Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7



Thursday, July 09, 2015

Once you have grace, then there are all the details (and lots of pictures)



The wedding photos finally came in -- all 1121 of them). Yikes! I promise to just give you a glimpse, but I wanted to chat about our "strategy" with this wedding and what I would and would not recommend as a result of the outcomes.

First -- the entire wedding party (please do double click for a really good look):


I know that I am a little biased, but I think they are an awfully beautiful bunch (my biological children are: the groom -- Joshua, the junior bridesmaid on the chair -- Faith, the groomsmen fifth -- Geoffrey -- and fourth -- Noah -- from the right). Now I also also have a child by marriage -- the bride -- Taylor.

They are also a big bunch. I admit I also had a very large wedding party, so I really can't criticize them for that, but if you can keep your wedding party small, it eliminates a lot of other issues.



What we did and how it worked out.
  • We chose a church and reception venue that had a significant meaning for us, in this case my son's (and husband's and other sons') high school chapel, and the commons at the school for the reception. It was nice to not have to get in the car and go anywhere in between the Mass and reception. My husband and I were also married there, so it really felt like home. We also chose a priest who is a personal friend and because this chapel is not a parish, there was no trouble getting permission from our pastor.


Mother of Mercy Chapel at St. Charles Preparatory School




Walter Commons at St. Charles


Because the Commons is not a hotel or reception facility (it is open to other groups for social events, but its primary purpose is for the school), we were easily able to help share the cost. Doug and I paid for the facility and the bride's family paid for the food.
  • From our family's perspective (the bride and all of our extended family are Catholic, but the bride's family is not), the Nuptial Mass was the most important place to really focus on details. We paid for a very good cantor, something I think is worth a lot of money. (If you're local to central Ohio, I can't recommend Johnny Steiner enough). His singing of Panis Angelicus was worth all the money we paid him. We kept the Mass fairly simple, but put our focus on a few special touches.


It was a bonus that he was Joshua's choral director while at St. Charles.





My sister-in-law (my brother is behind her), who is also Joshua's Godmother, played Ave Maria by Norbert  on the violin during the Mary devotion.





  •  I made the bridesmaids and flower girl dresses and the bride's veil. Though this was a nightmare some of the time for me, I don't think I would have changed it, even if I had to do all the work again. First of all, the dresses were modest (at least compared to what you find in bridal salons). They were also inexpensive. Each dress cost me about $30 to make. I ordered the fabric in bulk from Joann when it was half price and I was able to use a coupon for the entire order. Unfortunately I have a lot of fabric left over because I was afraid we wouldn't be able to get more and I over-ordered. I didn't ask for the girls to reimburse me, because they are almost all college students and they really appreciated not having to spend $250 for a bridesmaid's dress, that (admit it) they wouldn't wear again. In hindsight, it would have been nice if they had made a $30 - $50 donation to the groomsmen fund because the tuxes were $170 to rent for each guy (and that was the least expensive tux they could get locally).


Yes, that's Faith on the left end -- as tall as almost all the other girls.




  • Taylor's grandma did all of the flowers. They were all silk flowers and she shopped every time Michael's or Joann's had a sale and just kept collecting purple, ivory and grey flowers and greenery. I don't know how much she spent, but it was her contribution to the wedding and the flowers looked very nice. I like fresh flowers, especially for bouquets, but I know many brides spend over $1000 for flowers and in a couple days they are dead. For practicality alone, silk flowers were smart. The flowers on the tables at the reception were silk as well, and they had three different centerpieces scattered throughout the room. They also purchased these stands for the bridesmaids' bouquets for the head table -- very pretty.


My husband giving the invocation.




  • Many couples pay for someone to set up a candy bar for a sweet take-home treat for guests. The bride's mother did it herself and it cost a fraction of what she would have paid someone.



  • We were permitted to set up our own bar because the venue allowed for it. That saved a lot of money that would normally be paid to the caterer. The caterer allowed the bride's family to hire a bartender provided by them, and he poured the beer and sangria, and kept track of how many drinks each person had -- there was a limit. We decided we didn't want to offer hard liquor because we didn't want to have to worry about people getting drunk and driving. The bride's family bought inexpensive domestic beer because that's what they like, and we bought a keg of beer from a local microbrewery that we thought our guests would enjoy. I also made 6 gallons of Sangria, and we offered soda and had a coffee bar, as well. Champagne was purchased for the toast.

  • The one disappointment of the reception was the cake. The bride and her mom shopped bakeries and chose a family favorite, which was one of the most reasonably priced at (unbelievable!) over $550. Though they had the cake pictured below (two layers of vanilla and strawberry and one layer of chocolate raspberry, plus a half sheet of white cake, there was not enough cake. I've decided maybe I need to go into the wedding cake business -- $550 for a wedding cake. Ridiculous!



  • The kids wanted a DJ for dancing. As it turned out, the dancing was very popular. We had guests who said they hadn't seen so many people dancing at a wedding reception in years. The kids had a really good time, especially the wedding party -- they danced until 11 pm when the DJ's time ended (thank goodness).


Josh and Taylor danced to Stand by Me.



Taylor and her dad danced to You've Got a Friend by James Taylor.




How Sweet it Is also by James Taylor was the tune Joshua and I danced to. Originally I wanted Let me Call You Sweetheart, because I used to sing that to all the babies when I was rocking and walking them, but the DJ didn't have a good version. It was a good thing, because I would have blubbed through the whole thing.






I have one more post about the wedding (I hope you're not getting tired of it yet), and it has to deal with choosing your bridesmaids and groomsmen, and their responsibilities (or what should be their responsibilities)


photographs by The Belgard



31 comments:

  1. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. The dresses are gorgeous, as is the veil. I would think that at $30 the girls could have paid for their dresses. Tuxes are just ridiculous! The flowers are great, too. Grandma did a good job of making silk flowers look lovely. Stellar wedding all around.

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    1. I could have asked the girls for the money -- the funny (odd, strange -- not sure what the word is) thing is, not one offered. Of course, we had three of those tuxes to rent. Doug owns one and I don't think anyone could tell it wasn't the same.

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  3. Everything looks so beautiful!
    And wow, it's quite impressive to look at all of those girls and to think you made ALL those dresses! Amazing! (I agree it's very strange no one offered to reimburse you for your materials as well as your labor!) The girls all look lovely, and as you said, modest too.
    That's truly wild about the cake price! Yikes!
    You look quite lovely, but hope we get a full shot of you in the last post! :-)

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    1. Thank you, Kimberlee. I'll post the photo of our entire "new" family so you can the "whole" me. ;-)

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  4. No, never tired of the wedding posts!! Everything looked gorgeous, and it sounds like a beautiful, memorable day for everyone. I've never admitted this to anyone but Rob, but I would change just about every detail of my wedding except the groom and the dress. The priest kept calling Rob by the wrong name and he wrote my name down completely incorrectly on the marriage license (we like to joke that we are doing pretty well for a couple who might not be legally married, ha!). No one saved us any food from our cocktail hour, so we have no idea what that was like. Our cake fell on the ground, so I have no idea what that really tasted like other than the tiny lick I had when we cut the cake. Our poor mothers had complete nervous breakdowns on our wedding morning (for different reasons, but still), and his brother tried to talk him out of marrying me. Plus, it was raining and we were having an outdoor reception. If we believed in omens or signs, we would have thought divorce was imminent. We always laugh about it and I tell him next time I'm eloping. ;-)

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    1. Wow, I feel like nothing went wrong with "our" wedding when I hear that. Really, the only thing I could say was wrong was not enough cake. I give all credit to Our Father in heaven for giving us the graces to handle any bumps in the road. We also had Sister Margaret who kept everyone in line -- nothing like a Sister who teaches high school boys to keep everyone in line, but with a smile!

      PS I asked the bride a few weeks before the wedding if she wished she had eloped. "yup!" was her response. A wedding is stressful for anyone. My preference after my own wedding and my son's would be a very small church wedding -- immediate family only -- and a family dinner. But when I look at the photos of family having so much fun, I can't deny it was worth it.

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  5. I'm not tired at all!! Love it! And I was happy to see you in the pictures...you are beautiful!!

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    1. Patty, you are just so sweet. I just love you!

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  6. Not tired at all! It looks like a beautiful day for all.

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    1. Besides the fact that it was pouring down rain outdoors, it WAS beautiful -- perfectly beautiful!

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  7. Lovely! One day I'll be the mom of the bride or groom, so I'm loving all you're putting into this.

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    1. Thanks, Barb. I imagine I'm missing a lot of details, but I'm trying to remember the important things.

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  8. I'm interested in YOUR dress. My 2nd daughter is getting married in Oct., and I'm starting to panic because I haven't found anything I like yet, mother-of-the-bride-wise.

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    1. Since the bridesmaids were wearing just-below-the-knee dresses, the mother-of-the-bride and I decided to go with knee-ish length. Mine was about mid-calf. I got it online at Dillards. You'd be surprised at the sales you can get online at places like Nordstrom, Von Maur, Dillards, Macy's. And they usually have a "special occasions" section or a bridal salon section so you can go right to the dresses you want. I am not a shopper -- I can't stand going to the mall. I did make one mistake and bought from an online shop (JJ's House). The dress was an awful shade of blue (dirty ocean blue) and when I tried to return it they gave me a really hard time. When they finally agreed, I had to pay $29 to return it to CHINA! Stick with stores you know and many of the ones I mentioned offer free returns.

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    2. Thanks so much, Barbara. I too hate the mall. My girlfriends took me out to happy hour last night, and then said, "Hey, let's take Kate to look for a dress!" I had to grin and bear it, as they were being so kind. "Just reconnaissance," I told them. Online sounds like a plan. You look great, by the way!

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  9. Beautiful....everything! Keep those wedding posts coming. I asked L why we didn't get married at St. Charles, he reminded me that we were under the mercy of the immigration timeline. I would have loved a wedding there.

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    1. It's a really special place to have a wedding!

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  10. Great pictures Barbara!! Everything is beautiful and what a great looking couple!! You are AMAZING!!! I know you mentioned on your blog about making all of the bridesmaid dresses but WOW! That was a big job!! beautiful job!!
    Hope you are doing well?

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    1. Thank you, Kirsten. You're sweet. I'm ok -- I did a job on my back sewing the veil, so now I have to do exercises and rest it. Other than that, I'm recovering well. ;-)

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  11. Oh, Barbara! The wedding is so beautiful! When I looked at that photo of the entire wedding party, I instantly thought of all of your hard work to make so many dresses. I really couldn't picture it until I saw that photo. WOW! You are amazing!! (Although I think the girls should have paid something for the fabric and your work. But those of us who are saying that just know what a labor of love it was for you ... and we love you!)

    The tips you are sharing about dos and don'ts are very helpful! It might be several years since I need them, but I will know who to turn to for advice when the time comes :-)

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    1. P.S. I love the photo of you and Joshua dancing!

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    2. Thank you, Sarah. Taylor had it printed and framed for me for my birthday. :-)

      And I am glad I was able to help by making the dresses. I think if more people pitched it, weddings sure would be a lot easier -- something for all of us to remember. It's good to offer help AND accept it.

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  12. Oh, my goodness! I loved this post! I'm trying to catch up since I haven't been on reading blogs in weeks!! I am just in the middle of your wedding posts...

    Oh, my goodness!! The dresses are amazing!! The flowers, the candy, the cake, everything!

    I can't believe how much tuxes cost now! Wow!

    Your boys look so very handsome!!
    I looked for Faith right away and I was looking for someone shorter!! She looks so beautiful!!

    Onto other posts....I love all the details you've written about!
    Congratulations to you all!
    I thought of you all that whole weekend!

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    1. Thank you, Jamie, for all your sweet comments. Faith is so tall -- she's almost taller than me at 13, so I guess I'm going to end up the shortest in the family! And she's so thin -- she's built like Doug's mother and her seven sisters -- tall and thin.

      I'm glad you enjoyed all the photos. I hope you feel like you were there. ;-) Wish you could have heard the music!

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    2. The way you describe it, I did felt like I could almost hear the music....

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  13. I am loving all these posts! I love that photo of you with your son....that one always makes me tear up! You looked amazing Barbara! Truly beautiful!! What a beautiful family photo...all the photos are beautiful!!

    Oops, this was not the family photo post...I'm getting my posts mixed up, I might have already commented on this one...:)

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    1. You can comment as much as you want! Love ya.

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I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!