Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thanks for the Memories - Wedding Plans

Picking the Date. Getting the License. Church ceremony or other venue. Choosing the Wedding Attendants. Creating the Guest lists. Where will the Reception be? Wedding Cake. What kind? How big? Flowers. What florist? Entertainment. What kind? Rehearsal party? WOW! I am exhausted just thinking about all the parts that go into planning a wedding. I read that it is recommended that in order to plan the ultimate wedding, use a wedding checklist with a timeline based on the 16-month length of the average U.S. engagement.  One can be found at:

Other helpful hints are also available, such as creative cards helping guests find their seats. Photo checklists, and even having the bridal shower at a bowling alley. How about having the wedding in the Backyard? All the how-dos are on this website. As I perused the lists, I was actually astonished that when I, with help from a few others, planned my wedding, we did it without having such an all-encompassing list. I am sure many weddings before 1969 had consultants with lists helping the undecided bride. I did not and our wedding event was successful. But perhaps in today’s fast-paced world, one should get all the help they can. After all, a wedding needs to be the best it can be.   

Using some of these wedding checklist how-dos as lead-ins, here are some photos from our wedding. For, “Picking your perfect attendants,” here are my three Bridesmaids: Lori, my sister-in-law, Janet, good friend, and Runi, Maid-of-Honor. Being that this was a November wedding, jewel colors were picked for their gowns. Royal Blue for Lori, Emerald Green for Janet, and Fuchsia for Runi. Furry muffs, collars and hats complimented the winter theme. The girls loved their gowns and they truly looked as if they were royal ladies-in-waiting.
The “Best Man” was Keith’s long-time friend, Roger. He was quite handsome and had a great personality. Here is Keith and Roger goofing off, like guys do, before the wedding. Roger also gave a wonderful toast. I just wish I could remember what he said. 
The wedding checklist has tips on choosing Groomsmen. Since our wedding party was small, besides Roger, Keith’s and my brother were the other guys. We also did not have a Flower Girl or Ring Bearer. I can’t recall why, but we didn’t miss not having them. I was amused by the little caveats offered on the website regarding the little ones such as, “Crying or not making it all the way down the aisle,” and to “be sure to secure the rings to whatever they’re being carried in or on.” Good advice.   
Wedding requirements can be mind-boggling. So can trying to remember our wedding. To do so, I consulted my wedding album and was thrilled when I found the things pictured here to jar my memory, like the wedding invitations. Creamy card stock with a fancy script was sent to an every-growing guest list. The seven-part invites were assembled with care, and whoever had the best handwriting got the worthy job of addressing the envelopes.
The bridal shower invite came from ‘Hallmark’ and that task was handled by Lori, for the shower was held at Keith’s house. All of his large family and many relatives were there and we were overwhelmed. And to this very day, we still have and use some of those shower gifts, like the Westinghouse hand mixer and assorted mixing bowls. Now how practical can you get! 
Finding my wedding dress was an event onto itself. Not only did I save my wedding dress, I saved the original receipt for the gown. Yellowed with age but still legible, my mother bought my dress from Bramson, a high-end women’s fashion store located in Park Forest, IL in the Evergreen Plaza. My wedding gown was a Priscilla of Boston, designed by Priscilla Kidder, one of the most famous makers of wedding gowns in the US in the 1950s, 60s & 70s.  After coming to prominence in 1956 when she designed the bridesmaid gowns for Grace Kelly's wedding to Prince Ranier of Monaco, my mother needed no more convincing by the sales lady that this was the gown for me.
The dress was an elegant floor length A-Line with hi illusion neckline with seed pearls and beadwork, and many buttons down the back and long sheer sleeves. The very long fine net veil had a gorgeous headpiece of sea pearls and lace. I truly felt like a princess!
I did some research and found a near-like version of my dress purchased in 1968. Asking price was $720, originally $3,500. My mom paid $113.40 for the dress, veil and tax. Of course it was the previous year’s design, but I did not mind that. It was beautiful and I loved it.   
The wedding ceremony was held at St. Mary’s Church in Mokena, Illinois. It was a cold day in November, but I do not remember feeling cold as my dad walked me to the car to go to the church. The reception was held at the Prestwick Country Club in the neighboring town of Frankfort.
As I am half Italian on my mother’s side, and as it was a tradition at that time, most wedding receptions were hosted by the bride’s parents, therefore, our wedding had Italian food and
entertainment. Mostaccioli with sausage, Italian Cream Wedding cake and almond cookies. Often during the dinner, guests banged glasses with spoons to encourage the Bride and Groom to kiss several times. My Godfather was a consummated entertainer, singing and dancing all the good ole Italian songs. The wedding party lined up to do the Tarantella dance. There are many renditions of this dance but the music is the same. What I remember the most was having my veil stepped on a lot. But it was fun and exhausting.
Cutting the wedding cake was a special moment. It was a small cake but there were other desserts. Keith and I cut the cake together and stuffed a small piece it each other’s mouths, and then passed it out to the guests. I loved the top of the cake, and it has been saved all these years and has a special place in our family museum. The bell is yellowed, but the bride & groom look as lovely as they did 44 years ago.

Finally, the reception was coming to a close. As we said our goodbyes, we stepped out to a very cold night, the sky was absolutely brilliant with a full moon that had a ring around it. How fascinating! We were told by a guest that a ring around the moon means that our marriage is like the eternal ring, will always go around and around, like the wedding rings on our fingers.  What a lovely thought to have then and every time we see a ring around the moon, we both recall our wedding and how wonderful it was.
As you create your family museum, make sure you include whatever precious items you have from that time in your life. To see those things is like a gentle reminder and tells you how important was that moment in time.

Next Post:  Summertime Memories

Suggestion: If you do not have a Family Museum to display your wedding keepsakes, gather up what you have and put them together in a shadow box, such as the wedding invitation and photographs, and hang them on a wall. It does not matter how many things you saved or how big the venue is for your heirlooms. What matters is that you still have them, share them now, and pass them on to your family.        


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