Brides and Grooms
really do exist!
I think the most gracious bride
and groom I have ever encountered were my cousin "Liz" and her
now-husband "Barry." Liz had converted to Judaism a few years
before the wedding, and she and Barry planned a traditional Jewish ceremony.
Knowing that our family (and many of her friends) would be unfamiliar with all
of the components of the ceremony, Barry and Liz set up a website with
beautifully laid-out page after page of information, scheduling, etc. They
also included information for out-of-town guests, and arranged blocks of rooms
at hotels close to the wedding site. After receiving and RSVP-ing to
our invitation, Liz called me on the phone to check on different things for our
comfort. We had a small baby daughter (who was mentioned on the invite by
name, so there was no confusion as far as her being welcome) and Liz provided
child care for the families who wanted it, but made it clear that the kids were
welcomed throughout the afternoon and evening.
The ceremony was absolutely beautiful, and the reception was
classy, yet very relaxed and comfortable. We had to leave a bit early, but
Liz made sure to tell us how happy she was that we had attended. I
received a thank-you note for our gift within ten days of the ceremony.
This graciousness extends into their everyday life as well. I have had the
opportunity to meet with Liz and Barry a few times since their wedding, and they
always put my comfort and ease ahead of everything else. What a wonderful
example of a truly special couple on their "special day!"
A little over a year ago a friend of mine, M, married for the
second time. My mom helped with planning the wedding since M's mom passed away
several years ago. All throughout her planning her decisions were based on what
would be best for her guests. M and J, the groom, had to be talked into doing a
gift registry since "they didn't want people to think that they had to buy
a gift." Helping with the wedding planning was actually fun because of her
laid back attitude. At the wedding M gave my mom the corsage meant for the
mother of the bride and seated her where M's mom would have sat. A couple weeks
later my mom received a thank you note with two Visa gift cards worth $100 each.
This was after my mom had already turned them down when they offered to pay her
for her help. Since then M and J have proven over and over how thoughtfulness is
second nature for them.
This perfect bride story involves a friend I met at a
former job. After hearing she got engaged, I naturally inquired about
wedding plan progress. She replied with a laugh, "I wish somebody else
would plan it and just tell us when to show up." It's not that she didn't
care; she just had her priorities in order. Bride and Groom had
just purchased a house, and shortly after getting engaged, learned that they
were expecting a child. She therefore budgeted appropriately for the wedding.
Her wedding budget allowed for super cheap (but lovely) invitations, a
non-wedding white formal dress (under $100), moderate but tasteful decorations,
and she got a deal on food and the reception site from a friend.
Their one splurge was the band they really wanted, which
was totally worth it because the dance floor was consistently packed
throughout the reception. I fondly remember Bride's father, who I'd never met
before, teaching me how to swing dance. Bride
and Groom took time to circulate and laugh with every guest. It was what a
wedding really should be- a chance to celebrate a couple's new life together.
Throughout the planning, it was clear Bride was focused more on creating
a life for her new family. This story also shows that good taste and manners
don't cost a thing.
P.S. There was never any gift seeking or requests for cash
gifts, never even a hint. I think she registered for a couple of things.
However, the small gift table at the reception was filled with envelopes, no
doubt monetary gifts. I was happy to give cash (for which I received a prompt
and warm thank you note) to a pleasant, down to earth couple, and I know
other guests felt the same. Learn it, greedy bridezillas!!
I had the extreme pleasure of attending the most beautiful
wedding I've ever been to in the summer of 2006.
I had recently broken off my own engagement, which had
devastated me, and had decided that instead of moving back to my home town on
the east coast, I was going to her (and most of my mother's family) hometown on
the coast of Oregon until after the wedding. Though my arrival was a bit last
minute, my cousin, Erin managed to find time to spend with me despite a hectic
wedding planning and work schedule. Also, her MOH, Pam, made sure to include me
in all the bridal shower and pre-wedding activity possible. She knew I did not
know any of the other bridal party girls and made a point to introduce me and
make me feel welcome among their ranks. When the bachelorette party rolled
around, I was even extended an invite by the bride herself (which I declined
with many thanks but I didn't feel I should intrude on what had been planned to
be an intimate night with her 5 closest friends).
Through the whole time I was in Oregon, she never once had a
moment of hysteria or even nastiness with ANYONE. This includes her FMIL when
the woman kept trying to add people to the already 250+ guest list a month
before the wedding. Erin was supremely (and impressively) gracious about it,
allowing some leeway but informing her FMIL that anyone further that she or DH
did not know personally could not be invited due to reception site constraints.
The dresses were absolutely beautiful knee length, black
designs that flattered everyone from her rail thin college roommate to the
voluptuous mother of three. I head from her ladies that they had been given the
wedding colors and asked to each find a dress or two that they liked then, Erin
picked one and put them all online for the girls to vote on. They chose hers as
it was flattering to everyone and could be worn again and again. In addition,
the bride's family paid for the dresses and any necessary alterations, which was
an expense some of the girls may not have been able to handle. Erin made it very
clear that it was their presence that was important.
When I met the groom, I could immediately see why my laidback,
sweet cousin had fallen in love with him. Not only did he forgo a handshake to
give me a bear hug (both our and his families are very physically affectionate),
but he thanked me for coming and was constantly attentive to everyone around
him. They NEVER had any kind of disagreement in public and would instead excuse
themselves briefly and deal with it in private. They both come from large but
close families so it would have been easy for them to fight in front of us and
disregard how uncomfortable it made us but the thought never even crossed their
minds. It was a stressful week and they both handled it with laughter and a
grace that I only hope I have when I get married.
Through all of this, the beautiful bride kept in mind that I
had just broken off my engagement 6 months before my own wedding and gently
informed that she understood if I didn't want to participate in any of the
pre-wedding events if it would be painful for me. She even took the time to sit
down with me one night and have a real heart to heart, confessing that she was a
bit scared and asked me to tell her all about my break up and my own wedding.
Truly, what kind of bride does that 3 weeks before her own wedding?! I always
knew my cousin was an amazing girl but I realized now what an amazing woman she
The wedding itself was stunning and exquisite while remaining
fun and carefree. Everyone looked beautiful, the reception hall was a three
sided 'barn' with beautiful but rustic chandeliers and simple decorations that
echoed the bride and grooms simple but elegant tastes. The food was amazing, the
night sky was clear and the temperature was PERFECT. The bride made her rounds
conveying smiles and joy without making it seem like it was her 'duty'. They
made a toast to their guests and families, thanking them for everything they had
done to make their day perfect, even if it was just RSVPing. (Which got a huge
Two weeks later, I received a handwritten note thanking me for
both of the bridal shower gifts (for which I had previously received thank yous
for each) as well as the silver and velvet photo album I had given them as a
wedding gift. Also was a note from Erin thanking me for helping "keep her
sane and make laughter a daily part of life" while I was visiting as well
as a sincere invitation from both to please visit them next time I was in Reno
(where they now live).
I think the crowning touch, however, was the picture that my
cousin, the perfect bride, had included in the thank you note. It was of she,
DH, her brother (my closest cousin) and I at the reception, taken by her MOH. It
was a gorgeous picture and on the back, she wrote the simplest thing that
brought tears to my eyes, "This is what family is."
I haven't been to many weddings held by Bridezillas,
thankfully, but there was still one bride that stands out to me as the best of
the bunch. Ironically, it's for a wedding I didn't even attend.
My dear cousin asked me to be a bridesmaid for her September
wedding. I was a little surprised, but touched and thrilled, especially since
I'd never been a bridesmaid before. We looked at shoes, picked out dresses,
and went to the dressmaker to get measured. Then, in July, I got a call. I'd
been offered a job halfway around the world, and it was starting in only three
weeks. I was elated, but felt terrible about the wedding. It was much to far
for me on my limited budget to fly back for the wedding weekend. So I called
her and told her my exciting news, but then explained, overwhelmed with guilt,
that I was going to be moving before the wedding and couldn't come back for
it. Her reaction? "What? Oh, honey, don't be silly! Don't worry about it
for a second - let's talk about this job! This is such exciting news!"
Instead of stressing that I was going to make the wedding party uneven, this
wonderful bride ignored the inconvenience to her "big day" to make
me feel special about something big in my life.
I sent a message and gift to the wedding, and got detailed
reports back from all my relatives. It was a beautiful ceremony, the bride and
groom spoke to each and every person at the reception, all the guests were
relaxed and having a wonderful time, and people danced till the band lost
their voices. I couldn't have wished for anything better and expected nothing
less from this wonderful couple.
Do you know a wonderful bride and groom who should
be immortalized for their graciousness? Send us the story and be sure
to put "Perfect Bride" in the email subject line.
Page Last Updated October 11, 2008