Archive of ‘wisdom’ category

A Marvelous Moxie Marriage: The Element of Surprise!

Hey y’all, Sorry for my brief blog hiatus. I have been busy growing my wedding planning biz, Moxie Bright Events! More on that to come. I’ll be back around these parts now, because I’ve missed you guys! And I have so much to talk about! Let’s get right to it.


One of the easiest ways to make your wedding an event to remember is to plan to embrace the element of surprise!

I know some people are not cool with surprises, and I myself on this very blog have said, “Your wedding should not be a surprise party for your groom!”

I take it all back. Well, part of it. A big GROUP wedding surprise? I’m all for it!

The element of surprise is especially effective at weddings, because, well, we all sort of know what to expect, right? Especially at the reception. Bride and Groom are announced, they dance, they sit, we eat, people give toasts, we dance, they cut the cake, and the night is over.

I am telling you it doesn’t have to be that way! Don’t get me wrong, you probably still have to hit all the benchmarks of a reception, but you can do them in an unusual way.

Let’s talk about the two ways in which we surprised our guests.


You see, back in the day when planning our wedding was brand-new, Bob the Builder expressed his desire to shoot air cannons at the conclusion of our ceremony. Yes, you read that correctly. Bob the Builder works in reality TV, and for many years worked on the show where they played practical jokes on celebrities. You know, the one that was hosted by Mila Kunis’ baby daddy? So, not only does he know how to construct and pull off a practical joke, he’s kind of famous in certain circles for it. People expect it from him.

I shot down the idea of air cannons pretty quickly, after all, I didn’t think our historic venue would allow such a thing. Turns out, I was (kind of) wrong. Our venue, Cescaphe at The Down Town Club, did offer something “air-cannon-like” – a petal cannon. As soon as I found out about it, I booked it. And I never said a word about it to anyone. Well, I told my wedding planner. But other than Erin? Not one word.

Bob the Builder had NO IDEA there were going to be rose petals falling all around his head after we were announced into the reception. You can kind of see it on the video below, but here’s some more photographic evidence.

Photo by Redfield Photography

Photo by Redfield Photography

And, a moment later. You can clearly see me pointing at Bob the Builder. I’m saying, “I GOT YOU!”, because I indeed managed to pull off a surprise for him!


Guest photo. Also, probably the least flattering photo of me in the history of all photos. :-)


Really early on (before we were even engaged), Bob the Builder told me he wanted our first dance to be a choreographed tango, like Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman”. Here it is, for the unfamiliar:


However, the tango and a ball gown are not natural friends. In fact, you may even call them enemies. You cannot successfully tango in a ball gown. So, we came up with a solution. Our first dance would be choreographed – half traditional, half tango – and in the middle, a practical joke. Because we are performers, and natural hams, and we cannot help ourselves.

Our good friend Angela, (who just happens to be a Broadway dancer) choreographed our dance, and taught it to us in our living room. We did our best not to butcher it too much.

Here’s the whole shebang. I spared you the first few minutes of the video where our family and bridal party entered. You’re welcome.


In the middle of the dance, when the music cuts out, you can hear my Uncle John yell, “You’ve gotta be f&%*&n’ kidding me!”. I love my East Coast family. Always keeping it real!

In case you are wondering, the songs we used are “Grow Old With Me” By Jason Robert Brown, and “Por Una Cabeza” by Gardel.

If you’d like to add the element of surprise to your Big Day, I have some tips. (Of course, I do!)

Here’s how to do it:

1. Make sure it’s a FUN surprise, not a MEAN surprise. Bob the Builder and I talked about many different scenarios for his “final prank as a single man”, as it came to be called. One early idea was to (fake) his arrest by a Philly police officer right before the ceremony began. This idea was nixed once we realized how truly upset that would have made our guests.

2. If you are planning to surprise your partner, make sure it’s something they actually WANT, and not something that only you want. You’re in this thing together, peeps.

3. Don’t talk about it. That seems simple, but you and I both know that when you’re planning a wedding, pretty much all you want to talk about is your wedding. My mom asked me “What song are you using for your first dance?” I said, “It’s a surprise.” She seemed annoyed by that answer, so I followed up with, “You wouldn’t know the song anyway!” She had to wait to experience it with everyone else. It’s much better that way!

So, In summary: Be Nice, Be Generous, and Shut Your Mouth.


Anyone planning any wedding day surprises? Let me hear about ‘em! No. Wait. Don’t tell me. Tell me afterwards.


Guest Post: 50 Peach at Bridals by Lori

Hi everyone, I’m Peach and I was so pleased to be asked by Moxie Bride to guest post for her during her honeymoon!  I met Mrs. Moxie at Camp Mighty 2012 and remember thinking that her blog name was perfect. She DOES have moxie. In spades.

So, why am I here?  I’m getting married later this year and I’m currently neck-deep in Dress Shopping Mania Phase. I’m sure many of you out there can relate to the ups and downs of the experience, so Moxie Bride asked me to do a review of a popular Atlanta boutique, made famous by  Say Yes to the Dress – Atlanta, Bridals by Lori. 


A Marvelous Moxie Marriage: Let’s Talk About The Gown

Shall we?

If you’ve been reading along my crazy wedding planning journey, you already know that finding a wedding gown was challenging for me, to put it mildly. By the time I chose my dress, I had shopped at ten different dress salons on two different coasts and tried on easily 50-60 dresses. Just typing that made me exhausted.

At first, it was fun. I mean, trying on beautiful gowns is FUN. But, as the months wore on, I became anxious and worried. I was starting to doubt that I could find a gown I loved. I was seriously considering ordering a replica gown from a Chinese dress shop. Eventually, I was able to narrow it down to two, which I asked you lovelies to vote on. And vote you did! And guess what? I actually listened to you! Don’t say I never give you anything.

Here’s my beautiful gown, Melissa Sweet MS251004, from David’s Bridal.

(Side note: David’s Bridal, please, for the love of god, NAME your gowns! No one wants to call their gown by a stock number. It’s just gross. I know it’s more work for you, but I don’t care. You are a giant monster of a company. You can figure it out. I know you can.) 

In case anyone is curious, I named by gown Bette. Because reasons. So there.




Is the Devil in the Details?

Here’s the truth. When planning our wedding, I was really, really, REALLY into the details. This was surprising to absolutely no one who knows me. In my everyday life, I am an extremely detail oriented person. (e.g., I recently told Bob the Builder that I didn’t want to go back to the restaurant we went to on New Years Eve because they didn’t give us a lemon for our fried calamari. I’m insane.)

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 6.52.50 PM


Guest Post: Thoughts from the Father of the Bride

Moxie Dad! Photo by Redfield Photography

Moxie Dad!
Photo by Redfield Photography

Moxie Dad here blog followers… I asked Moxie if she minded posting this reflection on the wedding from a Dad’s point of view in the hopes that as you plan your own special day you will be aware of the significance that the festivities hold for those who love you the most.

Many people had asked me prior to the big day, “What is it going to feel like giving away your daughter…” which felt to me like some ancient custom from a long lost civilization. This certainly didn’t apply to Moxie and me; our relationship was different, more modern, and more self-aware.  Well-intentioned people seemed to be preparing me for some great loss and as they spoke to me I noticed that their comments went in two directions:

a) Like I was losing my daughter rather than gaining a son in law

b) Like I had giving away something here rather than acknowledging that it was she that gave her love to Bob the Builder.


Decoding The Dress Code

Credit: OregonLive

No, this is not another wedding gown post…

Our invitations were sent out last Monday. Our guests have almost all received them, and right on schedule, All The Questions have begun. Which I totally expected. Honestly, I welcome them. I’d much rather have a question asked than a guest confused. Which leads us to the most popular query thus far: “What does “black tie optional” mean?”

This is my fault, because I put it on our invitation.

personal photo

personal photo

Let’s discuss.


Guest Post: MoxieDad’s Corner of the Sky

This photo was taken from MoxieDad's hotel room at Animal Kingdom.

Note from Moxie Bride: Guys, It’s Father’s Day, and MY DAD is here! A few weeks ago, Bob the Builder and I were at dinner with Bridesmaid Red and Hubby Red, and somehow we got on the subject of MoxieDad & StepMom Moxie and their Magical Mystery Tours. The Reds had many questions, which I did not have answers for. So, I asked MoxieDad to fill us in! Take it away, Moxie Dad…

Hello followers of That Bride’s Got Moxie!

I’m Father of the Moxie Bride, or Moxie Dad for short.

Last weekend Moxie was in town to celebrate her bridal shower, and I took the opportunity to crash the party to say hello to some people who I haven’t seen in many years. I know that men are not invited to the swinging soiree, so I was just going to sneak in at the end to mingle with the ladies (and have dinner later with Moxie and my wonderful wife, the lovely StepMom Moxie.) I show up at the time we expected the party to be winding down, and low and behold, my beautiful daughter is in the middle of thanking everyone and opening gifts. So I exited stage left and returned an hour or so later when my presence would not affect the gathering.

It was great to see everyone but most memorable was that I got to spend some time talking to Moxie Bride’s cousin Debbie who I had not seen in many years. As we sat and talked about the old days before everyone’s children were born, people that we have lost along the way, and the bridge to where we are now and where we came from, I remembered I saw the original production of Pippin on Broadway with her.

Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 10.48.57 PM

That night was memorable for many reasons, Ben Vereen at his very peak, John Rubinsten as Pippin, and a strange occurrence in the balcony. We were sitting in the mezzanine and during the intermission Debbie came back from the ladies room and told us, (MoxieMom, Me, & Debbie’s husband) that she followed me up to the balcony and saw me sit down next to another woman. What!?!?  I had been sitting in the same spot for the entire break – and I had witnesses! She then told us that the person she followed looked identical to me. So we went up to the balcony and there I was staring back at myself. My doppelganger looked back at me and we both experienced a little bit of vertigo. After a few seconds, we spoke and it was really very strange to see yourself as though through a mirror, but without the simultaneous movements.  Some other people in the crowd saw what was going on and commented that we both looked like John Rubinstein’s Pippin character. It is amazing how little we had to say to each other, (or maybe it was just shock), but the meeting was brief, and we returned to our seats to see the remainder of the show. I always remembered the themes from that play; the youthful quest to follow an extraordinary life, his battles with tyranny, and finally his acceptance that to live a modest life filled with love and joy is in it self an extraordinary thing.

I’m not sure that I have succeeded in living that type of modest life; there are just too many wonderful adventures to experience.  So how do I bridge what is essentially the selfish endeavor of wanting to experience as much as life has to offer, with the love and joy of all the wonderful people around me? I found that answer in a Beatles song. Well, just the title, actually.

I call what I do “Magical Mystery Tours“. Here is how it goes… Whenever I see something interesting, be it a special trip to somewhere we have not travelled to, an out of the way restaurant, or a show that has some redeeming value, I announce to my wife that we are going on a Magical Mystery Tour. No other data is provided, except what to pack, or what to wear. End of conversation. No hints, clues, or trails of breadcrumbs. If asked, I usually say, “It’s none of your bid-ness…”

MoxieDad and StepMom Moxie on their wedding day. In Africa.  This was not a Magical Mystery Tour.

MoxieDad and StepMom Moxie on their wedding day. In Africa.
This was not a Magical Mystery Tour.

One such MMT was to Martha’s Vineyard for a long weekend. For that trip, I even started driving in the wrong direction just to throw her off the scent. For the trip to Animal Kingdom (Walt Disney World), I did have to suggest a packing list, which begged the questions of being in a warmer climate. So I said, “We’re going to Africa…” This worked out very well when the first thing we saw out of the balcony of the hotel was a giraffe.

This photo was taken from MoxieDad's hotel room at Animal Kingdom.

This photo was taken from MoxieDad’s hotel room at Animal Kingdom.

Our Magical Mystery Tour’s are not just limited to the two of us.  The wife of a couple that we are close with had a breast cancer scare. During that time I invited them to a MMT where we headed into Manhattan to a lovely restaurant and then over to a comedy club… laughter is the very best medicine. The payoff came for my wife and me when we looked over and saw her crying with tears of laughter. We ended the night at a late night café for desserts on the upper West Side. I can’t take credit for having helped her, but she is fine now, and a great night was had by all.

My wonderful wife has arranged her own MMT’s to surprise me with as well. Good things have a tendency to multiply, and that is an extra reward to all the effort.  Friends and family have come to appreciate when we invite them on a Magical Mystery Tour, not knowing what to expect. But knowing that they will be in good hands is all that it takes to put people at ease with the unknown details.

So if you read this and decide that maybe the lives of the people around you will benefit from a little mystery, a little adventure, a little dose of “how about I do something for you and we both have fun at it…” here are my suggestions:

  1. Don’t plan something that is really a “Me” event. I.E don’t plan a trip to an amusement park if she doesn’t like rides…
  2. Details… plan out the event and make it as seamless as possible. Show whomever you are doing this for that you wanted this to be a wonderful memory.
  3. No hints… Silence is golden.  If you start dropping hints, it can be taken as a way to show control. This isn’t about control, it is about joy and surprise.
  4. Don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t work out exactly as you plan. It’s about the journey – not the results. Half the fun is in the planning, which as I said is the selfish part…

Many years ago my Mom (aka Grandma Moxie) used to say: “This isn’t a dress rehearsal.”

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Grandpa Moxie & Grandma Moxie

She was trying to say that this is the one life we have to live. We owe it to ourselves and the wonderful people that we are blessed to have in our lives to experience all that this world has to offer. As long as we temper that by not abandoning the responsibilities we have to each other, anything goes. So ask yourself if someone in your life might like a special night, weekend, or event… Then don’t tell them anything about it, keep it close to your vest, and let the mystery enliven your lives a little.

Tonight I’m going to listen to “Corner of the Sky” from the Pippin soundtrack. I know I have it on an eight track somewhere around here…. What I know is that I have found my corner of the sky. I’m many years away from that boy that was so touched by that song and I can see how much I have learned about the joy of a life well lived. I’m where I need to be, and where I can share my passion with those that matter the most to me. I hope as you read this you find yourself in the same place.

The only remaining question is… I wonder how my doppelganger is doing.

MoxieDad Signing Off…

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On Being An “Older” Bride

Photo Credit:

(Whatever the hell that means…)

This past Saturday, I turned 37. Living in Los Angeles, and spending most of my adult life as an actor, I feel like I should always be lying about my age. No one ever admits their actual age here in La La Land, preferring to answer the age question with, “Well, I can play 30-35.” Sometimes it’s accurate. Sometimes you wonder what mirror people have been using.

At a party at my house last weekend, a group of my actor friends got into the Age Discussion. We’ve all been friends for years, so we all told the truth…I think. When I mentioned by 37th birthday was in a few days, one of the guys said, “Really? I thought you were like, 30…” This instantly made me happy. I am kind of obsessed with my skin care regime, and phobic about sun exposure and wrinkles. So, yay! Winning!

But then I felt embarrassed for feeling so happy. I mean, I should be proud that I “look good” for 37. But I also wish that I lived in a society  - hell, in a CITY, that wasn’t scared to death of growing older. I wish that wasn’t part of my brain. But when Groupon offers you 80% off botox every single morning (is this just in LA? Please tell me it is…), it’s hard not to find yourself wondering,  “Do I need this?” For the record, I haven’t purchased that Groupon. I hope I never do.

Being a 37-year-old first-time Bride has been very…interesting.

There was the appointment at the big-box major chain bridal gown store where I was asked by my consultant, “Is this your first marriage?”. And the debate I participated in online at Weddingbee about the “etiquette” regarding older brides wearing ball gowns. Apparently, we should all be sneaking around town, getting married quietly at the Justice of the Peace, and wearing a sad, plain sack to skulk unnoticed out of the “Old Maid” category.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:


Well, I say, “No thank you!” to all of that bullshit.

I’ve been in a rather reflective mood this week, as birthdays are wont to do to a person. And ya know what I’ve been thinking about? All my past relationships. And how glad I am that they brought me to this place in my life.

See this girl?


[caption id="attachment_1542" align="aligncenter" width="471"]personal photo  a headshot proof from Thaddeus Watkins personal photo
a headshot proof from Thaddeus Watkins

That’s me, at 24 years old. Here are the things I cared about, in order of importance: Getting cast in a broadway show, going to the gym, working my bartending shift, going to see good theatre, hanging out with my friends, and boys. Boys were last.

At 24, when my best friend (and current MOH) called me to tell me she got engaged, my response was, “Oh my god, why?”. (The fact that she still loves me after that oh-so-awesome response says a lot.) I just couldn’t comprehend that life choice at that time. I had bigger fish to fry, so to speak. The idea of “settling down” was just the most foreign thing to me. At 24, I had just come off of 2 1/2 years of performing in touring shows. I was living out of a suitcase. I kind of loved it. I missed my “stuff” but I got to see the whole country – a few times! I wouldn’t take back or change those years for anything. And now, at 37, my only regret is that I wish I would have stayed in NYC a few years longer. But what good is regret?

I think back to my serious past relationships, and although I can recall the good, I can see how, if I married any of those guys, those marriages would have ended in messy painful divorces. Actually, if I’m being honest, the idea of marriage with any of those guys scared the crap out of me. At my 28th (I think it was 28?) birthday party, my boyfriend took me outside to the parking lot to give me my gift. He revealed from behind his back a small bag from Tiffany’s. As he handed the bag to me, I blurted out, “No.” I didn’t even know what it was, but the idea of that bag containing an engagement ring made me so nauseous, that before he could even say anything, I said, “No.” I don’t even think he noticed. Or, if he noticed, he was nice and didn’t ask me about it. Turns out, it was just a necklace. (Whew…)

At 37, I finally feel ready to make the kind of committment that makes a great marriage. At 37, I know myself much better. As a younger woman, I would frequently find myself a few months (or years) into a relationship wondering, “Where did I go?”. The longer I stayed with the wrong man, the more I’d lose myself. His interests would become my interests. His dreams would become my dreams. Except they weren’t my dreams at all. Where did my dreams go? I wish I could say I did this once, but sadly, this was a pattern that repeated itself a few times. I’d like to think this is just a young woman’s problem, but I see some of my friends living this right now. I can proudly say that this has never been the case with me and Bob the Builder. We have a lot in common, yes, but our differences are supported and encouraged by each of us. If I don’t write for a few days, he always mentiones it. “You should be writing!”, he says. I’ve honestly never been with someone who is so supportive of anything I dream up – from this blog, to running a 5K, to learning how to bake homemade bread – anything, really. He even eats the (sometimes awful) results. :-)

Being an “older” bride has been a little easier in some regards. After all, at this point, I’ve been hosting and planning parties for 16 years. Even in my tiny Upper West Side apartment, I would host a Tony Awards Party every year, and cram people into my tiny living room. At 21 years old, I was happily making guacamole in an apartment where only two people could stand in the kitchen at a time. 16 years later, I know how to throw a party, organize a guest list, and add in special details that make the whole event sparkle just a little bit brighter.

I wish I could tell you that being an older bride has made me immune to self-doubt, and low self-esteem, but I can’t lie to my fellow brideys like that. Maybe those feelings are a little diminished by age – when I turned 30 I pretty much stopped caring if people liked me or not (a totally awesome part of growing older) – but they don’t go away entirely. I am still working my ass off (literally) so that I can feel amazing and toned in my (ahem) ballgown. In fact, I can tell you that part actually sucks. Working out to lose weight has gotten so much harder. I have to work 200% harder just to see the same results I saw ten years ago. But it’s not impossible. Just makes me want to achieve my goals even more, even though now it means waking up at 6am to go work out.

Yup. Basically. Credit: Some ecards

Yup. Basically.
Credit: Some ecards

So, here I am, at 37 years old.

personal photo I haven't cut off all my hair. It's just in a bun.

personal photo
I haven’t cut off all my hair. It’s just in a bun.

In 136 days I will be a wife. I wish I had some awesome words of wisdom about being an “older” bride, but really, I don’t feel like an older bride. I just feel like me. In my brain, I’m still 32-ish. Only making better choices. With a much better partner in crime.

I will never know what it’s like to be married at 23. And that’s fine by me. We all make our choices, set our priorities, and work toward our goals. If I had changed even one tiny thing in my life, I probably wouldn’t have even met Bob the Builder. And I would have missed out on all this happiness. So, no. No regrets. No do-overs for me.

I can tell you this “older bride” is wearing a ballgown. A big ivory ballgown. And a giant cathedral length veil. With bling! I am having a big celebratory wedding – decorum of an “older bride” be damned! I waited 37 years for it, and I’m living it up!!!

After all, it’s the only wedding I’ll ever have. May as well go big or go home.


Any other “older” brides out there getting all the feelings from the asshats in the WIC? Oh sorry, was that too much? Any other over 35 brides breaking “etiquette” and doing whatever you want? (There. Thats better.)



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