Saturday, April 23, 2016

Behind the Scenes of a Wedding

In the fall of 2015, my son asked his best friend to marry him. In approximately six months, they planned their beautiful, budget-conscious wedding. No wedding planners, no facility that sets up the tables and chairs, no caterers, nothing to make life easier, less stressful for them. I wanted to share just some of the behind the scenes. I'm sure there was even more that I don't know about or forgot to share here.

For $50 extra, they were able to be at the hall the entire day before. Here are the couple on that day.

Not only did the floor need sweeping (actually needed mopping too, but they didn't have time or materials for that), the tables and chairs had to be set up for one hundred. Some of the bathroom mirrors needed to be washed and the bride had to wash a couple of windows that were behind where they would be seated. The worse part was the wedding ceremony was to take place outside and the leaves had not been cleared. I don't mean just a few scattered--it was unacceptable. The manager of the hall said that they would be taking care of that NEXT week. I heard from someone that they had said that a couple of weeks ago. So a groomsman went home and returned with rakes and leaf blower and he and the groom and my husband cleared the grounds. There was talk of sending the hall a bill for clean up. I doubt they will, but it just wasn't right.

We had to obtain the 70 chairs that we borrowed elsewhere for the outside ceremony, load them all on the truck, bring them to the hall, unload them and bring them inside the building. The morning of the wedding, relatives of the bride set them up outside and then after the wedding, many hands helped load them back on the truck and then once again we unloaded them when they were returned.

The maid of honor drove from the hall on rehearsal day to Sheffield, MA and back to get the sound equipment. Obviously, she had to return it after the ceremony. The brother of the groom set up the sound equipment and microphones and the music. His expertise was a godsend so that the bride and groom could have all the music and special moments that they had planned.

I cannot begin to fathom the amount of work the bride's mother put into for the food. She made ALL the food for the wedding from chicken to pulled pork, to pulled chicken to potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, home made beans, corn bread and gluton free rolls--all home made. I cannot get my mind around cooking for 100 people. I thought when we went to the hall the day before that we would be helping peel potatoes or other food prep. No, she had it all done--so impressive.

Every decoration was made by the bride except for a few items made by the bridesmaids from the shower. I didn't get to ask her if she had any help, but I believe she did it all on her own--painting the old frames that my son obtained from tag sales, making signs, flower arrangements, every little item of decoration. Everything was beautiful.

This is a picture of the cake (after the first cut, obviously). The cake was the only thing that they bought. This is the cake for the bride and groom. They bought sheet cake for the guests. The top layer is the cake, with a topping that the bride and groom found online. The bottom layers are actual wood pieces to support the cake, but to look like a layer cake. Every little flower was placed on the cake and wood layers by the bride.

I don't have pictures here, but the bride made all the boutineers, her bouquet and the bridesmaid bouquets. I love to take pictures, but mostly I tried to enjoy the moments at the wedding and am trusting that the photographer will have some wonderful pictures to preserve our memories. This is a fuzzy picture of the bouquet that she tossed.
 The rehearsal

The Pastor said if you have any questions....he had just got done telling little secrets about what to do if you felt faint. The groomsman asked, "How do you know all this?" 

This does not include all the other wedding plans, picking out the gown, the men's suits and accessories (which the best man was extremely instrumental in organizing) and so many other details and stresses, along with planning the honeymoon and moving into a new apartment and buying all the little to big things from groceries to furniture that they needed to set up a new life together.

You've heard it said, that it takes a village to raise a child, this wedding took a village of dedicated friends and family, and especially a well-organized bride and an involved groom.

And now for the sentimental moments that made this wedding extra special. The bride and groom gave gifts specially chosen to their attendants. The junior groomsmen received special pocket watches, one of them an elephant, as a nod in remembrance of the groom's grandmother (junior groomsmen's great grandmother) who collected elephants.

We never expected thank you gifts from the bride and groom and what we received were heartfelt, thought out gifts. My husband is a proud Vietnam Veteran. They found online, a patch from where he served in Vietnam, a Vietnam knife and a sharp looking plaque of the Vietnam memorial wall. My husband was touched.

But he was not the only one touched. I was moved to tears by the necklace from my son, engraved with "You are my sunshine", which I always sang to him.

And then any new mother-in-law could not help but be touched to receive this gift from her new daughter. Beautiful! I understand the flower girls received specially embroidered hankies too.
 The sentimental gestures don't end there. I heard that the bride and groom stopped at his grandmother's grave on the morning of the ceremony. He was very close to his grandmother. I know she would have been so very, very happy to see this day. She had a generous spirit and if she learned you liked something, she would give it to you in overdoses because of her love. My son used to love butterscotch candies and she would often give him a bagful. I put in a bag of butterscotch candies with the gifts saying how happy she would have been.
The rock Ben left at his Grammy's grave on the morning of his wedding.
We also have a very close family friend who my Mom adopted as her other granddaughter. When my Mom passed, she was the only one who had a green thumb and would be suitable to take care of or find homes for all of her plants--save one. My Mom had an English ivy that her grandmother brought over from England and the family has been keeping it alive by cutting shoots and it has survived all these years.

My daughter and I each took a shoot and we have managed to keep ours alive, but we wanted our friend to be the true keeper of the plant to make sure it stays alive. Little did we know that she gave our son and his wife a cutting from it on their wedding day. These are the sentimental symbols that just add icing to the cake of a wonderful day.
My ivy.
I think I've recorded all the behind the scenes that I know about this wedding, but wouldn't be surprised that there are more that I don't know about. It was a wonderful wedding and now a couple of pictures of the bride and groom---remember I was more focused on enjoying the moment rather than taking pictures.

They are nailing shut their first argument box. Inside is a bottle of wine and two love letters that they wrote to each other. When they have their first argument, they will open it up.

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