NOT A WEDDING
"Sooo," Nigel began without preamble, dropping into the chair opposite Miranda. "Would you care to explain this?"
He waved a white embossed square with gold edging.
"Are you suffering some form of head injury?" Miranda inquired over her reading glasses. "I should think it's fairly self-evident."
"Self-evident," Nigel muttered. He cleared his throat and read: "You are invited to the white party of Miranda Elizabeth Priestly and Andrea Susan Sachs on September 4th at 2pm at the Priestly residence. Dress is formal. A reception will be held at the private rooms at Per Se, Manhattan. RSVP August 18."
He looked up. "You're getting married," he accused.
"Now where on that little card does it say that?" Miranda's eyebrows lifted. "It's just a social event with a white theme and a celebrant. I mean really, Nigel."
Her eyes sparkled with mischief.
"Ri-ight." Nigel lifted the card again and read the fine print at the bottom of the invitation. "In lieu of gifts, Miranda and Andrea request donations be made to the Women in Need shelter, Brooklyn."
He looked up. "In lieu of gifts," he repeated slowly and eyeballed her, "Give to a women's shelter."
"And you have a problem with this?" Miranda asked in her most deceptively sweet tone. "What have you got against helping underprivileged and abused women of New York anyway? I must say, I'm shocked at you, Nigel."
He rolled his eyes at her. "Uh huh. So, then, answer me this: Who has a party with a full-on reception and the expectation of gifts without there being a wedding?"
"Been to any bar mitzvahs lately?"
"Bar mitzvahs don't have celebrants." Nigel's face softened. "By the way I'm really happy for you and Six. It's great you worked it all out. So - who's the best man?" He waggled his eyebrows hopefully.
"Well you would be if this was a wedding and if you didn't also apparently have some objections to helping women in crisis. I may have to rethink the entire speech list now."
"Oh ha ha," Nigel said, but nothing could stop him beaming. "Yes, Miranda, I'll be very proud to be your best man. Or 'not-best man' as the case may be. Whatever your merry delusion wants to call the job title."
"Excellent. Can you tell that impossible creature manning my phones that she will also have to assist in the party planning? Andrea insisted I choose her and, really, what can I do?"
"Yup, Six's big browns are definitely hard to turn down," Nigel grinned. "So Emily's the bridesmaid? Oh, oops, I mean 'not-bridesmaid'. Oh, hey, as part of my job, I get to plan the bachelor party for you, right?"
"Don't be absurd. You have those at weddings, and this, as I have already patiently explained, is a white party."
"Such a shame," Nigel sighed, "Because I know some confirmed bachelors and bachelorettes with abs to die for who would swoon at the thought of whipping their gear off for La Priestly. Not to mention doing a little lap dance." His eyes were gleaming.
Miranda shuddered. "I will not thank you for that disturbing mental image. Now don't you have some work to do? Go and make yourself useful and find out why Patrick hasn't given you any samples that don't cause spontaneous bleeding from the eyeballs."
Well cherubs, we told you so! A certain devilish white-haired lover of the ladies (or one in particular) was spotted with her former assistant busily Hers-and-Hers ring-shopping at Tiffany's. Our sharp-eyed spy observed the love birds spending over an hour making selections for each other before leaving with a pair of red velvet boxes and matching smitten expressions. Looks like our diamante trident offering will be the first of many.
Runway's art director Nigel Kipling, he of the Advocate's feature on closeted executives fame, was seen buying best man's kit at Saks Fifth Avenue. Yes, wedding bells (or should that be belles?) are definitely afoot in what will be New York's event of the season. Runway's stylish dragon lady, the one and only La Priestly, and her adorable ex-assistant, reporter Andy Sachs, will be tying the knot on September 4 if their loose-lipped (now former) wedding planner is correct. Paps should stock up on extra camera memory cards and mark out their positions now at Per Se.
But what we cannot fathom is why everyone at Runway's mag is denying it's a wedding. To every man, woman, and carb-deprived clacker, this is the case. Would someone care to explain? We're all ears, dears.
September 4 dawned with chaos as children ran from room to room – only two of them seemed to be Miranda's but the others, well, she wasn't entirely sure where they'd sprung from. Given the vague resemblance they bore to Andrea, she presumed they were among the litter of nephews and nieces she'd once alluded to. They must have blown in with Andrea's sister, Gloria, who had arrived the previous evening with her husband, Robert.
Andrea's parents had declined to attend their event, which secretly relieved Miranda who did not wish to see any sour faces sitting in the crowd, silently judging her or their daughter.
"Wheeeeeeee!" came a squeal and Miranda looked up, startled, to see a boy, maybe eight, flying down the banister.
He landed in a spectacular tangle on the floor and Miranda rushed over to see how many limbs were broken. Instead he bounced back to his feet and giggled, showing off an impressive set of missing front teeth. A pre-existing condition, she was pleased to note.
"Howro," he said. "I'm Mike."
"I see," Miranda said, glancing around for the Sachs' cavalry to claim the errant urchin. Seeing none, she lowered herself to floor level and looked into chocolate brown eyes that seemed so very familiar. "I'm Miranda."
"Ooh," his eyes widened. His mouth fell open. "You the dragon? The dragon marrying our Andy?"
"Yes," Miranda agreed, lips twitching. "That would be me."
"Typical," the brunette in question said from behind her, suddenly stepping out from the kitchen holding a steaming cup of coffee. She grinned. "You'll admit to my seven-year-old nephew that you're getting married, but not to me?"
"Well." Miranda said, caught. She rose to her feet.
"Yeah, great answer," Andrea said and gave her a peck. "Mikey, go and wash up for breakfast. And no more riding the banisters." They watched him scamper upstairs and Andrea handed her the coffee. "For you. Sorry my family is so loud. And messy. And a little crazy."
"Well I knew what I was getting into," Miranda said with a sniff. "I did date you after all."
"Beast," Andrea said. "Remind me why I'm marrying you again?"
Miranda lifted her eyebrows. "Actually it's a white party, dear."
The celebrant at the 'white party' obviously didn't realise it wasn't a wedding. She kept saying the W-word over and over. Miranda wondered if she could get away shooting daggers at the woman marrying them. Her blushing (not) bride-to-be found it all hilarious. Of course she did. Miranda was beginning to wonder if she'd bribed the woman to say "wedding" as many times as possible in forty minutes.
Andrea snickered again.
She glanced around. Nigel looked resplendent and proud as her best man. He had not kidnapped her, as he'd threatened, to take her to a strip club. Instead, last night, he'd taken her for massages, manis, pedis and a soothing therapy of some sort involving smooth warm rocks placed on her back. It was, she'd told him, "entirely acceptable". His eyes had glowed with pleasure.
She didn't know where Emily, Serena, Gloria and Andrea had gotten to last night. But there had been glitter upon her return. And a stamp on the back of her hand she'd been trying to scrub off for most of the morning as the perplexed quartet tried various home remedies. She didn't ask; they didn't tell.
Her daughters, standing beside Emily at the front of her back yard, were beaming with happiness and excitement – expressions they absolutely had not worn at her previous weddings. It was a little unsettling to realize how much they adored Andrea and, by contrast, how indifferent they'd obviously secretly been to her past choices.
They had already given her their blessing. The previous evening she'd found her daughters waiting on her bed after she'd returned from the pampering night.
"We wanted to say," Caroline began formally ...
"How happy we are," Cassidy continued in their shared twin-speak.
"That you finally came to your senses," Caroline said. "Because Andy is…"
"The best," Cassidy concluded as her sister nodded earnestly. "Don't mess it up."
They both gave her tight hugs.
"I'll try not to," Miranda agreed, stroking the red tangles of hair under her chin.
"And if you manage to sing Let It Go at the reception, we wouldn't mind," Cassidy suggested hopefully against her neck.
"Yeah, we're kind of mad with ourselves we didn't get to hear you the other time," Caroline added. "We should have insisted you serenade Andy at our house."
Miranda laughed. "You two really care about her don't you?"
They gave her matching "Duh" expressions. Cassidy even rolled her eyes in a perfect replica of her own.
Duh indeed. Miranda smirked at the memory.
The guests, a veritable who's who of the fashion world, plus a certain doctor who had laughed uproariously when she accepted the invitation (Miranda narrowed her eyes at the thought), had taken Miranda at her word. Almost all wore some aspect of white in their dress. They looked magnificent. But none more so than Andrea.
Andrea wore the most divine Valentino gown, designed especially for her. Miranda may or may not have overseen the fifty-odd design "tweaks" she'd insisted upon but the end result was amazing. She looked radiant.
Miranda felt her heart do that little leapfrog with a twist that it had been doing all morning. And her eyes, which were absolutely not filling with tears, began to blink rapidly. She smoothed down her silk Vera Wang dress and glanced at the celebrant.
She was speaking. "I believe Andy and Miranda have written their own vows. Andy?"
Andrea sucked in a deep breath and offered a bright, watery smile.
"Miranda, it's no secret we got off to a rocky start," she grinned. "I wore cerulean polyester, you wore a horrified expression. I didn't know any designers and I thought fashion was nothing serious. Oh and I didn't even know "center of the sun" was a coffee temperature until I met you.
"And then I began to watch and learn. What I learned was two things: How to anticipate your every whim…" The crowd laughed … "And how to strive for perfection and be the best I can be. I also learned that nothing is impossible if you try.
"I thank you for that amazing gift, as well as the gift of your love, the gift of sharing your clever, cheeky daughters with me, and the gift of sharing all of yourself. And not the least, the gift of sharing 'Frozen' with all the residents on the fourth floor of my old apartment block."
The crowd laughed.
"Seriously though, Miranda, I vow to love and cherish you every day, through your fabulous moods and diabolical ones, through sickness and health, till death us do part. I love you so much. I love that I'm in your life and able to be in this, uh, white party."
She gave a cheeky grin. The crowd tittered.
"Andrea," Miranda began with a soft smile, "You are unique in a bland, colorless world filled with drones. I appreciate your generosity of heart. Your laughter, your spirit and your principles. I promise to always be at your side, when you mix your poly-blends and when you dazzle us all in Valentino." Her face glowed as she ran her eyes appreciatively over Andrea's dress.
Miranda sighed and tilted her head. "I am dreadful at weddings," she admitted. "Worse at marriages. Everyone knows this. My failure at this institution cannot have escaped even your bright view of the world, Andrea. I want you to understand that I have not called this event a wedding for one reason: I simply don't wish to jinx anything that is going so well.
"I could not bear something so wonderful being lumped in with my past appalling endeavors. I see this as a pure white event because it is unsullied, precious and beautiful. As is my bride.
"I love you Andrea. I loved you when we weren't together. And when we weren't dating. When we weren't friends. When I wasn't besotted. And when I wasn't proposing. All these times I wasn't, I absolutely was. Darling, please be mine forever."
She smiled as Andrea grinned through tears and flung her arms around her neck.
At that, the crowd was on its feet, clapping excitedly, with many a creative type wiping tears as the celebrant shouted above them all that they were now married.
Miranda kissed Andrea. Andrea kissed Miranda.
Emily sniffed. "About bleeding time."
Nigel nodded in agreement, beaming widely.
Which pair of blushing brides was seen heading to their reception at Per Se with a red trident strapped to the roof of their luxe car? We told you they loved our gift, cherubs! Or at the very least their best man did, one Nigel Kipling, who was spotted by our spies with duct tape and a fabulously guilty expression. From Page Six: All our very best to the devilish duo. May their lives together be long and happy.