In 1983, my husband and I were in newspaper class together. It was a riot. We became friends and went on a few dates. Now it’s time for another anniversary.
Fast forward to 1988. It was a rainy Friday. We got married in a small ceremony, headed to his parents’ house for a “small” reception and then hit the road. We nearly missed the turn into our very unique hotel for the weekend at Canon Beach.
On the way home on Monday, I got a speeding ticket. Yep. Nothing makes a trip more memorable than ending it with flashing lights.
Now it’s 31 years later and we’re back at the beach for our wedding anniversary.
Rather than the “day” being Friday, this year it is the “observed” Memorial Day. And the beach is 70 miles or so further south: Gleneden Beach rather than Canon Beach.
We’re heading to the condo we “own” so there’s no chance we’ll miss the turn-off. No matter how dark or rainy it might be after a LONG week of work.
These days, I might go by Lolly and he might let me call him Pop. We have two adult sons and two beautiful daughters. There are three lovable grand-pups and a feisty grand-kitty.
Best of all, there’s an angelic little darling named Shana. She’s the newest love of my life. On this 31st anniversary of my wedding, I’m celebrating my first Memorial Day as a grandmother – chosen Grandma name: Lolly.
We’re doing some research for a family gathering nearby next month. We’ll eat out with my sister who lives a few miles away, and Hubby will have his clam chowder.
What do you do to celebrate anniversaries? Any anniversary will do! Especially if it means CHOCOLATE.
That’s a wrap folks! I finished the wedding scrapbook.
The most amazing part to me is that it happened within three months of the big day. Others have waited a year after an event before seeing the photographic memorabilia I scrapped together.
Even more amazing, I set my mind to it and finished it off within a week.
What was left to do? Plenty.
The last bridal shower occurred the Sunday before Thanksgiving. We stopped in to enjoy the festivities on our way to the beach to spend the holiday with my sister.
The pictures my husband took were saved with those pictures. But none of them were on our shared drive when I went looking for them.
Thankfully, the bride’s mother helped me out and sent a few photos my way. I happily used all those and nagged my husband to give me access to the ones he took.
Showers – done.
Why no rehearsal?
Our wedding photographer took several hundred pictures of the decorating and wedding rehearsal. None of those made it into the scrapbook.
Why not? Isn’t the rehearsal important?
Yes, it was a long and important day.
But I was tired. And the BIGGEST day was the wedding itself.
Why spend energy on the rehearsal when I could apply it to the main event?
At least, this is the excuse I’m using. Hopefully, my son and daughter won’t be too unhappy about the exclusion of that busy day of preparation.
Thousands of photos exist of every aspect of the big day.
I’m not exaggerating.
It took me several hours to view them all and pick out the ones I want to use. As I type this, I’m reminded I still haven’t sent the photographer the list of photos I want tweaked and doctored.
*Stops typing on this and opens a Facebook private message window*
It was a beautiful wedding. I’m posting a few photos with this post, but they are weak representations of a wonderful day. (And these are excellent photos, so I guess that tells you something about the wedding.)
How was I supposed to condense the awe and incredulity into a finite number of twelve-by-twelve scrapbook pages?
It took almost as long to select the photos as it did to lay out the pages.
In the end, the actual wedding took up as much space as all the events leading up to it. Which is exactly as it should be.
I’ve got a page for the girls and one for the guys. Some shots of the important implements, like the rings and bouquet. The ceremony has three pages.
How do I decide what portions of the reception to include?
More hours selecting and printing pictures nets four lovely pages for the hours-long reception.
The biggest conundrum was how to finish off the last page since I don’t have any photos of their honeymoon (which would be the natural way to end it).
I settled on an awesome shot of the happy couple being flagellated with the streamer-thingies used in place of rice or birdseed or bubbles. Add some sparkle and encouraging sayings and that’s a wrap.
As always, there’s just enough in the book to incite a full-fledged jaunt down memory lane. Isn’t that the point of a scrapbook anyway?
Years ago, I went through a phase where I made every card I sent out. Again, it was my sister who introduced me to this phenomenal way to exploit my creativity – and my husband’s pocketbook.
But, as with the entire idea of scrapbooking the memory book for my son’s wedding, I chained myself to the announcement-making boat.
My future daughter stopped by at regular intervals to show me the ideas she had for her wedding invitations. They were amazing. But complex.
As I admired the card stock she’d purchased for the project, she talked about the design.
“I’d really like to emboss this flap,” she said (or something similarly benign), “but I don’t know anything about that.”
“Oh, I used to stamp and emboss all the time.”
Apparently, that means I’m qualified to help her invitations look professional by showing her the proper method of embossing. Of course, I volunteered to show her how to do it, help her even.
And then she showed up with this enormous stamp. And reminded me that she had a list of 166 names, so she was making 175 invitations – to be safe.
Before the Embossing
I wouldn’t need a meme like I’ve used with this post if making these wedding invitations was a simple three-step process.
I probably wouldn’t even share such a dire warning to all my readers if it was a five-step process.
Before I became involved in the stamping and embossing part of this project, this is what the bride had already done:
Cut the 12×12 sheets into the correct dimensions
Scored them in three places for easy folding
Folded them along the lines
Glued down the edges of the pocket for the RSVP card and envelope
Cut the purple paper into two different length strips
Punched the shorter strips with the snowflake/swirl design
Glued the short purple strip onto the top of the pocket
Remember what I said about the number of steps in a reasonable invitation-making process?
Fortunately, the company she ordered her silver paper from (yes, she has tri-colored invitations) cut it into the size she needed for the inside of her invitation.
The Embossing Extended
She hauled a cardboard box into the dining room. It held a case of copy paper in its former life.
Out came the paper cutter, two brown-wrapped parcels of card stock, a heat gun, bottles of tacky glue, three small snowflake stamps, a silver stamp pad and the large stamp for the outer flap of the invitations.
Earlier, she’d bought a plastic embosser. It made an indentation in the paper.
It was too short for the invitations. Plus, those little grooves would have been hard-pressed (literally as well as metaphorically) to make a dent in the heavy card stock anyway.
The little guy was the perfect size for the RSVP return envelope flaps. And a job was created for the groom. Not like he’d be using the rolling pin for anything else – ever.
We stamped a flap with the silver ink. It looked okay. Now, I sprikled on the silver foil embossing powder, tapped the excess powder onto paper and aimed the heat gun at the snowflake design on the aquamarine card stock.
Presto-chango! If you’ve never watched this process, I highly recommend it. It’s the closest thing to magic that an average person will ever see outside of a movie theater.
Yes, the embossing was perfect. Time to do this.
But wait! The silver stamp pad wasn’t very efficient for inking up the large stamp. And since we were embossing those flaps, clear ink would be better.
So off they went to the craft store. She came back with a bottle of ink with a sponge so she could just rub it on the stamp. It worked perfectly.
Four hours later, all 175 cards were beautifully embossed.
Now to stamp the inner page with the three different snowflakes. I did this while she cut more purple strips to glue onto the inner pocket.
Little did we know, the ink wouldn’t dry on that special paper she had. She rubbed off an edge of the snowflake while putting the pocket in place. Now what?
You guessed it! All of these needed embossing. That’s three snowflakes – small, medium and large – on the inside of 175 invitations.
And she thought we wouldn’t use all the embossing powder.
Stuff and Stamp
Actually, the correct order is stamp and stuff.
Aren’t you glad postage stamps are self-stick? I sure am. I remember licking the stamps for my wedding invites. There may have been less than 100 of those, but my food tasted like glue for a week anyway.
Before we began this process (which happened along with the second phase of embossing), the bride, her mom, and one of her bridesmaids had already:
Cut the RSVP card stock to the correct size
Glued the announcement portion onto silver backing
Glued the printed RSVP cards to the heavier silver card stock
Now to peel and stick stamps on 166 envelopes. And TWO stamps on the larger invitation envelopes (because they require extra postage).
Stuffing these beauties into the pocket on the hand-crafted and quite beautiful announcements wasn’t an easy process.
The RSVP cards would have slid in easily. Unfortunately, they weren’t a traditional size so getting envelopes to exactly match them would have been expensive.
No problem. She ordered envelopes slightly larger that were considered a standard size. They should still fit. They were smaller than the pocket flap.
Except for the glued seams. Which made it a tight fit.
The groom stuffed these cards into their pocket – into the night. His response to this, “That was the worst time of my life.”
While he moaned about that, the bride used an razor to cut the embossed flaps into a perfect angle. 175 x 2 = 350 cuts.
Finally, the last purple strip could be punched with the lovely snowflake swirl, folded around the closed announcement and glued in place.
Stuff this lovely piece of perfection into the already addressed and stamped envelopes, and the post office will do the rest.
The wedding will have guests.
Now, to get on with scrapbooking the showers and other memory-making events.
As I write this, the scrapbook contains no additional pages. Read on and you’ll discover why the book is barren – but my fingers are glue-covered and paper-cut.
At some point, I’m sure I mentioned that my sister roped me into this whole paper crafting with scrapbooks gig. As for being the sole memory book maker for a wedding, I stumbled into that trap all by myself.
My future daughter and I sit at the dining room table, stamping and embossing (more on this later in the post). Innocently making conversation, I ask, “Are you going to get one of those wedding memory books?”
A heartbeat later, she answers, “I thought that’s what you were making.”
This scrapbook – which is woefully unfilled at the moment – is going to serve as the wedding memory book. Talk about putting the pressure on someone.
From Engagement Photos to Save the Dates
This past summer, the kids spent an afternoon with their wedding photographers. The resulting photos are amazing. Here’s one of my favorites:
Have I mentioned that my future daughter knows what she wants? Or if she doesn’t, she refuses to settle on “something” until she makes up her mind it’s what will make her wedding day perfect?
Remember how that affected the hunt for the perfect wedding dress?
Enter the process of finding the perfect collection of photos for the “save the date” pre-announcements. She settled on three different photos, which her uncle Photoshopped into a nice arrangement.
A mail-order later, refrigerator magnets were printed and the first round of mailings were completed.
Now to agree on the perfect invitation theme for this winter wedding.
From Snowflakes to Winter Forests
The bride had been posting all manner of snowflake table arrangements, favor ideas and other decorations for months. It was a refreshing way to spend the sweltering days of summer.
But when it came to invitations, most of the snowflakes were too childish. Or too much like a Christmas card. Or too – just not right.
Enter her biggest mistake: she asked the groom for his opinion.
Suddenly, I was getting messages with pictures of snow-filled woods.
Now, I have nothing against snowy woods. Truly. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is one of my favorite Robert Frost poems.
The trouble with having snowy woods for a wedding invitation: the selection was limited.
And the bride hadn’t abandoned her hope of adding some snowflakes to the mix.
And since she couldn’t find exactly what she wanted, she decided to make it.
Handmade with Love
Dozens of people mentioned that they’d made their own wedding invitations. It is a completely doable proposition.
What these people didn’t do:
Make 175 invitations
Stamp and emboss three different areas on the invites
Want a tri-fold beauty with a pocket for the RSVP card
Select a color scheme that required special order
If this sounds like I’m complaining about the announcements, I’m not. At all. The final product is amazing and beautiful and everything the bride wants.
The process? A little more complex than even she expected.
Check back next Monday for the lowdown behind this meme:
Things are changing in my world. One of the biggest changes that I’m relishing is being the mother of the groom. Of course, this calls for a scrapbook.
As mother of the groom, I don’t play an integral role in most of the planning. I’m okay with that. I want to be kept in the loop, though. Offering to record the event in a scrapbook gave me a perfect reason.
Life events should be enjoyed while they’re lived. But they should also be documented. This way the joy can be revisited through the years.
When we had our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, I enjoyed flipping through the wedding albums I made. The memories rushed back in vivid detail once more.
Time fades our recollections in the same way sun leeches color from our curtains.
We can’t bring our curtains back to full-color. Our recollection of events? It can be revived through visual stimulation.
As for the upcoming wedding, only a few plans have been set solidly in place. One of those – the dress – has been written about before.
Anyone who puts together a scrapbook, realized the paper makes the book. Seriously.
This is why any craft store will have an entire aisle of single-sheet specialty paper. And another aisle loaded with books of assorted papers.
It should have been easy to find a wedding-themed book of paper I loved, right?
Someone isn’t crazy about lace. Since this book is for her, I tried to avoid the books with mostly lacy-looking backgrounds.
Apparently, most brides ADORE lace.
Once I found a book with enough pages, I had to decide which backgrounds fit with which events I’d be documenting. Good thing I can always pick up more papers. After all, a scrapbook is designed two pages at a time.
The shopping excursions and final dress selection is the content shown on the four pages which record the hours days-long search for the perfect dress.
During those escapades, the bride and her mother snapped photos with their phones. (What did we do before our phone could take snapshots?)
After the shopping trips, they forwarded the pictures to me. It was my job to sort through them, deciding which ones represented the overall experience of the day.
Since only one trip involved most of the bridal party, I chose many pictures from that day. After all, bridesmaids are an important piece of the successful wedding pie. (Or would that be cake?)
This bride went through the process of selecting a dress in a methodical manner. I must say, I was truly impressed. What happened to trying on every single dress until you fell in love with one?
If you know what you want, why waste the time and effort?
An assortment of pictures comes from the rejected dresses. Generally, there were parts of the dress that met the criteria. The pictorial rendering points out those sections, in hopes of reminding the bride of her genius.
For the bride, the dress is a HUGE portion of her wedding day. That’s one of the reasons it’s one of the first things my lovely future-daughter and son will see when they open their wedding scrapbook.
Next year when it’s finished – or ten years from now when they want to stroll down memory lane.
Next in this series is The Engagement. Guess I should actually put those pages together before I write about it.
Every wedding has a perfect date, right? The calendar around our house includes a big red heart over January 2, 2016.
My first reaction to this date was: what? Won’t it interfere with all the hoopla surrounding New Year’s Day? After all, the day before the wedding is usually the rehearsal. The day before that is often reserved for Bachelor/Bachelorette parties.
How will all this mesh amongst the regular holiday fervor?
Somehow, it will.
Reasons why a Winter Wedding needed to be close to Christmas
My future daughter has a lovely party of four young ladies. Three of them are still in college. Two of them attend college out of state. One of them works for the school.
Reason number one: This is a convenient time for her special girls.
Snowflakes are central to her decoration motif. So, having something closer to Christmas – before December 25 – would probably tend to include red, green, poinsettias and Christmas Trees. Not the look she’s going for.
Reason number two: She doesn’t want her wedding to compete with Christmas.
Did you dream about your wedding? Did you imagine certain colors and people? Maybe you wanted a summer wedding because that is so traditional. Good luck booking a popular location if you choose to “follow the crowd.”
Reason number three: Who wants to be like everyone else?
The colors she loves – turquoise, lavender and silver – scream a season, don’t they? You can picture the chill of ice in that pale blue. A winter sunrise tints the horizon lavender. And who doesn’t love the silvery sheen of icicles and snowflakes?
Reason number four: Her colors meshed perfectly with a winter wonderland.
How we plan to Cope
People are creatures of habit, sure. They have their set gatherings for December 31st. How will possible wedding-related activities fit into this hectic schedule?
The people who care about this wedding will happily adjust their schedules.
What’s wrong with a rehearsal dinner in place of a traditional New Year’s Day feast?
This wedding will only intrude once. Stop grumbling. Adapt!
It’s going to be such a special time, no one will want to miss it.
Certainly things around our house will look different during Christmas 2015 as we push toward the day-after New Year’s wedding celebration. Different doesn’t mean bad.
In my world of an empty nest, it’s time to stir up the family traditions anyway. Adding daughters (and eventually grandchildren) deserves to take precedence over long-standing “We’ve always done it this way” traditions.
What’s your thought? Do you think most people will embrace this interruption to their usual New Year’s traditions?
With all this talk about weddings, the idea of having a “traditional” wedding (whatever that means) is bound to enter the conversation. This begs the question: Are traditions the same as expectations?
My sister remarried two weekends ago. It was a small, fun ceremony. I helped her find her wedding dress (I’m practically a professional *rolls eyes*).
My future daughter asked what I was wearing. She was off-screen during a Skype call, so I didn’t see her face when I told her.
However, since she asked if I knew of any other traditions besides “I know you aren’t supposed to wear white to another person’s wedding,” I think I can imagine her stunned expression. This comment was probably a hint. She wanted to save me from committing a terrible faux pas.
Her remark did, in fact, make me reconsider my wardrobe choice. Here’s my quandary: all my other dresses are either black, summery or too flashy to be appropriate for a simple, family wedding.
What’s wrong with black? Good question. The dress I considered (white bodice, thick line of teal separating from a black skirt) was what I wore to my mother’s funeral.
What sort of statement does wearing a funeral dress to a wedding make?
Apparently, the same sort wearing white does. I guess. For some people. It certainly didn’t matter to my sister – who hadn’t planned to wear white until she found the perfect dress, which happened to be – gasp – white.
I began wondering about the idea of traditions dictating to us, robbing us of choice. I felt fine in my dress until someone commented on how wearing it demonstrated disrespect. (This in response to my remark that I would have had to give someone a hard time if they showed up at the wedding in pajamas.)
What if there were traditions I was blissfully unaware of? Am I held accountable? Is ignorance of wedding traditions an excuse in those cases?
I admit. I didn’t handle the confrontation with grace or aplomb. I blame the high emotions of the occasion (the fact it was all family and my mother’s absence was noticeable). But it made me reflect on this idea that traditions hold some sort of power over our ability to make choices independently of expectations.
Sure, there are traditions in every aspect of life. However, weddings have taken a central spot in my life (and on this blog) in recent weeks, so let’s focus in on those.
The article here gives the history behind ten traditions that we still mainly follow in our era. Tossing the bouquet, giving away the bride, the wedding ring, the best man and more.
Did you know the tradition of giving away the bride was an actual representation of property transfer? Yep, that girl was chattel and now her husband “owned” her. Sure, today it’s considered a symbol of the father’s blessing, but should it be mandatory? If the father doesn’t walk the bride to the altar, does it mean he is withholding his blessing?
And the bride standing on the groom’s left is a tradition, too. This one started so the groom could easily access his sword (hanging from his right hip because everyone was right-handed, you know) and protect her in the event of an attack. That’s a huge concern these days. Should the tradition be discarded since its purpose is extinct?
I didn’t wear a veil at my wedding. Thus, veil-wearing tradition screams I was neither young, modest nor a virgin. According to tradition, those are the three things the veil symbolizes. Oh, and it wards off evil.
The fact that I’m not crazy about veils means nothing, apparently. Not if we are going to let traditions rule us.
I love the “Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” tradition. Did I know it also included “and a sixpence in your shoe”? No. And here I thought I was following tradition by including the first four items in my wedding attire.
Do you even know what those things symbolize? If you care to learn, click here.
The saleslady at the bridal store told us ivory is the most popular color for wedding gowns these days. How can people break tradition this way? White dresses are a statement of innocence and purity, right? To go further afield, many designers also offer pink and silver in many of their designs.
You mean my pink wedding dress is now en vogue? Go figure.
Are we letting wedding traditions rule our choices? Should these traditions hold sway over situations like weddings, funerals and family gatherings? Should we be able to “judge” an event based on its adherence to these archaic customs?
After ending my child-bearing with two sons, I never expected to join in on the bride-driven flurry associated with my sons’ weddings. My daughter-to-be has different ideas. Adventures in dress shopping are only the tip of this iceberg (I believe).
Our first foray (a second is bound to come since the perfect dress remains undiscovered) happened at a shop in Tigard, Bridal Exclusives. According to our extremely helpful saleslady, it is the top seller of wedding paraphernalia in Oregon. And third in the U.S. (which seems like a stretch – but I would believe they were third in overall customer satisfaction nationwide).
We had an appointment. A comfortable bench gave us a perfect view of everything. Bottled water was provided. After a brief interview, they were off to choose one of each style.
I’d like to say it didn’t take long to limit her preferred types to two – ball gown and A-line – but anyone who’s ever put on a single wedding dress would see through that farce. The saleslady dropped the yards of shiny, beaded fabric and piles of tulle over the bride’s head and then used strange clothespin-like devices to give the illusion of a perfect fit.
Let’s just say that maybe two out of the first twenty she tried were even close to the correct size. Meaning they zipped and she didn’t have more than a pair of the fabric-devouring piranhas hanging off her back or waist.
Most of the dresses were stunning. I’m sure that included the price, but we only learned the prices of two of the dresses. When I heard the first, my stomach and chest warred. One with sympathy for the purchaser of the dress and the other with relief that it wasn’t ME.
Suffice it to say, two hours later we were closer to knowing what the bride imagined wearing on her special day – but not to actually locating said jewel.
After a delicious lunch, we had a completely different experience at a smaller dress shop in Tigard. It is obviously popular. Two women were already trying on gowns. A few men came in to check the fitting of their tuxedos during the time of our visit.
A dress the bride loved online was on the rack, so she was quick to request it. The six of us went through the racks, showing her options we thought she might like. The selection offered at this tiny boutique equated to a single rack of ONE style at the larger store.
In the end, she tried on five dresses. The one she saw online didn’t look the same in person, so it was deleted from the possibility list. One of the dresses fit all of her requirements, but the embroidery was obviously flowers – not what the bride envisions at her winter wedding.
Five hours later, I was in my car driving home again. Wishing I had experienced a similar shopping extravaganza back in the day.
Thanks for including me in this first part of the wedding adventure, Kacy. I know one of these days, you will unearth the treasure you’re seeking.
I have two handsome sons. In December 2015 January 2016, I will finally get a daughter!
No, this isn’t the longest pregnancy in the history of womankind. It doesn’t involve childbirth at ALL.
My youngest son is getting married.
I love my new daughter-to-be. Besides making my son happy (which is important to Mama Bear), she’s a wonderful person.
Everyone who knows me has heard me loudly give thanks that I had two boys. Dodging the epic drama caused by residing in proximity to a teenage girl is reason enough. Not that all drama was dodged – have you met my youngest son? – but it was nothing compared to what a daughter would have brought home.
Now, however, I’m ready to have a daughter (or two, if only my other son would pop the question to his long-time girlfriend). There are so many things to share with a daughter that sons don’t care about.
You know what I mean, right? Things like:
Discussion of many topics
What’s even more humbling for me is: she wants to include me in the wedding planning process.
I love weddings. I think every wedding should be unique and reflect the personalities and values of the couple being united.
My own wedding was a fiasco, of sorts. Well, not the actual wedding, although it wouldn’t be a wedding if there weren’t a few unexpected occurrences. It was the planning phase of my wedding that caused more fallout than a nuclear blast.
It’s not worth rehashing. Suffice it to say, I decided right then that I was NOT GOING TO BE THAT MOTHER. If asked, I would offer my opinion, but my financial aid would not be contingent upon getting me way.
Whose wedding is it anyway?
It’s not my wedding. It is my son and daughter’s (*smiling just saying this*) special day. It should be where they want, including who they ask. Decorations, attire, food choices and anything else should be their choice.
Later this month, I get to go on the first wedding dress shopping trip. I’m so honored to be asked to join in with her mom and girlfriends.
Now, to practice buttoning my lip and seasoning my opinions with grace…
Do you have sons or daughters? Any wedding stories you want to share?