Thursday, September 1, 2011

Memories of the Big Day

Can you believe it's almost three months since the wedding?  Wow.  Tempus fugit!

We have the wedding pictures now, and I have a few to put up here.  (If you're friends with me on Facebook, you can see the others.)  When we sit and look at the pictures, we remember all the best parts of that day.  And it's sweet.

In the long run, there are things I would have done differently.  Most of them are little decisions, little things I tried to foresee.  But the majority of the choices we made were good ones, and in the end, it was a wonderful, blessed day. 

One of the most surprising things I learned came from my other children.  I thought that we kept wedding planning pretty low-key.  We didn't obsess over anything; no one was throwing tantrums.  But to the other kids, apparently it felt as though the wedding took over our lives for a period of time. One of my daughters said that when she gets married, she only wants to take one month to plan her wedding. 

And I do understand.  No matter how careful you are to avoid wedding-mania, it tends to take on a life of its own.  I don't know whether it's because a wedding marks a major life event or that it raises huge expectations. . .but it is easy to fall into the trap of trying to make it all perfect.

After all, if the bride and groom end the day married, everything is perfect.

Friday, July 22, 2011

When It's Over

I have been meaning to write a wrap up for this blog for the past month.  Devyn and Greg celebrated their one month anniversary this past Monday, and I think it's taken me this long to process it all.

The day was absolutely beautiful.  The sun shone, the church was decorated perfectly. . .the bride was breathtaking. (This is not the best picture below, but we're still waiting for the professional ones!!

Were there glitches?  Of course there were.  I was waiting for what didn't go right, and in the end, it wasn't anything big, just a ring that didn't make it to the church right on time.  But it got there, and the ceremony was just perfect.  The most wonderful thing to me was watching Devyn and Greg's faces as they recited their vows and made those eternal promises.

The reception was also lovely.  It was a celebration of love and family and how all those things make life make sense.

I'll write more detailed posts soon.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

With A Little Help from Our Friends

Planning a wedding, even a small or low-key affair, is not for the faint of heart.  Implementing those plans shouldn't be a solo gig.

That's why wedding planners and consultants are so popular.  How nice to make the choices and know that someone else is in charge of making them happen!

But what's even better is having wonderful friends who help to make things run smoothly.

We don't have a whole lot of extended family coming to the wedding. My mom isn't around to advise me or help me on the wedding day.  But we are so blessed to have amazing friends who are giving of their time, talents and energy to make the wedding possible.

We couldn't have accomplished half of what we have without the advice, encouragement and ideas of these beloved women who haven't hesitated to pitch in, to commit to important jobs on the day itself and/or to keeping me sane by listening to me and allowing me to bounce ideas off them. 

I am so grateful to ALL of you--you know who you are!!!

A few years ago I wrote blog post called Those Who Choose.  I'm going to reprint it below because it is just as if not more applicable today. 

     In the past few years, I have learned so many lessons. . .literally hard-learned ones!  And don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for them, even if I didn’t know at the time I would be.

    One of the hardest lessons has been learning about those who choose.  It is sweet, and it is painful.

    When my dad first got sick, back when he was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma, we had all sorts of friends and family rally around us.  There were meals delivered, cards sent, offers of help.  And we were grateful and appreciative.  And then. . .life went on.  My dad came home from the hospital, and all of our lives fell into what became the normal pattern.  

    Fast forward five years:  my dad started needing hospitalization more and more frequently, until finally, in May, he went into the hospital and never came home.  It was a long six weeks of trips to and from the hospital, followed by the blur of grief.  When my mother was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia two months later, it seemed more than we could bear.

    Apparently, it WAS more than some people could bear.  We realized as the months went on that we heard from fewer and fewer people.

    But that is not who I want to talk about.  I want to talk about those who choose.  Because those who chose to hang on with us, those who chose to call each week, those who listened when we cried or whined. . .those are the people whom I will always treasure as my nearest and dearest.  Turns out blood isn’t thicker than water, but love is stronger than obligation.

    Those who choose could have stopped calling or writing after my mom died.  They could have decided that since we moved south, or since it was really my parents with whom they were friends, or since we really didn’t “need” them anymore, they could back away.

    But they didn’t.  They called.  They wrote.  They listened.  They advised.  They visited!  And most of all, they loved.  They chose to love, even when it was painful or less than convenient.  

    I want to be one who chooses.  Don’t you?

T Minus SIX DAYS!!

I have been so remiss about updating my blogs. . hmm, I wonder why?  Could it be that the month before a wedding is really as crazy as everyone has warned me?

Well, yes and no.  The truth is that we have been running around and doing wedding related stuff many days, but we've also been having fun!  The month of May and early June meant that Devyn was finished school but not yet working full-time during the weekdays yet.  So we took advantage of that time to go to the beach, to Disney World, take day trips and just generally have fun.

It's kept us sane, I think.  We might talk flowers and music as we drive, but we're still doing something that is not necessarily related to the big day.

So where do we stand at this point, less than a week before the wedding?

We're actually doing really well.  Everything that needs to fall into place has, and if it hasn't, we've decided it's not that important and we've dropped it.  There is incredible freedom in remembering that no one element is going to make or break that day.

Someone said to me a few weeks ago, "I hope that day is absolutely perfect."  And it struck me that this is a completely unreasonable wish.  It's not going to be perfect in the sense that everything will go precisely as we've planned.  What will make it perfect is a sense of humor and reasonable expectations.

So that's what we're aiming for at this point.  We're looking forward to a day celebrating love, commitment and family. 

In the nitty gritty details, the dresses are all ready, the accessories are set, the parties are planned and the flowers are ordered.  We're doing fun stuff like labeling water bottles (yes, really) and setting up a wedding gift display (old school!). 

Stay tuned--I'll try to update all week, even if briefly, and keep you posted on all the fun!  If you're getting ready to head to Orlando, we can't wait to see you.  Be safe and get ready for a good time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sleepless Nights!

I kinda-sorta remember my own bridal days.  It was 24 years ago, so it might be a little hazy, but I really don't recall losing any sleep over the whole event.  I think I probably slept the sleep of the young and clueless, happily expecting that it would all magically just work out.  (It did, but I am thinking it might not have been so magically!!)

I wish I could ask my mother whether she slept like a baby in the month leading up to my wedding.  From my present experience, I'm thinking. . .maybe not.

For instance, it's a little after 7 AM.  I've been up since. . .oh, four?  I lay in bed for about an hour, tossing and determined to go BACK TO SLEEP. . .I need more than four hours a night, right? But in the words of the advertisement, I couldn't turn off my restless mind.  I kept thinking of something else that I needed to address, some other task, some other errand. . .

Finally, I came out here to the sofa with my book and computer.  I figure if sleep isn't coming, I'm not going to chase it.  Instead I've been on the rose site, getting ready to order some flowers. . .answering email. . .looking for a Michael's location that I haven't hit yet. . .

I'm not nervous about the wedding, nor do I think that the day will be ruined if I forget one detail.  But it's impossible NOT to worry a little about some of the big things we've still got to tackle--even if we have a plan and supplies, I'm getting antsy about getting it all done.

But it will happen.  I'm blessed with lots of help and creative minds and willing hands.  We'll bring it together!

So. . YAWN. . .on that note. . .wake me up before noon. . .

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Responses! We've got responses!

Planning a wedding is kind of a curious thing.  You basically spend a year (or more!) deciding on everything from the biggest events to the tiniest details of one single day.  And it's usually a few people making those plans for a whole group!

The larger group doesn't get involved until the fateful day upon which you send out the invitations.  Now, suddenly, all those very abstract plans are dependent on people on the guest list.

Since we sent out the invitations on Monday, we knew that pretty soon we'd begin receiving those sweet little response cards that let us know who will be attending the wedding.  And today was that day!  How exciting it was to see those first two cards in the mailbox!!

Each envelope is like a little mystery solved:  who will be joining us on the big day?  While we have a fairly good idea of who to expect, we know there could be some surprises.  After all, most of our guests are coming from out of town, and it's impossible to predict everyone's plans with accuracy.

We do know one thing:  not everyone who is invited will be able to join us.  While that makes us sad, we understand.  We will miss everyone who isn't with us, but we know you'll be with us in spirit.

And if you are coming to the wedding. . .we can't wait to see you!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Moving Right Along

One of the drawbacks of the wedding coming along so quickly is that I don't have a lot of time to WRITE about what's going on.  But rest assured that we are still crossing things off the wedding white board on an almost daily basis.

Our biggest list accomplishment happened on Monday:  THE WEDDING INVITATIONS ARE MAILED!!  When Dev dropped those envelopes--stuffed, stamped and sealed--into the mailbox, it was with a sense of accomplishment and anticipation.  Now comes the fun part of waiting for the response cards.  I remember those days from my own wedding. . .

We're filling up our May calendar with appointments and meetings, getting everything ready for the big day. 

Keep watching the blog for more regular updates!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Showers of Fun

Someone said to me the other day, "Now you're getting into the fun stuff of wedding planning!"  That's so true. . .not that the rest of it hasn't been fun (it has), but showers take it to a whole different level.

My sister Robyn threw Devyn her first shower, in New Jersey a few weeks ago.  Although it was a cold and rainy day, we had 2 dozen friends and family show up at an adorable tea room in Mullica Hill for tea sandwiches, games, goodies and gifts.  We laughed and remembered and visited and caught up with each other, and it was a truly lovely afternoon.  Dev and Greg were spoiled by everyone, and I think their kitchen is just about complete now! We even made her wear the requisite hat of bows. . .a tradition she was willing to forego but upon which we insisted.

I think this was a day she will always remember fondly.

Almost two weeks later, Dev and Greg had their second shower, this time in Lake Wales, Florida and given by Greg's mom, Joanne.  Her family, who live in Maine during the summer and Florida in the winter, won't be able to join us at the wedding itself, so they took this opportunity to celebrate the happy couple.  

A small family shower like this is always so sweet.  I loved seeing the older couples share their wisdom with Greg and Devyn, and they were also very generous in their gifts. Joanne did a lovely job with the decorations and the cake was gorgeous!

We are planning one more shower, this one for late May, for our Florida friends.  We're looking forward to some more good times then!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Invitations, hotel links and other fun stuff

One of our accomplishments this week was setting up the hotel block for the out of town wedding guests.  We know some of our guests have already made arrangements; one of the pros and pitfalls of living in central Florida is our proximity to the Mouse.  It only makes sense to incorporate a little visit to the World into the wedding trip, if you're interested and can swing it. 

Only one word of caution:  the Disney resorts are a full hour from the church where the wedding will take place and from the reception site.  As long as you're cool with that, it certainly doesn't bother us!  Just take the distance into account as you make your plans. 

We've set up the block of rooms at the Embassy Suites in Altamonte Springs.  It's relatively close to both the church and the reception, although definitely not in walking distance!  We chose this hotel because there really isn't anything else decent near the church.  The Embassy offers a full breakfast as well as the manager's reception (aka Happy Hour!), and it's right in the middle of the Altamonte Mall area, with tons of restaurants, shops, movie theatres, etc.  It's a beautiful hotel.  The special room rate is valid for three days before and three days after the wedding.  If you are making reservations only for the night before and the night of the wedding, you can do that on line at .  (The link will remain in the sidebar on this blog.)  If you want to come earlier or stay longer at that rate, you'll need to call Vanessa at the Embassy, 407-571-3435 .  She'll take care of you!

As Devyn has stated on her wedding page, it's almost essential to have a car in central Florida.  If you're flying in, we strongly suggest renting an automobile or arranging to rent one with someone else, or making sure that you have a ride to and from the wedding.  

In other news, the wedding invitations arrived yesterday!  This was something that had caused me a little bit of anxiety, as we wanted to make them as pretty as possible without anything too elaborate.  Devyn found this site on line, and I have to say they are perfect.  We were so excited to open the box last night and oooh and ahhh over them.  Now comes the fun of addressing them and sending them out!

As always, if you have any questions about the wedding, transportation, hotel, etc., please don't hesitate to call or email me. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Times, They Are A-Running

If you've never planned a wedding, you might not have experienced the phenomena of the wedding time warp.  (And if you begin singing the song in your head, go ahead. . .I'll wait. . .)

See, you begin planning a wedding, and it seems like a vague, distant event, probably a year or so away.  It's so theoretical.  Even when you do some very concrete things, like booking the reception site or buying a dress, it doesn't seem quite real. 

I guess it's kind of like being pregnant with your first child.  You see the positive sign on the test, the doctor confirms, you start throwing up, but the whole idea of a baby is still so theoretical.  You buy some baby clothes and furniture, and you even feel the baby kick, but it doesn't feel real until you realize those last few weeks of pregnancy (and for some people, maybe not even until the baby arrives). 

I've been watching the wedding countdown dwindle.  I can see that more and more items are getting wiped off the wedding white board.  And then yesterday, I realized that by the time we return from our trip to NJ for Dev's first wedding shower, the wedding count will be UNDER 100 days.  UNDER.  As in, less than. 

Now it's sinking in. 

We're also seeing reality sink in when we're dealing with wedding professionals.  The people who six months ago only wanted the vaguest details in order to reserve the date now want us to make those little decisions (which song should be played when? What color table linen?).  We had an appointment this week with the dj at the reception site, and as I wandered the bride's room upstairs, it hit me that very shortly we'll be the ones using that room.

As things begin happening more quickly, I'll be updating this blog more regularly.  And I'll be sharing my feelings and insights as usual, but I'll also be including some concrete information designed for the wedding guests.  If you have any questions, certainly check in here or at Devyn's wedding website which is linked below.

We're savoring these days.  Enjoy them along with us!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The MOB Dress

There are a few things that are still looming large on our infamous wedding white board.  One of those items is the locating and buying of my dress.

Have you checked out dresses for mothers of brides lately?  It's not pretty, folks.  I was pretty depressed by what I saw before we were seriously shopping.  Lots of wide dresses. . .lots of very matronly jackets over long crepe dresses.  Lots of dresses that you might see on the queen of England. (No offense, your majesty.)

Devyn and I set out on Monday with cautiously high hopes.  We went to Seminole Town Center, which is in Sanford, about 30 minutes north of us.  I'd had good luck there in the spring, when Haley and Catie were looking for dance dresses. 

At first, the pickings looked pretty slim.  We saw one dress that looked pretty perfect, until we checked out the price tag.  Still, I tried it on. . .to our secret relief, it really wasn't the perfect dress.  The sash was awkward and the length wasn't right.  I tried on two more, and the second dress was indeed THE dress.  The color, the style and fit were all perfect. 

Dev and I are both relieved to cross that off the list, and I'm excited to know what I'm wearing on the big day.

Today we reserved the tuxes for the guys. . .wow, it's amazing how fast these things are coming together! Just a few more decisions to finalize and we'll be all set.

And it's a good thing, because we're now down to 121 days.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wheels for Noah!!

I am pre-empting my regular blogging on all sites this week to bring you this important message.

Some of you already know about Noah Estes.  For those who aren't familiar with him, he is a four year old boy, the seventh of eight children born to Kate and Jeff Estes.  Noah has a very serious illness, mitochondrial encephalomyopathy.  It's a rare disease that affects several of his organ systems.

Noah is getting a brand new wonderful wheelchair that is going to make his life so much easier.  But the new wheelchair won't fit into the family's van, so they have found a sort of bus that will fit them all and allow Noah to travel with them. 

As you can imagine, this is good news.  As you can also guess, buses like this don't come cheap.  So the Estes are holding a fundraiser to help them raise the money. 

Please visit to help, donate and spread the word.  Add the link to your own blogs, put it on Facebook or Twitter, share the site via email.  Whatever you can do will help! If you can contribute an item for the silent auction or participate in another way, it will be a tremendous blessing to this family.

To read more about Noah's full story, please visit


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rules? What Rules?

It's not surprising that weddings are a big topic of conversation around our family these days, both at home and among friends.  Recently, I've noticed that people have been talking quite a bit about what people planning a wedding "have" to do.

Apparently, all mothers of the bride must wear long dresses to the wedding.  Only people attending the wedding should be invited to the bridal showers. All out of town guests must be invited to the rehearsal dinner. There must be an open bar, at least during the cocktail hour.  The list goes on and on. . .

I remember when my mother and I were planning my wedding, twenty-three years ago.  My mom was a stickler for certain rules.  She believed invitations should be simple, white or cream.  Small raised design was allowed, but no modern or whimsical prints. There was a way to address the invitations.  There were people who had to be invited and others who should not.

I didn't have any problem with those rules. I'm a traditional girl, and I was grateful for the guidance. My husband and I had a beautiful, meaningful wedding.

But now as the MOB, I'm trying to be more open-minded.  Things have changed quite a bit in the last twenty years, and those rules that seemed so important really don't matter so much to us.

I'm not talking about tradition.  Devyn's gown is very bridal; Greg won't see it until she walks down the aisle.  We adhere to the customs that are important to us.  But we're trying to be smart about what works and what doesn't.

For instance, Dev is adamantly against the whole garter toss routine.  So we won't be doing that.  She'll toss her bouquet, and we'll have the father-daughter dance and the mother-son dance. Just no garter toss.

And our family is very specific about the cake cutting.  There is no smearing the cake in each others' faces, no stuffing the cake into the mouths.  My dad had some very clear thoughts about that. That's one of those important rules.

But I get a little obstinate when someone says that if we're having the wedding in the late afternoon, I have to wear a floor-length gown.  It's going to be June in central Florida.  In other words--HOT. If I find a very pretty short dress, that's what I'm wearing.  As long as Devyn is okay with it, I am, too.

What we're learning is that it's important to discern the difference between a rule that works and one that doesn't.  If it serves to make the day smoother and happier for Devyn and Greg, we'll do it.  If it doesn't, we won't.

And if Devyn and Greg want flowers and brightly colored invitations, I'm all right with that.  I think my mom would understand.