Sunday, October 20, 2013

Wedding Planners Part II - A Mother's Thoughts

It's T-minus six days until my daughter M's wedding and I'm getting just a little bit nervous. Wedding planners are hired for a reason - so mothers and sisters of the bride don't have to be, and so they don't have to get nervous.  But we wanted to be the wedding planners; for me it was simply because I loved the idea of using vintage goods for what was going to be a simple wedding, regardless; for my older daughter who's helping, it's what she pretty much does in her job.  And because we want it to be a memorable occasion.
Even for a simply planned wedding, the details are ridiculously numerous, especially in this last stretch, although I consider my ability to organize a strength.  Also, because accounting is what I spent most of my working career doing, I have kept an actual to budget expenditures spreadsheet throughout.  Once engaged, we allowed M and her fiance a set budget, and told them they could use the money for a wedding here, for a destination wedding, or for a future home, etc.  

I am happy to say this wedding will come in well under budget.  Approximately 50% of the actual expenses are in the dress, the dessert, the photographer and the DJ (all combined).  The other 50% has been spent on the venue rentals, invitations & postage, flowers, food and beverage (combined).  Any amount under the total budget will be gifted to the couple, consistent with how we treated the older daughter.  I am excluding the vintage item expenses, as I will recover those expenses by either renting or selling the items once the wedding is over.  

In keeping with tradition, we made sure to have something old (a vintage wedding hankie), something new (her gown), something borrowed (she'll be using my pearl necklace and bracelet, which her older sister also wore), and something blue (her WV logo garter).  I wanted to somehow incorporate my mom into my daughter's wedding, so I came up with the idea of attaching either a lone earring or brooch that were my mom's onto M's bouquet the morning of.
The earring is sooo my mom - family used to joke and say she WAS the color purple - she wore so much of it - and very well, I might add.  She wore these earrings a lot (my sister M has the mate).  The angel brooch is also something my mom wore a lot, and she believed in angels - I do too.  In fact, she used a variation on the word as my middle name.  Somehow I think it appropriate to used the angel as a symbol of my mom's presence on M's wedding day.  I've been thinking of my mom quite a bit through this process, as she was the age I am now when I first married.  I am feeling her presence intermittently, and I really hope it will be a keen sense next Saturday.

Now that we're heading into the home stretch, my only [obvious] hope is that my daughter has a happy life ahead, but also that she will have a day full of memorable touches to mark her special occasion.  And even if she doesn't notice all the little details that I am so meticulously trying to cover, perhaps the photographer will capture the little things so that when she does look back, she will then perhaps be proud of the occasion that we helped orchestrate.  I certainly hope she feels the love that her sister and I tried to convey to her, along with the family and friends that will be there to share it all with her and her fiance.

If you're so inclined, your positive energy and uplifting thoughts would be appreciated, and certainly a little prayer is welcomed, as we work toward this special day.  I've been feeling a little under the weather these last few days, but have kept a steady pace, so as not to feel an overwhelming amount of pressure later in the week to come.  It's all been positive, but my natural tendency is to try to make things perfect.  Perfectly imperfect would be ideal.

If you missed first installment of The Wedding Planners, you can read about it here.  I also blogged about the thrifty Wedding Decor here.  I hope to have plenty of happy moments to share in a couple of weeks, if not sooner.

For most readers, this next part on the sequence of events leading to this point will bore you to tears, so just skip it.  But for anyone about to undertake planning a similar occasion for a loved one, the timeline is worth reviewing.  The timeline for the October date went like this:

February 2012 (20 months prior) -
  • daughter engaged, vintage decor collection begun in earnest (had some items already)
December 2012 ( ten months prior) - 
  • wedding gown purchased
February 2013 (eight months prior) - 
  • venues, DJ, photographer and dessert maker booked
April 2013 (six months prior) - 
  • ordered my dress
July 2013 (three months prior) - 
  • wedding shower planned (first week)
  • wedding shower invitations mailed (third week)
  • venues visited, photographs taken to refer back to in planning, details discussed (fourth week)
August 2013 (two + months prior) - 
  • wedding shower given (second week), 
  • invitations designed & ordered and caterer booked (third week)
  • wedding dress first fitting (fourth week)
September 2013 (one + month prior) - 
  • wedding guest favors designed & ordered (first week)
  • invitations mailed (second week),
  • final dress fitting with gown & veil steam pressed (third week)
  • taste test with caterer completed for buffet selection (fourth week), 
  • gathered and inventoried vintage decor and spent all weekends except Labor Day pacing the creative process (arranging table decor, fleshing out ideas and executing necessary crafting activities)
October 2013 (one + month prior) - 
  • met with and fine tuned timeline for wedding day (first week).  There will be no rehearsal or rehearsal dinner, so that whole process is a non-issue.  
  • finalized guest list by calling non-respondents (and still guessing final count as of this writing - grrrrr), my dress to drycleaners for steam pressing (second week)
  • finalized food & beverage orders, hired wait staff and bartenders, based on the guesstimated numbers of guests - grrrrr, and purchased disposable utensils, coffee and tea service supplies from Sam's (third week)
  • program designed (by older daughter) and printed at Staples (third week)
  • spent all weekends continuing the creative process at a steady pace, and divided chores with my older daughter for some, with checklists for any and all decor items we need to pack and take to the venues
  • planned activity the day before the wedding - decorate the venues, starting early, with help from older daughter and sister M (my partner who styles with me weekly at the antique mall)