Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wedding Preparations

This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Slim·Fast.

Being a bride is a full-time job, especially when you’re getting married on a tight budget. Getting married on a tight budget means being your own wedding planner and florist. It means that everything else in your life,including your husband-to-be, is going to fall by the wayside as you get ready to be a wife. It means making a zillion phone calls, sending a zillion emails and wishing you had a private secretary to help you keep up with it all. It means hardly having time to eat, and being glad for an occasional can of Slim-Fast to keep you going.

I thought I was being very clever and saving a great deal of money by doing all the flowers myself. I ordered flowers wholesale through a local florist. I picked them up in several buckets the day before the wedding and carried them down the street to the chapel. When we should have been getting ready for the rehearsal dinner my mother and I were instead feverishly arranging enormous bouquets of flowers for the altar. I came to have the highest regard for the skills of florists. The altar looked beautiful when it was finally decorated, but I was exhausted.

As for the bouquets and floral headpieces for myself and the bridesmaids, as well as the corsages for the mothers and centerpieces for the tables at the wedding breakfast, I saved oodles of dollars by making them myself as well. I knew that there was no way I could make them all the day before the wedding, so I got started weeks before, using dried flowers, mostly roses and herbs, entwining them with ribbons and wire. My apartment had by that time become a workshop, where wedding presents and were stored as well as everything I needed for the wedding projects. It would have been nice to have a separate apartment just for wedding stuff.  

My sister Andrea was the matron-of-honor; I did not have her wearing a floral wreath on her head like the bridesmaids but a tartan Tam O’Shanter. Have I said that we were planning a Scottish wedding? My father was to wear his kilt in the MacLachlan tartan, and my sisters and I were to wear our tartan sashes. The sashes and the Tam had to be ordered directly from Scotland, as well as the brooches with the family crests, and so there was a great deal of running back and forth to the Scottish shop. In the meantime, four days before the wedding Andrea rebelled against wearing the Tam, saying that a Scottish friend told her that no woman in Scotland would wear such a thing to a wedding. I said I did not care what they did in Scotland, my wedding was a “Scottish Fantasy,” like Mendelssohn’s symphony. There was a heated argument. Luckily, we were speaking again by the wedding rehearsal. And she agreed to wear the Tam.

As for Michael the bridegroom (yes, it was his wedding, too) he refused to wear a kilt, which made the Scottish wedding fantasy even more of a fantasy. However, he looked handsome in his mourning suit. Because of our budget and the size of the chapel, only ninety people could be invited. Michael, however, wanted to fill the place to the rafters with his friends. He took matters into his own hand and began inviting people over the internet. So when the day of the wedding dawned, we had no idea how many would actually be there.

We had a caterer, a local woman who could whip up a hearty country breakfast for the ninety plus souls who were expected to show up.  We decided to serve a buffet because then it would not matter as much what the exact head count was. The caterer could also provide china and flatware. Budget constraints ruled out having crystal or even glassware and so we had to fall back on sipping champagne out of plastic flutes. Mercifully, my friend’s mother entertained a great deal and had enough large linen table cloths for the dozen or so tables. She also lent us her silver samovar for tea. I hoped that nothing would get lost or stolen.

Getting everything set up for the reception the night before the wedding gave new meaning to the word hectic. What made it worse is that a local lady, whose name ironically was "Joy," decided to “help” and ended up arguing with me about how to arrange the wedding breakfast. I wanted to scream. Looking back, I should have put my foot down more. However, the hall was lovely when we finished. We decorated the windows with white tulle and fresh ivy trailing down. The centerpieces were in place on the linen tablecloths. All I had to do when I went home that night was pray that the cake would be delivered on time. (It was.)

Have I mentioned my gown? It was made by an Italian dressmaker in the village of Mt. Airy who excelled at patternless sewing. She created a gown for me based upon a picture from a magazine of a Victorian bride. She knew exactly how much tulle and Thai silk to use. It was everything I wanted: simple, elegant and traditional. Later I had the train made into a christening  gown for our baby daughter.

 Yes, preparing for a wedding, even under the best circumstances, can be stressful. It is important to remember that it is only one day and that what really counts is the married life that lies ahead. What held me together amid the flurry of activity was seizing a few moments of quiet time whenever I could. Also, taking vitamins kept me healthy, not to mention those liquid meals by Slim-Fast. At least when I walked down the aisle, I looked the part of the radiant bride and had the energy I needed to enjoy my day of days.

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