Thursday, September 30, 2010

8 days until the wedding!

Is it getting hot in here???

Emotions are creeping up on me at odd times again….every commercial or scene in a movie featuring a happy bride is triggering tears, it seems.  Christina and Charlie got their marriage license last week and I became misty about that; a dear friend sent the kids a fabulous wedding gift and my eyes welled up unexpectedly.
Woven into the stress and planning and appointments and juggling of funds from one account to another, there is this powerful wave of love that washes over everything and reminds me of what this day is all about…the joy of two people beginning their life together.

I feel really grateful to be a part of all of this, especially when I vividly remember not wanting my own mother to be involved in either of my weddings.  Our relationship was never close….it was more of a polite indifference, actually.  But now here I am, knee-deep in Christina’s happy day, and I couldn’t feel more fortunate that I didn’t repeat the patterns of my biological beginnings.

The lady who is charging more for the alterations than we paid for the wedding dress tried to get into my wallet again (CASH ONLY!) by attempting to sell Christina on an $80 corset at her recent dress fitting.  Immediately upon hearing this, I insisted that we go to Kohl’s to see if we could do better, which we did…$40 for something much more versatile that she can wear under other dresses (which she couldn’t have done with the pricey little confection made especially to be worn under a wedding gown).

I left Kohl’s feeling exceedingly triumphant!

Somewhere along the way, the price for the reception dinner crept up to $65 per plate.  I got this news the same day that two different people (finally) sent back their response cards including extra guests they thought would like to come along to a wedding.  I had to put the hammer down on that nonsense right away.  Once again, I am stunned by the lack of common sense and consideration.  Apparently, understanding the etiquette of an invitation is a lost art, and if you feel like bringing a few neighbors and your gardener, well, why not?  Free dinner and alcohol for everyone!

If you have not seen this movie, do make it a point to rent it sometime:
It was made in 1950 (with an impossibly gorgeous Elizabeth Taylor at the height of her popularity), but (much like my 1950s etiquette book) all of the humorous situations still hold true to this day.  I am apparently playing the Spencer Tracy role, because I have found myself uttering the same sentiments and outrage as the Father of the Bride did 60 years ago!

There is but one major task left, and that is the dreaded seating chart.  I must keep in mind that there are family feuds still actively simmering, ex-wives who despise one another, crabby and unpredictable  grandparents who have no filter between what they think and what they say and are thrilled to express displeasure about anything and everything.  There are half-siblings who are not on good terms with one another and those who have issued strict mandates about who they will and will not sit next to.

 All of this must be taken into account while arranging sixty people for dinner.  I briefly toyed with the notion of dosing the water glasses with hefty hits of Prozac or Xanax to help these folks mellow out, but who needs a lawsuit at this stage of the game? 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

20 days until the wedding!

I’m proud of myself so far (note the ominous caveat, leaving the door open for future emotional mud slides and tight-jawed diatribes).  

I have calmly overlooked shameless markups on assorted items and services, I have breezed over tense moments in the planning process and taken lots of deep, calming breaths when certain family members began making troublesome noises about seating arrangements and hierarchy status.

I serenely consult my 1950s etiquette book remembering that weddings happen every day,  that they involve human beings, and as such, are never perfect.  At particular moments, I envision myself having a marvelous, carefree time; at other moments, I can see how easy it would be for me to slip into General Contractor mode, barking instructions angrily through a bull horn while brandishing a highly-electrified cattle prod, intent on zapping anyone who dares to muddy the waters of Christina’s day.

Beware, potential troublemakers……

 To all the Mothers of the Brides who came before me, I salute you!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

30 days until the wedding!

And high time for a grouchy rant.  
What on earth has taken me this long??

 1.      Original idealistic intentions for strict diet and exercise routine have fallen by the wayside.  

Am now faced with the horrific reality of having to look at myself in wedding photos until the end of time while recalling in vivid, Technicolor detail, my carefree consumption of ice cream, potato chips and hamburgers when I should have been daintily nibbling on lettuce leaves and bran flakes.  

Jenny Craig will probably hunt me down and force me into some kind of dietary concentration camp until I learn my lesson.   This hellacious purgatory will no doubt include plenty of Sweatin’ to the Oldies while a butch drill sergeant named Pat berates me for my indulgent indiscretions and shames me to tears over my pants size as I Jazzercise my way into a hypoglycemic coma.

2.     Alterations on wedding gown actually exceed cost of wedding gown.  A jaw-dropping moment as hilarious and fun-filled dress fitting at the home of the alterations lady suddenly screeches to a halt when she announces with a straight face that the minimal alterations needed will run approximately $400.  

We are forced to sign a contract and promise to pay in cash only.  Words failed me, which was probably a good thing, because the alternative was to schlep Christina and her dress to other alteration places around the county until we found a better deal.  Which may or may not have happened.  Who has the time and/or patience at this point?  Pay the lady and assume that she is padding a secret retirement fund with the spoils of her lucrative racket.  I will no doubt see her on a future episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, sipping cocktails on her yacht which I unwittingly helped pay for.

3.     R.S.V.P. cards slowly trickling in, despite the clearly printed return-by date of September 10th.  Visions of hours spent on the telephone calling people I don’t know dance through my head.  

Terrifying thoughts of hastily assembling a seating chart the night before the wedding makes my blood run cold (taking into consideration the assorted extended family members who refuse to sit next to, look at or acknowledge the existence of one another).  No wonder logical people hire wedding coordinators to manage this nonsense.

4.     After viewing the wine list at the reception venue (in which the least expensive bottle of white wine is priced at $28), we toss around the idea of bringing in a few cases of our own wine, namely the “Two-buck Chuck” made popular by Trader Joe’s grocery stores.  Check with catering manager and learn that the “corkage fee”, “serving fee” and “tax” for us to import our own booze will be……drum roll……$20 per bottle.  It becomes apparent that the venue has figured all of this out long ago, and is not in business to make our lives any easier or less expensive.

5.     Shoes.  Exactly when the hell did my feet spread out, making it necessary to search high and low for footwear selections in the WIDE range?  I flirt momentarily with my original plan to don a tent-like caftan and shower shoes and play the role of the mentally-challenged mother of the bride, briefly on hiatus from the asylum.  Guests will begin sentences with things like, “Poor Christina…..”  and speak in hushed, careful tones around me. 

I think I need a vacation…….