Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mother of the Bride

Three generations celebrate as my mother gives Samantha something new, a bracelet.
by Jamee Gregory

Have you ever tried being Mother-of-the-Bride? Its fun while it lasts, like hanging on to the tail of a fast moving tiger! I thought I might share some discoveries to make life easier for novice MOBs.

Start with stationery, and allow plenty of time. There are so many ways to word and design invitations. My daughter Samantha and I began with Mrs. John L. Strong, visiting the attractive Madison Avenue boutique, selecting heavy cards with red beveled edges and a clear black type face, large enough to see.
Clockwise from left: A wall of The Printery's invitations; A beautiful selection of The Printery's motifs, cards, and linings; The inviting window display at Mrs. John L. Strong; Samantha and Roberto's creative cookie, symbolizing their cross-country romance; Escort cards guide each couple to their table; The Printery's place cards covered with Ellen Weldon's magnificent calligraphy.
We chose red tissue linings for the invitations and reply envelopes and ecru paper and tissue to separate the layers. We found bridal stamps with hearts and let the in-house calligrapher artistically address the envelopes in red ink.

After supervising the assembly of the invitations, Rhiannon Dixon, our adorable and efficient executive, even volunteered to drop off our stuffed invitations in Sag Harbor, the only post office that really hand stamps. That’s what I call service! It would be a crime to squish Mrs. Strong’s beautiful creations.

Monogrammed hot pink cocktail napkins from Kate's Paperie added to the fun.
Next we hit The Printery’s Southampton outpost at The Elegant Setting (the village’s chicest shop), on Main Street, ordering engagement invitations, red on ecru with shiny linings, red-bordered place cards, escort cards with red borders, and two sets of thank you notes, cards saying Samantha Gregory for shower gifts and the other with a Samantha and Roberto heading, for wedding presents. (I learn that brides no longer want Mr. and Mrs. fold-over notes! Guess I’m old-fashioned.)

Our favorite invitation designer, Ellen Weldon, was selected to do the calligraphy on the escort and place cards which we ordered in white with red borders from The Printery.

Kate’s Paperie on Third Avenue had the most wonderful choices for colorful cocktail napkins in myriad colors and typefaces. I loved the bold silver ink with a silver heart.

Our sales advisor, Victoria, couldn’t have been nicer, executing the order while I visited the Canyon Ranch. (MOBS definitely deserve a weekend vacation!) Pink for the reception at home, red for the Waverly and everything arrived on time.
Clockwise from top left: Entering Vera Wang; A selection of Vera's gorgeous gowns; More luscious gowns! So many choices!; Wang's selection of bridal slippers, from stiletto's, mules, sling-backs, to ballerinas.
L. to r.: Each gown receives the attention of Vera's talented and expert fitters. Nothing short of perfection will do! Blanca, our fitter, was amazing!; Vera's team sees that each gown is just right; These alteration experts leave nothing to chance.
Ordering the wedding dress from Vera Wang was truly a pleasure. Samantha chose her gown with the assistance of her good pal, Fernanda Niven, Vera’s able PR guru, and her friend, Gretchen Fenton. It was perfection, especially after Vera’s amazing fitter, Blanca, altered the dress, giving us her total attention in the most elegant fitting room I’ve ever seen.

Vera not only creates elegant, timeless gowns, but really makes each bride feel like “Queen for a Day,” surrounded by orchids, sofas and tender loving care. We were even able to select sling-back shoes that matched the champagne color of her dress’ shimmering pailettes.
Clockwise from top left: At Vera Wang, friendly' helpful faces welcome anxious mother/daughter duos, putting them at ease immediately!; Vera Wang's sleek, orchid-filled fitting room promises to please the most discerning bride, with plenty of room for MOB to observe; A bride twirling before her mother, utilizing the three-way mirror; Mother of the Bride ringing a mini wedding bell, waiting patiently in Vera Wang's elegant salon. The cabinet, stocked with bridesmaid gifts, is full of ideas.
I visited La Perla to surprise the bride with delicate lingerie. Who wouldn’t want their beautiful lace creations to wear as something new?

Grace Meigher provided something blue, a garter from Hanky Panky! My mother brought an embroidered handkerchief that belonged to my grandmother (something old) and I lent some pearl and diamond earrings for something borrowed. (Believe me, I did get them back!)
L. to r.: The flower-covered cake from Duane Street Patisserie with its' pale green fondant icing and spun sugar buds, right down to the icy Calla lillies on its base was too pretty to eat...but we did! Chocolate ganache filling and traditional white cake proved that this confection was more than a pretty face; After the wedding the top of the cake, beheaded, and the bouquet rest in the refrigerator!
The only thing missing was the wedding cake, which I found at the fabulous Duane Street Patisserie, covered in pale green fondant icing with chocolate ganache between white layers, covered in pastel flowers. Cookies (from Sweet Lisa’s in Cos Cob, CT. 203-869-9545), were designed by Samantha and Roberto in the shape of the US with his initial in LA and hers in NYC connected by a heart and tied with red ribbons.

Musicians were found by my favorite caterer and great pal, Sean Driscoll, whose stellar Glorious Food team masterminded everything, providing just what my daughter wanted, right down to mini grilled cheese and Roquefort hamburgers to new potatoes with caviar. Pink champagne was poured, along with lots of water.
Clockwise from left: Fragrant lillies make signing the guest book a treat; Hot pink roses create a nest for my crystal birds on a dining room table; The flower girl's basket, bursting with a  bouquet of blushing roses wrapped in her namesake vine, Ivy; Old-fashioned cabbage roses set the tone, opening in profusion; The  pale palette of the ribbon-wrapped bridal bouquet; Bill Tansey's lush, romantic arrangment welcomes guests to the intimate wedding; Flower-filled glass urns framed the bridal ceremony.
All my furniture was carted off by the able team from the Padded Wagon. After spending the night on a truck, it all reappeared in mint condition, early the next morning.

Samantha and I just before the ceremony
Handsome and talented Bill Tansey, of Tansey Design, worked his magic, washing my pink glazed walls with pink gels, creating a warm, rosy glow that set off the beauty of the bride as well as urns filled with the most delicate pink roses, viburnum, hydrangeas and the delicate ivy and rose headband of our lovely flower girl, Ivy and her brother, Ben, who thought he was the ring Bear and would have a furry costume!

The evening went off without a hitch as the bride raced down the aisle. She couldn’t wait! The happy couple set off for the Plaza Athenee. Photographer Mary Hilliard captured the event, taking original and sensitive pictures, including a great shot of the newlyweds leaving in a bright yellow taxi. I gave my nephew, Nicholas, a disposable video camera from CVS and the results were terrific!

Next morning at ten the phone rang and I heard my daughter’s voice. “Mommy, it was just what I always wanted!” That’s all an MOB wants to hear.