GIRL TALK | Open Marriage: Good Idea or Bad Idea? PLUS: A Rustic Outdoor Wedding, & Way Too Many Puppy Pics.

So I turned on the television yesterday, and that Survivor host guy Jeff Probst’s new talk show came on, because talk shows are the new book deal and book deals are the new fake tan (everybody’s got one).  They were coming up on a segment about “open marriage.”


Jeff referenced a story in the Times about a couple who got married and currently have an open marriage.  I’m paraphrasing here but what I want to get across is the gist of how Jeff set this up.  He referenced his index card and said: the woman had had sex before marriage, and when she got married she told her guy she wanted an open relationship, and he agreed.

Now… look at Jeff’s card, since he showed it to us when a panel member was like, “r u srs Jeff Probst.”

Sorry it’s blurry; it’s a shot of a tv screen with an iphone.  Interesting side note: Bambino had a weird bad reaction to Probst, unlike any I’ve seen him have before.  In fact he never barks at anyone/thing.  I had it paused on Jeff’s face to get a shot of the card, and when he noticed Jeff’s face he jumped out of sheer fright.  Then he started puppy growling at him, to let him know of his displeasure with his face.  Here, I did my best to capture it:

^ Him barking adorably ^

Anyway, the woman Jeff was talking about, who asked for the open marriage?  She wrote the article in the Times about how things are totally hunky-dory in her marriage and not weird in the least.  Secondly, the dude abides – as it says plainly on the card - out of fear that he would lose her.

This is the foundation upon which a happy relationship is built?

It reminds me of a lesson I learned on Real Housewives of Miami (shut up just go with it) when one of the ladies talks about life after a failed marriage.  Unlike the rest of the housewives shows, I like to watch the Miami one for the T and A factor, not the drama.  NYC and Bev Hills are good for drama, Miami is good for BUTT ANYWAYS…

This lady on the Miami show, she’s going through a divorce with a really unsympathetic partner.  He’s kind of a Douche McBaggins.  And she’s having a doubly hard time because she has to let go not only of her marriage, and the emotional support system she’s relied upon for more than a decade, but also of the partnered business she’s shared all these years with her now ex-husband.  The ex-husband who left her for a younger woman who “doesn’t yell as much,” something he unabashedly says out loud while she is in the room with him.  Terrible.  But anyway I don’t want to get carried away with HOW MUCH I HATE HIS SNARKY TREATMENT OF THE MOTHER OF HIS CHILDREN, so I’ll just get to the quote from her, which she tells the camera through eyes that have cried:

“… [even though we're not together anymore] I know that at the end of the day, I will always be able to count on him.  And he knows that he will always be able to count on me.”

That’s all anyone’s ever wanted out of a relationship; the knowledge that they have at least one person that they can count on, as life ebbs and flows and we grow older and more aware of just how on our own we really are.

And, to tie it back to the Jeff Probst stuff I talked about earlier; the single behavior that we as a society have pinpointed as the most basic tenet of trustworthiness in a marriage, is sexual monogamy.  So knowing those simple truths about humanity, it begs the question:

Are “open marriages” really the future?  Or are they a complete and total farce, masking deeper interpersonal issues left unaddressed in relationships?

That was heavy.  I think it’s time for a french bulldog cooldown, form of:

My little brother, the dude I’ve lived really close to pretty much all my life, moved to Nashville this year.  He’s coming back for the first time this Thanksgiving and I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited to hug him in my whole life.  Didn’t realize how much I’d miss him.

In the spirit of all that, I thought I’d share a little from the going away party we all had for him earlier this year.  From Bambo’s perspective.  Starting from the car ride to the party, all the way through to the end of the party.  Hope you aren’t bored?  >>

When those conditions are not readily available, he is the embodiment of an overprivileged human child upon leaving Toys R Us without a toy.  I don’t see this kind of behavior elsewhere in our lives; just car.  And only when he *knows* we can see him.  Because of course.

Bambo makes his hatred of car rides very known. Anyway so we got to the going away party and Bambino met some family members he hadn’t really hung out with yet in his almost two years of life on Earth. Here is Bambino meeting one of his cousins:

Here he is, hanging with another cousin:

Here’s Bambino milling around the party from Person-with-food to Next-person-with-food:

The End.  The rest of it is just everybody enjoying a few cocktails and being inappropriate.  Sort of like the end of most weddings.  Which is why you don’t really need your photographer there the whoooole time. ;)

Onwards– to the wedding!

I’m in love with this wedding, you guys.  It was submitted by The Gemmers, and I fell in love the moment I saw the boutonnières.  The bride, Bonnie, spent years collecting the perfect vintage bits and pieces for their bid day.  She had a Man of Honor.  CONFETTI EXPLOSION.  Oregon State University’s official mascot made an appearance.  Oh, and one of the groomsmen?  He is well-versed in the musical sport of hip hopping, and wrote a rap for the couple… a complete surprise the day of.  Yep this is a quality wedding experience.

Here’s the stellar rundown from the lovely Bonnie:

I wasn’t one of those girls who grew up imagining the “perfect day” or the “perfect dress”; it just seemed to me that when I met the right person, those things would fall into place. That being said, once Matt proposed to me ALL of those things snowballed as I started to get more and more excited about our day: the details, the dress, the cake, everything. It’s easy to get carried away! One thing I held onto to keep myself centered was that Matt and I wanted our wedding day to be a celebration with our friends and loved ones. It’d be a day where we would get to combine all different circles of people we love and who love us so sincerely, gather them together, and have an absolute blast celebrating our love. We wanted the day to extend beyond ourselves and to celebrate the people in our lives that build us up, support us, and make our lives better for having them in it. It’s that very philosophy that made our wedding day an amazing celebration.

I’m absolutely in love with everything vintage and French garden-like, so I wanted the decor to be rustic, vintage, soft and pretty. I wasn’t focused on making things match; in fact, I asked the girls at Punch Portland (flowers and decor, they are absolutely wonderful) to avoid everything pink, satin, and matchy-matchy. They loved it. I started perusing antique stores and collected old bottles, antique books, even found some vintage valentines that were adorable. I got some girlfriends together and decorated wine bottles with the dinner menu for part of the centerpieces, and my amalgam of crafty creations, antique finds, and the beautiful flowers from Punch made for some really dreamy decor.

People say your wedding day will fly by and to make sure you remember it. It did seem to fly by, but I remembered everything. My favorite moments were when my Man of Honor (my best friend Josh) and Matt’s Best Man walked down the aisle together, arm in arm, when Matt and I surprised everybody by running down the aisle after our kiss (the pictures of that, and his excited face, are priceless!) the private moments Matt and I got to spend together, and the time during the reception when Mario, one of the groomsmen, surprised us with a rap he had written about us. He got the entire dance floor hopping and repeating the chorus, it was amazing!

One piece of advice I’d have for brides to be is to be sure and take some time with your photographers for a private photo session with your new husband. It’s so easy to get wrapped up with photos of family, especially when Great Aunt Maude or someone wants to have this photo and that one. Some of my favorite photos are of Matt and me, after the ceremony and before the reception, when we disappeared on our own and had some time to ourselves. Those moments are captured forever, and they’re perfect.

One last thing: never forget why you’re there – to marry the love of your life. When it comes down to it, whether it’s raining or the centerpieces aren’t just perfect, none of that matters! Enjoy the day with your new husband! :)

Ok!  So I’d love to hear your personal opinion on this friendlies..

1)  What do you think about the concept of an open marriage?  Cool idea or lame idea?  And do you think people who say it works for them are hiding something/being completely honest about it?  

And, if you’re up to delving even deeper into the psychological aspect of this…  What, do you think, drives someone to agree to an ‘open marriage’ concept, as the partner who is being asked to reevaluate his/her concept of an ideal sexual relationship?

2)  How lovely is this wedding?

xx!  - Alison

Photography: The Gemmers / Hair Stylist: Vanity Junkie / Caterer: The Wooden Nickel Catering Co / Floral Designer: punch / Heirlooms and extras: The Gemmers / Event Venue: Vineyardview Bed & Breakfast / Submitted via: Two Bright Lights

Random song recommendation:  Back Against the Wall, Euphoria, on: Precious Time

Label(s): Girl Talk, Mr. McPuppyPants, Real Life Issues, {Real Weddings}

Love all of this...


  1. Ariana on November 13, 2012

    I could never do an open marriage but I have a friend who has been in one for years and it works for them. They both wanted it though so there was no pressure form one to the other. I know they have specific rules as well, but I don’t know what those are. In the time that I’ve known her she’s even had “boyfriends.” I dunno how they do it, but there’s someone out there for everyone I guess.

  2. Angelica | The Bridal Detective on November 13, 2012

    I could never as I didn’t share in kindergarten and I’m certainly never going to share my husband (groom to be) now. BUT as you were saying on twitter, STDs is a HUGE concern and those goodies would need to be bleached ;)

    On a side note, I know of people who have this type of relationship. It’s not for me as I would be entirely too jealous. I could see how boundaries could get crossed, I mean, what if one fell in love with the other person? That’s a recipe for a bottle of Clorox & a box of tissues.

  3. Jess on November 13, 2012

    1. I never had a solid opinion on open marriage being a bad thing until I got cheated on and it completely swept the rug out from under me. I couldn’t breathe when I found out, it was mentally and physically devastating. I know that’s not an open marriage situation but I learned how I react to infidelity and I don’t think that would change just because I knew about who you were hooking up with before you went and did it.

    2. Wedding is precious, such a lovely couple too. In love with the flowers in the bottles and the bouts!!

  4. Heather {of} The Gemmers on November 14, 2012

    Oh, Alison…{thank you} for featuring this SUPER sweet vintage vineyard! Bonnie & Matt were the SWEETEST! And, the Punch Portland floral & decor girls were completely amazing!!! SO appreciative of the feature our our work!! It was an honor!

    The Gemmers

  5. Meghan on November 14, 2012

    Gorgeous wedding! And the Man of Honor is pretty freaking adorable. Her last sentence is my favourite – a key thing I think brides often forget. It’s not about the details, it’s about the big picture – you’re marrying HIM.

    Bam pics always put your posts over the top though :) Especially this extended collage. You’ve set a new bar, Alison! Loved “meeting” some of the extended family too – Apollo is a handsome boy!

    On the subject of marriage? Not for me! I don’t really understand the concept – I thought the whole point of getting married was to pledge yourselves to ONE ANOTHER? And forsaking all others? To be fair, I don’t know anyone who has this type of relationship, married or otherwise, but I can confidently say it would never work for me. I would never feel completely secure, and after all, isn’t that what a partner is supposed to do for you? I have been in a relationship in the past where I suspected I wasn’t the only one (or two or three) in the picture -and I LIVED with the dude- and that alone was enough to drive me crazy. Sorry, I too am not for sharing when it comes to my man. And frankly, I think you hit the nail on the head with the bolding of the comment “…out of fear that he would lose her”. That’s just manipulation if you ask me – it just makes me feel bad for the guy!

    Oh and I’m not surprised Bam growled at Jeff…. he does look particularly menacing in that picture. I’m curious – did his wife chime in at any point during this segment? She works on the show and he often brings her into conversations…. I wonder if this was one of them!

  6. Lena on November 14, 2012

    Oh my puppies and real talk, I love today! I think the truth is that most people’s relationships aren’t quite as clear cut as open v. closed, and when 30-60% of people admit to cheating (imagine how many others keep their mouths shut!), the idea that making vows to one another is an infidelity talisman is a little silly. Of course, the best thing you can do is be honest with your partner–whether about what you want, or what you’ve already done. Bravo to couples who’ve made that choice together, and boo to partners who are bullied into relationships that don’t meet their needs.

  7. Ashley on November 14, 2012

    Hey Alison!! First of all, Probst’s face is super scary in that shot, I would growl at him too, not as adorably as Bambo, but, it would get the point across.

    Second, Love everything about this wedding, the mood and the rusticity, awesome awesome.

    Third, never too many Bambino pictures, your dog handles car rides 50 million times better than mine.

    Finally, I am frankly kind of disgusted by the concept of an open marriage and I don’t think it will catch on as the new thing anytime soon. By the new thing, I mean, I don’t think everyone will all of a sudden decide their marriage will be open. I usually don’t like to put my opinion out there so… blatantly, because I don’t like to step on any toes, I have absolutely no problem with being open sexually, I used to be open… sexually… not like… a whore or anything… but, you know, I mean, I wasn’t a prude either. Whatever, the point is, that was for before I was married, then I got married, and if I still wanted to fool around, I WOULDN’T HAVE GOTTEN MARRIED. I’m sorry but you cannot be committed to marrying one person and “keeping only to him/her” but fooling around… that’s called not being married or that’s called cheating. The comment on the card about the percentages of marriages that end with cheating? Sad of course, but having an open marriage doesn’t mean you’re magically fixing the problem, it just means you’re not really married. If you are open sexually, which as I said, I’m a fan of, then be open sexually, getting married but not committing fully is like saying “I like banging you now, but when I get tired of it, I’m going to go bang someone else, but you’re still my beneficiary on my life insurance policy… I just kind of like banging you more than anyone else… right now.” To me, it seems all about sex and not about love at all. When I got married, it wasn’t because I decided my husband was the only man I was going to bang for the rest of my bangable life, it was because I love him and plan on loving only him for the rest of my life. What this woman is doing is laughing at marriage as just a piece of paper and a fun ceremony followed by cake and then she just gets to go off and have sex with whoever she wants. It takes all the work out of a partnership as well, I’d be totally lying out of my butt if I said that I never looked at other men, never fantasized about Channing Tatum taking his clothes off for me, but I said vows, and adultery is adultery no matter what kind of vows you write (by the way I’d love to hear this couples’).

    Sorry for the rant, I didn’t even realize how passionate I was about it until I started writing it, the point I’m trying to make is that there are people out there who feel they cannot commit physically to just one person. THAT’S FINE!! You’re not a bad person because of that, but that also means you are not ready to get married… sorry, you cannot have your cake and eat everyone else’s cake too.

    • Alison on November 15, 2012

      That last line… omg I laughed out loud. Brilliant!

  8. Megan on November 14, 2012

    Do you happen to have a link to the original article? I would love to read it to see what justification the woman could possibly have for her actions. It just seems selfish to me.

  9. Brittany on November 15, 2012

    While that situation doesn’t seem like the ideal ‘open marriage’ I don’t necessarily think it’s a horrible idea.

    Honestly I think there’s something honest about admitting that one partner might not give you all that you need, and accepting that it’s okay to get it from other people.

    I don’t think I could personally do it, but I admire the people who can. A marriage without bitterness is the key. And if eliminating bitterness means allowing each other to be with other people, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

  10. Francis on November 15, 2012

    Have you ever been married Knotty Bride? You seem like the left at the altar type. Any man will end up hating you, you’re wack.

    • Steph on November 15, 2012

      …and you, my friend, seem like the type that loves hating.

  11. Loren on November 15, 2012

    No, no open marriage, ever. I’m very happy in my very much so closed marriage.

    On a happier note, your puppy is adorable. :)

  12. Sarah on November 16, 2012

    While I can see why people have very strong opinions on not having an open marriage, my fiancee and I have decided that we will be having one, for one specific reason: I am bisexual. He completely understands that while I absolutely adore him and can’t imagine being with anyone else for the rest of my life, I also can’t imagine pretending part of me doesn’t exist anymore just because I’m married. I could go on for days about this, but there’s my two cents.

  13. James Griffith on November 19, 2012

    This is awesome! I love the coloring and the storyline!

  14. Wedding Splendor on November 20, 2012

    The bottles idea for vases I love, is so ..rustic.

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  18. WeddingPlz on March 20, 2015

    Open Marriage is Good Idea because open marriages work, it is most likely because the unconventional unions are focused on good old-fashioned open communication. Telling the truth shows your partner respect, as does following agreed upon rules

  19. TheWeddingPlan on January 13, 2016

    As for my opinion open marriage is better idea for success life. Both bride and groom are independent for their choice. The main benefit is that open communication which shares ups and down to each other. There is a choice to understand each other for getting married. It is totally different from conventional wedding.

  20. Eventila on March 12, 2016

    Open marriage in Indian context is always debatable. Though in modern society at Big metropolitan city, this idea suddenly work for some extent but still more positive mentality requires for these kind of relationship in India.

  21. Salons in Kolkata on April 21, 2016

    Nice idea. I like the the idea of open marriage.

  22. Felix Films on January 15, 2017

    centerpieces are awesome!


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