Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mother as wedding planner

the bride and her mother together
                     The bride and her mother                
From pre-engagement to the wedding, couples go through a whole host of emotions. One bride-to-be, 31, who asked to be called "A Northeast Gal," agreed to share her experiences leading up to her wedding to "A West Coast Guy," 29, in a series of diary entries.

Today, A Northeast Gal talks about the wedding planner extraordinaire -- her mother... (To see what A Northeast Gal wrote in her first diary entry, click here.)

The basics:
Date began dating: Late March 2006
Engagement date: Feb. 27, 2009
Wedding date: June 26, 2010
Place of residence: Boston, Mass.

Part of the fun of being engaged is not feeling foolish buying wedding magazines or reading wedding blogs. I read celebrity and personal blogs daily, so when I got engaged I was excited to find out how many wedding blogs there were. I was drawn to the websites that showed artful photographs of beautiful, stylish, lavish, and/or creative weddings. I began to keep track of the aspects I liked, the things I wanted to keep in mind as I moved forward with planning the wedding. It was easy to daydream about what I might include in the wedding, and then I started to actually investigate prices and found that either the couple paid a lot for everything or spent a lot of time and energy researching ways to do everything on the cheap.

One thing that hit me once I started planning the wedding in earnest is that I had never planned an event for 100 or more people before. It took a lot of research and time to figure out where we were even going to have the wedding. We eventually decided we would have the wedding where I grew up and where my parents still live. At that time my fiancé and I were living in Southern California where we were attending graduate school.

I intended to plan the wedding from afar with the help of my mom. I give major credit to couples that plan their weddings from a distance. My fiancé and I moved across the country to within three and a half hours from my parents at the start of 2010. This move was unrelated to the wedding, but looking back now I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be so far from my parents, my bridesmaids (all three of which live in New England), and the wedding location as I prepared for the wedding.

I got excited about several aspects of the wedding planning, mostly the paper products (e.g., invitations, programs, place cards, etc.), selecting a wedding bouquet (I found a person on Etsy who made me a fabric bouquet because I wanted my bouquet to last forever as a keepsake), and selecting music to play at the ceremony and reception (we are using an iPod for the reception). I was less than thrilled about dealing with everything else related to the wedding (e.g., location, food, drinks, photography, flower arrangements, linens, etc.).

I got very stressed, comparison-shopping and envisioning how the wedding would play out. In almost every scenario in my mind we were spending too much money or I could picture our guests being disgruntle about my decisions. This is where the wedding planner extraordinaire came in: my mother.

Thankfully my mom is a capable and motivated person who is excellent at project management and organization in general. She dealt with finding a location, selecting caterers for food and drinks, selecting a rental company for chairs, tables, and linens, and is organizing the flowers for the entire event. The hours my mom has put into planning the wedding far exceed the hours I would have been able to afford to hire an official wedding planner. My gratefulness for her help is boundless.

As a reward for all of my mom’s work and to ensure that she and I will be able to relax and enjoy the wedding day we have hired a friend of a friend as a wedding coordinator for the day of the wedding. We are both thrilled to have this woman involved to make sure things run according to plan as much as possible without the need for my mom or I to butt in.

I know that all of the hard work will pay off, but as the wedding planning winds down, I can’t say I have loved every minute of the planning process. I would just as soon have someone else plan the entire thing with only a little input by me. In fact, while I’m dreaming, could someone else please pay for the wedding too?

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