December 8th is a very important event in our family’s life. Our fifth and last daughter is getting married. It was kind of funny that my husband’s concern about having five girls wasn’t how to provide for their education or the extra curricula activities or even all the sets of braces they needed, but the weddings! He saw dollar signs at the mere mention of the words “I do”. But you know what, he’s been such a trooper, such an amazing father as he helped to plan and yes, pay for each wedding. The number one thing we did, after all the champagne popping, was to set a budget. Each daughter had a certain amount of money that we’d provide for their dream wedding. Next, I would sit down with the bride -to-be and ask her to describe the wedding of her dreams. I’d write it down to refer back to it amidst the wedding planning to see if we were on track or not. And of course not everything they wanted was possible, but we tried.
Each of our daughters is unique and therefore had different priorities. For one daughter the dress was very important, another it was the invitations or the venue and so on. One thing we learned is that it doesn’t take a ton of money to throw a beautiful wedding but it does take a community of people. Our people pitched right in for sure, from my wonderful sisters to my special group of friends. They all willingly gave of their time and talents. And for that we are extremely grateful. It’s been a privilege and honor to reciprocatefor their daughters’ weddings as well.
Back to our December wedding, Nan is the bride and Perrin, her groom. We are so happy to be gaining another son-in-law. Truly, we love each of our “sons”. Also having married children is the best! Hey you eventually get grandkids too! Nan and Perrin are getting married at a small horse farm down the road from us. It’s where Nan had one of her first jobs, feeding the horses when the owner was on vacation or helping out with the never ending farm chores. It’s an important place to her and the owner calls Nan her “farm daughter”. We are excited to hold the wedding there, but it is not a wedding venue. It won’t cost us anything, but it will take some creative and hard work on all our parts to make this a memorable day for the couple in love.
The first task is building a bathroom. Hart, my hubbie, and Perrin, the groom are very handy guys. They have undertaken this task. Last Saturday after a trip to Lowes, they were in the driveway sawing and hammering away. They have the basic shell up and I can’t wait to see it. But of course as nature would have it, we are in the midst of a major hurricane, Michael, as I write this. So there have been trips to the farm to make sure the structure is protected from the storm. I’ll be posting pictures of it as I make my way over there to photograph their progress. Just in case your curious as to why there is no bathroom at the farm, Bayberry Farm is a hobby farm and not where the owner lives, so that’s why there are no facilities (ie. no house) on the premises. Her dream is to live there in the near future.
We will set up tents for the reception. Nan wants long tables with lots of greenery down the middle. Since it is a small affair we will use my mix matched china plates and crystal glasses, cloth napkins and lots of greenery and white twinkle lights everywhere. There is an unfinished large log cabin on the property and we will have the food in there. Since it is December we will have heaters in strategic places. We are also collecting warm throws for the guests to use during the ceremony. Weather permitting Nan wants a bonfire outside the tent for roasting marshmallows. The food is the couple’s favorite dishes. Smoked pulled pork, slaw and rolls, mac and cheese, an assortment of deviled eggs, salad etc. We are serving broccoli cheese soup and tomato basil soup as an appetizer in my tea cups. Nan has designed a very special cheese board, plus the best bacon wrapped dates you’ve ever had. She also wants signature cocktails, wine and beer. For dessert I am making a small wedding cake and we will have a variety of doughnuts and the smores of course! I can’t forget the coffee and hot chocolate bar. It all sounds so delicious and romantic.
Nan decided on silk flowers because we can make them ahead of time and it will always be a keepsake for her. Thirty-five years ago my mother-in-law was in the wedding flower business and she made all of my wedding bouquets from silk flowers. It’s been special to use my bouquet as a centerpiece on our anniversaries and it’s a fond memory of June, especially since she passed away this past February. I’ve been making bouquets and boutonnieres and corsages and the cutest flower girl fairy wands! I adore working with silk flowers. It is one of my hobbies.
Back in September when three of Nan’s sisters were in town we went to Lynchburg, Virginia to a wedding boutique. Our second daughter, Claire got her gorgeous gown form this very special place. It’s called Church Street Bridal. Proceeds from the sale of the gowns go to domestic violence prevention and intervention services. This includes sheltering victims, helping them with legal counsel, and even training them to get back on their feet. The store is located downtown Lynchburg in the YWCA. Now isn’t that amazing?! Not only are we buying a wedding dress but helping someone in need! I love that! The gowns are new samples that have never been worn, other than being tried on. The prices range from 200.00 t0 900.00 but theyretail for 800.00 to in the thousands of dollars. Sometimes they even receive dresses that range in value between $10,000 to $30,000. Again isn’t that amazing! We have always had such a good experience there too. The sales women are so nice and so excited for the bride as she searches for her special dress. Once the bride declares that this is her dress the sales woman asks, “Are you saying yes to the dress?” and if she says yes, a bell is rung and everyone shouts. It’s quite a wonderful moment for the bride who has dreamed of this moment her whole life.
Nan found a stunning lace dress that fit her perfectly. She put it on and said, “I feel beautiful in this dress”. It is a dress from Kleinfelds in NY, which is cool if you’ve ever watched “Say yes to the Dress”. The dress she chose is made by designer RomonaKeveza and retailed for 3600.00 but we purchased this gown for 300.00. Once again isn’t that amazing! Nan also found her floor length veil there and we couldn’t all have been more ecstatic for her. What a fun trip and the young grandgirls that went with us were in heaven. I’m not allowed to share pictures of Nan in her dress until after December 8th. But I will you can be sure.
Each of our girls’ receptions have been a family and friend affair. My sisters and I make all the food and my friends are so gracious as to serve it at the reception. I have made each of their wedding cakes as well. That tradition started many years ago when my three sisters were to be married. My dad priced cakes, (my aunt made mine) and was aghast at the cost! So he decidedthat he and I could learn to make wedding cakes! We signed up for a cake decorating class and guess who was the star of the class? My dad. He had such a steady hand that he could make icing roses perfectly. The instructor gave us her no fail pound cake and frosting recipes, and we were set to go. We purchased the necessary cake pans and got to work. Together we made around 4 or 5 cakes, some for friends. He helped me make my oldest daughter’s wedding cake but after that he retired from cake making and I’ve been on my own. I will say it is not my favorite thing to do. I would not enjoy making wedding cakes for a living but I have enjoyed making cakes for my girls and a few close friends and family. But after wedding #5 I think I’ll retire my cake making skills as well. Yet who knows when I may get the urge to create another masterpiece down the road.
I’m already feeling sentimental as I am preparing for Nan’s big day. My house will truly be empty of children, although she is 22 and going to college. It just feels final. Like the end of an era. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so thrilled for each of my girls and it is right that they live their own lives. And I do, and will enjoy time alone with the love of my life. I am looking forward to it just being the two of us. And I am super excited to take over Nan’s room! It will become my work room for Iris + Hart!! Now that’s exciting!
There will be more to come about the wedding and with pictures! We are hoping and praying for warmer temperatures for this event. Isn’t life a celebration? Every time I turn around its someone’s birthday or anniversary or some big milestone in their lives. But truth be told, every day is worth celebrating. And I for one am so thankful for my family and friends who celebrate with me.
What are you celebrating this fall or winter?