Saturday, December 18, 2010

T Minus Six Months!

Today is December 18th, which means that in exactly six months, the wedding will be here! Wow, that seems like a really short time.

Here are some wedding planning updates:

--The wedding gown: Dev's gown is in, it fits her perfectly, and she has already had her first alterations appointment (they only had to do the bustling of the train).  We'll be picking it up in early February.

--Save the Dates went out today! Devyn designed her own, and I love what she did.

--We have a fairly good idea of what the bridesmaid dresses will look like and hope to have them by early January.

--The engagement photos are scheduled to be taken tomorrow afternoon (weather permitting).

--The church, caterer, reception site, disc jockey and photographer are all booked for the big day.

I'm happy to report that we're still finding this whole process fun.  Last night we were laughing so hard about something to do with the wedding that Devyn and I were both crying.  I hope it stays this relaxed and joyful the entire time!

We've hit a few other milestones recently, too.  Devyn had her 'last' Thanksgiving as a single girl last month.  Greg graduated from UCF yesterday.  They've opened their first engagement and wedding gifts together.

Some of these things could make us a little sad and sentimental if we chose.  However, we are choosing not to look at these holidays as Devyn's last ones with us; we're choosing to remember that we're blessed to be ADDING someone to our family, not subtracting.

And since it is highly unlikely that I will update again before Christmas, let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and blessed new year! 2011 is going to be a big year for us--come along on the journey!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Engagement Party

One of the great parts of planning a wedding is the whole celebratory process.  Because both the bride's and groom's families are spread out geographically, we have tried to be thoughtful in planning parties.  We know that many people won't be able to attend the wedding or some of the attendant parties.  But we are so grateful that most people will be with us at some point or another!

This past weekend we threw Devyn and Greg an engagement party, and we were blessed to have with us many of Greg's family members from Maine.  They only live in Florida during the winter, so most of them won't attend the wedding.

This was a highly anticipated party!  We spent a few weeks getting the house ready, planning center pieces and decorations.  We had decided to use the same caterers who are handling the wedding, and so in a way this was a test party!  They certainly passed with flying colors.

My sister was able to join us for the weekend, and we were so happy to have her be part of the celebration, too!

I think my favorite part of the evening was the glow of happiness around both Devyn and Greg. As a mom, it is wonderful to experience your child's contentment and to feel the rightness of this decision.

A high point of the party was a special gift presentation.  Devyn has one grandparent living, my father in law.  He and his wife wanted to send a very meaningful present to Dev and Greg.  They couldn't be with us, so they Skyped in as we uncovered the beautiful antique rocking chair.  This chair belonged to Sarah Peacock Kandle, Devyn's great-great grandmother.  What a wonderful legacy.

Hard to believe that in just a few days more than six months, we'll  be celebrating the big day.  Meanwhile, we're enjoying all the happy times along the way.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Important Stuff

What are the most essential elements of a wedding?

If you answer gowns, music, flowers, cake or invitation, you're not entirely wrong.  Those things all go into creating a lovely wedding day.  But really, what makes a wedding--not to mention a marriage--go much smoother is a prepared couple.

I'm not talking about a bride whose makeup is perfect or a groom with a straight cumberbund.  No, I mean a man and a woman who are going into marriage with as much study and care as possible.

Of course, I'm not totally unrealistic.  It's really impossible to anticipate all aspects of marriage before you're actually IN it.  If you're a married person reading this, what did you expect from your post-honeymoon life:  sunshine and roses every day, breakfast in bed, a constantly smiling spouse?  Or did you look forward to disagreements over important things like where to place the milk in the fridge, the necessity of hand towels in the powder room or the correct way to fold socks?

We all should go into marriage with rose-tinted glasses; if we don't expect joy, why are we bothering?  But it's also a good idea to have some tools ready for when that joy falters--just a bit.

Devyn and Greg have been working on that.  Last year they did a study together for couples before engagement, and now they're doing a preparation for marriage Bible study.  They're also working on a financial course for couples that our uncle sent them, and they'll have pre-marital counseling with Father Christopher before the big day. 

Is all this work going to prepare them for every bump in the post-wedding road.  Hardly.  Will it perhaps give them the ability and the tools to address those bumps.  I hope so. 

Marriage is a challenge.  Why go into it unprepared when there's an alternative?

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Gown!

Devyn was very firm about not shopping for her gown until the engagement ring was on her finger.  I concurred with her, but we had lots of people asking us when the gown shopping would begin!  Shortly after she was engaged, we had a trip to NYC, and then her sisters' birthdays. . .and of course, there's always school and work for her.  So we were all really excited when we realized that everyone was free on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and we could devote a day to finding THE gown.

Devyn made three appointments at three different stores.  The first was a specific designer store, the second a chain store, and the last one was a small and newer business.  She allotted about an hour per appointment, as there was some travel time between some of them.

We arrived on time at the first salon.  The woman who worked with us was gracious and kind, but we began to perceive a few things:  one, she was slightly patronizing of Devyn's opinions and budget, and two, there was no way we were getting out of there in under an hour.  I called and pushed back appointment #2 for another hour. 

Dev found two dresses that she liked fairly well at that store, but both were above the price level we had hoped to find.  I wasn't ready to commit to either of them because she didn't seem dazzled by either dress; rather it seemed as though she thought they were pretty and would do.  With some difficulty, we extracted ourselves from that salon and moved onto the chain store.

There we were greeted by a lovely young lady who really seemed to listen to Devyn.  She pulled the gowns Devyn had chosen from their website and allowed us to find a few more we liked.  We appreciated that unlike the first store, this woman gave us time alone to discuss each dress, and she didn't push anything--if it was clear Devyn didn't like the gown she was wearing, we moved on--there was no attempt to push her into something she didn't like.

The second gown Dev put on at this store was definitely THE one.  I could see a sparkle in Devyn's eye that hadn't been there before, and when the veil was added, we all agreed.  This was IT!! 

We found another nice thing about this store was that they didn't push additional purchases.  The consultant who worked with us suggested we check other vendors for certain items.  She was very relaxed and lots of fun. 

By the time the purchase was made, we were all STARVED--we'd been at it since before noon, and it was four o'clock by the time we finished.  We canceled our last appointment and grabbed lunch at the food court, happy to have another item checked off the list. 

Of course I can't describe the gown here, since Greg must be surprised, and Devyn's daddy has chosen to be surprised as well.  David, however, had to see a picture of it--he has to be in the know.  But I can tell you that it is beautiful, very Devyn and absolutely gorgeous.

Next up is the search for bridesmaids gowns. . .hmmm. . .

Monday, November 22, 2010

Family Ties

Now that the engagement is official, so much about the wedding feels real.  One of those things is the fact that our family will be growing!  I'm not really talking about Greg, although I must say this might be the least painful way to add a fifth child to our brood.  No, I'm talking in-laws.

For so many years, in-laws have been the butt of many a joke.  I have friends who call their spouses family the out-laws.  And movies like Meet the Parents have raised the idea to a fine art. 

Making the relationship between two different families work can be a challenge.  But it's so essential to giving the new couple the best possible base on which to build their marriage and family.

Greg comes from a nice family, and we enjoy spending time with his mom and dad.  All new in-laws walk a fine line between welcoming their new 'offspring' and crossing boundaries.  I'm trying to be very conscious of the fact that Greg has two parents who love him and have raised him.  I don't want to come close to usurping that role; we only want to be complementary parents!  And I know that the Prados want to have a close and healthy relationship with Devyn too.  They already treat her with love and respect.

It's an ongoing learning process, and one that I realize could be rocky at times.  But with a little understanding and patience, I think it's possible the in-laws can avoid being the outlaws.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Yes!  I'm happy to report that I am now officially a MOB. 

I've known the date since I began writing this blog, and let me tell you, it's been a piece of work for me to keep this secret!  But I'm ready to tell all now.

On July 10th, Greg accompanied Clint and me to the ordination of a priest at our church.  I thought it was great that he was interested to do that on a Saturday afternoon!  And it was a long service, too.  But when we left church on our way to meet the other kids for dinner, Greg pulled us aside.  (Truthfully, I was a little impatient:  I was hot from sitting in the sun at church and hungry for my dinner!)  But I could tell this was something big, and he was clearly nervous.  As we stood at the wrought iron table, he asked us for our permission and blessing to ask Devyn to marry him.

Of course, I said no.

But before long, I put aside my hunger and both Clint and I gave our blessing and congratulated him.  On the way to dinner, he told us that he was SO nervous!  How sweet!

Fast forward to November 5th (Guy Fawkes Day, for anyone who might find that interesting).  We ALL knew that it was the Big Day.  We did our best to act naturally, but it wasn't easy.  The middle girls had a dance to attend, so that did help.  Still, I was relieved when Devyn and Greg left for the movie theatre.

Once they were gone, we pulled out the delicious goodies we had picked up that day (incidentally, they came from the same caterer who will provide the food at the reception next June), champagne glasses and champagne.  We put up balloons. . .and we waited.

First Greg's parents arrived.  Then the girls came home early from their dance.  And still we waited.

FINALLY we got the text that they were on the way home! We pulled up my sister and nephew on iChat so that they could be part of the occasion as well.

Meanwhile. . .Devyn and Greg had gone to see "Due Date" at the same movie house where they had had their first date, three years ago.  The manager had arranged it so that the movie was played in the same theatre, too.  Greg had stopped by earlier and dropped off his camera and a beautiful bouquet of roses. 

They enjoyed the movie, and Greg told Devyn that they needed to stay for the credits, because there was something special at the end.  And then he excused himself to use the rest room. 

Moments later, he reappeared with the roses and the manager, who was holding the camera. He dropped to one knee there between the rows of seats and proposed!

Of course she said yes.

When they arrived home, we had a lovely celebration.  For years, I've been praying for my children's future spouses, that God would send the right one for her or him.  And we know that our prayers have been answered in Greg. 

We are very blessed!

Now the planning continues--and as Dev announced jubilantly, "We get to go dress shopping!!!"

P.S.  For more information on Dev and Greg and their wedding plans, see their website at

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We have a dee jay!

So we had two milestones this past weekend.  First, we attended our first bridal show; second, we booked the dee jay for the wedding.

Now, I have to say that calling this a bridal show might be a little bit of a. . .stretch.  To be fair, it was the first year for this expo.  It was held at a Holiday Inn Express about forty five minutes north of us.  After church on Sunday, Devyn, Greg and I drove up to Orange City, not quite sure what to expect.

We signed in and paid our small admission fee.  As we waited at the registration desk to complete the prize tickets, the first thing we saw were brides.  Well, actually, they were models dressed as brides, but the way that they wandered around the vendors and other attendees was a little creepy.  They had other worldly smiles pasted on their perfectly made up faces, and they didn't look quite real.

Offsetting the weird brides was a pair of children dressed for a wedding party.  They were adorable as they distributed booklets of information and ads to each person entering.

The breakfast area of the hotel housed the first set of vendors.  There was a caterer serving food, a chocolate shop and of course, the dee jay, whom we had come to see.  Another room offered a few more vendors, but as we wandered the tables, we realized how much we've accomplished already in planning the wedding.

We listened to the dee jay as we ate.  We were impressed with her musical mix and equipment, and when we chatted with her, we liked her sensible attitude and willingness to make the wedding music completely tailored to Greg and Devyn's wishes.  After some discussion, we decided to go ahead and book her.

Interestingly, we realized that Greg was the only groom there.  "Isn't that cool?" I commented.  Greg replied, "If by cool you mean awkward!!!"  But we were glad he had come with us to hear Chris, our dee jay.

So. . .another item crossed off the list!  Our only 'big' things left are the invitations, the flowers and the cake. . .and we're feeling pretty good about all of those.

Two hundred and thirty five days, and things are moving right along!

Friday, October 8, 2010

An Ordinary Wedding

Last month, I bought Devyn a subscription to a bridal magazine.  She's been having fun checking out the pictures of dresses and flowers, reading the advice and ideas of both experts and other brides.  But we've also realized something that maybe we knew before--but that has now been brought into glaring focus.

No one wants an ordinary wedding.

At first glance, that sounds reasonable, doesn't it?  After all, we've been told that the wedding is the biggest day in a girl's life.  In some ways, that's true.  In the best of all worlds, each young woman and young man has only one wedding day.  It should be memorable.

But when the bride's goal is to throw a wedding that no guest will ever forget, she's missing the mark.  And when she--or her mother--begin to obsess over every detail, they're setting themselves up for heartache, because I can assure you of this:  the perfect wedding does not exist.

I've talked to brides over the years who understand this.  "I'm not really worried about what the tables look like, but the food has got to be wonderful," one might say.  Or "For me, if the music isn't exactly what I want, I'm going to be really disappointed."  And that's okay, because it's not too difficult to make one aspect of the wedding just about perfect.  Really, it's probably not impossible to have even two or three parts go amazingly well.  It's only when you attempt to have everything exactly 100% right that you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.

I'd love to tell all brides that it's perfectly all right to have an ordinary wedding.

My sister is a midwife, and she sometimes encounters patients who have very high expectations for their births.  Because nature is a funny thing, more than once those moms who go into labor and delivery envisioning a drug-free, intervention-free birth end up having some assistance or even a caesarean section.  And sometimes after the fact, the moms are disappointed because the birth didn't go as they had pictured it.  My sister reminds them that the successful outcome of a birth is a healthy baby and healthy mom; everything else is extraneous (nice, but not the goal).  I feel the same way about weddings:  as long as the bride and groom are man and wife at the end of the day, it's all good.

There are weddings where every detail is addressed with great scrutiny.  At every turn, the guests are pampered and feted, amazed and delighted.  From the flowers on the pews to the covers on the chairs to the croutons on the salads, all decisions are agonized over and debated.

And then there are weddings where the venue, the food and the flowers are great, where the guests have a good time and leave with happy high hopes for the new couple.

Neither of these weddings is better than the other, because the reality is that if the marriage is successful, the wedding day is not the pinnacle of the relationship, only the first in a string of happy memories.

Here's to weddings, both ordinary and extraordinary.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Life in the In-Betweens

There's an odd phenomenon with wedding planning.  It's the hurry up and wait routine.  Right at the beginning of the planning phase there is so much to do that it seems as though we'll never get it all done.  But once the initial flurry of making the big decisions--ceremony and reception sites, caterers, dresses, attendants and so on--is over, there's an odd time of. . .limbo.

We are so eager to have everything done that whenever we're not making plans--big or smooth--we kind of feel as though we're slacking.  I don't think a day goes by when either Dev or I--more likely both of us--are on the computer checking out centerpiece ideas, bridesmaid dresses or invitations.

But while we're not making the big choices right now, what we're doing is actually more important.  We're  enjoying and cherishing our everyday life and recognizing that what we have now is not going to last forever.  A year from now, the wedding will be over and all of our lives will have changed forever.  Instead of being a family six, we'll be a family of seven. . .but two of us won't live here anymore (not that Greg has ever actually lived here. . .but you all know what I mean).  Devyn and Greg will have begun their own life together, and we'll be adjusting to a different reality.

This is how life is meant to be, and we rejoice in it.  But at the same time, we're so blessed to have this time when we can enjoy the present, realizing that it is precious and fleeting.

So we might not be accomplishing a big wedding goal every day--or even every week--but I can promise you that we're laughing together every day, we're treasuring our family dinners, and we're making memories that will linger long after the wedding is over.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The great DJ search

Since we've covered most of the big items in wedding planning--church, reception venue, caterer, photographer--we're left with just a few important bookings.  One of those is the disc jockey.

If you've been to a wedding with a DJ, you know that he or she can really make or break the event.  DJs are the unofficial masters of ceremony, in charge of announcements, the spot light events like first dances and cake cutting. . .and what makes a good disc jockey depends on what the bride and groom want and need.  Some couples prefer a loud and boisterous MC who works hard to keep the guests on the dance floor and the party moving.  Others are looking for someone more low key.

I know that for us, finding the right person is going to be very important.  Devyn and Greg are both very passionate about music, and they're both pretty low key people.  Finding a DJ who meshes well with Devyn's personality and her needs could be a tricky thing.

It's a delicate balance; we love to hear other people's recommendations, but since not every person is looking for the same things in a disc jockey, we don't know if what works for one couple will work for us.

We think we've found a few possibilities, but we won't know for sure until next month.  

In other planning news, we've been looking at centerpieces, bridesmaids gowns and hotels for the guests.  It's fun to muse over these things while we have the time!  

And speaking of fun. . lest you think that it's all serious around here. . .check out this week's wedding goals:

Monday, September 6, 2010

More wedding milestones--and an editorial

Now that biggest items are taken care of, we can relax a little.  But never fear!  We're just slowing, not stopping.

Last week we found our photographer.  We're thrilled with Bonnie, who is a highly recommended professional as well as a homeschool mom.  She has great ideas and we're looking forward to working with her.

We might also have a deejay, although we won't know for certain until our meeting next month.

Last week, we made our first foray into the realm of bridesmaid dress shopping.  Egads!  It's a good thing that we all have a sense of humor, and it's also a very good thing that Devyn is having a very small wedding party--just her sisters.  I can't imagine trying to do this with lots of different opinions to accommodate.

The best thing to come out of that shopping trip was a clearer idea of what Devyn would like her bridesmaids to wear and what they like.  I think we'll come to a good compromise soon, although we might wait and buy those dresses at the same time we get Dev's wedding gown--which is planned for much further down the road.

Okay, now it's time for a little editorial comment.  Remember, these are the opinions of the blogger and in no way reflect the views of the bride or groom.

We stopped at one of the larger, more well-known bridal shops last week.  I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't what I found there.  It was bedlam; the consultants were barely civil and less than welcoming.

I was also astounded by the number of men who were back in the dressing rooms with us as my younger daughters were trying on dresses.  To quote the lady on "Say Yes to the Dress", there were foxes in the henhouse!!  Men were going into stalls with their girlfriends, grooms were weighing in on wedding gowns. . .I didn't like it at all, for several reasons.

I may be a modern, forward thinking and hip MOB, but I'm not that hip.  My daughters were uncomfortable coming out of the dressing stalls into an area that was supposed to be just women and finding many men milling around.  The fit on these dresses is less than perfect, especially for Catie, and so it's not an ideal condition in which to be seen.  I also was privy to several interactions between men and women that made me very uncomfortable.  I'm all in favor of love and affection, but come on, folks! There's a time and a place!

And I guess I'm more old-fashioned than I knew.  I love the idea of the groom seeing the bride in all her finery on their wedding day, as she comes down the aisle.  I don't believe it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride beforehand, but I think it's tradition--and very touching--to do it this way.

So there's my editorial comment:  keep the men out of the dressing areas and keep the groom away from the bridal gown process.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We've got a venue

Although a month ago I never would have believed it, we have a reception venue!  Devyn and I actually accomplished everything that we set out to do in August as far as the wedding goes.

Church booked?  Check!

Caterer found?  Check!

Perfect venue?  CHECK!

We weren't looking for an amazing, never-to-be-duplicated place to hold the reception.  We wanted a nice, clean open space that would accommodate the reception.  We wanted something that smelled good, didn't look worn or dirty. . .a place that didn't come with the caveat, "It looks so much better at night."

Thanks to a series of recommendations (friend from my homeschool group referred us to the caterer and the caterer referred us to this site), we found the perfect place.  Devyn was willing to settle for something less than perfect; at this point, she was okay with adequate.

But when we drove past this building, we both gasped.  It was perfect--exactly what both had been looking for, even though we didn't know it.  It's charming, clean and new, and it's reasonably priced.

When Devyn went back to view it officially, I was in New Jersey.  I was waiting with baited breath to hear from her, wondering if it lived up to our initial impressions and if it were still available on our date.

Happily, it did--and it was.  And as we looked at more pictures and talked, I was thrilled when Devyn told me, "I am in love with this venue!"  What a blessing that we found exactly what we wanted at a very reasonable rate.

In other wedding news, Devyn and Greg met with Father Carl last week.  It was apparently a good meeting, and they are both excited about their wedding at New Covenant.

And this week, we've been working on the wedding guest list.  Wow, that's harder than I had anticipated! I think it's more difficult because we live in Florida, and we can't definitely predict who will actually come down for the wedding and who won't.  We have hunches, of course. . .but we also have a list divided into three parts:  Definites, Possibles and Unlikelies.

And our last wedding chore this week will be meeting with a potential photographer--someone we are fairly certain that we will book.

It's been a good week to be a MOB!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The hunt is on: Day One

Today was the first day of searching for wedding venues, caterers and the like.  Devyn and I set out this morning with determination and high hopes.

I should back up a little.  Last night, I hung up a skirt and top to wear today.  I had searched my closet for just the right outfit.  The skirt I chose was sedate and the top was quite grown up.  The perfect outfit for the MOB on the first day of official wedding planning, right?

I woke up this morning and realized that I'd fallen into the trap I want to avoid.  Why was I trying to fit into the stereotype of a MOB?  I exchanged the skirt and top for one of my favorite J.Crew knit dresses in--of course--lavendar.  I felt better about myself and the day immediately!

We had three appointments:  two venues and one tasting at a caterer's.  We started out at a venue that we considered questionable from the beginning; its package was both more than we needed and less than we needed.  When we arrived, the location was an immediate strike against it.  The size was adequate, but other than that, it didn't give us the right vibe.

Next we headed to the caterer's; they'd been recommended to us by homeschool friends.  We weren't really sure what to expect from a tasting, but when we went into the restaurant--Bagel King--everything smelled delicious.  We were directed to a table in the back, and a few minutes later, Stacie appeared with plates of food, silverware and small plates.  And every time she disappeared into the kitchen, she came out with more food!

Each dish was better than the last.  We tried three entrees, several appetizers and a dessert.  Stacie was laid back and easy to work with; she gave us advice and ideas, and we were very impressed with her.  Booking that company was not a hard decision! The fact that she sent us home with all the extra food an a big bag of bagels was icing on the cake.

After the tasting, we headed over to venue #2.  This was one that we'd like from the beginning, but it is a little pricier and again, it includes many things we don't need or want.  It was truly beautiful, but it still didn't feel right.  

We then did some drive-bys for three other venues.  The first two were very disappointing, but then. . the angels sang!  The last venue was lovely.  I peeked inside (against rules) and it was perfect.  We hurried across the street to make an appointment to see it officially.  Dev will go on Thursday.  Our fingers are crossed that it stays available until then! 

But we feel as though we accomplished quite a bit today.  It was a good day, fun for just Dev and me to ride around and discuss options.  I'm very blessed that she is sensible and open-minded.

Once we have the venue secured, I think we'll all feel settled!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ready, set. . .

GO!  We're officially kicking off the wedding planning on Thursday, with a day of venue viewing and food tasting.

The first venue we're viewing looks good, although its inclusive packages offer far more than we need in some areas-it includes DJ and photographer, and we're pretty sure we already know who we want there--and less than we need in other areas--the food choices aren't great.

We're excited about the tasting--lots of food we MUST eat!!

My very organized bride Devyn has begun posting weekly wedding goals on the kitchen white board.  This has worked out well and keeps us aware of how things are rolling along.  She's also put together a few spreadsheets on venues and other professionals--we are organized wedding planners!

I'll try to post a report on our Thursday activities. . .

Thursday, August 5, 2010

No bridezillas here

Horrible monster brides seem to be everywhere these days.  I watch quite a few wedding shows when time allows, and I'm appalled at the attitudes!  These girls think that wearing a white dress gives them the right to demand everything they've ever wanted. . think again, ladies!

A wedding is a wonderful thing.  I love them!  But let's put it all in perspective. It's a special day, yes, but it's only one day out of all the days of your life.  I'm not even sure it's the most important day of a marriage.

To understand what a wedding IS, it's probably important to clarify what it is NOT.  It's not a day to impress your friends or your family.  It's not a day to prove to everyone you know that you were able to snag a spouse despite indications to the contrary.  It's not a day to showcase your physical attributes or your financial blessings.  It's not a day to show your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend that you really ARE over him/her.  It's not an excuse to get so drunk that you can't walk across the dance floor.  It's not a time to smear wedding cake all over your new husband/wife.  It's not a day to try to repair huge family rifts or to confront family members with whom you have a grievance.

So what is a wedding?  It's a time to publicly acknowledge the love and commitment between two people who have already demonstrated evidence of that love.  It's a day for families to celebrate, because in many ways marriage is the most basic building block of a family.  It's a day to remember those who have helped two people on their way to this commitment.  It's a day to express love and appreciation to our friends and family who have helped make this occasion happen. It's a day to show the world the very best of who you can be.

I am very blessed by my daughter bride.  Devyn is a very frugal person, and that has translated into a smart and savvy bride.  She's good about looking for the simplest and best way of doing things.  Although she is working full time AND going to school full time this summer, she's shouldered most of the initial burden of making phone calls and writing emails.  She's appreciative of the work that I do.

We're lucky too that we share many of the same views and have similar tastes.  We know what we like, and although I am sure we're going to have differences of opinion along the way, I think we'll be able to handle them.

So no bridezillas here.  Yes, sometimes we can be a little stressed, but we're trying to keep it all in perspective.

After all, on June 19th the wedding will be history.  But their real life will have only just begun.

First things first

So, we're planning a wedding.  What's the first thing that has to be tackled?

For us, it was the church.  We called the church office with several possible dates in June, and we were prepared to be flexible.  To our joy and amazement, the entire month was open.  We had our pick of dates!

Dev and Greg chose June 18th for a few reasons.  First, it's late enough in the month that most kids will be out of school, making it easier for our school teacher friends and family to travel, not to mention those whose kids are still in school.  Second, it's far enough removed from other big events in 2011 that we'll have some breathing space.  And lastly, although maybe most important, my parents' anniversary was June 19th.  They were married for forty years before they passed away, and they gave us all a wonderful example of a strong marriage.  That weekend has good karma!

Next on our list is finding a venue for the reception.  If I still lived in New Jersey, I'd know where to go.  But here in Florida, it's a little more complicated.  We have a list of places to check out.

It's so confusing, though!  Some of the venues include catering.  Others have a list of caterers from whom you must choose.  Some include tables, chairs and linens.  Others don't.  Trying to keep track of each one can make my head spin.

We visited one.  It was a very reasonable option, and I knew why as soon as we went in.  It was rough.  I tried to keep an open mind through substandard service to some truly awful food.  We all agreed it was a non-starter.

Our first big push wedding planning day will be next Thursday, when we visit several venues and meet with caterers.  I'm thinking I'll need a large glass of wine at the end of the day.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Proper isn't what it used to be

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to confess something.  My daughter is technically not engaged yet.  At first, starting to make plans without an official engaged made me a little uneasy.  We have good reasons for our timeline; Dev and Greg are in their last year of college (Greg is actually in his last semester), and they know that they want to get married next June.  However, for a lot of good reasons, they won't become well and truly engaged in the literal sense until. . well, I can't say here.

I asked some younger friends who know everything about weddings and so forth if this was okay.  I asked my hairdresser, Kristina, if we were going to get grief from all the wedding professionals with whom we'd be talking.  She and everyone else assured me that this kind of planning isn't unusual these days.  Lots of brides make all their plans and then are only engaged for a few a months.  I felt a little better.

And my friend Stacey gave me more assurance:  she said that in the realest sense, Dev and Greg already ARE engaged, since we are all knee-deep in plans for a wedding.  No ring on the finger yet, but come to think of it, neither of my grandmothers ever had engagement rings.  It didn't make their marriages any less official (for 50+ and 60+ years respectively!).  And I have faith that a ring will come along shortly.

I can't imagine trying to pack all this planning into less than a year, so I'm relieved to know that what was de rigor when I was a bride-to-be isn't anymore.  I spent my youth reading and consulting Amy Vanderbuilt's books on etiquette, and I worked hard to ensure that my wedding followed the rules.  But the rules aren't what they used to be!

That's good and bad.  I miss knowing with certainty what is proper and what isn't--that's gone by the wayside in this day and age.  But it's pretty cool that we can make just about anything work as long as it's in the best interest of the bride, the groom and the guests.

Maybe it's time to buy a new etiquette book.

And so it begins. . .

I have officially entered a new epoch of my life:  I am a mother of the bride.

What do those words evoke in your mind?  Do you see a woman with gray hair dressed in a matronly formal gown, nodding in graceful benevolence as her daughter marches down the aisle?    With no offense intended to those worthy matrons, that is NOT me.  And come to think of it, that wasn't my mom either, at my wedding or even twelve years later at my sister's wedding.  And I think about my wonderful Auntie who runs her daughters' weddings like well-oiled machines--no one would dare call her matronly.  She is the antithesis of that image!

I am going to be a totally new kind of MOB.  I am going to be the hippest, coolest MOB around.  No long drapey gowns for me.  I intend to look good and dance the night away when we finally get to the big night.

But to be completely truthful, this is a new role I've got to figure out.  I know how to be the mommy of babies, toddlers, young kids and teenagers.  I've even got the college kid thing down pretty well.  But MOB?  I guess I can only say, paraphrasing the immortal words of Frank Sinatra. . .

I'm gonna do it my way.