Our family is finally recouperating from the delightfully exhausting ordeal known as a wedding. Yes, my eldest daughter is the domestic despot of her own realm. But that is a bit off topic from my intended ramblings.
We’ve all heard horror tales of Bridezillas or worse, their interfering mothers. I was determined not to be such a mother myself, and certainly didn’t want my daughter to look back on her wedding preps with shame.
I did make one fatal flaw, however, and the result was less than satisfactory. You see, my wedding was a fiasco from the moment I said I’d marry Kevin. This is because I was young, stupid, and eager to ask for help. That combination is a recipe for lack of discretion in WHO I asked. I’ll never forget going to the only person I knew that’d had a wedding in the past 5 years and saying, “How do I do this?”
A whirlwind rush of plans flowed before my brain could register that she’d begun to speak. “Well I’ll be your matron of honor, my husband can be the best man, my daughter can be your flower girl, my son can be your ring bearer… then Kevin’s brother can be a groomsman… does he have another friend he wants…”
The rest of the wedding planning went like that until 2 weeks before when I snapped. I countermanded a few of her decisions and the result was ugly. I vowed to never let my girls be put in that position.
When Challice got engaged, I realized, now was the time. This was HER wedding and we were going to have this thing how SHE and her fiancee wanted it to be. As a general rule, I see some wisdom in that. After all, if they wanted a morning wedding, insisting that they do it in the evening would have been disrespectful and would have likely caused much friction. Had they wanted peach and seafoam for colors, while they aren’t my favorites, there wouldn’t have been a reason to argue the idea.
However, in my zeal to avoid the mistakes of MY past, I created a few in this little shindig. It was nothign serious, and fortunately no lasting damage to any relationships appears to have been done. But I learned a few things that I’d like to share with future brides and mothers of the bride.
1. The parents, if they are paying for the affair, are the hosts. They are the ones to whom the ‘success’ of the affair reflects. If the comfort of the guests is compromised by a decision by the Bride and Groom, they cannot assume blame and go merrily on their way. The parents will be held responsible and it is wise for the bride and groom to remember that when making requests.
2. Sometimes, the least expensive route costs everyone more. Trying to save parents money is an admirable goal. Not everyone can afford to create a lavish wedding and keeping the tab down is one way of showing respect for your parents. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that David and Challice did not ask for or expect a many thousand dollar affair. However, some of the things that they opted to do without, in the end, cost us more in time and trouble and even a few dollars than had they asked if avoiding the things would help.
3. Weddings are not just about the Bride and Groom. This was a hard lesson for me. I always thought that the attitude that the wedding was the ‘bride’s day’ was a terribly self-centered idea. I truly believed that it was “THEIR” day and that they should have things exactly how they wanted them, assuming the parents can afford it. I now believe I was wrong. The wedding is about uniting two families and in the process, creating three. It is a uniting and a dividing at the same time. Everyone’s comforts, and considerations (within reason of course) really should be considered. In my extreme zeal to ensure that they had THEIR day… I actually encouraged a bit of selfishness in two of the most unselfish people I’ve ever met. I was wrong, but I’ve learned my lesson.
4. The Bride is still under her father’s authority until he gives her at the ceremony. I knew this in my head, but a few practical situations drove it home. We so often deferred to the Bride and Groom’s wishes that for a time it felt as if Challice was under David’s authority rather than ours. This wasn’t true and it wasn’t THEIR attitude that caused this situation, but it did teach me to be careful how we did things in the future. A less mature and respectful man would likely have taken advantage of the situation.
5. The things that go wrong will often be some of the best parts of the whole thing. I cannot tell you how many little things I had to just let go. The lace of the gown had to be patched. Oh well… it became symbolic. That was so neat! The bridesmaids dresses went through so many redos and revisions it became funny.
The cakes were frosted with too soft frosting and didn’t look professional. All the work our dear Lisa did to make those beautiful flowers… and she had to put them willy nilly on lopsided and crumbly cakes. But you knwo what… those cakes make me smile. My daughter’s wedding cakes were decorated by friends and siblings. Nolan decorated one by himself. That memory is worth so much more than a picture of a perfect ‘bakery’ cake. The memory of me baking batch after batch after batch is more endearing to all of us than just having some frothy confection arrive at the reception hall. I’m not saying we’ll NEVER have a cake like that… but this time, it’s special.
The programs were printed 1.5 hours before the wedding on our laser printer. Our friend typed it up and in the process, somehow married off our second daughter. She was listed as MATRON of honor. Oh well. It’s one of those funny things that means a lot in the end. It’s a memory. A dear enchanting memory of fun and laughter.
My natural tendency is to let things like this really bother me. I have a deep desire and sometimes NEED for perfection. Somehow, in all of this, I managed to let that go and instead, strive for a memory.
I think I succeeded too. As Kevin and I drove to church to dress Lorna and start the final prep… I turned to him and said (greatly surprised too!) “I’m not stressed! How is it that I’m not stressed. Busy, yes… but not stressed.”
So, I did. I learned a lot. Our next wedding, should I be the financier, will definitely have some changes… this was a learning experience. But most of those are things that will change because I will have changed, not because Challice and David were so terribly unreasonable. They were gracious, thankful, and David’s final words were… “You’ve exceeded our expectations. Everything was lovely.”
I pray that life will be as warm and rich for them as this beginning of their life together was.