Thursday, July 15, 2010

Brides and Bridesmaid Dresses

Congratulations to my colleague and friend, Amanda, who married her sweetie, Ryan, last weekend! I love weddings. They make me happy. The affirmation of love and commitment between two people embarking on their lives together always triggers my inner optimist.

The bride was beautiful. Amanda was my student 12 years ago, and now she's my colleague. There's something all circle-of-life about that. I could almost hear Elton John's voice swelling in the background. Okay, maybe not, but there is a sense of satisfaction when your former students are successful, contributing members of society.

Amanda's wedding was my second of the summer. My brother was married on May Day. You can read about that here. When you're in your twenties, you go to a lot of weddings. Somewhere along the line, you realize all your friends are married, and the weddings fall off. This summer was an anomaly. My brother met his soulmate after he'd already done some living, and my colleagues keep getting younger.

The bridesmaid stage is a period in life many young women experience. On my favorite editor blog, Moonrat has called for bridesmaid horror stories, and the entries have been great. My favorite is this story of a cursed bridesmaid dress, but this guy's tux story is pretty good too. Click through and read them all for a chuckle.

The dress stories got me thinking about bridesmaid dresses I've worn. My bridesmaiding was done in the eighties, so you know it was bad.

My first march down the aisle was for my friend, Stacey. She got married on New Year's Eve. The church was still decorated for Christmas and absolutely beautiful. The bridesmaid dresses were...less beautiful. They were velvet...yes a deep, forest green with big eighties shoulders. We were channelling Scarlett O'Hara when she tore down the curtains. Stacey's wedding also started my run of bridesmaiding for failed marriages. She's happy now, so that's some consolation. Plus, all the pictures of those green dresses are gone.

My next trip down the aisle was in a peach number for my college roommate, Shelley. I locked myself out of my car at the fitting, so my relationship with that dress started off on the wrong foot. A guy in the mall parking lot had a slim jim in his car and unlocked my door. I was so young and naive then, it didn't occur to me that most people don't keep slim jims in their glove compartments.

I wish I had a picture of that dress. I was the only bridesmaid wearing frothy peach. Each of the other three had a different pastel. We were a frothy rainbow. Before you disparage Shelley, you should know the pastel rainbow was a very eighties thing to do. I'll bet there are other women out there with rainbow bridesmaids in their wedding albums. On the upside for Shelley, that marriage didn't last. She ended up later with her college sweetheart, so she never has to look at the rainbow bridesmaids again. I would post a picture if I had one, but alas, that rainbow exists only in my memory.

I do have a picture of the oil slick bridesmaid dress. It was silver with swirls of color. The dress is set off nicely by the wreath of flowers in my hair. I'm standing next to Bruce in the pic. How about that silver tux? It was a very shiny wedding. Happily, Jenny and Steve, for whom we wore our shiny clothes, are still going strong. This in spite of the fact Steve told Jenny the dresses she picked looked like an oil slick. I thought the candlelight reflecting softly off our dresses and tuxes was a nice touch. If the lights in the church had been on, the congregation would have needed sunglasses.

The last bridesmaid dress I wore was for my cousin, Tracy. She was married exactly two weeks after me. Bruce and I came back from our honeymoon and went straight to Nashville for her wedding. Not only were our wedding dates close together, we chose bridesmaid dresses in the same color, royal blue. Hers were tea length with a sequined bodice and a little bolero jacket. Without the jacket, the sequins made us look like Tracy's back-up singers.

I've mocked the dress choices of my friends and family, so I suppose it's only fair that I own up to mine. The trend in the eighties was BIG...big hair, big belts, big sleeves. Go big or go home. I was quite enamored of the gigantic sleeves on my bridesmaids' dresses.

Note the sleeves on my wedding dress. I razzed Stacey for the exact same sleeves on the green velvet bridesmaid dress. What goes around comes around.

I wonder if twenty years from now, Amanda will laugh when she looks at her wedding pictures. Probably not. I've noticed a trend in the last few weddings I've attended. Brides have toned it down and selected elegant dresses for their friends. Of course, my friends and I all thought we were being elegant in the eighties, so who knows. And if the stories on Moonrat's blog are any indication, brides are just as crazy as they ever were.

1 comment: