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Our readers write from Los Angeles

(Editor's note: Thank you to ESL teacher and Easy English Times Editorial Board member Joyce Mancini for send-ing in this story. Other stories by her students were published in our June issue. More will appear in future issues.)

Planning a wedding

by Maria Isabel Fraga, Evans Community Adult School
(Editor's note: This story has been edited for length.)

Everything started on the weekend when my sister, Gabriela, called me, to tell me that she got engaged. She wanted to have me as her maid of honor. I was very happy for her and I couldn't say no. Her wish was to have the wedding ceremony occur at El Matador State Beach in Malibu, California.

That Saturday the first thing we did was go to the wedding chapel to set the day for the ceremony. Next, she had made an appointment to try on wedding dresses in Burbank at a bridal shop. For me this was the most frustrating time of the day. She had taken pictures of the dresses she wanted to try on and that were also supposed to be 'ON SALE'. The wedding consultant was not helpful at all. First, she said most of the dresses 'on sale' were sold, and the ones that they had were plus sizes. Next she brought out dresses that weren't even close to the style we had shown her in the pictures we had provided. Then the other consultants started to bring her dresses that could be combined into one dress. The salesperson suggested a style that could be used for the ceremony and then remove a part of the dress so she would have a different style for the celebration. They also started to bring her sashes and a bunch of accessories. She got more and more excited and the salesperson noticed. By this time I was already angry because we went there to try on dresses that were supposedly "ON SALE" and they were giving her other ideas. Instead of getting a dress on sale for less than $500.00 (which we were looking for), we ended up paying almost $2500.00 for a dress they really wanted to sell. They know how to involve the brides and get them excited and indeed the brides would pay any price to have their dream dress and look their best on their wedding day.

Since we were close to Glendale, she decided to go see the cakes at a bakery. We had been standing in line for about 30 minutes. When it finally was our turn, we told the salesperson that we wanted to see the cakes they could make and make a special order. The person told us we needed to go to the second floor for that. We had been standing in line for nothing. Then we went upstairs. There were many beautiful samples of cakes. She chose a three tier cake with lace that matched her dress. When we were about to order, the salesperson told us the price of the cake, $1300.00! Since she was already over her budget. she told the lady that she would like to order six round 12' inch diameter cakes. We did the math and we were happy that we were go-ing to spend only $110.00 instead of $1300.00. But soon we were sad again. Because of a special order, each cake would cost us $60.00. We had no choice but to pay their cost.

I thought this was all we had to do for the day. It had not been very enjoyable for me. While I was driving, my sister saw a hall and she decided to stop to see the inside of it and to ask for more information and the cost of the rental. The hall was stunning. It had gorgeous chande-liers. The tables and chairs were very elegant. It had a variety of lighting that could be custom-ized. It had many amenities overall. When she asked for an appraisal, I was in shock. We thanked the person and told him we would call him later.

I decided to talk to her. On our way back home, I told her she needed to take things slowly, and there was no rush. The wedding would be in seven months. I also advised her that we needed to have a budget for all the preparations and not have to pay thousands of dollars. She understood, she knew that our parents, brothers and sister and I would be paying for her wedding and that she needed to be reasonable. She agreed and she also apologized for the mon-ey she spent on her dress. She learned her lesson that day. And from there she took everything step by step as well.