Ten weeks and counting

By Al Rodriguez

My daughter has entered into the homestretch of her two-year engagement and is fine tuning her wedding plans.  I’ve found today’s notion of picking and choosing wedding traditions fascinating — i.e. “we have to do it this way” or “no one does that anymore”…says who?

I don’t deny that I had my “father of the bride” moments early on when I suggested they have an inexpensive  civil wedding and that my daughter choose an attractive cocktail dress that she could then use for her work activities. I also thought it brilliant to suggest that they just host their reception at some local restaurant during happy hour.  But, I’ve quickly learned not to get in the way of some dreams, and for my daughter it was having a “princess wedding.” That, of course, resulted in the early purchase of THE dress and then the reality that THE dress wasn’t really THE dress.

Al Rodriguez reads to baby Nicole.

Al Rodriguez reads to his baby girl, Nicole.

Who would have thought back in 1986 when she was born that e-commerce would evolve into the development of websites that allow for the sale of never-worn wedding dresses? Regardless, she ultimately found a dress that makes her happy and that’s all I can ask for. All of the details are being attended to with the securing of the wedding venue, the requisite wedding-day coordinator, caterer, videographer (?), etc. What an above-ground economy!

With less than ten weeks to go, her engagement has served as a microcosm of what can occur during a marriage. There was the traumatic loss of and dramatic recovery of her family heirloom engagement ring; her fiancé Andrew lost his job and after almost seven months of searching within a weak California economy, is just now considering prospective opportunities.  They’ve learned that financial realities will shape their world view, as they had to shift their focus from what they wanted as a wedding event to what they aspire to in their future marriage.  They’ve had to come to terms with marrying into each others family, and the realities of facing a lifetime with new in-laws. Don’t we all have our own versions of “Meet the Fokkers”?

Nicole’s bridesmaids hosted her bridal shower last weekend. Her friends did all they could to make her feel special and she in return was equally thoughtful in her appreciation of them.  There were jars with lavender sea salt; flowers; and delicate hors d’oeurves. On the other hand, Andrew gathered his groomsmen and attended two Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball games and hung out by a hotel pool and kicked back.  I like the young man’s style…

Nicole snuggles with fiance Andrew.

Grown-up Nicole snuggles with fiance Andrew.

As this has all transpired, I admit to reflecting on that scene in the “Father of the Bride” when Steve Martin is playing basketball with his daughter and as he looks at her, he sees a small child, not the grown woman that she has become. I will have the privilege of attending the wedding of Simone (the daughter of my closest friend George) to her partner Kyndall on Orcas Island next weekend and I have to admit, I’m sure each parent sees their adult children in the same way — accomplished, giving, thoughtful and intelligent. But we also all go back to those early special years when you could hold your child in one hand and knew you would do everything to protect and guide them into healthy adulthood.

I’m not sure how I will handle that question posed by Joyce Dudley, our local district attorney and Nicole’s boss, who has agreed to officiate at Nicole and Andrew’s wedding, when she asks, “Who agrees to give this bride away?” But I do know that I can’t escape the fact that it’s in less than ten weeks – but who’s counting?

Al Rodriguez lives in Santa Barbara, California, and recently celebrated his 30th anniversary with his wife, Elizabeth Lee. Al is vice-president of community investments for the Santa Barbara Community Foundation.


Editor’s note: Simply put, Al is my oldest and dearest friend. He was my high school confidant, a college roommate and best man at our wedding almost 39 years ago in San Jose, California. Damn, he’s old.

Tomorrow: “Fakin’ it while makin’ it” by Alana Cox


10 thoughts on “Ten weeks and counting

  1. I love this, because every girl could use a dad during this major transition: either to make all the wedding ups and downs go more smoothly and mute the control freaks who can make the process misery, or just to see his little girl as the little girl he had and let her know you’ve cherished the role of being her dad. (And to help make sure fiance is a good man so you know what she is signing up to/for. Sounds like this one is good. And games, pool, sun with friends? I agree, I like the man’s style!) Cheers. And don’t let George call you old. 🙂

    • Elizabeth – I guess I’m not very timely am I? Anyway, yes I am enjoying the role of guiding dad especially given that’s he role she values most from me. BTW, I loved the bravery you showed us in your piece! Hope I can make it up for our get together.Take care…

  2. Congratulations, Al, on your daughter’s upcoming wedding. You sound a wee bit proud and sad and happy … as you should! It’s a big step for a daddy to let his little girl go.

  3. Your daughter is very blessed to have a daddy that is so involved. I don’t know what I would do without mine! Wishing them the best as they plan their marriage and journey through life together. There is no greater joy than marrying your best friend.

  4. Congrats to you and your lovely daughter! I think it’s pretty amaze that both you and George are going through this rite of passage together. Synchronicity, baby. Life is pretty cool sometimes.

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