This week has been all about planning the wedding and for those of you not interested you might want to skip this post all together. My daughter Kat held off finalizing a lot of the details in order to allow us to participate, which was really awesome, but has added some extra stress for everyone as we all scurry to complete some details. We wanted to jump right in but with her and I both working full-time we really needed some dedicated time to start completing some tasks. Thankfully we both were able to take Thursday off and wow did we get a lot done! I picked her up at her apartment Thursday at 9am and off we went. Our first stop was the University of Michigan public sale. Most colleges have a warehouse where they hold materials that are no longer needed by the teachers and staff. They sell these used items at very low rates, but it definitely is a situation where they may or may not have what you are looking for and everything is placed in a large warehouse space. The bargain hunter in me was really enjoying it and it’s a good thing we have a small rig or who knows what I would have come home with. We were there because Kat got some ideas from Pinterest about table settings that represent the personalities of the couple. I’m not super creative, but it sounded fun to me and hopefully cheaper on the budget than expensive flower arrangements. She settled on four settings (repeated 4 times each) with a larger version of each on the head table. The first was science beakers and glassware (my girl loves science) which would be used as vases for flowers. There were tons of used scientific glassware at this sale and it was really neat finding cool matching pieces. As we walked it through the idea really started to come together and we got enough glassware for all 5 tables for $40. (I’ll share pictures here later when it’s all set up).
Next we went to a bridal consignment shop called Bridal Aisle and again I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting thrift store quality but it was mostly extremely nice, high-end merchandise that was reasonably priced because it had been used once. We got 36 electronic tea lights (with frosted votive candle holders) for $18. That was an incredible deal as we later saw those same tealights for $10 for 6 with no holders included. She also found the perfect veil for $68 and I bought her an earring and necklace set to wear on the day. Most of these items are one time use and really do you need to spend a ton of money on something you will never use again? Thankfully both Kat and I are on the same page on this one. I was incredibly impressed by the level of service as well, as the staff treated us the same, if not better than, a potential bride gets treated in a much more expensive shop. Overall I am sold and recommend highly for anyone planning and financing a wedding to start at these shops. If you don’t find things you like you can always pay full price somewhere else.
I think its worth noting here that Kat is very serious about feminism and women’s rights. She is fully aware of how many of the rituals we commonly associate with a wedding have ties back to when the unmarried woman is the property of her father and he was transferring the ownership from himself to another man. It’s been very interesting watching her and Micah decide which traditions to uphold, which ones to replace with a more modern version, and which ones to reject all together. So I will say I was a bit surprised she wanted a veil since one of it’s earliest purposes was to hide the appearance of the bride until after the arranged marriage ceremony was completed. When I gently questioned her on her choice, she gave me an impish grin and said, “But I look so pretty in it.” Gotta love that kid. My personal view on weddings (particularly as the mother of the bride) is it’s the couple’s wedding but the parents’ party. So when it comes to decisions around dress, bridal party, ceremony, hair etc I am here for her but largely try to stay out of it. Anything party related we are absolutely involved in but I do try to defer to the couple as much as possible. Obviously budget comes into play with the party decisions in a big way and there are certain basic things that I would require at any party I threw so at times I do have to talk about what’s important to us. I also try to be very inclusive with the groom’s parents. Find out what is important to them and try as much as possible to make it happen within the context of what the couple wants and the budget will allow. It’s a pretty simple formula in my mind and honestly the hardest thing is to not get caught up in the emotion of it all and blow relatively minor things out of proportion. I feel as the mother of the bride it is my responsibility to set the tone in this area, making sure the desires of the couple are balanced with the realities of the situation and family dynamics. So for me (and this is the second time I have done this) it can be very stressful, but if I do my job right everyone will be mostly satisfied and we will have a really great day.
Along these lines of giving people what they want, the second table setting style was going to be dinosaurs. I know what you’re thinking…I was dubious as well, but Kat showed me this cool picture of dinosaurs spray painted antique bronze as part of a table setting with ferns. Micah loves dinosaurs and once I wrapped my brain around the concept I was all about finding some. We went to Dollar General and found some cool packages of dinosaurs for $1 a piece. We still needed the larger version for the head table and luckily found some larger ones at Toys R Us. This was actually really fun and I was excited about finding a way to make a centerpiece that would reflect Micah and still be cool. Kat’s going to get some ferns and I am going to use some rocks from my collection (yes I have a rock collection and carry it with me…I have rocks from all kinds of places) to create a Jurassic park look for the second centerpiece. It was a ton of fun working with Kat on this and we had an absolutely awesome time. Turns out we shop the same way and were both in and out of stores quickly as we picked up a few items in each. Using this method we visited Pier One, Michael’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Party City all in quick succession. We also found time in there for a great lunch at TGI Friday’s and had a wonderful chat, woman to woman, about marriage and the changes that it can bring to a relationship. One of the best days I have ever spent with Katy and I am so grateful that we are living this lifestyle because that is what allows me to be here for so long and have this time with her. Yes… I would have flown here before the wedding but at most I would have had 10 days with her and these smaller things would by necessity have already been done. It is a gift to be here for a longer time period and another wonderful side effect of our free wheeling lifestyle.
Carrying on the dinosaur theme we went with the kids (yes I know they aren’t really kids but the short hand works for me) to see Jurassic World. The movie theater, Paragon, was the nicest one I have ever been in. Beautiful Greek statues in the lobby and then individually reclining leather seats for each patron that were nicer than any chair I have ever owned. Wow….seriously if you have a chance check one of these out and the price was only $10 the same as other theaters in the area. The movie itself was a lot of fun and definitely what I consider a “big screen” movie. There are lots of movies I wait for the DVD version because I am not a huge fan of the theater experience in general, but the dinosaur fight at the end was awesome on the huge screen. Afterwards we had some Chipotle which is always my fast food Go To and then we came home and watched some TV. Lee and I are getting caught up on one of our favorite shows, House of Cards, which we simply haven’t had the time to watch yet.
Sunday Kat was doing some wedding prep with friends, so Lee and I decided to go to the Star Trek Experience in the Mall of America. I love Star Trek, all seasons, all captains, I am a huge fan, and this exhibit has a reproduction of the bridge set from the original show which I got super excited about. Plus the Mall of America is just cool. If you’ve never been you should go at least once as it’s likely you have never seen anything like it. We decided to go early on Sunday to beat the crowds and I am so glad we did. We had the exhibit all to ourselves and we got to take some great pictures, plus I got to check off a bucket list item of sitting in Captain Kirk’s chair. Yes, I am that big of a nerd and proud of it!!
But we went mainly for the Exhibit hall which is currently housing a Barbie Dream Home exhibit, a CSI exhibit, and the Star Trek Exhibit. We saw lots of families going into the Barbie Dream House.
The Star Trek exhibit was empty when we first got there and was pricey at $16.99, but a small price to pay for a bucket list item. Still, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are a serious fan. Most of the coolness factor would be lost if you didn’t follow the show.
I had a fantastic time and Lee was so cool about it. He gets excited when I do which is nice. Plus he took all the great pictures for me. Afterwards we stopped at the Half-Price Book Store (our favorite chain where all paperbacks are half off their list price) and I found some great books including one by William Shatner called Star Trek Memories. (Yes I still like the real thing so usually we find them used and then drop them off in whatever campground has a free book area). It was a really cool day rounding off a nice week. This week is mainly about work and then a move out to Jim and Linda’s farm in Wisconsin.
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