Wedding Wednesday: 45 Days

I have not written about the ups and downs about the planning for some time now. Not that the event has ground to a halt, just me having a bit of writer’s block. Which is rather silly when writing an update.

A week ago my daughter told me how excited my grandson is about the wedding. I thought that was very sweet. He even asked if his girlfriend can go. There will be a few of his friends with their dates. Rather an upside down wedding. Also rather fitting. His mother was not quite one when her father and I married ; of course she was included in the wedding party. Come to think of it I probably have some photos of her that I can give her. We are anything but conventional.

My grandson hanging out on a country road fence

Another interesting development is rings. Her dear fiancé does not want a ring – I wonder if it is more accepted for younger grooms to wear them. The bride had the brilliant idea to use the ring her father gave to me when we married. As she so perfectly said it was important to us at the time. Over the years she wore it as wedding band, often when her fiancé was away at sea. Being the kind person she is she asked how I felt about it – I had given the ring to her when she was a teenager. I said of course! That settled she went search of it while we discussed various items to cross off or add to our lists over the phone. That was a couple of days ago. Sad to say she has not found the ring yet. The groom may have to do some quick planning as a ring is one convention my daughter does want.

We recently had a very long phone conversation to go over everything! High on our list was the budget. It is always sobering when the numbers are crunched and do not fit into an allotted amount. The question of where to shave a few loonies and twoonies can become overwhelming. This week the largest deposit for venue will be paid. Perhaps my daughter should take a paper bag with her.

In addition to the deposit she is going to have a dress fitting the same day. The lace has been raised, now it is all the other work. I forgot to ask if raising the lace means the dress has been shortened. I assume it does. At first the fitting was not supposed to be until the beginning of June which means some trepidation on the part of the bride. She has a positive outlook, at least it will be done. Now all she needs to know is how much for the alterations so far. She thought maybe I should call if an estimate is not ready. I do know how to ask in Chinese, or could have her sister call. Not that either of us can ask too much about dressmaking in Mandarin.

多少钱?

Everything is falling into place – nearly. The band still has to call back to set up a time to meet again to discuss the music, playlist and anything else. Lengthy lapses to return calls (or these days texts and emails) tend to make brides nervous. It is also difficult to maintain control when questions go unanswered. In my opinion no more than three business days should go by if a client has questions when a contract has been signed and money handed over. Even if just to acknowledge the message has been received.

Of course there are vendors who have to remind customers payments are due. We had to go over our paid out list to check if the cake lady was already paid a second deposit. She was not. It may have been around this time my daughter asked if it was too late to elope. Or move everything to their front yard. I can see it now, a little sign on the dock informing guests they are to head to the country instead. Hm, I wonder if it is too late to rent an event tent.

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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.

Wedding Wednesday: 136 days

Although I cannot share too much – photos etc. – I thought part of the blurb on the wedding website my daughter is using was a perfect way to introduce when she and her fiancé met 25 years ago. “A long time ago, on a beautiful island in British Columbia, a young man from the East Coast laid eyes on a young West Coast girl.” It is only fitting they are getting married onboard a boat.

Some recent updates: a pair of shoes I think will be suitable arrived at me door yesterday. Wow, this ordering online is great! As my second daughter pointed out the pumps are higher than a kitten heel, and lower than stilettos, yet look subtly elegant. The only bit That do not like is the little logo stud on the side of each shoe. Which means I will mull things over for s few days before making a final decision. Until they had arrived I was still unsure they would be suitable with my dress. So I am basically ready unless I return the pumps.

Colour hint of my already purchased dress.

As for the bride’s shoes…. actually she called me to have me add to my growing list a reminder she must have shoes before March 26 when she will have her first fitting. My only concern will be how high a heel she is considering. She has to climb stairs to the top deck where the ceremony will be held. As mentioned recently the fitting for the dress this will be done in two stages. The $30.00 hourly rate sounds astronomical although it really is not. Unstitching lace, moving everything up, and hand stitching back on while still maintaining the integrity of a dress is not easy. Fortunately I still think only the lower front half of the skirt will need work. Dresses should not be made for 6 foot women only!

Meanwhile, what were worries are now being nailed down and a calm period seems to have arrived. The guest list seems to be under control, and the deadline I have set to remind the bride and groom to hand deliver invitations that had to be held back while waiting for RSVPs is approaching. I suppose I should let them know when that is. The other worry was decor, what is the budget, what will work on a moving venue, what is or is not allowed, has the colour scheme been finally decided? Of course, once we had bought out a few stores to gather everything according the bride’s ‘look’ the colours and decor was decided. Adding to my reminder list will be for the glass receptacles to be purchased. Which reminds me, I now have a whiteboard and an erasable calendar.

Not having candles opened up more choices of what can used. Bottom heavy vases in the event of the boat rolling. (Hm, is this really a good idea? I get seasick. Fortunately, I have been on the vessel a couple of times) Rather than candles, not even LED, my daughter chose fairy lights, and they really are quite lovely. The colour scheme will enhance the look of an aquatic connection without appearing kitschy. I keep going back to subdued elegance. As I go over what seems to be included in decor for weddings I can see how the cost rises. The only pressing decisions now seem to be a runner for walking down the aisle and chair swags.

Then the topic of transportation came up. My fault, I mentioned that Harry and Meagan (I am not fixated – their nuptials just keep being in the news) will have a carriage for after their ceremony. I thought my daughter’s idea of a trolley to the wedding was far more fun, if not (we discovered) original. She then informed me she was looking into a carriage! Very Victoria. Perhaps both will be used. Or she could arrive on the back of her father’s motorcycle.

What is important is that, despite some early OMGs, the next 136 days are fun. After all, it will be a celebration of two wonderful people who want to share their special moment 25 years in the making.