The Persian Wedding Experience (from a non-Persian perspective)

This post was originally published on blogspot on Monday, May 21, 2012

This weekend I designed my first Persian Wedding for Tala and Kian. Tala came to me asking for help with the décor for the event, with a general theme of a Moroccan Lounge with blues and greens as the color palette. She knew she wanted candles and flowers and an air of romance, but, like most brides, her vision changed daily. Email after email came through with lovely designs she’d found on Pinterest, TheKnot, and Style Me Pretty, among others. With each photo, the design changed, and the result was a very romantic, glowing PINK wedding!

Throughout the experience, I learned a lot about the Persian wedding traditions. I’d done some planning for Persian parties and receptions in Los Angeles and remembered the elaborate displays of food and the fantastic Persian music—a DJ accompanied by a conga drummer that made everyone rise to their feet and dance, but I’d never seen or dealt with the ceremony. It’s really a beautiful setup, with symbolism and history in every detail.  The Sofreh (ceremony table) is set with elements like spices, apples, grapes, pomegranates, honey, and candles. A large mirror faces the couple that sits at the end of the low table, the couple facing their guests. As the two entered, the guests applauded their arrival and at the end of the ceremony, the couple stood to receive well wishes and gifts from close family and friends.

Tala and Kian had an English interpreter for the Persian ceremony, and I learned what each item I’d set up on their Sofreh meant to them. This website explains very well all of the elements and their meanings: http://www.persianmirror.com/wedding/sofreh/sofreh.cfm#spread

At the reception, the couple’s first dance was to traditional Persian music and was a conversation in undeniable seduction. They followed this ritual with a customary American bride and groom dance. Guests joined the couple on the dance floor throughout the evening and the room revved with energy when the DJ switched from the American style of music to the Persian dance music. My favorite part of the evening was the cake knife dance—yet another ritual involving an unmistakable element of seduction. Ladies from the pool of guests take turns dancing with the cake knife, enticing the groom to want to get the knife from them by giving them money. Gentlemen guests do the same, dancing for the bride and teasing her (usually in a comedic way) into reaching for the knife. The guests take turns, refusing to give up the knife, but taking the money and passing the knife to the next woman or man in the audience. The last of the guests to dance for the bride and groom finally gives them the knife, to the applause of the bride and the rest of the guests, and the cake cutting continues.

Here is the explanation of the cake knife dance from www.persianmirror.com :

The purpose of the Persian Knife dance (Raghseh Chagoo) is for the couple to retrieve a knife from the dancers so they can cut the wedding cake. The dance starts with one person dancing a typical Persian dance, with the knife and basically asking the couple for money. Once the dancer gets the money, the knife is passed on to the next dancer. The bride and groom continue to offer money to try and get the cake knife. A little back and forth, and a few dance moves later, the couple finally are given the knife and are able to cut the cake. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDi0uFYw8TQ&feature=related

Best Wishes to Tala and Kian!

Are you planning an outdoor wedding?  Learn what NOT to do! Click here

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Product Review Story: Vivian Lou Weight Shifting Insoles & Good Feet

Finally a way to make cute shoes comfy!

I’ve been told for most of my life that I have flat feet.  I even went to a podiatrist when I was a kid to have my parents spend hundreds of dollars they didn’t have to get me these horrid, clunky, plaster of Paris molds that I had to wear in my school shoes and a rubber thing they put between my toes to prevent bunions.  Every night I was in pain, wearing that stupid thing between my toes to sleep, only to find it shot across the bedroom in the morning.  And those plaster arches?  They lasted about 6 months before they’d broken down and I would have needed new ones that just were not affordable.  I had a AAA heel and a AA foot in a size 9.5 by 8th grade.  When I was 19 I started ballroom dancing and the constant rolling on the ball of my foot in the Latin dances actually widened my foot enough that I could wear regular width shoes!  I also found that ballroom dance shoes, with their flexible leather insoles and satin fabric, were extremely comfortable to stand and dance 10 hours per day!  Ah but alas, you cannot wear ballroom dance shoes all day every day when you are no longer a ballroom dancer.  When I became a wedding planner, I started advising my brides to get ballroom shoes and break them in as their wedding shoes.  But still most woman, including myself, need a designer shoe or two in their lives and there is not one I’ve found that has a comfortable stitch on its strappy little body.

In my late thirties I finally found out how vague the statement “flat feet” actually is.  I don’t technically have “flat feet”.  I have one fallen arch (there are three!) in the ball of each foot.  Because of that, the weight distributes very unevenly through my whole body and I get, not just foot pain, but shin splints, back pain, arched shoulders and had at one point lost 85% of the curvature of my spine in my neck.  I had no idea you aren’t supposed to be able to see your feet when you walk normally until I came out of a chiropractor after being in traction.  I felt taller but also realized quickly that I had no idea what I might be stepping on!  And it felt amazing!

One Summer I was lucky enough to go on a Celebrity Alaskan Cruise.  (Side note: If you can manage to splurge on a balcony and Aqua Class, its TOTALLY worth it!)  The day excursions and rough terrain were really causing me pain by night-fall with those shin splints screaming at me when I went to bed.  Then one of those cruise ship sales pitches happened to be about Good Feet inserts.  I totally drank the Kool-Aide and bought the “discounted” insoles.  I wore them the next day as we trekked around Skagway and I had to admit I was in foot heaven!  No pain whatsoever and I was able to do this all day without changing to a different shoe! The trick is that these inserts are molded plastic that are made in the shape of what your foot should be, not shaped to your already incorrect foot.  It made total sense to me when I saw the design, with the little bump where the metatarsal arch should be and the uplift in the middle on both sides.  Not only did this shape release the pressure that was on the wrong parts of my foot, it also made my arch lift where it had fallen, so now I can actually wear a size 9 shoe!  Any woman who has tried to find half sizes over 9 will totally understand just how exciting that actually is.

As an event planner, I am on my feet for hours at a time and I would typically change the height of my heel at least three times in any given event day.  But with the Good Feet inserts, I was able to go 4-5 hours with an open-toed 3.5″ heel and even longer with a wedge.  But I still couldn’t do the closed-toe because the weight, even with the insert, still eventually and painfully pushed to my toes.

I decided to try the Vivian Lou Insolia Classic Insoles that I saw advertised on Facebook.  Yes, I drank the Kool-Aide again.  I bought the bundle two-pack.  Today I received them and tried them on in one of my favorite pairs of leopard print, closed-toed stilettos.  Go big or go home!  I didn’t follow the instructions, which very clearly tell you to try both on at the same time.  I wanted to see if I could feel a difference so I put the new insole in my left shoe and none in my right to start.  It took awhile to get the position right, but I realized quickly, walking on the hard wood floors, that my weight in my right foot was definitely more to my toes than on my left.  I could feel an instant difference in the way the shoes fit better, filling the shoe more comfortably instead of leaving spaces around my food, on the left as well.  So far so good, the Vivian Lou insole seemed to be doing the job it claimed to do, shifting my weight more to my heel and evening out the distribution.  But I still had the issue of the fallen metatarsal arch to deal wit and I knew this weight change would not really fix the whole problem.  So I add the Good Feet on top of the Vivian Lou and started to walk around, still with one shoe with no insole and now with the other having two insoles.  This really seems to do the trick!  So I bit the bullet and adhered them “permanently” into my favorite closed-toes and plan to layer the insoles whenever I wear them for real.

One note about the installation of the adhesive insoles from Vivian Lou… The instructions say that you should place the insert 3/8″ away from inside of the heel of the shoe.  Then as you stand on them, if you feel a “bump under your heel”, move it down until you don’t feel it any more.  By the time I didn’t feel it, the insert was over an inch from the heel, but it shifted the weight as expected, so I think its still ok.  Perhaps they’ll read this post and correct me if I’m wrong.  And apparently today they launched a new line called “Couture” insoles that form to the left and right feet, where the ones I bought are interchangeable.

Overall I’d say both of these products work well separately and also together.  If you’re a bride looking for a solution for your Jimmy Choo’s I’d say go with the Vivian Lou first and spend about $30 for what could be just what you need.  You can only use them in one pair of shoes, so you have to buy a set for each pair.  The Good Feet are VERY expensive, but can be moved from shoe to shoe, so you only have to buy one set.  I’d only recommend those if you’re in every-day pain, like I was.  In that case its worth every penny!

Now I just need someplace to go in my comfy leopard heels!…

All About Events and its represenatives were not compensated in any way for this review.

To learn about our wedding planning packages and pricing, visit www.allaboutevents.net/weddings!

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To tip or Not to tip…

To Tip or Not to Tip…. That’s every bride’s question.

There are lots of articles out there explaining who you should tip and who you shouldn’t tip.  At the end of the day, it comes down to this:  if you would tip that person when its not your wedding day, you should tip them when it is your wedding day.  If you feel like someone went out of their way or went above and beyond, tip.  Tips should be 10-20%, just like when you tip at a restaurant, based on the performance of the person giving the service.

Here’s the breakdown:

Tip Expected:

  • Transportation drivers (check first to see if tip is included–you can pay this in advance)
  • Hair and Makeup
  • Head Waiter
  • Bridal Attendant
  • Waitstaff (check first to see if this is included)
  • Bartenders (if they put out a tip jar, you can tip them just for you and the groom.  If not, give a little extra for the guests)
  • Hotel bellmen and concierge
  • Anyone that does something extra for you

Tip Appreciated but not Expected (more of a bonus than a tip):

  • Musicians/DJ
  • Extra Entertainment
  • Caterer
  • Wedding Coordinator
  • Celebrant
  • Anyone that works day-of and on-site

Tips are best in cash, but if that’s not possible, you can add it to a payment by check.  Have tips and payments ready in advance, in sealed, labeled envelopes that will be easy to hand out day-of.  If you have a wedding coordinator, you can give these envelopes to him or her at the rehearsal and check that off of your list.

If you have more advice or questions about tipping, please comment!

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