We are in the home stretch toward our second daughter’s August 11 wedding and trying to keep it all in perspective and learning as we go. If you have daughters or sons and can benefit from this little reverie, good.
I am daily remembering to enjoy the process. Because. . .
Planning a wedding is an orchestra of art, economics, theology, relational dynamics, and Pinterest. I decided going in that I would roll with it and enjoy each of these facets individually.
Because I only have two daughters. I only get to do this twice.
And declare as I might that I will be frugal and that the budget is the budget and so on, there is really no getting around the basic seven or eight realms of a wedding.
Thus, I find myself managing all the realms like the CEO of a company, weighing options, one eye on the artistic vision, one eye on the bottom line, moving notecards around the design wall when suddenly out of nowhere I remember my wee daughter is about to become a WIFE for goodness sake. And I stand still for a second. Ah. These are the pains of childbirth Genesis foretells. They last as long as motherhood does.
She will call me on the way to her first big-girl, pre-wedding doctor’s appointment, and I’ll say, ‘Bless your heart, my child.’
As the CEO, wedding planning is like setting up a temporary company. Very important, very urgent, then very over. As one husband said to the giddy women in the aftermath, ‘I think people have moved on.’
If that beloved daughter wanted to get married in less than 8 months, I would tell her the truth: “I’m sorry, dear; it can’t be done.”
If two of my children want to get married within a short period, it can be done, but it’s way off the charts and only those with nerves of steel can manage it. (Sue? Donnette?)
I remind myself of the only point of all this preparation: a ceremony that glorifies the Lord Jesus, that centers on Him and the union of this man and this woman in Him. This simplifies and un-Pinterests the whole thing beautifully and bears writing large on the cover of the wedding planner. Which is a good gift idea for friends with daughters.
A second goal is that everyone in both extended families feels honored and thanked for coming. A wedding is all and only about the people, the families and dear friends and traveling guests and the pillars of local friends without whom the whole event absolutely would not happen.
And on that note, the process is so very humbling. I look at the RSVPs and think, Wow, you’re really going to drive all this way? You’re really going to spend hours in church shoes, for us? Thank you! Here, have a canapé!
A second child’s wedding will be a little more expensive than the first child’s. This is not out of partiality but out of fatigue. The jet-lag is still fresh on my mind from wedding one, so this time around I know to hire it done. I can’t do it again. I don’t feel guilty. The first child will understand sooner or later.
And in so doing, I will meet people like the incomparable Judy Pitts of Top of the Town who, with a few tweaks and suggestions, turned a floundering mother of the bride into someone who felt like she had a handle on things. And turned a detailed planning meeting into spiritual encouragement. And advised peanut butter sandwiches for the children. A master of her trade.
I have learned, too, that starting at about 3.5 months out, I will need to do something every day. Big or little. Put the hotel info on the wedding web page, or buy Spanx and break them in, every single day must be some degree of forward motion toward The Date.
Because The Date functions as a little BC/AD on the family calendar. It divides time like a cleaver. For several months before The Date, a thousand home-improvement projects, from obscure to stains-on-the-ceiling, are hit and accomplished with vigor, and the Pinterest dreams are grand. And then there comes this critical tipping point at which they are all seived through the practicality sifter. Completion looks doubtful. Then the operative phrase becomes, “Ok, that will have to be after the wedding.” And progressively the project list dwindles to a reasonable goal of sweeping the back porch.
The list of the big 7 or 8 realms mentioned above? I say ‘realms’ because each has its own bubble diagram of lists, decisions, choices: Date. Venue(s). Invitations. RSVP method. Dress. Color Scheme. Wedding Party. Wedding Party Apparel. Director (you canNOT do this yourself, seriously, you think you can, but you can’t). Music and Musicians. Flowers. Photographer. Program. Reception menu. Reception Decor. DJ or Band. Playlist (no bad words, and include some awesome 80s dance tunes). Cakes. Cake Topper (not important to everyone but definitive for me). Hair decisions/Appointments. Hostess gifts. Hotel and lodging for travelers. People’s Needs and Feelings. A Thousand Odds and Ends. This is just a quick sampler. So maybe it’s not 7, or 8, but 78.
And like the five points of Calvinism, these are all interdependent; individual parts cannot be plucked out and discarded. One depends on the other which defines the next. It’s a system of all or nothing.
It is irreducible complexity. And even here in the home stretch, awash in to-do lists, it is totally worth it.