Our only daughter is getting married Saturday, September 24th, 2011. Wow.
I suppose it's something we've thought about over the years, but honestly I don't think I've really had visions of our daughter walking down the church aisle on her father's arm, in a long white dress, and her beautiful face demurely covered by a white veil, organ music setting the mood- perhaps Pachabel Canon in D - the scent of flowers heavy in the air.
Nope. Realistically I think my thoughts of Erin marrying included bare feet, toes in the sand, laughter, tons of smiles, sunshine, a breeze off the water and did I mention laughter?!
Since Chris and Erin's engagement was announced in December we've been making wonderful progress. Or at least it feels that way. Maybe I don't know any different. I recall early on telling someone about the engagement and I was met with a "shaking head and heavy heart" as they wished me luck to survive such a stressful year. Really? Thanks.
The bride and groom-to-be both had ideas but no opportunities to put things together. When they drove to Boise in January for the Wedding Show, Erin had Chris' undivided attention for the six hour trip and they walked thru everything. When they arrived they knew where, when, who and even discussed reception food. We had a blast at the Wedding Show. Matt and Britnee joined us for moral support. We kept busy signing the couple up for freebies and contests. We got decorating ideas, tasted some yummy samples but nothing too much would help as the wedding venue would not be local.
When we watched the fashion show I wasn't overwhelmed with any of the dresses until one model came out - Matt looked at me and said "that one looks like my sister". It brought tears to my eyes. Maybe it was Matt's noticing too or maybe it was sleep deprivation. Needless to say after the show we went back to the booth for that particular store and made an appointment for Erin to try the dress on Monday.
Being new to this whole scene, we didn't have a clue and after a family lunch our first stop was a bridal store. Ha - us and 90 other brides-to-be, their moms, sisters, bestest friends and second cousin's neighbor's niece. I'm certain we had that 'deer in the headlights' look but were assured we could make an appointment for the next day. We did.
The part we didn't think through was the fact we had an early afternoon appointment on a Sunday - during football season - when the Packers were doing well - AND playing, of all teams, Da Bears!
I have absolutely no remorse. Yes I admit I was watching for updates from family in Wisconsin and at home. I was watching my ESPN Sportscenter for highlights. But so was the bride-to-be, the associate helping her AND three or four other groups in the store. All of us waiting for the next "dinkle dink" on my phone alerting us to a new score change.
Now, back to the dress. We are not shoppers. We don't hang out at the mall. Erin told me she'd picked some dresses in their catalog but only wanted to try on 5-6. She didn't think she'd even get that far. The first couple didn't suit her well. They were beautiful but not Erin. She tried on one with an Empire waist and it was gorgeous. Then she tried on one with an A-line waist. No lie - heads turned. Other groups watched - everyone said they liked that one. Erin told me she felt like a bride in the dress and my eyes filled with tears. I have tons of pictures. You should see... oh never mind. I can't show you.
Our wonderful assistant took down all the info. She talked Erin into trying a veil that looked perfect. We discovered a miniature bride dress that matched for the Flower Girl. We left feeling quite happy with ourselves. Erin was determined to try on the 'show dress' the next morning before leaving town because it just looked so perfect.
The next dress experience wasn't quite so positive. The dress prices started almost double the first store. The 'show dress' wasn't available in a size that fit well on Erin so she was told to 'imagine' how it would hang. They were helpful enough to give her a website and phone number she could use to call around and see if another store in the state had the same dress in a slightly larger size for the "image". Erin was frustrated. I felt her disappointment. I talked her into returning to the first store and trying on the other dress - just one more time - before heading north.
Upon our return the store attendants graciously set her up in a changing room, located the dress, and when she came out she had tears in her eyes she said "Mom I'm done looking. This is the dress I want." So... we had a dress.
Naturally our tree hugging, barefoot, recycling, outdoorsy girl wants to get married on the beach. There was some deliberation about which beach but the answer became obvious when they looked into their hearts. Erin loves Kalaloch and Chris loves Erin. Ok so he also loves Kalaloch too. Kalaloch holds such a special spot in our family's hearts. Mike's parents and brother's cremains were scattered there. Family has been staying there for over 60 years. We had a 'where'.
Erin knew she wanted to use blue hydrangeas and white lilys for arrangements, corsages and boutonnieres. The hydrangeas are lovely and grow all around the Lodge at Kalaloch. Britnee, Erin and I went out to buy a handful of silk flowers to play. We have simple ideas for decorations and have already started making a few flower arrangements.
'Save the date' cards went into the mail this week. Chris and Erin picked a couple of pictures from Kalaloch and did a little photo-shop to create their message. My first order for postcards from Snapfish wasn't sized right and the messages were cut off. My second attempt went better. Our creative daughter came up with the idea of using some of the postcards to make refrigerator magnets. I took it a step further and made some bookmarks out of the other scene. They turned out so cute and we didn't waste them entirely.
Reservations for lodging are done. Wedding attendants are on board. Girls have plans to come to the big city over Spring Break for dress shopping. Our wonderful daughter-in-law Debbie shared wedding "been there done that" tips with us and she's dialed in to cater a simple reception in one of the rented cabins AND help us get the cake. Our 'couple' has asked Dad to make some of his wine. He has started the bride's favorites - a Riesling, a white Zinfandel and a Merlot. We even found the perfect shade of blue bottles.
Erin and Chris have a friend, a former Vandal from U of I, who is a photographer in Seattle. He's been contacted and signed on for our wedding pictures because, apparently, the Mother of the Bride can't be the photographer!
I remember in January, as we walked through their plans, thinking September was so far down the road. I thought it's good to pace ourselves but we don't want to get too far ahead. Suddenly it's the end of February. Where did the time go already? Spring break is just 3 weeks away. Erin, Chris and Krieg will be walking mid-May for graduation. Krieg will head off to Alaska for a summer of fishing and we will be working on some smaller things, as well as getting invites in the mail. Our talented daughter-in-law Britnee is going to paint the cover for the wedding program and help with flower arrangements. I keep thinking this should feel more stressful. Don't worry. I'm not kidding myself into a dream-like state. I know we have a full plate ahead of us but I also know our daughter - she's a lot like her mom. And I know there is a list somewhere that has it all covered too!