I am awakened at 5am by Jenn's cell phone alarm. She doesn't wake up, but I do.
I go to Jenn, and recommend that she simply tie the 'leftover' flowers with a ribbon and have the girls hold them 'Miss America' style. She gives me a blank look, so I don't think she likes the idea.
DH is sent to the airport to pick up Caroline, the bridesmaid who flew in from Sacramento. She had a show she choreographed the night before, that is why she could not arrive till the morning of the wedding.
We figure out which car is going straight to the site (ours) and which is making the last, last minute Walmart run (Jenn's). We need panty hose, a couple of pics for my Wedding Party book and...well, when dd went to pack her shoes, she found a big mud stain on the side...so a bleach pen. We get it all packed...including the bucket w/ the 'leftover' flowers. My mom is in the back, with the dress draped across her lap...we warn her, "don't let anything happen to that dress...we'll deal with a lot, but if the dress gets ruined, we are cancelling"...don't worry nothing happened to the dress.
The car that is going straight (ours) carries all the food, bride's personal stuff,
we are traveling along and my mom says..."where is the veil?"..uhggghhh!!
Luckily, we are able to call dh, and since there is a spare key in the lock box, he and Caroline can pick it up, no problem.
We get to the site and start to unpack...as I've mentioned before, this is a gorgeous former model home and my mom is 'starstruck'...she is walking thru it saying, "Whoa"...almost in a daze.
We get things unpacked and are in the kitchen moving the perishibles into the fridge, when we hear a large crash. My mom has walked through the 12' screen door.
Little old Japanese lady and screen door go crash. My dd with perfect aplomb, looks over and says, "and that is without drinking". My mom says she was so impressed and she was looking at the guest house, saw that there were people outside and thought the door was opened. Don't worry she wasn't hurt, but it took 3 Marines to put the door back up. (household casualty #1)
We realize we also left the bridal bouquet behind...no problem... another call to dh.
Now, this is a model home, designed to show off views not hide them, so those back rooms have window treatments, not blinds or curtains. The girls' room is the back suite, the guys are in the 'casita'...the guesthouse. We tape up sheets to the windows in the girls room, cuz dd has to be 'hidden' from sil for the morning, right?
I never even walked into the casita, so did not even think about it, lets just say that open bathroom window faced the yard all our guest would be in. And the guys got very creative for bathroom usage during the reception...either that or 'wave' to the crowd, right?
The bridal party and their spouses are asked to arrive around 8:30, to help with set up and prep and to have a quick rehearsal, without dd. By this time she is in the room hidden.
As people arrive, I assign them projects...guys empty vehicles, set up banquet area, and arch...gals decorate and food prep. We have a 9' arch, but the guys call me over asking if they can leave off the last section to keep it 6'...I told them as long as sil can stand there without hitting his head and they can get it secure in the ground...'don't worry, we'll take care of it". I assign the decorating to Nicole S. and Jamie (one of the groomsmen's wives)...they do a GORGEOUS job.
When the food arrives, I ask Jamie to make the pot stickers. She did it, all of it, what I think is the worst food job of the day. (she became my favorite gal of the morning...but wait till the after reception story...she figures prominantly in it) My mom is in the kitchen making a plate of her CA rolls. I tell her just make one plate, they were a 'hit', I should have had her make more.
I send dil and another groomsmen's wife to the store to get the edible creations fruit bouquet and some ice. I had printed a Mapquest map, guess it wasn't very helpful, dil said she went down 6 different streets to find it. Now, I ordered the largest bouquet, to the tune of over $118...this thing was small!! I kept the container, it is less than 12" long. The fruit was great...it went fast!! But I can't help but feel I was 'gipped'..if the $118 arrangement is less than a foot long, what is the $70 arrangement? 3"!!!
All I can say, is I felt like a complete dragon lady...I do not like 'barking' orders. But these kids are fantastic, they worked hard. I may have had one kid from each group who did not really pull their weight, one bridesmaid, one groomsman...but for the most point, they really jumped in and got the job done.
Special mention goes to Robert, one of the bridesmaid's husbands, who ended up setting up the banquet area for me. And when Jenn's family arrives, they took over the setting up and prep... It was my weakest area, and they were life savers.
Now, Jenn's dad, is former career Navy, so of course he wears his dress whites to a wedding filled with Marines. But picture him making red punch in those whites...
(he did not spill a drop)(but, boy, those of us in the room were in a state of worry)
Unknown to me, thank God, dh and Caroline were almost in a car accident.
Guess they were in conversation and dh missed a red light, he says he slammed on the brake and spun out almost hitting a bus. All the ifs, if there had been people walking, if another car had come thru the light...but they make it.
I had just sent the girls to the garage to help Jenn make the bouquets, she was in there by herself. (she is one of those gentle souls who does not ask for help)
But it was good, cuz when Caroline arrived, I took her to the back room and told dd, "I brought you a present!! It's 5' tall and squeals". DD comes out of the bathroom, and they both squeal. With dd in So Cal and Caroline in Sacramento, they don't get to see each other, so it was good the room was cleared for their reunion.
But dd gets a disappointing call, Sara S, the bridesmaid lost in Las Vegas, made it to CA...but would be really late in arriving to the site. But the other girls pull through, they will take of dd's hair...so, Sara S. can do her makeup.
As you can imagine, rehearsal was chaos...the cutie pie flower girls were walking in a couple of directions...the line up was odd. I asked the kids to line up according to the program. The girls did it from the top, the guys from the bottom...so when they were standing at the alter, it was set up so the tallest guy was escorting the shortest girl...no, guys, switch!!!
I take a couple of minutes to put the last 2 pictures into the "Bridal Party" book.
and put it out on the gift table. Finally get dressed in the laundry room..oh, the dress!! I end up wearing the shirt I wore at graduation with a skirt, as dd requested...when my mil arrives, I see she is wearing the exact same dress that dd did not like!! Hey, it looks good on mil!! We would have looked like 'bookends'!!
Sil's grandma takes over the guest sign in table and does a terrific job,
we have a photo mat for guests to sign and cards for them to write marriage advice or memory on...dd says the only people who did not fill one of these out, were me and her new mil (what can I say, we were busy)
Wedding was supposed to start at 11, chaplain arrives at 11:30, actually starts at 11:40. Now, the weather is beautiful...the rest of the week, has been cool and cloudy, today it is sunny with an occassional breeze...so we have guests waiting for more than 40 minutes and some are starting to bake.
okay, almost ready for the ceremony....