Saturday, May 16, 2009

Behind the Scenes at the wedding and MOG tips pt.4

I've been part of several weddings over the years, and regardless of what time the wedding starts there are always a few last minute details that unexpectedly pop up. All part of the fun...memory-wise...later.

Since ours was a morning wedding, I had a few breakfast items tucked away in our room so we could eat and be on our way. Oranges and coffee in bed with rain outside and a fire to enjoy was a perfect start for the day.

It was raining like crazy later, and of course we couldn't find the umbrella we had with us, so I arrived at the church in jeans and a tee shirt, pulling a rolling luggage bag full of my shoes and dresses (yes, I brought two...just in case...) several pair of hose and a bottle of water. Later several of the bridesmaids were glad to have water to sip!

Since we had to be at the church so early, I did my hair and make up myself at the hotel. Hair and make-up is a really personal subject: but I'm going to wade in here anyway and give a few tips.

MOG tip: How you usually do or don't do make up effects how you look in photographs. If you usually don't like how you look in pictures, this may be the day you will want to make use of the tools that make up artists have to offer. Don't be shy about trying out the free make-up sessions at the local cosmetic counters prior to the wedding. Explain what is going on: a morning or evening wedding, formal, informal, but most importantly, that you will be getting photographed. Let a couple of "artists" give it a whirl, then have someone shoot a few pictures of you later, up close and at a distance. What might seem like "too much" might actually be just right for the pictures.

MOG tip: Most MOGs have "earned their stripes" ie: a wrinkle or two here and there, both from time marching on and the dear groom's growing up antics. Nothing to be ashamed of in those! A friend who was a "later life" MOG said that she decided to have a facial for the first time a bit before the big day...and afterwards wondered why she had waited so long to indulge! I remembered her comments and so both B. and I took advantage of an opportunity to have facials done at the school where I work. Yes they now have facials for guys!

Check with a local cosmetology/esthetician school if you want a bargain on facials, and plan on having the facial done at least a week before the day. If you are considering other treatments such are hair cuts or tints, manicures, teeth whiting, skin peels etc (it is amazing how many "touch up" procedures can be done these days) give yourself the proper lead time. The service providers knows the right timing and sequencing for any treatment you may be considering.

If you don't go in for those sort of thing, that is fine too...but if you decide this is the time to explore options, go for it!

The bride had hired a makeup artist for herself. What I didn't expect was that the artist would take one look at me and ask if she could "re-do" my hair and make up.
I wasn't the least offended. She fretted that my blush was too pale; later in the pictures I could see that is really was.
Guess I needed that MOG pre-wedding make-up sample sessions tip earlier.

Weeks before the wedding while the floral order was being arrange, I was asked if I wanted my corsage to be a wrist corsage or a pinned on corsage.

MOG tip: If you are wearing long sleeves you probably will want a pinned on corsage as a wrist corsage will bunch up your sleeve. A wrist corsage is really a better choice otherwise simply because you can hug all you want and not worry about sticking someone (or yourself!) or crushing the flowers.

MOG tip: If you know someone in the wedding party (including yourself) is allergic to any particular flower, speak up ahead of time!

As it turned out I wore long sleeves, requested a pinned on corsage, and got a wrist one delivered instead. Not a problem! Laura, (who worked as a florist through high school and college) took a pair of scissors and snipped the elastic band, located an extra pin and in moments I was good to go.

There are always several songs played while the guests wait for the wedding to begin. I personally like the hymn "When Morning Fills the Sky" played at a morning wedding, so I suggested it be played as part of the mix, if they were looking for more songs to fill up the time.

Instead it was the song selected to be played for the grandmothers and mothers being escorted down the aisle. I don't know if that could be worked in as a MOG tip...but if you want to try to get a favorite hymn in, maybe you could suggest it as a "filler" and see what happens!

MOG tip: You will get to practice being walked down the aisle. Apparently some times the dads are already seated, other times the dads and grandfathers follow the escorted mothers and grandmothers down the aisle. In any case, take a moment to decide if you want to be on the aisle or perhaps one seat in, so you are happy with where you are seated on the wedding day.

MOG tip: If your son escorts you down the aisle, practice that kiss that you will want to give him or that he wants to give you. Bobbing heads and missed "pecks" are a bit unnerving in front of a room full of people!

MOG tip: Don't YOU take pictures during the ceremony. Discreetly take pictures with your heart instead.

The ceremony seems to last for ever, and only for a blink of eye too. Then it is time for hugs and more hugs, and then pictures! Lots and lots of pictures.

MOG tip: Check each other before you go for pictures after all those hugs! Look for buttons undone, peeking facings and slips, necklaces and ties askew etc. Laura who has an especially detailed eye assigned herself to eyeball each grouping and caught several details that would have been irksome later if photographed.

MOG tip: You may be asked what grouping you would like photographed. Your husband's side of the family, your side of the family, both sides of the family...or maybe even a picture of several generations of men on your side, or sisters, or ??? The photographers are happy to take many pictures, and they make additional money selling the pictures to you later. Don't be shy about asking for a picture of your grandmother and her sisters without the bride and groom in the shot...there are many "special" groupings that are also worthy of having recorded on a wedding day.

Looking at the above shot, I wonder where Laura was. She should have been in the "Bernie's side of the family" picture too!

There are so many detail that go into planning a wedding and a reception. Some details are decided well in advance, and other details get attention almost at the last second. One detail in Jeff's reception was left until five days before the wedding: The song for the Mother-Son dance.
I knew such dances were happening at many wedding; I was hoping that it wasn't going to be happening at Jeff's wedding. If I was a reasonably good dancer, it would possibly been the highlight of my years of motherhood. Maybe I should have tried harder to develop rhythm sooner. Or pressed the question about whether there was or was not going to be a Mother-Son dance sooner so we maybe could have practice. As it was, after the beautiful "First Dance" and the sentimental "Father-Daughter Dance" most people were more interested in what was being served to eat by time I was tripping the light fantastic.

MOG tip: If you really don't want to dance, and you need a face saving excuse, consider changing denominations ahead of time to a sect that forbids dancing. You can always switch back later, right?

MOG tip: If you do want to dance, and the choice of music is given to you, consider not only the words but also how long the song lasts. If the bride is past her youthful years, make the song short enough that she won't enter menopause while waiting for you to finally let go of your boy.

After the dance is have nothing more to do except enjoy the party! Feel free to table hop, catch up with friends and family, get to know guests you haven't met before, and eat as many slices of cake as you don't need to worry about your weight anymore! Keep telling the bride how gorgeous she looks, how happy you are, and tell the same to the bride's mom and dad.

Our reception was at a hotel where the Bride and Groom were staying. There was no big send off, instead the "kids" and their friends seem happy to hang out together. A morning wedding means the party can go on all day! B. and I left not long after the tables were cleared and the time that the room had been rented was drawing to a close.

MOG tip: A friend gave me this tip: Have a candid conversation with the Bride's family about clean up expectations. Some receptions end with a lot of packing up needed; this might be a task that can be hired out, or might be being handled by the family members. Which ever way it is to be handled, find out in advance and offer to participate accordingly.

I honestly can say that the wedding experience was everything and more than I could have ever hoped for. We've got three kids now: A blond, brunette and a redhead. My son has two sets of parents praying for him, and we have are so thankful it is so.

A few days after the wedding I was home and back to work, and surprised to find myself feeling rather down. A fellow MOG let me in on another tip: That's a pretty common feeling after such a big event. Not to worry, it will pass. And she was did.

My one and only day as a MOG turned out well even without much in the way of hints and tips to lean on. Beginners luck? Maybe.

Maybe you have been a MOG and have a few hints and tips that you learned along the way that didn't occur to me because of our particular wedding day style. Or maybe you were a MOB and have some thought about what you wished your MOG had known.

Would you please be so sweet as to pass along such wisdom in the comments? Feel free to comment anonymously if you feel you should, or with your name if you don't you need to feel shy.

MOGs of the world, both past and in the future: I salute you!

(If you want to see more pictures of the wedding, you can click here and see a behind the more behind the scenes pictures in a fully anotated slideshow. Enjoy!)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Behinds the scenes at the wedding and MOG tips Pt. 3

The day before the wedding is a pretty amazing day that just flies by in a blur.

We planned to make ourselves available to help the bride and her parents with any last moment details. As it turned out, the bride's parents had everything under control, and actually opened their home for lunch and treats to all the out-of-town family and guests. It was a lovely way to get to know the bride's extended family and family friends.

MOG tip: If it is an out-of-town wedding, you may not be able to do much to help with the wedding related tasks. Ask if there is any way you can help anyway...and prepare to be gracious if your help is not required. Keep in the loop of the work being done (addressing invitations, making wedding favors etc.) and thank the MOB and her friends for all the work they do to prepare for your son's wedding.

MOG tip: If you secretly really want to add your ideas and thought as to what you think the wedding should include, resist! If you are having a hard time with the idea that you need to resist, (your need to be a "buttinski" is overwhelming) may I suggest you consider remodeling your house during the engagement. Trust me...with a million remodeling decisions being demanded of you, and overseeing the process and budget, you more than likely will be thanking heaven above that you aren't needed in the wedding planning process after all.

The rehearsal may be the first time you see the church or location of the wedding.

MOG tip: Take a good look around...on the wedding day you will be too busy seeing your son and the bride and the wedding party to notice the finer details of the setting.

MOG tip: Be prepared for an emotional jolt at the rehearsal. Seeing your son looking down the aisle at his bride-to-be really hits you hard. This wedding is REALLY going to happen!

It was fun to hum Rachel down the aisle to "Here Comes the Bride."

MOG tip: Privately suggest to the couple that they only attempt to slip the wedding band on to the second digit of the third finger, and let the other person slide the ring on the rest of the way. That is more graceful than a nervous ring wrestling tug-tug scene in front of everyone the day of the wedding.

I was interested in seeing my son's friends, some of whom I had never met. At age 29, Jeff had been out of our house, and several states away for the past ten years. It was nice to meet his "best friends" at last!
MOG tip: Since you have booked the rehearsal dinner venue and therefore know the appropriate dress for the event, be sure that information is passed on well in advance by the bride and groom to their wedding party, and by you to your family as well. It is nice to know if a coat and tie will be needed, or shorts and tee shirts for a beach party instead!
You might also ask the bride or her mom ahead of time if there are any specific wardrobe requirement for the rehearsal, especially if it is in a place of worship different than what you are familiar with. Pass the word along about anything that needs to be known at the same time you suggest rehearsal dinner attire.
Following the rehearsal, we went to a restaurant that the bride's family recommended. They actually gave us a list of venues, and Bernie called each suggested place to scope out price, room availability, menu and location. With 29 people invited to the rehearsal dinner, it was a good sized group and needed booking well in advance.

The chef worked with Bernie to assure a well rounded menu, including a vegetarian dish, and while we weren't exactly sure how the "family style" serving style would work out, actually it was marvelous.

MOG tip: Since it is the groom's parents task to host this meal, be sure to ask everyone in the wedding party ahead of time if they have any known food allergies before planning the menu with the chef. A tiny bit of anchovies in a dish, or a nut can have serious consequences that shouldn't have to be faced right before a wedding!

By the end of the meal, we all really did feel like family, passing plates of ribs and chicken, breads and desserts back and forth down the table on a center table-length board.

(Man oh man...would I like another serving of those ribs RIGHT NOW!)

MOG tip: Eat hearty at the rehearsal dinner. On the wedding day you will likely be much too busy to do more than get a nibble in before the wedding, and too busy chatting with guest to eat much after the wedding either.

Jeff's best man was his high school friend Mark. I hadn't seen Mark since high school graduation, and didn't recognize him without hair! When he was a teen, he never spoke more than two words a day...I was astonished to be complimented graciously by him as "looking just the same as he remembered" and by his heartfelt toast to his friend.

The maid of honor followed with an equally lovely toast.

MOG tip: Since you are hosting this meal, you may wish to encourage the family members to make their toasts to the couple at this dinner...or at least to make the toasts that include sly bits of teasing or humorous family stories. With those out of the way at this semi-private event, the more formal wedding day toasts can be the sort that preserve the couple's dignity on their special day

I was so glad that we could all be seated at one table, there was no sense of "her table" or "his table" but rather pictures were taken back and forth and conversation traveled up and down the row. Dinner finished around 9 pm, the "youngsters" still managed to go out to party more at a hotel/club while the more "seasoned" members retired to their various rooms to catch a good night's sleep.

MOG tip: A detailed area map is a lovely table favor for the rehearsal dinner, at least for the out-of-town guests. While printed directions were given from the church to the restaurant, some guests had a problem figuring out the route from the restaurant back to their lodgings. Wish I had thought of handing out maps sooner!

Next post: The wedding day!