Special gifts: Plan ahead for special moments

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A couple of weeks before my daughter’s wedding — OK, maybe a week before — I realized I wanted to give my daughter something special on the morning of her wedding day. This actually caused me about 48 hours of real angst. A photo? Ordinary. Special jewelry? Nothing really to give; we’re not historically “jewelry people.”

I pulled out the early photo albums, assembled long before the digital age, and then Megan’s baby book, hoping for divine inspiration. In a little pocket of her baby book, I found it– teeny little prints of my daughter’s thumb-sized feet inked onto an index card with the words “Baby Girl” and her birthdate and weight. I really was overcome with emotion as I thought about how far she’d come since those little prints were made. I decided to write something about that, and assembled my words and her feet into a framed gift for my daughter. Perfect! But, man, that wasn’t easy!

Advice: Think about a simple, meaningful gift to give your son or daughter on the wedding day. And think about it early enough to allow for things like framing, assembly, reproducing, or whatever you need to do to make that give “just right” for your child. I heard a story recently about a mother of a groom who had saved a precious “this is why I hate girls” poem her son had written in second grade. It became the perfect framed gift from Mom.

It is often the simple, sentimental things that make the wedding day so very special for families.

Wedding Dress Shopping: Mother may know best, but don’t tell that to the bride

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When it comes to the wedding dress, as mother of the bride, you’ll either be involved in the selection of the wedding dress, or you won’t. If you will take part, you may feel a complicated mix of joy and dread (if you’re a mother of girls, you know what I mean). I’ve seen a few cringe-worthy scenarios on “Say Yes to the Dress,” and I most certainly learned a few things from my own experience.

Here a few tips for being a helpful partner in the process:
1. Give your daughter a wide berth at the early stages when she’s combing brides magazines and the internet. Don’t burst her bubble by immediately pointing out what won’t flatter. DO give her a subscription to a bridal magazine, but do it early because it takes a couple of months before the subscription kicks in.

2. She may have more ideas about what she DOESN’T want more than what she does. My daughter said NO STRAP-LESS, but I had a feeling a strap-less gown would look stunning on her. Wait until you’re in a salon and ask the shop attendant to bring one in for her to try. Sneaky but effective, especially when the “suggestion” doesn’t come from you. P.S. she wore strap-less.

3. When you start visiting shops, make sure your daughter has good undergarments. Showing up in a ratty sports bra will sabotage a few style trials!

4. Tell her she looks beautiful. In everything. But REALLY beam when she tries the one you just know will flatter her best.

5. Don’t bring too many people along. Too many opinions is counterproductive. But if the bride has a sister, definitely bring her along. She can be brutally honest like you can’t.

6. Boost your girl’s spirits if the first day out is disappointing. It may take a few stores, but she will find her dream dress, and you’ll both know it when she does.

Above all, have fun! Soak it in, have a few laughs, and make sure you plan a stop for a yummy lunch or a glass of wine at the end of the first day.

For fun, check out the link below for today’s top wedding dress trend, courtesy of Huffington Post wedding blog.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/30/wedding-dresses_n_3353627.html?ir=Weddings&utm_campaign=053013&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alert-weddings&utm_content=Title

Engagement ~ Planning some fun around that calendar full of appointments!

The year between my daughter’s engagement and her wedding centered around a boatload of lists, appointments and errands, and most of those were fun. But make no mistake about it, for both the bride and her mom, it can feel like a year of working an extra job.

Looking back, those errands, chores and appointments added up to a whole lot of special time for my daughter and me. Look for ways to amp up the “special” factor throughout the engagement year. Some of those “to-do’s” are for the couple, but more than a few are opportunities for mother-daughter time— wedding dress fittings, florist appointments, shopping for outfits for engagement party/shower/rehearsal dinner, shoe shopping, welcome bag assembly, hair trials, etc.

Schedule those appointments so you can cap them off with something celebratory– a sushi lunch, a stop at your favorite wine bar, a mani/pedi. Now that she’s a fiance, how often do your really get your daughter to yourself?

As you cross things off that never-ending to-do list, celebrate that feeling of accomplishment together.

Happy Mother’s Day: 5 reasons to thank your mother today if you are planning a wedding

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1. She will go with you to 17 stores to find the perfect wedding shoes, wedding day Spanx, and just about any wedding errand you throw out there, even if she worked all day, hasn’t had time to get her own hair colored, and has yet to shop for her own dress and shoes.

2. She will probably pay if you invite her along, and she will likely buy you dinner too.

3. She knows more about flowers than you do, and will be really helpful when meeting with a florist. Stephanotis anyone?

4. She will smack down any bridesmaid who gets out of hand or doesn’t step up, and she will handle rude breaches of etiquette when it comes to guest RSVPs.

5.She will tell you, OK, maybe with a look, if a dress is not flattering on you.

And last, but most certainly not least, she continues to love you, even when you go all Bridezilla on her.

Bridal shower guest list – 5 things to consider

When planning a shower for the bride, how do you come up with the guest list? Well, here are five things to consider to help get you started:

1. Will the shower be held in a restaurant or in someone’s home? For either venue, what’s the max?

2. Couples or women only? It seems as though women only is still the popular choice.

3. Have the bride and groom been living together, and is their home pretty well stocked? If so, you don’t really “need” every woman invited to the wedding to come bearing household gifts. Maybe relatives and bridal party?

4. Has the couple already been celebrated with a big engagement bash where guests brought gifts? If so, see #3.

5. Are the brides friends just starting out in life and trying to get on their feet? Will they be spending a lot of money to come to the wedding and, possibly, a bachelorette party? If so, spare them the shower obligation and keep it to the bridesmaids and “older ladies” (yes, that means YOUR peers, MOB!).

Next ~ Some fun theme and gift ideas!

April Showers……

Bridal Showers! Fun ideas for themes, venues, menus and more....

This week’s posts will be dedicated to bridal showers: Themes, ideas, venues and menus. But before we go into all that fun stuff, whose job is it anyway? As Mother of the Bride, I’m sure you expect to have a role here, but exactly how much of a role should you have? Here’s how to get the shower ball rolling:

1. If she hasn’t reached out to you already, contact the Maid of Honor (MOH). We were lucky in that respect– the MOH was the bride’s sister.

2. Discuss any of the bride’s wishes either of you might know about. Would she prefer a surprise? Does she want to know about it? Would she like a shower at home or at a favorite restaurant?

3. Have the MOH reach out to the other bridesmaids and select a date first! This isn’t easy, believe me. Young women aren’t the easiest– prepare for “I can’t that day, it’s my birthday,” or “I might be going away that weekend.” Have patience, but make sure MOH can handle the date haggling.

4. Decide where the shower will be, and what weather contingencies you will need.

5. Offer whatever you plan to contribute, and let the bridal party work out the rest. My part consisted of offering our home, tables/chairs/linens rentals, and salads made by a number of my wonderful friends.

Next topic: Fun themes for bridal showers…..

Some advice for brides on a budget

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Thought I would share some tips from an article I saw today from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution > David Tutera’s advice for brides on a budget by Nedra Rhone.

Tutera, host of We TV’s “My Fair Wedding” offered the following tips I think are spot-on:

1. Trim the guests. “If you have 150 guests, really look at the list and see if you can scale it down to 100,” he says. His rule? “When you look at the photos in 10 years, will you know who these people are?”

2. Downsize the drinks. Tutera suggests choosing a specialty drink and serve wine and prosecco instead of champagne. My own thoughts: Why not offer the specialty drink plus beer and wine? And I love the prosecco idea.

3. Cut the cake. I agree that you don’t need a $2,000 cake. Spending too much here is probably not the best allocation of funds. He suggests maybe having an ice cream bar and just a small cake for cutting. We had a nice choice of cakes that came with our catering package. I don’t believe anyone in our family even HAD the cake, so there you go.

and my favorite piece of Tutera advice…

Be YOU and don’t copy someone else. “Couples get lost in all the craziness. They are so blurry-eyed by too much information, (the wedding) loses the personality of who they are. If you can remind yourself that there are two of you and you need to tell the story of who you are as a couple, you set the trends.”