Mom Turner even bought the cookie cutter sometime last October and I remember Jenny describing to me then how she really wanted different colors so the cookies would look like real Autumn leaves on the tables. One of the things about projects like this is I always wonder ahead of time if I'll really be able to pull off such specific requests. Technically, I know it's doable because you see artsy people doing things like that all the time; but I don't feel particularly artistic and often have to think really hard about how to get something to work. Thankfully, I had a few basic elements in place: I knew what recipes to use to get the job done. Soft Sugar Cookies, Royal Icing, Almond Chocolate Chiffon Cake, Wedding Buttercream and some very tasty purchased raspberry filling from Miles Cake and Candy Store. After that, I just needed to work out how many batches we'd need and how long it was going to take me to complete.
I've made cookies for two other weddings now and I've made one other wedding cake. Not a ton of experience, but enough to know that I needed to block off way more time than you might think for each task. If you've ever baked and decorated sugar cookies, you know they're always way more time-consuming than you might think at the outset. The average batch of sugar cookies yields about two dozen and takes all afternoon to finish; multiply that by six and you've got the requirements for this particular baking project. I figured for the cookies it would take one afternoon to mix the dough, one to roll and bake the cookies, one to do all the glazing, one to do the decorating, and one to wrap and finish. For the cake, it was going to take a day to mix and bake, one to fill and first-coat frost, and a third to finish-frost and assemble. That all turned out to be pretty much accurate, except that so many other things came up this last week that it took me all my "project time" (time in the afternoon after usual morning chores) from Monday to Friday to finish the cake.
Looking at the calender, I decided the cookies needed to be completely finished by October 6 (one week before the wedding). When I was thinking this over in August I didn't know I was making a cake, but I did remember from other weddings that some big project usually crops up during that last week and I didn't want to be tied up making cookies at that point. Knowing this was the case, I field tested some cookies in September by leaving them out on the counter for three weeks, tasting them about once a week. By the third week, they were getting a little stale but were still fairly good, so I knew it was safe to have them finished a week ahead of time and still have them taste good for wedding guests.
What I hadn't counted on was that pregnancy really has slowed me down...and how many people on both sides of my family were ready to lend a hand and fill in that energy gap for me! My sisters and mom helped me bake all those cookies - and Leah and Benjamin lent us the kitchen and the freezer for that stage, which I realized about halfway through the baking process would've presented a huge challenge to me in our current kitchen. And Ben single-handedly rolled and cut at least half of the cookie dough. He got so covered in flour and he just kept going like a champ for four or five hours that Sunday afternoon. Kim and Jenny and Grandma and Mom and Jenny's mother-in-law Chris wrapped up and tied them all.
Then there was the cake. Some fun moments: when Jenny showed up unexpectedly as I was putting the cakes in the oven so she got to taste the batter; Katherine coming over for the day and helping me put all the layers together; cutting the center dowel through the layers with a big pair of branch clippers; and getting the cake finally all set up and with it's decorative flowers on it just as Jenny came into the reception room to see it for the first time.
When we got to the reception room yesterday and I saw it all decorated and got the cake assembled, I was very content with how everything came out, especially when I saw Jenny's reaction. I think she and Ken very much enjoyed their wedding yesterday and we got to be a part of making the details work.
Grandma brought her cookie carefully home from the reception and told me today she's not sure she wants to eat it. "Because they're so beautiful and especially I know how much work they were," she said. "Lots of people worked on them. It seems a shame to eat them so soon."
That's a very pleasant compliment.
I'm glad the projects are successfully over, but I've definitely enjoyed all the company it's brought me and being part of getting this big event all ready. It's going to seem pretty quiet around here the next few weeks!
Grandma, House, Wedding
This has been a week of decisions.
Most times when people talk to us, they assume we're very busy because we're working on the wedding. As Ben said yesterday, "Of the 75 decisions we made the past few days, about 4 of them had something to do with the wedding."
He's exaggerating a little, but not too much. The situation with Grandma Lila's hip/leg has taken a lot of thought and concentration, between trying to understand what would be best to do to help her heal and trying to work out what would be best to do to the house to make it ready for her. We were more or less expecting to just get the house ready a bit before the wedding and then work more seriously on modifying it to have Grandma move in afterward. The decision to let Grandma heal naturally means she will be moving in much sooner so we can give her more one-on-one attention to keep her healthy; and this means the house needs to be modified at lightning speed. We've also been going back and forth to the hospital to keep Grandma company and try to give Mom Turner a chance to be at home. This has made our schedule fairly complicated.
Once we began working hard and fast on the house, a lot of decisions were required that we hadn't yet made a plan for and needed to figure out and decide on quickly. Some of it is on fairly complicated stuff, like the electrical system in the house; some of it's cosmetic and can be easily changed if we make a mistake, like the paint colors. Even so, it takes constant attention. What's been absolutely wonderful is how our family is working right along with us. Benjamin and Leah have been at the house every day, often when Ben and I can't even be there. Mom and Dad Turner and Jenny have been in and out and spent a lot of yesterday feeding everyone (and that's a big job!). Benjamin built a beautiful arch where the wall between the kitchen and living room used to be; his brother Isaac spent all day yesterday up in the attic modifying the electrical lines to accommodate a bathroom being where a bedroom used to be and moving plugs and switches around to make up for the fact that the walls they used to be mounted on disappeared; my siblings spent all day yesterday painting the house with us; and Dad spent much of that time hanging new interior doors...that he gave to us as a gift when we realized our budget probably didn't include them right now. I sort of figured we were just going to have to do them a little at a time someday down the road, but to have them now is really, really nice!
A lot of random house parts left over from jobs are getting used, like a new entrance door that comes from the very first job my family's business did years ago. We ordered the wrong style and it's been sitting in the garage ever since. Benjamin's family gave us a shower pan that had been sitting in their garage for 10 years. We found all kinds of things in my family's basement, like all the faceplates for new plugs. Benjamin had drywall and drywall mud. And that doesn't even begin to touch all the time everyone is putting in. We have a budget for these things, but every little bit helps so much.
The decisions on the wedding this week have been pretty straightforward. We needed to ask two people to be ushers, so Ben called his good friends Jason and Paul. We needed to pick out a bouquet for me and that took us about 20 minutes to settle. I got a veil. Ben has straightened out some mis-communication about the tuxes with Men's Warehouse. The hall asked us what color napkins we wanted them to put in the center of the tables. And this morning we reviewed the seating chart with Anna and approved the final version. Not nearly the thought-consuming task trying to sort through Grandma Lila's future or deciding on our house's layout is!
So when people say, "I know you're busy with the wedding," we sort of chuckle. Because only a very small percentage of our mental and physical energy is going to the wedding: it's the rest of it that's keeping us busy.
Time Is Getting Short
But the list of things to do sure isn't!
Here are a few things I worked on today:
- Calling the last few people we haven't heard from on the list to find out if they'd be attending the wedding
- Arranging to return a pair of shoes I tried out with the dress (I ordered two and liked the other one better). If anyone's interested, these are the ones I chose.
- Arranging for an appointment with Mancuso's florist to discuss a bridal bouquet (I really like their bouquets!). I think my favorite style is a toss-up between the Nosegay style and the Hand-Tied.
- Emailing to ask about where I should go look at veils (I've been looking at pictures - mantilla style or oval-cut with two tiers, I think)
- Asking if the vases for the centerpieces are still available
- Deciding on a good day to meet with a good friend who's going to be our coordinator the day of our wedding (tomorrow, hopefully)
- Giving guest information to Anna so she can do another masterful seating chart ;-))
- Giving guest information to Aaron so he can finalize the reception and make an outline for Dad about what's going on.
- Deciding on tea for favors (Ben and I are going to go get it after dinner)
- Sorting through the list of things to do and prioritizing what's left
- Packing up all my summer clothes and various other things that need to be moved and that I'm not going to need in the next two-and-a-half weeks.
Now that last was a weird experience.
I'm 29 years old and I've lived with my family all my life. The longest I've ever been away from them was three weeks when I helped my Aunt Sarah move out to Seattle a few years back. I've never even considered moving out. Beginning the process of separating what's coming with me from what is staying behind sort of feels like splitting perennials - the root systems are so intertwined it's kind of a painful process getting them apart and sometimes you just have to take the shovel and cut them to free your newly-split clump of flowers. Part of me is having occasional breathless moments when I think, "How on earth can I leave?"
Not to mention I really dislike packing up to move and this is the second time I've done it this year. There's just something very disturbing about taking all the settled little bits and pieces that you're used to having around and wrapping them all up and putting them in boxes. At least I'm usually an organized mover, so I know the routine. Step number one is never leave packing for the last minute. Far ahead of the move, begin packing by putting away everything that isn't going to be needed for the time before moving. Hence, boxing up all my summer clothes. Next week I'll probably figure out what I'm going to need for the week afterward and put away everything else. I just wasn't quite ready to do it today.
With the closing being set for Monday, it's quite likely our free time next week will be taken up with preparing our new house for us to live there. It's very clean, so we're going on concentrate on painting it the colors we'd like it to be and moving everything we can into it. Ben will probably start sleeping there as soon as it's somewhat ready. He's very excited about that and says he wants to go there to prepare a place for me, which is pretty special. He's also enacted a rule that we're not to be there by ourselves since he says that's a pretty foolish thing to do at this point. I doubt that's going to be a problem though - our families are almost as excited as we are about getting the house and I expect we'll have a grand old painting party and have plenty of company!
We took the paint chip book with us when we visited Grandma Lila for lunch yesterday and she approved of the colors we're thinking about but said she doesn't know which ones she wants for her bedroom and bathroom yet because "they always look so different on paper than they do where they're actually going to be." I promised her I'd put some samples up on the wall so she can see them before choosing. She said she trusts my judgement, which made me feel pretty touched; but if I were moving into a room I'd sure like to have a little bit to do with choosing the color and I think it'll make Grandma feel much more a part of planning if we hold off on picking that color and let her get a chance to pick when it's in a place she can see it right. We're thinking about mostly a nice neutral linen brown color with some blues and Grandma said she thought the one medium blue would be a very nice color for a bathroom with white woodwork and towels, etc. I agree. I've got a picture saved from a magazine that shows exactly that color mix and it's beautiful.
We're getting all the girls' dresses hemmed by a lady who owns a little design shop near here. I'd heard good things about her from several friends of mine and we've even voted for her shop in a local contest run by a news station, but I've never had the occasion to go visit her before. That changed this week when most of us got together to go pay her a visit.
It would've been fun to go all together, but I had a little scheduling difficulty getting all the girls there at the same time, so a subset of them got together around dinner time last night to take turns trying on their dresses and standing on the little wooden box so Miss Jules could pin their hemlines to the right height and discuss whether we should alter anything else. I'd already forgotten how pretty all the girls looked in their dresses and it was fun to see them again. One thing that was really nice to note is that it's unlikely anyone's really going to need any alteration beyond the basic hemming we were planning on - one of my sisters lost weight this month due to being sick for a few weeks (well, okay, she was technically only sick for a day or two, but it made her stomach have so much trouble she didn't eat hardly anything for weeks. Not a good way to diet, folks. You feel rotten.) and we might have to take her dress in, but we're waiting two more weeks to see if we really need to.
I thought I'd left the alterations until kind of later than really is a good idea, considering the dresses came in two weeks ago, but Miss Jules says because it's an off-season she has plenty of time. A bridal party came in this week who needed some serious work done by Saturday and that, she says, is definitely last minute. I felt slightly more organized hearing that.
The procedure was kind of interesting too, because we all sat around and chatted and inspected the dresses while the girls were getting pinned up. Anna was signed up for Driver's Ed yesterday, so we told stories about learning to drive and teaching other people to drive. It's funny, but those little spaces in time often end up being among the most interesting memories of planning an event like this. It's not the time you set out to make memorable that often ends up being the real thing: which is why I'm often much more interested in the seemingly commonplace little things that happen all the time every day than the big things we pretty much set out to make memorable. For instance, it's very possible that in a year I'll remember the little while sitting around in the dress shop laughing about putting on air-brakes when your brother's learning to drive more than I'll even remember details about the wedding ceremony itself.
We also learned that a bottle of Static Cling is going to be indispensable. The dresses seem to be super-comfortable, but because they're made of a knit materiel sheath covered by chiffon, they pick up static. Anna was going around zapping people by accident and you could arrange her skirt in all kinds of neat rosettes that would just cling to themselves. Something to add to our Support The Bridesmaids list. Benjamin's sister Rebekah is on official Support the Bridesmaids duty on the day of the wedding and part of what we need to do is make a list of things that she is actually in charge of. I think de-staticking is going to be high on the list.
Originally the plan was for Elizabeth to hem all the girls' dresses, but after looking at the work she had to do it seemed like a much better plan to get it done once I found out that the cost was going to be very reasonable. Katherine's dress is going to need a little more finicky work done to it, since the shoulder seams need to be adjusted, and I could see Elizabeth looking at it the day we got it and thinking, "Hm. Wonder when I'll be able to work on that?"
All in all, I was very happy to be able to have the chance to relieve Lizzy of the responsibility. I find it kind of exciting to be able to do that, actually. It's like when you find out you can give someone a vitamin supplement or something that will make them feel much better than they have been. Normally, doing the work would be a breeze for Elizabeth; but one of the side effects of Leah and I both being gone much of the time is that Elizabeth has taken on a whole new career in the Tuckfield house. She's a busy girl - and she's being a trooper about it. I'm so pleased with how my siblings have all stepped into taking on different responsibilities than they had before and how wonderful they've turned out to be at doing those things. I expected it of them; but it's one thing expecting and another seeing that faith become proven.
In other news, today is the one-year anniversary of the day Grandpa Wilfred Richards died. Ben and I spent much of the day with Grandma Lila. She didn't refer to Grandpa's death, but she was unusually sleepy today and really did not want us to go, so we spent much of the day just keeping her company. We sat on the couch and talked and she would wake up once in a while, check to see if we were still there, smile at us, and go back to sleep. She has sleepy days, but today was a little more extreme than most; still, what always seems to make her happiest is just to know her family is around nearby somewhere.
It's an interesting thing to me that the thing that people seem to need and want the most is not physical care - though that's very necessary - but to not be alone. There are loners out there, of course, who seem to prefer having no company: but in the beginning God said "It's not good for the Man to be alone" and when he made Eve, he made it so people would no longer be alone. It's not just about marriage. It's about parents and siblings and grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles and friends and...people around you. It's not good for people to be alone.
It's also amazing how fast you can come to love someone you didn't even know existed a year ago. People have a tremendous capacity to love and love easily and quickly. The movie ideas of love at first sight are kind of goofy, but it is true that you can come to love (and not in the "romantic" movie fluff way that can be explained away by excitement and infatuation with a handsome face) people very quickly. Grandma Lila usually says, "Goodbye - I love you!" and I'm not just saying it when I say, "Bye Grandma! Love you too!"
Under 30 Days
Emily has been telling me for two months that it's particularly exciting when you reach the actual month of your wedding and can say, "I'm getting married this month!" Technically, that'll be on Tuesday; but today is an important day because today the countdown clock has officially dipped under 30 days. That means tomorrow is exactly one month from our wedding.
At one month out, here are some things that are going on:
-We're going to meet with the photographer probably this week to discuss times and poses and groupings, etc.
-The groomsmen's ties need to be settled. My guess is we're going to rent them with the tuxes, but Ben was hoping to buy some and the only problem with that is that the popular purple color for men this year is grape purple, not lavender purple. He's still pondering having silver ties, but we'll probably take care of that for sure over the next few days.
-We're still waiting on the house closing, but I've been pondering over paint chips and looking at pictures and we're ready to get the house set up as soon as we have keys. If anyone's interested, the colors are mainly linen browns, cream, slate blue, and a touch of fern green. We might have a hint of a dusty rose color around too. We'll see.
-Showers are all done (and boy, were they nice!).
-We're gearing up to call everyone who hasn't RSVP'd by the end of this week.
-Dress fittings for the girls will probably be Tuesday evening if we can get it set up.
-We'd like to discuss the ceremony with Dad this week.
-I have to pick out a bouquet.
-My ring needs resizing from a 6 to a 5.5.
-The shortbread cookies for the favors are going to be tested (maybe Monday morning).
There are lots of other things, but for now that's the main to-do list!
Wedding Preparations: Timeline
One of the things that's tough to get used to about planning a wedding is how constantly you're asked to make decisions about things that still seem an awfully long way away. Who plans an entire day a month in advance? Yet it's become apparent over the past two weeks that we really are going to need a nice neat schedule we can pass around so everyone can be in the loop with what's going to happen.
For instance, one of the first things the photographers began talking about was a "timeline for the day". "It helps us figure out what kind of shoot to do and how many hours we'll need," one told me. "You figure general rule of thumb is about 2 - 5 minutes per shot and work from there. I will say this for you: at least your bridal party and family are the same, so that should really cut down on time. I'm guessing it'll be about half an hour for the family, half an hour for the bride and groom portraits."
That's good. I wasn't cut out for three-hour photo shoots and I don't think Ben was either (though he might be more cut out for it than me thanks to Mom Turner's diligent training). Besides, it's going to practically be November. We found a potential outdoor location, but the downside of that is we're going to have to wear coats and hustle through photos; and even with that provision, we're going to want to keep exposures - and exposure - to a minimum. We're also still thinking about an indoor location that would allow us to get good photos if the weather is bad or if it otherwise just doesn't make sense to go outside. I've seen a lot of wedding photos taken outside in winter, so I know it's definitely feasible; but I'm not fond of the cold myself and most of my sisters aren't either (why is it that boys stay so much warmer than girls generally?).
At any rate, we need a timeline for a day that's still a little over a month in the future detailing who needs to go where and do what at what time. Tricky, to say the least. Ben and I have been talking it over a bit, Elizabeth and Mom and I have been talking about it a lot more, and one thing we've all figured out is that we're really glad the wedding's in the evening. It's going to make the day so much more relaxed, we think.
Putting Dad's Lean Manufacturing training to work, one of the projects this next week is to build a timeline to tell everyone what's going on and where they should be when so we can have good solid discussion on how it's going to work rather than dealing with fuzzy deadlines. We have grandparents to accommodate, family from out of town who'll be present, several vehicles to assign riders and drivers to, and specific photos to plan for (among many other things). I don't foresee us getting it really nailed down until next week, but what's really interesting is watching the outline of this day take shape. It's a month away, but we're starting put together an idea of how it's going to go. Mom already knows what to do for dinner, for instance (hey, it's right after Thanksgiving: what better day to have Turkey Barley Soup and bread? Okay, we'll add some meat for sandwiches and probably a nice salad, but for me...it's soup all the way.). Even with the way my family builds menus for our meals, we don't usually know one that far in advance. How strange!
Just Picture It...
The last big detail we have to get settled is a photographer.
Now, there are several solutions to having pictures taken during a big event. You can hire a really expensive photographer. You can hire a less-expensive photographer. You can ask friends. Or you can do nothing at all and hope everyone gets lots of snapshots.
Among the people we know, there are quite a few avid photographers and many of them are quite skilled. I have no doubts this will be a well-documented event! There are a few places, however, where it becomes quite an imposition to have a friend cover a wedding: 1.) formal portraits; and 2.) the ceremony.
My dad is actually an excellent photographer, to the point where he has been asked to photograph a friend's wedding. His advice on the subject: "Don't do it!" What happens is that the friend - who would normally be simply invited to the wedding - now has a responsibility everyone knows is a big one. It's a lot of work, and as a friend of mine who really is quite an excellent photographer herself says, "I've learned that you can either live life or photograph it." It becomes kind of difficult to enjoy or even really pay attention to an event when you're documenting it. It's one thing if you're documenting for fun; it's quite another if it's become your formal responsibility. We would like our guests to be able to be attentive during the ceremony; and we don't want to haul them out early so they can work hard just before it. It's just not a very hospitable thing of us to do.
So we would like to hire a photographer to cover certain aspects of our wedding, mainly the formal portraits and the ceremony. We've noticed that the reception photos are usually very well covered by enthusiastic friends who actually have a better chance than a formal photographer of getting lots of neat snaps; and Ben says for some reason he really finds the pre-ceremony preparation pictures a little unnerving. So while we might have limited coverage of the preparations, we really want the ceremony to be documented and we really would like the portraits of the bride and groom and the family/bridal party (same thing, in our case!).
In that pursuit, my task yesterday was to sort through the many, many photography sites online searching for someone who would be both within price range and within style. It was interesting going through that many sites because after viewing a lot of picture galleries, I started to get a feel for the fashionable poses currently in style and also for what the difference is between a good photographer and a gifted photographer. You know what I noticed the most? Gifted photographers have developed (no pun intended...) the ability to capture people with good expressions on their faces. Not only that, they balance the lighting so there is no glare, have a good feel for what to focus on, and set the pictures up so they are interesting and not just a basic snap of someone with a "cheese" smile on their face.
Another aspect of this type of photography is that it has a tendency to be totally unreal. Everything can be staged in such a way that you look at it and say, "Yeah right. Like he's ever really going to kiss her by bending her over at the waist while she's holding a bouquet of flowers just so." Or, "On such a busy day as a wedding, does a woman ever really naturally stand around staring with dreamy contemplation into her bouquet like that?" Or, "Yikes! Sand! She's getting that beautiful white dress all sandy!"
And then there's my favorite: "The entire bridal part is just spontaneously leaping joyously in the air at the same time?"
I understand why the photographer might like to create an air of spontaneity in photos that can have a tendency to get a little pompous and rigidly formal; but those jumping-in-the-air-photos give me the irresistible urge to giggle. Not in an "Oh, how neat!" way, but in a "My goodness...seriously?" way.
Benjamin and Leah told me last night that photographers do sit down with you and get a feel for what pictures you'd like and not like, so thankfully we have a chance to head the leaping pictures off at the pass, so to speak. And I found two companies who seem very promising and have our wedding day available. That is very exciting because I was a little touch worried we were going to have trouble finding someone this close to the day. I suppose having a Monday wedding has it's advantages...Monday evening is not a frequent night to get booked!
I looked at the countdown today and realized, "Oh my...we only have about five weeks left!" Then I started thinking about what there is left to do and though, "Oh my...we don't have much time at all!"
Leah warned me about this. She said, "When you get to 40 days, all of a sudden everything goes really, really fast."
The good news is that there is a lot done. The slightly more intense news is when I started writing down things that were floating around in my head, there is quite a bit we're going to have to steadily keep getting done. We've been thinking lots of things out, but as with the church and the hall two weeks ago, we haven't gotten them firmly fastened in place yet. And crunch time is coming.
I learned a long time ago that the most effective way to conquer the mountain is just to reach for the nearest thing and take care of it rather than studying how big the mountain actually is. But every so often you have to make a reckoning on where you are and where you need to be, and that can be pretty surprising after not having looked at the whole thing in a while!
The part I'm not used to here is how distractable I am. Normally, projects and I get along very well together (for the aforementioned reasons). I see a thing that needs doing and do what I can to take care of it. Right now, doing that feels like trying to paint a picture with leather gloves on: I can't quite feel what I'm doing and the results are a little messier than usual. I think Ben sort of feels the same way, though it's kind of hard to quantify. His comment is, "There's just so much to get done and it's hard to concentrate on it."
Here's a sample of what we need to finish getting done this week:
- Pick out wedding bands
- Make some decisions on what we're going to get done when over the next three weeks
- Decide on some food details for the reception (which involves taste testing...that should be fun!)
- Go over the outline of the ceremony with Dad Tuckfield (we have vows written, but we want to discuss Bible passages)
- Enjoy another wedding shower on Sunday
- Get those last three addresses and put our three lingering invitations in the mail
Dad asked me Tuesday evening - as he drove me out at nearly midnight to put the stack of invitations in the post office box - what it felt like to be a few weeks away from getting married. "It's been too long now," he said. "I don't remember anymore."
The truth is, I'm not sure I have a fully coherent answer for him, but if I were to sum up it, it reminds me of when I'm running and I really, really want to keep going that last little bit I set the goal to make. I'm out of breath and my legs are tired and pretty much everything in my brain has shut down except the determination to keep going and get there...and I have that feeling that I really am going to make because I have just enough energy to get that far. It's always exciting to me when I can push myself like that running; and it feels about the same right now. Of course, I have a lot more oxygen going to my brain than that right now and I'm not quite so single minded. But it's close. As things come off that list, it's like one step at a time we're coming up on that goal.
There is one big difference between getting ready for a wedding and running a race, though: when you run a race, you concentrate on getting to the finish line. When you get ready for a wedding, you're focused on getting to the starting line. The wedding itself is only an official start to what is literally a new life for the people getting married. You're becoming a whole new entity than you've ever been before, starting from that time. I think that's really interesting and really neat and really something only God would've come up with in inventing this whole marriage idea.
A Productive Day
The invitations are going out now. That was a much longer days' work than I expected, partly because things were not quite as ready as I thought they were. We had most of the addresses collected and sorted, we had invitations waiting to be printed, and I figured all we had to do was run everything through the printer and we'd be good to go.
It was more complicated, of course. Aaron and Elizabeth did a lot of work lining everything up right so that everything printed within the right margins, but it turned out with one thing and another, printing the envelopes wasn't going to be a good idea. Which left putting clear labels on them, effectively ruling out finishing last night when we were printing. Plus, it was a trick just to sort out what to print. We did most of the invitations using this interesting experiment on RSVP-ing by website, but we did send a few with traditional response cards since there are a few people on our list who might have a harder time responding that way. This meant we had to print out two entirely different sets of invitations and maps as well as the response cards. It was a little tricky to get an accurate count that way and then keep everything in the correct piles, but Aaron's good at that sort of thing.
Today's mission was to finish up and get those invitations in the mail.
Normally on Tuesdays, Ben and I go visit Grandma Lila for lunch, but I appear to have a cold after the flu virus this weekend. At least there was 24 hours in between. But at any rate, it seemed a bad idea to take a cold virus into an assisted living home. They actually have a sign posted on the door that says, "Please do not visit if you are feeling ill!" So Ben and I decided that he would do that today without me. As it turned out, we ended up not seeing each other today for the first time since May. I hope it's not an experience we repeat any time soon, but at least we were very productive.
I got labels first thing this morning and went to Macomb Christian to give them the deposit. Elizabeth called while I was there and said she had just gotten a call from J.C. Penney. Apparently they were only going to hold the bridesmaid dresses for another two days. They'd given us a call on Thursday, but we were thinking of getting them Sunday and then everyone was so sick we'd forgotten. So I went and picked them up, then came home to work on the invitations. But when I opened the labels, I found someone had pulled a very ingenious trick on Office Max: someone had used all the labels, put all the empty sheets back in the box, and sealed it up again so it looked like it wasn't opened. Yikes! A con like that would've never even crossed my mind. I called and got the situation worked out, but that lost a bunch of time. Between that and picking up the dresses, there were no invitations out in today's post.
However, we did get the dresses and the shawls came in the mail, the invitations are all done, and Ben and Dad Turner got things arranged for the few tuxedo rentals we need. That sounds like it was an adventure - Men's Warehouse basically arranges things so that you think you're paying one thing, but you really pay another; and unless you turn right around and start saying, "No, the coupon says $40, not $30!" you just end up paying a lot more than expected. I'm glad Ben got that taken care of. I've been kind of leery of Men's Warehouse ever since August, when they contacted me with similar offers and it was so confusing I literally talked to three different people and got three totally different stories on how it all worked and what things actually cost. I have a tough time being assertive in those kinds of situations, but Ben's pretty good at it.
So. I'm off to go put the invitations in the post office box. Hey, it's not midnight yet, so it still is technically today. Which means I finally succeeded in my mission.
Wedding Preparations: Showers
Ben wasn't so sure how things were going to go with wedding showers.
"I've only been to one shower," he said. "I think they're probably a girl thing."
After our first shower (can you believe we're having TWO? Kinda funny for two people who said, "No, we don't need a shower - we think we're good"), we both discovered something. It's a whole different experience having people give you a shower versus attending one. It's pretty amazing when everyone shows up with a pile of packages and says, "Here, you're going to need these things."
Ben's comment afterward was "Who knew can openers could be so much fun?"
He's really thrilled with that can opener. Personally, I'm thrilled with the whole beautiful collection of things. Because we're going to have a house. We're going to be married. We're going to need new dish towels. Seriously.
And that's why it turns out it's a lot more fun to be having a shower than going to one. Because the whole thing is part of celebrating a new life beginning. Anything that goes into that celebration becomes very special. We've seen that before with other weddings, when weeding the yard became part of that celebration too; but it's a whole new realization when it's your own wedding you're celebrating.
Just a tip for anyone in the future: it turns out one of the best gifts to get someone having a big event like a wedding or baby shower is a thank-you note kit. Mom Turner gave us a box of handmade cards, a book of stamps, and a sheet of address labels containing the address of everyone who'd been invited to the shower. I put the list Elizabeth made of the gifts and who'd given them into the box with the notes and it took me no time at all to get them all sent. Now I think I'm going to assemble something similar for our next shower and wedding, because boy...it felt so good to get that taken care of right away!
Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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