By Suzy Gibson
What can you say about Oklahoma: cows, wind, flatland, tornadoes? Yes, you could say all of those things. When I reflect on my home, I think about family, love, culture, kindness, and I would never live anywhere else. If I wasn’t in Oklahoma, I would miss out on so many milestones with my family and friends, and Memorial Day weekend 2017 held so many of them! My nephew and his wife announced they are having a baby, which will make a collective 5 for our family, BABYMANIA! My niece got engaged to a wonderful young man from Australia, and yes, he does greet you with “g’day mate,” and Blake and I were lucky enough to celebrate a marriage of our dear friend’s son.
I was not only excited to go to this wedding, but to take a road trip with Blake. OH SNAP, what am I going to wear??? Anxiety set in as I quickly got online to check out the venue, The Secret Garden; yes, I got a little chuckle. It looked like an outdoor venue, so I can safely say no short flowing dress or I will be fighting with the wind all night not to expose the wrestling armadillos. Would a maxi-dress be appropriate or possibly a pair of pants? No, and no… this wedding is in Elk City, and it is outdoors. I need to fit in and not make it obvious I am from the city.
Shuffling through my dress/workout closet (yes, I occupy three closets in my home, don’t judge) I came upon THE dress. I bought it for my annual BUNKO Halloween Party that I host every year. That year’s theme was the Astronaut Wives Club. If you have not read the book, I highly suggest it. The decade was late 50s, early 60s. Slim pants, scarves, pill box hats (think Jackie O). Should I wear this dress that I bought for a costume party? Can I even fit in it? I pensively took it out of the closet, unzipped the back and wiggled my way into it. No way, I am not wearing this dress… or am I? It’s slim-fitting and I had no room for forgiveness. As I stood sideways in front of the mirror sucking it in, Blake walked into the room and said “You look great in that dress!” Now, getting a compliment about clothing from the hubs doesn’t happen very often, so I decided to take it and run with it. I had to avoid looking like I had a costume on, so I mixed retro with modern. The retro pieces were the dress and my mother’s jade bead necklace; the modern pieces were a red kimono and T-strap heels.
First stop was the Cherokee Travel Mart in Geary, Oklahoma for gas and snacks. If you find yourself in western Oklahoma, you have to stop here. We picked up the traditional road trip food: beef jerky, Jalapeño Cheetos, Twizzlers and Corn Nuts, YEEE HAA! I had pre-warned Blake that I was going to be taking pictures and thanked him ahead of time for being patient. Ladies, when you have been married as long as I have, you figure out tricks to make the hubs do what you want without them knowing it.
We arrived in Elk City on a beautiful spring evening, not too hot, not too humid, and no threat of storms, although Blake was able to find a few hook echoes on the radar – “Get Val on the Gentner!” The night was truly magical. We were able to see some of our oldest and dearest friends, celebrate the wedding of their son, and enjoy Sweet Home Oklahoma.
Where else but Geary, Oklahoma are you going to find these little gems? I loved this place, so kitschy with a 70s vibe. That is a glass teepee behind us, and the buffalo had mirrored feathers. One thing I didn’t understand was the sign TAPED to it that said “DO NOT TOUCH.” So we can’t touch it, but you can stick tape to it?
THE Dress! It has so many colors in it, I really couldn’t go wrong. The necklace was my mother’s; I have so many photos of her wearing it. When I put one of her pieces on, it always makes me feel closer to her.
I totally forgot I had this little purse. I got it in Fort Worth at an antique store called Junker Val. It was perfect for THE dress! Not so perfect for my iphone 7…
Can I share with you how stunning this woman is? When I saw Becky walk out in a floor-length, mermaid-cut, lace dress, she literally took my breath away. Everything was in perfect balance, her choice of jewelry, her hair and makeup, flawless. When she danced, the bottom of her dress twirled around like a pool of water. This dress was part of the magic.
As soon as we walked into the Secret Garden venue, we saw the father of the groom. Blake and Dennis met when we were all in college, and they have stayed friends ever since. I had to snap a photo of these two handsome men!
After the wedding, can you tell? I love it that my husband will hold my purse for me, that’s a real man for ya!
Do you see what I am talking about here? So many different styles, I was happier than a middle-aged woman with a glass of wine and a new pair of Spanx! We had cowboy hats, cowgirl boots, formal dresses and tuxedos. The night was lit up with twinkling lights, and the air was fragrant with flowers everywhere. When the bride and groom were saying their vows, butterflies appeared out of nowhere. Becky and I decided that they were angels, her father and Dennis’s mother draping this beautiful young couple with love and blessings. Break out the Puffs.
Blake and I wandered the venue while waiting for the bridal party to finish with all of their pictures. The bride was delivered to the wedding aisle in a vintage Bentley decorated in toile and flowers. There were beautiful crystal chandeliers, and yes, horses. THIS IS OKLAHOMA, YA’LL!
Four friends, sharing life’s journey on the road we call middle-age. Navigating it can be tough, but it is worth every bumpy road for moments like this. Dennis was in our wedding and Blake was in Dennis and Becky’s wedding. Becky and I gave birth to Jake and Dillon six hours apart. We have celebrated babies, birthdays and now a wedding.
The Astronaut Wives Club:
The Red Kimono:
The Gold T-strap Heels:
Junker Val in Fort Worth:
I could search the web forever and never find THE dress, but I did find a place called Unique Vintage where you can shop BY ERA! And they have plus sizes in every design too. This is a cut similar to mine called the “wiggle” dress in the 1950s selections:
Becky got her dress at Von Maur, and I tried every search possible to find it, but sadly could not. I did find one close to what she had on, but seriously, the photos did not do her justice.
The Real-Real Behind the Scenes
After a long evening suffering in those horribly uncomfortable dress shoes, Dennis could not wait to get his sneaks on!
A Little Background Music
This was the song that the bride and groom danced to, and yes, I did that laugh/cry like a menopausal, crazy woman and decided another glass of wine was in order.