I first met the dressmaker when I was working at my summer job at the Boys and Girls Club, a year before our wedding. She had a couple of kids at the Boys and Girls Club, and she would always come and talk with me for a little while before she took her kids home. Frankly, after a day of being with bratty, noisy kids, I was just relieved to have a little adult conversation. So when she told me she was a dressmaker who had made dresses for several weddings before and then showed me some of the pictures, I thought, what the hell. She couldn’t be that bad.
Not that bad? Well, where do I begin…
The first time I drove to her home, I couldn’t believe it. She lived in a trailer with a HALF DOOR. Yes, a half-door—one of those you see in movies about rednecks.
Then I went in the half-door and was immediately attacked by a barrage of dogs and cats. There must have been at least four or five of each. I’m telling you, no one should have that many pets—especially someone who lives in a tiny trailer with a half-door.
Then her kids started hanging on me, while we tried to talk business. She told them to get the f*** away from me. Yeah, that was nice.
Still, she was already done with one of the dresses, and it looked pretty nice to me. So I thought, the dresses are the important thing. And the price. She was only charging $40 per dress. I thought that was pretty reasonable.
Several months later, it was the night before our wedding, and while I was hanging out with some of “the girls” at their hotel, Iwanski’s sister and cousin (who were from out-of-state) drove to the dressmaker’s for a final fitting. Or so they thought.
It turns out, she was only half-finished with their dresses. And as they sat there in the little dingy trailer, with dogs and cats and kids climbing all over them and the dressmaker swearing at all of them, the phone rang.
The dressmaker answered the phone and then got off the phone quickly, a panicked look on her face. “The milk truck’s coming!” she said anxiously.
“Get the f*** outside!” she yelled at her kids.
My future sister-in-law and cousin looked at each other in confusion. Why was a milk truck coming? And why was it such a big deal?
It turns out that the dressmaker had hired a guy to bring a milktruck full of water to fill their above-ground pool, and he was coming in a few minutes.
The problem was that the pool wasn’t up yet.
So she asked them to come outside while she and her kids put up the pool. They sat there on folding chairs in the yard, watching this woman swear at her kids to hold up the sides of the pool correctly.
Then something unbelievable happened.
The dressmaker actually ASKED my future sister-in-law and cousin to HELP HER put up the pool.
And what were they going to say?—No?
No, they were too nice to not help her.
So the night before our wedding, with the bridesmaid dresses only half-done, our dressmaker somehow enlisted the help of my future sister-in-law and cousin to help her put up her pool.
My sister-in-law still laughs about that moment, as she stood there holding up the side of a pool, while this big fat redneck woman screamed obscenities at her children.
All I can say is, it’s a miracle that Iwanski’s sister and cousin forgave me for that one.
I think it just shows what a great family I married into.
Oh, and then the best part of all.
My sister-in-law’s dress was so long that she kept tripping over it all day. So later at the wedding reception, as the dressmaker sat there with her kids (I couldn’t not invite them), my sister-in-law gave her sister a pair of scissors and asked her to cut off the bottom of her dress (which she did). The look of horror on the dressmaker’s face was just priceless.
Yes, it was a truly redneck wedding. But after all was said and done, I’m glad it happened exactly that way. Because no one can ever say that they don’t remember it.
We all laugh when we recall the infamous Iwanski redneck wedding. It was nothing if not memorable.