I just started reading The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow, and I can’t put it down. It is, yes, the compelling way Jeff (a long-time friend and mentor) writes. But it is also the idea that magical things take place when a woman gets married.

Having been down that fabled aisle twice in my life, I can say that each time it was like an out of body experience. The first time, because I was in a world not my own, playing the part of demure orthodox bride like I knew what it meant. The second time, because I knew how much it mattered to get this right and how valuable it is to find THAT PERSON you truly want to live life with.

Yesterday, over lunch with Carol Rosenberg, of Jewish Senior Life, she said, “A second marriage, you can’t explain that kind of love. The second time, it’s real love.”

And I knew what she meant.

It’s that unbelievable-ness of getting a second go at this thing called partnership and love. It’s the stark realization that there IS the person out there that you’ve really wanted to find. And then you go shopping for a dress.

Weddings confound me. My first one was a big blow-out with all the details and trimming. I didn’t even look in traditional bridal stores because I was walking down the aisle to a world of religion, where the way women dress matters more than many things. I didn’t want a cover-everything thick white dress from head to toe so I had a local dressmaker make what turned out to be a beautiful dress.

Long sleeves, but they were sheer, with beaded lace overlays at the wrists. The fitted bodice had detailing and wasn’t a choke-hold of modesty at the neck. It was truly a gorgeous dress, though in the process, it didn’t fit exactly right and into the eleventh hour we were feverishly insisting on alterations.

I don’t have any attachment to that dress; I didn’t even when I was still in that marriage. It was just a dress. So when my friend Jeff writes about how his wife, the lovely Sherry Margolis, drove her dress home for the wedding rather than wrinkle it on a plane, I can’t quite relate.

My second wedding was spectacular. It was exactly what we wanted it to be and great fun, in the backyard of a friend who lives on a lake, small and focused on our children.

I didn’t want a traditional white wedding dress; I’d already done that. So I scoured the magazines and haute couture salons looking for something stunning. When that failed, I sidled into my friend’s bridal salon and said, “Fine, I’ll look at dresses.” I chose a Greek-goddess strapless white dress and chopped it off at the knee.

It was pretty. But it was no-big-deal. And in fact when I look at our stunning wedding pictures, I think, “I’m so glad I don’t have to wear that ever again.” And it occurs to me that I should’ve chosen something blue or black or some other color than white because I hate the way I look in white and the second time around, it’s about who you ARE, not who you want to be.

This time around, the wedding involved family and only our closest friends. The kids changed out of their dress clothes and jumped in the lake. The dance floor was on the grass. A friend was the DJ, another friend the caterer and my brother and brother-in-law became ordained to perform the ceremony.

It was US.

A wedding should really be the Story of Us, whoever the bride and groom are – not the fairy tale of white dress in a big tent circus. It should be about the love that is possible and the love that one wants in life. It should be about best friendship and partnership, not sushi at midnight.

It should be about truly living for the time we have on this earth. Nothing more. And nothing less.

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