My family had been through several tough seasons in our lives in the couple of years before Roy and I got married. My maternal grandmother, Mamaw Holley, had a stroke, and although she got some use back she needed help for a lot of things. Our home burned to the ground destroying everything in it. My paternal grandfather, Papaw Holley, was diagnosed with liver cancer and died in the hospital within a few months of the diagnosis. Mama was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and spent a couple of weeks in the hospital an hour away from home. Needless to say, even though our family was coping well, it was hard to make the ends meet while trying to build our house back, and with me starting college with a 30 plus mile commute one way.
During my senior year I had sketched designs of a couple of different styles of wedding dresses that I would like to have one day; kind of daydreaming on paper. I had assumed Mama and I would sew my dress since I come from a family of women who sew well. After Roy and I were engaged, Mama and I started shopping for a pattern close to what I wanted, fabric, lace, satin buttons, and such. A lot of stress was eliminated since I didn’t have expensive taste. It also helped that Mama and I saw eye to eye on most of it, and were both willing to negotiate on the rest.
We settled on white satin, with Chantilly lace long sleeves and ruffled yoke, satin buttons up the back, and a detachable train trimmed with the same lace as was on the dress. Mama did most of the “big” sewing, as long as I hand sewed the lace appliques and seed pearls on the skirt. That was our deal, and it worked well for both of us. Mamaw Holley was living in a local nursing home by then, and I tried to think of a way she could take part in making my dress. Mama finally thought of asking her if she would want to put some stitches in one sleeve. She did, and that dress is priceless to me because of the heritage represented from the three generations there.
Roy and I wanted the long version of a traditional ceremony with an old fashioned feel to it. The long dresses for the bridesmaids were in keeping with my dress. Their dresses were from a peach gauzy fabric, and made like southern belle dresses, with matching floppy brim peach gauzy hats. Their dresses were sleeveless, and mine had long billowy sleeves. For my bouquet I chose white orchids, peach old roses and small daisies, seed pearls, and white gauzy ribbon interwoven throughout. The cascade ribbons were the same peach, yellow, and white as my theme. Each bridesmaid carried a yellow rose with peach ribbons. Roy wore a white tux, and his groomsmen wore candle light colored tuxedos. Their boutonnieres were peach half-roses with white baby’s breath, with Roy’s being a little bigger than the others.
We were blessed to have a lot of family from both Roy’s, and my side of the family, and a lot of friends share our big day with us so long ago. One of my aunts played the piano music, and another aunt sang. my now sister-in-law received guests at the guest table, and one of my very best friends from high school served the cake. I had four of my closest girl cousins for bridesmaids. Roy had his closest friend, his two brothers, and his not brother-in-law for groomsmen. Two women very dear to my heart, Mama Rose, and Mrs. Smith kept us all on track, and sent us down the isle at the right time. Roy and I were blessed to have three grandparents who were able to be at the wedding with us, which meant so much to us both. There’s no way to remember everyone who had a part in making our wedding memorable and smooth; there were just so many.
I have truly enjoyed traveling down this memory lane and dragging out the pictures, the silk bouquet and boutonnieres that we still have, and putting this post together. Just as it was back then, our families are really like one big family, and I can’t be thankful enough for such a gift. I gained a sister, three older brothers, a host of nieces and nephews, and another mom who I know all love me. Roy as well, gained a younger brother, nieces and nephews, and another set of parents who love him dearly. I continually hold that up to God and thank Him for it. If the next 33 years are as blessed as the past, we will be rich, indeed.
Have a great, a blessed week, friends.