With unbridled exhilaration, I declared one Saturday this spring MOB Day.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
With unbridled exhilaration, I declared one Saturday this spring MOB Day. Those who don’t ponder over their daughter’s upcoming nuptials every second of every day or are not awakened in the wee hours by nightmares of lumberjacks yelling “timber” as a towering wedding cake teeters to the ground, might not know my acronym stands for Mother of the Bride.
When my daughter Jesi and her fiancé Andrew set their wedding date, we were absolutely delighted. What’s not to love about a kind, hardworking young man who clearly loves our daughter as much as we do and, in this day and age, asked for her hand in marriage before proposing? After tears of joy, engagement celebrations, and gatherings of future in-laws, I put my mother-of-the-bride-hat on and went into planning mode. We had a whole year to lay some heavy-duty groundwork for one of the most important days of our lives and I vowed to stay the course.
Fortunately, Jesi and I have the help of my older daughter Jena, maid of honor extraordinaire, who inherently knows the inner machinations of a wedding better than a first-rate mechanic knows his way around an engine. But, we still referred to the advice from Modern MOH, because we didn’t want to take any chances on the big day. Think a female version of Franck, played deliciously by Martin Short, in “Father of the Bride.” Determined to make this wedding hum, we put our heads together and began going down a super-duper checklist I obtained from one of those wedding magazines with those ever-composed and carefree brides on the cover. The monthly countdown had begun.
The Type A personality in me purchased and labeled numerous folders and picked up a dry erase white board, lest any detail slip by us. We wrote guest lists, secured venues, rewrote guest lists, selected a band, a florist, and a photographer. Invitations are being printed as I write. Jesi said yes to the dress last fall and a few weeks ago, the bridal party selected chiffon bridesmaid dresses in larkspur blue.
Considering the big day isn’t until September, I availed myself of a lull on the wedding front. Now, it was my turn to walk down the proverbial aisle in search of a resplendent gown that I will wear for all of about eight hours. Hence, Jesi, Jena, and I seized MOB Day with vim and vigor.
We figured we’d stay in Westchester and headed up I-684 to the mini metropolis of Mount Kisco. How a small village that spans about three square miles and has a population of 10,000 can sustain not one, but two shops on Main Street dedicated to special occasion dresses is beyond me. I guess the social calendars of those elegant folks up the line are replete with galas, weddings, and black tie functions.
I made an appointment at Be Unique Boutique because my sister had bought one of her mother-of-the-groom dresses there last year (but that’s a whole other story). Besides, it seemed like a sensible starting point to finding that one-of-a-kind dress.
The owner greeted us warmly as we walked in. Up close and personal, we were the only ones in the shop. When she asked what I had in mind, I wasn’t much help and realized I’d better start narrowing it down beyond “tasteful and classy.” Thank God for daughters. Jena replied, “She wants long,” while Jesi told her I like blue, to which I added, “but not larkspur, because that’s for the bridesmaids.”
Ordinarily not one for much glitz, I threw caution to the wind and chose some pretty elaborate numbers. Disregarding the fact that I’m neither statuesque nor voluptuous, we accumulated several selections and I slipped them on in the dressing room. Well, not exactly “slipped,” more like “hauled on,” as these beaded frocks weigh more than my entire wardrobe put together. How those malnourished twigs on the red carpet pull it off, I’ll never know.
After the owner zippered and buttoned and clipped the excess fabric, I walked out to the pedestal and modeled the selections for my girls. I must admit I was relieved we had the store to ourselves, so we could giggle and put our two cents in without an audience. Fortunately, the very nice proprietor’s presence prevented us from misbehaving, as in laughing at mom’s lack of aura and elegance and grimacing at my reflection in the triple-sided mirror. Be Unique had exquisite selections, but there’s a reason I stick to jeans and sweaters.
Several storefronts down, we visited Elephant’s Trunk, also known for original dresses and special events expertise. This shop had considerably more hustle bustle, but top-notch customer service, nevertheless. Now that I wasn’t a complete neophyte, I paraded around more confidently with one gown after another and we did manage to narrow down styles. It turned out my girls were also a great help to the mother of the groom on the pedestal next to mine.
Another thing, how are models so gaunt and bony? All this dressing and posing made me ravenous. We proceeded to have a lovely ladies’ lunch at Lexington Square Café, just five minutes away. Together, we scrutinized all the photos Jena took of me on her iPhone. We laughed at the close-ups of my wrinkly, knobby elbows, as only mothers and daughters could do. (I should have listened to my grandmother and lathered them up with lotion every night.)
Our outing may not have been as emotionally charged as the day Jesi chose her bridal gown and it may not have elicited the giddiness that picking out the bridesmaid dresses did, but it was a day I’ll always remember. Besides, now I know all about asymmetric and illusion necklines, beaded and sequined patterns, and mermaid and trumpet silhouettes for the next go-round.