Friday, March 14, 2008

Marriage and Mantilla Madness

I'm getting married!!!!

Yeah. I know. You're thinking, "Um. Isn't Mair already married? She didn't even tell us she divorced Ken."

Of course I didn't tell you, sillies. I never divorced him. And no, I'm not about to become a bigamist. I'm marrying Ken, or rather, we're having our marriage blessed and it'll upgrade to becoming a sacrament. There's marriage, and there's the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. We missed out on the latter, but by God's grace, we're putting all things right. On Easter.

It's going to be a happy, happy day for me. I'm so excited I can explode! For the first time in our marriage, one of us won't have to stand by while the other partakes of the blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. We're going for a sacramental life together. It's different from what we've had before. It feels like a new life is stretched out before us, full of spiritual adventures, and most of all the Real Presence of Christ.

So, I'm making a big honkin' deal about it, even though we're so broke we can't pay attention. We got new rings, sterling silver posey rings that are inscribed on the inside with the words, "With this ring I thee wed." Love them! I got a dress for ten bucks from Target online. It's very pretty, and I feel so fortunate to have found it for that price. But I had a little situation.

Of course I did. This is me.

See, I cover my head in church. I know I don't have to, but I love to. A few years ago I went to the Ancient Christianity and African Americans conference and was so moved by the beauty and piety of the women--my sisters and sistahs--present. Many of them, especially from the Ethiopian and Russian traditions cover their heads. I don't know. It filled me with an unexpected longing to do the same. I started researching--you know I did! And finally prayed about it. My sistah friend Dr. Carla told me she feels naked if she doesn't cover her head in church, and she said she does it because the Mother of God always did it. I thought that was lovely. When I thought of it, I never saw an image of the Theotokos without her head veiled. She was the Tabernacle, carrying God Himself. The Tabernacle is always veiled. There are many historical reasons behind veiling, but I just follow my heart, and the Holy Spirit.

So, I wore an assortment of wraps to church, and when I started going to Ken's mom's church I wore a lace mantilla. Very old school Catholic. Mind you, nobody else did it, but that isn't the point, now is it?

My obsession this week has been this blessing of our marriage coming up. I wanted to get another mantilla, but I couldn't afford it, so I got thee hence to Walmart, with the idea that this not-so-crafty chica would make her own.

Um hm. Let that sink in.

I tried, y'all.

Before we get to the picchas, I'll say this: for a person so into the pious act of using a chapel veil, my dress is totally hoochie. I mean, it has no shoulders! Padre Pio would have tossed me right out of the church and told me to go home and put some clothes on, and come back into God's house correct! But it's so satiny and soft and pretty (sexy) and, come on. A sistah looks good a little bit hoochie every now and then. I'm not getting any younger. This is probably going to be my last hoochie adventure. Yeah, I'll look like a whore in church, but only once. And I'm going to have the Sacrament of Reconciliation right after, so trust me, I'll do business with God about the whole thing.

Now, I don't want to go in the house of God, hoochie or not, all naked like. I will cover my shoulders. I decided to cover them with the mantilla. This meant I'd have to make a big honkin' mantilla. So, without further ado.

Exhibit A:

Now that's a big mantilla, lovies. It's white, but once I got the dress I saw that it's (the dress, that is) actually a cream color. I don't love the way this stiff lace drapes, so even though I put a lot of effort into adding the trim--lace with little pearls--I'm not crazy about the look. I also think it makes me look too much like a new bride, but um, not really. You know what I mean?

Exhibit B:

This one is smaller, but I'm feeling kinda nekkid. Despite the fact that I purchased this stank dress I want my shoulders more covered. And it doesn't look like a bolero jacket is going to happen. That's way too much lace for a sistah anyway. So, whatever is on my head is going to have to serve dual purposes.

Do you think this one is okay? I made it after the dress arrived and after I saw how big the first mantilla was. I dyed this one with tea bags to give it an "antiqued" color and it's a really pretty shade. I can add trim, a larger lace than on the first one, so it'll give me a little more coverage. But...

Exhibit C:
I know. It's black. But honestly, my shoes are black. I'm wearing those hooker heels I told you about that I wore to the Christy Awards last year. I mean, they're my best pair of dress shoes, and I don't think I've worn them since the Christys. And they look fabulous. I mean, really, really good. Plus I wanted to wear something else black with those shoes. Ken's wearing some cool black designer jeans and a crisp white shirt, his silver cuff links and a black, white, and cream colored tie. Then, of course, I got all weirded out about whether or not I could wear a black mantilla on Easter. I wasn't weirded out by a hoochie dress or hooker heels, and that just goes to show you how deeply I need prayer.

This is a very delicate Chantilly lace with scalloped edges. I don't think I have to do a thing to it. And I like the contrast. But it's very sheer.

Now, tell me. What do you think?

Completely obsessed, but happy, happy, happy,


lisa s. said...

Big honkin' white mantilla, hands down! I actually like the way the black one looks, but like you say, it's Easter.

upwords said...

What Lisa said. You look so purty, chica!

Chris said...

Mair -

Fashion/color wise - I love the black. But all of this is about symoblism, isn't it? So probably the big white one for Easter day, which looks pretty cool, too!

I love special things happening on Easter - my now almost 10-yr-old baby girl was born on Easter.

And I'm so glad you blogged this morning, I wanted to write you - I just bought M,M&aFM at a Barnes & Noble and started reading it last night!! You are an awesome author, Claudia Mair Burns!!!!! I am loving this book.

Daeve said...

Hey! This is DAEVE from Catholic Answers Forums. You look wonderful in all the pictures. I like the black, but I think you should pick the one you feel prettiest wearing. This is your day! Your such a pretty girl (I'm old, so I call you girl...anyone younger than me is a girl) and I'm so happy for you.

Joni said...

Okay...just my little opinion. The black looks awesome, but the white looks Easter. So either one would be great!

And let me just say how excited I am for you to be having your marriage blessed and all. That is so wonderful...and on Easter! Congratulations!

Our family is going to the Easter vigil again this year. Last year, it was our reception into the Catholic Church. This year, we will be there to welcome others. Our kids are even excited about it (although I think our oldest is more excited about the cake at the reception and that he gets to stay up that late...). Nevertheless, it will be our family's first anniversary celebration.

Congratulations again!

Rhonda Jeanne said...

I say the black's feminine, and sexy and elegant. It covers just enough to make you look not nekked. It also reminds me of the women I used to see at church as a kid whenever we went to a special mass.

And you're marrying your husband (odd sentence)it's ok to have a hoochie dress and hooker heels. You're clean.

Melanie said...

Mair, I absolutely love love love the black one, and I think it's mostly because of how happy you look in that picture. I don't know. Symbolism is just that, right? A symbol, which means to you whatever you want it to do. Traditionally, black isn't allowed at weddings, because it's a symbol of mourning. But my wedding colors were red, black, and cream. My bridesmaids wore black. My mother in law wore black. And that didn't affect the beautiful symbolism of my wedding at all! Go for whatever you love and make it mean whatever you want. :)

The Queen B said...

LOL...girl, that is NOT a hoochey dress! If the ladies were hanging out that would be one thing...but your strapless gown is pure, classic class. Seriously. I love the idea of tying the fab black heels with the black lace, it's very mysterious and old world looking...but I have to say that both the white mantillas work great too! If you're feeling too naked there's an easy, super cheap way to "convert" your gown for mass...and then transform into the sexy newlywed afterwards. Some cream netting from walmart (they sell it on rolls for next to nothing, and you can match it exactly to your dress) can be drapped around your shoulders like a snug wrap...but tuck the ends down into the front of the dress (give the ladies the job of holding it inside the dress!). It looks seriously chic...and you can STILL wear your black heals and any mantilla you want. Gorgeous!

Karen Deborah said...

Your adorable! Oh girl you just kill me you are so real. Please don't change how you are with the hootchie dress and hooker heels. It's no fun to be tooo straight. Religious symbols appeal to our flesh,and it is all about the LORD's finished work on the cross.The black mantilla looks FABULOUS and you look gorgeous in it. The first white one looks a little silly, really. You are precious and wonderfully funny. I've read your entire blog and have been waiting to see when you would write another entry. If you want to be into Lent why not write about that? The Lord has blessed you with the gift of writing. come by when color comes back in your world and visit me. I've posted your blog as one of my favorites. I can't wait to get your book. whooohooo. Have a happy honeymoon after you renew your vows!

Heather S. said...

If you're going for "virgin Mary" - choose exhibit A. If you're going for Virgin Maria, Madre de Dios, go for C. Mucho mas Latina.

Karen Deborah said...

I wanted to leave a song for you to celebrate but couldn't. Go look on my blog at the one that says "Watch this one".It's by Taj Mahall.
I totally agree with Queen B. You look so fine in black and you don't look hootchie, definitely not a whore in church no pennance required. I know I already made a comment but I couldn't help from making another.

paula clare said...

Hey Sistuh,
You are absolutely TOO gorgeous! I definitely LOVE the black...and I love the idea of the tulle netting wrap Queen b talked about...if you did the wrap you might be able to get by with the smaller white mantilla...but regardless WHAT you wear, I'm certain Ken will "only have eyes for you." Blessings, dear one!

Esther said...

I love the black one; it's classy AND classic and will look smashing with your heels. With a beautiful smile like yours, you will not look hoochey at all - you'll look like purity with a high-heeled edge. And that sounds kinda nice.

PS I so enjoy your posts - they touch me and make me laugh all at once. :)

Esther said...

PS I forgot to say... CONGRATULATIONS!!

Jonea said...

congratulations Mair.

I like the black. Someone said black symbolizes death though so I understand why you wouldn't want to wear it. Or maybe you can think of it as death to the old way of doing things and the old marriage and now you and your hubby are starting a new way of doing marriage...I hope that makes sense.

joyce said...

mair, congrats on the renewal.

i would go with the black, you do look very happy in that picture...
it looks like that is the one you wanted to pick by the look on your face, the other two you look like maybe maybe not, but the exhibit c you look like yes this is the one, and it covers you shoulders well...

i agree with what someone else here said about symbols, they are what you make them.

enjoy the renewal regardless what you wear.

Wobbly Librarian said...

The black looks mighty fine! (What everyone said about it in previous posts so much more awesomely than I could.)
May our Lord continue to richly bless you!

Elysa said...

Whatever you choose...I'm so happy for you. I remember our conversation about this while we were flying to Africa.

Love you!!!

nedras said...

Beautiful Mair, God looks at your heart. I've learned so much from you, that I know that whoever sees you will be using eyes that match their own hearts. Whatever you do or wear will reflect what's in there.

Had you considered wearing both the black and the white ones?

Heidi Renee said...

darlin, darlin, darlin. you're breaking my heart - one because i was FORCED to wear a mantilla for the first 30 years of my life - just don't you DARE go SILENT on me woman!

silent and head covered... dang. that was my world.

but for 95% of the time my head and heart were covered because i thought it made god really, really happy. so nice to know he cried with me when i realized it didn't...

anyway - the second reason that i am sad is because i threw the most beautiful (expensive, long, from spain) mantillas away - because I COULD NEVER IMAGINE THAT ANYONE I WOULD LOVE WOULD WANT THEM!! ha!

you look stunning - like the black the best - very mair!

Ty said...

Mantillas are FABULOUS and you'll be a beautiful bride! Whatever you choose, you'll of course rock it. But, as your Godbaby, I'm gonna be crazy out there and go with the second. It's the simplest, but I also think it's really beautiful.

AH! I can't believe it's finally Holy Week!

lisa s. said...


A mantilla is like sex, great if you want it, not so much if someone's forcing it on you!

Renae said...

This is my first visit to your blog, and I love it! Congrats on your wedding day. I like the second and third pictures the best. You look beautiful in all three.

Blessings to you, dear sistah!

(Or sister, not sure which I am! LOL)


Candy said...

I am so behind the times here. What a grand adventure for you and your husband! I really love that he is fully on board and going with this. I'd love to see a photo of the two of you. You'll have to let us know which mantilla you chose. I love B and C. I agree, it's your day and you can symbolize anyway you want. You are truly beautiful. Iknow one thing for sure, Jesus is smiling.

Karen Deborah said...

WELL? Come on Mair what's the verdict? POST something girl you master of suspense. Your book came in the mail today. i have a feeling it's going to be a late night,...

Alana said...

Oooooh, mantillas! I love 'em, I wear 'em, and I make 'em.

I think the black suits you best and makes you happiest. Especially with the shoes you describe. The white veils look too young....But is IS Easter....hmmmm.

But here's my suggestions on the black: get some really pretty black lace to edge it with. Raw edged lace that's just been cut looks like something straight off the bolt, very unfinished.

I think the chantilly lace would do great with either a narrow or wide border, as long as you match the quality of the lace to the veil, the pattern of the lace can be different and still look fabulous. Since the lace looks rather delicate, perhaps a narrow edging...Just my opinion, of course.

That particular white lace looks like what it is: Cheap, stiff lace from Walmart. Run, run far from it!

Have you ever checked out

Oh, and by the way: Congratulations!

D. Gudger said...

I love the black. It's unique. Different. Daringly, darlingly, different.

It's like traditional in a very non-traditional way - yeah. Go w/ the black lacies! ;)

Karen Deborah said...

Mair, tomorrow is Sunday! God bless your special day and HIS day of brining us hope and new life. I pray for a lovely rebirth in your maarraige, your life, and your loves. I am reading your book and am enjoying you so much. You are so real, so fresh, and so much fun. May God bless you and Ken and annoint your vows with a full measure of His spirit and love.
Anticipating the Easter bloom on your blog and a wedding piccha!!