My Best Friend’s Wedding
I was thrilled when my best friend asked if our 3-yr-old daughter would be the flower girl for his wedding in Phuket. He himself was the best man at our own wedding, and has been there for us in so many ways. We were excited that Edel could do this for her Godpa, and it was important for us that this went as well as possible.
However, we had a bit of a wardrobe issue for Edel who was one of the two flower girls, which were were able with the help of the internet and available materials. The process of searching online for the solution was harder than I thought, especially when dealing with things which I may not have the exact wording for (which I think a lot of Dads would relate to in regards to a myriad of things concerning their children, especially daughters). This post is about sharing my experience handling this, and the learnings I got from it.
Shopping for the White Theme
The wedding had a theme and we were told to wear “Your best Beach Chic look in ’50 Shades of White”. The nod to the risqué notwithstanding, our concern was more that we did not have anything that would fit that theme. So, it was shopping time! Which my wife will tell you, is not my favourite activity. I actually encourage her to shop online as much as possible, as then we don’t have to spend time doing that in malls.
Thankfully, we settled all three of our outfits in three different shops, but all in one building – Tanglin Mall. Of course true to form, we did this very last minute – the very weekend before the wedding. Even my shoes came in from Zalora just the day before the flight.
While it was relatively simple to sort mine out (British India), we found it a bit of a challenge to find something for our daughter. Frankly, not really knowing what “beach chic” was, I had to Google a bit. While that gave us some sort of idea, we still weren’t sure. On the actual shopping day itself, I was a bit perplexed by the choices, and a lack of clarity in my head of what I was looking for. I don’t really like to browse around for ideas. When physically shopping I like to look for specific things (I know, rather stereotypical male). I felt my energies and motivation flagging, and we took a pit stop at Chilli’s to have lunch. Out of desperation, I downloaded Pinterest on my phone to browse, vaguely remembering reading that it was good to collate and visualise ideas. And so it was! Pinterest was quite useful in providing those ideas, and from the suggested searches and categories, I can see that “white beach wedding fashion / clothes” was not an uncommon theme. Invigorated by both the food and inspiration, the shopping mission continued.
For little E we wanted something that suited the beach resort theme and not so much the Princess-y sort of white dress (of which there were many options). By luck, we stumbled upon a rather beach-y caftan at a kids’ shoe shop on the 3rd floor. The store was quite appropriately named “Small“. At S$30, it wasn’t too crazily priced either. You can find their facebook page here. While a bit baggy (as caftans are), we thought we could add a belt to break the lines and give it a bit of shape. This would fit in with the theme and Edel had a braided brown leather belt that would be a great accessory.
We took the flight (with my wife’s sister and mother who were visiting) and arrived at our accommodations in Phuket. Did not take us long to jump into my favourite part of all Beach Holidays – the Pool. The Beach was lovely too. The area of Phang Nga was chosen to be away from the crowds.
It was only later on that we realised that that we had forgotten the belt for Edel. While it was just as an accessory, it really did transform the caftan from “beachwear” to “beach-resort-wedding-wear”. Especially since she was going to lead the processing as a flower girl, we thought it would be nice to NOT appear like she was just back from sun-tanning on the beach or something. Her Godpa has a great eye, and does notice things like this. He is very sweet and wouldn’t judge, but at the same time he would appreciate the details and effort put in. We were committed to contribute to making his wedding day the best possible. What more, the wedding venue was the Sava Villas and was very lovely. I felt we had to save the wardrobe somehow if we could.
So thinking that the idea of the belt was really to break up the baggy lines of the caftan, perhaps a simple rope belt would do. I turned to my wife, “Okay dear, we’ll figure something out.”
YouTube & Google Search
Not knowing anything about actually tying a rope belt, I went to consult the trusty “How-to” site – YouTube. YouTube, by the way, is the 2nd largest Search Engine in the world. I typed in various search strings – “how to tie a rope belt”, “rope belt fashion”, “DIY rope belt”. They all gave me really terrible and useless results. Well, useless for my situation anyhow. Most of them needed the use of a glue gun. And ribbons. And sparkles. There were all these girls teaching how to do these rather fancy rope belts. I remember thinking of a particular 5 minutes that I would never get back after watching two girls just talk about nautical fashion without nary a rope belt in sight. I don’t need a fancy rope belt, dammit. I just need something to hold the caftan together, to break the falling straight lines.
I then started Googling. I was looking for a step-by-step guide or something close to that. I just typed “rope belt” and then clicked on ‘images’ to be able to visually see and inspect the results. Hmmm. Not so interesting at first. There were some images I recognised from some of videos before. Lots of rock climbing images with rope harnesses. Japanese martial arts. And then in a corner I saw a monk’s habit. “Oh great, they do use rope belts!” I thought. This could be interesting. I started expanding the research around that, and learned that it was called a cincture, and some interesting tidbits around it. Here is a sample:
Image for illustration only. Pulled from this website
The cincture is a long, thick cord with tassels at the ends which secures the alb around the waist. It may be white or may be the same liturgical color as the other vestments. In the Graeco-Roman world, the cincture was like a belt. – CatholicStraightAnswers.com
Now that I knew what it was called, it was easy to find the YouTube video on how to tie one.
So I learnt something. We don’t always know what these things are called. Even if we think we know, the Internet search results may give us something else entirely and we have to sift through the noise. The reality is that if you can’t verbalise , you can’t search for an image in your head.
So the basic process was for me:
- Google Image Search – Get a picture in your mind of what works. In my case it was the “monk’s rope belt”
- Google Image Search – Get the terminology for it. From there i found the technical term – “cincture”
- Google Search – Using the terminology, search with “how-to”, “guide” for more information and articles.
- YouTube Search -Using the terminology from above, find the right video for you. They usually exist. It’s a matter of finding it.
Rope Belt to the Rescue
It seemed pretty easy. “Okay,” I told Elin, “let’s do this.” Now we need material. Where could I find rope? We’re in Thailand. It shouldn’t be too hard right? But I did not really want to leave the villa to go shopping (no!!). Looking around the villa I noticed that the laundry bag was a plain cotton sack, held together by drawstrings made up of cotton rope. They were just the nice thickness too. Quite solid, and there were two of them as they were a double drawstring. Ah, Seek and Ye Shall Find. 🙂
I undid them both. Over the protests of my wife, I might add. Her Scandinavian sensibilities left her uncomfortable with the thought of mucking around with hotel property. Anyhow, it was an emergency, and they could be restored relatively easily, I rationalised.
However, I tied both lengths together (square knot from my Pathfinders days. I even earned an honour badge for knot tying back then. Who knew it’d come handy now?). They were too long and trailed on the floor. Alone, each length were barely enough to go round her waist. Even I thought it would be poor form to cut the rope, and so we looked around a bit more. I then found a small pouch which was used to keep the hairdryer. It has the same rope but shorter for the smaller pouch. Woohoo! I used one drawstring of the hair dryer bag and one of the laundry bag and Voilà! Perfect length. Then following the YouTube video, I tied the cincture knot. Think it worked out.It looked appropriate, and the colour of it nicely matched the earth-white tone of our own clothes. We bundled off to the Sava Villas where the wedding was to take place. During the informal rehearsals it seemed to work out too. Looking at her, I could get the Graeco-Roman Belt reference.
The actual ceremony was so beautiful, done in the warm colours of dusk. I can say that I haven’t been to a more romantic wedding ceremony ever. We were so happy for the newlyweds, and many sets of eyes glistened.
We were also so proud that Edel played her role well, and did not shy away from the attention (she can be quite shy). We thought she and the other flower girl looked great leading the procession (yes we are biased). We received a lot of kind comments about her and her role as a flower girl. The most heartwarming was from the newlyweds – “Edel was so great. So proud of her. She did not shy away and was rather serious about making sure the petals were on the floor”.
Job done, it was nice to end the trip with a day just relaxing by the pool and beach. Here’s our in-villa breakfast spread on the final day.
The message of the day Dads, is that wardrobes can be saved with D-I-Y help.
Yes, even by us.
Tip: Google is your best friend online, but not always what you think to look for.
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Let me know what you think of this story. I intend to share more stuff that comes from my own parenting experience. Some would be quick snippets, (10 things my daughter says which crack me up), to more reflective insightful pieces, to sharing of experiences like this one (though probably not as long!) and hopefully not always mini-crises like this one. If you’d like to read them as they come out, please scroll down and sign up for the newsletter.
I do value your feedback, and what you got from reading this piece. Please leave comments below. I appreciate it and look forward to having conversations with you.
Good start, Sherwin. The videos and links make the article more informative and entertaining. I enjoy reading both articles.
sherwin siregar says
Thanks for the encouragement! I’m glad you liked the links and videos. Were there any that you liked in particular?
How did you feel about the length of the post?