Last weekend a dear friend was successfully married in Sacramento. I say “successfully,” because I was involved in several important aspects of the wedding, so any number of things could have gone wrong. Luckily, my main task was to keep her sane while she was “backstage,” awaiting her big entrance.
Officially my job description included making sure there was nothing between her teeth and helping her slip out of her gown when nature called.
I had some time to think about weddings while driving home through the Sacramento Valley — thoughts about white calla lilies, the magic of romantic love and what I should have said during my toast.
I also lingered on that moment when I sincerely wished the Handsome Woodsman had been there to twirl me on the dance floor.
This was my first turn as a maid of honor, and I hope to do it again and again. I’m certain I could improve upon my fledgling skills.
First off, no matter how much you try, the hem of a white dress is going to turn black after a day filled with photographs, trips to the cheese table and several sashays to a BeeGee’s song.
I would suggest dropping the pretense of a post-wedding white hem and opt for liberal use of Scotchgard.
MORE LESSONS LEARNED
My friend Samantha has classical taste and I wasn’t surprised by her classical choices.
I wondered, of course, what choices I would have made had I been the bride. She chose white lilies, which seems to have been all the rage for the past 100 years. One website says lilies represent “purity and innocence.”
Thinking myself so unique, and perhaps not quite so innocent, I might have chosen sun-drenched daises, or delicate alstromeria.
That certainly shows what I know.
It wasn’t until the end of the night that I realized those sturdy if pure callas are grown to take a beating.
Much of my job was holding those flowers. This might seem like a simple task if wedding photos had not included two hours and three locations.
During the rehearsal, my instructions included “take bouquet, stand, pass bouquet, fluff dress.”
I think “don’t trip” was also implied.
Over the course of the night we handed those flowers off like a quaffle in a quidditch game. I held lilies while balancing the veil on one pinky, the make-up bag clunking against my thigh. Mind you, I was wearing spiked heals on cobblestone.
Anyone who thinks being in a wedding is glamorous has not tried to fold a tulip-shaped gown into a limo, nor assured a bride that the decorative candles would not set her dress on fire.
In the end, all was lovely.
I gained other knowledge that may last a lifetime.
For example, air-brushed makeup is the bomb. The bride was breathing so hard at one point that her thin veil was waving like a surrender flag. Despite tears, her makeup was flawless.
Her mother chose to not wash her face after the festivities. At breakfast her skin still looked as smooth ganache. I wish I had thought of that. I could have worn that stuff until Chinese New Year.
Note to men: It is never appropriate, at any age, to kiss a maid of honor directly on the lips. Never. Ever. Never.
Other tidbits: Limo drivers enjoy posing with rubber chickens. When asked sweetly, State Parks officers will handcuff a groom. Even the best plans can be altered.
BACK AT THE RANCH
When I arrived home, the glamour of the gowns quickly faded. My driveway was a mudhole and in my haste to leave town I left my tender plants defenseless to the cold.
Yet, I returned with resolve to grow calla lilies.
The University of California IPM website cites callas among the list of invasive plants. That shouldn’t be a problem if you plant them at the same time you form new friendships with single women.
As you marry off your gals, you can dig up the ever-growing mass of calla lily bulbs and include them as wedding gifts.
If you’re not an excellent matchmaker, you can switch to growing the bulbs in pots.