with Lynne and Leslie
Category Archives: Having the wedding you want

The perfect-ish day, or the happy accidents of an awesome wedding

by SweetMidlife
See? This didn’t happen!

Leslie here!

When my sister and I first started this blog, back in the dark ages, or, like, three years ago, it was called “Bride At 35,” and was about the experience of being married in your later 30s and beyond, like we were. Eventually, we expanded the concept to be about the whole of being this age, whether it’s marriage, friendship, children, weight, hair, whether to wear nail polish, or just delicious cheesy carbs, filtered to our crone-ism wisdom that comes with age.

But we still love a wedding, maybe because they’re pretty or because we’ve been in so many of them – I’ve been a  bridesmaid 9 times, including several stints as Matron of Honor. That experience brought me to the most excellent of days this past Saturday, where I acted as my friends Kim and Matt’s day-of-wedding coordinator. I’m not the wedding planner because I didn’t plan anything – I’m much better at telling people what to do. And the first thing I told her when I accepted the challenge was this:

Something is going to go wrong.

This is not easy to hear, but I’ve learned it in my 20 year career as a bridesmaid, from the time in 1995 when all our shoes were dyes the exact same wrong color, or in 2010 when my husband, the groom-to-be and my sister raced around town looking for lemon curd for the wedding tea, or in 2008 when the track for “At Last,” which I was about to sing for the cake cutting, wouldn’t work, and somebody distracted the bride while I ran across the street to find my laptop. The more weddings I was in, the more I learned to take a breath and not freak out. Nobody got eaten by a shark. The pastor never got caught at customs. A sinkhole didn’t swallow the cake. My experience taught me to chill.

Hopefully, at every wedding (or party or funeral or Bat Mitzvah) the snafus are minor, like somebody left the extra programs at home, or the bride’s shoes need a polish…something easily fixable. And sometimes, it’s a little more pressing, like a member of the wedding party can’t get there, or a car carrying the bride breaks down, or stuff is just whack. My job was just to make sure that the fires that erupted were put out, with as little fuss or actual burns as possible.

So even though my wedding bossiness has previously been on a personally procured basis, this couple of kind people put me in charge of calling their caterer to confirm times, of hiring a bartender (I write about drinking, so I know a few), of observing the set-up of the DJ booth and the sweetheart table, and of grabbing the bride’s hand when a frog, whose kind she is not fond of, jumped on her dress as she and her new husband walked from the parking lot of the reception spot to make her entrance.

And it was amazing. The thing is, as many weddings as I’ve been involved in, stuff still didn’t go perfectly. And I didn’t do it alone – the bride’s cousin was my family point person and co-stuff-getter. Her brother was amazing, as was her mom. And her bridesmaids, led by her resourceful sister, sat on the floor of the reception space in their beautiful dresses, as guests milled around outside for the cocktail hour and cut their beautiful bouquets into flower arrangements, because that’s what the bride said she wanted and someone (me) hadn’t remembered. That was beautiful.

Did everything go right? Uh, no. Besides the frog and the thing with the flowers, it was overcast the whole day and when it started to spit rain on the outdoor ceremony, the string musicians almost had to leave for fear of damaging their beautiful instruments. There was some confusion over pins for the boutonnieres. Some dude from another rental company arrived at the hall as I was taping the place cards to the wall with non-sticky art tape (the bride’s sister’s genius idea) and insisted that some of the tables already set for the cocktail hour might be the ones he was there to retrieve. (They were not). And I missed a few things, like making sure that both bartenders were clear on what time they were expected.
But it all worked out, in some cases because of powers beyond me like the rain holding off (Thanks, God!), in others because of all the loving family Kim and Matt have, or because I was calm and just handled it, like when the restaurant they’d talked to about having a casual brunch with family the morning after the wedding didn’t remember, and I just walked to the place across the street that the groom had called as a replacement and said “Hey, my friend just called, can we make this work?”

And it did.

There are things that apparently zigged when they were to zag, even before I got there – Kim’s family figured it out – and the band played on (Well, the string duo played on). The day was saved. The vows were sealed. The dinner was delicious and “Jump Around” and “Easy” by the Commodores both happened.

It wasn’t flawless. But it was perfect.

 

 


Wedding week: Be a cheerful giver…and getter

by SweetMidlife
There is no ticket price on a wedding invitation. 

Leslie here!

I remember being blown away as a young adult when I found out how a bridal gift registry worked.

“So you’re saying that I go into a store, look up things I want, write them down and then people buy me what I asked for?”

“Yep.”

“What sweet madness is this?”

By the time I got to fill out my own gift registry, it was almost two decades later, and I’d been on the other side of that sweet madness many, many times. I thought that having experience buying gifts for people made me pretty judicious in what I asked from other people, as in: I felt that my job as a wedding guest was to buy you a gift, preferably one you had asked for, that did not make me look cheap without putting my rent in jeopardy. I learned, especially when I was younger, that you had to jump on the registry and buy the less-expensive nice gifts first or someone was going to beat you to it. And if a bride ONLY had high dollar items on the registry, I either bought a $50 gift certificate or went in with friends.

So as a bride, I was very careful to have a range of things I registered for, in price and in fanciness. I was almost 39 when I got married, so while I already had towels and plates, I registered for some that could establish us as a new household. However, I didn’t go crazy and say “Y’all better buy me $50 a piece towels,” because it is not anyone else’s responsibility to buy my fancy towels. Of course, the registry is just a suggestion, as far as I was concerned. While there were a couple of things we got where we were like “Uh, OK!” we accepted everything cheerfully and gratefully.

Because they were gifts.

And not legal obligations.

Or compensation or reimbursement for the money we spent on the wedding.

I’ve read some horror stories online on sites like HellsBells, where people submit hideous stories of bad wedding etiquette, about wedded ingrates who start email battles with guests whose gifts they consider unworthy of the money they spent on their meal, or of one idiot who tried to return a beautifully presented “wedding cake” made of the towels HE AND HIS FIANCEE HAD REGISTERED FOR to the co-worker who had painstakingly assembled it, because they didn’t want “artsy crafty” gifts.

And expected her to buy them something else.

What?

Nobody had to buy me crap. But they did. And when they did, we thanked them and moved on, particularly because we got enough cash to buy our own towels if we decided to. A wedding invitation should not have a dollar sign on it. All you need to do is RSVP in time to ensure that I don’t pay for your dinner if you’re not gonna show, and then just show up and not start a fist fight in the buffet line or cuss out my grandmother. That’s it. Gifts are usually expected, but if you don’t give me one, the wedding’s already been paid for so while it’s not the custom, it’s not like I need your check. And unless your gift is a rotting bag of oranges, illegal substances or something I gave you with the price tag scratched off, it’s cool.

Feeling this way does not make me perfect or a martyr. It just makes me a grown-up, I hope, because my wedding didn’t roll out the way I’d planned, requiring me to adjust my definition of gift. After my husband and I had paid the deposit on the hotel where we’d be married and started telling people the date, we found that he had a tumor in his ear for which his insurance would not cover the surgery to remove, as it was a pre-exisiting condition. After about a week of worry, we decided to get married in the same place we’d planned, with the dress I’d purchased and as many people as we could get from the original guest list…just several months earlier.

Immediately, we called our loved ones, most of whom lived several states and a couple of hundred dollars of plane tickets away, and said “We love you and want you here, but we understand that you now have four weeks rather than five months to buy plane tickets or bridesmaids dresses or gifts. You now have to decide what to do with your kids who were invited for what was supposed to be a summer wedding, when they were out of school, but who will now still be in school. You have to rearrange possible vacation days, or check your calendar. We know we are asking a lot of you, so understand that we mean it when we say…if you cannot make it we will never be mad about that. And if you come, particularly if it’s going to cost you more to come now than it would during the summer…consider that your gift.”

And we meant it. But you would not believe the gifts that we got – the gift of the friend who called Costco and personally ordered my flowers, and then yelled at them for a refund when they screwed it up. The gift of a song that a friend learned to play for our recessional. The gift of free photography from friends who usually charge thousands, or of wedding planning from a friend who had charged that much professionally to do the same. The gift of various wedding party members running out to buy last-minute candles, to pick up out of town guests I’d forgotten to update on changed plans. The gift of my grandma, who didn’t think she could travel after surgery but who, on a fixed income, got clearance and bought a last minute ticket anyway which wasn’t cheap, even at senior prices.

These are gifts that are given out of love, that cost money and time and effort and organization. They are not sold at Pottery Barn. There is no gift certificate for “fill out place cards the morning of the wedding at the bride gets stuffed into her dress.” That’s a gift, nonetheless.

And I wouldn’t exchange them. They are priceless.


Wedding Week Begins! Today, A Picture Paints a Thousand Joys…

by SweetMidlife

Hi! Lynne here! So, this week on The Sweet Midlife, we wanted to talk about weddings. I actually wanted to do it in June, and this is July 1st.  But shoot, the theme of this blog is that wonderful things can happen in your life, no matter how late you night think it is, so I guess it’s okay that we are a little behind. So, here is a thought on weddings.

I got married almost 3 years ago, and it will be forever be one of my favorite days ever. Yes, the planning had nutty times, and there was that one day I asked if we could elope, and there were people that I couldn’t invite because of a limited guest list, and there are things that I would have done differently if I could have.

But what I see when I look at the pictures is happiness. The excitement on my face. How lovely my friends were as they curled their hair and got dressed. How proud my aunt was that she was wearing a corsage and being honored, not just as my aunt, but also, hopefully because she felt beautiful, which she doesn’t feel about herself enough. My goddaughter and another little friend dancing. My husband and I about to leave the wedding, relieved that we did it, blessed to have each other, completely aware of what we’ve got in each other, united for what is to come. I see my Daddy, so handsome and happy to be giving me away, even though I didn’t know until later that he was having a really bad cancer-fighting day. I see my Granddaddy, handsome and strong, so excited to read the Scriptures during the ceremony, because he loved me AND because he loved the Bible so. Daddy and Granddaddy are both gone now, so those memories brought back by those images are even more precious now.

My favorite moments from my wedding, and my favorite ones captured on film, aren’t the ones that were posed. I love those too. But I love the moments that just happened. The moments that reflect happy because they came out of a happy event. Joy reflects joy, organized or not. So I guess my thought on weddings as I write this is this: If you are planning a wedding, remember why you are hopefully going through all of this. Not just to make a splash, or to have that big day that you planned when you were 7 and didn’t even know your future spouse. Hopefully you are having a wedding to celebrate the union of two souls that can’t go one more day without being together. And that you want your loved ones to see it. And that this will make everyone happy. And if that is the case, this will show up in your pictures, and you will cherish those moments and remember that feeling a day later, a year later, 5 years later, and forever.


It’s a Nice Week to Talk About Weddings.

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here!

When Leslie and I first started this blog, it was called “Bride At 35”, and it was geared towards wedding advice and such for those over the age of 35. We both got married the year we turned 39, and we found that so much of what was out there for brides was geared toward younger folks. Eventually, though, we realized that we were talking more about life in general at this age, so we became “The Sweet Midlife”.  We always thought, though, that we would still talk occasionally about weddings and such since that is a part of life to.

This is where you come in!

Next week will be Wedding Week here on The Sweet Midlife, and we need your help. We are looking for contributions from you guys that we can feature on our blog! They can be….

  • Your love story/wedding story if you got married over 35 and how you think getting married at that age affected that. Hopefully it was in a good way.
  • Advice to folks getting married now. We would love to hear from people who got married “older”, AND people who got married younger (and if you aren’t married anymore, we still want to hear what you have to say).
  • From wedding-goers/bridesmaids: We would love to hear your advice on how brides and grooms can make their day great for you, too. Would love to hear stories: hopefully they all turned out good or you can put a positive spin on things that didn’t go so well.
  • If you are single, we would love to hear from you, too. It could be thoughts on being a wedding-goer/wedding party person (see above), how you have felt either honored or not at weddings (I, for one, the older I got, felt put on display at the bouquet toss. In a very bad way). Or anything.
  • Any other wedding thing that we aren’t thinking of but you want to write about!

So, yeah! We would love to hear from you, whether you want to send us a whole blog post, or if you just have 1 piece of advice that we can compile with other folks’ stuff. You can inbox through Facebook, or you can email it to sweetmidlifelynneleslie@gmail.com. Can’t wait to see what you got! Share the love!!


Yes, I was an old bride! And thanks for the ice cream!

by SweetMidlife

Taken three years ago. And no, this is not from a Lifetime movie.

The hubby and I just got back from a quick but satisfying third anniversary getaway in Vero Beach, Florida, less than two hours away from home but a whole world removed from the “Lookit my money” feel of Palm Beach or the “Lookit my boobs” feel of Miami. The evening was notable in many ways, and not just how the very nice people at the resort, from the staff to the other guests, tried to not looked shocked when two middle-aged people explained they were celebrating their third, not 20th, anniversary. It was kinda sweet, but we get it. We’re old. We’re fine with it. Thanks for the complimentary anniversary spiked ice cream sandwich and cocktails anyway!

Honestly, everyone was incredibly sweet and seemed happy for us, even though they didn’t know us. The cool thing about where we are in society is that there is less of a stigma to being married later in life – especially first marriages – and you know both of the writers of this here blog wed at 38, nearly 39, for the first time. So it’s surprising to me when people are obviously shocked when they see us, quickly surmise the 4- in our ages, and then do the math in their heads when we reveal that we’re newlyweds.

“First wedding?” many people say, as if being second-timers has to explain it.

Umm, no. I was Spinsterella till I met this here bald man, who was also a bachelor before me. I didn’t just escape a convent, he hadn’t taken a vow of celibacy and neither of us were horribly damaged socially awkward misfits who’d never been kissed. It just hadn’t happened. And then it did. And we were happy. And although neither of us were as young, thin and fresh as we may have imagined being on our jaunt down the aisle, we wouldn’t have changed the way things turned out for anything in the world, except that meeting earlier would have given us more time together.

In short, we’re not young. But our love is. It’s a lumpy, bald love, but the kind that giggles easily, that doesn’t get freaked out when someone farts in bed, that shrugs off the small stuff and says “It took my whole life to find you. You’re never getting rid of me. Let me lick my finger to wipe that ketchup off your face and then let’s enjoy this free anniversary dessert. We’ve earned it.”


The Brides They Are A Changing, and We Need Your Help

by SweetMidlife

by Lynne!

So we started this blog about a year ago because both my twin sister Leslie and I were recent brides in our late 30’s, and in our wedding planning had both found that lots of things were geared towards the interest of people in their 20’s.  Both of us and our unofficial triplet Nikki, all born the same year, all got married the same year, and other people in our age range were falling in love and getting married, so we knew that people our age and older wanted discussion and representation on the wedding front. We wanted to gain your insight and share your stories.

Then a funny thing happened.  We realized, as we wrote, that we were writing more about what it was like to BE married at this age then we were about weddings per se.  Then we realized that our readers were more than just people about to get married.  They are people who have been married for years, some who aren’t married any longer, and some who might want to be one day (or maybe not).  And we were writing about more than just lovey-dovey relationships. We were writing about friends, and kids and parents.

What started as a page about weddings actually turned out to be a blog about what comes before, during, and after you get married, all from the viewpoint of people in their mid-30’s and up.  It’s become about grown-up relationships, whoever you happen to be relating to. To this end, the name “Bride at 35” doesn’t seem to fit us anymore.  Sure, we will still talk about weddings and brides, and love stories and all of that, but we also wanna talk about your babies, and your besties, and dating, and your co-workers, and all of that. All from our, well, more seasoned perspective. So we need your help. We are looking for a new name, something that captures the essence of all that we are trying to essence. Hee.

So, put your thinking caps on, and hit u with your best shot! You can reply on this blog, to Facebook, or at bride35@gmail.com.  We will peruse the entries, and unveil our new name soon. Thanks, Peeps!


Book review: “Love For Grown-Ups”

by SweetMidlife

Here at Bride at 35, we’re all about creating your own traditions, which is why we dig the idea of The Garter Brides, friends over 35 who passed on their wedding garters to each other, and then kept it going – my sister Lynne described it as the grow-up version of “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” Neither of us wore garters for our special days, but we like the idea.

And I liked their book, “Love For Grown-Ups: The Garter Brides’ Guide To Marrying For Life When You’ve Already Got A Life,” because it fits in so much with our own philosophy. We set out to talk about what brides over 35 go through, but have realized that our audience is more than women who’ve either gotten their rings or are dusting off their wedding photos. It’s those who haven’t found their soul mate yet but like the blog because it gives them hope. Love happens when it happens, and sometimes that’s later than you thought.

That’s the sweet, honest charm of “Love For Grown-Ups,” credited to the original Garter Brides Ann Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Ryan Lampl, and Trish Rabe. With advice ranging from dating to what to wear at the wedding, the writers reference not only their own experiences but those of other brides.

To me, the varied nature of that advice is what makes the book works, because it acknowledges that no two women are alike – that’s one of the major fails of some wedding industry advice, that assumes that everyone’s the same. The Brides talk about how sometimes, over 35, you’ll be with someone who has kids, or maybe you do. Maybe it’s your first wedding, or your third.

There’s a very detailed chapter called “Who Are All These People?” that talks about becoming a part of someone’s life when that life is full of friends, family, maybe kids. How do you deal with that? This is the chapter I think I’d have found the most valuable had I read it before I got married, because both my husband and I have, and have had full lives whose human parts didn’t always initially mesh smoothly – I’d been unmarried for 37 years when I started dating Scott, and it was an adjustment.

And that, again, is why I liked the book – You are not alone as a single 35-year-old, and you’ve got sisters all around the world who want to share their experiences with you. That means, of course, that not all of the experiences will relate to you. Of course, it’s interesting to read about stuff that happens to other people, but there were parts that seemed to assume that most of the women reading the book had already been married at least once, or that their spouse- t0-be had. Neither Lynne or I had, and neither of us had considered wearing a non-traditional wedding dress or forgoing bridesmaids or not doing anything we wanted just because of our age.

And to its credit, the book is most specific about something we’re adamant about – there is no one way to get married, or fall in love, or be a wife, or a mom, or a stepdaughter. It’s an easy read, which I devoured on a three-hour bus trip to New York last week. You’ll enjoy it. Again, depending on who you are, you might not not relate to every piece of advice. But that’s life. It’s breezy, fun and a worthwhile guide.


The best wedding advice I took: Shutting up and listening

by SweetMidlife

This is not from my wedding pictures.

My sister Lynne asked you guys for the best advice you’d gotten as a bride, and advice you didn’t want to take that turned out to be good. I have similar stories – as an older-esque bride, I’d had a lifetime of planning weddings in my head, without any wedding actually in the offing. By the time the real thing came along, I had to learn to let go of some of the stuff in my head that didn’t fit my reality. I also had to, as Lynne did, shut up long enough to listen to people who loved me and knew better.

Here’s what I learned:

— I had this idea – and like most of my ideas, I thought it was brilliant – that my big wedding party photo would be of me and my 87 bridesmaids walking down toward the beach in our dresses and sunglasses. I wanted us to look fierce and cool like in that tracking shot in “Reservoir Dogs” – because who doesn’t want their wedding pictures to remind people of a bloody Tarantino movie?

I was all prepared for the shot, to come between the ceremony and the reception – I even swiped my mom’s shades as my “something borrowed.” But something nefarious got in the way of this shot I wanted so desperately – the wedding starting about 25 minutes late. By the time we too individual photos with each member of the party and assembled for the group shot by the pool, we were all ravenous and so were the guests (who started eating without us. Bad tacky bad.) So Nathaniel, our beloved friend and photographer, very gently said “So…that beach shot?”

And I knew that what he was sweetly saying was “Babe…you gotta let that go or your guests will start eating your bouquet.” I said “It’s gonna take a long time?” and he said “Yeah.” So I sighed, looked at the people I loved and at all of the photos we already had, and decided against it at that moment.

— The other best piece of advice I got was from my bridesmaid-planner-guru The Kiki, who knows that I am not an organized sister. She suggested that I buy my Thank You cards before the wedding, so that when I cam back from the honeymoon, they’d all be there. She also suggested I address them beforehand, and  actually got a good amount done, Not all, because I’m me. But it was a crazy time saver.

How about you guys?


Run, Bride, Run!!

by SweetMidlife

by Lynne Streeter Childress

So, yesterday, my sister Leslie wrote about “Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss”, and she talked briefly about her own wedding dress shopping experience, when she bought a beautiful sample dress at an intimate salon in Maryland. Well, my wedding dress story was a bit different. First of all, I bought my dress before I was officially engaged.

A little back-story…

Last year, my now-husband and I started pre-engagement counseling; this meant that we wanted to get married, but got all of our stuff out on the table before there were rings and down payments and stuff.  After we completed our sessions, AC said that the only thing left was for him to get the ring. This started a period where every time he bent down to tie his shoe or reach into his pocket to get a breath strip, my heart started beating really fast.   Since I couldn’t predict when the actual proposal was coming, I moved onto other matters. See, I knew that Filene’s Basement’s annual Running of the Brides was coming to my area. This is a once a year, one-day event staggered throughout the year and around the country where tons and tons of designer bridal gowns are WAY-discounted, starting at like $249.   It’s so named because, like the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, people sprint wildly through enclosed spaces, dodging danger. Only instead of running away from charging animals, brides, many who have been waiting in line for hours outside the store waiting for the 8am door opening, are running towards racks and racks of beautiful dresses at insane prices.  I love when people complement my earrings and I say, “$4 at Target!!”, and I feel all smart and happy that I could spend the extra $ on those petite vanilla scone things at Starbucks. So spending less money on a wedding dress could mean I could spend what I saved on scones for everybody!! Which is why I asked A.C. if it was appropriate for me to attend such a sale to purchase a dress of such a kind for such an occasion that might be happening since he had already asked for my ring size and for me to send him pictures of what I liked.  And he said yes. So I made some phone calls.

So on July 30 of last year,  5 of my best friends (including the Leslie, who flew in just for me because she rocks) gathered at my house, and we embarked on trip to find me a wedding dress.   I had done some research on the Filene’s website, plus done a mess of Googling, and I came up with a game plan of how the day would go.  It turned out to be an AMAZING, AMAZING day, and here are some of my tips on manuvering the day, if you go to an upcoming Running.

  • Assemble a team of folks whose opinion you trust and make them dress alike.  The friends who helped me look for a dress were all people who know me really well, and want me to be happy, but not to look like a hot mess.  They all have STRONG views, but I knew they would be helpful and supportive.   I also asked them to all wear red, so we would be able to identify each other during the madness, but also because it made us feel like a unified group on a mission. Plus there were dollar store tiaras involved.  Here’s my dear Maria and I getting all Starbucked-up for the journey…

Maria and me, getting all caffeined-up for the trip

  • Go later in the day.  I know that there is an an excitement in standing on line with people for a common purpose, but I also knew that I did not want to fight people and rip dresses and trip and have to bail out my bridal party as “Meeting in the Ladies’ Room” plays on the store speakers (Klymaxx shout-out!!!).  I heard that you could go later in the day and still find good deals. So we went around 11:30. There were still PLENTY of dresses left, but they were now hung back up. And there was still lots of excitement and lots of people, and although we didn’t have to punch people, Maria did have to tell a few other brides to keep moving as they eyed the pile of dresses we gad assembled and were considering.
  • Be a little bold.  The dresses are on long racks in the middle of the store, and brides and their teams grab dresses and bring them to their bride, who has staked out a spot in the main showroom. Because you don’t use dressing rooms.  The Filene’s people advise wearing bathing suits because they cover you up but aren’t bulky. I wore a strapless bra and bike shorts.  Of course I wouldn’t normally shop in that, but again, it kind of added to the whole group feel, because all of the other brides were wearing the same thing.
  • Know what you like, but be willing to change your mind. I had gone through bridal magazines and ripped out pictures of dresses I thought would be good, and I handed them to my friends before we left so they would have an idea of what I was looking for.  Many of them were what Leslie calls “The Voice of Spring” dresses; floaty and romantic.  But I also know from my many hours of “Say Yes to the Dress” watching that brides often choose a dress that’s nothing like what they THOUGHT they wanted. This is why I had my friends pick all of the dresses that they could find in my size, a bridal 14 or 16.  (Another note: My friends brought me a good 15 dresses or more that day, all in larger sizes. This sale is a GREAT place for girls with curves to actually be able to try on dresses that they can actually wear).
  • Go with your gut. So we narrowed it down to 2 dresses. One was a beautiful almost-champagne colored strapless A-line that had no detail but a thin band of jewels under the bust, accented with a small bow. It was a grown-up dress, that made me feel really elegant, and actually made me tear-up a bit when I looked in the mirror, and was the fave of several in our party. The other was also an A-line, but more of the Voice of Spring variety.  It had these crazy embroidered detachable sleeves, beading across the top, and embroidery on the bust. Then there was the train. It was long and flouncy and had more embroidered flowers and when I looked behind myself in the mirror, I felt light and giggly and like I always thought I would feel. And in the end, even though the first dress made me cry in a good way, I went with the one that made me smile. And everyone was happy!!
  • Make a party out of it by including those you love.  In the end, not only did I have an amazing dress to wear on the big day, but I had whole day with some of my favorite people, and we laughed and loved and ran and oohed and ahhed and tried to zip up some things that wouldn’t zip and were all treated to a victory lunch by my roommate, where we texted pictures of the dress to my mom in Arkansas, and called my grandma and described what I got. The dress itself  it was a group-buy, with contributions by myself, my sister, and a dear, dear friend who prefers to stay anonymous but made a really, really, sweet gift towards the purchase of the dress. That’s love.

So, we pulled up to my house at the same time as AC, who was meeting Leslie, her husband and me to go to a party. We made him close his eyes and hide in the kitchen until I got to hide the dress upstairs where he wouldn’t see it. That was Friday.  And 2 days later, after church, and lunch, and a George Clooney movie on DVD,  he pulled out this little box that he actually had had with him on Friday and he opened it, and I couldn’t breathe, and he asked if he could put what was in the box on my left hand, and I said yes, and we kinda stared at at each other, and it was blurry and somewhere in there I said that if there was a question attached to this then the answer was yes and he said that if I wanted to keep it, I had to marry him and I said I could do that.

And 2 months later, I walked down the aisle in the smiley floaty dress, surrounded by my friends and family, feeling as pretty as I ever have.  In the end, though, it’s not about the dress, but about WHY you’re wearing it, and who you are walking down the aisle in it to meet.  And if you got that part right, then you’ve already gotten the best deal ever.


“Say Yes To The Dress: Big Bliss” – Is this OK?

by SweetMidlife

I’ma be honest. I was not a small bride. My dress was a bridal 16, which is like a regular 12 0r 14. And I did have it taken in and all that, but if I’m being honest, which I promised to be several sentences ago, I was neither as lithe as I wanted to be when I walked down the aisle in February 2010, or as I’d always imagined I’d be in my bridal fantasies.

However, I was fierce and hot and gorgeous and special and felt absolutely, totally every inch the perfect bride, even with the double digit size tag. And this was not only because of my husband Scott, whose face when he first saw me coming down the aisle to him was fantastically blissful and thrilled, but because of the dress, which was made out of lace, satin, angel tears and puppy essence, it was so perfect. As a not-small bride,  I can tell you that it’s not always easy to find a large selection of, well, larger dresses, especially in sample sizes and off the rack. I was lucky enough to find a boutique, Distinctive Designs in Rockville, Md., that had so many dresses in my size on the sample sale rack that I could take one home with me that day – and I did!

Fierce at any size! And yeah, that's me.

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