Sunday, June 6, 2010

It is 125 days until Christina’s wedding, and for whatever reason, it seems like a good time to begin taking notes on the process.

A long time ago, I worked at a lovely old Inn on the Fox River in Geneva, Illinois which was a prime spot for wedding receptions. I was able to experience first-hand the inner workings of what went into event planning and how to handle a vast array of personality types. My many duties included diffusing head-count emergencies, wedding cake debacles, power struggles over tablecloth colors and, of course, the ever-present loose cannon known as the mother of the bride.

At the time, I made copious mental notes about aberrant behavior, unreasonable demands, crying jags in the lobby and drunken outbursts and decided then and there that when it was my turn to be the mother of the bride, I would engage in none of that embarrassing nonsense.

Famous last words, and as my own mother was so fond of ominously intoning in a variety of situations, "we'll see."

So it was a paid learning experience which left indelible images in my mind. For this, I am grateful.

The wedding is approaching rather quickly now. October 9th will be here before I know what happened and I’m sure that I will look back upon these carefree days with a rueful eye, wishing I’d been more diligent about preparing….something.  Anything.

We have already put the deposits down on the cake, the reception site and the invitations.  The photographers and flowers are blessedly in place. There was no drama associated with any of these things. The event that seems to be looming on the horizon like an ominous dark cloud is the day we go shopping for wedding dresses. Christina will be the first to admit that she has an emotional history with trying on clothes. There have been melt-downs, depressions and tearful vows to never eat again as long as she lives. All of this I can certainly relate to, but my tendency is to internalize my frustration and angst while Christina has always been more ready and willing to vocalize her displeasure with herself.

So we have had some discussion about this and have decided on the following wedding dress shopping rules (more to follow as the day gets closer, I’m sure):

1. Blood sugar management. We will both have had a power lunch prior to shopping with no alcohol consumption. I will have an emergency kit at the ready with some kind of chocolate and nut concoction, Rescue Remedy and cold water for dowsing the flames of frustration should they arise.

2. Reasonable expectations. We will understand that this is a process in which several (many?) dresses will need to be tried on, examined and commented upon. There is no time limit that day.

3. Budget constraints. There will be no frocks entering the dressing room that are above our agreed-upon price point. We will not fall for the old up-selling techniques or false flattery and “suggestions” employed by wily, commission-minded sales women.

Once we have jumped this hurdle and purchased her gown and veil, I know that both of us will breathe easier….until it’s MY turn to find the mother of the bride dress. I know some things for sure already: It will not be a “glitter sack” (made popular by female cast members of the television series Dynasty in the 1980s and subsequent drag queens). It will not have lace anywhere on it, nor will I want to wear gloves or a hat. It will not have a plunging neckline nor will it require me to wear stiletto heels.

Both Christina and I are “in training” for these dress purchases. We are exercising more and bypassing second helpings of anything other than water.

At the forefront of my mind is the knowledge that I will have to look at myself in the wedding photographs for the rest of my life, and I would rather do so without cringing, making disgusted sounds in the back of my throat and turning the album pages quickly to avoid my image.

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