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Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Chez In-Laws

A few days ago my Old Man, O, and I made the two-day car trip to the Jersey Shore, where we spend a month every summer visiting my in-laws. If you're curious about why I consent to spend a month with my in-laws every year, refer to last summer's explanatory post. The salient things to note about this visit are that 1. it's harder for my husband than for me, 2. it's great for O., 3. it's actually pretty great for all three of us in a lot of ways, even thought it can be tough in other ways.

This summer, however, I think it may be harder for me than for my Old Man for a couple of reasons. One, I am pregnant and thus cannot drink much wine, and as I've mentioned, my in-laws' excellent taste in wine is one of the things that greases the workings of the extended summer visit. Two, my Old Man's youngest sister is getting married in two and a half weeks, and I am a bridesmaid in the wedding.

If you know me, then you know how ill-suited I am to being a bridesmaid in a big, traditional wedding. And this is a big, traditional wedding. If you know me, you've heard one of my many rants about why I so dislike the conventional, cookie-cutter, poofy-white-dress, spend-tens-of-thousands-of-dollars-because-you're-in-thrall-to-Bride-magazine wedding. I have dear friends who've had weddings that fall into this category, and I don't judge them for it. But I probably gritted my teeth through parts of their weddings.

When my Old Man and I got married, I felt lucky that neither of our families really cared what our wedding looked like. No one on either side had been dreaming of a big white wedding for either of us, and we wisely moved in together a couple years before our nuptials, so any family members with a shred of conventionality were so relieved we were making it official that they weren't so much worried about how we went about it. We did what we wanted. We got married in a forest preserve, in a ceremony presided over by my best friend, who had been recently empowered to marry us via a ten-minute process on the internet. I wore a red dress. We had it catered, but served only vegetarian food. We hired our friend's amazing four piece band (ukulele, trombone, stand-up base, and percussive suitcase), which played tunes ranging from mid-century swing hits to their own rendition of Prince's "Dance, Music, Sex, Romance," rendered as James Brown's band might play it. We had a great time.

And my sister-in-law was there and participated in the ceremony, and danced her ass off at the reception, and helped to make it the wonderful event it was. And I want to help make her wedding day as joyful for her and her beau as mine was for me and my Old Man. But it will be a trial. I've actually never been a full-on bridesmaid before. I've stood up in three weddings, but all were unconventional weddings where I got to wear my own clothes and didn't have to deal with any of the many bizarre rituals that accompany being an actual bridesmaid.

This is the real thing. I've already begun experiencing it. Among my fellow bridesmaids, I feel like I'm part of a little cult, and I'm the only member that isn't buying into the tenets of the faith. I was privy to the planning of the shower, which involved approximately three hundred emails sailing back and forth, each one full of more exclamation points than I've used in my entire email life (most often appended to the words "fun!" and "yummy!"), though I was unable to attend the actual shower, being the only out-of-state bridesmaid. More recently I've been a reluctant part of the planning of "the bachelorette night," which has morphed into a bachelorette weekend. I won't detail all the aspects of this nearly-48-hour marathon of girl fun right now, but suffice to say that it will involve a number of activities (pedicures, whimsical pre-wedding games) that are very, very "un-me," and a couple (drinking, dancing) that would be pretty damned "me" if I weren't seven months pregnant.

Tomorrow I have the fitting for my bridesmaid's dress. In normal circumstances, because my sister-in-law has elegant (and expensive) taste, I would be paying around two hundred and fifty clams for this stunning dress that I'd be very unlikely ever to wear again. Because I'm seven months pregnant, and thus require a special maternity bridesmaid's dress, I'll be paying closer to three hundred clams for a dress I know I'll never wear again. Unless someone invites me to a very formal event during the month of August of this year.

The thing is, despite all of the above, I am actually very honored that my sister-in-law asked me to be her bridesmaid, because I know how much this all means to her. There are very few people I would actually do this for - I have gently said no before, when friends I was less close to invited me to be their bridesmaid - but I said yes without hesitation when she asked. In a real sense, I'm glad to be part of the wedding despite the fact that I'll have to participate in some estranging pre-wedding rituals in the process. I really like the guy my sister-in-law is marrying; I think he's worthy of her, and I think they'll be happy together. I'm sure the day itself will be joyful and enjoyable (parts of it anyway). I'm just hoping I can be a good bridesmaid through all the stuff that comes before.

So, pray that I can remain cheerful and cooperative during the wedding-related stuff that I'll be enduring in upcoming weeks. (And if you're hosting a very formal event in August and you live somewhere in the Midwest, please invite me. I already know what I'd wear.)


Blogger Orange said...

I love this! I was a bridesmaid in May. My dress was not in a style of my choosing, the tulle overlays transformed it from beautiful fog blue (the color the other bridesmaid and I had chosen) to navy blue, and it cost about $350 (including rush fee) plus $100-and-something for alterations. On the plus side, the dress's structure meant I could skip a bra, and the tulle obviated any "need" for control-top hosiery. But the whole thing was v. stressful!

Please come to Chicago in August. Bring the gown. We'll go out for Mexican. We'll make it a formal occasion by showing up in bridesmaid dresses, 'kay?

My fellow bridesmaid and I escaped shower and bachelorette duties, the bride being across the Atlantic all the while. (Whew!) Another friend and I planned a baby shower (not for the bride!) around the same time—a lovely event free of the traditional idiocies, and a super-sweet demonstration of the community of love surrounding the two women expecting a baby together. I like the nontraditional slants on traditional events.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Bless you. Not drinking AND participating in a wedding AND wearing the maternity dress.

For real. The fact that you aren't packing heat is a minor miracle.

I would also like to join Orange and you - but I will wear my wedding dress. It needs to be taken out of that damn pink bag.

We can say that we are having a Quinciera ( Which I did not spell correctly, but you know what I mean)

11:31 AM  
Blogger Orange said...

By the way, I can no longer see your blog title without hearing Billy Ocean singing it to the tune of "Caribbean Queen."

6:08 PM  
Blogger K said...

While I was reading this post, I thought to myself, cleverly, "Haha! I live in the Midwest! I'll invite OHQ out and suggest we both wear bridesmaids' dresses. I'm so clever!"
Alas, there are quicker readers than I.
At any rate, have a nice time, and good luck!

7:45 AM  
Blogger E. said...

K, this goes to show that great minds think alike. Orange and Dawn, I am so there. Sounds like a blast. And I hope you can join us, K...

(I had my fitting and the dress is quite lovely. I think it will go nicely with some guacamole and half a glass of sangria.)

6:52 PM  
Blogger psguzzo said...

Hi. You sure have guts lady. Too bad your taken as you sound like a loving wife and Mother and your family must be blessed. I read your whole Blog this Sunday morning by stumbling over it and it cheered me up and gave me a good positive outlook. Take care and I will check back. Peter Guzzo US Navy.

6:32 AM  

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