Living: Scenes From a Marriage

Checkbooks ready? Big weddings are back

"Mother," said Amy Wels, "don't do that to me."

Marguerite Wels tugged at the bodice of her daughter's bridal gown. "Thank God," she said. "It's better than anything else we've looked at. But it will have to come in here."

Hold the joy for the ceremony. This is just part of a long, tough job. "Amy is such a skinny thing. So flat-chested," Marguerite has explained. "Nothing looked right." So Mother left her Park Avenue apartment in Manhattan and, with daughter in tow, journeyed to Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, where she found Kleinfeld's and, at last, a suitable wedding dress.

"I've...

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