When you start planning your wedding it suddenly seems as though every person in your life thinks that their sole purpose is to give you advice on what the big day should be like. This can be great… if you are actually interested in hearing what Great Great Aunt Bittie has to say about your wedding taste. But all joking aside, a week before my wedding I received one of the best pieces of advice I could have ever asked for. A close friend told me to make sure that no matter what happens on the big day, that my now-husband and I take a moment to remove ourselves from the scene and just “take it all in.” To visually look at the moments before us. It is something many couples wish they had done in retrospect.
And so we did. My husband and I stepped aside and spent a moment just absorbing the beauty in front of us. I could spend all day describing what that moment felt like as the bride. When you plan your own wedding, it is so easy to get swept away in flowers, dresses, caterers and cakes. You don’t realize what the day feels like from someone else’s perspective. My mother, who happens to be an excellent writer, decided to spend some time recapping the day from the eyes of the mother-of-the-bride. This piece she wrote is truly touching and is a perspective most brides don’t take the time to consider. I will let her words speak for themselves. I hope you find this to be as enlightening and beautiful as I do.
So my piece of advice to all future brides is simply this: don’t forget what a big day this is for the ones who love you too.
Written by Robyn Martino. Photos by Emily Steffen.
Love and Joy
February 8th, 2013: “Mom, where are you guys” my daughter shouted through the phone? “We’re on our way home, what’s up,” I asked? “Hurry up, I have to show you something,” Talia screamed. Mike and I drove expediently home where I scrambled out of the car the second Mike put it into park, and moved toward where Talia was jumping up and down, and waving her hand toward me. “Look, I’m engaged,” she squealed. Hugging, jumping up and down, and girly screaming ensued. Of course, Mike and I knew it was coming, as her love, Ryley, had already asked us for her hand in marriage. Now fast forward to this summer!
This summer I had the amazing opportunity to be “The Mother-of-the-Bride”. I have always known how much I love my daughters. You know, the heart-ripping, passionate, overwhelming spidey-sense tingling need to protect from all evil, can’t sleep at night, fear of everything scary, and find yourself just staring at them in awe, love. Of course, parents raise their kids to be independent and leave us – how unfair is that, really? (Now, I suppose that depends upon the child!)
For me, it is difficult – I don’t think I have really let go even though my girls are 22 and 25 years old. I love them, fear for them, worry about them, and enjoy every minute I get with them – a regular old love-fest! We are very close and get together almost weekly! Must be love, right?
That’s what I thought – love. However, this summer, I think I truly experienced one of those sweet moments of real love. The planning was complete. Vintage everything, barn this, barn that, depression glass, calligraphy, dresses – oh, the dresses! A girly girl’s dream. Seriously, a place where I shine! I was in heaven and enjoyed every second of planning for the wedding. A sense of fun, joy, and a taste of beauty evolving in design for June 22nd.
Then the big day! I didn’t really know what to expect on her wedding day. People had certainly asked me how I was feeling about it, and many asked about my son-in-law,still others told their own stories of marrying off their children. I genuinely thought I would be a mess of emotion. I was, but not how I expected. I thought I might be sad – you know – to GIVE my daughter away, or to think I was losing her – all that love and nurturing, done, gone, complete – an ending. How could love feel so empty?
Surprisingly, none of those emotions capture the day. There is only one word to describe the day. Pure, genuine, JOY! At its purest, finest, state, JOY is overwhelming. A state of existence where you likely are out of body, mind, and any physical state. A state of love – everlasting, always changing, growing, nurturing, and eternal. Joyful.
The brides room was buzzing. Two hairstylists curling, spraying, teasing. Make-up: every brand, color, and item you can imagine (at least those that went with pale pink). Four bridesmaid dresses, a flower girl’s dress, two Mother’s dresses, and the brides’ dress all hanging from a steel-pipe-made clothing rack on deep mahogany hangers. The only distinguishing feature between them was the letter of their first names in gold calligraphy on their hanger. The bride’s hanger unique, in that the middle brace made of gold wire was artistically bent to spell out Mrs. Laird. Glistening, Cinderella shoes were planted firmly below the bride’s dress – a major photo opp. Crystal jewelry, my mother’s hand mirror, a small beaded purse, and the bridal rings adorned the table in this room. Getting ready was serious, big business – sentimental perfection. But, there was more. I slipped silently out of the room to go upstairs and look at the barn, now fully decorated, cakes and flowers proudly filling their designated spaces.
Every detail; yes, every detail had been carefully thought about and executed. A table filled with 13 glass pedestal cake plates had now been completed with matching cakes of differing sizes, the icing concealing the tasty flavor hidden beneath. Pink Depression Glass artifacts, pale pink Peonies, and 1930’s glass lanterns completing the look. A candy-bar filled with a variety of shaped topiary jars, and glass containers each housing delicious ivory candy treats filled a table adding a savory tempting sweetness to the room. Each table setting complete with a hand-calligraphed menu, a name card, and burlap napkin, flowers in natural wood boxes weaving through the tables. 400 feet of individually placed Bistro lights cascaded like Christmas garland across the barn rafters. 156 mason jars detailed in burlap, lace, flowers, and ribbon placed every foot around the perimeter of the barn with their soft glow illuminating the stories of the authentic barn boards surrounding its guests.
Down below me, the soft sound of male laughter as the groomsmen began the ordeal of figuring out how to put on the tuxedo, the suspenders, and the bowtie. I hear beer popping open, and think that a beer always helps figure out these advanced things, you know, like bowties and suspenders! Walking past the groom’s room, I witness a much different scene than I left in the bride’s room. First, the door was open – clearly, no secrecy around how the groom looks. All the groomsmen with a beer in hand, smiles on their faces, and every now and again a loud burst of gusty laughter resonating the barn. An interesting contrast to the brides room.
Back in the bride’s room, I sat in awe, watching my two beautiful daughters; one the bride, one the maid-of-honor. No surprise that their inseparable childhood partnership would manifest into these roles, and when the time is right, will manifest in reversed roles of bride and maid-of-honor. Crystals of love sparkled in their eyes when they looked at and to each other. Talia smiling and glowing throughout the day as she looked at Tori as if to say, can you believe this? Tori looking back at Talia as only a little sister can. “Wow, is this MY sister? She is so amazing.”
Four o’clock – it is time. My daughter prepared for the exit from her changing room – my loving husband at her side. It was time for me to move out into my seat. A quick look back at the two of them; a proud father, loving daughter, a family gaining a son! A moment I couldn’t prepare for. Amazingly, while tears peaked out of my eyes at this scene and many others throughout the wedding, I didn’t feel sad. It was something I had not recognized or felt in the past. I was happy, delighted, and found great pleasure in every moment of the day. I can only describe it as joy. A joy that originated from pure love. The dream of a future and all that it will hold – nothing more precious than watching your children grow.
Bye-the-way, I believe that adult children do not grow up to leave you, rather they grow up to form a new relationship with you – one totally reflective of the relationship you built for all those formative years, one that is worth every investment of time, love, fear, worry, and growth. And, another thought, kids aren’t the only ones who grow up!
JOY! Not just for the holidays, anymore. ( A line adapted from the Movie, Santa Clause).