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Marrying Off the Baby...

Several years back we had two weddings in one year. Our oldest daughter married in June that year, our middle daughter in October. (Our middle daughter said all she wanted was a new car. Her father helped her get one. Next thing we knew, she wanted a husband as well. You cannot trust daughters.)

After that busy year, I figured when the time came for our youngest daughter to get married the wedding would be a snap. Not. It seems having two weddings in one year is a walk in the park compared to marrying off the baby. It wasn't just that the price of weddings had skyrocketed. Marrying off the baby was significantly different than marrying off a regular daughter.

This is the wedding of the one in whose presence the word "no" has never been uttered. Even if it was uttered it was quickly changed to "yes." She's had the best her family could give her. No. She's had better. And, as is the case with many last borns, our youngest offspring had perfected the art of sweet talking.
By the time this one was ready for her trousseau, we were old. Tired. Worn down. Besides, she had two older sisters standing in the wings to pick up anything the old people voted down. This girl always had her heart's desire. Her every whim. She was, after all, cute. Eyes of blue. Hair of gold. And, the baby.

Just try reining in the baby when shopping for the wedding gown. The dress in which she would present herself to her young groom. It was dress number 3000 to be marched into the dressing room at the eighth bridal boutique. The heap in the chair was the mother-of-the-bride, propped up by the matron-of-honor who had already turned stony-eyed. But the dress! Ah, the dress. It had billions of tiny seed pearls and sequins and a train that went to Chicago and back. What a find. Our baby whirled and twirled. She preened in front of those mirrors. Why, the dress was a buy at any cost!

Now, finding just the right veil to go with this ensemble wouldn't be easy. It couldn't be too frothy. Yet it had to be frothy enough. There would be no stinting on the shopping for The Veil. Even though it was but a simple bit of tulle, it would rest atop the bride's head like a halo, propelling her down the aisle. Veil shopping went on for many weeks. Finally, the ultimate veil craftsman was located, thankfully within the state, and she was fitted with The Veil.

Next, came the choosing of the wedding cake. At the cake shoppe we were ushered into an elegant room where the table was set with lace and flowers and where wedding cakes clearly reigned. Cakes with flowers. Cakes with pearls. Cakes with cherubs. We sipped tea and sampled. There was cake laced with raspberries, lemons, almonds, fudge. There were any number of variations. All lip smacking good. "How can you count cost," the father-of-the-bride whispered, "when it comes to the wedding cake? I'll take another piece of almond, thank you." The baby said it had to be many tiered. Lighted. With fountains and ribboned pillars. And pearls. It would taste delectable. And look spectacular. Atop this exquisite confection would perch a bouquet of fresh roses. And, so, our baby's cake would be the centerpiece of the celebration.

And then, there was the photographer who would record this glorious event - this wedding of our last born. The bride and groom would pose in the church. In the garden. In the reception hall. In front of a backdrop. With all the attendants. The parents. Grandparents. Alone. Together. With friends. With the flowers. Without the flowers.
And speaking of flowers. Did I say plenty? Make that plenty, plenty. Roses. Gardenias. Lilies. And Baby's Breath. Loads of Baby's Breath. Flowing from the pews would be yards of white frothy netting caught in huge bows. Did I mention centerpieces? Candles?

What about the reception? Say good bye to the V.F.W. hall, the Moose Lodge, the Eagles club. It was on to the local jockey club. The friends and relatives of our baby must dine in comfort.
And, they came from Pittsburgh. St. Clair Shores. Baltimore and Raleigh. There was the clan from Cleveland who cleaned up everything from the chicken to the quiche to the tortellini.

The bride was accused of being sensible only once throughout this joyous occasion. It was in her choice of a groom. We've known him almost as long as we've known her. And he will do what we've done for twenty-three years. Love, honor, and "obey" her.

Postscript: Updated essay on baby daughter will follow someday when I get up the energy. She divorced her high school sweetheart who turned out not to be so sweet and she's married again to Jason - I think this will work! She now has nine year old triplets - boy, boy, girl - and a five year old son. One thing that hasn't changed is - she can still sweet talk her family.

"All the characters who have housed my stories now have permanent apartments in my head. I still have tea with them." BW


  1. My good hubby-buddy an' I thoroughly enjoyed your telling of The Baby's wedding preparations. I'm so thrilled to hear that she did, indeed, find happiness. Looking forward to reading more about the characters you have tea with. I love your writing voice.

    ~ Yaya

  2. Oh, this made me laugh. Loved the last line.

  3. I'm glad I never had a big wedding--either time!

  4. This piece of course is a bit exaggerated for the sake of interest. I wrote it several years after the fact, after the expense and the pain had died down. Humor is very akin to pain.
    Out of three daughters one is still married to original husband. Don't really like big weddings either. Three daughters and five weddings is what we've had. The second marriages small ceremonies but nice. Weddings are way overrated.
    Been thru five and my own so I know!
    God bless you yaya for liking what I write.

  5. I'm another YaYa who likes your writing! I have 4 sons, 2 are divorcing so I get your drift here! One (the baby) says he's never marrying..he does live with his girlfriend, so we'll see about that. You never know what life will throw at you, but keeping your sense of humor is essential to survival!

  6. I agree. My mother had a sense of humor and I was fortunate to inherit it.
    Enjoy those boys. Wow. I have five grandsons and they are a blast.

  7. What a wedding! I'm kinda glad I have three boys. Loved reading your post, Barbara. I was the baby in my family, too, but my wedding was quite different. Our neighbor did the flowers, my girlfriend at work made the cake (which was beautiful), I made my wedding gown and veil and reception was held in a church building. Homemade punch and sandwiches with yellow and green dyed bread (the colors of my wedding). Husband's friend took the pictures. Very simple, but wonderful wedding. Oh, and did I mention my husband, he was the best part of it all!

  8. Agree Janet. Our hubby should be the best part.
    AS I said, it was exaggerated but based on truth. And she did have her father around her finger and two sisters standing in the wings to pick up anything I thought she should not have. Which wasn't much. Plus she was working and did some of the little stuff. Yeah, maybe the mints.
    Warning, when one says he is not marrying nor having children. Jill our baby said she wasn't having children because they might act like her sisters. Then she got pregnant and delivered twins, no fertility drugs. Those three have done everything possible to do to get into trouble. Eating her words. Still, they are cute as well as their little brother.

  9. PS She had triplets, I'm losing my mind today.B

  10. It's funny how the first wedding you want everything to be perfect. The second wedding? Not so much! Sorry the first marriage didn't work out, but glad your daughter(s) are happy!

  11. I have so much to be thankful for. First of all, for their health. And they turned out to be good kids. One never knows. We did our best, that's all I know for sure.
    Thanks for all the comments. I love reading them.

  12. I chuckled through the whole story, which had a real fairy tale quality to it. I'm glad the princess is now living happily ever after, even if it took a second prince to get there. Wonderful writing!

  13. I remember that story, Barb, and always liked it. In fact, I always liked your lights essays–that's a talent! Goes to show, though, that the size, expense of the wedding really means nothing. Except, of course, that she has those beautiful triplets, plus one more of course. Glad that she is happy now


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