The big family wedding
We ate. We saw. We partied. Oliver’s first experience as a wedding guest went swimmingly. Aside from having to take the little guy out during the ceremony (a quiet, cavernous church isn’t the best environment for a noisy toddler, I’m afraid), Ollie loved people-watching, running through the reception hall and partying with his cousins. I, on the other hand, am achy. At some point in my get- ting-ready process, I decided wearing high heels for the first time in months — years? — was a good idea. At 24 weeks preg- nant, I already look ready to be rolled from spot to spot. Smart to add unstable footwear, too, right?
My questionable deci- sion-making had roots, how- ever. For one, I rarely wear anything dressier than a pair of black slacks and stretched-totheir-limit maternity tops with utilitarian boots. My pregnancy wardrobe consists mostly of hand-me-downs from friends and family believing themselves to be done having babies (let’s hope they’re right, ’cause I’m not giving anything back). I’ve shared what I can with my sis- ter — also in her second trimester — and will soon be forced to invest in bigger clothes as we approach my due date.
Know what’s fun? Outgrow- ing even your largest maternity clothing.
Last weekend’s family wedding in Pennsylvania had been in the works since my cousin, Cody, proposed to his girlfriend last winter. Who doesn’t love a good party? For as much as we all enjoy catching up without Facebook as a go-between, it’s tough to get far-flung family members together for actual face time. My family doesn’t necessarily need an excuse to share my grandmother’s homemade peanut butter cups over childhood stories, but a wedding is still a great backdrop for that kind of conviviality.
Everyone has been talking about the “big family wedding” for months, and I started plan- ning our outfits months ago. Couldn’t take a “let’s wing it!” approach to this one. My hus- band’s dark suit was a given, and I found an adorable suit (complete with vest and tie) for Oliver.
But me? Well. As many par- ents — especially of the work- ing world — will attest, any Sat- urday spent in something other than pajama pants is a “fancy” one. By the time the weekend rolls around, I’m happy to do next to nothing with ratty hair from the comfort of my living room. I wasn’t sure I had the strength for a dress.
Dresses require a certain dedication to one’s appearance — a sophistication I don’t typically possess. As we were getting ready at home before driving two hours to Gettysburg, Pa., whatever I put on at 9 a.m. had to still be fresh and sparkly for the 5 p.m. dinner. A pretty tall order for an uncomfortable pregnant lady also chasing down a toddler.
Spencer pressed the collar of his dress shirt, shrugged into his suit and asked my opinion on ties. And that was it. No makeup to apply (and reapply, and apply again), no hair to shel- lac into place, no spare lip gloss or stain remover pen or bobby pins to stash should disaster be- fall him before show time.
I hate to play the “men have it easier” card, but seriously: when it comes to formal attire, men totally have it easier.
I wanted Saturday to be a lit- tle more than a frizzy-haired, did-the-best-I-could occasion. I pulled out the solitary mater- nity dress I own, still new with tags, and took an extra 30 sec- onds to apply darker eyeliner and actual lipstick. My tresses are a lost cause, but I did manage to pull back my curls in something close to a style. It later photographed as a messy topknot, even as my sister tried to “fix it,” but that’s OK. I am who I am.
Footwear was my last consideration. Every pair of flats I own looked well-worn and mangy . . . definitely not worthy of a formal occasion. Though I’m wobbly and rotund, I put on the heels. I guess I wanted the full experience of not being busi- ness casual or yoga-pant-chic for one day.
Needless to say, we did way more walking and standing than I’d bargained for. Oliver was fascinated by my “noisy” shoes, pointing to them with a look of amusement. I laughed thinking of the many times I’d worn this same patent-leather pair — before, I guess, in an old life. Not in the presence of my young son.
My feet were swollen by the time we left Gettysburg. My toes ached from gripping the slippery soles; the bottoms of my feet felt sore and rubbed raw. I contemplated retreating to the car barefoot, as I’ve had to do before, but it was cold and dark. Walking on cracked pavement probably wouldn’t have felt much worse, but I’d made one smart call and stashed sneakers in the car.
Sunday started with that happy, hazy, sleepy feeling that often follows a big event — like the prom, say, or our own wedding. We tired Oliver out enough that he, too, slept late — an early Christmas gift — and we sluggishly got through Sunday, reminiscing and opening photos others shared from the event on Facebook.
The aching toes I’d jammed into heels were a reminder of all that fun as I squished my feet back into sensible boots for work on Monday. Even if the heels stay stashed for another year or two, at least we had that moment. Someday we’ll dance together again.