5 Things I Learned Planning a Wedding

It is a few days over half a year since my daughter and her husband celebrated their nuptials on a sunny September afternoon.   Was it really that long ago?   At times, it seems like only a week or two have passed;  then at others, it all seems like a distant, happy memory.   One thing is for sure, enough time has passed for me to reflect on some important things I learned through the process.  I would love to share them with you.

It’s not about me.

I am probably like a large percentage of mothers of girls.  Shortly after my daughter exited the womb I began to daydream about what her life would be like.  Those daydreams took a natural turn toward how her wedding day would look.  I kept a file of great ideas from all the weddings I attended over the years – a file that was completely unused.  You see, I am a traditionalist.  My daughter, not so much.

While I had always imagined a traditional, church wedding with all of the traditional trappings, she had a different plan.   I would call it urban, vintage.  From the venue for the ceremony and reception to the band chosen to play, to the photographer  to the decor, this wedding had the handprints and heart prints of my daughter and her groom.  And, you know what?  It was the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever witnessed.

Communication is crucial.

It is so important to communicate from the moment you get that phone call sharing the news of an engagement.  I had expectations of making trips to Birmingham to help my daughter plan every aspect of her special day.   That wasn’t exactly what my daughter had in mind.  Through some early conversations, I let her know it was important to me to be a participant  and not just a spectator.  She understood and we were able to work out a comfortable partnership.  I had two things that were non-negotiable.  I wanted to be with her when she picked out her wedding gown, even if I was part of an entourage and I wanted to wear a long gown myself.   She graciously consented. 

We spent many hours talking on the phone or texting.  One conversation in particular was amusing.  My husband and I were in the car, traveling when my daughter called.  We had her on speaker so we could both talk to her.  She and I had a 30 minute conversation on chairs for the ceremony.  I’m pretty sure I saw my husband’s eyes glazing over.

Do whatever job you’re given, happily.

Like I mentioned before, I had visions of being more hands-on in this wedding planning process.  I imagined looking at venues and flowers and maybe even sampling some reception fare.   Here’s the thing, it was their day to plan, not mine.  Her love had given her numerous bouquets of flowers during the years of their dating and engagement.  Of course, he would want to have a say in this most special of days.   My tasks were more related to hospitality with out-of-town guests and that was fine.  I had fun with it!

Even strong, independent girls need an advocate.

The entire wedding-planning process went amazingly smooth.  There was only one thing that caused my girl a significant amount of stress and I almost missed it.  I was so used to her handling everything and doing it quite well.  When I finally realized the stress she was experiencing, I asked her if she wanted me to take care of the matter, to talk to the people involved.  I could sense the relief in her voice as we talked.  As it turned out, the problem became non-existent.  I had a saying I would share with my daughter whenever tensions threatened to rise.  I would tell her “It is going to be beautiful and you are going to be married”.    And so it was.

Enjoy the day.

So much time, effort and expense goes into your daughter’s wedding day.  The last thing you want to do is miss one second of joy.  We decided to hire a wedding planner and it was the best decision we could have made.   She helped keep things on track in the months leading up to the wedding and was fully in charge the day of.  It was such a blessing to be able to sit back and immerse myself in the day, not having to worry about who was supposed to be doing what and when. 

A cousin of mine sent me a message the night before my daughter’s wedding.  He reminded us to savor every moment, to get caught up in the minutiae.  He reminded us to laugh and cry, even at the same time.  We took his advice and it was a very good thing.  Nothing, so far in my life, has compared to seeing the sheer joy of my baby girl and my new son-in-law on their wedding day.

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