DEBORAH CROMBIE: Our daughter got engaged two weeks ago. This was no big surprise, as she and her now-fiance have been together for five years. We adore him, and are thrilled for them both. But now we get to the tricky part... THE WEDDING.
Even as a little girl my daughter had no interest in weddings. As she moved into her twenties and began to do her stints as bridesmaid and maid-of-honor, she swore that IF she ever got married, it would be on a beach somewhere with no one but the groom in attendance.
The one sentimental thing she really wanted was her grandmother's wedding band, which she's now wearing as an engagement ring and will wear as a wedding ring. And she has pretty much stuck to the simple ceremony, although not on a beach. The wedding itself will be private, with the three sets of parents (two on her side; mom and step-dad, dad and step-mom) and the couple's best friends.
But the other stuff... oh, my. Now suddenly there's a DRESS. And a RECEPTION (AKA a BIG PARTY. A REALLY BIG PARTY.) A venue. Invitations. Catering. Music. Flowers. Photos. Cake. A DJ. And a registry, although it's on Amazon. The guest list is climbing towards a hundred.
I'm sure it will all be lovely (having made certain that I am not required to wear a mother-of-the-bride dress) and knowing my daughter's planning and organizing skills, I'm certain that everything will come off without a hitch. But how did the "simple no-fuss wedding" turn into a BIG DO????
So, fellow REDS, when you tied the knot, did you opt for the simple wedding, or did you go all out? And were you happy with the choice you made?
LUCY BURDETTE: Congratulations Deb, to you and your daughter!
Ah, weddings...I've had two:). The first one truly was simple, with a dress I sewed myself and a pig roast in a field for the reception. Oh, and we made the cake too--a big Titanic of a structure--pounds and pounds of heavy butter cake frosted with whipped sugar and Crisco.
For the second celebration (and last I hope!), I wanted more of the trimmings I'd passed up first time around. So I had a real bride's dress and a veil and my sisters as bridesmaids. But as John and I were paying and trying not to act too young and silly, but still celebrating like we meant it, I made a lot of the reception food and we danced under a tent in the back yard. A wonderful time--and a keeper of a husband, most important of all!
HALLIE EPHRON: I did have a simple wedding. It was the 1960s and I wore a short white cotton lace dress from Mexico. It never occurred to me to wear a veil. We had it in my parents New York apartment which barely held all 50 guests, mostly my husband's relatives.
I don't remember much. It rained. My husband's brother's wife arrived wearing a white lace pantsuit so some of the guests thought she was the bride. The rabbi who presided had lost his job earlier that day and arrived drunk, went on for about forty-five minutes quoting from Kahlil Gibran. I walked down the "aisle" in tears, reacting to some constructive criticism offered by my sister Nora. The best part was Jerry who's turned out to be a keeper and the baby lamb chops which were delicious.
Two years ago my daughter let me help plan her wedding, go with her to shop for a dress... the works. It was lovely.
My advice: SLOW DOWN, enjoy everything about it, and don't forget to eat.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Well, HURRAY!! SO wonderful..and very exciting. So nice, and it just brings tears to my eyes.
As for me, I've tried all kinds of weddings... My first one, :-( we got married in Acapulco, with a slinky white dress and lots of flowers from the central market, swooped up that morning. Family only...very chic but small and low key. Very very nice guy--but , honestly, knew it was a mistake the moment I walked down the aisle. Which was over a swimming pool.
(This is me--Acapulco 1971. The woman with the purse is my stepfather's mother, who NEVER liked me. As you can tell.)
Wedding two--big blowout... Me in Carolina Herrera, LOVED the dress, white long flowey chiffon skirt and heavy white silk suit jacket top. I'd wear it now.
You know about my wedding number three--and final--very small at the Four Seasons, then a big big party elsewhere with dancing. Black and gold wonderful dress. I did not have a DROP of food, but I hear it was wonderful.
My advice--almost nothing material matters. Whatever your daughter wants, or whatever you want... It'll be fine...Everything will be lovely. The production can take over the joy--one pal almost came to blows with her mother, because she didn't want to wear white gloves. I mean-please.
I tell all brides and moms: during the reception, get a pal to PRETEND to talk to you--so you can take a moment and look at everything--take it all in...this is a moment in your life that's full of love and friends...and you don't want to miss it..
RHYS BOWEN: Guess what, Debs? My son also got engaged two weeks ago (I found out about it on Facebook while I was in Greece). As mother of the groom I guess I back off and wear beige (only I'm not going to do the latter) and they want my help finding an outdoor setting in the middle of "nature". Did you know that holding a wedding at a winery costs $8000 before you have anything to eat or drink? We're hoping to find a friend with a meadow or ranch willing to let us invade.
My own wedding was also simple in the extreme. We got married in Sydney, Australia. We had few friends and even fewer family connections. I had an uncle who walked me down the aisle and John had a very elderly cousin. So about 10 people in the church, but we did throw a big party for friends instead of a stag night. My one regret was that I love music and there was none at the ceremony. I also made my outfit--ivory linen dress and matching coat--something I could wear on another occasion, ever practical. But I loved shopping for spectacular wedding dresses for my daughters, one raw silk with a train and embroidered with pearls. And I'm already looking forward to the upcoming wedding.
ROSEMARY HARRIS: I'm loving the pig roast in the field...
Only did it once. And that's still the plan. I didn't think I wanted a wedding with all hoopla but I guess I had one. We got married at the boathouse in Central Park. After deciding on that, my husband's wonderful assistant, Mariella, did much of the grunt work. (When they asked me if I wanted sprigs of rosemary tied to the napkins my eyes may have rolled back in my head.) Somewhere there's a wedding pic of us in a gondola on Central Park Lake.
I tried to stay sane with the details. I did the flowers myself with the help of the folks at Pound Ridge Nursery, woven baskets with plants and flowers - I planted the hydrangeas in the garden. Didn't have a photographer, did the disposable camera thing. Told my bridesmaids to just find a long dark blue dress that they liked and they'd be fine. I didn't even have my hair done - Bruce and I went to a Knicks playoff game that afternoon so there was no time. Luckily it didn't go into overtime or we might have been late.
Congrats, Debs and Rhys!
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Congratulations, Debs and Rhys! And best wishes to the soon-to-be-newlyweds. I LOVE hearing all your wedding stories. Ross and I tied the knot on the front porch of my grandmother's Greek Revival house, with about forty family members and friends in attendance. It was a largely do-it-yourself wedding, which can be the best kind so long as you don't go crazy over details. ("Oh, no! I forgot twine for the hand-stamped rice-paper tags that go on the mason jar glasses!")
The wedding luncheon was served on dishes and linens that had been in the family for generations. My mother, grandmother, aunt and a dear family friend made the buffet-style meal, and we splurged on all-the-champagne-you-can-drink for the guests. I got an expensive bouquet, but all the rest of the flowers were potted plants from the local nursery. I had a Princess Di knock-off dress (it was 1987) that I picked up at JC Penney's for an amazing price because it had all this horrible tatty lace on it. Took it to a seamstress and once she'd stripped off all that stuff it looked like a million bucks - and I don't care what my daughters think, I STILL love those poofy sleeves.
The most memorable part was LEAVING the wedding. My grandmother's house sits on a country highway, just where the village speed limit of 35 changes to 50. Ross and I left in a hail of rice, got into his zippy Mazda RX7 sports car, peeled out in a cloud of dust... and promptly got pulled over by a NY state trooper, who had seen the wedding party and assumed that the departing groom was OUI.
My entire family came running up the road to lend their support. I sat in the passenger seat, sobbing, while my brand-new husband performed the roadside sobriety test and my uncles took down the trooper's name, badge number, name of superior, etc. I thought for sure I'd be spending my wedding night bailing Ross out of the pokey. Thank God, it had been a record-breaking hot day, and he had been guzzling water, not champagne. The rest, as they say is history.
DEBS: Oh, such great stories! Huge congrats, Rhys, on your new daughter-in-law-to-be! And we've checked out the winery venues, and almost had heart failure at the price. Fortunately, a friend of my daughter's family has a ranch up in the country that they rent as a wedding venue, and it's FABULOUS! Maybe your son and his fiance should consider Texas???
And such great advice, my fellow REDS. I love Hank's, "Have a friend PRETEND to talk to you so you can just take a moment and capture it." I will do that, Hank, I promise, and hope my daughter will, too.
Julia, you and Ross totally crack me up... Rhys, where's the picture of you and John? I'm sure you were stunning. Ro, will you come do Kayti's flowers?
And I did manage to find a few pics of my wedding. Wedding #2, that is. Wedding #1 took place in a very dour Scottish Presbyterian church, with a very dour minister. No photos allowed! No fun allowed, either. Not a good start.
Wedding #2 (and last!) was in the home of the justice of the peace, who was a friend of Rick's, and she wore jean cutoffs under her robes:-) The photos, oh, dear. Not that there were many to begin with, but most were taken with my camera. After a wedding lunch at a local barbecue restaurant, we drove to a B&B in the Texas Hill Country. And I left the camera on the patio, where it got drenched in an overnight downpour. So the only pics were the ones taken by the best man.
The upside? The owners of the B&B, whom we met that night, have been dear friends now for almost twenty years. We've been back to visit many times, although it is no longer a B&B.
Oh, and we're still married:-)
So dear readers, did you go for the simple or the grand, and whichever choice you made, would you have done things any differently?
(And do come back on Saturday, when we are going to visit the BRIDAL SALON!)