empire waist wedding dresses with sleeves
NEW ONE - Just added a photo! The Perfect Dress In late 1970 when I was 18, shortly after I graduated from high school, and while traveling alone, I was walking along a narrow empty street in London close to the hotel that I was staying in. I stopped to peer into a fashionable lady’s dress shop window. There in front of me was the dress I wanted to be married in. And so I bought it. It was only $25, and I certainly didn’t have anyone in particular in mind for a husband, but at least I was ready.Friends thought it was rather peculiar to put the cart before the horse, but I didn’t care what anyone thought. I was prepared and had the perfect dress. It was a simple white crocheted A-line dress with a deep V-neckline, empire waist, and long dangling sleeves. It would need to be fully lined, as I didn’t think wearing a see-through dress would be appropriate for a wedding.Next I needed to select the perfect husband to go along with my perfect dress. And so I did. It took a bit of kissing some handsome frogs and absolute warty toads along the way to find the right one, however.It was in June of 1972 that a group of friends that I was hanging out with, all over the age of 21, went into the Straw Hat Pizza Palace in downtown Westwood. They ordered several pitchers of beer, along with several thin crust delicious pizzas. Since I had just turned 20, I kept my head down as I slurped my foamy brew. As I looked up, there before me stood the bartender, looking elsewhere in the popular pizzeria close to UCLA. He wore a Styrofoam hat that was meant to imitate a straw hat, which had a bite taken out of it, a white shirt, white pants, and a red apron. His shoulder length hair was tied into a pony tail, and the expression on his face was one of pure surly attitude that said he really didn’t want to be there pulling on a beer tap for the other college students attending the nearby university.It was love at first sight, no matter the attitude. I asked Fred, who was sitting next to me, what his name was. His response was, “Who? You mean Karl? That’s Karl Dean, and he is a real stickler for ID’s so keep your head down.” “Hmmmm – Janet Dean. I like that name. I think I shall marry him one day.” And so I did - eventually.The following day was a glorious summer day in June with abundant sunshine – the 15th to be exact. Fred and I, along with another friend, headed for the UCLA Recreation Center. None of us had passes to get in, so we just climbed the fence. Students were sunbathing, smelling like baby oil, Coppertone, and Ban de Soliel, as we walked passed them while looking for the perfect spot to set up our towels. Fred spotted Karl and Doug, another Pizza Palace friend, and invited them both to join us for some serious card games.The five of us were playing Hearts in a most cutthroat, and drunken, manner. I don’t remember where the beer was coming from – I just drank it. Karl kept passing me the worst imaginable hands while we played Hearts. My outrage got his attention, as well as my boobs, and our first date was scheduled by the time our games were ended.As we approached the door to the Ash Grove nightclub that night for some good blues by Charlie Musselwhite, as well as his opening act Clair Hamill singing “I’ve Got the Baseball Blues,” I had to fess up to Karl that I wasn’t 21 yet. His mumbled comment to me was just don’t say anything. No one asked for my ID that night, nor any other time after that. Love definitely bloomed, and we found an apartment together within two months.Karl and I began to plan our wedding after he went down on bended knee and asked me to marry him. I was overwhelmed with his traditional manner and of course threw my arms around his neck and said yes. He called his mother and asked about his grandmother’s wedding rings to see if they were available. Absolutely was the response – instant rings that had family tradition attached to them meant more than a ring bought at K-Mart.We announced our official engagement to friends at our favorite Irish Pub on St. Patrick’s Day. The place was packed that evening as we all watched a naked streaker have to tap on shoulders saying excuse me, pardon me as he made his way through the crowd. We eventually made it known that we were getting married, and friends raised their green beers and drank a toast for us.The Saturday before our planned nuptials Dad called us and said we had missed our own wedding. Our response was one of surprise. We knew we had many difficulties getting the correct printing of our invitations and announcements, but we were clueless as to what Dad was talking about. It seemed that Mom and Dad had a few close friends over for drinks and dinner from the local deli. There was a knock on the front door and several of our friends were there ready to party hearty. Dad invited them in and opened the bar for them. They all enjoyed themselves and left their presents for us. As it was, none of them made it for the official reception the following week.On June 15, 1974, two years from the day we met playing Hearts at the UCLA Rec Center, Karl and I were married in a simple ceremony in a beautiful meadow in the Presbyterian Conference Grounds of upper Temescal Canyon in Pacific Palisades, California. We each had two friends to stand with us, as well as our parents and my grandmother Bobbie. The Presbyterian priest married us, but we wrote our vows based on Peter, Paul, and Mary’s The Wedding Song.You might even call it a sweet little hippy wedding. My best girlfriends’ wore what they wanted, and they had flowers in their hair. I had a bouquet of roses and baby’s breath that spilled down and wore a floppy hat. Karl did not wear a tie.During the ceremony some hikers stopped to watch. When the ceremony was over the hikers applauded and went on their merry way. To this day we have no idea of who they were.We went back to my parents’ house for lunch and to relax. That evening we all dressed up again for a good party that my father knew how to throw. We figured our friends would help themselves to the copious amount of beer Dad had stocked up on. Instead they were thrilled with the fully stocked open bar Dad had while he played Bar Tender Extraordinaire as well as Proud Father of the Bride. Afterwards he was a bit miffed with the large amount of beer he had left over, but Karl helped him consume it over the following weeks.That day any time the phone rang my mother raced to answer it. My sister-in-law Janis was expecting her first baby at any time, so both grandmothers-to-be were rather anxiously awaiting news of the arrival of a grandbaby. Tom and Janis were in Okinawa at the time, and my brother had not even met his new brother-in-law yet. He did remember, however, the tall pizza dude from Westwood, so that had to suffice at that point in time. Our niece Lori joined the family one week after our wedding.During our wedding party event, my dear mother had to drag every one of our friends down the long hallway to her and Dad’s bedroom to show off her recent pride and joy. After I moved out almost two years prior, Dad took up photography as a serious hobby. He had turned his office into his own darkroom so that he could process his own film and print photographs. Mom was his favorite subject to photograph. One picture in particular of her naked profile and backside a longtime family friend reproduced in oil paints – not quite life size, but pretty close. They had it framed and hanging in their bedroom. Naturally Mom wanted everyone to see it and enjoy it as much as she did. Oh, big sigh. At least my mother was still gorgeous and firm around the edges.We moved to Manhattan, Kansas, 27 years ago this coming April to raise our five awesome children. It was affordable as opposed to California. They all put themselves thru Kansas State University. We are retired now. We will celebrate our 47th wedding anniversary this coming June. And it was all because of pizza and beer. As well as a little underage drinking. The kids have always loved that story. empire waist wedding dresses with sleeves