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.