Wedding Wednesday: the aftermath

I had intended to write something the last Wednesday leading up to the big day; seems the final countdown means all sorts of last minute running around and the day ran away from me! It was not until the next day someone in the family mentioned they had not seen a post. (Nice to note some of them read my posts) However, now that the momentous day has come and gone I am free to include photos!

Big however here, I only took the first two of the following photos although they were taken on my phone. Why did I not take many? The mother of the bride should not be hiding behind a camera or iPhone. There were so many people with phones I knew I would not have to worry. I am waiting for some to be sent to me as I write – which tells the tale I started this before Wednesday. Just in case I am overwhelmed with exhaustion. Ensconced in my room, with AC and a fan going full blast I hope I can capture some of the magic of the day and chaos leading up to it.

My eldest, the bride, and two of her sisters

I had only managed two paragraphs before I started to doze off. Perhaps becoming a wedding coordinator is not in my future. Although I am quite sure I could teach the person in charge of the venue a few things about appropriate attitude when working with a bride. Fortunately nearly everything went smoothly. The worse incident was with a special glass pumpkin my daughter bought with their names and the date of the wedding engraved on plaques, As she said, “Seems wheels and boats don’t mix.” Funny considering we were on a paddle wheel.

My daughter, her soon to be husband (photos done before ceremony) and me

The bride was beautiful. The groom was handsome. The ladies and men were perfect. The venue was as ready as it would ever be. Guests arrived, listened to the piper (yes, there was a Piper), had a photo taken at a ship’s wheel and boarded. To add some humour water came running, taplike, from the roof above us just as the bride and her father were to walk down the aisle, right in the middle.

A wonderful gift of Scottish piping from the mother of the groom

The set up was lovely, once my daughter and a friend of her sister, stepped in to assist. We had fishbowls, minus the fish, (my grandson suggested goldfish crackers) with orchids and fairy lights flanking small, white bouquets in mason jars (these are actually great as decorative vases and found in nearly any cupboard). I never did understand if it was a fishbowl or a mason jar that was broken during the set up. The blue table runners and chair sashes were carefully laid and tied. Try ironing 100 sashes and 20 table runners, the. Keep the, from becoming creased before the big day!

just a bit of chaos before everything was boxed for the ride to the venue

We partied like there was no tomorrow. Anyone with slippers was happy to have remembered them – that includes me. The bride and groom serenaded the guests for the last song/dance. She lost her voice. Four days later she is still hoarse! Perhaps it was just as well the bridal table did not have any wine served to them during toasts – many drinks were being bought for them. That is said in jest, fortunately the bride snagged a bottle from the parents table – I had one short glass of red wine that I promptly gave to my youngest at the table across from me after the first toast. The rest of the toasts I had to use my water glass. Oops.

It is difficult to convey in words how wonderful everything was and even photographs will only provide a glimpse of how to do a wedding right. With lots of family, love, laughter and dancing to the hours. I hope everyone enjoys the photos I have been able to gather.

Wasn’t that a party?!

Wedding Wednesday: 66 Days

Earlier this week my daughter and her Matron of Honour (MOH) – such archaic terminology – drove to Ottawa for a one hour appointment at David’s Bridal. Seemed simple enough, would most likely take less time than expected giving a chance to visit family who had recently moved there – including the young niece my daughter was thinking of inviting to be in the bridal party. I have no idea if that happened, they were at the one store for about five hours! I cannot imagine how long it takes when in search of a wedding dress!

Why they were there for so long made me laugh. Despite having made the solid decision to be happy with the dresses the other women in the party would wear they ended up checking out option. It was made easier when the MOH had taken her current dress with her to determine if another choice would complement the original in the event of two styles walking down the aisle. The consultant had the bride also try the favoured, now in the running, dress on as she is about 2″ than her 4’11″sister. The last I heard another Ottawa trip is planned – except it must be a quick turnaround to fit in the bachelorette that was finally carved out to fit everyone’s extremely busy schedules. Big sigh, despite checking for fares on various sites I simply cannot afford to go. Even if I were to stay for a week or so to tie up some of the various planning for the BIG DAY.

We are still doing distance planning. Sometimes I hear a bit of a sigh behind my daughter’s voice when we do discuss the various items that still need crossing off lists. I am never sure it is because it would be easier if I could be there or if I am too detailed oriented. Perhaps a bit of both. I need a cash windfall. I would love to just show up.

Speaking of money, the budget was also recently discussed. With the possibility of a change in dress my daughter feels obligated to pay for them, or partially. As with most events costs fluctuate. Money is moved about on paper to cover all expenses. The bride made a strong suggestion that transportation may have to be reconsidered.

The plan was for the Kingston Trolley to pick guests up at their various hotels, and Queen’s University where many of us will be staying, as well as taking the bride and her party to the boat. My financial brain is still attempting to figure out how she can still keep that. It is so much a part of Kingston, and most likely less expensive than a carriage. Also a nice touch for out of town visitors who might not know where to park. On a long weekend. Where everyone congregates.

On a brighter note, chair sashes and table runners were ordered, paid outright, rather than trying to match the fabric and colour choices provided by the venue. Yes, more money but less than renting and they can most likely be sold after the wedding. Perhaps after the BBQ planned for the following day – not that chair sashes will be necessary. Cupcakes were taste tested at a local bakery I discovered during one of my visits – then promptly forgot about. Flowers have been chosen and ordered. I even managed to provide a mock up of the table settings using what I have on hand. If I forget to pack the orchids I will be in trouble!

Finally, not directly connected to the wedding, I was very happy to discover that Via Rail renewed my Preference Privilege status for another year despite my not having used their services much since last summer. I realize this is a sales push but it fits my needs.

I have one coupon for a 50% discount off a sleeper berth – the train home being what is planned. As mentioned, I need a cash infusion so this will help a lot! I might even have enough e-coupons to cut 1/3 for another sleeper for one of my daughters returning with me.

Wedding Wednesday: Meltdown

It seems most brides, or one member of the soon to be happily wed couple – political correctness here – eventually has a major, cry in your mother’s arms, meltdown. Usually over the dress. Which makes me wonder how much longer women – yes, I do mean women – will be harbouring dreams of being a princess on their day. I get it, a wedding, even if with only two witnesses in the courthouse, or is it City Hall these days, is an important commitment. Heck, a wedding is an EVENT! Which brings me back to dresses and tears.

Granted, my daughter did not actually fall weeping into my arms, these days, with families spread around the globe, many brides add wedding planning into their daily juggling of work, family, school, etc. with absolutely no idea of where, how, when to begin do so on their own. Fortunately there are mobile phones, Messenger, email, and whatever means of reaching out is needed even if from a distance. The wedding dress was purchased in October. The two women standing with the bride have their dresses. Even the men seem to have their attire. Surely this sounds like s woman well organized.

Until the fitting. My daughter is shorter than me, or was – I may have shrunk an inch; wedding dresses seem to be made for willowy women who stand at six feet in their stockings. Absolutely ridiculous. There are beautiful pieces of lace sewn onto the background fabric of my daughter’s dress that need to be removed by hand before cutting the thin backing and under dress to shorten everything. All those lovely pieces of lace then need to be hand stitched back onto the dress. Oh, and this means the absolutely stunning scalloped lacing at the hem. (I have a vague recollection I may have mentioned this before) Naturally an important part of making sure the dress fits perfectly is what goes with it. Hint, unseen by everyone but the groom.

Therein lay the tears. Over the phone. Everything had finally bubbled from inside and an explosion of self doubt burst forward from 4700kms away. The dress did not look right. Nothing fit. The dresses for ‘the girls’ (one is her younger sister so ‘girls’ Falls from her lips with ease) were wrong. Why was she doing this anyway? What if no one came? (At last count there were 75) No one understands my vision. My poor daughter had lost the one thing I told her to never lose – her sense of humour. (She reads these, I hope I am not in too much trouble) Humour keeps the hard stuff in life manageable. Anyone with any connection to a wedding has most likely heard similar tales.

I am happy to say this was two weeks ago and the bride had calmed down enough to apologize for ‘laying all of this on her mother’, or words to that effect; she was calm enough to meet a friend for lunch. I never did ask if it ended up being a liquid lunch. Salad seemed to be on her mind. My response, beyond telling her to breathe (my response to anyone having a major tearful moment – try it online in writing!) was that is what mother’s do. Of course all is going along, yes there are still some rough plans that need firming, but she is getting there. She even has all of the glass beads needed for her centrepieces, blue two extra bags! Just as well, I still say to expect 88 people.

the flowers we hunted for up and down Vancouver Island. Some were found in Kitchener/Waterloo. (Dear bride – some hints are allowed)

I think for each item crossed off our lists another one is added. Flowers, check. Cake, not sure now. Officiant, done ages ago. All the important stuff. I wonder if someone will remember to apply for the marriage license. After 25 years together they do not want to forget that!

Meanwhile, table floor plan, (some major discussion needed on that – I was looking at any photos I could find online of the venue besides their official website) horsd’œuvre menu, alcohol, whatever is usually needed at a reception.

Wedding Wednesday: 94 Days

It came as a bit of a shock to discover I have not written anything about wedding plans when it seems I have been doing something for it every day. It came as a surprise when the days left were 100 – and now we are in the final stretch! Although some of do by dates for a few items had to change I think my daughter is on track. We did not factor in her getting sick!

Her wedding dress fitting, which will take at least two visits, had to be changed. The first to figure out how to shorten an A-line dress with a scalloped hem. There can absolutely be no seam across the front. Fortunately the back section does not need any alterations other than two buttons for bustling. (Or something) A friend of hers helped with photos the other day to show the shoes she will most likely wear. The dress still looks lovely on her, albeit still too long despite the 4″ heels. I keep worrying about the height of those heels onboard a boat.

I cannot show the wedding dress so here is the sheath of mine. I hope I have enough time to bring it in – cannot work on it until the week before the wedding with it in Kingston and me in Victoria!

In addition to changing the fitting, my daughter also had to change a meeting with the vendor coordinator. No need to spread cold germs. Perhaps feeding her garlic a week before the wedding will ensure she will not get sick. (She is s nurse, part of the job) Timelines are now being given more attention – vendors tend to need booking by now and larger chunks of money paid. I shudder to think what it must be like in larger cities where everything is written in stone. I made the mistake of making a list yesterday of what still needs to be done, I nearly had a yikes moment. Little bites at a time.

One of those bites is of course what guests will eat. It has been a long time since I had to plan anything for 50+ guests, and I am quite sure my daughter never had to consider 90 to feed. She had one very helpful co-worker assist with numbers and dollars to come up with a menu and enough food. The one worry was maybe too many platters and not enough of each. At times I wonder if I am overstepping my role as MOB; this meant that making suggestions to cut or replace items, and have fewer choices mad me thinking I was out of place. However, as with so many things, a second pair of eyes is always a good idea. I may have even managed to cut the cost by $400-$500.

Not that I expect there will be anything left over once everything is added up. Thank goodness my only job is to forward expenses paid, and to pay, to another daughter to input in a spreadsheet. The Knot, a great site for brides, does have a budget page and it appears some items have already been added, but none of us are accountants so money issues tend to be a bit hit and miss at times so long as there is no running out of it! It truth, although not written down anywhere it seem the bride is pearly in control of the purse strings.

I took charge of the centrepieces in Jan/Feb, managing to buy nearly everything needed for the bride’s vision. There was only moment of panic when she asked for another photo of the mock up I did, she thought it had too much purple in it. Or, the wrong purple. She has assured me that everything is good, and she will have a better idea once her sister visits in April. Some of the flowers and lights had to be purchased in Waterloo. Now to find nine more bags of blue glass beads. I am hoping they will show up at one of the stores in Kingston – the stones I bought are getting heavy!

At my end of the country I was happy to finally book a one way flight for my youngest daughter and a Via Rail ticket. The latter was a headache because I booked that for the wrong date. Despite all my attempts the fee was not forgiven. This was new to me – I never had to pay a fee for making Rail changes before. Only my sister has a return flight so I booked morning Via Rail tickets for both of us to have time to see Toronto. She has never been there. If I can fit in Casa Loma I will be happy. If not, I will most likely be staying in the city at least one night with my two daughters who do not live in Ontario. Which means I keep checking Via’s Discount Tuesday’s for cheaper tickets on July 3rd. I am nearly at the realization this will most likely not happen. Regular price, yes. Ka-ching. (Not my dollars)

Wedding Wednesday: 122 Days

Planning a wedding is a little like pregnancy. There is no rushing things then all of a sudden there is little time left and so much to still accomplish. However, unlike most pregnancies, the wedding is pretty well set in stone. Venues need to be discussed, and usually nailed down with a small retainer as early as possible – just try waiting until spring when planning a long weekend summer wedding. Although, come to think of it, two potential alternates were available if the paddle wheeler plan sank. Fortunately that was only a tiny possibility with everything quickly patched up. As the days continue to count down the much larger chunk of change looms to keep the venue.

Of course this also means checking and rechecking the guest list. With that second payment it is important to have an idea of the number of guests who will be in attendance. Which also means seeking a friendly way to track down anyone who has not responded. However, when an RSVP by is on the invitation when is it appropriate to begin a follow up? Who does the following up? Some wedding research indicates it is expected that roughly twenty percent of the invitations will be declined. Of course I did not read that it is a good idea to invite at least ten percent more to make up for those declines until I started to write about this! As if my daughter is not busy enough she now has to remind her fiancé to come up with his work related list, including full names, spouses and mailing addresses as well as doing her own local list. From what my daughter has intimated there are probably at least 10-12 more possible guests. I am standing by my estimate of 88 guests including the wedding party. Today is the deadline for those invitations. Not that this helps with the no responses.

My self-made role is to be her Personal Assistant – I have a little more time, am generally quite organized, and can act as her gentle (pretty sure at times she thinks pushy) reminder. She likes it when she can cross items off her list. A list that has to be worked around her busy work schedule, various appointments, and of course her family – including her teenager. As March approaches much has been accomplished. Which is important to acknowledge. With the dress and venue chosen early everything else should just fall into place, and despite some bridal party dress hiccoughs, this is the case. Two dates are set for alterations to the wedding dress. The first for raising the lace to shorten the front hem. The second for any fitting issues. Which must mean a third appointment to fit in a final fitting. I wonder if I will be there by then. I seem to recall this is usually done very close the the actual wedding date. How frightening!

Shirts and ties were selected for the groomsmen. All I know for the groom is that everything seems to be taken care of. A photographer has been booked. My daughter was fortunate to arrange for her win of engagement photographs to be switched to cover some of the photographer’s fee instead. It sounds like they had a great discussion, with the photographer making suggestions as to how the cost can be kept fairly reasonable. Hair, make-up, possibly even nails, have also been booked. (I may seriously consider taking advantage of these if possible – as one of the MOBs I want to look nice) Several vases, and glass pieces, were purchased. These must be bought in Kingston, there is no way I could carry thirty plus fish bowl 🐠 vases on a plane! (Just a little hint of decorations – after all, the wedding is on a boat) We keep cleaning out the stores for the DIY centrepieces so my daughter has to go back to buy more. Even chair sashes have been discussed! That was a yes. A room for the bride and groom has been booked. My daughter has chosen family and thriftiness over ostentatious. Many of us will be staying at the university. Funny note, my daughter who graduated with an MA from there will not be!

Of course, at times it does seem that crossing off one item, or moving it to another list, only makes room for something else.