Mother of: Erin
Wedding locale: Omni Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Vibe: Global black tie
Dress: JJ's House beaded mermaid gown
After two years of Covid delays and three tries to reschedule, the wedding celebration of Erin Jaeger and Mahen Gunaratna was finally set to proceed in May of 2022. The couple had officially tied the knot in a small ceremony in New Rochelle, New York, but this was the big, black tie affair they’d waited for—the ceremonial merging of two cultures, Irish-German American and Sri Lankan, with a Sri Lankan drumming corps to usher in the wedding party and nuptials performed by a Buddhist friend of the family. The wedding would take place on the rooftop of the Omni Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, overlooking Mount Washington. The day before the wedding, freezing rain poured down and the couple feared their plans would be disrupted yet again. But on the morning of the wedding, the clouds disappeared, the sunshine warmed the day into the 60s.
If it hadn’t actually happened, you might think it was a scene out of one of mother of the bride Peggy Jaeger’s romance novels. Despite writing about love for a living, the author says she tried not to be “that” mother—no “motherzilla.”
“I suggested—nicely—a few things, but in the end it was her wedding to do with as she wanted,” Peggy says. “I will tell you, the day of the wedding, I was looking at everything going on thinking ‘I may use that in a story’ or ‘hmm, I never considered that at a wedding.’” A writer’s work never stops.
Nor does her quest for the perfect dress. Forced to shop online during the pandemic, Peggy found a style she liked from JJ’s House—a sleeveless rose gold beaded mermaid gown with a two-foot train. The only caveat: the style was made to order, which meant no returns. JJ's House does offer a try-before-you-buy delivery program before placing an order if you have a few extra weeks to allow for the back and forth, but Peggy decided to go for it.
“I was very nervous since I couldn’t try the dress on. I didn’t know if I was going to look like a sausage stuffed into casing or if it was going to look ridiculous on me.”
She hedged her bets by ordering a size up from her usual. “I was able to have it taken in by a local seamstress to fit perfectly,” Peggy says. “I am a curvy girl and was worried about a mermaid fit, but the dress was constructed so beautifully, I looked fabulous.”
Add in hair and makeup by the bride’s glam squad, and Peggy says, “I felt like it was the best I’ve ever looked.”
Peggy is currently working on a new book series about a matchmaker. Don’t be surprised to find a few details inspired by her daughter’s wedding day, which proved worth the wait.
| Photography by Stephanie Krist of Stephanie Rita Photo