When we got our friends’ invitation to their son’s Greenwich, Connecticut wedding on New Year’s Eve, I sensed it would be a gala affair. And sure enough at the bottom of the elegently engraved card were the words BLACK TIE OPTIONAL.
My husband hadn’t worn his tuxedo for a few years so I urged him to try it on and thankfully it still fit.
Then I checked the wedding registry and ordered a gift, called the hotel to reserve a room, and booked the cat-sitter.
After deciding which of my two cocktail dresses I would wear – my black one or my other black one? – we were ready for the big day. Then I remembered two out-of-town wedding catastrophes in our past.
The first happened many years ago when my cousin was to be married in the garden of her parents’ wonderful Revolutionary-era house in Northampton, Massachusetts. (See Rosie and Milt, The Literary Lady and the Second-Story Man, March 3, 2016).
Getting ready for that trip I packed our suitcase, gathered all we needed for our year-old toddler, and put my husband’s suit and my dress in a garment bag. I hung the garment bag in the coat closet right near our apartment door.
Packing the car with the suitcase, the toddler, and all the requisite snacks and toys, we forgot – you guessed it – the garment bag. My husband and I went to that wedding in jeans.
Years later we were getting ready for another out-of-town wedding. Our friend’s daughter was to be married at a vineyard on Long Island’s North Fork.
This time I zipped my husband’s suit into one garment bag and my outfit into another, hung them both in the front closet and taped a big note on the apartment door for my husband to see that read TAKE GARMENT BAGS FROM CLOSET.
Unpacking the car on Long Island several hours later, there in the trunk was ONE of the garment bags, and by chance it was his. So I went to another wedding in jeans.
This time for the gala New Year’s Eve affair I was determined to play it safe and take full responsibility for getting our clothes to the wedding. I zipped my husband’s tux and my dress in the same garment bag, and carried it down to the car myself.
Later in our hotel room we were dressing for the wedding when I heard my husband ask, “Where are my pants?”
Sure enough there was his tux jacket on the hanger, but beneath it – no pants. So my husband went to the wedding in black tie from the waist up; from the waist down he was in navy corduroy. After all the invite did say BLACK TIE OPTIONAL.
Despite that satorial slip, we had a lovely time at the wedding. Back in our hotel room I was hanging my dress in the closet when I noticed something crumpled up on the closet floor. Apparently my husband’s tuxedo pants had slipped off their hanger.
I hope our next wedding invitation says COME AS YOU ARE.
Dana Susan Lehrman