Monday, August 23, 2010
I should be worried, I guess, that one of The Kiddo's favorite shows is SAY YES TO THE DRESS. I don't let her watch it much -- mainly because I'm worried about the message it's beaming into an unformed young mind.
No offense, but what is that show (or its southern cousin, SAY YES TO THE DRESS ATLANTA) really saying? Spend tens of thousand of buckaroos on a dress you'll wear for a half-hour service? My stingy bone just can't wrap itself around that.
But we Southerners are weird enough about weddings without a show like SYTTD. I do declare, Southern girls are obsessed about THE Day from the time they're old enough to loop a towel through a headband and hum Here Comes The Bride. If we could skip the getting-hitched part and just do the wedding ceremony, I know a bunch of Southern women who'd get married a dozen times over, different dresses every time.
It is a rite of passage, complete with an arcane set of rules that are just now beginning to relax. But here are a few that are still around:
1) The bride (at least the Southern bride) wears a tiara and a white dress. Period. I don't care if she was married three times.
2) Bridesmaid dresses must, absolutely, without fail, be the ugliest thing that you as a friend of the bride will be forced to pay the earth for and never ever wear again. And they must come with dyed-to-match shoes.
3) It ain't a Southern wedding without a bolt of tulle. Or maybe two bolts.
4) People will talk and your mama will be shamed if you let your Maid of Honor talk you into letting your bridesmaids wear black. Or red. So don't go there.
5) You can get cutesy all you want with the shower invitations, but the wedding invitations better be white linen with black script.
6) Rule #5 will be waived for all graduates of SCAD -- the Savannah College of Art & Design. But then, so few of those artist types even bother with tying the knot -- wait. That sounds just a bit gossipy, no?
7) Grandma will faint in the church pew if you wear a strapless dress. But she'll get over it and be fine for the reception.
8) Wedding albums are required by southern law to include the entire newly-grafted-together clan, complete with fake grins of congenial familial love, even though most of this bunch of in-laws never met before that day and won't see each other again.
9) You should spend just slightly less on the cake than you do on the dress. And as long as it's pretty, who cares if it's edible?
10) See rule # 3.
I'd thought weddings were pretty much universal in their method of torture -- until I was writing a book about an Oregonian bridesmaid. Tawna Fenske had no clue what I meant when my Oregonian bridesmaid/heroine was griping about tulle. Tawna took me under wing and shared with me that we Southerners are a bit ... fixed in our ways when it comes to hitching people.
Now, when I see a wedding announcement that runs half a page (just about every Southern girl's lifelong ambition), going on and on about the gown featuring embellishments of embroidered lace, a sweetheart neckline and yards of heavy satin, why, I just grin and say, "Bless 'er heart," and then ... say a quick prayer that The Kiddo won't be so fixated.