I have mixed feelings about weddings. I love going to them, I almost always well up, I relish the opportunity to see everyone dressed fancy, to be part of multi-generational dance parties, and of course I'm always into the details of the bride's and bridesmaids' dresses, makeup, and hair, the place settings, the decor, everything. What is increasingly awkward as the years tick by are the inevitable questions, if you know what I mean (yes we have been together a long time, yes we have cats, yes I am stubborn, and so forth). So, two events are coming up that are geared toward brides to be, but one of them is really just for brides to be. That's The Art of Weddings, a two-story smorgasbord of caterers, cake makers, photographers, makeup artists, stationers and dressmakers and jewelers. I took a spin through it with a betrothed friend last year, and while I did enjoy the dress perusal and brief fashion show (this year features dresses by Charlotte's Weddings & More, Stephanie D. Couture, and Sarah Seven, and accessories by Stella & Dot, Sahlia Designs, and Jade Rose Designs), I was really just there for moral support. If you are contemplating that walk down the aisle, though, it's a great one-shot opportunity to get a whole lot of research done (and free samples) on virtually every aspect of the planning. It's going down tomorrow at the Gerding Theater (128 NW 11th) from 6-9:30 pm (fashion show at 8), and $12 tickets are available here.

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Sarah Seven's "To The Chapel" Dress

Looking ahead, The English Dept. has scheduled their annual A Novel Romance show for noon on Sunday, February 6, at the Ace Hotel Cleaners. Rather than a tradeshow-esque atmosphere, this is as much a fashion show as a wedding show, and I've always loved the modern, unfussy approach of this shop, which upholds the notion that one shouldn't over categorize nice dresses. Who says it's a wedding dress versus a party dress versus a bridesmaids' dress? No one, that's who. They can also order up dresses in multiple colors, in case you want to get married in jade green instead of white (or disguise the fact that your springtime party dress has wedding-associated origins), and their annual presentations are always elegantly inspiring, particularly with the inclusion of locally designed dresses, including proprietor Elizabeth Dye's own work. $8 tickets are here.

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