Best of the Best: The wedding, the dress, the life • Cathy Best, Lifestyle Columnist
When our son announced his engagement my husband and I couldn’t have been more excited; we adored his fiancée, a precious Midwestern girl we’d known for nearly 10 years. As the engagement became reality, the couple planned a destination wedding in the groom’s Southern hometown. The bride chose a charming Farmhouse Inn, located in our rural county, to host the outdoor October nuptials. As mother-of-the-groom, the details were none of my affair but I found myself frantic about bridesmaids wearing sundresses and sandals in the fall, a small tent unable to support inclement weather and our son in a shirt with no jacket. I gave it my best shot and nosed in, warning the bride and her mother of potential cold and rain, pleading for a jacketed groom and wraps for the backless-bare-armed bridesmaids, and petitioned for a larger tent to accommodate the guests. The bride assured me it would be fine; it was, after all, their wedding day. I was adamant, unyielding and just short of tears but our bride, in her wisdom, stood firm. Get on board my husband warned; the train is leaving without you.
Still frantic, I busied myself with rehearsal dinner plans and concentrated on my wedding attire. Surveying dress choices, made by the bridal party and our Midwestern friends, I realized they were indeed planning on temperate fall weather in northeast Georgia.
As for my dress, blending with the wedding party and keeping warm steered futile shopping expeditions. A seasoned dressmaker, I decided to make the dress myself. Friends were skeptical and, I have to say, I couldn’t blame them, this was a very important day in my life and I was tackling “The Dress.” I enlisted the help of a couture designer to assist with pattern alterations and fittings. We worked together in search of the perfect color, fabric and style, settling on a vintage pattern in green dupioni silk. As I began to cut fabric and stitch a small miracle happened, my wedding day angst waned and later disappeared; I was absorbed in lining, boning and handwork. Couture shop visits, for fittings and design modifications, were filled with construction technique discussions. Quietly, the dress stitched me together and saved me from destroying my relationships with the bride, her mother and my son.
During peaceful dressmaking hours I reflected on the wedding and resolved what’s important; it’s not about the perfect day but a memorable day, and the family life created, with our son and daughter-in-law, in all the days that follow.
On the wedding eve, stars glistened over the lake and temperatures dipped down in the 40s as we hosted summer-clad, out-of-town guests for the rehearsal dinner. The following morning, I met our chilly visitors in a large box store buying pants, leggings, hand warmers, body warming bands to wrap the bridesmaid’s waists and patent leather lace-up mud boots for the wedding party. As temperatures dropped that afternoon and rain began to fall, wedding attire, for women guests, switched from light sleeveless dresses to pants. I briefly considered not wearing my dress; rain would spot it and I would resemble well-cooked turnip greens. I wore it anyway; I had learned a thing or two about perfect.
Proceeding down the cornhusk-strewn aisle, I saw before me the loving group of family and friends beneath the tent. They were huddled closely together, as if holding hands, sharing the union of our two families. When the bride walked down the aisle, with a smile that lit your heart, stopped, and looked up at our son, I knew she was right all along. It was cold, it rained, her dress was muddied and mine was spotted, the tent was bulging and our son had blue smiling lips; none of it mattered. The wedding assembly stood shoulder- to-shoulder on that memorable day as a cousin performed the ceremony, friends read scripture, a brother, sisters, cousins and friends attended the couple, an uncle played keyboard, a sister sang, a brother-in-law photographed and we ate carrot wedding cake prepared by our son’s college roommate.
As the newlyweds departed the reception, my daughter in-law, entrusting me with her wedding dress, accepted my offer to launder the 12 inches of Georgia red clay from its lower half. That night, with dress in hand, a box of Biz and too many blessings to count, I began the family life we are creating.
Best of the Best
Chris Hudson Couture: 150 W Jefferson St., Madison, 706-342-0072, www.chrishudsoncouture.com
Farmhouse Inn at Hundred Acre Farm: 1051Meadow Lane, Madison, 706-342-7933, www.thefarmhouseinn.com
Gussie’s House of Flowers: 136 W Jefferson St., Madison, 706-342-0476
Printed in the October 18, 2012 edition