Tag Archives: #wedding

Say Yes to the [Wrong] Dress!!

Our son Adam had his first date with Sarah on December 25, 2018. They got engaged on June 23. By the time my husband Larry and I met Carol and Dick, Sarah’s parents, in August, they had the rabbi, the October date, the venue, the DJ, and the photographer all lined up. All that was left to do was for them to send out the invitations and for all of us to figure out what we would be wearing. 

In August, Sarah found a beautiful long sleeve white lace dress. At the same store, Carol and Sarah’s sister Molly found their dresses; a long gold brocade for Carol and and a black off-the shoulder top with a lovely flowered patterned for Molly. Julie purchased a beautiful teal green dress on E-Bay, the same place she had found her wedding dress twelve years before. 

When Sarah and Adam asked our granddaughter to be flower girl, The Frisco Kid was thrilled—and prepared. “I will wear my Elsa dress” she announced. My daughter Julie gently explained that rather than her Frozen costume, Mommy would be buying her a special dress for her important role in the wedding. “Okay,” she said. “I will save the Elsa dress for MY wedding!”

Like my granddaughter, I originally planned on wearing a dress I already owned. I had purchased a cocktail dress the previous December for our community’s Shalom Club Ball.It was my favorite color—midnight blue—, and the v-necked sleeveless design fell perfectly on mid-knee. When I shared my decision with my maj jongg group, they objected.

“Your son only gets married once,” said Sharon, who led the charge. “You have been waiting a very long time for this! Get a new dress!”

Soon after this discussion, Larry and I celebrated our 45th anniversary by going out to dinner at a restaurant in one of Orlando’s largest shopping center. I suggested to Larry that we leave early so that we could look at suits for him(Adam and my son-in-law Sam had  already  purchased new suits) and at dresses for me. 

When we perused the men’s department at Macy’s, Larry refused to even try on a suit.”I don’t need a new one,” he said. “The one I have in the closet is fine.” His only concession was to agree to have a tailor remove the pants’ cuffs, definitely no longer in style.

I had better luck—or maybe a better attitude—in the women’s department. After several fails, I tried on a more sophisticated version of the midnight blue dress I had worn to the Shalom Club Ball. Sleeveless with a diagonal neck line, it had a beautiful silver broach on the right side. The saleslady who was helping me agreed with me that was perfect for the evening event. She suggested it would look even better if I also invested in some (expensive) shapewear that would smooth out some of my bumps and lumps. As the chances of losing twenty pounds by the wedding were slim, I agreed. Okay, the dress wasn’t a Size 10, but when I pulled the whole thing together— I looked pretty amazing, and Larry agreed. 

I asked the salesperson to snap a picture on my iPhone, which I sent to my mah jongg group. Within minutes, my phone was dinging like crazy. 

“Yay! You are going to look gorgeousssss!”

“You are one SEXY MAMA don’t play safe go for bold n sexy!”

“You go girl!”

Then the text messages took on a life of its own, where I became to topic of discussion.”She needs shoes to match the dress.”

“[Hair] updo would make it look better.”

“She needs new makeup.”

This discussion continued the following Friday at Mah Jongg. One by one, my “fairy godsisters”:helped me accessorize by shopping in their closets. Beautiful silver sandals. A glittery handbag. A midnight blue bracelet. “Sapphire” hanging earrings.

They had one more suggestion—a trip to Sephora. After a first class make-over, I dropped over $100 on makeup, including foundation, blush, and an eye shadow palette with some silver glitter. I was set!

I wasn’t going to risk a chance of losing the outfit on our flight out to San Francisco. So three days before we left, I packed everything I needed in my carry-on. I carefully placed the plastic clothing bag protecting the dress on top of the shoes, handbag and undergarments. Fortunately, there were no flight problems on our way out, and I hung the entire outfit in our hotel room closet.

That evening, Larry and I met Adam and Sarah for dinner. To our surprise, Sarah showed us Wedding Dress Number Two. She felt the simple white sheath reflected more of her personality than the original Seventies-design.

The days leading up to the wedding were a whirlwind of total happiness and joy. Friends and relatives flew in from around the country. Many took advantage of the beautiful weather and the San Francisco location to tour the area. The night before the wedding, Larry and I hosted a welcome dinner at Sarah’s parents’ home,

The morning of the wedding, my siblings and I took a bus tour of San Francisco while Larry and Adam had professional shaves. We all got back to the hotel in plenty of time to get ready. I put on my new make up, spent a little more time on my hair, slipped on my shape wear, buckled up my beautiful silver sandals, put on my sapphire earrings and bracelet, took the dress out of the plastic bag, and slipped it over my head.

“Larry, would you please zip me up?”

Larry finished knotting his tie and turned his attention to me.

“Marilyn, that is NOT the dress you bought for the wedding,” Larry said. “That is the Shalom Club Ball dress.”

I looked in the mirror. He was right. After all that, I had packed the WRONG dress. Not the dress I bought for the wedding and had spent three weeks accessorizing. Nope, it was the dress I originally was going to wear.

“I can’t believe I brought the wrong dress!” I cried. “I can’t believe I brought the wrong dress!”

In ten minutes, the Uber was coming to pick us up. There was no way in the world I could fly back to Florida and grab the right one. I shook my head and accepted the inevitable.

“I guess I will be wearing this dress to the wedding!” Fortunately, both were midnight blue with silver accents. The only touch needed  was a necklace to fit into the v-neck of the dress. Fortunately, my niece Laura had brought a sapphire and diamond necklace on a silver chain. Perfect!

When Larry and I arrived the wedding venue, we saw Sarah in her beautiful Wedding Dress Number Two and Adam in his new suit. Soon after, Carol and Dick came into the restaurant. Rather than wearing the dress she had purchased in August, Carol decided to wear the dress her own mother had worn at Carol and Dick’s wedding 48 years before.. 

Julie, Sam, and The Frisco Kid came in next. My granddaughter looked like a fairy princess in her pink and white flower girl dress and flower garland.”The onlywomen wearing their first choices were Julie and Molly.  The men, inlcluding Larry whose old suit was perfect for the occasion, also hadn’t switched out their choices.

To say the wedding was special is the understatement of the year. I may have brought the “wrong” dress, but Adam had married the right person—a smart, caring ,independent woman who was beautiful inside and out. And, in the end, that is all that matters.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Jewish World News, a bi-weekly subscription-based newspaper in upstate New York, in the October 31, 2019 issue.

Love Sealed in (Kidney) Stone

Larry and I were married on September 8, 1974, at Agudat Achim, with our reception immediately following at the synagogue. Our memories of the wedding are a blur, most contained in the beautiful wedding album that sits on our bookshelf. However, our honeymoon is one of the most memorable…and unusual…on record.

Our first night as man and wife, we stayed in a hotel in Glens Falls. The next morning, we headed up to Quebec City for what we planned to be a romantic week in one of the oldest cities in North America.

Larry had made the arrangements to stay in a brand new hotel that had opened just weeks before. Our room was large and lovely, with a huge king-sized bed and a lovely view of the city. Once we finished checking it out, we went out to dinner a restaurant in the Old City, a lovely old place with stone walls and a fireplace. We both enjoyed French onion soup and steak and returned to our hotel.

At two o’clock in the morning, Larry woke up in agony with severe pains and cramps in his lower back. He thought he had food poisoning, maybe the French onion soup? He tried walking around the room, but in the end he just curled up in a ball on our king sized bed and moaned. After an hour of no relief, we realized we needed medical help.

The hotel was so new that the phone in our room didn’t work. So I threw on some clothes and went down to the front desk to ask for a doctor. He showed up at four o’clock and quickly diagnosed Larry’s pain as a kidney stone. The doctor gave Larry a shot of morphine. He gave me the name and address of the closest hospital with instructions to take him there first thing the next morning. Larry fell into a drugged sleep, and I watched him from the couch. Kidney stones? I knew nothing about kidney stones. I figured that he would be on dialysis the rest of his life. I stayed up the rest of the night trying to envision life taking care of an invalid.

Early the next morning, I packed up our bags, checked out of our beautiful hotel, and drove Larry to the local hospital’s emergency room. His X-ray confirmed that he, indeed, had a kidney stone, a hard, crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract. While kidney stones are painful—described by sufferers even worse than the pain of childbirth or broken bones— we were assured that they are not life threatening. No, he would not be on dialysis for the rest of his life. However, since he was in a great deal of pain and far away from home, the doctor recommended that Larry stay until he either (1) passed the stone; or (2) had surgery to remove it. So Larry checked into his $400 a night hospital room. Once I knew he was settled, I checked into a $9 a night boarding house across the street that was recommended by the hospital staff.

Outside of our doctor, everyone else in the hospital and boarding house spoke French. I had taken the language for five years in high school and a semester in college. Surprising even myself, I was soon able to carry on limited conversations with the nurses, the patients, and their families. By the end of the week, we were engaging in long chats in French, punctuated by broken French —moi!—and broken English —the native Québécois.

My poor husband, however, didn’t remember any of his two years of high school French. I walked over from the boarding house each morning, and we spent the day together—when I wasn’t chatting with “mes nouveaux amis”—holding hands and watching French television. To add insult to injury, his roommate’s doctor’s prescription to pass the stone was for him to drink beer—lots of it. So every night, a group of his family and friends came over with several six packs of Molson’s, and they had a grand old time. Unfortunately, the beer didn’t flush out the stone. Larry’s roommate had surgery on Wednesday to remove it.

The same fate was to befall Larry on Thursday. The surgery was considered ‘minor,’ but it required ‘retrieving’ the stone. Ouch! Not a great way to start off married life.

On Friday, Larry, now stone-free, was released from his “honeymoon suite.” We began our drive back home. Of course, Larry couldn’t drive, so I took the wheel. As I was going down the highway keeping pace with the numerous trucks heading for the border, Larry yelled out, “You’re going ninety miles an hour!” Whoops. Larry had me pull over, and he drove the rest of the way.

As originally planned, Larry and I stopped over at my parents’ cottage on Lake Champlain on the way to Albany, two days earlier than expected. My mother took one look at our sad faces and immediately assumed the marriage had already tanked. We quickly explained where we had spent the last five days. Our marriage was still intact, although our honeymoon was definitely a disaster.

Larry and I tried to make up for our lost honeymoon several times before getting it right. The next summer we headed to Nantucket, only to be delayed a couple of days by a hurricane. The next trip was to Washington, DC, where gale winds closed down the National Zoo and knocked out all the electricity in our expensive hotel. We certainly got past all those vacation missteps, as we are celebrating over forty years of marriage. Yes, our marriage is written in stone, partly in kidney but mostly in love.