As much as every mother wants her daughters to get married, says Ilene Beckerman, no mother is prepared to be a Mother Of The Bride. Beckerman's daughter wanted a grand, traditional fete, no skimping. Every detail--from the type of stamps used on the invitations to the shade of the flowers--was crucial. The details were too much for even a supermom like Beckerman to handle, so she hired a wedding consultant.

Still, Mom--not the consultant--had to accompany the bride as she shopped for a wedding gown. Beckerman was unprepared: "I thought peau de soie was something Julia Child made.. That Alencon lace was a cheese people with bad cholesterol could eat. My daughter tried on a dress made from 50 yards of Thai silk. I couldn't find her."

But this is no mere humor book. Amid the drolleries are the poignant reflections of a mother who is not just gaining a son-in-law. She is also, in a way, losing a daughter.

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