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.
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…
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