Saturday, January 8, 2011

Brides and Mother-of-the Brides

Terri at ragsagainstthemachine has a fun topic going on her blog about choosing bridal gowns and mother-of-the-bride dresses. 

I decided to scan some old photos and share a few stories about weddings in our family.

I was married right out of high school and wore a Gunne Sak eyelet long dress that I bought at a department store.  The dress was perfect and I still have it.  The marriage was a disaster and didn't last very long (as everyone predicted).  These are now called EFM's (early first marriages).   I hear everyone should have one.

So.....moving along.........this is me in my (counting now 31 years) marriage.  We got married at Christmas time in my mom and step-dad's 100 year old house.  I made my skirt and vest and all of the floral arrangements.  A friend brought a cake.  I wish I still had those boots!

In 2003, my daughter got married.  Travis had deployed to Korea for 18 months.  They thought they might get married when he returned.  Instead, he called and proposed to her in March.  The wedding was set for July 3 when he would be home on his 30 day leave.  At the same time he proposed, the war in Iraq broke out.

We decided that I wouldn't sew her dress but I would make the bridesmaids', flower girl's and we would work together on the floral stuff.  The wedding was in our back yard/pasture with about 100 people because his family hadn't met our family, and he was home on leave to see everyone! It was a hectic three months!

These were super simple dresses with an overlay.  They began with the embroidered valance my mom found on a clearance sale which became the flower girl's skirt.

The best man was serving in Afghanistan at the time so Travis' dad stood in for him.  Thanks to the U.S. Army we had navy blue, royal blue (with gold stripes no less!), and dark green uniforms to work with in menswear.  Sabra always called this "yellow" (the color of her bridesmaids and flowers) but in reality I usually bought it in the "ivory" sections.  At the last minute I whipped up two dress shirts for the cousins to wear as ring bearers using the leftover fabric from the bridesmaid dresses.  The flower girl had already disintegrated into puddles of tears by this point in time and her mom had taken her home.  The candlelighter cousin, (Mackenzie - where are you?) must have missed the entire photo session.  She was helping her parents who were catering the bbq as well as bringing half the wedding party! 

Now - to Terri's questions about brides and mother of the brides.......

As I said, Sabra and I had jointly agreed that even though she would have liked for me to make her a custom dress - it was going to be way too stressful.  So we walked into a mall in the Kansas City area and tried on dresses from the clearance rack.  She loved this one.  I think it was $225.  She wore it all evening, spilling bbq sauce on it and the back hem was full of grass stains.  After the wedding, I pre-treated it and threw it in a cold water gentle wash.  It looks new and now lives in a bag in my storage room.
I, on the other hand, didn't care what I wore.  And I hated the specialty stuff marketed to mother of the brides.  So I just put it off until the last minute.  My mom finally forced me into a shopping day about two weeks before the wedding.  At that point, I didn't have time to leave for a day at the neighboring bigger city malls.  So I found this one; it fit, it worked and it was fine.  My only regret is that it wasn't anything really "me", no personality, etc.  And it is forever captured in some of the best and only family photos we have.  Oh well!  

I think the bride carries her own beauty and if she is crazy in love and happy - the details of the dress just don't matter much.  I worked in a bridal salon for a short while and it seemed to me that the brides that just wanted to marry their lover were focused on getting a dress so they could move on to more important things.  Some of the other brides were caught up in game playing with their mothers or fiances or whoever - about money and who loves who the most.

I liked that Sabra wanted to wear a poofy white thing and that she was willing to wear it all evening.  Guests enjoy seeing brides in their dresses.  It's so rare that we have these happy, happy family celebrations.  This is my favorite photo of the day.....

I'm not supposed to be "internetting" about military stuff - but this weekend is time of big change for us again.  Please remember our soldiers and their families as we start year ????? what - year seven?? eight? of a war no one really wants.  They are still fighting that war everyday.  Their lives are in constant turmoil even though other issues seem to have taken priority in the rest of our nation.  Lets just say that I would hand over all of my retirement security and stock accounts today if I could trade it for my soldier to be home with his wife and daughter; watching movies and eating snacks in their pj's.  


Terri said...

Kitty--it must be heart-wrenching to watch a soldier depart. That is one experience I've not had to go through. I heard an excellent NPR piece a year ago on how the American public had had to sacrifice during WW2 and that the involvement of the public can make all the difference in the outcome of a conflict.

So much excellent experience for me to keep in mind here. That last photo is indeed excellent and she is a radiant bride.

Your observations about working in a bridal salon were spot on. I mentioned a second bride trying dresses on while my daughter was and I suspect that one was a "bridezilla" in the making. K. & her betrothed have co-habitated now for nearly 5 years, so while K. IS excited...they are 'common law' married already.

Don't yet have a clue what I might find to wear, but I'll wait and see what the color theme proves to be. I've heard black and red?! We will be in the Loose Park Rose Garden in September...

Your bridesmaids' dresses turned out beautifully. But I was immediately struck by your flower arrangement in marriage number 2. Are those pheasant feathers I'm seeing?

Kitty said...

Yes, pheasant feathers! I want to do something with them again soon. They were really striking in the arrangements.

Kitty said...

And yes, I think it is like 1% of the national population that is involved in military combat. Even though much higher percentages are military, within the military there are only certain jobs that see the front lines of war. So a few families end up carrying way too much emotional weight - but they know that risk when they volunteer for the job. And we generally have decades where no front line combat happens. In my case, my daughter fell in love with someone who volunteered for that risk four years before they met and then the mess in Iraq began.

The problem has become that the weight has been multiplied by the repeated deployments. The things I have learned the hard way since this wedding!