The other day, I realized, somewhat with horror, that I had been in the food and beverage business for over 20 years. The horror did not come from being in the business itself but from the fact that I was old enough to have had a career that could span 20 years! But after accepting this piece of reality, I can say that I have had a lot of experience in all kinds of events, weddings included. This experience has made me the go-to gal on many occasions of weddings I have attended. I have been summoned from guest tables to help cut a wedding cake because sadly the caterer did not include that service. I have been grabbed at the entrance of the reception hall to help with some catastrophe (linens stained, bride’s dress ripping, food not ready, groomsmen drinking). Weddings don’t scare me. In fact I love weddings. I tear up at every one of them, even if I’ve never met the bride and groom. I have been a bridesmaid in three weddings, a maid of honor in one wedding and I’ve even been the bride. All of these experiences should have prepared me for my newest wedding responsibility, mother of the bride. But it didn’t, not quite at least…
My oldest daughter, Jasmine, got married last month to her best friend Jesse. We planned her wedding for months. Here’s where I have to give credit to some extraordinary vendors who I had the privilege of working with as a personal client for the first time. I’ll list their websites at the end because I highly recommend them. Jasmine wanted an outdoor wedding and we instantly thought of Inside the Bungalow. This is a quirky, hidden little gem of a venue. It is reasonably priced and can accommodate both the ceremony and the reception. It was an absolute perfect match for Jasmine and Jesse and Betty made the experience for all of us fun and easy. We got our venue booked, we got our caterer booked (I’m guessing that one was obvious) and we visited my friends, Ginia and Sandy at Yknot Party. They helped create the centerpieces and flowers Jasmine visualized and tolerated all of our changes and indecisiveness. Dan from NDK Professional DJ service was next in line to be secured and he too was kind and understanding and reminded me of exactly why we choose to recommend him to our clients. Amy at Piece of Cakes Desserts must have answered ten emails I sent her about cupcakes. Every detail was accounted for and I couldn’t have been more excited on the day of the wedding. But up until this point, I was more like a wedding planner helping to create something special for a bride. When I woke up that Saturday morning, I was instead, mother of the bride. And nothing quite prepared me for the emotions of that!
The day began with such beautiful weather I couldn’t help but sneak out for an early morning walk in it. I even recall praising the heavens for giving us pretty clouds and cool breezes at the end of April! I was almost giddy with excitement as the guys trudged decorations over to the venue and the girls began to arrive to get ready. Everything was going exactly as planned. I made Jasmine promise to decide before the wedding even began that it was a perfect day. I gave her the speech every bride should hear. That everything that can go wrong will go wrong and that nothing should matter exact for that golden moment when you become united in marriage. I meant every word I said too.
But as I sipped mimosas with the giggling bridesmaids, the clouds began to roll in, the wind began to shake the trees and a few raindrops began to fall. I’ll admit it…there was a tiny bit of panic. (My husband might describe it as verging on hysteria). But rain??? For an all outdoor, uncovered venue? 150 guests soon to be approaching? I was, to be honest, rather unnerved. I also realized in my relaxing morning of mother of the bride, I had not let the reality of the timeline sink in. We had two hours to set the venue with catering, décor and every other little detail we’d dreamed up. And I had to get ready once this was all done. As I rushed through the Bungalow’s gates cursing the rain that was soaking the table linens and frantically trying to orchestrate my volunteers into action, I realized I was no longer the 20 year old veteran but a brand new mother of the bride. My catering captain arrived and I sought reassurance from him on the weather. He looked at me wryly and said that the last time he had worked an outdoor wedding, he’d gotten soaked. I stopped and stared at him. “I’m the mother of the bride!” I told him. “It’s going to be fine – it will blow over”, he lied and hurried away.
There were so many things to finish up. The pictures to put on all the tables. The bubbles and party favors to put at every place setting. The Polaroid guest book to setup. The tree planting ceremony. The cake. The corsages to be passed out to the grandparents who were arriving and asking me why I was still in jeans and flip flops.
But ask me how it all went? I’ll tell you that it was the best and most beautiful wedding ever. And in my heart, I really and truly think it was. It was absolutely perfect. My daughter glowed and she and Jesse couldn’t have looked more in love. Everyone we cared about was there and the dance floor was packed all night. What I’m not telling you is that the wind was blowing so hard we couldn’t pass out programs during the ceremony. I’m not mentioning how my grandson, the ring bearer, chose the moment of walking down the aisle to have a meltdown that required me to grab him and carry him out. I’m not telling you that my grandparents were so cold I had to get extra tablecloths from my catering crew to wrap them in. I’m not mentioning the rain that finally came down on us right as we had dinner.
The reason I’m not mentioning those things is not because I want to hide the reality from my telling of this story, but because they are the irrelevant details that took place. The wedding was perfect, my daughter told me so. She had the best time she could have ever imagined. After that wind and mild rain came through, the sky cleared and the stars shown and we enjoyed cool enough weather to dance in long dresses and suit coats at the end of April. In Arizona.
Despite verging on the brink of hysteria, deep in the back of my mind I knew that it would all be okay – that it would all work out in the end. But like I said, I wasn’t prepared to be mother of the bride. Not because of the stress, the weather, the uncertainly of the whole planned out day… but because I had no idea my heart could feel that large. I had no idea how completely and utterly struck I would be by the beauty of my girl as she beamed up at Jesse or how handsome my husband would look as he gave away her hand. I couldn’t even have begun to know what it would feel like to hug the family members of my new son in law and know that we were now bonded in such a special way. I wasn’t prepared for the emotional experience of looking across the beautiful courtyard and knowing that every person in the place was so very special and significant to our families. And when my sweet loving daughter, who was now someone’s wife, hugged me and thanked me for her perfect day, I didn’t know a piece of my heart would forever be walking out with her.
What a wonderful experience that entire day was. And having lived it first hand, I feel utterly honored by all of the mothers who have put their trust in me and my company to create their daughter’s perfect day. I thought I knew why you cried and teared up over all the details, but I didn’t. Not really. Not until the day I was just like you. The day I was Mother of the Bride.
As promised… here are the links to the amazing vendors who made Jasmine’s day a great success!
Inside the Bungalow www.insidethebungalow.com
YKnot Party Rentals www.yknotparty.com
NDK Pro DJ www.ndkprodj.com
Piece of Cake Desserts www.pieceofcake.com