Sunday, October 31, 2010

Let's Pretend

Emily was never a bride for Halloween.
She was an infant ladybug in a bright red Onesie with black felt spots glued here and there.
She was a two-year-old Raggedy Ann.  We tried to get her to look just like the dolls my mother sewed.(Eighteen-inch  Raggedy Ann and Andy pairs and one life-size set).  Mom actually crocheted the leggings Em wore  under her Raggedy-Annish apron – one row red yarn, one row white yarn, one- red, one, white, and so on. Pretty darn authentic we  thought. I have  a photo of her brother Conor in his high chair, tearing off a red wig that was supposed to make him look like her partner Andy.  He mostly looked like a seven- month-old who was really annoyed by the mop of yarn on his head
I also remember Em, a three-year-old Halloweener, dressed as a little mouse in brown  tights and turtleneck and teenie felt ears. She had trouble keeping the tail on. The next year, she enhanced the image dressing up as Minnie Mouse in an orange  pinafore – with huge white polka dots –  and an official  set of Mouseketeer ears – her father’s from his youth.
The next year a clown costume suited her– with its right-side orange and left-side black harlequin pattern.  The colors alternated on the sleeves. 
And then when she was six she became Beauty –  and what a beauty she was -- the year the Disney film came out. Her costume called for a shiny gold fabric. Its pattern placed tucks and gathers exactly where the tucks and gathers appeared on the cartoon gown in the movie. A bitch to sew, but, in the end, worth every stitch taken and stitch ripped out.
Somewhere along the memory lane of pretend, she was also an Indian maiden, Pippi Longstocking, and even the Runaway Bunny, though I think those might have had more to do with school functions – not Halloween.
By the looks of her pretend- to- be choices through the years, I wouldn’t have said she thought much about being a bride. 
That is – until the day of BFF Meghan’s wedding when Em said, “Yeah I remember all those times Meghan and I would pretend it was our wedding day.” For the first time I pictured the two of them as preteens, then adolescents, and then young ladies chattering about flowers, giggling about grooms, as Em went on to say.“We’d pretend, like it was a dream, and now, here it is – Meghan’s wedding day.” Yes, there it was. And here is  Em’s wedding dream just around the corner. No pretending now.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Listless? Not a Chance!

I can’t get through a day without lists: grocery lists, to-do lists, Letterman’s Top Ten Lists.  So when I found’s The Mother of the Bride Checklist,  I was in heaven.  (
The ehow site even beats the MOTB responsibilities site I posted  last week. ( Why? Because lists are different than responsibilities. They motivate more than intimidate. They make the grand  task of staying organized – and functional – manageable.  It’s  like the difference between telling a child, “Clean your room,” (DAUNTING RESPONSIBILITY) or saying, “Put dirty clothes in the hamper,  find the hamster, then vacuum” (FEASIBLE PLAN). And with a list,  you get to check off each accomplishment as you go along.
I can get very overwhelmed thinking about hosting the biggest party I’ve ever thrown.  Planning Em's wedding, even with her help, is so much more complicated than the makings of my small affair thirty years ago (less than 100 guests, one attendant, a friend snapping pictures through the day). Whoever heard of videographers then? Save the Date magnets? Candy bars! (I’m not talking  a few Snickers here, but a veritable sugar buffet).
I have a friend who can’t do without her lists either.  She always starts her to-dos with a couple of tasks she’s already finished - so she can check them off  as “done”immediately.  It’s a feel good thing.
Taking her advice, I'll  start today's list with
1.    Book the venue (The Barns at Wesleyan Hill) in Middletown        DONE           
2.    Reserve two hotel blocks The Inn at Middletown
3. Em's wedding dress                         A WORK IN PROGRESS
4. Guest List (ehow calls it grunt work) ANOTHER WORK IN PROGRESS
5. Start thinking about flowers


Friday, October 15, 2010

Classy Role Models



Three of my favorite MOTBs pulled off three remarkable weddings this summer.   Each faced a formidable challenge: the paparazzi, long-distance, and the elements.
 It took nothing less than the prowess of the Secretary of These United States to keep her daughter Chelsea's nuptuals  hidden from imposing cameras. Hillary managed to keep the wedding location as clandestine as a State Secret. The New York Times reported that even  guests did not know exactly where the wedding was going to take place.  The invitation read more like treasure hunt instructions than a formal  announcement of the particulars. It designated not a venue, but a vicinity - within driving distance of Manhattan. The precise location was sent to guests  a week before the  event.
Mary Jo
While Hillary planned Chelsea's wedding far from D.C, Donna, a Northeasterner, orchestrated her daughter (Em's BFF) Meghan's wedding in the buckle of the Beltway.  Though the bride and the groom grew up in New England, both had settled in the nation's capital after college graduation. Two years later they set their hearts on a red, white, and blue wedding at the National Cathedral. Mom had to pull together a destination wedding.  Securing church, reception hall, menus, hotel blocks etc. called for frequent jaunts 350 miles south, oftentimes by car - a car that carted close to 100 hotel welcome bags, a wardrobe of bridal wear, and cases of refreshment along with the ParentsOTB the week before the big day.

  Mary Jo put her faith in Mother Nature when she planned an outdoor reception for her daughter Ariele's nuptuals. How inclement  could a Labor Day weekend be?  As if to test her trust, the Outdoor Mom of All Seasons ushered in the approach of this New Jersey affair with a week of thick, difficult-to-breath-in humidity and  then a hurricane warning, the rainy effects of which squeaked by the day before the ceremony. Though I get the feeling this celebration would have been sunny, even in a downpour, the power of positive thinking was put into play. Mary Jo initiated Facebook posts from Jersey shore to Boston shore, directing Hurricane Eric out to sea. Oh the power of the social network! Nary a drop rained on the wedding party parade. The celebration went without a hitch (except for the hitching of the bride and groom)  in an outdoor tent aglow with white lights and lanterns. The night air was as clear as the chime of a wedding bell.

  I get the feeling the Mother who has run a wedding could run a country. She has to direct the  show - on a tight schedule, stick to the budget, feed the masses, keep the peace - and her cool. If Hillary ever does consider running for a higher office, I can suggest two cabinet members.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Traditionally Speaking

from   (with commentary)


The Primary responsibility of the Mother of the Bride is to see that the bride's wishes are carried out the bride's way.Emily will like that!  It will be your responsibility to help the bride plan her wedding with her tastes in mind…not your's, unless, it is the true desire of the bride to "let mom run things." Hmmmm. Probably not.
 Here are your primary responsibilities:
  1. Help the bride select her wedding attire.Done and doing - even undergarments!. Remember, this is not your wedding.Never thought it was.  If you find yourself talking the bride out of a gown she loves, you may be overreaching or auditioning for an episode of "Say Yes to the Dress." 
  2. Help the bride and groom decide on a wedding budget .Done.  Settling money issues upfront is always best.  A good clear budget will help everyone with their expectations We  set up a Wedding Checking Account.  Em has one debit card. Mom has the other.That way - all purchases are documented in bank online records.  The bank rep thought whoever thought of the idea was brilliantI'm still bowing! 
  3. In the event that the Mother of the Groom does not contact you, you will make the first contact. We Facebook each other :) See each other regularly.
  4. See that the guest lists are put together. We've decided to draw the line at first cousins. Invited friends of parents must know bride and groom. (Got that one from Hillary.  That's why her boss --  Obama -- wasn't invited to Chelsea's wedding ! We're hoping to keep the # at 150)  The invitations must be ordered as soon as possible, and the guest list will be critical in making your invitation order.
  5. Reservations for out-of-town guests, invited by the bride's family, are the responsibility of the mother of the bride. It will be much more convenient if a block of rooms are reserved at a nearby hotel, which is near her home. Two blocks have been reserved - one in Middletown, the other in Cromwell. 
  6. Choose your gown for the wedding day. Hold on, that's at least one diet away! Immediately tell the Mother of the Groom the colors and style so that she may begin looking for a complimentary gown. Thinkin' something in sage, oatmeal, apple crisp.  Seems I'm always drawn to colors you can eat - butterscotch, chocolate, fudge! Send a swatch of material to the Mother of Groom if possible.
  7. See that instructions for the actual ceremony are given.  This includes the seating schedule and the receiving line at reception, as well as any special touches the bride may choose to have at her wedding. One bride and groom  request: no reception line.  I think # 1 (this is not my wedding) overrulles  #7 (schedule reception line) here.
  8.  The role as mother of the bride, in the ceremony, may include lighting the family candle on the altar, along with the mother of the groom.  Family candles are lit after the candle lighters have left the altar area, and prior to the entrance of the wedding party. Thinkin' ahead, I'm pretty sure I'll be too nervous to play with matches.
  9. Find a trusted friend or family member who is not in the wedding party to assist you throughout the wedding.  Oh Donna. Can you hear me? You are the hostess for the entire event!  Find someone who will help you with some of the details…sometimes a professional is best.
  10. Be familiar with the responsibilities of the Maid of Honor.  You may want to have a conversation with the Maid of Honor to coordinate and avoid stepping on each other's toes. Really?
  11. I get it.  The Mommy of the Bride traditionally LOVES, ENCOURAGES, AND SETS REASONABLE LIMITS for her baby.  Sounds like what she has been doing for decades.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Girly Girls

I haven't had many girly girl days lately, but yesterday was one. Emily and  (future bridesmaid) Mary picked me up to go to the  dress fitting.We three hadn't planned to wear pink, but each of us had a touch of the rosey hue on - enough maybe, to look like coordinated back- up singers for  Counting Crows (a woman can fantasize, can't she?). 

The first hour on the Mass Pike I mostly listened to the  gals upfront catch up on their families, their guys, Em's work days (teaching) and Mary's work nights (singing lead -- not back-up -- in a band). By the time we pulled onto 495N  they were planning their Halloween costumes. Em was pretty sure she would resurrect her Army-girl-in-camouflage-dress from her colllege days. (Picture an updated Nellie Forbush, emceeing the USO show, in South Pacific). Mary planned as she spoke. She'd wear something she already had - boots,  something she could borrow from Em - a ruffled shirt.  If she added a bandana,  eyepatch, and hearty yo ho ho, she could  be a pirate, a pretty pirate, a girly girl pirate.

I like to put on a completely different persona for Halloween. One soooo not me, at least not the everyday, ever busy, ever productive me. And yes I had thought about it.  Something Jersey Shore maybe - which is about as far from the everyday me as I can get. 

Last year Em' s brother Conor dressed up (or maybe I should say slightly undressed) ala The Situation. Conor's girlfriend -- a musical theatre major -- acted her way through a hoot of a Snooki impersonation. ( Sober, they tell me.) I can't pull off  Snooki.  But what about an older, nurturing Snooki? An over-the-hill Mother Snooki.? I could resurrect and tweak my old Brooklyn accent  I'm sure I  have a short, tastefully plunging little black dress. It shouldn't be hard to find my gaudy jewelry and eye makeup  from my Cleopatra whim last year. " All I need is a poofy do," I told the girls."I'll spray it with  gray streaks - just so no one thinks I'm the real Snookie!" Mary says she might have a pair of Snooki heels I can borrow. We both wear size six

Planning Em's wedding brings out the girly girl in me. I won't be dressed in pink on the wedding day.  Neither will Em or Mary or any of the other girls in her wedding party.  But we'll grin and giggle and enjoy being girls more and more through every month of planning and playing our way to October 8, 2011. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Psssst . . .

Mary and I have a secret.

Mary, Em's close high school friend, is going to be one of her bridesmaids. At eight this morning Em, Mary, and I headed to Lowell, MA to see seamstress Jen's hand-basted alterations on Em's wedding gown. Jen had to take apart the whole bodice -- bust, mid-section, and rear -- and rebuild it. For the first time Em was able to model the dress without having to bunch six-plus inches of material in a clip across her back - so it wouldn't fall off her. There's just a tad more left to take in. Then the gown will be ready to bring back to Connecticut to hang in a closet at my house (we wouldn't want Ryan stumbling upon it in their apartment when he's looking for his white PA-in-training jacket). That's one more item -- a very essential item -- that's almost ready for October, 2011.

Oh yes - the secret Mary and I share is how beautiful Emily looked in the gown.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Not the Doggie

First things first. I started this blog yesterday: Mommy of the Bride. I posted it to Facebook. When I called it up on FB- there was my thumbnail headline(MOTB:The Countdown Begins)next to a photo of my dog. A cute dog, I know, but really - I am not blogging about an upcoming canine nuptial. This had to be remedied.

. It took me a while to figure out how to download a past FB profile pix to blogspot, one of the MOTB and Bride2B having a grand time at the B's BFF's wedding shower three months ago. In time I got the photo of Past Bride (me) with Future Bride (Em) to appear in the lower corner of my blogspot page, ). All was then right with the blog, or so I thought. I logged back on to FB. Winnie-the-Pooch still heralded the Day One blog in a picture that must be stuck in the bowels of a Google profile of mine (since blogspot is a Google site), posted some time, some place, long, ago. A picture, btw, taken by the Groom2B over two years ago.

Now I'm thinking that maybe the doggie image can't be replaced in the first blog because once posted - there's no turning back. (Kind of like marriage - you think?) I'm hoping that Blog Day Two, when posted, will live up to its title: Not the Doggie. Let's see.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Countdown Begins

Mommy and the Bride-to-be
Fifty-two weeks from today Em will marry Ry. This is not new news. They have been engaged for over a year. The ceremony will be four o'clock in the afternoon at the Barn at Wesleyan (booked over a year ago), followed by hordeourrves on the patio and a country buffet in the Barn. There will be mums and sunflowers and sun (we hope), moonlight and hundreds of white bulbs (the electric kind) to enhance the venue.

Em has her dress. Monday we will travel to the Boston area to see hand-basted alterations of the dress on her. Em is a size 2 or 4. She fell in love with a size 14 dress, so we have put great faith into a young seamstress, who works for Nordstroms, who couldn't wait to get her hands on the large dress to fit petite Em. Good sign. Especially since seamstress number one wasn't good enough and seamstress number two was afraid to touch it.

The pressure's on, I'm told, now that we are just one year away, but I'm fine if Em's fine, and she seems like she couldn't be happier, Stay tuned as we set out sights - down the aisle.