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Pretty Brides

Today it costs fifteen to twenty thousand dollars to put on a fairly small wedding. A big one with some eight hundred invited guests and two bands costs forty thousand. I am talking about the wedding reception. If you talk about the wedding dress, you are talking about one thousand dollars and it can get really fancy and expensive to the tune of five thousand dollars.

Twenty five years ago the most a bride would spend on her wedding dress was about $150.00 to two hundred dollars, and she looked as pretty as today’s bride. She was still the center of attention and charmed all the guests, friends and relatives. The next day it would all be over and forgotten. All brides are lovely, aren’t they? They are pretty whether they spend two hundred or three thousand dollars. The groom can get away with a pair of different socks, or dirty shoes, or even a mismatched necktie. But not the bride! She must be perfect. But my point is that she is lovely whether her dress comes from the U.S.A. or Paris or sewn in San Pedro.

Twenty five years ago all wedding dresses, with train, and veil and everything else were made right here in San Pedro. Perhaps the bride or her seamstress went to Chetumal or Belize City to buy some of the materials that went into the dress, but for the most part, it was a local dress as far as sewing and fitting went. The gloves were sewn and fitted here. The veil was arranged and tried. The dress was cut without a pattern. The bride simply found a sample in some catalogue and took it to her seamstress saying that she wanted one just like that. The seamstress took measurements and set out to work on the dress. After a few days, perhaps a week, the dress would be ready and the bride-to-be was called in to try it. Thereafter minor adjustments would be made and when it fit perfectly the buttonholes and hems and trimmings were made. Even her bouquet was arranged with locally grown flowers. As for something borrowed, something blue and something new, well that was easily arranged by the bride without paying a cent.

Every seamstress in San Pedro could sew a bride’s dress, but there were a few who excelled like Elia Aguilar Guerrero, Annie Nuñez Eiley, and Omelia Guerrero Marin. They were the most famous. A bridal dress probably cost $100 worth in cloth and materials plus another 50 dollars for labor. However, in the 70’s competition to out do other brides took our local girls to farther horizons for the wedding dress. First it was Belize City, then Chetumal and Merida in Mexico and now even the U.S.A. The feeling is that if the dress is imported, it is supposed to be prettier. That is also the feeling about al the stock in a boutique or gift shop. What do you think? Will a dress worth two thousand dollars make a bride prettier than one worth two hundred? Will the costly one make the bride happier in her marriage? Are we making a mistake or fooling ourselves. Whatever your feelings, I love brides so I must say, “Long live the bride. Cheers and let’s drink to their health with or without a dress, I mean an expensive dress.

Photo Caption: Bertha & Mario Graniel in 1965

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