Tag Archives: wedding dress

End of Season Clearance

This year’s wedding season is over and I’ve walked away with a lot of memories, apricot jam,  Indian cookies and a wooden item that I’m pretty sure is either a letter opener or a shoehorn (I’ve been using it as both).

The weddings we have attended have been near and far and incredibly diverse. There was an Indian wedding complete with a horse on the guest list, a Montreal extravaganza with original songwriting and interpretive dance numbers, a chic black tie affair and an old-fashioned clam bake. And the best part was, we only had to show up. Here are the highlights from each event:

 

Men In Black

One of Sebastien’s work colleagues invited us to a black tie wedding at the New York Palace Hotel. Super chic. I’m pretty sure the dress code for regular hotel guests is black tie, too. Fortunately we followed protocol and had no trouble at the door. Sebastien rented a tux and I just wore my wedding dress again. (Getting a blue wedding dress was the best idea ever.) When we arrived however, it seemed that other guests believed the black tie to be optional. One girl was wearing a plaid dress from H&M and several guys were in the basic suit and tie. I hoped that they would get formally reprimanded by the hosts.

Here we are, appropriately dressed

Here we are, appropriately dressed

The majority of the guests were either Harvard or MIT grads and they were mostly interested in asking me what I did and then looking unimpressed. I was mostly interested in practicing my extremely limited Japanese on the sushi chefs at the cocktail hour, though.

A guy named Pete asked if he could join Sebastien and I at our table. He was another MIT grad, but he was pretty cool. (I don’t think he would even register on the autism spectrum.) Pete lived between Boston and New York and owned his own company. Something financial. I zoned out when he and Sebastien talked shop. Pete lived in Berlin for a while and traveled around a lot, so we all found a common interest. I told him about the time I took my dad to China. “Be prepared when you’re traveling to Asia with a senior citizen,” I said. “Two hours after we landed in the country, my dad managed to lose all of his insulin. And he kept leaving his cane all over the place.”

At dinner, Sebastien was seated beside a woman with incredibly bad breath so we spent as much time as possible on the dance floor. It was at this wedding that I learned I could no longer wear heels.

 

Buddha Belly

As traditional as I’ve heard Indian weddings can be, this one was probably the most relaxed and unstructured wedding that I have ever attended.

It started outside, where we followed the groom who rode in on a horse. Most people danced around. I stood on the sidelines fanning myself because you could do that if you wanted. (If I had known ahead of time, I might have even stayed in the air conditioned lobby with the croissants and coffee because you could do that, too.)

Then we all went to the country club balcony to find our seats for the ceremony. I’m not really sure what went down during the ceremony because there was so much going on. The bride and groom and priest were talking under a canopy-like structure called a mandap while kids played in the garden and guests chatted with one another. A lot of people were on their phones or looking down at newspapers and servers kept stopping by with mango lassis and water I couldn’t keep up with what section of the ceremony we were on, but every now and then we were encouraged to get up and throw rice at the bride and groom.

Then in the middle of the ceremony, a voice came on the loudspeaker and announced that the buffet was open. Right in the middle of the couple dancing around some rice or placing jewels on one another’s forehead or something. Sebastien and I looked around at the other guests to make sure this wasn’t a trick. Sure enough, everyone — family members, friends, acquaintances — shuffled into the reception hall to eat while the bride and groom finished up. It was so refreshing that for once we didn’t have to feign interest in a religious ritual. (I mean it’s cool if that’s your thing, but let’s be honest, that’s the most boring part of a wedding.)

The food was amazing and we hung around and chatted with some friends. After lunch, there was a four hour break until the evening when the wedding picked up again. But we only had a rental car for the day and couldn’t stay. On the way back I got to practice driving a bit, which was awesome. And I parallel parked.

 

Do you take this lobster

The second we entered Cape Cod I harassed Sebastien until he stopped at a roadside diner so I could get a lobster roll. I thought it was going to be my only chance. Boy was I wrong.

I ordered a monster of a sandwich, which, by the way cost $18. Is it just me or does that seem a little ridiculous? I was in Cape Cod so I figured that the lobsters there just walked ashore and accidentally fell into boiling pots of water. Then we got changed at a motel that reminded me of the place John Cusack’s character stayed at in “Identity.” I hoped that our evening would turn out better.

And it did.

Going in I knew this wedding was filled with more Harvard grads so I had already planned on passing myself off as a cat whisperer if anyone asked what I did for a living. (It wasn’t a total lie. We foster kitten and I do have a way with them.) But it never came up. The ceremony was short and I spent most of the cocktail hour talking to a really pregnant woman. She was telling me about ridiculous hospital procedures in NYC. For instance, she was told that she had to show up at the hospital with a car seat to take the newborn home in or they wouldn’t discharge her. “We don’t even have a car because we live in the city, but I need to buy a car seat so I can take my child home.”

When we all sat down for dinner, servers handed out bibs, wet wipes, crackers and tiny forks. A pot bigger than me was wheeled into the dining hall and we all got our very own lobster. I took a romantic photo with my lobster, which I named Manfred, before devouring him.

The lobster and I

The lobster and I

I also used the opportunity to tell everyone at our table about the history of lobsters and how they used to be a poor man’s food. “Lobsters are the cockroaches of the ocean,” I said, sucking flesh out of the claw.

 

It’s a Small World

The last wedding of the season was Sebastien’s cousin’s in Montreal. Berenice is Polish and Haitian and her husband to be is German and Indian. So there were guests from all of those countries. Then there were a number of Brazilians in attendance because Sanjay, the husband, spent some time living in Brazil. My brain was pretty fried by the end of the night bouncing from language to language. And so many of the bride and groom’s friends were artists who all put on great shows. We had a belly dancer, a Brazilian band, a few singer-songwriters and a poet who read to us in multiple languages.

Since it was assumed that we were all  artists, someone announced that we should draw pictures in the guestbook. I drew a picture of a bunny rabbit with arms that looked like boobs. I didn’t know how to fix it so I just signed Sebastien’s name underneath. (At least it was better than how Sebastien and I defiled another friend’s wedding guestbook with random, bizarre phrases and sentences. I filled a page writing Redrum. On another page I wrote, help I’m trapped in this book and I cant get out.)

I didn’t see a cameraman once during the reception and was worried that there wouldn’t be any documentation of Sebastien and I enjoying ourselves, so we asked Sebastien’s sister to capture us having a good time.

 

Showing our table mates that we're ready for candid photos of people having fun.

Showing our table mates that we’re ready for candid photos of people having fun.

 

All and all it was an awesome summer of weddings. Please invite us to more.

 

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No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service

Some people have asked me about the dress code for the wedding. I’m a little confused by the question, and sickened.

As soon as I heard the words “dress code,” my palms started to sweat and my heartbeat sped up. Flashbacks of Ms. Becker, the administrator at my middle school who lurked the halls enforcing an arbitrary dress code, flooded my mind. As my preteen friends and I walked the halls of Westpine Middle in Sunrise, Florida, we would pull our shorts down to make them longer and hunch over so our shirts didn’t expose any hint of a belly, just so we wouldn’t have to deal with that wretched woman. Whenever Ms. Becker was around, she would pluck us out of the hallway and make us place our hands by our side to see that our shorts came down as far as the tips of our fingers. If the shorts were a fraction above our fingertips or if they were the slightest bit frayed, she would call our parents and send us home to change.

There was no stopping this woman. She even got to my mom who, whenever we went back-to-school shopping, would crouch down next to us in the JCPenny dressing room and use measuring tape to make sure all our clothes met Ms. Becker’s rigid standards.

I eventually started wearing jeans and long sleeve shirts because I preferred to look like a jackass in the Florida heat than endure anymore time with the administrator.

I will not put my wedding guests through that kind of torture. I’m surprised anyone even asked about a dress code. People can wear short or long dresses or no dresses at all to my wedding. I don’t really care. I’m not going to turn people away at the door. And if you feel you must wear flip flops to an indoor wedding in March, just don’t let me see them. I won’t kick you out, but I might get nauseous because I can’t stand the sight of people’s feet in flip flops. Sebastien will just mock you.


The Best Uneventful Event of the Year

I bought my wedding dress a few weeks ago. The transaction took all but five minutes. It was incredibly uneventful and thus fulfilling. It was the first time I successfully made an online purchase of clothing. At my old job I would spend a few hours a week just browsing department store websites and add random articles of clothing to my virtual shopping bag only to close the window when it was time for my three-hour lunch break or online courses of German, Japanese or Spanish. The job was excruciatingly boring so I took the opportunity to indulge in various hobbies. Online shopping was one of them. But I always left the websites before making a purchase because I was never confident that the clothing would fit well or be exactly what I wanted.

My last venture into online shopping was on a website that supposedly catered to body shapes. After an evening of figuring out the measurements of various parts of my body, I typed the numbers into the website form so the site could recommend clothes. One day when I was at work adding random things to my shopping cart, I noticed a pair of black jeans the site thought would look good on me. When I was picking out a size, though, it suggested size 10. At the time I thought the pants ran incredibly small, but now I know the company just wanted to get rid of its last pair in stock. And the company guessed right when they assumed I would be too lazy to return them.

I had to borrow Sebastien’s belt the few times I wore the jeans to keep them from falling to my knees whenever I walked. I looked like an anorexic who didn’t know how to spend the money she was saving by not eating on better fitting clothes to flatter her shrinking frame. I eventually started to use the pants as a last resort rag for excess spills and the website was shut down.

Another time I wanted to replace my favorite pair of brown boots. They were my favorite because whenever I wore them I could see the envy on the faces of other women as they passed me on the street. I spent years browsing stores and websites to find the perfect pair until I found comparable ones online. The display picture was spot on with what I was looking for. Now whenever I wear them I look like a fucking cowboy.

As much as I preferred the lack of human interaction, I didn’t think the online shopping world was for me. But I knew I had to try it to find a dress for this wedding. I just couldn’t deal with walking into stores so overweight, middle-aged women wearing too much makeup could nudge me towards white, balloon-shaped wedding gowns with peacock feathers coming out of the ass.

My online purchase arrived a few days later and cost less $80. It was truly the best uneventful event of the year.


Where Nice Dresses Go to Die

OK, I haven’t purchased my dress yet, but I’m a little concerned about what I am going to do with it afterward. I know a lot of women like to keep their dress in a clothes bag in the closet, and I never understood why. Perhaps they want to wear it around the house to take advantage of the continuous supply of gifts their Alzhemier’s suffering parents bring every time they stop by. It might also be good to have around if a woman needs a last minute dead zombie bride Halloween costume. Or, the woman might want to have the dress handy in case their man runs off so they can quickly get remarried to make their now ex-husband jealous.

Despite all of those possibilities, I don’t think I’ll be holding on to whatever dress I find. We live in a small apartment so every square inch counts. There’s a loft, too, which is where I usually just throw stuff I don’t want to look at, but it’s getting pretty crowded up there.

So, here’s what I think I am going to do with the dress once the wedding is over:

I will probably take out a life insurance plan beforehand, as a nice send-off to Sebastien in case anything happens to me.


All’s Quiet at Running of the Brides

A few months ago I saw an advertisement for an event called The Running of the Brides. It is an annual event that takes place at Filene’s Basement stores around the country and gives brides-to-be free reign to scratch one another, poke eyes and pull hair just to get a bargain on that perfect wedding dress.

It had been a few years since my last trip to the zoo, so I thought I’d go see what all the fuss was about.

I looked up some information beforehand. Several websites offered tips on the best ways to manage this day. One site suggested that brides get a team of friends together and give them instructions on what to look for in the store. Another advised women to wear sports bras and swimsuit bottoms underneath loose fitting clothes so they could easily try on dresses in the middle of the aisle. And the one key component that all of the websites suggested was for groups to arrive early, some said as early as 4am so they could get in quick when the store opened at 8.

I ignored all of that advice and showed up in my work clothes at 5:30 that evening.

When I arrived it looked like a normal day at Filene’s Basement. People were filtering in and out of the entrance in a normal fashion and I couldn’t make out any frantic women shoving one another into the glass windows of the store. Did I have the wrong location? Wrong day?

I took the escalator up to the store and when I entered, saw rows of white dresses on racks. There were a few groups of women milling about, but nothing too extreme. As I started to browse the white dresses (a color I will not be wearing) I passed a group of women in bright pink t-shirts that said “Bridesmaid” or “Maid of Honor” to identify their role in the team. Another group was in pajamas and each of the girls was holding a wand. I felt sorry for them. Maybe if they had been here on time like all of those other devoted brides and friends of brides, their efforts would have been appreciated. At this hour though, the sentiment was lost on people like me who really didn’t care about paying $499 for a Vera Wang wedding dress.

Of course, there was also the possibility that I was wrong. Maybe people weren’t as hyped up about weddings as the advertisements would have you believe and these poor girls were victims of a marketing tactic. Maybe for once people were starting to realize that it wasn’t worth it to get excited about a dress that spends most of its time in an attic. Maybe Filene’s Basement was trying to hold on to the last vestiges of an industry that is past its prime.

And then I saw a woman struggle out of a wedding dress in the middle of the aisle. She stood in her sports bra and panties waiting for a member of her entourage to return with another dress. The half empty dressing rooms were a mere 20 feet away, but this bride-to-be didn’t care about that. Nor did she mind the strange men looking at her while pretending to browse ties and polo shirts in the aisle over. She was on a mission to find the perfect wedding dress and nothing was going to crush her enthusiasm.


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