We planned the wedding for seven months. I like to plan things early. Then there can be no unforeseen difficulties. I will have anticipated all! And, if I forget a detail, I have plenty of time to rectify the situation. Am I patting myself on the back? Sure am!

So, the first thing to decide, after person (groom), place (hometown in the Adirondacks), and time (seven whole months into the future) was the dress. Ah! All the possibilities! But, wait! We need a color scheme. I have always liked pale green. It reminds me of my favorite ice cream, mint chocolate chip. Or was it pistachio walnut? Either way, it is the same color, or close enough. Of course, last year I discovered chocolate almond coconut ice cream, which has probably surpassed the two previous flavors as my favorite, but  I didn’t want a dress that color. Come to think of it, that was approximately the color of Carmela’s wedding dress. But I digress….

So, mint green it was. I was all happy with my selection until I spoke to my sister and niece. I had to have a second color in the color scheme! My sister suggested that coral would do very well as a complimentary color. Ah, yes! The required complimentary color. I would have done the whole wedding in mint green and never batted an eye! So, coral, it was! Then began the discussion on dress color. I have been married before. I know that white is supposed to be the color of joy, and only the veil signifies virginity, but the modern culture seems hell-bent on changing customs and I wasn’t going to be accused of being a non-virgin in white. It would be practically scandalous! Especially if you have an Italian mother. The color scheme was narrow, as you can see, and the subject of discussion was whether  to wear mint or coral. My argument was that I like mint. My niece’s argument was that with my dark hair, coral would be outstanding. She is blonde. Coral doesn’t do it for her. So, going with my own lack of fashion taste, I went with the mint.

Next step was a shopping trip to see what was out there. My daughter, aged 24, is an absolute clothes horse, a trait she did not acquire from me. She buys and donates clothes continuously in a delightful attempt to keep her closet up to date and variable. I, on the other hand, still have clothes from the 80s, since they have yet to wear out. I am just waiting for them to come back into style. I even tenaciously hold on to several of my grandmother’s things, on the basis that they aren’t bad looking. There is actually a few sweaters of hers that I wear occasionally. However, nothing in my closet was suitable for the wedding. So mom and daughter went out for a whole afternoon of shopping at the biggest mall in the area, an hour’s drive from the house. Let me explain my definition of shopping: I can get a whole two weeks worth of groceries at Walmart in under half an hour. So, planning a trip to a mall where the escape routes are posted every hundred yards is a major event. I knew I should have worn sneakers! We looked for green dresses. Not too matronly, not too mother-of-the-bride. A little sexy, not too short. Apparently, in upstate New York, that is not for sale.We found exactly one dress that fulfilled that category. One hundred bucks! And it was rayon! Did I tell you that I am cheap? I could make that simple thing in an evening for a whole lot less! Only problem is that I didn’t have the time to shop for material and pattern and do the sewing.

So, the next step was to look online for a dress. There are two categories of dresses online: sexy floor-length ball gowns and plain princess-style short sleeve dresses all cut from the same pattern with different cloth. Didn’t like anything I saw. And I looked. Every evening from 11-12 I would sit up in bed and pour through dozens of websites trying to find THE DRESS. Nothing. Nada!

By now it was April. The wedding was for July 26. Still plenty of time, I said. By the way, with my wonderful sense of penny-pinching, I actually did go into a few second time around dress shops. You know, like Salvation Army. Didn’t find anything there either. So, back to the computer I went. If I can’t take the time to make a dress, I could have one made. There are actually a number of sites for the adventurous of us who will trust that anyone can make anything given enough time and money. I found one site. And the pictures were very pretty. There I found a most beautiful dress. The model, probably 22, 5’7″ and 110lb, looked lovely. I, too could have that dress, and, in my mind, look just as lovely. I am not close to 5’7″ and I was 110lb once. All I had to do was order the dress in the color of my choice, send them my measurements and wait 6-8 weeks for delivery. Bingo! Perfect! I got my son to make the measurements and emailed all.

Confirmation email said it would be 6-8 weeks. I looked at the calendar. It was April 30. Good! As long as I had it by July 15, I could make any minor adjustments and go! Exciting! The dress of my plans!

July 15 came and went. No dress. By the 17th I was panicking. So I emailed the company. They sent me back a response. It took 12 hours. Of course, the place is in Hong Kong. When I am writing, they are sleeping! Here’s the tracking number! said the email. Too bad they don’t have a policy of sending the tracking number when it is sent out! The USPS website said that the dress had arrived in my hometown on June 7th, no one came to the post office to pick it up so it was sent back on the 25th. How did that happen? I moved the mists of busy work and moving boxes out of the way. Ah, yes! Seems like someone in the house had handed me a post card from the postal service with a number on it about then. I put it down and never looked at it again. I guess that was the dress! In keeping with my goal to stay calm and collected thoughout the weeks leading up to the wedding, I sent them an email back. On the Sunday before the wedding. “Can you send it back, please? If you still have it?” There is a Miss Kwon on the other side of the world who must think I am nuts. “Sending the dress out today. Hope it gets there in time!” I hope someone gives her a bonus! The fact that she had it was amazing.

I did not know that a dress can get across a world that fast! I had it Thursday morning. And the postman walked up the stairs to deliver it himself. Those of you who live in a city should think this is normal. But, here, there is truck delivery and he actually had to get out of the truck!\

So, you think, that is the end of the dress story. No. That is the beginning.

I tried on the dress. The zipper would not go up. I got out of the dress. The zipper went up. I put on the dress again. The zipper would not go up. The conclusion amongst my co-workers and I was that I was just too chunky. All I had to do was buy a cincher and all would work. So, got the cincher. The zipper would not go up. At the rehearsal dinner, I told my daughter, mother, aunt and sister in law that they needed to get their heads together and figure out the problem. We tried the cincher again, soaped the zipper, pulled the dress to straighten the zipper. Nothing worked til my sister in law suggested holding the dress just so and voila! the zipper worked! We tried it a second time to make sure. Huzzah! Problem solved! However, I was beginning to not like the dress. The stupid cincher didn’t work. It just redistributed the fat. It didn’t make me thinner. And the waist kept riding up. Oh, well, it zipped!

Finally, the wedding day was nigh! I got the dress on, but the zipper wouldn’t work. No budging, twisting or sucking in of breath would suffice! I had to cry uncle! Luckily, my mother and her artistic wiles was only 10 minutes away! It turned out that the dress was not made quite right. The seam of the zipper was sewn right next to the teeth. It had to be at the right angle to zip. But that angle could not be accomplished with the dress on, I guess! I had to be basted into the dress. And to hold the basting, we put a brooch at the waist. It worked. It did not pop through the ceremony. It did not pop at the reception. As a matter of fact, my daughter had to cut me out of it that evening!

However, I will never look at the wedding pictures again. I look short and fat with an raised waist dress. Not at all like the vision I had of myself, petite with a lovely waisted chiffon dress. And I don’t think my mother will get over it either! But the rest of the wedding went off without too many hitches. We are really married. And I guess that’s what counts in the end, anyhow.