Around my second month of wedding planning, waist deep into wedding brochures, websites, packages, and binders, I started combing about for a photographer. In terms of how rankings go, the photographer fell significantly above the florist, way below the caterer, and very near the dress seamstress. In other words, wedding photos hovered around a 55-60% on the Wedding Scale. They mattered enough that I was willing to take the time out of my life to track one down and meet with her but not enough to flip out if anything went down on the day. After all, anyone who has Insta considers himself or herself to be a master of photography. If worse comes to worst, I'd convince a guest at the wedding to take the photos and then filter the heck out of them.
Nevertheless, I ended up meeting with Stacey from Stacey K Photo one day at Panera. She was chill enough to deal with my passive, indecisive, clueless attitude on weddings but serious enough that I knew she would get the job done. I asked her questions printed from a script on the Knot's website; she answered the questions, and it was a done deal. I had myself a photographer. Or so I thought.
Around the fifth month of wedding planning, neck high in wedding brochures, websites, packages, binders, appointments, and planning, I decided to touch base with the photographer like my binder demanded that I do except the binder told me that I should have done that about a month ago. The binder is a real bitch sometimes. I contacted Stacey and knew I was in trouble when the first line from her reply began like this: "Lauren, so good to hear from you again but…" "No, Stacey, no! Don't leave me like this!" Now, what was to follow that line would have been a lot worse to people who are, how do I say this, normal. People who are normal. However, all I saw are dolla dolla bills, yo. $$$$. Stacey was announcing to me that she was pregnant. With twins. Due on June 20. How convenient, June 20th was also my wedding day. If I decided to stay with her company, she would provide back up photographers for me and a $700 discount. Ummm, sign me up please. It took me all of two seconds to determine that I was sticking with her. But there was one problem.
My mom made a trip down to North Carolina during the ninth month of wedding planning when I might have been literally drowning in wedding brochures, websites, packages, binders, appointments, planning, phone calls, and emails. Each time my mom made a visit, she had an agenda of what were going to do during her stay. "Lauren, I want to meet with the photographer." Oh yes, the problem was that I HADN'T TOLD MY MOM THAT MY PHOTOGRAPHER IS PREGNANT WITH TWINS AND DUE ON THE DAY OF THE WEDDING! I grinned. I laughed. I stammered. I joked.
"Well, you see, Mom, what had happened was thatstaceyispregnantwithtwinsandtheyaredueneartheweddingdayandshemightnotbeabletomakeitbutshesgivingmeabigdiscount," I finally managed to sputter out, hoping she didn't catch that last part. "But she thinks she is going to have the babies early!!" I throw out in a last ditch effort.
Mom was surprisingly okay with the news. She was by no means thrilled, but fire did not rage from her eyes either. In fact, three miracles occurred within two days of my delivering this news to my mom. 1.) Baby number one was born healthy. 2.) Baby number two was born healthy. And most importantly 3.) My photographer was able to make the wedding. Was it odd that I felt weirdly disappointed that I no longer would get the discount? Just kidding (kind of), Stacey K did a super job!
Real flowers, like dogs, have always been one of life's little pleasures that I only really want to experience with my sense of sight. I have no particular yearning to own any of them nor to have any interaction with them involving my other four senses. "Oh look at the puppy. How cute." The key word there is "look." I stop at look. There is no need for me to take my relationship with that puppy any further. I have no desire to smell the dog, feel the dog, hear the dog, and naturally to taste the dog. I share much similar feelings with flowers. Flowers are beautiful in their natural state, and the ambience of a room with flowers perched on shelves and window sills is very appealing. However, flowers die in a couple of days if not properly cared for, which I am incapable of doing considering most of my attention is diverted to designing websites and planning Friendship Days. Therefore, once the carnations die, I now have, in lieu of flowers, wilting, crumbling pieces of death falling over the place. When that happens, my progression from just looking at the flowers now moves onto touching the flowers to pick up the mess they left behind and smelling the odor they are omitting. I do not like that progression. In fact, I have told past boyfriends and my new husband that I never want a bouquet of flowers but rather a bouquet of toilet paper or chocolate or season tickets to the Mets, for those items are practical and enjoyable to experience with other senses besides sight.
I took so long in the introduction to preface my opinion on flowers because my involvement in the decision-making process for flowers was rather brief and went a little something like this…
Mom: There will be __________ flowers in your bouquet and at the reception.
My participation was so short lived that I cannot even recall what types of flowers we had. However, they looked really beautiful next to all of our decorations and made our photos stand out. So, yeah, I am split. Pro-They look really nice. Con-They are another expense. You decide. I had no regrets mainly because someone else dealt with their lifeless petals.
Before you blast me for being a narcissistic, self-loving female, I do not agree with the above title but consider it necessary to headline this blog edition, featuring my hunt for the dress. In all, I did not exactly know what I wanted in a dress except for three important conditions: 1.) It must not swallow me whole. 2.) It must not be outrageously priced. and 3.) It must be comfortable enough for me to enjoy the plethora of food and dancing the evening was sure to entail. What I did know was that I was anxious to get the process finished because I have a hard time mustering up enough enthusiasm toward a single dress that I would only wear for a few hours. Take the Homecoming gown for example, the number of oohs and aahs I produced could never quite live up to the expectations of the sale associates. "Are you excited?" they would ponder. "Ohhhh yes, it's beautiful. I feel like a princess," I would croon back in a voice dripping with the last bit of energy I had left to offer. These shopping trips usually left me exhausted.
It came as no surprise that my very first trip to a bridal shop I wanted to buy the very first dress that I tried on. I don't remember much of what it looked like, but it was oversized and frumpy looking on me. It didn't matter. I still begged my mom. Somehow, being the reasonable person that she is when it comes to shopping, she convinced me to go back to Raleigh and continue the search.
Once again, my outlook toward Bridal Things was transformed. While I still resented the fact that most sales associates shared the same opinion that the bride is the most important person so why not splurge on a multi-thousand dollar gown, my excitement for trying on the elegant material was beginning to not to come across as so fake. After all, this was a dress that I would be wearing as I entered into the sacrament of marriage with a person I love and with whom I will spend the rest of my life. No offense to my past Homecoming dates, but this whole wedding shindig was shaping up to be a whole lot of a bigger deal than some night swaying awkwardly back and forth in a school gym. I won't go as far as to say that I wanted to look like a princess, but I wanted to look nice.
So I went to bridal boutique after bridal boutique only to turn up fruitless each time. Too itchy. Too tight. Too expensive. Too overdone. While the dresses were, indeed, beautiful, none of them were me. I was simple and needed to think simple. My mom had the idea of looking at bridesmaid dresses that were white (What bridesmaids actually wear white??). Finally, I found one that fit all three of my criteria and knew in an instant it was perfect ( I vowed not to use the words "perfect" and "blessed" in my blogs, but I already blew the whole perfect thing in the engagement story, so I might as well start spewing that word around now.). More importantly, the lady did not try to convince me to get something more expensive, frilly, or flowing, stating that the bride is the most important person.
Because in reality, the bride is not the most important person. She should not have to be placed on that pedestal and forced to live up to unrealistic expectations. She's going to make mistakes and mess up. She's not always going to look beautiful and put together. When she fails, her fall shouldn't be alone. She should be right there with her groom who is just as equally as important as her. Together they are striving to get closer to someone a lot more important, God, for when they work together to be closer to Him, they, in return, get closer to each other. Not to mention, the bride and groom have some family and friends who are pretty important people who support and love them along the way. Therefore, a wedding dress is not meant to outdo everyone. It's meant for the bride to look nice for all the important people in her life that came together that day.
My mom has always had great passion and zest for projects that she throws herself into them with with such fervor reminiscent of Leslie Knope's zeal for scrapbooking her friendship with the majestic, dainty sea urchin that is Ann Perkins. For instance, back in grade school I noticed a tad bit of jealousy flowing through my mom's veins whenever Science Fair Project Time rolled around, and I mentioned that I could handle the upcoming task myself. Her eyes would almost bulge while she bit her lip to keep from retorting as she watched as my juvenile self haphazardly arranged the contents on the tri-fold, waiting to swoop in and usurp the project right from under me when I was most vulnerable (usually after week 2). In addition, she spear-headed the neighborhood carnival and dragged all of our butts to Catholic Charities for us to fork over the money and do a day's work at the center meanwhile making sure we learned a valuable life's lesson about "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Her impressive resume continues with volunteering with the Catholic Charities Toy Drive, scrapbooking family members' 50th birthdays, and most recently the wedding.
Likewise, I, too, have a great deal of enthusiasm for projects. Although, my complete dedication is usually directed to projects that lean a bit more on the obscure and peculiar side. For example, I once spent a whole year researching what national holidays fell on each and every single day of the year and relentlessly sending out 365 mass e-mails, so everyone could relish in the festivities as much as I did. Furthermore, I have taken it upon myself to appoint myself Leader of the Official Friendship Day Committee. Friendship Day is a national holiday that falls on the first Sunday of August. Thanks largely to my faithful commitment, as well as help from a loyal companion, Friendship Day has been celebrated for the past twelve years.
With that being said, my mom and I approached the wedding with the same intensity that we have faced past projects. However, there was one problem. My mom and I had different priorities on what we deemed important. She wanted to follow The Binder's month-by-month guideline to planning a wedding and basically do it all at once. "Why put off what you can do today? So make sure you are looking ahead in the binder, Lauren." Stuff that actually mattered is another way to best describe it. I, on the other hand, chose to focus my attention and energy on creating a wedding website which included fictitious testimonials from celebrities and a slideshow of very unattractive photos of the bridal party and the bride and groom. I.e. stuff that doesn't matter. The website became the bane of my mom's existence, and she often brought it up when I complained I did not have enough time to work on, again, stuff that actually mattered. "Oh you have time to make a website, but you don't have time to go looking for a dress." Touché, Mom, touché.
In large, my mom and I made a great team. She kept us on task, made sure the day actually happened, and created such beautiful decorations (more on that later). I kept the planning light-hearted and made sure we had fun in the process. A modern-day Martha and Mary, if you will. Turns out she loved the website too! (www.bauerbarrettwedding.weebly.com)