Like the majority of brides, my daughter is using the Internet to its fullest potential to research her wedding options. Although the Internet didn’t even exist when I got married, I’ve already forgotten how we survived without it.

I’m not going crazy looking at centerpieces, invitations or any of that stuff, but I am tracking down every photo or illustration of a vintage gown I can find. Of course I’ve also taken the centuries’ old option of purchasing books on Victorian fashions. Believe it or not, I own a Kindle – which was a Christmas gift from my husband. This was a thoughtful gift and I’m sure I’ll use it eventually, but I’m still enthralled with the pleasure of holding a real book in my hands and flipping through the pages. I briefly contemplated downloading/uploading/outloading – whatever kind of loading – one of these fashion books. (Every time I say “upload”, apparently I should have said “download”, so I’ve given up trying to figure out the proper terminology. At least I know there’s some kind of loading involved.) I’d rather stick to the outmoded option of waiting for a flesh and blood--or I shoud say--paper and ink version to be delivered to my house. Hey, at least I ordered it online. Don’t I deserve a bit of applause for that?

Many brides not only research their “needs” online, they also purchase them. Now, don’t get me wrong; I, too, have been known to type out those magical credit card numbers and then wait for the mail carrier like a kid waiting for Santa. It’s fun; it saves time; and it offers limitless possibilities. However—and this is a BIG however—there are some purchases that should only be made up close and personal. The wedding gown tops the list, but there are plenty of contenders for second place – like shoes.

One of my brides had fallen prey to an online sale of a pair of Manolo Blahniks. She was beyond excited at how totally awesome they’d look with her gown—and they only cost $200! (I wondered if she was going to invite her guests to crawl under her skirt because otherwise no one was ever going to see them.) I was trying to be enthusiastic about the magnitude of her find but I hadn’t yet become a fan of “Sex and the City” , thus rendering me clueless about this god of footwear. The most I’ve ever spent on shoes was $220.00—and they were for my HORSE! Personally, I think I maxxed out at maybe $120.00 and I blame that blunder on PMS.

Blunder? Yes; they ended up being so uncomfortable, they could have been used during the Spanish Inquisition to extract confessions from martyrs. I still blame PMS for forcing me to buy them because I did not purchase them online nor was I labouring under any delusion that they’d feel as good as they looked. I went to a store, tried them on, cringed as I minced around in front of the mirror and bought them anyway. At any other time of the month I would have left them on their glass pedestal. (Hmmm, now that I think of it, maybe they were supposed to be displayed on a shelf not shoved onto a foot.)

At least my bride didn’t knowingly purchase torturous footwear. Since she ordered them online, she hadn’t a clue what they’d feel like—and therein lies her blunder. She also couldn’t return them since they were a final sale item. Blunder # 2. Fifteen minutes into her fitting, her toes were numb and her arches were screaming to be set free. Thankfully she didn’t compound her error by ignoring their plea. She regretfully put her Blahniks back in their pretty little Blahnik bag and box and bought something comfortable—and a heck of a lot cheaper. (After she had decided not to wear them, I took the opportunity to point out that the size of her skirt would render her feet invisible anyway. I encouraged her to splurge on something more important – like her jewelry.)

I have plenty more to say about the virtues/vices of Internet shopping—like purchasing wedding bands online—since I mentioned jewelry, but I want to google “beaded trims” before heading off to New York City with Sara tomorrow.


I Don't Need a Color to Define my Style!

My daughter, Sara, made this proclamation during one of our daily wedding discussions. I liked it so much I decided to use it in today’s blog. 

She’s pretty sure of the color she wants for the bridesmaids’ dresses--for now. Since I love it too, I’m not trying to alter her decision when I repeatedly say, “Yes, that’s fine, but since I haven’t even started making them, you really can’t be sure what color you’ll end up with.”

In response, she sighs and rolls her eyes. (I know she’s doing this even though we’re communicating by phone. After all I am her mother.) “Mom, that’s the color I want! I’ve already decided.”

Now it’s my turn to sigh and roll my eyes, although I think I’m giving her more of a ­­­­“skyward look” as my mother used to call it. “Yes, I know that’s what you think you want and I repeat: I’m not suggesting you change your mind." (This last phrase is said in the robotic voice I instinctively use when I'm tired of saying the same thing over and over to a pair of deaf ears.) You know it’s my favorite color. In fact, remember back in the day when you complained that I always picked that color and it was sooooo boring?” We share a chuckle over her adolescent frustrations with a mother who was as uncool as the color she loved. 

I continue. “I’m simply reminding you that once we’re in fabric heaven (aka New York City’s fabric district), who knows what to-die-for stuff we’ll find?” I don’t hear any sighing, but I’m sure her eyes are circling faster than a roulette wheel.

Dropping the topic of hue, we switch our focus to invitations and place cards. I tell her I’ll be fine with whatever she picks, adding that I don’t even need to be consulted. This isn’t a passive/aggressive ploy; I don’t need to have a hand in every decision. Getting to make the wedding gown and bridesmaids’ dresses is gratification enough. However, this doesn’t stop me from offering the opinion that cream stock and black ink is classy and timeless, and that I’m not a fan of introducing the bridesmaids’ color into the design. That suggestion apparently gives her something new to stress about. “What are my colors?” she asks, followed quickly by, “Where do I use these colors?” and then, “Do I have to have colors?” 

I explain that a bride chooses her favorite color and then introduces it into as much or as little of her wedding scheme as she wants to. It’s certainly the color of the bridesmaids’ dresses and often the predominant hue of the centerpieces. 

I watch all the wedding shows: Four Weddings, Whose Wedding Is It?, Rich Bride, Poor Bride, etc. Some of these divas take the “my color” concept to a frightening level; bathing the room in pink—or purple—or green and adding it to their centerpieces, bouquets, ice sculptures, napkins and linens. Some couples even serve their own signature purple/pink/green cocktail. Perspiration dots her forehead as she scribbles one more item on her to-do list. (No, I can’t see the sweat, but I know it’s there.)

I remind her again, that she doesn’t really have a color yet; NOT UNTIL WE PURCHASE THE FABRIC. (Louder robot voice.)To quell her rising panic, I break the happy news--in my normal voice, “You don’t have to have a color. In fact, you don’t have to do anything you and Dave don’t want to do. It’s your wedding.” (I can be altruistic. I know she won’t deviate far from our shared dream of The Perfect Wedding. Remember; we’ve already checked off “castle” and “princess”.)

(Rush of expelled breath.) She relaxes and replies, “You’re right; I don’t need a color to define my style!” Truer words were never spoken. Sara has a style all her own; a style so vibrant, a tropical garden would pale in comparison.




Stress Not!

I just had a long chat with my one of my former brides who is also one of my daughter's friends. I met her when she was in the midst of her Goth phase: safety pins, dog collars, spiked hair, etc. Initially, I was a bit fearful that she’d be a bad influence on my beloved daughter, but quickly learned that a heart of gold lay under her every-parent’s-nightmare disguise.

The Goth phase passed and soon she was engaged. She and her mom were tireless in their efforts to make her wedding the event of the century – and it was. Even though I fashioned the wedding gown and bridesmaids’ dresses, I wasn’t involved in any of the other preparations and had only a vague idea of what to expect. The ceremony was beautiful, and the reception was extravagant and fun. Even to my discerning eye, there didn’t seem to be a single flaw in the whole production.

Now that Sara and I are planning a wedding, we have her on speed-dial. She encouraged us not to stress over minutiae because many of those oh-so-important little touches ended up meaning nothing to her. In fact, she couldn’t even remember what her invitations looked like and they had sweated and toiled over the color, the font and the style. I was glad to hear a bride echoing much of the advice I’ve offered in my book.

 She also warned me that despite our good relationship, Sara and I were bound to come to blows over something. I said, “Really? I don’t think so. Sure we’ll bicker, but I can’t picture us yelling at each other.”

 She recounted an argument she and her mother had at their final floral appointment, 8 weeks before The Big Day. Apparently there was a suggestion involving: “flowers”, “shoving” and someone’s “derriere”. Neither one of us could stop laughing for at least 10 minutes.

Frankly, I found it hard to believe that anyone as sweet as her mother could have been driven to that point. It did, however, make me realize that even I might fall prey to the stress monster and lose my cool. No, it’s not that I’m such a saint, but this isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been involved in the wedding industry for 30 years. Of course, this is my daughter’s wedding, so all that experience probably isn’t worth much. I vowed to take an extra helping my own advice and encouraged my daughter to do the same. Will either one of us be scarred for life if the linens are the wrong shade of cream? Or if the place cards are oval instead of square? No, definitely not, but if I’m too controlling or she’s too obsessive, we could both be apologizing for decades. 

The engagement period is the ultimate estrogen extravaganza. Let’s hope all brides and their mothers enjoy it to the fullest and remember that a wedding is not about the packaging it’s about the love inside.






Why Wasn't I Born Rich?


Thanks to my obsession with my daughter’s upcoming wedding, I’ll be lucky if I can limit my blogs to one daily musing. I’m still vacillating between playing “Let’s have a wedding” and understanding “OMG! This is the real thing!” 

We recently had our first floral consultation. If I wasn’t creative – and beyond excited about the whole event - it could have been overwhelming. Although I have myriad failings, a lack of creativity isn’t one of them and it’s old news that I have a serious case of wedding lust. The designer was experienced, understood our vision and offered us loads of options. Our excitement mounted as we realized that no dream need be left unfulfilled. All it takes is money; lots and LOTS of it.

A few days later we received the proposal. I can’t say I was really surprised, but I was definitely nauseous. After tallying up the cost of our dreams I sent my Creativity to “time-out”, where it will stay until it can play nicely with Practicality.

We’re scheduled to meet with two more florists and I bet we won’t approach those with the same “Oooh, we want roses and orchids and petals and tons and tons of candles and crystals and . . . ” Although Creativity is still resting in time-out, she did offer a suggestion, “Maybe you’ll find buried treasure!” Hmmm, better get out the shovel.


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