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