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.
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!
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 over...you 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 want...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 right...it 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!)