What a blur of a week. Let me ask you this: can one plan a wedding with eleven weeks notice that will include about 300 people?
Ummm…apparently one can.
My crazy week began last Saturday with an excited, emotionally charged phone call from ma belle fille announcing she was engaged! Thankfully we were “prepared” emotionally for the news because her then boyfriend/now fiance called for “permission/blessing” to marry her the previous Tuesday evening (collective “awwwww!”). So old fashioned…and sweet. And a great way to score points with his future MIL.
On Monday I started the internet searches and phone calls for venues. I wanted to be armed and ready with an exhaustive list knowing that getting a date in July or August would be tough on such short notice. But this was very faulty thinking. Because you see, Belle Fille et fiance decided to have it on May 12th. May 12, 2012. So Tuesday I started calling my list knowing I was wasting my time on a pipe dream. Yet, crazily enough, I found three possibilities. What happened to work in my favor is that May 12th is the last day of the Tulip Festival in Holland (where she is getting married) so these popular places were open because the locals would rather be out kicking up their wooden shoes than getting married. I made appointments to visit all three on Thursday.
Wednesday we drove to Detroit to pick up Belle Fille at the airport. Afterwards we celebrated her engagement at our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant in Ann Arbor, MI (Palm Palace). We presented her with her engagement gifts (all from Amazon.com):
She was tickled to get her planner and I was tickled to see her ring:
After our amazing meal we headed home. Our second surprise was an intimate dinner planned at Grandma’s where we also invited a couple of close friends to join us for a light dinner and champagne. Belle Fille loved it. I loved the champagne.
Thursday we had our first venue visit at 10:00AM. The place was very lovely and what appeals to me about it over the other two options is that they take care of everything in-house–catering, room set up, centerpieces, service, etc. We can bring in our own DJ and cake. The less I have to do the better. Plus, the bride and groom get a complimentary hotel room at the site.
The second place we visited is the home of the historic high school. It was built in 1912 so you can imagine how I fell in love with this one…all the original wood work, vintage mouldings, great floors, glass block walls/floors. If I was getting married, this is the one I would probably choose. However, we would have to find catering, do our own decorating, rent table linens/chair covers/place settings–it all adds up quickly. Plus all the work…eck.
The third place (forgot to take pictures) was more modern, maybe a little smaller than we would like, but a viable option. Again we would have to provide all the above mentioned amenities. We were all feeling strongly about option one but sticker shocked Master Bliss wanted me to at least price out some caterers to see if it would be cheaper to do it that way. I promised I would.
On the way home Belle Fille asked if we could stop at a Bridal shop downtown Holland. We were all in the wedding spirit so we decided it would be fun. I urged her to remember we are just looking, getting ideas. We stepped into the elegant little store and were greeted by the sweetest older lady (I’ll call her Doris). She is working in this store during her “retirement years” but previously had her own bridal shop for 30 years. She was a doll. When she asked about our date she was shocked it was so soon and sweetly explained that getting any of their dresses took at least 6-8 months once ordered. However, she added that there were some dresses on sale in the back and we could check those out if we were willing to buy off the rack. Did someone say SALE? I told her we would happily start our shopping back there.
There were maybe 20-25 dresses to look through. Belle Fille had a rough idea of what she wanted. She pulled out one she liked in white. I pulled out another couple of dresses in champagne and ivory explaining that she might as well try different colors to see which suited her complexion best. Petite Doris hauled them all upstairs to a dressing room and then the fun began.
I helped Belle Fille struggle in the first white dress. The entire process is both hard work and fall on your butt funny–well, at least I thought it was. With the first dress on, she sashayed out to the “pedestal” (despite my warnings to Doris of the danger of putting this child on one) to see how she looked. Keep in mind, Belle Fille is thin so almost anything she puts on is going to look good. And this dress did but we all agreed it wasn’t her best look. Off the pedestal and back to the dressing room.
The second one was the champagne colored one I had grabbed. We struggled a bit with getting this one on and fastened up because of laced back closure design. But once it was on her I thought it looked amazing…I didn’t say much but I thought much. I could see that something on her face was thinking the same thing. Once she got up on that pedestal–we knew. It was the ONE. She knew it was, I knew it was and even little Doris did. Master Bliss perhaps didn’t but he nodded his approval. And even though we “knew”, we didn’t think it could be that easy to find the perfect dress. So she tried on a couple more….and then came back to “THE ONE”. I had to lace that beauty back up again so we could see it one more time. Belle Fille didn’t want to take it off. Yep. It was and we were right. We decided to put it on hold for 24hrs. Why? Because one, I still wanted her to try my beautiful, perfectly preserved wedding dress before making a decision. I knew she wasn’t crazy about this idea but I just felt we really needed to rule out its possibility of being used. Second, I wanted her to go to at least one other store to see what was available by comparison, being the savvy shopper I am…I was even interested it shopping for a used one (for heaven’s sake, they are only worn once). But as Belle Fille was changing, sweet Doris says, “Now remember that particular dress would only be $325.” What?! Both Master Bliss and my jaws dropped. I said, “Doris, I thought the $650 was the sale price.” An honest assumption because most of the dresses in this shop started at the $1000 mark. She said, “Oh no, not that one. All those dresses are half off the original price but this one was marked down too because it is discontinued. Originally it would’ve been $1300.” I turned to Master Bliss and said, “That dress is coming home today.” He agreed. We double checked with Belle Fille that she was confident this was the right one for her…she adamantly, excitedly nodded her head “YES!”. We asked if she was OK with us buying it “today”…well there are no words to describe the insane, euphoric look on her face. The dress was bought but in the end stayed at the store so we can return the next week for a fitting. I am still in disbelief that we not only found her dress but stumbled on such an amazing deal.
Today I did some research on caterers and have decided we wouldn’t be saving money (at least not enough to make a substantial difference in money saved or time involved) by hiring caterers, renting linens and place settings over just having venue #1 do it all for the same investment and fewer headaches. So now the venue is secured as well.
all done in one week. Belle Fille and her fiance are covering the cost of the photography, the future in-laws are doing the flowers (I think) so those items are out of my hands. The invitations will probably be ordered within the next couple of days. Can you believe so many things fell together so quickly? I am so thankful.
Would you enjoy planning a wedding? Did you enjoy planning yours? or your child’s? Trust me when I say, this is not my cup of tea. But it is rewarding to see Belle Fille so happy.
P.S. (sniff, sniff) I will be putting my gorgeous, silk wedding gown in my etsy store. I don’t know if I am sad to part with it or that it qualifies as “vintage”.