Planning a wedding a little different this time

Let the wedding festivities begin!

I recently wrote that after eight years of being a single mom, much of that spent hoping I might find the right man to share my complicated life with, I have in fact become engaged to my dear Tom.

Joining a life with another, perhaps especially at our ages and certainly with all our children (eight), is no small undertaking. The most important things, the preparations for our marriage itself, are taking place more or less behind the scenes.

Ironically, what quickly takes center stage is the wedding day itself.

At first I was reticent about having a reception surrounding our nuptials. Instead, I thought we would just have our pastor and families present for a private ceremony, then host a party for a greater number of people a few weeks later.

But my very thoughtful groom and good friends convinced me that it’s entirely right we should have a celebration, one that starts with friends dear to us also witnessing our wedding ceremony. First, because Tom and I want to honor the loved ones who have seen us through difficult years, and especially because we want to honor what God has done by bringing us together now.

So all right, then — we’ve dived in. An intimate morning wedding followed by a brunch feels just right for our fall nuptials.

What I wasn’t quite prepared for was how things have changed since I was married the first time 25 years ago. It seems that today most engaged couples have websites to chronicle their planning progress toward their big day. There are elaborate party favors to be created, detailed gift registries to be considered, and on it goes.

All of that may be just fine for young couples, but Tom and I agree: None of that is right for us.

But as much of a stickler for tradition as I am, I feel a lot freer to plan this celebration than I did my first wedding. I am far less worried about expectations and impressions — my husband-to-be and I simply look forward to creating a warm and relaxed atmosphere for a very happy day, one on which our guests feel special .

Of course, there is one complication that I did not have the first time around, either: Teen and ‘tween daughters who have very definite ideas about how any wedding should proceed. We have already locked horns over my wedding dress. My girls are adamant that it “must” be some variation of white, and I like one that’s not.

So yes, let the festivities begin. Only, I’m now wondering if my wedding could end up being a good bit more complex than I had originally thought after all.

Scripps Howard
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