Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wedding Work

The flower girls' baskets for Chris's nieces, Morgan and Keri.

As of today, my daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and Chris, have been married exactly 3 months!  I guess it's finally time to begin sharing the Big Event, which I will do with a series of posts over the next several days.

The wedding planning begins, of course, months before the actual event takes place.  I had figured I'd have plenty of time, since school ends in May.  I would have all of June and July to prepare for my daughter's wedding.  So we began small, purchasing the cake topper and other various items we'd need.

Sarah's toss-away bouquet.

With only a very small budget to work with, we knew this was going to be a do-it-yourself affair as much as possible.  I'm pretty artsy-craftsy so I wasn't too concerned in the beginning.  Then I started making long, long things-to-do lists for myself, for Sarah, and for Chris.  It didn't take long before the sheer magnitude of this undertaking began to overwhelm me!

The hard-to-find roses for the bouquets.

What I didn't expect was that preparing the wedding flowers would be the task to consume most of my time.  First of all, I had no idea how difficult it would be to find lavender silk flowers to match Sarah's wedding colors of lavender and white.  We bought nearly all the purple flowers we could find here on the mountain, but there were nowhere near the number we would need for all the bouquets.

The large bridal bouquet surrounded by three bridesmaid bouquets.
Sarah's plastic-protected wedding dress is in the background.

We finally drove to Mesa just 9 days before the wedding and found exactly what we needed.  Unfortunately, once we got home we discovered we still didn't have nearly enough.  I texted my niece Genevieve, who lives in the Mesa area, and she somehow found more than 30 more of those lavender silk flowers to send us.  By now, we were cutting it close! 

Sarah's bouquet with sparkly lavender ribbon.

It all came together in the end.  I made Sarah's silk bridal bouquet, the toss-away bouquet, the flower girls' baskets, four corsages, and nine boutonnieres.  I also tied ribbons on about twenty vases for more flowers.  It all took about two weeks.  Due to the difficulty in obtaining the final lavender roses, I wasn't able to do much on the bridesmaids' bouquets until the night before the wedding.  By then I was rapidly losing steam.  Thank goodness my sister Karla arrived the day before the wedding.  She and her married daughter Elyssa worked on the bouquets late into the night, finishing them up for me.  Karla, Elyssa, and Genevieve are my heroes!

Four corsages, for me, Chris's mom Brenda, my step-mom Kathy, and Ed's mom Caryl.
To the right is Sarah's bridal veil, scattered with little white "pearls."

Furthermore, we almost waited too long to order Sarah's wedding gown.  We had spent months looking at different dresses online.  There were several Sarah liked, but we were nervous about getting a good fit without being able to try it on.  She finally chose one and ordered it six weeks before the wedding, only to learn that it would take seven weeks to arrive!  However, after Sarah paid quite a few extra fees, they finally guaranteed she would receive the gown a few days before the wedding.

Nine boutonnieres for the groomsmen, dads, step-dads, and grandfathers.
Neither Sarah's dad nor Chris's dad made it to the wedding, so we didn't use them all.

Thankfully, the wedding gown actually arrived 5 days before the wedding.  Other than the sleeves and skirt being too long, the fit was perfect!  Luckily for us, our friend and neighbor, Barbara Badger, is an accomplished seamstress, and she did a beautiful job of hemming the skirt and sleeves.  Barbara and another good friend/neighbor, Sarah Clark, made our three bridesmaids' skirts for us, as well.  We are so blessed by our friends!

Preparing many, many vases to adorn the tables at the reception.

Gradually, as we entered the final weeks before the wedding, everything began falling into place, as I'd hoped it would.  There was only one big task left to conquer, and that was the wedding invitations.  We planned to send them out about three weeks before the wedding.  In fact, we planned to hand-deliver all the local invitations in order to save on the cost of stamps.  However, we faced a huge obstacle when the time came to send them out.

Our bed became "Reception Planning Central" during July.

It wasn't because the invitations weren't ready.  Far from it.  I planned to make the wedding invitations myself, so I started working on them with plenty of time to spare.  In fact, I was very excited about this particular project.  Our amazing amateur photographer friend, Eugene Prestwich (aided by his lovely wife Wyndie), had taken pictures of Chris and Sarah at the Snowflake Temple back in May, so Sarah and I began by selecting one that would make the perfect backdrop for the invitation. 

After much trial and error, I was able to fit all the information into the open spaces on the picture, adjust the colors correctly, figure out the computer tricks to get the lettering to look right and print correctly onto the photo, and then print out more than 200 invitations on glossy photo paper.  I thought they came out well, if I do say so myself!  (To see the invitation, click here.)  Now all we needed to do was get them delivered.  Or so we thought.

The kitchen table was taken over by invitations for a few weeks.

There was just one thing holding us up.  Because Chris had been married in the temple to his first wife, from whom he has been divorced for almost eight years, he had to obtain written clearance from the First Presidency of our church in order to be married in the temple again.  We knew there would be no problem obtaining this clearance, but we also knew it could take some time as the paperwork moved through the proper church channels.  Chris started the wheels in motion back in March, just a few weeks after their February 17th engagement.

By July, we expected to receive the letter from the First Presidency at any time.  We watched the mail everyday, but it still hadn't arrived when it came time to send out the invitations.  Another week went by and we were becoming very nervous.  Eleven days before the wedding, Chris, Sarah, Ed, and I met to make a decision.  We'd been praying hard for guidance, and each one of us had felt impressed to go ahead and deliver the invitations, and trust in God for the rest.

It was an absolute leap of faith, but we did it.  All of the invitations were safely delivered one week before the wedding.  I was still an anxious mother-of-the-bride, but I should have trusted more.  The clearance letter arrived five full days before the wedding.  It was a huge relief!  Now we could relax (not!) and complete our final preparations as we headed into the final days before Chris and Sarah's Big Day.  

Next up: Setting up the wedding reception!

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