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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Three Generations

Three Generations: The Creation of a Wedding Headpiece and Many Memories 

Edna, Married July 2, 1949

My daughter Connie’s wedding was an important occasion. Every detail had to be carried out to perfection. It became a challenge with Connie living 500 miles away. She also had a job, which meant traveling to the Far East quite often. Connie, however had many good contacts and she found a dress that she liked rather quickly. We agreed that I was to create her headpiece. Connie shared with me the look she had in mind as well as the way she would be wearing her hair. Simple but elegant, that was our goal. We had considered using some lace from the mantilla that I had worn at my wedding. As we looked it over, however, we could see that the lace had aged and it was too yellow. We then decided to search fabric stores for a muslin cap, in a shape Connie liked and would fit her head well. I found fabric that matched her gown perfectly. Now I had to shop for pearls. They had to match those in the gown as well as the antique pearl earrings Connie was planning to wear. My mother had given them to me and I had worn them on my wedding day. I diligently searched for the correct shade of pearls as well as shape and size. Everything was coming together miraculously. Everything except the fact that it was now the night before the wedding, family and guests were arriving from out of town and I was frantically sewing pearls onto the headpiece.....into the wee hours of the morning.

Connie, Married November 10, 1984

I do not remember spending time as I was growing up thinking about what I wanted to wear on my wedding day. I do have very fond memories of passing by a black and white 8 ½” x 11” fancifully, framed photograph on the chest of drawers in my parents bedroom that was a lovely reminder of the happiness they shared and the dress and floor length, lace mantilla my mother wore to celebrate her wedding day. I actually found the dress I wanted to wear for my wedding when I was not looking, but in a small local store while on a business trip in Hong Kong. It was a few months later, while looking with my mom at the actual lace mantilla that she wore, and together tossing around ideas for a headpiece that the design concept began.  My mother offered to create a headpiece for me that would incorporate our ideas. Mom is an excellent seamstress and I was so happy that she would design and create this piece for my special day. Unlike her daughter, my mother does not leave projects until the last moment, so was I nervous when the night before the wedding she was still hand beading the fabric……yes! The headpiece was beautiful and it meant so much to me that my mom was the creator. Twenty-five years later, just last fall, I was filled with joyful memories when our daughter really wanted to wear some part of my wedding attire, and the beads my mother had chosen for my head piece were passed along to her.

Katrina, Married October 17, 2009

I am happy to hear the words ‘simple yet elegant’ used when creating my moms look for her wedding, because those were the same words I used to describe my own. Planning my wedding was a little difficult as I lived in New York City and my mom lived near our wedding location in Northern California. I remember my first trip home after announcing our engagement when my mom pulled out her wedding dress and headpiece for me to see. I had seen them in the past, but now was looking in a completely different light. I was surprised when my mom asked if I wanted to try them on, but happily stepped into the gorgeous period-pieces (two words: shoulder pads!). I knew I wanted to incorporate some part of her wedding attire into my own, and the headpiece seemed like the perfect item. I had heard the story many times of my grandmother frantically sewing the headpiece before my moms wedding, so it was both elegant and sentimental. On the morning of my wedding I sat in the hairdressers chair as she pinned the string of pearls into my hair. It was the perfect accent to my simple dress and the pearl necklace I borrowed from my mom. It was also a wonderful reminder of two very important women in my life, and the three generations in attendance at my wedding. At one point after my ceremony and before the reception I walked past the piano where we displayed photos from past family weddings. There was my grandmother in her lace mantilla, my mom in her pearled gown, and me in the reflection - all connected as we celebrated our weddings.

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