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Friday, January 22, 2016

The Anti-Bridezilla

The Anti-Bridezilla, acrylic on linen, 36 x 36 inches
MY COUNTLESS PEN AND INK children have one flesh and blood sister–Nicole. She respects her brothers and sisters, finds them pleasant enough as siblings go, but nevertheless is rather standoffish and aloof. She would never think of reading about them, let alone telephoning them. You can't get around it, there is always rivalry among siblings. Because I frequently post about my pen and ink children, I had better write about the flesh and blood one as well.

Coli is a beautiful, smart, accomplished and successful young lady. She has always been industrious and enthusiastic about everything with one exception -- her own wedding plans.

After she became engaged, I could see that she was disinclined to do anything about actually planning a wedding. She was not looking into a reception hall, invitations, a photographer, a band, flowers, food--none of that. (In her defense, she was living in Chicago but wanted to get married in New York.) Seeing no alternative, her father and I took it upon ourselves to get her started. He looked at photographers' portfolios, I visited potential venues and together we started prowling around at night listening to bands. When we showed her the work of photographers we liked or brochures from reception halls that we thought perfect, or sent her CD's featuring fabulous bands, she would say, "Sure, they look OK, why don't you just go ahead and pick one of them."

I figured that with this casual attitude, she had probably not given any thought to a wedding dress. But I was wrong. She told me that she was definitely not going to wear one of those veil "thingees" on her head. Also, she would get a bridal gown, but she was planning on wearing boots with it. Upon hearing this, and worried about a potential fashion disaster, I made appointments for her at three bridal boutiques in Chicago and flew there to "advise" her (really to make sure she kept the appointments). At boutique number one, Nicole thought the first dress she tried on was fine and said that was the dress for her. I explained that it was unusual for a bride to buy the first wedding dress she saw–and besides we had two more boutiques to go to before she made any decisions. After reluctantly trying on a few more dresses, Coli told me she still wanted to buy the first one. She said, "Let's cancel the other appointments and go to lunch." Coli is a very persuasive person. Just say, "yes" to her, and nobody gets hurt. So we went to lunch.

While we were eating, I asked her what she thought about our exciting dress–buying experience. She replied, "The saleswoman could have had more teeth." At that point, I knew I was dealing with the anti-bridezilla. When we shopped for attendant's dresses, I found that Coli had chosen all anti-bridesmaidzillas as well. They had agreed among themselves to wear black dresses, but when we got to the boutique, they were shown petal pink dresses first. They thought the dresses were beautiful and selected them instantly, without looking at any others. As for the flowergirlzilla's dress? We bought that there as well. Guess how long that took and how many dresses we looked at–30 seconds and one! Then we went to lunch.

For the wedding and reception, her father and I selected the Snuff Mill at the Bronx Botanical Garden. We went there many times to fine-tune all the ceremonial, food, music and floral arrangements. Once, when Nicole was in town, she actually came along with us. The manager declared her the most relaxed bride he had encountered in his 30-year career. At one point while we were discussing the menu, he asked Nicole for her input. Yawning, she said it didn't really matter to her–anything would be fine. The manager had to ask her if he was boring her. "No," she replied. "I'm just tired."

My husband told Nicole and her fiance they should select a song that was meaningful to them for their first dance as Dr. and Mrs. Brandell. After some weeks passed, he said that if they didn't make a selection soon, he would pick one for them. They never got around to it, so my husband chose their wedding song for them. The experience was unforgettable and their song, as meaningfully picked out by my husband, was indeed Unforgettable.

For their first dance as a married couple, Nicole and Brian came onto the dance floor and started dancing in a graceful and dignified manner to "their" song, as my husband proudly told everyone that he had picked it. But then just a few bars into the song, something strange happened. Jayon, the lead singer, yelled, "Cut!" and the music stopped. The singer said "You know what? Brian and Nicole just do not look like an Unforgettable type of couple to me." And then the band started playing That's What I Like About You by the Romantics. Nicole and Brian, neither of whom was really a dancer, started to perform an ambitious, perfectly-choreographed, raucously funky dance. They had been secretly in touch with the band to arrange it and had a co-worker of Nicole's who had been a professional dancer work out the choreography in order to be able to do their Dancing with the Stars-quality routine. They and the band had conspired to keep it a secret from my husband, the grand inquisitor.

Other than showing up, the big dance fake-out was Nicole's sole contribution to the wedding. And it wasa great one. Everyone thought it was hysterical. It totally set the tone for the rest of the evening. Everyone, regardless of age or infirmity, was on the dance floor all evening, gyrating to a band that was in a delightfully deep funk groove. No tummlers needed that night.

About a week before the wedding, Nicole rang me up and said that she had just tried on her wedding dress for the first time. She said she looked OK in it but thought no one would even know that she was the bride because she wouldn't be wearing a veil. Upon hearing that, I sprang into action. I immediately went to Suzanne on Madison Avenue and had a veil designed and made up virtually overnight so that people would know that Coli was the bride. I did not concern myself in the least with such petty details as the exhorbatnt cost of the rush order because–

I am Bridezilla!


  1. Touching, charming and funny. I actually had to laugh out loud.

  2. boots with a wedding dress is a great idea : )


  3. Great story ... Love it. Please tell us, the story about Mommy + Diamonds + N.Y.C. Sidewalk

  4. Love the story. And remarkably accurate. Amazing to think that was 10 years ago. We'll try to remember our anniversary this year!

  5. In addition to being the only Bridezilla, I am the repository for family ephemora.

  6. What a lovely night that was.