Mother and groom dance

Baby boomer blogger JudiBoomergirl caricature As the summer comes to a close I’m usually sad. Not this year. This September will go down as most memorable. That’s because last weekend I celebrated the marriage of my son D to my new daughter-in-law S. It was a rite of passage for D as well as for me. Walking my son down the aisle for his nuptials as mother of the groom will go down as one of my happiest days ever.

I wish I could have invited you to Stonewall Ranch in Malibu, California last Friday. It was magical. The sun was shining bright. Champagne and cocktails were flowing. The dance floor was in full swing. And there was so much LOVE on the mountain top. You could feel the LOVE like a halo around every person. For those few hours all was well and the stresses of the world melted away.

Flower arch for wedding ceremony

The wedding was held on a mountain top in Malibu

Prepping to be mother of the groom

While I have to admit that I had no role in planning the wedding (there were wedding planners and S and D did the rest), my biggest challenge was finding an appropriate mother of the groom dress. My hunt started way back in January after S provided the palette filled with autumn colors. At times I felt like Goldilocks. The first green dress I bought wasn’t fancy enough. The second gold dress I ordered online was too tight (gown sizes fluctuate and most tend to be cut small). Finally, thanks to my boyfriend E who recommended I make an appointment at Bernstein’s in Edison, NJ — I found my perfect match.

“This is it,” said the saleswoman W as she held up an off-the-shoulder printed lace gown that had just arrived in store. Despite knowing it would need $$$ alterations, despite hearing it would cost $$$ more than I had budgeted (who really keeps to a budget when it’s your son’s wedding) it didn’t take long to “say yes to the dress.” “I’ll take it,’ I chimed with glee. Getting out of my Spanx. I was elated that the search for my mother of the groom dress was finally over…or was it?

mother of the groom dress from Bernstein's in Edison, NJ

I said yes to the dress

“You’ll need to go to Lingerie by Susan for supportive undergarments,” said W. Thankfully, Susie’s shop is conveniently located next door to Bernstein’s. Susie is ah-mazing at fitting all shapes of mature females with bras of all sizes. I was so impressed with Susie’s skills that I not only bought a strapless bra for the big day but a fabulous tee-bra too.

Next were the shoes. Those I bought from Nina Shoes website after W suggested I get a pointed silver pump. (W preferred a block heel which was impossible to find so instead I bought plastic-heel protectors to prevent my foot from sinking into the grass.) The day of my final fitting, Bernstein’s team selected my jewelry including a silver cuff and sparkly chandelier earrings.

Ready, set, take off to California

With what looked like a body-bag in tow, I took my well-packaged mother of the groom dress (thanks again to Bernstein’s expertise) in a garment bag on the plane.

mother of the groom dress in transport bag

Bernstein’s prepped my mother of the groom dress for travel

“Let’s fly first-class,” said my daughter A when we were booking our flights to California. “Absolutely, it’s D’s wedding, I’m the mother of the groom and you’re the sister of the groom and we deserve it,” I replied. OMG we had awesome pods on Delta One — complete with a Russ & Daughters bagel and lox breakfast. It was so good, so good, so good.

Primping with the glam squad

After enjoying a relaxing few days in California, it was time to get my wedding groove on. Check-in at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica went smoothly with another mother of the groom room upgrade to ocean view. OMG and why not? I deserve it after 30+ years of raising my son. 

Ocean view room from Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica

Room with a view

Glamsquad arrives at 9:30 am sharp,” said A, on Friday morning. It was going to take hours between primping hair, applying airbrush makeup, squeezing into my mother of the groom undergarments and carefully putting on my mother of the groom dress, followed by professional picture-taking. For sure glam doesn’t come easy.

Glam squad applying makeup

All glammed up

The wedding ceremony & reception

Buses ready. √ Guests in their seats. √ Wedding party queued. √ At 4:30 pm it was time for A and me to walk D down the aisle. I cried when D recited the vows he had written for S. I laughed when their pup M interrupted with a bark. Within minutes D and S were married and the festivities began. Cocktails named after S, D and M. A lovely song by the father of the bride kicked off the evening as well as the traditional parent-child dances. It was wonderful to share so much joy with family and friends.

Wedding pictures

My daughter A and I walked my son D down the aisle

My mother of the groom speech

When salads were served I was called up to give my mother of the groom remarks. A few weeks earlier I had agonized over the words. What would I say? “Make it short,” said my boyfriend E. “Make it less than 5 minutes,” said D. So I did. Keeping my late husband M, D’s dad, in my heart the entire duration, here’s what I said:

“Hi everyone. I’m going to try to speak these words without shedding tears of joy, but in case I do, I asked the glam squad to make sure the mascara I’m wearing is waterproof.

I also want to say welcome and thanks to many who traveled so far to join us tonight. It truly is a special evening up here on this mountain. You know when D and S told me they were getting married on a mountain top and showed me the pictures of an empty field. I asked where the venue was. And they said you’re looking at it. I was a tad concerned. I thought – How are they going to turn this mountain top into a wedding venue? I couldn’t envision what it could be. Poo poo to me.

Now standing up here on this mountain top in Malibu, I can see why D and S chose this spot to get married. It’s beautiful. It’s perfect for a wedding.

Mother of the groom giving her speech

There were tears and laughter during my remarks

Everything is clearer up here. And what’s pretty clear is there’s a whole lot of love in the air. There’s the love of family, there’s the love of friends….but most of all there’s the love we’re here to celebrate…and that’s the love between D and S. 

D, when you were born I was nervous when you popped out (and you literally did pop out because you were 3 weeks late) and the doctor said to me you have a baby boy. I was scared because I wasn’t sure how to raise a son. I had only had a sister growing up and my first born was a daughter, D’s sister A. 

I guess your dad and I did a pretty good job. Maybe your dad deserves more of the credit. I’m so proud of the man you’ve become and know he would be too. As my kids know, my husband, their dad, always enjoyed our family trips to California. He would be so happy to know that one of his children is living here, let alone getting married in Malibu with this amazing view. 

Mother and groom dance

D and I danced to “You Can’t Hurry Love”

To S, my new daughter-in-law, welcome to the family.  Sports is so much a part of our family. Welcome as a new fan to rooting for the Giants on Sunday and the Yankees during the spring, summer and if it’s a good year during the fall. (Okay maybe not this fall.) Welcome to all sports on any day for that matter — basketball, tennis, hockey, surfing and D’s favorite — soccer.  There’s too many sports to name. 

Bride S

Welcoming my new daughter in law S

I’ll tell you what my husband told me when we got married (mind you I got married on Super Bowl Sunday – not a good idea when everyone leaves your wedding before the kickoff). He said you have to be a life-long fan when your team is winning and even when they’re losing. I guess you could say it’s sort of similar to a partnership of marriage. 

However tonight we’re all winners because tonight we’re here to celebrate the amazing team of D and S. So let’s rock this mountain top and make it an awesome evening. D and S – I love you. May you have great blessings in your life together now and always.

The newlyweds S and D and their pup M

Reflecting on an extraordinary day

When I take a moment to reflect on my extraordinary day as mother of the groom and now new mother-in-law, it is the LOVE that shines through, the LOVE that nourishes my soul and the LOVE that warms my heart. Can you feel the LOVE? I hope this post brought a little bit of that LOVE your way too.