Four Women, One Dress

Tonight I am at the sewing machine. I’m remodeling a dress for North Carolina daughter. I can’t be sure it will fit her but I have a fair idea of what is needed. I’m praying with every seam that it will turn out well. I think the prayer will be answered and I’m sewing with confidence.

The material is satin. It’s creamy white and soft and surprisingly different from today’s satin, because it is 70 years old. Seventy years ago, my grandmother sat sewing with this same fabric. She was a skilled seamstress, making a wedding dress for her daughter. Her daughter was a different size than my daughter so I have taken the dress apart to resize and change the design a bit. I have to admire her work. She was careful, and gave attention to details. It was a beautiful dress. I have seen it in the pictures of my mother’s wedding.

Grandmother Clementine Warner Boone

Expectations of what wedding dresses should look like have changed so much from 1950. I don’t know what they are making them out of these days that they should cost thousands of dollars, but I know the one my grandmother worked on was made out of love (and satin, and lace).

The work on this project has been an emotional experience for me. I take apart a seam and realize that was thread put there by her machine. Her hands touched the fabric in this very place as she guided it under the needle. She probably peered closely at that button as she sewed it on, just as I am as I remove it. We are linked, she and I, by many things that aren’t tangible, but this dress can be touched and felt. The whole idea is kind of eerie, almost sacred, to me.

And our daughters, the one who wore it so long ago and the one who will wear it next month, they are also linked by the same dress. Mothers and daughters, four women, seventy years, one dress. I love it. It has specialness that can’t be bought.

But as I said, we will see if it fits and seems appropriate for the ceremony. At the least, it will be in a picture. And to some of us, it will look beautiful. Just sayin’…

Family Wedding Post 3

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The wedding is over. The marriage has just begun.

It’s over and I am the first one back to the quiet house. The others are still at the wedding site helping put things back together. It was definitely an interactive wedding.  My nephew, who hosted the event in his beautiful back yard, went above and beyond the call of family duty. He even had his hired workers over to help string up the lights. His patio and pool area was transformed with a serving area, a bar, numerous tables and the seating area for the ceremony. The pool, waterfalls and palms were gorgeously tropical and the weather was near perfect (maybe a little warm, but definitely could have been worse.).

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They are haning lights for later – the whole crew pitched in.

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Simplicity, this is it.

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The lights, the water, the festive occasion…

 

I’m trying to think of the traditional elements of this wedding. It’s a bit difficult because many of them were dispensed with.  It was a simple ceremony.  There was no music to worry about, no singing, no parades of girls in poufy gowns, no children wandering off to find mommy, or running away with the rings.  The groom escorted his parents in, kissed them and seated them.  The bride, escorted by her parents, did the same. The bride’s father gave a short message. The couple read their promises out loud to each other and exchanged rings. They were pronounced husband and wife and kissed.  We all waited for them to go happily down the aisle but that didn’t happen. They stayed by themselves in front of the audience and acknowledged and thanked everyone for coming. The groom prayed for God’s blessing on the crowd. To be honest, I thought it was a nice departure from the long receiving line where you have to hug and kiss people you don’t know very well and… I just am in favor of getting rid of lines of all kinds, whenever possible. Good job.

This part of the ceremony did finally end when the bride grabbed the groom’s hand and took off with a loud “Let’s party!” That was a bit untraditional as well, but then, that’s my niece. She’s not afraid to be herself.

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“Let’s party!”

And party we did. I am so NOT a party person. I go to occasions like this for love of family, not love of party. But I do like to see other people having a good time. George the chef had done a bang up job with the food, which took the spotlight next.  It was hot, so the bar was busy serving up nice icy cold drinks, and the music started.  People began to get their food and take it to the traditional sit down tables, or the untraditional stand up tables.

Then it began to be apparent that the one part of the planning no one had focused on was clean-up. The bar began to run out of clean glasses. Plates began to clutter tables and counters. But be aware that in every crowd there will be a few people who are clean-up ninjas, and they can’t resist the challenge.  I am one. I love nothing better than to stay inside where there is AC going strong and scrape dirty plates.  I get to see lots of people as they drop off their stuff. I get to be useful and oddly, I really do like washing dishes. It’s like making a difference in the world, one dirty plate at a time.

And when I was done I got to sit down with a cup of coffee and one of the bestest ever cupcakes. I will never recommend traditional wedding cake to anyone again. Really, cupcakes are a great idea and they can be unusual, fancy and delicious.

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The cupcake table was a big hit. The bridal couple got to cut their small tiered cake as usual, but everyone else got to choose from an assortment of ridiculously GOOD personal cakes. How cool is that!?

As I said, I am back at the quiet house, and it is still quiet. I love quiet. There were also a lot of really dirty pans left over from George’s labors. I washed them and cleaned up. I love cleaning up. Two nice things that I like, to finish up a very nice family wedding. I’m just sayin’ – it was good and I think we all had fun.