Friday, May 08, 2009

Behind the Wedding Scenes and MOG tips pt. 2

Our son's wedding was out of Northern California. When Bernie went to book our plane tickets, he originally booked us to arrive in Sonoma the day before the wedding, on

Which leads us to another MOG tip: If your son is getting married in a distant location that requires plane travel to get to, book your plane tickets so you will arrive TWO days before the wedding, if at all possible.

Happily I figured this out and we re-booked our flight to arrive on Thursday, two days before the wedding. As it turned out, while our flight went off without a hitch, the traffic in Oakland was hideous, and we were stalled on the freeway for an hour. Once the traffic loosened up again, we had a moment of indecision as to which turn-off to make, and instead of heading north from Oakland, we instead circled back across the Bay Bridge to....

The town I left my heart in about ten years ago...San Francisco.
with the perfect public art work of Cupid's Arrow.

During the year we lived in San Jose before moving to Texas, we used to drive to San Francisco for a day trip. I was SO glad we didn't need to rush to get to Sonoma, and instead could enjoy....

The classic SF meal: Sour dough bread bowls with clam chowder and crab cake sandwiches on the wharf. It was cold, and foggy, and exactly like SF should be.


They do sour dough like nobody else!

Good food, good times...
It was a perfect mini-vacation for us! We would have had to miss that opportunity if we had flown in on Friday, the day before the wedding, because, of course, it is the parents of groom's duties to host the rehearsal dinner the day before the wedding...being late to arrive would have been unthinkable.

After we ate, we enjoyed driving by the typical multicolored SF row house that faced the waterfront.

Then a trip across the Golden Gate bridge, and then we took a leisurely drive up the coast.

(Laura had arrived at roughly the same time we did, but she stopped and took a lot of great pictures of the same drive we took...and let me borrow some of her pictures.)

The California poppies were nodding a bright greeting to us as we traveled, as well as other wildflowers like wild radish, mustard, lupin, and veronica.

Soon we were in Wine Country, traveling through the grape vineyard and seeing chalet like this one:

I wish we had had time to visit it...and all the other wineries that we passed along the way.

I had a feeling that the weekend would be very full, emotional, and that I would need a little pampering too.

The Lodge at Sonoma

MOG tip: If at all possible, reserve a room for just you and the groom's father at the nicest place you can find for the weekend, close to the church and the location of the rehearsal dinner.

We stayed at the lovely lodge with the most beautiful roses in full fragrant bloom, and art scattered about the grounds. Our room was a separate bungalow with a fireplace to enjoy as well. It was SO nice!

Since we had had a late filling lunch at the SF wharf, we decided to just eat at the hotel, and have a small late meal of salad.

That was a bit of a pity, considering what the menu had to offer!

(I always am interested in seeing interesting menus for meal planning inspiration later.)

After our meal and a flight of white wine, we walked back through the grounds and through a walkway lined with fragrant orange blossoms.

How perfect in light of the upcoming wedding.

The roses surrounding our bungalow were outdoing themselves in the moonlight.

If I hadn't been in the mood for a wedding before, I was after strolling through such romantic grounds.

MOG tip: Take note of the flowers and scents and sensations of season and weather that surrounds your son's wedding. If you are like me, you can recall what flowers and seasonal delights were surrounding you as you awaited the birth of your son. The flowers and scents that were experience while awaiting the birth of your son, and while awaiting the wedding ceremony can become memory stirring bookends marking the beginning and the ending of the season of your life when you were a mother to a growing son.

After our stroll we retired to our room for a good night sleep. The next day we awoke refreshed and ready for the beginning of the prenuptual activities.

More tomorrow!

The Wedding: Behind the Scenes and Tips for MOGS

(To see the wedding I am discussing...see the previous post!)

Doesn't every wedding have some behind the scene dramas and some extra special moments?
Those unplanned happenings that will later become part of the wedding story forevermore?
And in retrospect, wouldn't it have been nice if someone had taken a moment to fill you in on how to either avoid those dramas or assure those extra special moments?

You bet it would!

For months before my son's wedding I searched the Internet for advice and guidance for my upcoming duties as Mother of the Groom (hereafter abbreviated MOG.)

The advice was sparce:

Call the bride's parents after the engagement happens.

Try to coordinate with (and not upstage) the Bride's mother's event dress.

Keep your opinions to yourself about the wedding plans. (Advice classical spoken of as "Shut up, show up, and wear beige!)

Beyond that...I was pretty much on my own. I chatted with a few MOGs about their experiences and they clued me in a bit about the role of the MOG at a son's wedding.

Enjoy the moment, I was told, and remember, all eyes are on the couple and the Bride's mother.

You are free to relax and have fun!

Well, experience taught me a few other things. I realize that while I am still considered a newbie on this subject, nevertheless, I did learn a few things, and have decided to pass them along while I share some of the behind the scenes elements of our son's wedding day.

Tip #1: Shop early and often for a MOG outfit. Don't wait until your son is engaged; just make a point to check out clearances for dressy outfits that work on you.

I purchased what I called my "emergency mother of the bride or groom" outfit a few years back. It was a steal, marked down from a dizzying price. The floor length skirt was miraculously long enough on me, and the arm lengths were right as well. I had noted that long sleeved event outfits are few and far between, while strapless and sleeveless gowns are in abundance.

If you are old enough to be a MOG, and no longer have Barbie doll like upper arms, then sleeves are a really blessing!

Once I knew I was to wear a shade of blue to my son's wedding, I did go shopping for a "new" outfit. Truthfully, I had forgotten about my emergency outfit, as it was still in storage with the rest of our belongings due to our recent relocation.
As I went from store to store my heart sank: event dresses were brown, gold, gray, red or black.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing suitable could be found in blue.

And worse yet, most of the dresses were decidely evening gowns, totally unsuitable for a morning wedding.

A strapless gown ablaze with rhinestone detail just wasn't right for a 10 am church wedding!

Thank heaven I had had the foresight to have an "emergency" outfit already! In fact, I actually had two...another one in a soft pastel green, and also a back up dress with no zippers or buttons in case of last second fastening failure!

Tip #2: If you need to have your outfit altered, and decide to have that done professionally, first of all tell the seamstress that you will need your outfit back on a date at least a full week before the wedding.

DO NOT disclose when the wedding actually is.

Tip #3: Take your MOG outfit to a bridal gown alterations shop where they know how to keep outfits spotless while they work.

Behind the Scenes: I took my outfit in for alterations a month before the wedding. It needed to be shortened to street length for the morning wedding, and the thigh area of the pencil skirt let out a tad. (OK...a lot....) I had read up and found an alterations shop that had good reviews.

Now I should have thought twice about leaving my outfit at that particular shop when I noticed that all the outfits hung up in the shop were blue jeans...and that the seamstress smelled of tobacco and wore a ratty flannel shirt. I tried not to be judgemental and left the dress in what I hoped were capable hands.

Three weeks later I was called in for a second fitting. I was thrilled at how she had fit the outfit to me, and she just needed to re-attach the waist band and hem it according to my high heels.

I was just a bit nervous... we would leave for the wedding in less than a week. I was assured the dress would be done "in no time!"

THREE DAYS (!!!!) before we left for the wedding I got the call to come get the outfit. I knew I needed to try it on to make sure everything was as it should be.

As I slipped the protective bag from the dress I saw what looked like a water spot on the bodice of my jacket.

As I put on the outfit, I noticed another spot on the sleeve, and one the jacket's back. Those spots DEFINITELY were not there when I brought the never worn outfit in, nor were they there when I had my first and second fitting.

Oh boy....this didn't look good...

The seamstress assured me that the spots were tailoring chalk and would come out with a poof of steam. I shouldn't worry...the outfit would be ready by tomorrow morning.

I was pretty sure those spot weren't tailoring chalk, but what else could I do but leave the outfit with her.

The next day I called the shop at noon. The outfit wasn't done. I called again at 4...and was told I could come get it at six pm. Wondering what was up, I drove to the shop and again slipped the clear protective bag from the dress, only to see MORE spots, spots worst than the ones before, including one that was like a bull's eye centered over my left breast.

Obviously I couldn't possibly wear the suit like this! And we were to fly out at one the very next day for the wedding!

The seamstress begged for me to allow the dry cleaners to put the outfit through one more time
Since the outfit was unwearable as it was anyway, I told her to go ahead, but that I would need the outfit back by 10 AM the next day.

I left the shop with my mind racing....where could I possibly get an outfit at the last minute?

I headed out...found one so-so blue dress, and a PERFECT purse for my original outfit! It matched the jacket's beadwork, and only cost $16!

I snagged both items, and headed home. I glumly resigned myself to either wear the green outfit, (not a color related to the wedding at all) or the short sleeve blue dress, which I knew I would freeze in. Laura also made a mad dash around San Diego and scored me a silver gray suit; I would need something to wear under the suit's jacket however.

A few close friends were asked to pray for a miracle...but still, a tear or two of doubt were shed into my pillow that night.
The next morning the call came in at 9:45. The outfit was done. The seamstress sounded very tired, and I relectantly headed over to the shop.

I walked in...and there it was: in perfectly stainless condition. The seamstress told me to just take it and enjoy the wedding. I gave her a hug and told her I was so sorry that both of us had had to go through this trauma. She hugged me back hard, and I danced out of the shop and shortly thereafter was on my way to the wedding.

More behind the scenes stories and MOG tips soon to come...stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

They Married on a Rainy May Morning

Sonoma California, May 2, 2009
After bridal pictures were taken, Jeff walked his bride-to-be through the rain to the limousine for the ride to the church.
It rained all day...and if rain on your wedding day is good luck, then these two should have an abundance of luck their whole married life!

And shortly there after, in the sight of God and around a hundred guest, they were husband and wife.

At the reception, they had their first dance to "At Last Love."

(I was so nervous about the dress that Rachel chose to have custom made. Bias cut ivory silk...isn't that the hardest thing to sew right? It turned out exactly as she had dreamed it would. The back details were gorgeous, the neckline showed off Jeff's wedding gift to her perfectly, a strand of pearls and matching diamond and pearl earrings. Lucky girl....)

They both dance effortlessly.

And yes...I did wear the navy HIGH heel slingbacks for the wedding. I was a bit wobbly going down the aisle, but I held on tightly to my son and we made it just fine, chatting happily the whole way. I told him I had waited my whole life for this day...

A simple cake, with berries the colors of the wedding for decoration. They fed each other gently and tenderly, much to my satisfaction.

Rachel's ring and bouquet.
Her bridesmaids in navy, with fuchsia being the other wedding color.
Two Lauras were in the group...the red headed one is our daughter, the other tall blond was Matron of Honor, and Rachel's friend since birth.

Table One...for the wedding party!

My newly married son...who got misty eyed as he watched Rachel come down the aisle at both the rehearsal and the wedding.
Such a lovely thing to see in a man...

Our family: left to right: My mom and dad, Bernie, Jeff, Bernie's dad and mom. Jeff was so blessed to have both sets of grandparents in attendance on his wedding day.

They are folks married over sixty years, and B.'s parents married 56 years.

At the rehearsal dinner: Me, and Bernie, Jeff and our daughter-in-love to be!
(Some behind the scenes stories tomorrow!)