This weekend I was honored to be a bridesmaid at the wedding of a very close family friend. To say the wedding was phenomenal would be an understatement–St. Patrick’s Cathedral, The St. Regis Hotel. It was truly in a class of it’s own. But who’s judging? As I always say, every wedding is fabulous because every bride and groom are unique.
The last time I was a bridesmaid was at my father’s wedding to my stepmother. I was in high school, and my role in the wedding was a very meaningful gesture for my family. Previous to that, I was a junior bridesmaid at the wedding of one of my cousins. I definitely was too young and didn’t fully appreciate the work that went into the wedding nor the scope of my duties as an attendant.
Being wedding obsessed and, naturally, fully overcome by your own wedding planning fever adds to the excitement of being a bridesmaid. I was definitely taking notes! Attending to the bride’s wishes and needs made me think critically ahead as to what my day might be like and how better I as well as my attendants can assist in its running smoothly. You can’t plan for everything, but you can cover your bases!
Living through this amazing wedding weekend also made me think about the story my paternal grandmother told me about her own wedding on Labor Day weekend in 1949.
Both my grandparents’ families emigrated to the United States from what is now Eastern Slovakia and Ukraine. They met after World War II and were married at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church in Bayonne, New Jersey and held their reception at the MacKenzie Post, a local meeting hall. When I asked her about the food, my grandmother casually said that their mothers, like good little babushki, cooked traditional Ukrainian dishes, including borshcht (beet soup), holuptsi (meat and rice filled cabbage), and varenyky (pirogies or Ukrainian dumplings filled with potato and cheese filling). And when I asked how many guests they served, she said flat-out, straight-faced, “Oh, just about 200, maybe 250.” No joke. Can you even imagine cooking a meal for that many people and not being a professional chef? More importantly, why haven’t I inherited their skills?
My grandmother and grandfather made a very beautiful couple. I will definitely take her cue with those peep toe shoes, though I’m sure she’ll just tell me that, although gorgeous, they’re not worth the pain later in life! And while my grandfather’s tux with its wide lapel and pant legs are a bit out of fashion, the bow tie is a very nice touch.
I love this photograph not only because it is their first, arm in arm, as husband and wife, making an exit symbolic of their entrance into a new life, but also because it is an excellent example for bridesmaids-to-be. Check out that very ever-ready, attentive maid of honor in the background, guiding my grandmother’s veil. Success!