Friday, June 7, 2013

Garden Wedding FIVE years ago today!!

Happy Anniversary to my beautiful daughter and her sweet hubby!  Five years is quite an accomplishment.  I'm so proud of them both!  When I look back on the past five years, it's been really great for them.  Of course they have had their trials.  Unexpected challenges, family tragedy, these things happen.  And, through it all they have only become closer.  They just moved into their own house with their new baby boy...the apple of my eye! 
For me, this day brings back memories of my daughter's wedding day.  This was one of the biggest days in my life.  Since the day she was born, I thought of giving her a perfect wedding.  When they got engaged, my first thought went to the wedding.  I know that a lot of couples host their own wedding.  I did not want that.  It was always my dream to give her a wedding and that is just what we did!
Together we looked for the perfect venue.  She wanted the place where they first met.  When I heard the prices, just to rent the garden, I was blown away.  That day an idea started to grow in my mind.  I wanted to host the wedding here, at my home.  It was a crazy, far fetched idea from the get go.  Our home isn't a show place and the landscape....well, there wasn't any landscape.  But, on the other hand, it's beautiful here.  Mother nature does some pretty great landscaping herself.  Once we took the venue out of the budget, it all started to seem much more "possible".
I went in to crazy organization mode.  I opened a joint account for my daughter and me and I started to make payments to it.  I had tons of "motherly advice" throughout this process.  My first piece of advice was to stay within the budget.  I didn't want her to spend a penny of her own money.  And, the budget was SMALL, let me tell you!  She and I got creative in many ways.  Her best friend made the cake.  She used airline tickets from her job as a flight attendant to barter on many things.  We did all the decorating ourselves.
For the reception, we got new gravel for the driveway.  That's where we put all the tables. My daughter chose a Wild Flower theme.  This was a fun theme to work with.  We decided that our wedding favors would be flower seeds for our guests to take home and plant in their gardens.  The funny thing that happened was, when we started to fill the little mesh bags, the seeds seemed more like powder and started to sift right out.  We didn't have a backup plan for this, so we just filled them as fast as we could and tried not to jostle them too much.  I'm not sure that anyone actually got home with flower seeds.  But, it was a fun idea.
One cool thing about a home wedding is that the rental place was happy to drop off a day early and pick up a day later.  There was no rush!  One of my regrets was not having a better portable bathroom.  I couldn't have 100 people flushing my toilet in my old house, so I needed the port-a-potty.  In hindsight I would have had more light out there.  We did have separate men's and women's.  But after dark, I should have had some pretty lights out there.
I loved the ceremony.  It  was the perfect day.  One of my favorite parts was my older son's singing.  I wish wish wish that I had recorded it.  We had a video camera.  Why oh why didn't we record the whole thing?
Now that we are in the wedding photography business (, we know so much more about weddings.  If we knew then what we know now, we would have hired a photographer.  We were lucky in many ways.  My husband is a gifted and talented photographer.  Even without knowing anything about wedding photography five years ago, he took awesome photos.  When you are in a wedding, you should NOT be the photographer.  I think the pressure, took away from his experience.  He couldn't just relax and enjoy the day, he had to cover it like it was his job.  We had other photographers too, our son, my brother in law, our nephew and a good friend.  Remember, this was before everyone had a cell phone camera.  We were so happy and delighted to have all these photos.
The ceremony was on the hill by my Mother in Law's house.  It's the same hill that my husband and I got married on. When we got married, we all just stood there.  For my daughter's wedding, we had seating and decorations, the works!.  My brother in law came up a week early.  He made some amazing benches that are still in use today.  The weather was about as perfect as it could have been. 

One funny memory.  When my daughter was choosing the music for the ceremony, I had an issue with one of the songs.  She didn't realize that it was about breaking up.  It sounded like "love", but it wasn't!  I suggested At Last as an exchange.  My son sang the "Wedding Song" and "At Last".  Perfect.
The reception was fun fun fun!  The colors were bright and festive.  We had a brand new deck (built by my daughter's husband and his father).  We put a dance floor out.  I thought I was so clever to make a basket with all sizes of flip flops.  I wrote a sign "dancing shoes".  I've seen this idea many times since. lol 

We shuttled people back and forth from the hill to my house.  I have a memory in my mind that I didn't actually witness.  Some of the girls that were my daughter's bridesmaids, grew up with her.  Meaning, they are "country girls".  They didn't want to wait for the shuttle.  They took off their shoes and took the trail (a very steep trail).  I can just imagine them in their pretty dresses skipping, running and laughing through the woods.

I made a video of pictures of the couple growing up.  Because my husband is a photographer,  I have about a zillion family photos.  It was a monumental task just looking through them.  I asked for groom baby pictures and there weren't as many.  When I started to make the video, I was using sweet (sappy) songs.  Oh boy.  It was boring to ME...what would our guests think?  I changed to uptempo songs and I fell in love with it.  I used songs that meant something to them.  And, I kept it short!  Believe me, I could have made it an hour long.  In our wedding business, I keep all my videos and slideshows to under ten minutes.  This one is a little longer. As I watch it, I think that my 7-10 minute rule for videos is the best.  It would be much better if it were cut in half.  But, I still enjoy the walk down memory lane.  Making this video of my daughter's life, was almost like therapy.  I had forgotten so much of our history.  I want to make a video for each one of my kids.  (who has the time?)
We had an  awesome DJ, Guy the Gutter Guy.  He had never used an I-pod before.  I loaned him mine to play some special songs.  I remember thinking that he would probably go out the next day and get one!  The dancing went on and on.  It was a fun party and nobody was in a hurry to leave.

I took my favorite pictures from that day and made a video to music.  It's so fun to go back and watch it.  It takes me right back to that day.  Again, it's too long, and would be much better if it were half.  I can't urge other people enough to have a photographer and videographer for the wedding day.  It all happens so fast and in a flash it's over.  It's amazing to revisit the day FIVE years later.  Watching the photos and the video is like time traveling back to that day.  And, someday their children will watch it.

The reception was awesome.  We couldn't have done better.  All that planning, was worth it.  I made lists for everyone, lists of lists.....people were finding my lists around the house for the rest of the weekend.  But, let me tell you...those lists were the engine that made the whole thing happen.  

The picture below is of the newlyweds and their parents.  We are on the left and my son in law's parents are on the right.  My SIL's father passed away a year and a half ago. May he rest in peace.

In the photo below is my BFF and her hubby.  They were the "longest married" couple in attendance.  They celebrated their 50th anniversary the next year.

All my children.  

I wanted to make this day everything that my daughter dreamed of.  I tried really hard to keep my preferences out of it.  But, when I really thought she was off track, I tried to persuade her.  That song for instance.  Heck, having the wedding at my house was something I really lobbied for.  Every time I had something done to my yard, she would ask me "is this coming out of my budget?" I would say "no, I'm paying for it."  After all, this wedding was a good excuse to get my place all fixed up.  And, I really took advantage of it.  Another thing that I lobbied her on was the color.  She wanted green.  I was convinced that green wouldn't stand out in the forest setting. I think that the second color she chose was perfect.  I did take a certain amount of teasing when the dress that I ended up with (after five different mistake purchases!!) was ..wait for it....GREEN!  My biggest advice to her was on the day of the wedding.  I made sure that I had her attention when we were alone.  I told her that we had done all that we could do. We planned, we worked and now the time was here.  I said that we should just forget our idea of what this day was going to be, forget the vision that we had in our heads, and wait to see it unfold like a story that we didn't know.  So much of the fun memories of a wedding are the things that went wrong and we laugh about later.  Or the many things that happened that weren't planned.  We planned a great party, and I wanted to make sure that we let ourselves enjoy it.  And we did.

I have to say that my family really came through for this wedding.  My son bought a bunch of sound equipment just to do the live music, as well as learning the songs for the wedding ceremony. And buying dresses for his wife and two daughters.  A major investment! My other son was a fabulous photographer on that day.  My brother in law and his family were like a CREW.  They worked so hard.  It was such a pleasant surprise.  

My daughter and I say often that we wish we could do it over again.  We had so much fun.  It made us closer than ever.  

On a side note, the flowers that have been at the top of Lulus Cottage Blog from the beginning are from my daughter's wedding bouquet!

Five years later, they are on their first date night after having a baby seven months ago.  

1 comment:

  1. just simply BEAUTIFUL!
    thanks for sharing a mother's thoughts while actually reliving this glorious occasion!


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