Everyone loves a wedding, be it formal or informal, weddings just hold promise in our hearts.
When I was little, weddings were something that forced me to wear a dress and actually act like a female for hours. That meant I wore my Easter Dress! Every year I got a new Easter Dress and that perfect dress had better have stayed that way! My mom obviously loved blue or loved me in blue. I had a lot of blue dresses. Considering most weddings are in June, guess what I wore to the weddings?
But one year, I spotted a lavender dress and I fell in love! I wanted it! I must have driven Mom nuts because she actually bought it for me. It was nylon or something like that and I had to wear a crinoline under it. I promise that netting was the most uncomfortable stuff to sit on! But at six, I thought I was beautiful in it. I still love all those lavender/plum/amethyst colors. I remember going into the city for a wedding wearing that dress. By the time I got there, my legs itched from the netting. By the time I got home, my little legs were almost raw from the crinoline. The whole day was being told I wasn’t allowed to do whatever. I wanted to look at the cake. Other kids were. No! Other kids were on the dance floor, why couldn’t I dance? No, you will sit and behave yourself. My father let me stand on his toes for a dance while he did his box step. Later I decided that by standing on his toes, he didn’t step on mine. I never wanted to go to a wedding again!
By ten, I’d changed my mind about weddings. A family friend’s daughter got married. She wore a pink suit and matching pillbox hat with a veil. Huh? She was a gentile and he was a Jew. Oh well, it was one heck of a party. There was a buffet and no one paid attention to what I ate. There was music and dancing, and no one said a word if I went near the cake. It was tiered and covered in some sort of spun sugar sheeting. I desperately wanted to touch it, but I knew not to do such a thing. It looked hard like the red candy that coats apples, except this was silvery pink. Everyone got a slice of cake that was cut from something else. Maybe that cake wasn’t real?
By eleven, I had a pink lace dress and I wore black high heels with little T-straps on them, My hair was piled high on my head in a generous bun and finished in a black bow. I wore my onyx, diamond, and pearl set. (Teardrop earrings, necklace and bracelet.) The groom wore tails, the bride had a train a mile long or so it seemed, there were bridesmaids, junior bridesmaids, flower girls, and a ring bearer. It was the fairytale wedding! By now I was hooked! The wedding was in a cathedral with a huge pipe organ, and there were limos to take them to the reception. That was a sit-down dinner of prime rib. The waiter winked and poured wine for me, too. Then we went to the ballroom for dancing. My father asked me to slow dance with him. The box step, it was all he knew. But other young men asked me to dance. They’d ask where I went to school and I’d answer vaguely by giving the name of the school, but dropping the part that ended with Elementary School. I didn’t look my age.
At fourteen, my sister got married. She had a “small” wedding, about 350 people. That was the first time I was in a wedding. My dress was light green. I hated the color but it had a shimmery green lace that was see-through. It went from my covered bodice to my neck and down to my elbows, across my back and down below my waist. The design was beautiful. She had a matron of honor who wore pink and the rest of us wore that horrible green. Why did she choose day-glow leprechaun?To make matters worse, my hair was cut like a pixie! All I needed was the pointed ears to go with it!
I don’t think she liked the idea that I was taller, so she had us wear low heels – dyed to match. It was a June wedding and where we lived it should have been a pleasant 80F degree day. The air conditioner in the building did not work. I think we broke all temperature records that day. I was standing in the receiving line between my brother-in-law’s two friends: one was tall, very good-looking and single, and the other was married. Guess who passed out from the heat? Guess which one caught me? Yep, his married buddy!
They tossed rice in those days and someone must have tossed minute rice. My sister’s gown had a stand-up collar that scooped low in the front and back. It was a big rice catcher! It funneled rice into her cleavage, down to her tummy, and even made its way into her panties that were sewn into the gown. I remember her standing in the tub, crying as my mom and I tried to remove the cooked rice from her sweat-soaked body so that she could get dressed for her honeymoon. My job was to be The-Voice-of-Reason and act like the adult in charge. I chased my mom and told my sister to turn the darn water on and take a fricking shower! I handed her a shower cap and a washcloth! She was headed for her honeymoon and no one does that after sweating like a pig all day!
After that insanity, I never wanted the big wedding or even a small one. My husband and I attempted to have a small one. Considering my father refused to speak to me for marrying George, Dad obviously wasn’t going to give me away, so I asked my one brother to do the honors. George and I wanted a quiet little wedding in the Catholic Church. The plan was for it to be my mom, his mom and dad, his brother, (his sis was overseas with her military hubby), my best friend, that wonderful great aunt of mine, and my brother.
Oops! My sister wasn’t going to miss my wedding, so she came up from Virginia to attend with her son who was seven months old. My aunt’s husband died the weekend before and my mom didn’t want to leave her little sister alone so that meant my aunt was coming. And if my great aunt came then her daughter and husband had to bring her. Then my one neighbor found out about the wedding and she wanted to come. And if you invite the one neighbor, you have to invite the other which meant that young friend came and if she came, I had to invite my other friend because I couldn’t leave her out. Then my future in-laws decided that we had to invite her aunt and his brother and her sister. and who knows who else. His sister returned home unexpectedly with her toddler a few days before the wedding. What should have been about eight of us expanded into about forty people.
Since I didn’t want the fancy bridal dress, just something street length, I searched and searched. If it was white, it looked a little too flouncy as if made for a hayride or it looked like it was leftover from summer. It was November. I found something in an ivory color that was decorated in gold and silver threads. It was beautiful and expensive. I bought it. That was the last time I ever bought any dress that expensive. I later discovered that dress cost more than what my husband made in a year!
The wedding was lovely. And when we got to the point where the priest was supposed to say that George could kiss the bride, the priest decided he wanted to give us his own special little blessing because he had such faith in us. When he was done, he turned us and kinda pushed us down the aisle. George looked at me and asked about the kiss. Well, before he got to kiss me, his uncle grabbed me and kissed me.
This large French Canadian family has to double kiss! Finally George spoke up and grabbed me, then everyone cheered. We had a lovely reception at my mom’s house and George and I quietly slipped away hoping to have a pleasant romantic night. That’s when George informed me that we were expected at his parents’ house for another reception! What???
From then on it went downhill. I’ll leave it with his sister and his cousin’s wife thought it would be fun to get me drunk. When that didn’t happen, they put something in my drink. I’ve never been that sick in my life. George even admitted he thought about taking me to the Emergency Room. He should have!
Not only did I marry a blue-collar guy from the wrong side of the tracks, I managed to marry into a family that was probably crazier than my own! It’s a good thing I loved him because anyone else would have filed for divorce on Monday morning.
I want to hear about your wedding memories!
This is Leigh’s beautiful cover for her book that will be part of Weddings on Main Street by the Authors of Main Street. Lemons and Shamrocks for a wedding? I can’t wait to read this one!