The wedding is the easy part: a story about marriage

FreysThanks to e-media– Facebook, pinterest, and an abundance of bridal blogs like this one– wedding planning has grown into one heck of an industry. Throw in reality TV and our celebrity-crazed culture, and weddings are entertainment as well.

Last night I was reminded, rather poignantly, of the point of it all — marriage. The coming together of two people who have committed to lasting love as they begin to build a family of their own; whether that family is comprised of a man and a woman and five children, or a couple with an adopted dog, the point is that a family will be built.

While on vacation with our own extended family, we sat together to watch a DVD from my husband’s parents’ 40th anniversary party, which was thrown by us nearly 30 years ago. My father-in-law, now 89 and grieving the recent loss of his wife, was transported back to a time when everyone he loved was gathered in one place to celebrate their union.

Like a wedding, this party was planned– from invitations to music, food and cake, no detail was overlooked. Yet as we watched the party 30 years later, our focus was only on the people; the happy expressions of family and friends as they danced, laughed, hugged, and partied long into the night. None of us could remember if the frosting was fondant or butter cream, what was served for dinner, or where we got our outfits.

My husband’s parents had an enduring marriage, and it lasted until one of them passed away. Sure it was mostly happy, but there was no shortage of challenges. Like any marriage. There are five children, who at various times on the path to adulthood hit a few roadblocks. There are now spouses for four of those children, and seven grandkids as well. Soon, there will be great-grandchildren, but I’m not sure my father-in-law will be here to meet them. I have a feeling he is longing for those in the video who have already gone.

This is marriage. Long after the gifts have tarnished and faded from everyday and sometimes rough use, the marriage will hopefully endure and a family will grow and thrive. The wedding is simply a celebration.

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.

Social media at weddings: yes or no?

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As I was waxing righteous about the plus-one situation, I came across a great article by Kim Ode in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She claims “social media are the new ‘plus one’ at weddings, causing couples how to manage the technology so that friends and relatives don’t morph into Guestzillas.”

Ode considers both sides of this, for there are indeed brides and grooms who can’t wait to see instantaneous postings, given the wait time for professional pix. As Ode says, this is fun for plenty of brides and grooms. Others, however, might freak out a bit if unvetted photos appear, especially from the getting ready period or the ceremony itself.

So, the advice…

*Bride and groom should consider their position on this issue and let it be known
*If you don’t want guests whipping out their iphones during your ceremony, put a line to that effect in your program, or have your officiant asks guests to refrain from using electronic devices
*If you DO want photo sharing, you can create a hashtag handle so you can enjoy all posted photos of the day

My favorite comment from this article comes from wedding photographer Becca Dilley, who says, “I would question why you’re taking photos instead of really being there.” Well said!

For the full article, go to http://m.startribune.com/lifestyle/?id=201664121

The RSVP: Regretful? Sarcastic? Very Problematic.

A fun tongue-in-cheek follow-up to my plus-one issues post! Great blog…you should check it out!

I Just Want It To Be Perfect

During my last (admittedly sporadic) session of stalking Twitter for interesting and amusing wedding-related content, I came across this highly entertaining photo of one of the better wedding RSVPs I’ve ever seen:

Now, wedding RSVPs are nobody’s favorite detail — except perhaps for the designers and stationers who cackle gleefully and rub their hands together thinking about all the piles of money they can get out of you for one tiny little square piece of fancy, recycled, eggshell-white paper with scalloped edges. Or whatever you end up using. Still, they’re one of those necessary evils. If you’re planning on having guests at your wedding — and let’s face it, most people are — you’re going to have to figure out how many of them are actually going to show up, where you’re going to exile some of them and for the love of god what you’re going to feed…

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The murky and not-so-murky topic of plus-ones: part one

Quiz:

You open a wedding invitation and see that you have not been given a “plus one.” The proper next-step is to

a. in-box or text the bride immediately to ask if your boyfriend can come
b. write in your boyfriend’s name on the reply card and mail it
c. tell a mutual friend to tell the bride how angry and upset you are
d. respond that you alone will happily attend or regretfully decline

Answer: d…D! And only d. Case closed.

No Gifts, Please. Just a Trip to Hawaii.

I was just beginning to gather my thoughts for a post on registries and gifts, when the blog post (above) caught my eye. When I first heard about the ‘financing the honeymoon’ trend, I was appalled, but now that my daughter has piles of the kinds of registry loot that I received in the 80s, I’ve started to reconsider my position on this. What do YOU think?

I Just Want It To Be Perfect

So we’re all more than familiar with the whole debate surrounding wedding registries: some people love them, some hate them, some people think they’re the height of convenience, others the height of tackiness. They’re more or less an accepted part of weddings at this point, though — the idea, after all, is to help the happy couple begin their lives together and save them the time and potentially marriage-fraying battles over different kinds of cutlery or linens. But what if the happy couple has already been living together for three or five or thirteen years and already has all the fitted sheets their hearts could ever desire?

Well, that’s where the honeymoon registry comes in.

The idea behind the honeymoon registry is essentially a good-hearted one. Let’s say your couple has been dating for eight years, living together for five. They probably have plenty of housewares already, and one more…

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6 money-savers for D-I-Y bridal showers

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Sure, it’s nice to imagine helping the bridesmaids host a lavish restaurant affair, but you may decide you can help the girls in the affordability department if you host the shower at someone’s home. There’s really something quite lovely about a backyard bridal shower, as long as the weather cooperates!

Here are three tips for making it affordable without sacrificing fun or flourish:

1. Price club flowers— Places like Costco have amazing fresh-cut flowers every day. Buy a bunch, and then rearrange them in dollar store vases (or vases you might have on hand). Beautiful, fresh centerpieces that allow for a little creativity.

2. A little help from your friends — Mom, ask some friends if they would mind contributing a signature dish– they will most likely be happy to contribute, and there’s nothing better than homemade goodies. For an afternoon shower, an array of finger foods, dips, salads and desserts is probably all you need for a delicious spread. Also, rely on friends and family to help you gather serving pieces, dishes, wine glasses, linens, and anything else you need for entertaining a crowd.

3. Bargain hunt— Once the girls decide on a theme for the shower, put someone in charge of bargain-hunting for paper goods and decorations. Think dollar stores and Target for fun stuff.

4. Servers and clean-up crew— Surely, someone knows a few teenagers who would like to earn a few bucks by helping to set up, serve, and clean up. Calling the pros will exceed $25 an hour; a couple of teenaged girls can be hired for less, and still make a decent wage.

5. Scrap the expensive cake— and offer a fun and less expensive alternative like a sundae bar or s’mores by the fire pit.

6. Trim the guest list— There’s really no need to include every female on the wedding list. Bridal party, close relatives and good friends will make the party a bit more intimate and far less expensive.

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…..

Shoes, shoes, shoes!

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Everyone knows that women are genetically programmed to love shoes! More than just an accessory to the bridal gown, shoes have become the star of the photography shoot, and countless brides overspend on the perfect “photogenic” shoe. Before you are one of those brides, consider this:

In her post “12 wedding rules every bride should feel free to break,” Maressa Brown on Huff Post says “having photogenic designer shoes” is #7. She is right! Is it worth blowing a budget for one photo of your stunning shoes? Because that’s all anyone will see of them. Does that mean finding shoes will be easy? Heck, no. For us, it took longer than finding the perfect wedding gown. Here are our tips:

1. Realize that you will be changing often into those white flip-flops as you traipse around your photo shoot and, later, dance the night away. And when buying those flip-flops, get a bit of a wedge so your dress doesn’t drag.
2. High-end department store shoe departments no longer carry bridal lines (we asked). You have to purchase online.

3. White and ivory shoes are hard to find! Take advantage of Zappo’s great selection and free shipping in both directions. For about a month, UPS was at our house nearly every day, as the bride, MOH and MOB tried and rejected countless pairs of shoes.

4. Shop for shoes early and leave plenty of time for this. Brides, you need the shoes for your dress fittings.

5. Chain warehouse stores like DSW have a pretty good selection of bride-worthy shoes. That’s where my daughter finally found hers (pictured above). And they were well under $100!