Planning a Wedding with the Love and Help of Your Friends and Family


There is no way, noooo way I could’ve thrown myself a wedding without my family and friends.  At first I didn’t want to trouble anyone and was sure I could do it all alone.  By the end, I was asking my mailman if he minded coming in for a moment to help me decorate gift bags.  Peter, my mailman said no, (he was on a tight schedule), but a woman walking her dog in my neighborhood (thank you, Carol!) ended up being a real gem.  The point is, reach out and touch someone.  (wink-wink)

Here are some ways in which I coerced begged blackmailed pleaded forced asked people to help me:

  1. I wanted my giftbags to be useful during the three nights, four days that our guests were staying with us.  boys and margeeUseful to me meant snacks.  There are never enough snacks for when you need one.  I also thought about the fact that most of our guests were flying to our destination wedding.  Who wants to fit more stuff into their luggage on the last day?  With snacks on the other hand, what’s to fit?  They’re all gone.  So I asked my Aunt Margee if she would help me…help me turned out into putting together the whole gosh darn bag.
  • First she made several batches of gigantic chocolate chip cookies until Sam and I found the recipe we liked the most.  Then she made 120 cookies (3 for each person), put them into tiny cellophane bags, and tied them closed with blue ribbons and a copy of the recipe for each guest.  This was all done on the day before the wedding with the help of my mom, my cousin-in-law, Sam’s mom, and his sister, Duncan.
  • us 2Margee also went to a farmer’s market out in the countryside of Maryland, in a region known for its fruit trees and gardening.  She picked out tons of organic dried fruits and put them all in…you guessed it, little cellophane bags that closed with a blue ribbon.
  • Pennsylvania Dutch country (where I’m from) is known for its pretzels so Margee also went out and purchased dozens of bags of pretzels.  The ladies in the ‘command center’ placed them in their bags on the day before and cinched them shut with a blue ribbon.
  • Then Sam’s mom got into the act and roasted pounds of southern pecans.  We needed some representation from Memphis for our guests to snack on.  So each guest got (surprise, surprise) a cellophane bag filled with delicious pecans, tied shut with a blue ribbon.DSC_1347_JPG
  • Mary Beth also went out and found a wheel-barrow load of Goo-Goo Clusters, which if you’re not from Memphis, you may not have heard of of.  They’re these chocolate pie about the size of a flat baseball, filled with caramel and nuts and other things that make your heart beat fast.  So we put one of those in each bag too.
  • Finally, we decorated the bags and added a large bottle of water for each guest.  We picked the water that came from the Sierra mountains in nearby Northern California in an attempt to minimize our carbon footprint.  This cornucopia of nibbles was given to each guest; it was a bag filled with us, our families, and our love.
  1. (But Really 2.)  Our weekend had three evenings of celebrations and each party had its own DSC_1053_JPGdecorations, theme, and layout.  The first night, the Rehearsal Dinner, which I explained in yesterday’s chapter, was all about taking a walk from the past into the present.  We held it at a restaurant on the property and our greatest hope was that all the people in our lives would connect.  I came up with the ideas, but it was Sam’s family who did all of the work, the design, the movie-making, and the cutting and pasting.  I gave a daft speech though.
  • Our second night was the Ceremony and the Reception.  This of course had the most work involved.  My dear friend, Mary surprised me with all of the candelabras and candlesticks my little heart could ever desire.  Tommy, another talented friend, did all of my flowers for me IMG_0198and by ‘do all of my flowers’ I really mean createdIMG_0185 an atmosphere.  I wanted my wedding to feel like a country affair in the backyard of someone’s home 60 years ago.  Mary and Tommy accomplished that.  I also wanted luminaries and rose petals and apothecary jars filled with floating candles.  Done. Done. Done.  I wanted long burlap tablecloths on the three 20′ tables we were having dinner on and mismatched, colorful prints for all of the cocktail tables.  I wanted the seating chart to be done haphazardly on a large seating chartblackboard, specialty drinks to be drawn up on another near the bar, and a portrait gallery to be set up for each guest to get silly.  I signwanted old-fashioned lights strung up above us at dinner, but twinkle lights in the bushes by the dance floor.  I wanted an ice cream stand, a leave a note table, and candles everywhere.  My uncle even made signs from old barn wood that read, “Wedding,” “Wedding,” “Just Married,” and “Finally!”  I planned all of this, but executed almost none of it.  It was my friends, my bridesmaids (and bridesdudes), my family, and my awesome day-of coordinator (thank you, Cathy!) who pulled it all together.
  • DSC_1321_JPGDSC_1264_JPGIMG_1811Last, but not least we had a costume party on Halloween.  The All Hallow’s Eve fiesta was to be held at the same house as the reception, but the theme this time was Day of the Dead.  My Aunt Margee came to the rescue again.  With the help (read nimble hands) of her garden girls, her glutton girls, and her sailing sally friends, Margee made dozens and dozens of huge, paper flowers (Dahlia’s to be exact) in bright pink and bright orange tissue paper that my mom found.  They were carefully unfolded from their trek cross-country by my new, extended family and hung from the ceiling by my cousins.  My mother flew with the makings of a Day of the DSC_1272_JPGDead altar, which she put together carefully after making sure all of my DoD luminaries were up.  One of my dearest friends, Shauna made an 8 hour playlist on her ipod that (if we’re being honest) rocked the Casbah.  Shauna also, with the help of Sam’s sister, Lee manned the Halloween photo booth, which was really more of an old school yearbook photo thing, than actual photo booth.  IMG_1760IMG_1747Guests stood in front of a backdrop, had their Polaroid taken, wrote a message on the bottom, and then clothes-pinned it to a wall of twine in the living room.  Again, like a little general, I pointed and smiled and laid out my vision, but all of the work was done by my loved ones.
  1. (But Really 3) The Parker Palm Springs has a woman there Patty Gleeson.  She, with the expertise of the banquet DSC_1300_JPGmanager, made everything work smoothly.  I’m 100% positive that no one has ever asked them to hold a family-style, southern barbecue before, but they did it with finger bowls and double napkins and it was wicked.  (actually, those were both my idea too – pat, pat)  My day-of coordinator (which I highly recommend if you’re debating) fell into my lap after a series of exhausting conversations with DSC_1151_JPGwomen who charged more than my rent.  Cathy on the other hand, worked with my budget and with the help of the her partner (the Wizard), made by day run without a hitch. (Cathy and Dorry\’s Celebrations of Joy)  My photographer was an angel and also worked with me…and then worked some more.  On the night of our wedding, she had a left a little book on the bed side table.  Inside was an old-fashioned photograph of the two of us taken on a camera IMG_0176she had to wind-up each time she used.  (Yvette Roman)  And then of course there was the gentleman at Signature Lighting who reconfigured the whole lighting arrangement to meet my budget, my girlfriend who lent me her special card to get my fabric downtown for 20% off, and my best friend, Megan who splurged for all of the ladies who have a private yoga class on Friday morning.  IMG_0075There was also Shauna, who did my make-up, my mom’s make-up, and anybody else’s who asked nicely, Krista and Natalie who were exactly where they needed to be when I wanted them there, Kim who gave us something we really needed at the last minute, and well…I could go on forever.

The point is, you need your friends and family wedding.  Even our friends when planning a who couldn’t make it, made it.  I’m not sure DSC_1268_JPGhow I got so lucky to have such a great support team, but I do and I am grateful!DSC_1197_JPG


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