Monday, April 22, 2013

Pride and Prejudice: Purchasing Wedding Clothes

"Oh! my dear brother," replied Mrs. Bennet, "that is exactly what I could most wish for. And now do, when you get to town, find them out, wherever they may be; and if they are not married already, make them marry. And as for wedding clothes, do not let them wait for that, but tell Lydia she shall have as much money as she chooses to buy them, after they are married. And, above all, keep Mr. Bennet from fighting. Tell him what a dreadful state I am in, that I am frighted out of my wits—and have such tremblings, such flutterings, all over me—such spasms in my side and pains in my head, and such beatings at heart, that I can get no rest by night nor by day. And tell my dear Lydia not to give any directions about her clothes till she has seen me, for she does not know which are the best warehouses . . ."  
~ Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice Chapter 47 

Maybe it is because I attended my niece's wedding last week, or maybe it is because spring is in the air, or maybe it is because I have watched WAY too many episodes of "Say Yes to the Dress," but it resulted in a revelation this week:  I am getting married again.  

Well, not really.

I am staying married to my darling man of 17 years and I'm keeping the ring, but I want a do-over of just about everything else---including the dress.  My poor husband, sisters, mother, and dentist have all heard the sad tale of how I looked about as stylish as a pair of tube socks on my wedding day in my satin sack.  

So instead of perpetuating the wedding-dress-gone-wrong-story for another 17 years, I've decided to write a new story---a story about a happily-married mother of five who decides to throw a small, elegant party for friends and family the way she should have done all those years ago.  There will be good food, twinkle lights, a string quartet, and a real photographer.  Oh, and she will be wearing the PERFECT dress.

But what should it look like?  I don't want a train or a veil since I will most likely be needing to chase my children and/or break up their wrestling matches during the event.  Besides, I've already worn those once and this isn't really a wedding.

But I DO want my dress to be reminiscent of these . . .

How could you go wrong with the elegance of Grace Kelly's gown or the flattering lines of Audrey Hepburn's tea length ensemble?  (You know what?  Forget the dresses.  I just want their waistlines.)

So with these inspirations in mind, here are some dresses that I've stumbled across and I'd love to have your input.  Which one would you vote for?















Who knows?  Maybe someday I'll actually be able to post a picture of me in one of these gowns---looking happy, looking redeemed, and looking nothing like the Amish Bridal Runway Model of 1996.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pride and Prejudice: A Local Pemberley

"Elizabeth, as they drove along, watched for the first appearance of Pemberley Woods with some perturbation; and when at length they turned in at the lodge, her spirits were in a high flutter. . . . They gradually ascended for half-a-mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound. It was a large, handsome stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in their admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something"

~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice Chapter 43

I've often wondered what draws me most to Pemberley House (aside from Mr. Darcy, that is).  Is it the stone exterior?  The expensive furniture?  The glorious gardens?  The melodious pianoforte or historic portraits? 


What I love most about Pemberley House is the housekeeper.  

Really, who wouldn't want a small-bodied, well-mannered, crazy-efficient woman who has nothing but good to say about you even though she spends her life cleaning up your messes and keeping the home fires burning when you are off on a hunting party or in London on business. 

I'm telling you.  Elizabeth Bennet had no idea what she was missing out on when she first refused Darcy's proposal.

When I saw this house on a home tour, it reminded me of a smallish Pemberley House with its handsome exterior, manicured gardens, and verdant setting.

I love the details on this house, from its scrolled iron work and rustic bricks, to its elegant lanterns and stone quoins.

My heart feels all melty inside when I see boxwood hedges . . .

especially when they frame white rose bushes.

I love any homeowner who uses a rustic brick wall as a backdrop for a vibrant flower bed.

And what garden is complete without the refreshing sound of trickling water?

The water feature in the back yard is even more impressive.  An actual river winds its way through the property.

It's hard not to fall in love with beautiful houses and grounds like Pemberley and this lovely house above.

But somewhere beneath all the initial "oohs" and "ahhs", there is a special place in my heart for the talented hands that keep it looking that way.

So if you are a housekeeper (or gardener), my hat is off to you.  

And now, I have two questions for you:

1.  What would the Pembereleys of the world be without you?


2.  Why can't you come to my house?

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