Note: It took me forever to finally get to a theater and see the new Beauty and the Beast! I was blown away by the reimagining, and wanted to share my thoughts here. If you haven’t seen it and don’t want spoilers about what’s new, you probably shouldn’t read on.
Also, you may have noticed that the blog has changed. Yes, this used to be The Disney Housewife blog! I’m trying something new that I’ll explain in a later post, and I’ll keep writing a ton of Disney-related stuffs, so please keep stopping by to see what happens!
Out of the live action movies Disney has been releasing over the last several years, I’ve seen Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, and Cinderella, and I have to say that the new Beauty & the Beast far surpassed the others I’d seen. Before I get into it, though, here’s my quick-takes on the previous three I’d seen:
Alice in Wonderland: Forgettable. Pretty sure I fell asleep twice, because I don’t remember the end. I love the book, and I don’t even like the animated adaption much. (Love the world and that other people love it, Hate the adaption. That’s a thing, right?)
Maleficent: I was SO looking forward to this movie, and I was rather pleased with Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of Maleficent. But the overall storyline pulled a Frozen for me, aka took a turn in the middle to make an awesome villain the tragic hero. Can’t we PLEASE let the mistress of evil be, I don’t know, EVIL? It’s okay to like, and even feel sorry for, someone who hasn’t redeemed themselves by the end of a movie. (Like Dr. Horrible, everyone’s lovable villain!)
Cinderella: Cinderella is, of course, a goody-one-shoe, but that’s why we all love her. The film hilights good morals, and the movie won me over with the blue dress. Plus, even though Cindy forgives her stepfamily, her husband has the balls good judgement to exile them. Brownie points to Disney for fleshing out one of their most historically boring princes. Downside: Helena Bonham Carter as the creepiest fairy godmother no one wanted.
Now that those are off my chest… I went into Beauty and the Beast with low expectations, spending far too much of the movie thinking “Oh, they’re going to mess this scene up!”
But it was amazing!
Everything that was added or taken away was obviously given lots of loving thought, and favorite minor characters were fleshed out in a way that added to the movie without distracting from the main action.
One of my favorite things in the film was seeing the relationship between Gaston and LaFou. Everyone needs a LaFou best bro. Someone who will pay a ridiculous amount of coin to random people at the local pub just to cheer you up on a bad day. Someone who will offer you advice when you don’t necessarily want it, and someone who will tell you you’re horribly in the wrong, all while still loving you. Josh Gadd definitely impressed me with a much more thoughtful version of the endearing buffoon, one who realizes Belle’s dignity more than her suitor, and who has a conscience that guides him to realize he can’t support Gaston after he crossed too many evil lines.
And Gaston was so delightfully manipulative that I wasn’t convinced I’d dislike him much by the end of the film. In the original, Gaston is annoying and a bully, but he’s so transparent that you can’t understand why an entire village would rally with him to go attack a castle they didn’t realize was important until that day. Now he’s so good at disguising his true, vicious personality that no one, not even LaFou sees what Gaston is capable of until he’s already acting on his impulses. For the first half of the movie I kept thinking, “Gaston is too likable! How will they come back from this?” Of course, once he leaves someone to die a gruesome death because they were annoying and in his way… that did it.
But I think that’s why I liked this portrayal. Gaston actually makes the audience believe that he’s interested in Belle for more than being a pretty prize. At first he tries to relate with Belle about books, of all things. Really, truly tries. And tries to make her feel better when the townspeople are mocking her. Granted, this is all for his own ends of marriage, but he is so convincing, and so good at manipulating the entire town, that it’s scarily realistic.
With Beast, I’ll admit that I had low expectations after The Tragedy of Grand Moff Tarkin’s Face. But I was again pleasantly surprised that I never questioned whether or not Beast was real. He was just Beast.
And I love that he’s now good, and actually as nice as his staff keeps claiming he is. Beast isn’t a bully who has to be changed by a woman, he’s just battling a horrible childhood, years of depression from isolation and hopelessness, and a case of DAMMIT DON’T STEAL MY PRETTY ROSES, YOU THIEVES! (Come on, if you live in a castle and someone breaks in, protocol is that you toss people in dungeons.) He’s never truly mean to Belle, just annoyed that she’s there. He’s lost any hope that a woman would love him, so why even bother with breaking the spell?
Plus there’s the addition of Beast being literate and having a sense of humor. He’s not just won over by Belle because he’s impressed by her, they actually have things in common that they can bond over. And they even already have little inside jokes to giggle over when they’re an old married couple, like the “grow a beard” comment. #totesadorbs
And to top it off, I got a happy case of “Matthew’s back!” warm fuzzies when Beast transformed, and no one called once called him Adam. Win-win.
This version of Beauty & the Beast blew me away, but it wasn’t just seeing something I loved as a kid be performed by live people (though yes, my inner little girl squealed with delight a lot). It was seeing my favorite characters fleshed out to become more than characters with simple motivations and simple personalities, but the whole people that I grew up wanting and believing them to be.
[Note for parents: it’s a great movie even for kids, though probably not the super littles because there are a lot of intense, surprising or just darker-themed scenes, including finding out how Belle’s mom died. And for anyone worried about that hyped-up “gay moment,” it’s nothing worse than what was in the original film.]
I’m at “that point” in my life. You know, that point where it seems like the majority of people I know are engaged, married, and starting to having babies. (I think I started the trend for that last one, but there has been a huge increase in pregnant friends in the few months since we’ve been expecting!)
Now that I’ve been a bridesmaid in two weddings, been a bride, and have been a pianist or guest in dozens of others, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of what goes into being a fantastic bridesmaid. Since I’m the queen of stalling, and I really don’t want to pack my suitcase quite yet for one of my best friend’s wedding this weekend, (YAY I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU AND I SWEAR I WILL MAKE IT ON THAT PLANE IN TIME!!) I’ve been compiling a list in my head of “what advice I’d give to bridesmaids, based on what I’ve done and seen.”
I’m sure you’ve seen other blogs or posts that boast having similar advice, telling you to “Support the bride on her big day,” and “Here’s your checklist of the five-hundred things you’ll need,” or “Here’s a cute project gift for the bride that will guarantee to make her cry!” (Note: Don’t do that one, heaven hath no mercy for the bridesmaid who makes the bride’s makeup run before she gets down that aisle.)
I’m not saying that these posts are bad – in fact, there is usually a good piece or two of advice buried under all the sparkly fluff of Pinterest-worthy bridesmaid photos. But I’ve found that very often, when it comes down to the rehearsal and wedding day, these tips just aren’t practical. Life happens how it will happen, and as a bridesmaid, there is a lot of tasks that you might have to do, even if they aren’t wildly exciting or keep you by the bride’s side at every moment of her best day ever.
So without further ado, compiled from my personal experiences as bride, bridesmaid, and wedding musician/guest, here is my
Disney Housewife’s Practical Tips on How To Be the Best Bridesmaid Ever!
1. Ask what you can do to help, often.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but brides get stressed out. From having too many options of what flowers to carry, to struggling with a tight wedding budget, to having a meltdown when she realizes “His family has what crazy person they want to invite? And they’re related to him?!” brides go through a lot when planning a wedding. Offer to help! Even if you’re a long distance bridesmaid, there is a lot you can do. Think of your strengths. Good with editing and computers? Offer to work up the wedding programs. Good with crafty things? Offer to help make centerpieces. Or help balance the wedding budget, or look up florists, or musicians… You get the idea. Offer to help! It doesn’t have to be specific. Just ask “What can I do?” and the bride will appreciate the help! Don’t wait until the week of the wedding to ask. Start as soon as you know you’re going to be a bridesmaid.
2. Accept the dress without complaining (to anyone in the wedding)
Bridesmaid dresses have come a long way since the ’80s and ’90s, but they’re still not always pretty. And sometimes, even if the cut is flattering, the color can be atrocious. Dear brides, I don’t care how many times you call a dress “copper.” Unless it’s got shiny bits of real copper magically made into fabric flowing down the skirt, that thing is brown, bless your heart. And no designer tag saying “copper” will change any bridesmaid’s mind about the color.
Now bridesmaids, here is your number one rule about your dress:
You LOVE your dress.
You will not complain about the dress to the bride, other bridesmaids, or anyone involved in helping the bride with the wedding. Even if they complain to you, you will find something nice to say about the dress. “Yeah, the dress is _____” will be your go-to line. Examples of fill-ins for the blank: comfortable, cool, warm, has nice fabric, is so much nicer than that last bridesmaids dress I wore (to be used with caution, especially if your brides know each other!), is a nice color, is a nice cut.
You get the idea. You love this dress. You will not burn it after the wedding. You will keep it in a dark corner of your attic for many years, and you don’t have to wear it again, but you will keep it.
Exceptions to this rule:
-If you are helping the bride pick out bridesmaid dresses, and she is choosing something that is honestly hideous–and I mean hideous, I’m talking poop-brown feather boas and puffy sleeves. Sweetly show her an alternative, or offer to try it on to show how it might not look great on all her maids, or maybe a different color, or feathers will blow away on the beach, brown clashes with the church’s pews… You get the idea. If you have to intervene, do it, but with love and sweetness, not “Ugh, you can’t pick that!”
-If the dress is way out of the modesty zone. I don’t mean an inch of cleavage you don’t like, or strapless, or knee length. If it’s those, suck it up and wear the dang dress.* I’m talking your girls are falling out, the dress is falling down (or riding up) because it’s too tight, and so short that your panties start looking like board shorts. It’s time to speak up, put a foot down, and maybe get bride’s granny in on the conversation.
-If you know a certain style dress won’t look good on the other bridesmaids. For example, two of my bridesmaids are really, really tall. So even though I liked some shorter bridesmaid dresses, I had to make sure I was going with a nice knee-length, not short cocktail skirts, since knee-length often is already cocktail-length on tall girls! If you know that something definitely is too short for someone, or know that it doesn’t come in a size large/small enough for one of the bridesmaids, remind the bride. And if her heart is set on it, help her figure out if alterations can be made.
*Sidenote: I don’t believe in making someone wear something they believe goes against their faith. If you are 100% sure that the bridesmaid dress goes against what your religion tells you is appropriate to wear, especially if the wedding is a religious ceremony, have an honest, kind heart-to-heart with the bride and tell her about your concerns. Remember, she is your friend! And very likely to make a compromise, whether it’s different lengths of dresses, or shawls, shoulder straps, etc. A true friend will understand where you are coming from, and take your concerns to heart.
2.1. Order the size dress that you measure for.
Newsflash: bridesmaid dresses are made a lot smaller than their number sizes read. So you may usually be a size 8, but the bridal shop puts you at a size 12. You know what? That’s the size that you measure for in that brand and style of dress. Suck up whatever hurt feelings you may have, because the dress maker does know best. And more importantly, your bride does NOT want to hear that your dress is too small when she told you to get measured. Because you know what? She had to do the exact same thing for her wedding gown. (Hi, I’m a size 10 and had to order a size 14 gown. Ouch. I haven’t been that size in years.)
And if you think you are going to lose weight, don’t order to the smaller weight size. Get the size you measure for now, and you can always get it altered once the order comes in. Which brings us to our next topic…
2.2. Get your dress altered.
Or at least go to an alterations appointment, even if you end up not needing anything done. (This does sometimes happen, and if the bride is happy with how your dress fits you, leave it alone!) Bridesmaid dresses are made to one standard body shape, and it probably isn’t yours. I have seen only one bridesmaid who never needed work done on her dress, and it was miraculous. Even so, sometimes the alterations person will see things to make your dress look red-carpet ready that you might not see, like making the straps lay just a little more flat, or they have a way so the bodice doesn’t wrinkle and you look thinner (huzzah!). Good tailors know what they are doing, and 99% of the time you will look, and feel, so much better about the dress and yourself if you just get it done!
And once that dress is altered, send your bride a selfie. Trust me, she is in a state of sheer panic until she has visual proof that the bridesmaid dresses aren’t falling off or aren’t being held up with safety pins because you can’t get the zipper’s sides within an inch of each other.
Okay, I’ve spent enough time on the “lovely” bridesmaid dresses, but it is a huge part of being a bridesmaid. And I have confirmation from all other brides I know, that these points are a huge area of stress for them. So did you get it? Got it? Good. On to the rest.
3. Wrap a tissue around your bouquet. If you are the Maid of Honor, wrap two: one for you, and one for the bride. No one will see them because your hands cover the wrapped tissue!
Normal Kleenex tissues work, but the best are those cute designer tissues, the ones that are made of a bit thicker tissue/paper materials and have adorable designs on them. When I’ve shown this trick to other bridesmaids, the response has always been a huge sigh of relief, accompanied by “I know I’m going to cry, and I had no idea how to get my tissue down there!”
4. Learn how to bustle a wedding dress.
There are several different ways to bustle a dress, but they aren’t too difficult to learn a day or two before a wedding. When is it hard to learn how to bustle a dress? Try right after the ceremony, when the bride is in a rush trying to get to her reception. Check with your bride to see if she has a particular person she wants to help her bustle, like her mom, a sister, or the Maid of Honor, but let her know that you can be the back-up bustler if anything goes wrong. Because guess what? Mothers of the bride tend to get pulled in a dozen directions right after a wedding, or the Maid of Honor could suddenly not feel well and have to bail… Things happen! It’s just better to know how to do this. (Hey brides: a week or two before your wedding, assign someone to learn how to bustle your dress–better yet, assign two or three, because there are a LOT of layers to work with, and you never know if your original assigned someone can’t be there right that moment when you need your bustle bustled!)
5. If something suddenly needs doing, DO IT.
The morning of the last wedding I was in, the bride realized that she had been shorted one bouquet for her junior bridesmaid. With two hours until the ceremony started, we did have some leftover flowers from homemade centerpieces. I looked at the flowers, asked the bride for some ribbon, pins, and a rubber band, and managed to throw together a decent-looking ribbon-wrapped bouquet in about 45 minutes– not too shabby for just watching the ladies do it at Hobby Lobby and perusing Pinterest! Of course, it wasn’t what the original bouquet would have looked like, but the wedding guests didn’t know it wasn’t planned. More importantly, the bride didn’t have to worry about a bridesmaid not having flowers.
Of course, stick to what you can do. If you get stuck in my bouquet dilemma but have no creative bone in your body, you don’t have to suddenly start throwing flowers together in an effort to save the day when you know it won’t turn out well. You can always go grab Aunt Mathilda, hey, we know she can do flowers and crafty things! That’s still saving the day, being resourceful and thinking through the sudden stressful situations so the bride doesn’t have to.
Here’s the catch: Sometimes, when you volunteer to do a last minute thing the day of the wedding, whether it’s making a bouquet, or picking someone up who needs a ride, or running out to get mascara because no one brought their waterproof and you can’t not have waterproof mascara at a wedding, you will miss out on some things. You won’t spend all of that time giggling with the bride while the two of you get ready. You might be the last one applying lipstick before you all run out the door to get to the church on time. You might really have to pee but not get to before the ceremony starts.
But guess what? Your dear friend who is getting married thinks that your help, especially when unplanned and in a wedding emergency, is invaluable. Those are the moments the bride realizes she can’t do it without you, and feels really special and loved that her friends are willing to go the extra mile and fix anything they can for this wedding, because they love her and are there for her. That’s why you’re a bridesmaid.
6. Don’t be *that* bridesmaid.
If you’ve already been in a wedding, you know who I mean. Unless the wedding party is pretty small, there is usually that one bridesmaid who makes sure everyone knows what good friends she is with the bride, how long they’ve known each other, makes sure she sits right next to the bride every chance she gets, tells stories about her and the bride that honestly make you wonder if you’re even good friends with her, and overall just does her best to hog the bride’s attention. Don’t be her.
Now, if you are the Maid of Honor, you kind of *have* to be that person– you’re more in charge of everyone, you’re probably closest with the bride, and you have a lot more responsibilities that mean you have to stick close to her and talk with her a lot! But it’s also your job to make sure that every bridesmaid feels included. So if you realize you’re telling story after story about “that crazy time we had,” or that the other maids have started to go quiet and just give you and the bride space, just take a minute to make sure you’re not being a bride hog.
My advice is: Be a Charlotte, not a stepsister. See how Charlotte builds up Tiana, tells her how lovely she is, give her her own dress and tiara? Because they’re best friends. Charlotte is good at being the center of attention, but for her best friend, she puts aside her attention-loving ways and give whatever she can. (A good example of a southern lady!)
(My maids were awesome, and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t one of *those* among them. My Matron of Honor was especially fantastic. She definitely wasn’t a bride hog, made sure to include the other maids when we got together before the wedding and when they were getting ready that morning, took care of emergencies before I knew they popped up, and was just overall a lovely MoH. Oh, and yes, she helped bustle. So brides, some of this just depends on who you pick and their individual personalities!)
7. It’s not about you!
This is the bride’s day. Honestly, once people see what you’re wearing, what flowers you’re carrying, see how your hair is done and figure out how you know the bride, they’re done paying that much attention to you. It’s the bride and groom’s day, not yours!
I tell you this not only as a reminder to keep your inner diva wrapped up inside, but also to remind you to RELAX. One of your best friends is getting married! Help her, have fun, and remember that no one is staring at you, but at the bride. (I actually got a cold sweat walking down the aisle the first time I was a bridesmaid… and I don’t get nervous easily!)
So remember, she is the one who is ten times as nervous as you are! If you can catch her eye during the ceremony, give her a big smile… Or stick your tongue out and make a silly face to help her relax. There are perks to sitting in the front row, after all, and one of them is all the guests can see is your back!
8. Here’s a little list of things that are generally useful to have around, not only for you, but also for the bride or other bridesmaids to grab. ** Designates things that you probably can’t bring on a plane, if you’re flying into town for the wedding.
Miniature sewing kit**
Gum and/or mints
9. Bring a pair of pretty flats.
Your shoes are probably adorable. Most bridesmaid shoes nowadays are no longer ickily frumpy and dyed to match your dress, but the cuteness also means they are probably way too uncomfortable to wear for more than a few hours. Do yourself a favor, and bring flats that are formal, match your dress, and change into them once all of the formal pictures are done being taken.
I hope this helps some of you! Let me know if you have any special bridesmaid tips, or tips for the bride about her bridesmaids, in the comments!
Since I had a good, full, and busy day, I am exhausted. So to fulfill my Lenten duty, this post is coming to you from my phone while I lie in bed, snuggled up inder the blankets. Please forgive any misspelling here, as this was entirely typed on a keyboard smaller than my face using only my thumbs.
(Grammar people, is it lie or lay in the above paragraph? I can never remember.)
So this quick post is to say that my Husband and I saw Cinderella in theaters today, and since we got there early enough, we managed to catch Frozen Fever.
WARNING: there be spoilers ahead!!”
So if you haven’t seen Frozen Fever yet and don’t want to ruin it for yourself, stop reading now.
Here is my quickie review:
I loveElsa’s new dress. I still think it’s weird that her powers of ice and snow somehow include making dresses out of cloth, but okay, whatever. This dress was lovely. (And don’t try the “her dress is made of ice” argument with me. She altered the one Anna was wearing, so if it was ice, her sister would have been freezing cold.)
The song is cute. It’s both sad and heartwarming to see Elsa trying to make up for lost time with Anna.
The Snowgies (previously called soulless demon baby snowmen in this blog) ended up being cute. So it must be only the plushies that are scary. (But seriously, had Elsa never sneezed before? I mentioned that to my husband, and he just said, “Huh, yeah.”
Also, I am re-dubbing the Snowgies with the name my Husband used for them:
Overall, it’s cute. It exceeded my expectations. I still don’t exactly want a Frozen sequel, but this short was a-okay with me. I really found no big issues with it.**
**Except when Kristoff sang the word “baby.” That was as bad as Anna singing “totally” over and over again in “For the First Time in Forever.”
Whenever a new movie sequel is announced, I find that my friends and myself tend to respond in the same way. Especially if the first movie was liked, there’s a decent amount of eye rolling, talk of “ruining our favorite characters!” or “Not even the same actors? Sheesh.”
There are some exceptions. For example, the second and third Star Wars movies were good. (The REAL second and third, not the new stuff. The new ones were barely passable, only decent due to Mace Windu and Ewan McGregor.) The latest round of Marvel movies have not yet been disappointing, with the exception of “Thor: Oh Crap, We Need Loki Out of Prison So Here’s Another Movie, in which Scientific Coincidences Save Main Characters But Are Otherwise Suspiciously Convenient The Dark World.” (Okay, it wasn’t terribly disappointing, but it was my least favorite of the Marvel movies yet.)
Then there are Disney sequels. And thanks to years of babysitting, I have had the, er, pleasure of seeing some of the direct-to-video sequels to some Disney classics.
For example, “Cinderella 3: A Twist in Time.” It was, surprisingly, an enjoyable movie, or at least enjoyable when watched with a three year old girl, and had a really interesting plot. However, the second Cinderella was incredibly boring, entailing Cinderella’s new life in the palace and getting used to no longer being a maid with chores. Think Tarzan 2, but with a really dumb and boring plot.
(Yes, there is a Tarzan 2. The TV show was better. Yes, there was a Tarzan TV show.)
In my family, we don’t talk about the terrible film “Parents Are Mad So We Made The Sequel Historically Accurate To Crush Your Dreams of True Love Pocahontas 2.” Horrendous filth that just broke my little Disney-magic-filled heart as a kid. (If you haven’t seen the first one, or if you have a heart of stone and like to see a man’s heart broken and life ruined, then you might like it.)
But I’m getting off-topic.
Getting back on topic, I have decided that I am going to pick a favorite sequel only from Pixar’s/Disney’s animated movies. It makes the job a little easier for me, and sticks to good ol’ Classic Disney style kids movies.
And now, for my first honorable mention…
I know, I know, I didn’t pick it as my favorite! For the record, it’s a close, close second. Like, it squeaked by. They might be equal. But I’m only officially picking one movie, so we will just pretend that this one came in second.
I still remember watching this movie for the first time, in a crowd of college students who all talked, before and after the film, of how when Andy was a kid, we were kids. We grew up with him. We are going to college at the same time as him. We still, yes, have some toys like he does, and yes, we all cried several times by the end and were not ashamed to admit it.
And for my number one favorite sequel:
I watched both “The Rescuers” and “The Rescuers Down Under” a lot when I was little, but I definitely enjoyed the second one more. The bad guy was not quite as creepy, and there was no icky skeleton in the cave/girl may drown scene to scare me.
Now that I’m a grown up, I still like Down Under the most! Maybe it’s because I have a thing for movies with a lot of talking animals, a lot of “show the plot, don’t tell the plot” with music, or the adorable way Bernard keeps trying…and failing… to propose to Miss Bianca.
It’s an older film, and not very well known. If you haven’t seen it, or it’s been a while, give it a shot! (Last I knew, it was on Netflix… hint, hint.)