I am the mother of

by francine Hardaway on September 6, 2006

I am the mother of the bride. For the past year I’ve been a victim of the requirements of TheKnot.com, a web site that rules the life of every modern bride.

The wedding is Saturday. The preparations are at a fever pitch. A lot has already happened: the bride has gotten a preliminary spray tan, and will get another. The fiance has arrived from Amsterdam.

One of our four family dogs (we don’t have the DNA match back yet, so we don’t know which dog , as they were all in a fight together over a dog biscuit when it happened) has bitten the maid of honor and caused her to take a trip to the Coastside urgent care, get a dozen stitches, and endure a week of Vicodin and keyboard withdrawal. This maid of honor is my daughter. The bride is my other daughter.

The future in-laws are in town from Canada. All is progressing as it should. They are a family I wish we could emulate.

I took them out to a family dinner on their first night in the States. When I got home, I discovered that my golden retriever had eaten at least ten bags of chocolate meant for guest favors while we were enjoying linguini pescadoro. He ate the candies and the tinfoil wrappings, leaving over over the gum and the plastic bags. Somehow he opened the bedroom door and all the Ziploc bags, extracted the candy and left the gum in each bag. He deposited the empty Ziploc bags in every room of the house, and on the back lawn.

When I called the emergency vet, she said he would need to eat a pound of chocolate for every pound he weighed to be really poisoned. So I guess I don’t drive him to San Mateo to have his stomach pumped this evening. I will wait it out and call someone to clean up the yard.

I have had my blood pressure medicines changed once already. I might have to have it done again before the weekend, just in case. I also have to have my toenails polished, because I just found out part of the fun of the rehearsal dinner involves getting barefoot. I was counting on keeping those toes covered.

I’m writing this while the dog is having an episode of hyperactivity from all the sugar and caffeine. When he comes down from his high, I can regroup and analyze the big “Meet the Fockers” dinner. I thought it went well. My Fockers happen to be missionaries — better people than I will ever be. They speak several languages, which always makes me feel responsible for the failures of the entire American education system, which hardly taught me enough French to greet them. They have travelled the world trying to be of service. I have travelled the world amassing tattoos, art work, and Flickr albums.

I am hoping to get through the wedding without them noticing my shortcomings. I’m thinking of hiding the part about the dog. If I’m a bad mother of a dog, what will they think of their son marrying my daughter?

I have discarded the dress I bought for the wedding without even wearing it. I have hated it since I ordered it, and my daughter the bride confirmed it when I brought it home from the bridal place. My daughter the maid of honor will wear her dress once and burn it.

The bride, however, will be beautiful. She was born to wear a wedding dress. It’s astonishing how good she looks in these lace and taffeta concoctions that make the average girl look like the cake.

I never wear dresses. Even the dog looks better in them than I do.

I’m stunned at the amount of preparation that goes into getting married nowadays. My own marriages were not so complicated. When I married the father of my children, we drove to Las Vegas in the middle of the night, went to a wedding chapel the name of which we never even remembered, got married by three total strangers and drove back to Phoenix. It was the seventies, and we were living in geodesic domes.

The last marriage took place in my future husband’s backyard, attended by whichever of our children could carve time out of their schedules to attend.

But all this was before the bridal industry emerged, turning middle class families into Martha Stewart. The Dark Ages of the industry were a magazine called �Modern Bride,� and they evolved into bridal expos, wedding coordinators, and finally the automation of the wedding experience by TheKnot.com. TheKnot.com aggregates everything you need, and a lot of things you don�t — like tips on what guests will like least about the wedding. The pressure on the bride and groom to provide a perfect destination experience on their wedding day is intense.

I’m not sure this makes weddings more or less successful occasions, but I know it introduces another level of stress. Who was disintermediated by TheKnot.com? Emily Post? Miss Manners? Who made up all these requirements? We will meet them all, the wedding will be beautiful, but we will all need a honeymoon after it’s over.

Ironically, the wedding will be at a winery, and only the photographer and videographer will remember it.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: