve as fashion advisors, seeing as they are both ill-qualified.  I can’t decide who looks worse — Charlene or Princess Stephanie.  No, Stephanie definitely looks worse.

Apparently Charlene agrees.  In a recent Vogue article, she spoke of this particular fashion misstep (at the 2007 Monaco Red Cross Ball),  “Finding my fashion feet has certainly been the biggest challenge,” she says.  “I was literally a fish out of water. I thought it was all fun, fun, fun, and didn’t give my outfit any thought. I had been playing beach volleyball all day, painted my nails red, and threw on a dress. I thought I looked great at the time, but looking back, I realize that my debut into Monaco society should have been better executed!”

When she’s that honest with herself, how can you not feel for her? 

I am the first to admit that any lady entering the world stage would probably fail in comparison to Kate the Great, but I can’t help but shudder at some of her choices.

Try not to jump back in your chair when you see this pantsuit:


But that’s all behind her now.  Soon she’ll be walking down the aisle in Armani.  Soon she’ll have designers at her disposal.   Soon she’ll be looking back at all of this and laughing over a glass of Veuve Clicquot.

Which leaves me with the final task of watching and evaluating the big day.  No matter how Charlene looks, one thing is sure: we know there will be hats.  Guests may be pulling them from the back of their closets, but there will be lots of hats. 

Stay tuned.

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A Royal Wonder

It was, to borrow the popular British expression, absolutely brilliant.

I shot awake at 6AM PST, an hour ahead of my alarm, and I literally only had one thought in my head, the way you only have one thought in your head on Christmas morning, “It’s done!  They are married!” 

I know this should be embarrassing to admit, but I got over that admission about a decade ago.

I turned on my DVR and fast-forwarded through Bah-bra and Diane’s two-hour pre-wedding coverage to get to the point of the day — her dress. 

Needless to say, it did not disappoint.

I always wagered that she would use lace, if only because it matches so perfectly with her style and grace.  And, it must be said, she had grace in spades on her wedding day.

If I were an alien visiting Earth on April 29, 2011 and happened to land my spaceship in London, I would never imagine that this lady in white was joining the royal family; I would assume she was leading it.

And as she joined her prince at the front of the abbey, I was only thinking one thing: it’s a shame he couldn’t keep his hat on for the duration of the ceremony.

One of my favorite things about the service was that those leading it managed to use the word “betwixt” not once, but several times.  How utterly English is that?  For the remainder of this post I shall now use that word in place of “between.” 

Though we all know I could write the entirety of this post about HRH The Duchess of Cambridge alone (just writing her new title makes me happy), I’m afraid that if I start down that road it will prove as endless as some of the hymns sung during the service.  So let’s move on to the attire of the attendees, shall we?

First stop: cannot be avoided, must be mentioned and condemned immediately:  Princess Beatrice.

I don’t care that she’s wearing Valentino.  I don’t care that her hat is Philip Treacy.  It is absolutely abhorrent and she should have been escorted out upon arrival.

On the other end of the fascinator spectrum lies that other British princess, Victoria Beckham.  Now THAT is a perfect topper.

On a sadder princess note, my former favorite mistakenly thought this was an Easter service and got a little carried away with the color peach:

Without question, a real winner of the day was the bride’s sister and bridesmaid, Pippa.  Wasn’t it obvious she was doing all of the work?  And she was doing it in a difficult-to-walk-in, awkward-to-bend-over-in dress.

She had to escort the little royals down the aisle, which could have gone wrong a hundred different ways in front of two billion people.  She had to carry her sister’s train for what seemed like weeks, and looked like she was happy to do so.

Also, did anyone else notice a little flirtation betwixt Harry and Pippa as they walked down the aisle? 

And who could blame him, when he’s used to dating this:

Let’s just say the difference in level of sophistication betwixt the Davys and the Middletons is akin to the difference in hair coverage betwixt William and Harry.

But I digress.

When they arrived at Buckingham Palace and the crowds were given permission to surge toward the front gate, the sight of a sea of humanity filling the entire mall was overwhelming.  It’s no surprise that Catherine was seen saying “Oh wow!” when she stepped onto the balcony.

In true break-the-mold style, the couple kissed two times.  It almost seemed like they were saying “We actually like kissing, because we actually like each other!  This is not just for show!”  Anyway, I bought it.

After all of the fashion analysis fades and the wedding stops making headlines, I think those who watched it will remember it one way: as a happy event.  It was undeniably exciting, and despite the grandeur it managed to feel strangely intimate.  Somehow Will and Kate brought us all along for the ride, and as silly as it sounds, this fan-since-she-was-13 is grateful.

Here’s hoping the love betwixt The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is as strong and long-lasting as the stone pillars of Westminster Abbey.

To read about the wedding from someone who was actually there, check out my friend Maggie’s post.

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It’s Official: I’m Not Marrying Prince William

He’s engaged. 

Prince William asked his girlfriend of eight years, Kate Middleton, to marry him. 

To put my current previous obsession with Wills in perspective, consider this: my friend Amy sent me a text at 4:11AM telling me the news. 

Because news like this cannot wait. 

Because she knows I’ve been waiting for it. 

And because she knows I need to hear it from no one but her.

This is a woman who once collected every article written about Princess Diana for an entire year.  They were all kept under her bed, stacks and stacks of magazines and newspaper clippings of every detail of her life and tragic death.  I would go over to her house across the street and we’d pull them all out and stare at hundreds of photos.  We knew her life story, her family dynamics, her best dresses, her worst hairstyles. 

So, you could say it was picture perfect that a Prince William obsessor should get a 4AM text from a Princess Di obsessor.

We were 13 at the time, however, so it might seem silly that we care at age 26.  It might.

But I am not concerned with silliness, because I absolutely love royal weddings, and this one should prove to be more fantastic than the rest.  I cannot wait to see what style of dress she will choose, how decorated his suit will be, how many people will line the streets of London hoping to catch a glimpse.

Kate is already moving up my ladder of style icons.  People may joke about her over-the-top headpieces and formal hats, but I think they’re divine.  If it were even in the vicinity of socially acceptable in the States, I’d be sporting one every chance I got.

Given my propensity for formality and etiquette, I am eager to see the royal wedding process unfold.  I already admire their delayed announcement and press call, so the couple could have some private time to celebrate.  And in an age of reality TV and totally lack of privacy, I respect their decision not to share the details of how he proposed. 

These are the times when I mourn my lack of celebrity.  If I were at least a successful actress or daughter of a President, I might have a chance at an invitation.  As a Seattleite with no claim to fame, I probably won’t need to watch the mail too closely.

Which really is a shame, because I would have rocked a killer headpiece for that event.

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Filed under Good WORD (Etiquette)

Fit for a King

From the age of 13 to 15 I wished beyond anything else that I could marry Prince William.  Yes, he was very cute in those days, but his being cute wasn’t nearly as attractive as his being royal.  I used to imagine the People magazine cover of our engagement and our soon-to-be wedding.  Laugh all you want, but Kate Middleton did nothing but prove that my fantasy wasn’t far from reality (just…not for me).

I had an entire wall of posters of him, postcards of his face from friends who visited the UK, and teen magazine tear-outs analyzing his moppy hair.  I even wrote a three-page letter to his fan club, which ranks among the most embarrassing acts of my entire life.

Needless to say, I developed an obsession with all things British-royalty.  The palaces, the houses in the country, the clothing, the peacock hats pinned to the sides of heads, the wealth, the formality, the etiquette, the travel.  But nothing held the same fantastical appeal as the creme de le creme: royal weddings.

Remember Diana’s?  I don’t.  I wasn’t alive.  But the pictures — my word, the pictures — showcase the over-the-top grandeur of it all.  It wasn’t their fault; as my friend Siri appropriately noted, “Diana’s wedding fell victim to the ’80s.” 

Look no further than her sleeves to understand why:

It’s madness.  She looks like she was swallowed whole by a pillow.

The entire wedding party is lost in a sea of fluff.  The wrings of flowers on the girls’ hair only causes further chaos.

All of this is freshly brought to mind because of the style triumph that was Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria’s wedding last Saturday.  It was elegant, refined, opulent and undeniably royal (despite her marrying a commoner — gasp!).

My opinion of Swedes has skyrocketed due to the gorgeous representation of the people by their royals.

Look at the joyful bride and groom:

Not only are they both gorgeous, but their clothes are picture perfect.  She wore an off-the-shoulder, age-appropriate (she’s 32) cream-colored silk gown designed by Pär Engsheden.  He donned an undecorated white-tie tuxedo with tails.

What most impresses me, I believe, is that on the one day when she could have worn head-to-toe five-carat diamonds, sapphires and family jewels, she instead chose to wear the cameo tiara her mother wore on her wedding day in 1976.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s still stunning.  But it’s less obvious and ostentatious than the typical crown associated with royalty.  After all, what does she have to prove?  We know she’s going to be Queen; no need to flaunt it, I suppose.

What’s amazing about her groom, Daniel Westling, is that he was her personal trainer.  Not royal.  Not a billionaire.  Do you see why I employed fantasies of a girl from Seattle marrying the future King of England?

Question: can you imagine being the mother of a commoner marrying into royalty?  I honestly can’t conceive of a more daunting wardrobe situation.  The entire royal world will be attending your son’s wedding to an actual princess, 500 million people will be watching on TV, and you have to walk in there as the only woman without a crown.  Ouch.

I’m sad to report that Westling’s mother failed to rise to the occasion.  She’s wearing a dress any mother-of-the-groom could find at Moms, Maids and More.

After the ceremony, the bride lifted her 16-foot train and looped it around her arm so she could hit the dance floor.  It occurs to me that this seems like a hassle, and certainly a lot of fabric to keep track of, but then again royals don’t bustle their dresses.  They have giant trains for a reason — they’re royalty.

The handsome duo didn’t disappoint for their version of a rehearsal dinner, either.  A gala dinner and concert were given for the couple the evening prior to the wedding, and the results speak for themselves:

Impeccable.  I can’t help but note that the groom has to be the most modern-looking man to become a prince in recent memory.  Those glasses and that hair make him look as if he’s partner of a Manhattan design studio.

Clearly I’m already toe-tapping in anticipation of the next royal wedding, between my former flame and his commoner girlfriend.  It’s only a matter of time before he pops the question, and only a matter of taste whether their wedding will receive the Words Become One nod of approval.

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