"You'll only wear it once!" That's what everyone says about a wedding dress. Mine was no exception and it's true. In theory, you only wear you wedding dress on your wedding day, period. Unless of course you decide to through a fancy dinner with your friends and ask them to wear their wedding attire and of course, that is precisely what I did.
This was an idea I had after my very own wedding day last June. A friend and I were chatting and she, who was also going to be a bride in a few weeks, agreed that when all of our bridal duties would be over, we would take our wedding dresses back out and have dinner wearing them. Since then, the idea had been in my thoughts. Thinking of this, I couldn't help but wonder what happened to those days when men wore full suits and women wore gowns and gloves for dinner? It seemed that every day, dinner was an "event" to get changed for and to glam up for. Why, in the early 1900s, it was considered quite normal to change three times a day if not more: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There were also many rooms in which to receive guests: the drawing room, the dining room, the atrium, the garden and more. Granted, much has changed since then and perhaps it was indeed a good idea to leave the corsets and top hats behind. Still, should we consider going back to formal dining?
If we go back to the even just the 1990s, I remember at least dressing up for special events and activities. Going to church, birthday parties, having family over, Christmas, and Easter all required a different and proper outfit. For each of those, my sister and I had a one picked out (often matching). It was a drag to put on the tights and wear uncomfortable fabric but we did end up looking quite cute and organized. My mother would wear her jewelry and beautiful ensembles and my father looked sharp in his tie and moustache. Back then as well, dry cleaners were busy getting suits pressed and gowns refreshed as fast as they could since we couldn't miss our chance at picking up our outfits. Everything was closed on Sundays! That being said and at the risk of sounding like a Victorian, I missed the days where we would pull out something we wear on special occasions for a dinner with friends and give the night a glossy finish.
After laughing about how silly a fancy dinner with wedding dresses would be, I decided to go through with it. Because let's face it, when will we all have the occasion to do this again? Life is now. So I launched an invitation entitled the FDA (The Fancy Dinner Affair!) to our good friends, especially to those who had mentioned their interest for it. The RSVPs trickled in and I was happy to organize this festive occasion and couldn't believe how into it people were. In preparation, I borrowed my mother's shiny cutlery and her finest china to set the tables. I folded cloth napkins especially nice and marked every seat with "reserved for royalty" place cards. This would be a night where all the stuff you never use and keep "for special occasions only" in cupboards somewhere would be used. Like that crystal butter holder that's gathering up dust or that tea set grandma kept so well. Everything would be getting a second chance at finding its purpose again. The one rule? You know it. Couples had to wear their wedding attire. That's right. Full three piece suit and bow tie for the gentlemen if that was the case and the beautiful wedding gowns for the ladies. The unmarried or single had to wear their fanciest outfit as well. After all, it's not about being married, it's about being fancy ;)
The week coming up to this FDA event, I was catching myself smiling at the thought of seeing everyone in their wedding attire and glamorous outfits. The menu for the soirée was set to please the traditional and vegetarian palates. The night of, the ladies wearing their wedding dresses changed once they arrived as this would be easier than risking wearing their dress in the car. While getting changed, The girls and I relived the excitement of wrapping ourselves in such beautiful gowns, helping each other zipping up and buttoning down. Hairdos were done, nails were immaculate and makeup was on. The men impressed me the most, wearing their bow ties right down to their shoes. Everyone looking swell, we hung out in the kitchen as though this is something we did every weekend. We cheered to good times and began our evening with sparkling wine.
The husband (en Français: "le mari" a trend started by Caroline Nguyen ;)) took care of the wine list to ensure we tried varied styles. We decided to go low on the tapas in the beginning to ensure we hadn't stuffed our guests too much for the main course: Cavatelli with red sauce followed my kale salad and arancini (vegetarian platter) and finally, veal scaloppini with mushroom sauce, taters and fagiolini (french beans). Phil and I decided to order all of this wonderful food at Traiteur LT (Thanks Mike!) to make our lives easier when hosting. We figured, it would be a practical idea especially when you are wearing something like, oh I don't know, a white wedding dress? I have to admit that it was weird serving food I had not yet tasted but we had heard marvels of this catering comforting Italian food place and indeed, it turned out delicious! We highly recommend it.
As the courses of meals went on and the night unfolded, I sat at the table and took a good look around me. "Look at these guys" I thought to myself...everyone in their beautiful outfits. How cool are they? I couldn't believe how kind and generous these human beings are. I mean, yes, I am fully aware of how great they are as friends already, but this is not something I take for granted. Especially on a night like this. Not one of them calling me crazy to throw such a dinner party. Rather, they jumped at the idea and followed me in my folie, making the night what it was. Everyone helping out, contributing in their ways, volunteering to do dishes and looking chic while doing it. Basically just having a good old time. While I have to admit that it wasn't easy travelling through the rooms wearing my wedding dress and all, it was so worth it! It was epic.
Want to give your dinners another twist? Glam it up and bring back the formal. Plan ahead though, because folding napkins and pulling out all of those dishes does take more time.
Once? nope! I wore my wedding dress twice (actually thrice, but that's another story!)
Bee formal, sometimes x
Hello beeple people,
When working with clients who are transitioning in their career, I often use the following personal story to illustrate the importance of introspection during the transition process, a step we often underestimate. You will soon understand why humans are very much like pasta ;)
When I was little, staying over at my late nonna Angelina's house during the summer, there was nothing I'd love more than to see her pull out her big old wooden board. It meant magic was about to happen because it was the board on which she made all of her delicious creations: cookies, panettone, pizzelle, cakes and of course pasta. I immediately pushed a kitchen chair up to the counter for me to kneel on next to her, you know, to watch the master at work. I remember being particularly impressed with the pasta making since in no time, she made a perfect flour circle in which she cracked a few eggs. Not long after that, she was mixing in the flower with the eggs with a fork and in minutes she was working a beautiful pasta dough with her hands. Those strong yet gentle hands of hers. They knew exactly how much flour to sift on top and how much kneading the dough needed. She was concentrated and silent when she was kneading yet, it seemed so natural to her. I, of course, wanted to knead some dough too. So my nonna tore off a small piece of her dough ball for me to "work" with next to her. I was happy as a clam. Then came the weird part I never understood.
Once my grandma had made this perfect pasta ball, and I mean it was immaculate, she would cover it up with a bowl and leave it under there for some time. Seeing her do that, I had done the exact same with my not so perfect ball and hidden it under a smaller bowl. I never got what was happening under there and was always curious to know, so I would often go peak under the bowl. My nonna, who was supervising the process, saw me and always said "Lascia stare, la pasta deve riposare" which meant that the pasta needed to rest. "What? but why does the pasta need to rest? " I thought to myself. "Is it tired?" I went back and lifted the bowl once again to see what was happening thinking perhaps I would witness some sort of transformation. As though I was in a laboratory and was experimenting, I imagined maybe the pasta was changing shape or colour even! But I saw nothing. Just the beautiful ball of pasta sitting there looking the same as it did before. Disappointedly, I placed the bowl back down. I didn't get it... what are we waiting for? But somehow, I knew nonna's words made sense as this part was essential to the rest of the process in her pasta making. So I inevitably let the pasta be until it was done resting and it was ready to be uncovered. Then came out the rolling pin!
Unfortunately, many of us are simply too rushed. Rushed to jump into "action" and taking the time to reflect is often perceived as wasteful. Why fill out this self-evaluation questionnaire when one could be working on a resume? Why reflect when one could be actively applying. To which I respond "Go ahead, apply, but before you do, answer me this. What achievement are you most proud of? What are your career objectives? How would you describe your leadership style? " Usually, silence follows and my point has been made. How can you possibly be ready to apply for a job or to step into an interview no less when these simple questions remain unclear?
We are social creatures and consequently often too concerned by what others are doing: "If someone else is applying to a job, maybe I should too. " Even though we know it may not be the best of ideas for our situation. Let's go back to the pasta to get perspective. Did it care about being alone under a bowl? No. Did it care about what other pasta dough balls were doing? No. It did its own thing on its own and the heck with what everyone else is doing. It was working on what it needed period. It wasn't distracted by anything. Granted, it was under a bowl and didn't have facebook ;) but bottom line? Our own needs and that of our surroundings can be very different and sometimes, taking some time off to focus is important.
Introspection is action
You see, taking the time to consult ourselves and talk to ourselves IS being in the action. It is an imperative step, like the pasta's resting period, to calmly prepare our foundation in order to properly build our next move. If we skip it or do not take the time, we may succeed anyway, but not in the same way we would have had we invested in ourself more. The personal shift will not happen and the transformation will not be as significant, I guarantee it. See it this way: if you aren't willing to take the time in yourself, why should someone else? You are the most important person in your life before anyone else. Yes, that includes children as well. Can you pour from an empty cup? No, you can't. So how can you care for them if you are barely hanging on? That's why you have to put your oxygen mask on first in the plane and that is also why you need to take the time to rest and to silently work your magic first and you will find your energy and the answers afterwards. Especially when you don't think anything is happening...just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not happening. Like the pasta, the transformation is internal.
Thank you for all the wisdom Nonna! Sometimes we just need to "let it rest!". It seemed like all of life's answers were in her precious hands in those days. Now I realize, they are in mine as well; as they are in yours.
Eeeeeeeehh! Bee like pasta ya?! x
My name is Ivana. I love photography and meeting people. I hold a Master's in counselling psychology and work as a career consultant. Music is my fuel and an important source of energy in my life. I drive my vespa around the city and I love what I do! :) About this blog: me on my artistic soap box!
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