Bonnie Jean was my first daughter to be married. A June wedding was to be planned! (circa 1998.) Bonnie, 27 years old had just finished her Master’s Degree. I, having the distinguished role of “mother of the bride” at 50 years old, was thrilled! I married at 21, a mere child looking back on it, and my parents were financing. Although generous, I was aware of the price tag on everything and out of respect for my parents did not allow my “heart’s desire” to come into play. This time around I relished the freedom I was given and blessed to have the means to afford it. My “heart’s desire” was now flamboyantly abundant!
Bonnie and her betrothed, Chris, were not overly invested; they simply wanted to be married. Graciously they handed me the reins. Bonnie told me: “This is for you Mom, do what makes you happy.” Oh! be still my heart!!! We became a team and I the “wedding planner!”
I’m in awe of how few confrontations we experienced: first, the guest list and second, the groom’s family financial contribution. The latter brought to light by my husband who was signing the checks. Both caused Bonnie tears. Welcome to the world of torn loyalties my dear one, choosing between the wishes of parent and husband! It was then the dreaded words were uttered: “We should just take the money, (40K from soup to nuts) put a down-payment on a house and be married in the backyard!”
Truly? was all this ONLY for ME? Honestly, til this day I will never know Bonnie’s true-blue feelings but I am forever indebted to her for allowing me MY dream wedding.
Seeing Bonnie in a wedding dress for the first time did bring tears to my eyes! A vision in white satin, she was radiant! The first dress, a Vera Wang, was “the one” although the search continued ‘til exhaustion set in just to be sure! Accessories were purchased; a crown of dainty rose buds to hold her lace-trimmed veil, delicate undergarments of which stockings were needed to be held by garters. Hard to find, we searched and found a shop advertising them. Off we go and pulling up to the address we see an Exotic Lingerie Store! 😜
In we go, a wholesome looking mother and daughter as ever graced their doors I'm sure! The salesgirl looks at us precariously as we make our way thru the mannequins draped in black lace & leather hanging from trapezes! Timidly we inquire if she has white stockings for use w/garters. Can’t quite remember if we purchased there or not; we were too busy laughing ourselves to tears when we left!!!!
The Garden City Hotel was prestigious and the ballroom elegant! The hotel setting was pleasing to the Bride and Groom! I, having become quite the perfectionist, found store bought favors not quite up to par. So, “call in the girlfriends!” Crystal champagne flutes, filled w/champagne colored “jelly bellies,” bedecked in off-white tulle & satin ribbon inscribed w/names & date in script of course were lovingly assembled! I must mention the help of my girlfriends throughout was priceless!!! And due to their generous support not one thing was amiss! All was complete, w/an old-fashioned antique white limo, a Church adorned with Calla Lilies, satin bows gracing each pew and tulle “puffs” on the outdoor railings; the stage was set! Mama was happy!
OH NO! 🎼“Stop right there! 🎼 before we go any further!!!….”😳 🎼
Now it’s time for “Mother of the Bride” to be escorted to her pew, the last one seated before the Bridal procession begins. I realize Bonnie was not wearing her elbow length satin gloves, chosen w/care in just the right shade of white! Of course Bonnie was OK with this but Mama felt differently! The gloves completed the entire ensemble! The gloves were happening!!!!
Scooping my dress above my knees, I ran out to the limo driver as if running to home base and instructed he put his foot to the rubber and get me back to the house just 3 blocks away. What a sight for my neighbors to see as I run frantically into the house, up & down the staircase in a flash and off again! Meanwhile the string quartet is playing on and on, the guests whispering of the delay and my son-in-law sweating at the altar wondering if Bonnie had a change of heart!
Gloves in place, taking a deep breath and no worse for wear, I was now ready to be escorted to my seat 💺 and have the bridal procession begin!
The day was magical; a wonderful time was had by all! What a lovely surprise as Bonnie and Chris took to the dance floor for their 1st dance, Elvis' "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You!" They had taken a dance class! This was the one thing done on their own w/o my knowing! My heart soared as they whirled around the dance floor! My smile was from here to Neverland; this was the icing on the wedding cake!
Now the parents of 2 boys, 12 and 9, they celebrated their 21st anniversary this June and guess where they are going this summer? Back to the Garden City Hotel to show their boys where Mom and Dad were married! God is good! Would I do it again? Yes, definitely! If you just settle the memory may lose its glow; but if you’ve followed your “heart’s desire,” the memory will hold the pure joy beheld on that day! Go the extra mile, think out of the box; go through the black lace and leather; let the guests whisper & wait and the groom wonder! Laugh and cry it through w/each other and always include girlfriends! This is a milestone well worth it!
I am forever thankful for this second opportunity. Honestly I had a better time than at my wedding! It’s a cherished memory captured on video to enjoy over & over again😉!