Here Comes The Bride
Highlands TodayI was born into a very large extended family so we attended many weddings as I was growing up. I remember being totally enthralled with the idea of being the bride - star of the show, queen for a day ... Cinderella.
Published: May 31, 2008
Published: May 31, 2008
My sister, just two years older, was equally dazzled by the idea, so, along with three other girls in our neighborhood, we decided to "play" wedding. The problem was, of course, that we all wanted to be the bride. So, we hatched an elaborate plan for earning the position.
The way it worked was that you had to play all the other roles first, and do them well, to finally become the bride. This made perfect sense to me, a 7-year-old. I dug in and did my best with each part in each wedding over a period of several months. It wasn't till years later that it finally dawned on me that, being last in line, I was actually the only one who had to play every role before I got to be the bride.
Being a bridesmaid was easy, you got to wear a pretty dress and be admired by all the other kids in the neighborhood, who were always invited to come and be the audience.
Being mother of the bride was not as glamorous, but you got to wear high heeled shoes and pretend to cry so that was kind of fun. Being the minister, was just okay. You wore an old graduation robe so no one oohed and ahhed when you walked in. But you got to be sort of in charge during the ceremony, so it was tolerable.
Everyone agreed, however, that being the groom was just awful. You had to wear a man's suit with the legs all rolled up, slick back your hair with Brylcreme, and speak your vows in an appropriately gravelly voice, without snickering. If you pulled it off, you had truly won the right to be the next bride.
Each wedding we staged became more elaborate than the last. We began planning them weeks in advance, scouring the entire neighborhood for dresses, decorations and flowers.
By the time it was finally my turn to be the bride, we had it down to a science. But then one of our group, the girl in line to be the groom, moved away. Of course, no one wanted to fill in. By then they had all served as groom already and didn't want to do it again. In fact they were all a little bored with the whole charade. My chance to finally be the bride was evaporating and I was heartbroken.
But then my sister took pity on me and devised a way to save the day. She asked an actual male, a boy from my class, who we all knew had a crush on me, to be the groom. And he agreed.
It was as if she had invited the queen to the wedding. Suddenly, everyone was brimming with ideas and enthusiasm for making it the most elaborate, realistic wedding ever.
We built a stage with an altar in our garage and drew stained glass windows on cardboard to line the walls. We made a white aisle runner out of butcher paper and set up a record player to provide the wedding march at just the right moment. We cajoled our mothers into baking cakes for the reception and our fathers into taking pictures of the wedding party.
We turned the neighborhood upside down in search of an actual bridal gown. Finally we came up with a first communion dress and painstakingly sewed seed pearls and sequins all over it. My mother pulled out her own bridal veil for me to wear with it.
From an appliance box and a garden cart we built a "limo" so the happy couple could ride off into the sunset in style. No idea for embellishment was too much for us to attempt and no detail was overlooked.
When the blessed day finally came, the handsome groom arrived in a real suit that actually fit, and his family came too, from clear across town. I was the envy of all.
Everything went perfectly as planned. The audience stood when I entered and couldn't help applauding at the end, as though it had been a play. I guess it was to them, but not to me.
When all was said and done, the other girls felt let-down, but not me. I was totally thrilled and satisfied, not only because I had finally gotten to be the bride. But also because I was the one who had worked the hardest and waited the longest and truly earned my turn to be the star of the show.
For everyone else we were back to just being us. But I felt like a different person. I had enjoyed all the planning, scheming, inventing, and anticipation. The journey had been satisfying, and so was the outcome. I had realized every little girl's dream ... playing Cinderella.