Monday, April 25, 2016

The Bridal Shower . . .

The future Bride and Groom . . . Surprise!

When my older daughter started planning her wedding she advised me there will be no wedding party. I realized that her sister and I would have to throw her a shower if she was going to have one.  As I said in my blog about the wedding, it’s been 33 years since I have been to a wedding or shower. I had no clue what to do. To make it easy on us, I knew I wanted to have it at a nice restaurant. Right after the holidays of 2015 we started to look into places we could have the shower and what lies we needed to come up with so my daughter would not be suspicious.

First thing we had to do was come up with a list and get the invitations. As it turned out the list was not very long at all. We had 15 to 20 names and expected about 15 people to come. I had wanted to get a private room, but 15 people fell well below the 25 or 30 minimum required. I spoke to my neighbor, who attends weddings and showers almost every other week. She is my expert! She took me to a local Italian restaurant with a nice decor and easy parking. They told me they could set up the tables and give me a separate table for the gifts. It didn’t matter how many showed up the day of the shower, they could easily set the table accordingly. That was a load off my mind. I made reservations for April 24th, the day before my daughter’s birthday, and tell her to save that date because we are taking her out to dinner for her birthday . . . it’s her last birthday as a single woman. Never hurts to add a little guilt. She fell for it.

Me and my baby!

Now I had the little problem of getting her to dress up so she would look nice in the pictures. What to do? I explain to her that her younger sister has a few new dresses in her closet and was looking forward to wearing one to dinner. I asked her if she would wear something nice and we would all dress up since it’s a Sunday. She agreed. That was easy. She must really be preoccupied with the wedding because her usual inquisitiveness and tendency to ask unending questions were turned off. All she wanted to know is what kind of restaurant we are going to and that was it.

Meanwhile, I ordered a beautiful cake from local bakery. Just my luck that when we went to pick it up the main street the bakery is on was closed for some ridiculous “fair.”  I had to walk three blocks uphill to pick it up and carry it back to the car where my husband was waiting. The cake was loaded with two layers of pudding so it was a little heavy, just sayin'.  And before going for cake I went to pick up a few balloons, adding birthday balloons so I would not be “lying” about the birthday dinner. When we finally get home from those little errands, my husband and I decide to load up the car with the gifts. Since the number of people was uncertain, my younger daughter and I bought about 16 gifts. We wanted the bride to have a few things to open to make the day memorable. It might have been overkill. Oh well.

Meet the Parents!

I told everyone the date of the shower and sent the invitations out 2 weeks later, in February.  To cut a long story very short, over the course of two months, the number of people coming kept dwindling from 15 to 12 to 11 to 9. But my future son in law’s mother said her two sons and husband would be coming to drop off her and her daughter in law at the restaurant. That’s when I told her the men should join us. I’ll have them set up a separate table for them nearby. I was really happy to have them there for this special occasion. I was especially surprised to see my future SIL’s brother and wife there. They had just gotten home at 1:30 AM the night before after a 20 hour flight from Thailand!  And yet, less than 12 hours later, they were at my daughter’s shower. I will never forget the fact they were there. In fact all the right people were there to share this little celebration with us. We had a very nice dinner, the service was great. The gifts were opened. The cake was delicious. No one rushed us. Everyone enjoyed themselves. 

We had a total of 6 guys who also doubled as photographers! We ended up with 15 people in the end. And since this was a Shower/Birthday, I think everything turned out even better than I hoped for and planned. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Wedding Planner . . .

Engagement picture

The Wedding Planner I am not. The last wedding I have been to and planned was my own, 33 years ago this coming June. Things have changed quite a bit over the past 33 years. Most notably the cost of everything has exploded beyond my wildest imagination. But, my little girl is getting married, and I wanted her to have everything the way she and her fiancĂ© want it. I didn't give my opinion unless I was asked. This is her day. No one told us what to do and I have no regrets about my wedding. I am hoping the same for my daughter.

This has been quite a little whirlwind in the making. They got engaged July 4th, 2015 and my daughter wanted to get married as soon as reasonably possible . . . so she figured a year would be plenty of time to plan. I was a little overwhelmed thinking she doesn’t have enough time, but she is well organized and figured she could take care of everything in a timely manner. Okay, great, as long as I don't have to plan it I didn't care. First she needed a venue. The venues get booked well in advance. They found a place they liked. They considered the available dates and took the first one that was open. My husband and I went there with them, checkbook in hand. Did I mention the venue is not too far from us, but in a heavily trafficked area?  This means we need to stay at a hotel near the venue the night before and night of the wedding. I guess you could call it a destination wedding? I book two rooms for us, check check.

Next on the list Photographer, DJ and Master of Ceremonies, check, check check (literally). These are things I told them they can’t skimp on so make sure they are highly recommended or reviewed. Pictures will last you the rest of your life and you need people who know how to keep a wedding lively and entertaining. Oh and we need engagement pictures, which came out terrific and were a bargain! Next we go shopping for wedding dress on December 6th, 2015. The place seemed to have millions of gowns. You have to make an appointment so you get your own personal assistant help you pick out and try on the gowns. When I went for my gown 33 years ago I saw one I loved in a magazine, they had it at a local store. I went there, tried it on and bought it. My daughter tried on a few different gowns based on what she told the assistant she wanted. She found one that looked beautiful on her and that was enough for her. I pay one half the cost and we all got nice canvas tote bags with the store logo on it. One tiny little glitch. They are already booked for alterations till July so she has to get her own seamstress to alter it. They have to order her size and it will take 4 months for it to come in. That puts us in April. No worries. I look online and find a recommended seamstress that we are seeing this week for the first fitting. Check.

Oh but now we need the Mother of the Bride gown and her sister needs a dress as well. I expressed interest in a pink dress since it's a summer wedding. My daughter did not approve of pink. I was informed "Pink" is for babies. "But, I look good in pink,” I say. That argument didn't sway her. She started sending me links to gowns in burgundy, dark green, purple, etc. I forget what she called them, I think it was jewel tones. I didn't want to stress her out, but I didn't want to wear a dark fall color in July . . . shoot me. Instead I say, “okay sweetie, we'll go look and see what they have and what looks good on me.” Meanwhile, my husband, who has had a brand new gray suit sitting around for 20 years, has gained 10 pounds. So off we go to get him a new suit, shirt, tie, socks etc. not to wait till the last minute. And, as soon as the holidays are over and before the blizzard hits, we go to the mall and shop for my gown and my younger daughter's dress. We both found dresses we liked and the bride-to-be approved. Hallelujah. My gown ended up being a silver color with sparkly gems all over it. Well, we are making some good progress. However, now we all need shoes, especially the bride and I, who are having alterations done. My younger daughter and I also need evening bags and jewelry. The bride needs jewelry. My daughter expressed an interest in opal earring and pendant to wear on her wedding day. We went shopping and found a nice set. I decided it would be her birthday present and we got them. 

What else could we need?  The wedding favors? They are on the way. Check. The Save the Date and Wedding Invitations, done and done. We need a box to hold the wedding cards the night of the wedding . . . on the way. We need a nice frame to hold the wedding pictures of three sets of grandparents who will be missed from the celebration. We need table numbers in gold. We need a suitable cake topper. In my day everyone had the same cake topper, but you'd be surprised at all the variations there are today. There are almost as many cake toppers as there are wedding gowns!  I'm just waiting for the bride to advise me which items she needs me to order. 

Now you might think we are done. Nope. My daughter, the bride, with her beautiful full dress with the extra long train, has decided we will all get in Uber cabs to go take pictures at the park. Yes, you read right. Uber cabs in July with a big ass wedding dress. I tell her we need limos. Since she made up her mind to take Uber cabs, she has thrown the limousines back into my lap. She finds me one place who wants $1,701 for two basic 9 passenger limos. I am not getting a good feel about this place. I try for 6 weeks to find another company. Suddenly a five star reviewed limo company pops up on my laptop screen. I call to make an appointment to speak to the owner. Long story short, he charged me $400 LESS and threw in a complimentary limo at the end of the wedding to take the newly weds back to the hotel!  Booked and check paid in full. The lesson here is to trust your gut feeling!

Oh and I almost forgot! You might remember that we will not be at home the day before and day of the wedding.  That poses another little problem called hair and makeup. Normally you would go to your own salon the morning of the wedding, that's what I did. But we won't be home. So I ask my hair stylist and her makeup artist if they could come to the hotel and do the hair and makeup of me and my daughters. Since the photographer plans to come at 11 AM to take some pictures, they would need to come early on a Saturday. Like maybe 7 AM. I speak to my hairstylist and bring my daughters there so she can look at there hair. She agrees to come. That's a load off my mind.

Now that's not all there is to it. I'm sure I forgot a half dozen to a dozen things along the way. My brain tries to protect me from stress. I’ve been crocheting a lot not to think of anything. It works just fine for me. I have made my husband take me to Michael’s a couple dozen times, maybe more. I have crocheted another five afghans and other things. Pounds of yarn later we are three months away from the wedding day.