The Dress

The Dress isn’t black and blue.  It’s white…or ivory…or champagne, with sequins, beads and sparkles, if you wish, and you only wear it once. 

bride and groom

Yesterday I went shopping with my 3 daughters for The Dress; my middle daughter is getting married in October. 

my daughters shopping

Nowadays, you start planning a year in advance.  In the 1930s and ’40s, war brides got proposed to and married within a few days before their husbands shipped out.  Times change, traditions evolve, and iconoclasts always do their own thing. 


Marriage is not about the wedding, ultimately.  It’s about a vow between two people and how they live that out over time.  And no one can take that away from them legally, socially, or religiously.  You can make it into a right or a rite, but it’s a vow and a life that will be lived despite systemic impositions.   I celebrate that self-determination, that freely-willed commitment to working and learning and loving, united with a partner.  It’s a brave thing.  I don’t celebrate the consumerism so much.  I really don’t enjoy shopping, especially for clothing.  Me — I buy what I need at Goodwill, quickly and cheaply. Done.  What I do enjoy is watching my daughters be their inimitable selves, and taking pictures.  (That hasn’t changed in 30 years!) I brought my camera along and played observer…and I had a blast!

self portraitVisually, all the sparkle and white is a lot like winter. 

like winter

The mood yesterday was cheered by a significant thaw, sunshine and temperatures above freezing for the first time in months!  And it had been a month since I’d seen my kids.  No, not just ‘a‘ month – February.  A rather cruel month in some ways.  I crave the warmth of their smiles and hugs and laughter, and our togetherness.

stealth photographer in the dress shopBright, happy prettiness all around.  What fun!  Every wedding dress is lovely.

not the oneBut then comes The Dress, the one that makes a bride light up when she puts it on.  The Dress is Mount Everest.  Once you scale it and check it off the list, the accomplishment is elating.  Congratulations!  You have found The ONE!

This is the final picture…for now.  There’s hair and veil and shoes and more to conquer.  On her wedding day, my daughter will be absolutely radiant, I’m sure.  It’s going to be beautiful.  But I don’t know how many photos I’ll take that day.  I’ll be busy dancing! 

Thanks for coming along for the ride today!

© 2015, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved


The Honeymoon

After the wedding, when the guests have returned by car and airplane to their separate homes, and your brain comes off of the social high of meeting, greeting and paying attention to details, there is a quiet, warm place of relaxation.  This may be called the honeymoon for the newly married couple, and it may be a kind of honeymoon for the mother of the bride, too!  I am thinking of all the things I most appreciated about the week, all the kindnesses and beauty, all the timeless moments when events folded on top of each other to create a curved sense of space and time.   Here are a few that I am holding dear right now:

— I learned that my sister Sarah and my brother David, the artists in the family, have been secretly working away at projects and have gifted my daughter with some amazing artifacts that I’m sure will become family heirlooms for generations.  My brother painted an acrylic fantasy featuring the spirit animals of Susan (pirate squirrel) and Andy (Ninja otter) and framed it, hoping only to add a mobile vestibule in which to hang it wherever they might take up residence.  I saw this painting only in a photo on his handheld phone, but it was colorful and impressive even so.  He has designed fantasy art for a card game (Magic) in the past, so his skills are quite professional.  My sister pieced together a crib sized quilt (*oh, happy thought!*) from Celtic knot squares that she’s been working on for 20 years, with a border that she began when she was a member of SCA (the Society of Creative Anachronism).  She was delighted to finally have an occasion to finish it and give it to the appropriately appreciative person.  Here’s a photo:

the quilt–My mother, Anne Louise, who walked into the park where the wedding took place with the help of her trusty, collapsible cane, now has a new nickname.  She went from Granne Louise to “Grandalf”, a wizard of wisdom and wit and nurturing.  The photographer wanted to adopt her as her own grandmother because she reminded her of her heroine, Eleanor Roosevelt, and she posted a great photo of my mom on her blog, showing off her fly moves to the disco groove on the dance floor.  When I told my mother about the photographer’s comment, she replied, “Eleanor couldn’t dance!” (My mom, one-upping Eleanor Roosevelt!!!)  She gave a reading as part of the ceremony, quoting the Bible, John Ford, William Shakespeare, the Book of Common Prayer, my father and her self, all cleverly woven into rhyme and verse.  It made me weep in rehearsal.  Here’s a photo of me & “Grandalf” processing down the aisle after the ceremony:

grandalf— My dance with my daughter was very special, and I have yet to see a photographic image of it.  We chose to dance to “What A Wonderful World” sung by Louis Armstrong.  The first time I heard that song was when Susan sang it with the Barrington Children’s Choir on tour in Europe after her 8th grade year in school.  I went along as a chaperone.  That trip, all the associations that I have with that song, and with her father singing it, too, and also David Attenborough’s video, make it a perfect choice.  “I hear babies cry/ I watch them grow/ They’ll learn much more/ Than I’ll ever know/ And I think to myself….what a wonderful world!”

I will probably bask in the glow of this honeymoon for a while to come, and post bits and pieces about it as they come to mind.  How can I keep from singing?  From sharing?  From being so happy that love and family and hope and future are still a part of this world and of lives being shaped in this century?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece

Creating a masterpiece…out of your life.  Making decisions, making meaning, making changes, making love, making sense, making it count, making the most of it.  I dedicate this post to my daughter, Susan, who made a big addition to her masterpiece on Sunday.  Congratulations!  I’m proud of you, dear!