Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Avoid Petal Pushers

Life is full of circumstances in which the only response to a variety of questions can be nothing short of a simple, "no" -- or I suppose -- "no thank-you".

This is what we must do as the MOB when anyone suggests we wear a corsage.  If someone proposes we don a wrist corsage I believe it is perfectly acceptable to drop the "thank you" part.

"Are you out of your mind (!?)" is a far more appropriate response.

Leave the flowers to the bride, the groom, all attendants and the tables.  

The last time we should have worn a corsage was when we went to a prom.  I take it you understand the use of the word "last" as in once upon a time and never again.

In the future I will delve into apparel 
and accessory choices, but felt it was essential to get this one out there immediately.  In my mind there is nothing quite as age inappropriate -- as in it makes us look older (this is my personal opinion mind you) -- than a corsage.  Just look to the right and tell me if you don't agree with me.

I feel it's not necessary to address the flowers-in-the-hair issue.  

Now, if our soon-to-be son-in-law feels it is his duty as part of The Wedding Rules Guidebook to give us a corsage, it is our duty to gently steer him away from this outdated obligation. 

However, the last thing we MOBs wish to do is offend.  So I would like to offer a floral alternative: One might delicately suggest a bouquet sent to our home (or hotel room as the case may be) would be ab-so-lute-ly dee-vine.  

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Things Are Not Always As They Appear

I would like to take a moment to speak about grace under pressure and a sense of humor.  (At a later date we'll examine the finer points of politesse.) 

Not to obsess or anything, but I do find Champagne is the magic elixir in these situations. 

My ex-sister-in-law who is one of my best friends (we now refer to each other as just plain "sisters" since it takes waaaaay too long to explain our past) we were married to brothers, the fathers of our daughters.  Still with me?  We're both happily re-married.  At my niece's wedding, my "sister" said to the maitre d'hôtel:  "See this
glass, I'm the mother-of-the-bride, make sure it's never empty" -- or words to that affect and I'm sure she said "please". 

If, which I suspect is often the case with modern weddings, today's MOB is confronted with ex-husbands, ex-wives, ex-girlfriends, current girlfriend, stepchildren, unrelated children etc. connected to afore mentioned former husband; humor and grace under pressure become almost as important as finding that perfect under-eye dark circle concealer product (FYI, YSL Touche Eclat).

Case in point:  Carl, who was cute as a bug and in charge of making sure everything ran smoothly during the reception, told me -- as he handed over my first coupe of the evening -- that if I needed anything, anything at all his sole raison d'étre (for the next several hours) was to make me and I suppose by extension, the bride and the groom, happy and stress-free.

Mid-way into the festivities flushed and in a flutter, Carl ran up to me to apologize for doing what he described as "the most unimaginably horrible thing."  Doubting this was possible since he was too adorable for his own good, I calmly asked him what that terrible thing could possibly be.  He said:  "I saw you and your daughter's father walking her down the aisle and I thought you made such an attractive couple that I just told him I thought you were a 'real keeper'.  Then your ex-husband introduced me to his girlfriend and told me you haven't been married for at least 30 years."

Too funny.  

(Picture above -- again by Heather Stone -- shows two of the young men under Carl's command, to my great regret we have no photographic record of Carl's presence.)

Since we've been talking about my ex's girlfriend I would like to go on record: she is very attractive and extremely nice.  When she met me she said:  "Oh, I've heard such nice things about you."

I'm still trying to figure out who in the world would have told her something nice about me.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stretching the Truth

This is what I wore to my daughter's wedding.  Clearly these are not pictures of me. If they were I wouldn't have needed to cover myself  from head-to-toe in spandex.

I feel as if thanks to Spanx, the jiggly bits that refused to succumb to my rigorous nine-month diet and exercise program were at least contained in a smooth, if not perfectly sleek package. 

I begged her to give me a year to prepare, but oh, no she had her own agenda.

The strapless top kept falling down all evening which at times gave me a strange, uncontrolled push-up effect. Every time I raised my arms to dance or more often to drink Champagne, one or both sides slipped down.

Fortunately I had a shoulder strap evening bag so my hands were free to yank it back up -- an extremely attractive gesture as you can imagine.

Note black bottoms with the strapless camisole (in the picture).  Chantal Thomass, designer of some of the world's most luscious, lust-inducing lingerie would have an attack if she saw such a mismatched ensemble.  

As she says:  "Personally I cannot imagine not coordinating tops and bottoms." Furthermore she believes we'll all have a happier life if we wear pretty, sexy underwear "even if it's our own special little secret."  Well, if that's all it takes why not?

My getup was a perfect column of unbroken nude elastic.  Nothing seductive about it, but cognizant of Madame Thomass' priorities I was color-coordinated, which at least made me feel smug if not sexy.

Since I'm here to help those of you who have yet to celebrate your big day, I have an important piece of advice:  Spanx aside, do not forget to hold your stomach in every time you see a camera.  Years from now you will thank me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You Should Have Been There

It occurs to me I neglected to mention the fact I attended my daughter's wedding without an escort.  

My husband does not like airplanes. He doesn't have anything in particular against them as long as he's not in one.  We do not use the word "fear" at any time.  He explains his "avoidance syndrome" (my words) as his not liking to be inside moving vehicles from which he cannot exit at will.  Whatever.

His absence however did provide me with a delicious once-in-a-lifetime moment during the Champagne toast segment of the reception to be the star of the soirée.  He gave me the possibility to have all attention focused on moi, moi, moi -- spotlight, microphone and every eye in the house glued on the MOB.   

Had he actually been there this would have been a lost opportunity so as Pierre (my jeweler, i.e. previous post) says, out of everything bad comes something good.

I stood before some 130 people and read his beautiful message to his beloved stepdaughter.

Here is what he said (I know this is an extremely long post, but I think his words are wonderful and I hope you will too):  

Ma Petite Andrea (he's French),

I would so much like to have been at your side today to accompany you toward the man with whom you have chosen to spend the rest of your life.

Before meeting your mother and you more than 25 years ago I thought life was made up of moments without tomorrows.

But from the day the person who is reading my words to you came into my life I knew immediately my world had a sense and that we formed one of those rare couples where each of us lives definitively not only with each other, but for each other.  Suddenly everything seemed simple and evident.

As for you, my chere Drea, the little girl who probably thought I was stealing her mother; our relationship has over the years grown into a magnificent complicity.

I always dreamed of having a daughter and voila -- there you are.

Now. . .  Maybe it's about time I started to talk about you and Will.  Most of all I wish for you the same harmony and happiness I share with your mother.

It's difficult to create a successful couple -- at least that's what everyone believes.

I don't agree.

Whatever the disparate personalities within a couple, the most important condition for success is that each of you is attentive toward the other -- every moment of every day -- in your thoughts and in your actions.

No one is perfect, but a perfect marriage is possible when both partners replace the word "I" with the word "We".

No one should ever hope or try to change the personality of his or her spouse.  A couple must be the sum of their two distinct characters which ultimately creates the richness of a shared life.

Now let's be concise:

1.)  Love is easy -- it's simply chemistry.

2.) Happiness is not merely a word.  It is a decision.

3.) Once that decision is taken, it allows you to face any situation no matter how difficult. (And you can be sure there will be difficult situations.)

4.) And how about fidelity?  Fidelity is the supreme luxury one offers the other no matter what the price in order to preserve and protect your precious couple.

5.) A sense of humor makes up for the rest and heaven knows you and Will are rather gifted in that domain.

Now, entre nous, Will.  We're entrusting Andrea to you.  Beautiful, intelligent, sensitive and loyal -- she deserves the happiness I'm sure you will give her.  And I am certain she will give you in return.  You probably know all of her faults, if not I wouldn't want to tell you here and deprive you of the delectation you'll have discovering them in the years to come.

And finally, Will, a formula I've found works quite well with her mother that I'd like to pass along to you in case you might wish to use it from time to time.

Whenever necessary -- and you'll know when it's necessary -- try saying these three phrases.

1.)  Je suis desole. (I'm sorry. . .)
2.) Tu as raison.  (You're right. . .)
3.) Je t'aime. (I love you.)

From the bottom of my heart I wish you both all the happiness in the world -- tout la bonheur du monde.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pearls of Wisdom

I have an amazing jeweler named Pierre.  He's French and he's also a Buddhist -- stay with me and you'll understand why I'm mentioning this.

As an engagement present I gave my daughter a lovely string of opera length pearls that was a gift from her father.

 The clasp was completely banal --  a simple, classic closure.  On hand I also happened to have a diamond and sapphire ring given to me by an old boyfriend whom I grew to detest.  Needless-to-say I never wore either one so I decided to talk to Pierre about turning the ring into a clasp for the pearls before turning the whole thing over to Andrea.

I remarked to him it felt a bit bizarre giving her this little combo, whereupon he told me that as a Buddhist one believes something good always comes out of something bad.  

You're probably saying to yourself, "what in the world does this have to do with us?"  Well probably nothing, but I love the sentiment about good coming from bad and just thought I would pass this along.  

Andrea said I could borrow her pearls any time I desired.  Now that they no longer belong to me they have a new history that starts with her new life.  

I wish I'd borrowed them to wear at her wedding, they would have been perfect with my outfit.  

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Clock Is Tick, Tick, Ticking. . .

Of course I'm belaboring the point, but that is the point.  

The minute the proposal is proposed and the diamond slipped on her finger we must start preparing for our big day.

It's at this instant when I feel we have the most influence over our daughters.  They're still floating on their "I'm about to be a bride cloud" and are not completely compos mentis.  Now is the time we push for time.  

Moments after she says "yes" to her beloved we must encourage her, with all our highly developed negotiating skills, to consider a two-year engagement.  It's not unheard of.  O.K. minimum one year.  We need every minute to shape-up, make-up and dress-up before all eyes are on us as we take that grand, slow stroll down the aisle.

Let's face it, the awful truth, we're significantly -- without getting into complicated higher math here -- older than we were on our wedding day (or days in my case).  Consequently we have a lot of work to do and I'm not talking about addressing envelopes and tasting cupcakes.

We want to look stunning in every way for a myriad of reasons 
not the least of which can include:  ex-husbands, ex-wives of 
ex-husbands, new girlfriends of ex-husbands, ex-husband's children, friends and relatives we haven't seen in 10 to 25 years and of course those non-stop photo ops.

I had nine months to prepare.   The proposal was on December 31, the wedding on September 6th and as I look at the pictures I could have used another six months to get ready.  Note to self: The camera really does add 10 pounds.  

Every minute counts and believe me our personal to-do lists are significantly more complicated and protracted than any of our official responsibilities.  Think about it, how long does it take to lose 25 pounds for example?  You get my point.
(The calendar above comes from so you too can create your own timeline for your big day, i.e. spa appointments, hair colorings, exercise classes, yoga classes, Pilates classes, make-up lessons, etc., etc.  Do not leave one square unfilled.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Something Borrowed

I don't know about you, but when I got married -- both times -- along with my "something old, something new" and "something blue" my "something borrowed" was the first time out, a minuscule family pin -- way too tiny to call a brooch -- and the second time a handkerchief.

Note major diamond bracelet pictured here.  This was the "something borrowed" Andrea wore at her wedding, lent to her by Pippa, one of her best friends from college.

I bring this up merely to once again point out the inequities in this whole wedding business (as you can imagine I use the word "business" literally and figuratively).  We, the MOBs, have major challenges  in the production so as not to be completely overshadowed by the star of the day.

Already, she's got the la-dee-da show-stopping dress, flowers-in-the-hair, bouquet thing going for her so we have our work cut out for us.  

Here's my first tip:  Make sure you get a perfect manicure.  For bonding purposes, Drea and I got ours together.  

It's not as if anyone is going to be staring at our hands since we're not the ones having diamonds slipped on our fingers, I just recommend it as a grooming/morale booster.  

I also recommend a couple of laser zaps for any unsightly -- oh, I hate to use these words, but here goes: age spots, formerly known as liver spots.  More on this later.  

FYI the treatment feels like someone is snapping your hands with rubber bands which makes you want to slap the doctor.

(Another picture from Heather Stone, as you can clearly see stamped across little finger.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"Our" Big Day

The bride, my baby, on her wedding day looking unspeakably beautiful.

(Picture taken by the super talented Heather Stone.)

In a Top 10 mother-of-the-bride wish list, this is what I hope for my daughter Andrea:

1.) She loves him.
2.) He worships the ground she walks on.
3.) I really, really like him.
4.) He really, really likes me.
5.) They will live happily ever after with success in all the ways they wish (including at some point producing lovely, well-mannered, precocious children).
6.) She finds a drop-dead wedding dress.  (She did.)
7.) People we can't stand, including relatives -- and in a perfect world we would never see as long as we live, but for myriad reasons must be invited to the wedding -- will have other plans on the date.  
8.)  No one loses their sense of humor in the planning stages.  (No one did.)
9.)  We find decent Champagne at a reasonable price. (We did.)
10.) We don't forget anything or anyone.  (The caterer forgot the towering risers for the cupcakes.)

But enough about her.  She's not the only one walking down the aisle. Let's be frank, it's our big day too.