When I got engaged, back in the last century, I automatically turned everything over to my mother. Truly, it never crossed my mind to plan my own wedding.
As soon as we were engaged, my mom kicked it into gear. Seven months later, she pulled off the perfect wedding. She even got the rain to stop for the garden reception.
My mom really planned it all herself. From time to time, she would drag me somewhere to decide on something. But, she had it all under control. Early on, a friend advised, “I know it’s your wedding, but don’t get involved. Let your mom do what she wants and it will all turn out fine.” She was right.
This has an added benefit: my mother recalls that I was a delightful bride. Althought she hasn’t forgotten that I asked her a few days before the wedding, “What do you do all day when you aren’t planning a wedding?”
My uncle informed my husband that when asked for an opinion, he should just respond, “Whatever you want, dear.” Alas, he did not continue to follow this advice after the wedding.
So, thirty-something years later, my daughter announces that she is getting married. OK. I’m primed. I’m ready to kick it into gear. It’s my job to plan this wedding, right? Not so fast.
Guess what? The world has changed. Today’s bride doesn’t want to “be involved.” She wants to be in CHARGE. The groom is the one who is expected to “be involved.” As my husband reminded me repeatedly, “it is their wedding.” My rebuttal of “Yeah, but…” fell on deaf ears.
Both my daughter and I approached the wedding with certain expectations. She felt that since it was their wedding and it was taking place 500 miles away, in the town where she lived, she should orchestrate it … a perfectly logical point of view. Of course, that is injecting logic into a totally illogical situation.
I believed that since we were paying for the wedding, my vote superseded all others. This may be a more emotional point of view. A friend kept asking me, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Both! Being right makes me happy.
At one point, my son asked my husband how wedding planning was going. My husband responded, “There isn’t going to be a wedding. Your mother and sister will kill each other long before the wedding. So, one will be going to jail and the other one will be going to the cemetery.”
Fortunately, we did NOT kill each other. There were times that I thought she was “Bridezilla” and she thought I was “Mother From Hell.” We both might have been right. We both like being right.
So, if we had to do it all over again, which both of us swear we will never do, what would we do differently?
1. Try not to have any expectations.
2. When that doesn’t work, explain what you expect and LISTEN to what she expects. Try to understand their point of view.
3. Set a budget. A real budget. Check your expenses against the budget along the way.
4. Have a contingency budget for emergencies of for stuff that you really want that isn’t in the budget. This is the first that my daughter has heard that I did this. SURPRISE!
5. Be receptive to her opinion, even if you really think it is a stupid idea.
6. The Mother of the Bride doesn’t have to wear beige. I wore orange and my daughter approved.
7. Guess what? This a really emotional time. You both may have a tendency to overreact. It didn’t happen to either of us, but we have heard stories.
8. After you overreact, apologize. It helps — really.
9. Something ridiculous will happen. It will seem like a total disaster. And that’s the seed of the stories you both will tell over the years.
10. Have fun and enjoy the wedding.
It was a great wedding. My daughter did a fabulous job. The music, the venue, the food were all perfect. Her attention to detail paid off big time. Everyone had a great time. She was right about a lot of thins. And she even admits that I was right about a few things. It’s all good.
Kathy Koch Joyce is the mother of only one daughter, who notes that this is a nice piece of historical fiction. Her two sons plan to elope (not with each other!), as they can’t match the perfect wedding that their sister created.
Hello ladies. It’s my first official post, so I thought I’d go a little picture-crazy and talk about my wedding colors and what’s blowing up on pinterest right not — OMBRES! Ombre hair, cakes, dress — everything.
Those pro photographer, pro wardrobe-planner, airbrushed pictures online look pretty darn amazing, but let’s be real. That’s not me. I needed some dumbed-down pointers to make this ombre thing work out. Here’s my tips for making your ombre dreams come true.
1. Keep all your dresses the same length and same fabric. There’s a fine line between classy mismatched and….not sure the lights were on when you picked those. You can mismatch your dress styles, but it’s important they all have the same textures. I went for long and chiffon. These are four of the six dresses that have come in — all long and chiffon. Different styles for different smiles = perfectly mismatched.
2. Pick your shades. Easy, right? Not. I wanted purples. There are cool purples and warm purples that just don’t jive with each other. I also tried to keep all my bridesmaids dresses within one brand, which proved to be impossible. Take your time on picking out your shades. If you’re not finding enough swatches, don’t be scared to bring in a new brand of dresses so you can get the shades you need. I used a combination of Allure and Alfred Angelo colors.
3. Assign your shades to each bridesmaid. You want them to have an idea what shade they’ll be in before they shop for their dress style. We brought dress swatches to the suit store and found a tie option for the groomsmen to complement each color. The bouquet above is my fabric/brooch bouquet I ordered on Etsy. I wanted to have my bouquet as a keepsake and love the bling this bouquet offers.
4. Let your bridesmaids pick out their dress. Within reason, right? We all know they gotta stay long and chiffon, but I LOVE this idea. All my bridesmaids are different heights, shapes and styles. By letting them pick out their own dress shape, I’m hoping they can feel comfortable and confident on wedding day. And, as we all say, they can totally wear their dress again for other occasions! (although, I don’t think this ever happens in real life.)
I LIKE TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY There’s a time and place for tradition, but I like to shake a few things up here and there. Instead of a guestbook, we’ll be having two wishing trees. I’ve ordered two gold glitter-covered mini trees and some crystal garland to drape on the branches (keeping with my Christmas winter wonderland theme) and have wishing tags guests can fill out as they enter the ceremony — our version of a wedding Christmas tree. We’re also planning a literal knot tying in the middle of our ceremony. We will tie a fisherman’s knot, the strongest knot out there that only gets stronger the more tension you put on it, which is very representative of Mr. Student-Doc and I’s relationship. OBSESSED WITH MY FURRY CHILD Mr. Student-Doc and I have a dog named Malibu, who is a four-year-old Morkie (maltese + yorkie). She is truly part of the family and as such, she is going to be part of our big day. One of the many perks of the DoubleTree is that they are very dog-friendly. Malibu will be our flower-dog, escorted down the aisle by our Ring Bearer in her rhinestone-encrusted (duh!) collar (and leash) wearing a purple tutu. GATSBY BRIDE I fell in love with the Gatsby style as soon as I saw the movie. I ordered a beautiful custom Juliet Cap Cathedral-length veil from Etsy for the ceremony, another crystal-covered headpiece for the reception, some long, geometric earrings and a beautiful necklace and earring set for my bridesmaids. KEEPING WITH TRADITION I grew up in small-town Nebraska (population 4,000) and spent lots of time at my pastor’s home (his wife babysat me) and at church. I have so many pleasant memories of my church and the wonderful people there from growing up. My pastor has agreed to travel to Omaha to officiate our wedding ceremony.
We are always looking for more bride bloggers! If you think you’d be interested in joining our Chatty Brides team and writing about your wedding planning experience, sharing your theme, how you found you dress and just anything wedding-related, we’d love to have you. Just fill out this bride blogger application and send it to Heidi.
Well, we’ve heard a lot from brides on the blog, but this is the first time we’ve had a Mother of the Bride reveal her thoughts on seemingly silly suggestions from her daughter and how she dealt with each decision.
From the Mother of the Bride:
During the 15 months before my daughter’s wedding, wedding websites became the bane of my existence.
For brides, wedding websites are a treasure trove of ideas and looks, so that you can construct a “theme” or a “vision” for you wedding. For the Mother of the Bride, or “Muthahs” as my friend Jane refers to us, it is a wealth of stupid ideas and budget busters.
In fairness, this is not the case for all “Muthahs.” One of my college friends recently informed me that a sorority sister had made it on TheKnot.com (be still my heart). Her daughter had had a garden wedding and at the exact moment that the couple said, “I do,” hundreds of butterflies were released.
Evidently, the butterflies are kept in the freezer until a few hours before the wedding, then they get to defrost in their box. Then, at an opportune moment, strings are pulled, the box opens and the butterflies are released. Alas, TheKnot.com did not show a picture of the “freeing of the flies.” So, you will just have to imagine hypothermic butterflies hovering around the bride and groom.
My first encounter with these wedding websites was the flurry of e-mails from my daughter, featuring links to ideas that were creating her “vision.” When I received the picture of the clear tent with hundreds of colored ribbons sprouting from the center of the tent, I asked her, “Did you win the lottery?” as I could tell that our budget and her “vision” certainly were not going to mesh.
There are people who make sure that every detail is perfect. My mother and my daughter are those people. Regrettably, I am not one of them. The majority of my daughter’s ideas were wonderful, such as the venue, the music and the attire. Some of them, while interesting, fell into my “too much work for too little gain” category.
Some of the ideas that didn’t make it down the aisle were “Flower Dogs” and “S’mores.” My daughter and her husband have a golden lab and a doberman. While the dogs would be more than willing to wear a bow tie (Labrador) and a flower wreath (Doberman), the logistics proved too daunting. The S’mores as party favors were another matter. My daughter felt that individually wrapped S’mores would be the perfect party favors. I did not.
First of all, I am philosophically opposed to party favors, except for children’s birthday parties. Even then, it is something that usually finds its way to the trash or is forgotten in the rush to depart. Secondly, the last thing that I wanted to do before the wedding was individually wrap graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows in cellophane and ribbon. Third, who is going to stand by a fire in their good clothes and toast marshmallows at a wedding?
Right. I refused to participate in this folly, as I viewed it as a waste of time and money. At some point, the idea met with a timely death.
One idea that did make it was “the table seating ladder.” My daughter assigned her soon-to-be husband the task of painting his mother’s wooden ladder a lovely shade of blue (They both are great sports). Then we tied string to the top and anchored the bottom to the ground. We attached the seating cards with little, tiny clothespins. It looked cool for about five minutes, until the wind blew away the cards. At that point, chaos ensued as I had given the wedding planner the wrong list.
Due to a variety of reasons, we had prepared four versions of the seating chart. A word to the wise: erase all old seating charts when they become obsolete. My favorite guests were the two people who were at the wrong table and refused to go to their new assignment, as they liked where they were. I shot them — just kidding. It is poor form and for good reason that “Muthahs” don’t “pack heat” at their daughter’s wedding.
To my daughter’s credit, she pulled off her vision and every detail was perfect. Everything was beautiful and fun. But quite honestly, I could’ve lived without TheKnot.com.
Kathy Koch Joyce is the mother of only one daughter, who notes that this is a piece of humorous historical fiction. Her two sons plan to elope (not with each other), as they can’t match the perfect wedding that their sister created.
If you have picked a certain theme, like I have, you will notice that it can get difficult and expensive to find exactly what you are envisioning in your mind.
Etsy is a great resource for brides with an unlimited budget, but this bride likes to find a good deal. Omaha has several Hobby Lobby stores — and in my mind it should be called “Hobby Heaven,” where as Mr. Behavin has a completely different name for it. This has been my “go to” spot for all things wedding, such as colored sand and glassware for the sand ceremony, tulle for the flower girl’s dress, burlap, twine, ribbon, garter, paper, kraft paper gift bags and a card box
One thing I could never find was a knife set for cutting the cake. That’s when it I realized I could just make something to fit the theme. So I went back to “Hobby Heaven” and found a set that could be altered. It must have been my lucky day, because the whole wedding aisle was on sale! I ended up getting a set for only $7.50.
I wrapped the handles with twine, and then added a satin ribbon to make it look a bit fancier. I used hot glue to keep it all together. I have become a twine wrapping pro since I wrapped 40 wine bottles for center pieces.
How do you find the right photographer for your wedding? There are so many out there, different styles, what they offer and of course they vary in price range. Your best bet to not get lost in the whirl wind of photography is to decide what you want style wise, what amenities they offer and what price you are willing to spend.
I began my search at the Wedding Essentials Bridal Fair and went from there. I met a few photographers there and got answers to all the questions I had. I think that customer service is an important part of business – especially at a bridal fair and you want brides to meet with you outside of that setting.
First, I wanted to know what pricing was before I set up an appointment. I didn’t want to waste my time or theirs if they weren’t in my price range so I took to Google. You can find almost every photographer on the internet and if they don’t have a website, they certainly have a Facebook page.
If I liked a photographer’s work online, I emailed them. I probably emailed 30 photographers over the course of a month. From the responses I received, I put them into two categories, either in my price range or not and then those that were in my price range got a second email to see about the availability of our wedding date and to set up an appointment to meet.
I made these appointments in February and I had three that I liked who were already booked for a late October wedding date. Even though a few were booked, I was able to set up appointments with six other photographers. Yes, six. I know it seems like a lot, but it was well worth it since photography is one of the most important pieces of a wedding. While the wedding only lasts one day, the photos last years.
Best advice: contact vendors you like early to guarantee their availability.
After meeting with all six photographers, Mr. Thirteen and I had a decision to make. All photographers were equally qualified and talented, but it came down to who we connected most with and who offered all the items we wanted (an engagement session, rights to all photos taken, a website to share with family and friends, the option to have prints made and albums created, and of course to stay within our budget).
I ended up going with Steve Kowalski at A Better Exposure. Steve has been in business for over 15 years and I felt more than comfortable when talking to him; it was like talking to a friend. I appreciated that he has a studio (some photographers do not) and when I was looking at his albums, there was one in particular that stood out to me. The album captured the emotion of this couples wedding so well that I was almost in tears flipping through the pages. I knew right then that I wanted Steve to photograph my wedding. I can’t wait for the weather to get nice so we can go outdoors to get our engagement pictures taken. Steve had some great ideas for photos and hopefully I can preview them here when they are done!
As a bride-to-be, I’ve been confronted by several people who, after congratulating me on my engagement, proceed to remind me about the percentage of people who get divorced. So, just because I’m getting married, automatically means I need to be warned about the divorce rates? Believe it or not, that’s something we actually talked about before we even got engaged. We talked about divorce and what our opinions were on it. In the end, we both decided that we only want to get married to one person and spend the rest of our lives together. Now, to some people that may seem a little bit out there when they start thinking about how complicated life can get. And it may seem like a silly rule, but we decided not to even mention the “D-word” in our relationship from here on out. Our thinking on that is if we eliminate the word, then it’s not an option that will even cross our minds in the future. We want to be the old couple that’s been married for 60 years that everyone cheers for. And clearly I’m not the only one who wants that kind of commitment.
We asked, you answered. Here’s some tips from our readers on how to make a marriage last.
1. Don’t get divorced or don’t date other people while you’re married. (Those will definitely cut things short!)
2. Talk out your problems and don’t hold grudges. Be there for your significant other no matter what.
3. Communication and lots of date nights.
4. Be open and honest with one another, communication is key.
5. Never take each other for granted.
6. The little things you do for one another are always important.
7. Don’t go to bed angry.
8. Always kiss goodnight, goodbye, hello.
9. Laugh — lots.
10. Find things you like to do together.
11. Say “I Love You” often.
12. Believe in your love and each other’s dreams.
13. Be best friends.
14. It’s always better to be happy than to be right.
15. Say sorry and forgive freely.
16. Make time for just the two of you, even if life is crazy and you’re broke.
17. Time with your best friend = stress relief.
A word to the wise: these may sound great, but the key is to put them into practice — that’s the hard part but you just have to know that it’s worth it.
When you first get engaged you will without a doubt, get unsolicited advice from anyone and everyone you know. Not all of it is bad, but when you first get engaged it can be a little overwhelming. Best advice, say thank you and write it down or have them email you the information if you really want it. It took me a good month before I really started to listen to all this advice or actually ask for it.
Picking a date and a venue is of course the first major decision you need to make when planning a wedding. Everyone wanted to tell me what dates worked best for them and what dates not to pick because of other things going on. If you listen to everyone else, you will never pick a date. No matter what, you will have conflicts with people. In the long run, it is about you and your fiancé, so don’t let your friends and family sway you in your decision on when to get married. If you want a spring wedding, have a spring wedding.
When it came to making a decision on a venue, Mr. Thirteen and I had differing ideas. I had always thought it would be great to do a destination wedding and Mr. Thirteen said, why not the courthouse? I could not imagine having a courthouse wedding nor did I think I could have the big 500 person wedding. I figured why not just have our family and closest friends there? It’s about us and of course Mr. Thirteen just wants to make me happy so he said to look into a destination wedding. I had some contacts in the travel industry so I called them up and asked for a contact in the destination wedding planning industry that could help us in this process.
I started working with Sandy from Travel & Transport who has tons of experience in destination wedding planning. She took what we were looking for and gave us some great places to start. This of course turned into more unsolicited advice because this person couldn’t come or did you think about how much this would cost for this family to go and what about passports and airfare and the list goes on and on. Again, this isn’t about everyone else, it’s about Mr. Thirteen and I celebrating our wedding day.
After about a month of looking at destinations and really thinking about what we wanted and what kind of wedding we wanted, the more I realized I wanted to have a wedding here in Nebraska — but we’re going to do it our way, non-traditional and full of what we love. We knew we didn’t want to get married in a church and we knew we wanted to have a fun, fun party with those we care about most in the world.
As we started looking at venues, I did get some ideas from friends. We were looking for a venue with both indoor and outdoor space and preferably a space to get married in as well as have our reception. The first place we looked at was 1316 Jones. I fell in love with it right away! It is located in downtown Omaha, had an amazing deck (my outdoor ceremony space) and tons of character. But I decided to keep looking because, like the dress, you can’t pick the first place you see, right?! Well over the next few weeks I looked at a half dozen more venues and made calls or sent emails to another dozen places. Nothing could compare to 1316 Jones. I made one final call to Chad to get dates available. He gave me every date left in 2013. After much discussion (as I wanted to get married sooner rather than later) Mr. Thirteen talked me into picking the only date left in October. In the long run I know it was the best option as it gave us enough time to plan without being stressed and gave us more time to save money for the wedding.
Whatever you do when planning your wedding, always remember it is your wedding. Mr. Thirteen did a great job in reminding me of this and you should too as it is about you and your groom, no matter what anyone else says.