Monday, July 18, 2016

How To Plan A Wedding . . .


Beautiful Gifts made by Grandmother of the Groom


The big day finally comes!  Your child announces she is engaged. After opening some champagne, going out to dinner and celebrating . . . it’s time to plan a wedding. I’ve learned a few things over this past year and maybe I can actually blog it and save some you a few headaches.

The very first thing the couple has to do is pick a date.  That date is important because it tells you how much time you have to get everything done. My daughter picked a date that was less than 12 months away, but assured me she would be organized and take care of everything. She even bought a “planner” to keep track of it all. Tip: Don’t believe your child when she says she will take care of everything, it ain’t happening.

I told the newly engaged couple that my husband and I would pay for the wedding and they should do whatever makes them happy.  They didn’t waste too much time picking a venue. My daughter liked the second one they saw, The Bay Ridge Manor in Brooklyn, and was satisfied she was getting a five star venue at a reasonable cost.  My husband and I accompanied them when it was time to place the deposit. First major accomplishment!

My daughter and her fianc√© spoke with the photographer recommended by the venue. They like him, he has great reviews, they book him and we (the parents) provide the deposit.  The photographer, who has been to dozens of weddings, recommends the company that provides the DJ and Master of Ceremonies. The couple checks them out and likes what they see and hear. We write a check for the deposit. We are getting very good at writing checks.

Time to shop for the gown in early December. We find one that’s perfect. I leave the deposit. One snafu comes up, they are all booked for alterations until after her wedding and we are on our own to find a seamstress.  When the gown arrives, about four months later, guess who has to find the seamstress . . . if you said me, you would be correct. I found a great experienced seamstress in my neighborhood and booked our first appointment.

The holidays put a little cramp in the planning. In fact, they really slow down the momentum and we have to pick things up again. We go shopping for the Mother of the Bride gown before we are hit with a major snow storm. My daughter also looks at the “Save the Date” cards online and orders some. I end up writing out all the envelopes for her because she never listened to me in grade school when I told her that her handwriting was atrocious.

Who is going to officiate at the wedding? All this planning and expense will be for nothing if we do not have an officiant. My daughter finds a priest online who is highly recommended.  He comes from New Jersey. Excuse me if this makes me a bit nervous. 

In the meantime I keep asking about the limousines. My daughter isn’t interested in limousines, she says the 10 of us can take Uber cabs to the photo site in July, in hot and humid weather, through the congested streets of Brooklyn, in her gown with the very long train. No problem, the photographer says we can.  So ultimately, I had to find the limo company myself, visit with the owner and of course pay for the service.  Here’s a tip. Listen to your gut, find a five start company. Companies with five stars will do their best, they do not want their ratings affected by a bad review as they generate a lot of their business without any real publicity.  

Who is going to do our hair and make up? My daughter has no clue and apparently this was not one of the things she was going to take care of either. One day I was at my salon talking about my dilemma when the hair stylist said she would come to the hotel that morning and do our hair and bring her make up person too. I asked her if she was serious because I had only been going there less than 6 months. She said she was. That was a huge load off my mind. 

Oh, we need some flowers too. My daughter knows nothing about flowers. All she knows is she wants a baby’s breath bouquet. She asks me to visit the florist with her and of course I happily comply. We meet with the florist, also recommended by the venue, and have a discussion. He is very helpful. The venue does provide very small centerpieces for the tables in their package, but we upgrade them to a nice size. I order two large floral arrangements for the wedding ceremony, along with corsages and boutonnieres. The florist suggests a runner and some bows for the seats. When we are done with the package, I pay for it and we leave.

There are so many more details to take care of including: engagement pictures, invitations, the bridal shower, the bachelor party, the cake topper, pictures of grandparents for a frame in memory of them, the card box, the favors for both the shower and wedding, new shoes, jewelry, new suits for the father and groom, new handbags, booking the hotel for two nights, hair pieces, hair and make up trials etc etc.  Every time you think you are done, think again.

My daughter asked me if I wanted to walk her down the aisle with her father. Of course I said yes and I was happy she asked me. She also wanted to know if I wanted to make a speech. I thought about it. As usual I like having the “last word.” After loving her and raising her for 29 years I felt I had something to say and so I said I would make a speech . . . and a memory.

Finally, here’s what you need to know. Even before your daughter gets engaged you should be online gathering vendors with five star reviews so you have a good starting point. It pays to do your homework. Visit the knot.com and other wedding sites for vendors who already have reviews. Do not believe your daughter when she says she will take care of everything. Even if she buys a huge planner and waves it around. She is going to get tired and overwhelmed, especially if she has a full time job and only has the weekends to work on it. Do not remind her you told her a year is not enough time to plan a wedding. You have to keep her calm, make sure she knows you have her back. If the Master of Ceremonies gets fired a week before the wedding, and they want to replace him, and she is a nervous wreck, tell her it’s no problem. Sometimes things work out for the best. The main thing is that she gets married and gets out of town!  If six people drop off the guest list as soon as she gets back from making the final payment at the venue and she is upset, tell her not to worry about it. What’s done is done. Whether they come or not it’s not a big deal at this point, there are worse things. Don’t forget she still has to do last minute laundry and packing for the honeymoon. She is out buying special gifts she wants to give to those who did a lot to make her day special. She is probably doing a lot more than you are aware of. Remind her to get her rest and eat well. You not only want her day to go perfectly, you want her to be able to enjoy it and the honeymoon. 

The wedding was perfect. My daughter and son in-law are in Hawaii right now. I hope they are making memories to last a lifetime and that they live happily ever after.


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