Thursday, 31 October 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013 -

Blushing Bride

by Rue Chapman
Published: Sep 22, 2013
Words: 22,722
Category: romance
Orientation: M/F
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Blushing Bride

I have two sisters and three female cousins, all older than me. And all married. And I've carried a bouquet at all five weddings, so I know what I'm talking about: there's something about bridehood that turns a poised, sensible, capable woman into a shrieking, sobbing tyrant with all the self-control of a toddler on red cordial.

I was seven when I was flowergirl for my cousin. Sweet, gentle Maree, who taught Sunday School and sang in the church choir and screamed death threats at the dressmaker who put two buttons instead of three on the cuffs of her wedding dress.

By the time I was thirteen I'd recovered from that trauma, in time to be junior bridesmaid for my sister Cathy. I'd always been in awe of my big sister, who was assistant to a Managing Director, which sounded dreadfully important to me. She was always perfect, poised, never a hair out of place. And I watched her have a two-hour crying fit because the ribbons for the church pews were one inch wide instead of two.

At sixteen I watched my sister Toni break her engagement three times in one day, and then throw a vase of flowers over her fiancé the day before the wedding. At seventeen, my cousin Grace, who without any grace at all attacked a hairdresser with a curling wand because her hair was 'too ringletty'.

After that came a break of a few years. And then when I was twenty-two my cousin Louie got engaged, and asked me to be her chief bridesmaid. This is a responsible job. I realised how responsible when, in one memorable week, she changed the bridesmaids' dresses three times, commissioned wedding dresses from two different dressmakers because she couldn't make up her mind, stole flowers from a stranger's garden to show the florist what she wanted in her bouquet, tried to bribe one of the groomsmen to drop out of the wedding party because he was three inches taller than the groom and would make the wedding photos look wrong, and then threw a shelf-full of shoes at a hapless salesman because he brought her ivory instead of off-white to try on.

And a year later, it was my turn. Well, I'd seen it all, and I wasn't going to fall apart like that, or make such a display of myself. I was cool, calm and collected throughout. One bridesmaid's dress was three inches too short: I had them all cut up to cocktail length. The dressmaker put the wrong lace on my dress: I decided the new lace was fine anyway, and talked them into a discount as well. They double-booked the reception place: I organised a marquee in the grounds of my aunt's house, and told everyone that her award-winning garden was the perfect backdrop. The hairdresser cut my hair an inch too short a week before the wedding: I changed the style for the wedding, and decided it looked fine.