Monday, March 29, 2010

A wedding shower for Oldest Son

If we go strictly by tradition and American custom, a bride may have three showers. None are supposed to be any fun. One is put on by the bride's family -- the sisters of the bride, preferably, or if no sisters are available, an aunt. Officially, at least, though often not in practice, the mother of the bride does not put on a shower.

The brides' girlfriends also have a shower. These have largely degenerated into bachelorette parties, similar to bachelor parties, complete with too much liquor (though the drinks may well have umbrellas in them) and, possibly, even some rude entertainment. Traditionally, though, this was just another sedate, well-mannered event, albeit one at which the bride might receive negligees (thereby permitting the bride and her unmarried girlfriends to speculate wistfully that setting up housekeeping might involve something other than putting away new kitchen supplies). In the modern world, it seems, much of the speculation has been removed. Thus, jaunts to Vegas are substituted.

Most awkward of all, however, was the shower thrown by the groom's family. Typically, the bride is a largely unknown quantity to her fiancee's family. The groom's sisters, if any, or an aunt or two are supposed to host this one (because the mother of the groom is not supposed to) and, hopefully, the bride will be supported by her bridesmaids. Awkward silences will expand to fill the space between the forced oohs and aahs as packages are opened.

Long Suffering Spouse didn't want to inflict this on Oldest Son's bride-to-be. My wife likes "couples' showers." Invitees are asked to bring their spouses; the bride and groom are asked to bring their friends: The kids still get presents, but the guests at least have a chance to have a good time.

The burden for Saturday's even should have fallen on the shoulders of Older and Younger Daughter. But Older Daughter is in Indianapolis and Younger Daughter is in college. So Long Suffering Spouse scoped out the party room of the place from which we sometimes order pizza. We'd had a shower for Older Daughter at another pizza place -- a fancier place, part of a chain -- but Long Suffering Spouse felt we'd been pushed out the door too quickly at the end. Also, she noticed that the restaurant started taking drink orders which were added to our tab -- without at least first offering the soft drinks, wine or beer that was part of the agreed-upon package.

We tried, and failed, to secure Oldest Son's cooperation in inviting his friends. He declined to cooperate -- politely -- and so did his bride-to be. I "Facebooked" Oldest Son's roommate to make sure he knew about the party (and he showed up Saturday, agreeing that my 'end run' was the only sure way he'd actually have known about the event). A lot of my cousins could not come -- but they always designate someone. We had a representative sampling of our college friends. We had wine, we had beer, we had pizza.

Things were shaping up nicely. And then we heard that the bride's mother would be coming up from Texas to meet us. Ooops. We've not met the bride's parents before.

We've just booked two-and-a-half hours at a pizza joint on Milwaukee Avenue -- not exactly the most impressive setting at which to receive one's new in-law. (Note that I didn't say it would be inaccurate, merely unimpressive.) I'd asked my son's fiancee about this scheduled meeting the weekend before: "I hope your mother has something else to do on this trip besides go to a pizza joint on Milwaukee Avenue."

"Oh, sure," she told me. "We have a dress fitting that morning."

I was greatly relieved. Here was an Event (capital E) that would overawe anything else, and fully justify the trip, at least from the perspective of the mother-of-the-bride.

As it happened, we didn't get to meet the bride's mother Saturday. She fell and broke her ankle last Thursday. This was a day or two after our Older Daughter fell and dislocated her knee. (Surgeries are pending for both.) Meanwhile, my wife, who believes strongly that Everything Happens In Threes, is quite nervous.

We got to meet the bride's father on Saturday instead. Poor man. He got a last minute ticket to Chicago because his wife couldn't come. And thus he had to go to the dress fitting on Saturday morning. Speaking from my own experience, I can think of few things I would rather do less that see a daughter's bridal gown fitting. I saw Older Daughter's wedding gown on her wedding day. That was enough.

I don't know what the man may have thought of us; Long Suffering Spouse and I thought he was nice enough. He seems well pleased with our son. That's more than enough to suit us, don't you agree?


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

they sure have minds of their own, this generation. we have a granddaughter getting married in june that is going to play softball in her wedding gown at the reception... sigh.

smiles, bee

Cathy said...

I am sorry about your soon to be in law falling, and also about your daughter. I hope they will both be OK.

You tell a funny story. I can't help but laugh when I read you. I am soooo happy all these wedding things are finished for us. We have a 20 yo grandson so I suppose one day we will start again with that generation. I don't think I have much to do though when that begins except hopefully show up.

I can't imagine a man going to a brides dress fitting...LOL