Wednesday, March 8, 2017

THE WEDDING, Part 1…by Andrea Downing


Here’s a tip:  if you’re pregnant and know you’re expecting a girl, start saving for her wedding now. Tip 2: if you live in New York or similar over-priced city, move. And if you want to know why I’m not promoting any recent books, here’s the reason….
In January, 2016, my daughter and her boyfriend of four years announced they were getting married. Great news! An intimate dinner for twelve was arranged at a small restaurant downtown, just immediate family—an idea I hoped might take root in the next phase of this development. When things didn’t look like they were going my way, I did suggest the Chapel of the Transfiguration in Wyoming for the wedding, a beautiful setting that would reduce the number of invitation acceptances. Apparently, it was just a little too difficult to get to. About one third are coming from England, and the groom’s half are flying in from Colombia. So, the search for an NYC venue was on, and Cristal, my baby, narrowed it down to three spots.  This was just February, 2016, and the date we were looking for was Memorial Weekend, 2017—a holiday of some nature in all three countries. Spot #1 was an ‘In’ hotel in Brooklyn, which I felt was a little too minimalist; spot #2 was a brewery that does weddings with family-style seating—not what I was looking for.  But like the three bears, spot #3 was just right—an old stone mill, set in the NY Botanical Gardens.  Thing was, even with sixteen months to go, the Saturday was already taken. Soooo, wedding on Sunday suits us:  gives invitees a day to recover jet lag.

Next came the choice of photographer. Yup, these guys are booked well in advance.  The happy couple went through a series of on-line searches, looking at photos of other happy couples (one presumes they are still happy) before presenting me with a choice of three photographers. Luckily, we all agreed on the finalist.
Next up was music. There are three sections of the event that have to have music—the cocktail hour with the ceremony, which is going to be very low key and casual, no bridesmaids, no aisle, just an exchange of vows. Part two is the dinner, and part three, of course, is party time. So there I was, listening to endless groups, reading reviews of djs Cristal had researched, and needing earplugs and a silent room by the end of the day. But we got there without ever leaving the couch.  No crashing of other weddings to see how the music sounded, no late nights clubbing to the tunes of some dj. With thanks to the miracle of the Internet, music is now booked.
Not so lucky with the florist, sadly. Again, Cristal narrowed it down to three after Internet searches but visits were a must for in-person discussions.  One vendor she nixed after a phone conversation. Another we visited but never got back to us. Thankfully, after traipsing out of town to visit the third, this one proved to be absolutely on the same wavelength as us and has previously dealt with the NYBG. Bingo!
And so—the dress! First of all, NY bridal salons have to be booked about 4 to 6 weeks in advance.  Keep that in mind. Second, if you happen to be writing comedy, you can not do better than to visit a NYC bridal salon.  Something happens to a young woman when told she can spend x amount on a dress and that ‘this is your day, dear.’ All reason not only flies out the window, but good taste apparently latches on and leaves with it.  I sat in the waiting area of three different salons watching feathered birds of various species walk by, often followed by bejeweled gowns so heavy, the bride was going to need a forklift truck to get her down the aisle. You learn the terms very quickly, too:  mermaid, fit-and-flare, A-line, draped. Our ‘vendeuse’ must have found us the most boring pair to ever set foot inside Kleinfelds. While families often traipse in from as far afield as California or Texas, sixteen people in tow, here was this mother and daughter duo wanting something that didn’t leave Cristal looking like either Carmen Miranda in white or a meringue. We were successful.
 And then there’s the invitation.  If you think this is something simple to sort out, think   again. An invitation entails, first of all, wording—just first names, or two names, or all of them (my daughter has 2 middle names for reasons I won’t bother explaining; Daniel, in the Spanish tradition, has two last names); and how should the parents be included, or not? Font. Color of ink. Weight of card. Type of printing—thermography, foil-pressed, letter pressed, raised ink, and so on. Color of edging. Envelope liner. Back of invitation. R.S.V.P. I’m sure I’m forgetting something.  And then calligraphy for the envelope.  The trusty Internet coughed up a fabulous printer in Buenos Aires and a calligrapher in Utah. UPS is wonderful.
The bridal shower was yesterday at a friend’s apartment, a luncheon for fourteen of the city-dwelling invitees. Went off like a dream.
Pass me the valium and I might make it to May.

For western romances without so many hurdles in getting to the aisle, check out https://andreadowning.com/ 

15 comments:

Leah St. James said...

Oh my, Andi, thank you for the morning chuckle! But you're making me so very, very happy that I'm the Mother of the Groom! I've been on the periphery of all the hoopla on our end (Son No. 2 and his bride to be are tying the knot in mid-July), and I'm still exhausted. I just have to ask though...why no Save the Date cards?!! :-)

BTW, you have to book bridal salons 4 to 6 weeks in advance in Richmond, Virginia, too.

BTW # 2 - The NY Botanical Gardens is magical. Great choice.

Wishing Cristal and her hubby-to-be a joyous day and a blessed life together. Wishing you sanity over the next couple months and a few weeks off after the happy event to recover.

We want pictures! :-)

Brenda Whiteside said...

And now I'm glad I had a son! I guess I can also appreciate the torment the mother of my daughter-in-law went through when they threw her curve after curve. Good luck and have a beautiful time. You deserve it.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Since I'm going to be writing a comedy scene today, your post put me in the right frame of mind. I'm sure the wedding will be beautiful and the memories precious. Sending you and the bride and groom best wishes for a picture perfect day. And we're quite serious. We want pictures!

Andrea Downing said...

Leah, congrats to you, too! And we should jhave photos from both weddings to compare LOL. There were Save the Dates sent out--had to be via email as mail to Colombia is not exactly prompt (nor is it here, for that matter!). The invitations were actually brought over and hand-delivered by Daniel and his parents. Since I have basically nothing else to write about at the moment, you'll be hearing more of this...

Brenda, curve after curve is a good way to describe it. And I will--next month.

Vonnie, I hope your scene goes well. Maybe it's too bad most of our books end with the announcement or engagement rather than 'what happened next' Not sure that would be a good HOA!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Andi, first, I'm so happy that Cristal found the man of her dreams. All the rest is frosting...expensive, at that. Here's a horror: My sister and I got married the same year! My sister and her husband had the full monty; my wedding in 1971 cost my husband and me less than $600...super informal...we planned it ourselves. Not too hard on my parents. Yup, sons are easier. I definitely want to see pictures and running commentary. Pot (medicinal, of course), might be a good alternative to valium :-)

Charlotte O'Shay said...

Congratulations and much happiness to all !
The botanical garden venue is gorgeous!

Jannine Gallant said...

I'm actually writing a wedding scene in the next chapter of my WIP...from the maid or honor POV. Already wrote the bridesmaid dress fitting and the bachelorette party. Fun stuff. I have two daughters, and your post was frankly horrifying. Sounds beautiful, mind you, but horrifying. My wedding was done on a shoestring. We took the $10 grand my grandparents gave me and spent it on a down payment for a lot where we built the house we still live in instead of investing in our wedding. We rented a big house with a great view where close relatives stayed, and the ceremony was held in the yard. I made all the food with the help of those relatives. We told everyone attending to take photos and send us copies. We did spend money on a DJ, cake, and bouquets. My bridesmaid planted centerpiece bowls. You get the idea. You know what, it turned out beautiful! Yes, I was probably a little more stressed than necessary, but it was a great day...and we had a piece of property when it was over. I look forward to hearing how this process goes for you...and the pictures.

Andrea Downing said...

Rolynn, this IS an informal wedding for NY!! OK, so not that informal, but as things go...no bridesmaids, no aisle, just basically a jolly party but with the trimmings. Yup, I'm underplaying it, trying to convince myself. My own wedding was fairly low key along the same lines--luncheon for about 30 at The Dorchester. I had to arrange it myself because my grandmother was very ill in NY and there I was in London, so we were wed in the registry office. Actually, we had hoped to pop on a bus and go there and come home but my mother got involved... Sadly, no medicinal pot in NYC ;-(

Thanks for your good wishes Charlotte--my fellow New Yorker!

Jannine, Your wedding sounds wonderful and a VERY smart move. While Cristal already owns her one bed apartment here, the cost of living is such they are probably stuck in it for some time. And then comes kids and we all know how expensive they can be, plus paying off college loans and so on. The thing that has bothered me more than anything through this process is what a HUGE business weddings are and how they jack up the prices for everything concerned. You were very smart.

Alison Henderson said...

Andi, I love this! It terrifies me, but I love it. My daughter would very much like to me married (no Mr. Right in sight, yet), and so I want that for her. But I'm really hopi

BTW--We've both watched Say Yes to the Dress more time than we can count, and your comment about Kleinfeld's cracked me up. That would be us, for sure!

Andrea Downing said...

Alison, I think part of your comment somehow disappeared, but as for Kleinfeld's, quite an experience. We went to other places first in an attempt to avoid it but, in the end, they do have the largest selection and that's where Cristal found her dress. It is quite an experience: rather like going into a grand hotel, where you report to the front desk and then wait in the lovely lobby until someone comes out and shows you to your 'room.' And they were VERY kind. I hope your daughter finds the love of her life very soon.

Patti Sherry-Crews said...

I can't wait to read the next parts in this series. I used to watch Say Yes to the Dress so i'm familiar with the mermaid and other styles of dress. I can't believe you've been to Kleinfeld's! Actually you're the second person I know who's been there, so I now believe such a place exists.The setting sounds fabulous. I'm sure it will be lovely. Best to you and your family.

Diane Burton said...

Wow! I'm glad we live in Michigan. But first, best wishes to your daughter for finding the man of her dreams. Son's wedding was on a Lake Michigan beach and the reception was held at the art's council which had an opening in between 2 events so they gave them a special rate. A lot more inexpensive than it could've been. Both my girls (daughter and DIL) are cost-conscious and thrifty. Love David's Bridal. My daughter's wedding dress 27 years after mine cost the same. I think the veil cost more. LOL Best wishes!

Andrea Downing said...

Yes, Patti, there IS a Santa Kleinfeld. Thanks for your good wishes!

Diane, how nice to have thrifty girls. I think Cristal is trying her hardest to keep the costs within reason, but the wedding business is such here that it truly sucks the life as well as the $ out of you. Still, onwards and upwards...

Barbara Edwards said...

Thank you for sharing. My grand-daughter is getting married in May. Happily I am not involved in the crisis, huh ceremony. His family is from New Jersey, hers mostly from Connecticut. So the wedding is in Virginia Beach. Go figure. I suggested New Jersey and was roundly shouted down by her mother who is the most distant in Florida. Since everyone has jobs and it is a nine hour drive, I don't now who will go for an immediate turnaround drive.
Sigh. Not my problem. I'm taking the camper so I have a place to leave the dog.

Alicia Dean said...

LOL...oh my gosh. That's crazy. My daugther is engaged, but her wedding will be on a much smaller and inexpensive scale. Best of luck!