“This Ain’t Your Mama’s Wedding!” A Mother Reflects as She Helps Plan Her Daughter’s Wedding
I’m so happy to share this post by another member of the Women Over Fifty Bloggers community. Reading her story brought a tear to my eye remembering my own daughter’s wedding and feeling the same shock when helping her plan (and pay for) it. Time is definitely marching on and nothing seems to escape modernization. But…there are still some things that will never change. Enjoy Mary Jo’s story, and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.
GUEST BLOGGER: MARY JO MARTIN
Blogger: Visiting the Gray Planet
Mary Jo is a happy-to-be 57-yr old blogger living in Denver, Colorado. She launched her lifestyle blog for middle aged women in April of this year. Her writing focuses mainly on aging parents, retirement and gray hair.
Mary Jo states that aging is like grade school math: “you’re going to add some things and subtract some things”.
When confronted with the realities that growing older brings, she feels it’s easier when you have good information and you know you’re not alone.
Weddings Have Changed (and that’s putting it mildly!)
My daughter got married last summer which made me a first-time mother of the bride.
The night they got engaged was magical. I remember the young man who couldn’t quit smiling and the future bride glowing with love and excitement. Now I know what they mean by “love is in the air.” As I was glowing with pride and soaking this all in, the arresting thought that we would be putting on a wedding hit me. It was the first of many shocking realizations I was about to discover.
I got married in 1987 and had a lovely wedding very much in line with the standards of the ’80’s. Perms for all! My mother and I planned everything together. We bought 1 bridal magazine and talked to friends who had wedding experience. In a moment of liberalism, we let my groom-to-be choose his own clothes for the wedding. Other than that, his job was to have his mom call me so we could compile a guest list.
So imagine my surprise, when my future son-in-law wanted to be involved in planning his wedding. Apparently this is a thing now: couples planning their wedding together.
I was already a little off-kilter, this being the first wedding in my family with me a member of the older generation. While my daughter’s friends, in their matching bridesmaid dresses, were out on the dance floor, my friends from college and I were competing in the “most years married” contest.
As the planning process began, I couldn’t believe how much had changed since I planned my wedding…
When did engagement pictures become a necessity? In the 1980’s, wealthy people occasionally did that for the newspaper but no one else did. Apparently now, this is one of the first things to be scheduled.
While the happy couple was busy choosing coordinating outfits for pictures, I was contemplating the wording of the wedding invitations. Sadly, neither of their parents are still married (to each other anyway) so to include the names of all involved along with the date, would lead to a lot of extra wording on the fancy 5 x7 invitations with the scroll-y lettering… May eighteenth two thousand seventeen…you know, in the proper way that we did it back in the 80’s.
I was in for another surprise! The modern couple chose a tri-panel invitation that included no scrolls and no awkward listing of parent’s names. They filled the panels with adorable engagement pictures and information about the wedding. In addition, there were no RSVP cards! Nope. We do all that on line now.
When I was engaged, my mom kept track of all my wedding guests on 4 X 6 index cards stored in a shoe box. A 4 x 6 card was big enough to keep track of the date the invitation was mailed, their response to the RSVP, the gift we’d received and when we’d sent the thank you. I kept this box for decades because it reminded me of the excitement of planning the wedding and of all the people who were there.
Soon after the engagement pictures were taken, the groom-to-be started working on their wedding website. The website includes a small data base of guest information. This is necessary for sending emails and Facebook invites so all their friends could save the date.
There’s also a section for a biography of the couple and each attendant. This does takes some of the mystery out of the actual ceremony. We used to sit in the pews and speculate, “Is that the bride’s sister? Who do you think that man is?” Now we know everyone’s full name, how they met the bride and groom, and we are also able to read their messages of congratulations on the website.
One very good development in wedding planning is cake tasting!
The Groom-to-be was out of town during the cake-testing event, so I got to go! The bakery had 60 different types of cake flavors. 60! We narrowed our choices down to 6 and emailed the bakery so they could prepare.
When I got married, my cake choices were white, lemon, and poppy seed.
Here’s a tip for cake tasting day: If you’re going to eat 6 cupcakes with icing at 10:00 in the morning, you are going to want milk. You are also going to want to lay down when you get home.
It is now becoming common to skip the cake entirely and have other fun desserts like pie or donuts. What? I thought marriage only became legal after the couple fed each other a delicate bite of cake! They tell me this isn’t true.
I don’t know how modern brides (oh, and grooms) ever make a decision on anything with access to so many choices. Pinterest is inspiring, but it also raises the bar on individuality. In addition to picking a dress and attendants, the trend now is to have a wedding theme: “Island Paradise”, “Wedding in a Barn”, “Summer Romance”, “New Age Bohemian”.
Of course your guest book also needs to reflect your theme. Your guests may be signing a picture frame, a log, or possibly even a surf board. Gone are the stiff little white guest books of my day.
In the 1980’s, entertainment at the reception was limited to throwing the bouquet and watching your parent’s friend’s try to dance after a few drinks. Now we have photo booths and games. Signature cocktails and slide shows. Popcorn bars. Serve yourself candy tables.
When I got married, a first class wedding gave out Jordan almonds wrapped in netting and called it good.
Planning the modern wedding was an eye-opener for me, and a challenge learning to adapt to all the changes. But with the planning over, the big day had finally arrived.
The Wedding Day
The bridesmaids giggled and fixed their hair. The bride and groom’s families got acquainted; trying to make a good impression. The wedding guests gathered and reflected fondly on their own wedding day.
The Father-of-the-bride misted up as he walked his daughter down the aisle.
The happy couple made solemn vows and anticipated their future together.
They started their newly married status surrounded by the love and good wishes of friends and family.
You know…the way weddings have always been.