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A Special Wedding Section | First Person

'This Is Your Day!' . . . Don't Believe It

September 02, 1998|ABIGAIL GOLDMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

There are many myths about brides and weddings and brides planning weddings.

One is that all brides have been planning their special day since they were old enough to be told the Prince Charming story.

Another is that weddings are always more money than you, your parents or the Rockefellers have.

And one holds that brides planning weddings invariably are transformed into creatures somewhat akin to harpies. None of these is necessarily true. And whether they are intended to do so or not, these false maxims can cause no end of angst among the soon-to-be-wed.

But by far the worst notions perpetrated upon brides by their friends, families and innumerable consultants and sales people are: "This Is The Most Important / Greatest / Biggest / Happiest Day of Your Life," and "This Is Your Day."

Both, in most cases, are big, fat, baldfaced lies. (Do I sound like a harpy yet?)

*

Now, don't get me wrong. I really am a very happy bride.

I couldn't be more thrilled at the thought of spending the rest of my life with my longtime boyfriend.

What's more, he comes to me by way of a wonderful family, who welcomed me into the fold the first time he brought me home and wouldn't dream of interfering, interrupting or in any way inserting themselves inappropriately into, ahem, My Day.

I should also add that I am the youngest child in a very large extended family. Therefore, mom got mother-of-the-bride syndrome out of her system years ago, and the rest of the family is so wedding-worn that absolutely nothing I could do short of getting married in the Russian steppes in January would faze them.

So I should be able to have My Day, right?

Wrong. In fact, it's all I can do not to burst into maniacal guffaws every time someone tells me, "It's Your Day."

This is especially true since the statement usually comes on the heels of imploring commentary thinly veiled as advice, such as my maid-of-honor sister's thoughts about her dress.

"I'll wear anything," she said. "Whatever you want."

Terrific. I told her I love the idea of a black-tie-esque suit, perhaps in black.

"Oh," she said, the wrinkle in her brow apparent by her tone, even over the telephone. "Isn't that a bit, well, matronly? I've always liked bridesmaids dresses that are fitted through the waist, have long sleeves, hang no more than 1/2 of an inch from the floor and have a rich color to them--I look great in rich colors . . . but, of course, it's Your Day."

My aunt, hearing we were considering October, called to make sure we weren't picking a date her boyfriend was busy. She noted, however, that because it was My Day, she would understand--and try to hide her disappointment.

The invitations, my mother begged, really set the tone of any party and, therefore, should be on card stock about as heavy as say, my office desk. Expense be damned.

My nieces--ages 6 and 3--wanted to make sure they could look like princesses. My fiance's mother was hoping I'd consider copying the breathtaking wedding canopy she saw at her husband's cousin's wedding in Chicago. My brother's wife was hoping that the jackets the bridesmaids would wear would be short, rather than long, as my sister requested. My father wanted a wedding he could afford.

All (with the exception of my nieces, in spite of my sister's coaching) hastened to add that they knew whose Day it was supposed to be.

So my wedding isn't exactly going to be My Day. It's part my mother's day. And my father's. And my fiance's mother's. And his stepfather's, and . . . you get the picture.

As for being the best day of my life? I certainly hope not. What would that say about my marriage? Or the rest of my life?

*

It used to be that weddings were planned by and for entire villages, with everyone taking part. The bride was the star of the show, but not also the director and producer. Some of us direct and produce more than we would like, but others do more than they should.

Perhaps everyone spends so much time trying to please everybody else that it's nobody's day. And, I've decided, that's fine. It's a family's day, with a little piece for everyone.

My mother will have invitations that set the right tone (even if the card stock is a bit lighter than she had hoped). My father will have a budget he can live with, my mother-in-law will have the canopy she loved in Chicago, my sister can wear a non-matronly dress, my nieces will get to look like princesses, my Aunt Linda will be able to have her boyfriend escort her and so on.

I'll have my groom and, I'm hoping, many more Important / Greatest / Biggest / Happiest Days of my life.

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