Back When We Had Both World Enough and Time

by M
6 years ago

Who says you can't have your cake and eat it, too? Why, I believe that's just what we are about to do in this photo taken 29 years ago. Our post-Christmas wedding was on an unseasonably warm January day, very much like today, in fact, which rendered my mother's year of incessant fretting about the prospect of snow completely unwarranted.


And her fretting at the reception about everyone donning these clown noses and ears and all of the frivolity and crazy photo ops that ensued...well, let's just say you don't get through the 29 years following this day without at least a modicum of humor.

My brother Mark and a friend, serving as ushers, saw supervising the use of these accoutrements as part of their role, perhaps to offset the discomfort of wearing tuxes. Frankly, the clown ears and noses cost pennies on the dollar when compared to the photo booth and props I saw at a wedding reception last fall. Just a thought for frugal future brides.

My choice of dress was clearly inspired by Princess Diana's, mine was just more princessy and comprised of one less football-field of material. Plus, mine was not inflatable.

My dream dress struck a bit of a medieval look, which suited an English literature major quite well: an ivory satin Priscilla of Boston princess cut with fitted bodice that blossomed into a fuller floor-length skirt and train that could be bustled, satin buttons all the way down the back, a sweetheart neckline, and long fitted sleeves that puffed out from the elbow to the shoulder.

It had no lace---that was a primary consideration in my criteria---because I understood myself not to be a "lace" sort of person at the tender age of 24. My veil, by necessary contrast, was marked by an elegant lace motif with bead accents, edged in beads, and anchored by an ivory pearl Juliet cap.

Forgive my little reverie, but what better day to contemplate the style of your wedding dress than your anniversary?

The church aisle was lined with candles and ivy, the altar blanketed in red pointsettias. At the reception immediately following, there was live music and lively dancing enjoyed by family and friends. The wedding day's festivities spawned countless stories we all still tell, including the one where I get my hair braided by my sister's friend at a dry cleaners after the salon couldn't replicate the simple style they had rehearsed a week prior.

And the one where the fitted bodice of a bridesmaid's cranberry moire taffeta dress splits on each side as she comes down the aisle because it was basted instead of sewn when altered to fit her slender figure. (She cleverly clutched her bouquet of rubrum lilies and let the pouf of taffeta covering her upper arms hide the seamstress's gaffe throughout the nuptial Mass, making a quick pit stop at home to sew it up before the reception.)

As I recall, I spent the first portion of the reception in the powder room where a dear friend's mom worked feverishly and repeatedly to secure my veil's comb in my uncooperative pin-straight hair until I finally abandoned wearing it altogether later in the evening. This wardrobe malfunction caused me to miss tasting the painstakingly chosen stuffed mushroom caps offered our guests by servers with trays. The after-the-fact-questioning about this segment of the reception is part of our wedding lore to this day.

See, this is the stuff of which marriages are made: resourcefulness, resilience, humor, patience, support of family and friends, and a healthy respect for each other even when you are wearing clown noses.  Oh, and an endless stream of stories you both lived to tell. Did I already say patience?

I'd love to calculate the hours I spent poring over bride magazines and ideas for that meticulously decorated wedding cake and the planning and the organizing and the meeting with all of those prospective florists and caterers and wedding industry folks. And then I'd like to have those hours back.

I've got so many far more pressing things to use them for now, like taking down a gigantic Frasier fir Christmas tree sagging under the weight of a diverse assortment of ornaments we've jointly acquired over a 29-year period. This array includes a rather full set of remarkable and slightly fragile, one-of-a-kind ones crafted by hands that we can hardly believe now were once that tiny.

Indeed, endeavors such as this take infinitely more time than you could ever have even imagined back when you first began starring in your own love story.

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