I attended art school in Atlanta. This introduced a Cleveland-born-and-bred girl to a world of southern sayings. Some of my favorites:
Hotter than Savannah asphalt.
Higher than a Georgia pine.
Hornier than a ten-peckered owl.
And my absolute favorite:
Prettier than a June bride on a feather bed.
It’s such a loaded phrase. And it was on my mind all weekend. ‘Tis the season, you know. June Brides will be filling the salons and the Target Wedding Registry kiosks.
Let’s track this frenzy, shall we? It starts with the wedding porn, you know.
There is an entire section of bridal magazines at your local Borders. And brides-to-be need to buy these magazines new and not used because well, who wants outdated colors at their wedding? And all the effort into finding just the right cake
And bridal party gowns that will never be worn again
and making the choice between the veil or the tiara or both and how the hair should be worn
all moving toward the excitement of finding out that any bride—or those that can afford it—can wear a wedding dress just like a Disney princess!
Because, if you learn anything about weddings, you must learn this: It is all about the dress.
So this whole June Bride thing really hovered over me this past weekend. I drove out to Jersey to see my 8-yr-old niece receive her First Communion. For those of you that are not catholic, this is a pretty big deal in the Catholic Church. It’s when Catholics accept their role in the church as a parishioner and as a follower of Christ by receiving the Holy Eucharist.
There is a lot of symbolism in receiving the Eucharist, as with many religious ceremonies. But I am only going to focus on one thing here. While receiving First Communion is a sacrament within the Catholic Church, for many female Catholics: it is all about the dress.
Which is why June Brides were on my mind all weekend.
You’ll notice in this picture that the little boy is wearing a suit—not a tux. But the little girl is wearing something very akin to a wedding dress.
The shoes, the tights, the dress—and yes, the veil—is a huge focus for the female First Communicant. They even parade them down the church aisle like little brides linked with their male partner. At my niece’s ceremony, the church even played Pachelbel’s Canon, a song quickly becoming the most popular of wedding hymns.
(This happens again for nuns, btw. When they receive their vows, they essentially are “marrying” God. They even begin wearing a gold wedding band on their ring finger.)
My niece was so excited about her dress that it was a huge focal point the whole weekend. Her cousin, who received her First Communion the weekend before, belongs to a parish that is economically diverse so all Communicants wear a white robe—church provided—for their ceremony. But my sister-in-law’s sister told me that most of the girls had communion dresses on under their robes, anyway.
There is no way any female catholic is going to be cheated out of a chance to wear that dress and veil. My mother made my communion dress. It was the highlight of my entire second grade year—it had a baby-blue ribbon braided into the bodice and on that day, I felt like the most beautiful girl on the planet. Because that’s what we tell our brides, right?
Us girls. Always wanting to be the bride. Wonder where that comes from?