diary of a mad moh

Mad MOH Week # 9


Ladies who have been married, or who are engaged are very familiar with the eternal challenge of finding the perfect wedding dress.  When I was married, I swear that the poor sales girl was very tired of seeing me before I made my final decision. I made three trips to the bridal shop and tried on over fifty – that’s right! – fifty wedding dresses before I made my final selection.

Surprisingly, my bride had no such problem.  Can you believe it?  My bride – the one who had no concrete plans, and who’s favorite decision-making answer was “Ummm….I dunno” went to one bridal shop, tried on eight dresses, and made a decision on the spot.  She loves, loves, loves her dress.  If she could wear it everyday, I bet she would.

Of course, I should have known enough by now to be cautious when anything was too easy.  The shenanigans were only just beginning….

Wedding dress sizes are strange things.  They can vary according to style, designer, and fabric.  Generally, the rule is to try one size bigger and then alter it down if you are ordering online.  In a bridal salon, don’t feel discouraged or shocked if the size of the wedding dress is larger than what you would normally wear.  Calm your racing heartbeat!  It is okay!  It’s normal for the sizing to run differently, and it is more important to feel comfortable and beautiful during your special day than to feel like if you take a deep breath your zipper will bust.

One of the gorgeous dresses in the Afloral.com line. We couldn't show the bride's because her groom reads Mad MOH weekly!

Remember that unless you purchase a different dress for your reception, this is the one that you will be wearing for quite a few hours.  You will be hugging, posing, sitting, and dancing in this dress.  If it is too tight or uncomfortable, you will not be a happy camper.

Although my favorite bride did not have any trouble choosing her dress, she did have trouble with that sizing tag.  Instead of going for comfort, she decided that she was going to go on a diet.  She chose a dress that left her no room for error at all, and that verged on uncomfortable.  It also had a zip-up back instead of the corset style, so there would be no room for error.

Ohhhh boy, this did not bode well.  My bride is 5’11”, slim, and fastidious about remaining slim.  She goes to great lengths to maintain her gorgeous and graceful figure.  Being 5’6” and more round myself, I envy her ability to turn every outfit into something stunning and fit for the catwalk.  My bride, however, does not see it that way.  She proceeded to strictly limit herself to a low-carb, high protein diet that eliminated anything that even looked tasty to me.  Her first fitting went well.  I saw a hysterical Facebook post after the next one. Her dress hadn’t fit, and she was devastated.  Her resolve to eat less and work out more strengthened, and when I went with her to her next (and final) fitting, her mother and I waited with baited breath, straining to hear any sound coming from the back dressing room. Nothing.  The tension grew thick, and then…

She came waltzing through the doors with a large smile and I let out my pent up breath.  She looked gorgeous, happy, and absolutely radiant, and nothing could be better, in my mind.  It was a great moment, but it was fought for with tooth and nail.  There was so much riding on this dress, and it was all my bride thought about.  Every meal she had was carefully prepared and rationed so that there was no possibility that she would not fit in her dress.  She did this for a whole year!

Here’s some advice from the Mad MOH – don’t do it.  It’s not fun, and it can add stress to a process that can already be stressful.  Go up a size, have it taken in, and you won’t have to be afraid to have actual salad dressing on your salad.


Mad MOH Week 6


There I was, standing in a barn.  It wasn’t a smelly barn, though I could still catch a hint of fresh hay smell on the breeze.  It wasn’t a messy barn, either.  In fact, there was a gorgeous staircase and some neat chandeliers that added to the beauty of the 100 year-old girl. I did a slow turn and the voices of my bride, her mother, and the owner of the grounds faded out as I started to consider the possibilities.

This place had character!  I could do a lot with this barn.  Some lights, some flowers, and some country chic charm and we would be all set.

I was inspired.

The loft area of the barn during a reception. Photos courtesy of The Red House. http://the-red-house.org/index.php?page=barn

Hmmm…now to pepper my poor bride with questions again.

Me: “Round tables or rectangles?”

Bride: “Umm…”  Looks around and sighs. “I dunno, what do you think?”

Me:  “Round will be great, but what kind of tables are provided?”

Owner: “Rectangle.”

Me & Bride: “Rectangle it is.”

Me: “Lighting?”

Bride: “Twinkle lights, no overhead besides chandelier.”

A definitive answer…I was impressed.

Of course, as we toured the lovely Victorian mansion on the grounds and checked out all of the great features, more questions sprang to my mind.  There are a few things that make or break a reception site.  These are the questions that you need to ask before you make that deposit and commitment.

The Red House manor view from the barn. Photos courtesy of the The Red House http://bit.ly/nu01m4

1.)  Restrooms?  Are there enough? Are they well maintained? Will they meet your guests’ needs?

2.)  Deposit?  How much, and what is the overall cost?  What does that fee include?  Any services?  Any decor?  Cutlery?       Waitstaff?

3.)  Timing?  How early can you get in to decorate?  Can you get in the night before?  When do you have to be out and cleaned up?

4.)  Parking and seating?  Enough room and convenient for all?  Is it handicapped accessible?

5.) Kitchen?  Are there coolers and stoves if you need them?

It turned out that the price was definitely right for the charm and accessibility of the place, and there was plenty of parking.  There were a few restrooms, so that worked well, and they provided tables, chairs, and many of the twinkle lights at no additional charge.  Then they hit me with the stunner…

We have to decorate the day of the wedding.  At 7am we would have possession of the keys, and we had to have the whole place completely ready for the reception before we started getting ready ourselves.  Because I offered to oversee the decorating, I stuck myself in an awkward spot.  As the MOH, I’m supposed to be with my bride and help her get ready for her big day.  How am I going to find the time to do both?  Not only that, but we also have to have the entire place cleaned up the night of the wedding. Umm…the best man better be planning on helping me with that one.

So…let’s recap.

1.) My bride made a great choice with her reception site, and I was wrong in my initial impressions.

2.) I may need a stunt double to pull this off.


Diary of a Mad M.O.H. #2

From the very beginning, these two were "buggy" for each other! Photos courtesy of Julie Rice


In early 2010 one of our good friends split with his long-time girlfriend and needed a place to stay. We had some extra room, so why not? He claimed one of the empty bedrooms and I was soon educated on the behavior of single twenty-something males. I learned to keep my eyes, ears, and mouth shut, and to keep an open mind concerning the male dating etiquette and ideals.

After a couple months of this craziness, he started hanging out with another one of our friends who coincidentally was back home after leaving a long-time relationship of her own behind. We began to see more and more of her, and it wasn’t long before it was very clear to the whole world…these two were SMITTEN. All the symptoms and signs were there…glazed eyes, syrupy voices, the unfortunate malady of being joined at the hip, and of course the kissy-kissy, smoochy-smoochies at every turn. The lovey-dovey gooeyness was almost too much to bear for my husband and I who had been married for a year already. Their long-time friendship exploded into a major love-fest, and soon I started to hear the M-word being thrown about in casual conversation. Sitting on our front porch one night a couple months later, the lovebirds declared to us with huge cheesy smiles, “We’re getting married!”

I was completely energized by this declaration. Working in the bridal industry and having just planned my own wedding, I went directly into planner mode. I also hate to say it, but I was half expecting to be asked to stand up in the wedding. Nope! Denied! I was thrown over for a classmate of the bride’s. Well, that stung a little. I moped privately for about ten minutes, but then I realized the beauty of the situation.

I had no responsibilities for this wedding.

Yippee! This was great news! I could offer advice and still be on the edges of the wedding to soak up the great energy and feel that wonderful excitement, but without responsibilities. Most importantly, no extra energy was required on my part. I could actually enjoy the wedding, dance with my husband, and do normal guest things. My wedding world was complete.

There was an engagement dinner, engagement pictures, and of course, the engagement ring. All lovely, and all took place without me or my so-called expert opinion. They moved into their own apartment, and I would see new ideas or plans via facebook or receive random texts.

Six months later…..

Check us out next Wednesday to find out how one plate of chicken and biscuits launched me head-first into the maelstrom of wedding madness. = )

Julie Rice Photography