Once, long ago, I was in a wedding that was not my own.

I was a bride’s matron… because I knew how to sew (ish).

To say that the couple was frugal with their 300+ person wedding would be an understatement.  The groom selected groomsmen who could afford to pay for their own tux rental—and then managed to cut a deal with the tux shop owner that he would get his rental for FREE.  The bride finagled the entire dinner from guests… one ‘secretly’ donated potluck dish at a time.  But the mother of the bride is where this story begins to take shape.  Her daughter had an extensive bridal party to outfit.  Lavender princess–cut, floor-length, faux pearl-beaded at empire waists, multi-layered gowns were the selection for her entourage.  (And let’s not forget the silver lame’ stacked heels to complete the style).

The dresses, like most bridesmaids’ dresses, were a nightmare.

And the mother of the bride hired a seamstress to create them.  But after the dresses were cut out, the seamstress was ‘let go’.  The two women had had a disagreement about renegotiating the cost.  Each member of the bridal party was then given her own dress, told the time and date of the wedding ceremony, and instructed to ‘find a way’ to get their dress sewn.  Seriously.

A few rehired the seamstress on the side to finish the work.

A few bowed out, absolutely mortified.

And there lay the question: what does one do with two dresses that no longer have owners?  The fabric had been expensive (and unreasonably so).  The seamstress had already been paid to cut them out… only three questions remained.

1)      Who could fit the smaller dress?

2)      Who could sew both dresses, so the bride would have one for honeymoon dress?

3)      Who would donate their time to make the second dress as a ‘gift to the bride’?

You can see where I fit into all this.  The faux pearls were made of Styrofoam.  The gauzy lavender overlay was not cut for the same size as the polyester lavender underlay.  One neckline was round-cut.  The other was square-cut.  Only one sleeve (of four) managed to arrive with the pieces.  And the seamstress was hoping her pins could be returned.

In the end, the bride was not quite the right size for the finished dress and chose to wear a sweatshirt (not a mistype there) over her ‘honeymoon’ dress… and the bride and I were no longer friends.

The silver lining to this tale is that the awful lavender cacophony made the most wonder dress-up dress.  Little girls adored it for many years.  Who knew that the faux pearls would quit flaking off after a careful coat of clear nail polish?  They even outlasted the empire waist and princess seams.