Wedding Mantras for Mothers of the Bride

Over the string of months that I held mother-of-the-bride status, I adopted a few mantras to help me keep the crazy under control. These came in handy, say, when I would lie awake and sift through the midnight mental flotsam that would wash ashore in a panic of what-ifs and to-dos. Or when the low-grade stress of helping to coordinate a wedding weekend from the other side of the world eroded the joy of the whole thing. These are mindset reboots I found helpful rather than specific tips on planning a wedding--although at some point I'm sure Sarah and I will share some hints & lessons learned along with some of the details from both weddings. So here are my notes to self, wedding mantras to remember for next time. I didn't master them but they were helpful reminders:

Love, love, love: Invoke this mantra often. This whole wedding undertaking is ultimately about celebrating the love, marriage, and sprouting of a little two-person seedling of a family. Try and infuse the process with love--from your hundreds of coordinating texts & chats with your daughter to your communications with all of the families, your interactions with vendors, and your deliberations about the budget. Let go of the pressure to plan a perfect Pinterest wedding-to-impress and focus on creating an atmosphere where the couple and their guests will feel the love. They'll all remember how they felt that day much longer than they'll remember any little nitty gritty detail, anyway. 

She's the president, I'm the chief of staff: (i.e., Let it go/it's not my wedding): It's hard. In some ways this feels like familiar territory--like another party you're throwing for your child, kind of a birthday/graduation celebration on steroids. You might be used to calling the shots and making all the choices.'s not your wedding. Even if you're paying the invoices, it's still not your wedding. Follow your daughter's lead on how much involvement and advice to give.  She's the president, you're the chief of staff. (Also, related mantra: it's his wedding, too.)

Tiny scene in a long play: You're starting out a brand new relationship with a new son and your daughter's inlaws, don't start it with hassles over some little wedding details. The wedding day comes and goes but their marriage will last much much longer than that. Not only that, but this wedding marks the beginning of a new configuration of your own family, with a new son joining your crew forever more. When it comes down to it, choose to invest in building positive relationships over clashing or gnashing teeth on the logistics of party planning. After all...

It's just a party: This helped rein in my wedding anxiety sometimes. Hey, it's just a party! One night with friends and family. It's a big party but still. Just a party. Don't give in to the crazy.

The arrow has flown: I remember a few days before I got married my mom came home from someone else's reception and said "Annie!  we forgot to order the paper napkins with your names embossed on them!" (These were popular then. Are they still a thing? If so, we forgot to order them this time, too.) Meh. At that point the wedding arrow had left the bow and was on its way to the target; there was no point in chasing it down. Likewise, at a certain point you've done all the planning and arranging.  If something pops up in the last few days, fix it and/or forget it. It's time to just let the plan unfold and ENJOY IT. The arrow has flown. 

Serenity now!: Just kidding. That's the Seinfeld mantra. But it's a good generic one in a pinch.

What else? I'd love to add more mantras to my supply. What mantras have helped you in times of stress/planning/weddings?

photo by Chelsie Starley Photography

36 days later

I'm just a girl, standing in front of a screen, asking where the time went (my deepest apologies to Notting Hill). Are you having a similar case of time whiplash? How on earth can it be the end(ish) of January already?! Here's what we've been up to at our house (and I'll just admit up front that a couple of these may show up as posts of their own in the future):

I'm living without a phone (mine got stolen/lost right before Christmas) so I've pretty much jumped off social media and am rather off the grid, in general. It's an adjustment but it's not terrible. Mostly I am just too wallet-reluctant to buy another phone, ugh. My watch, computer, point-and-shoot camera, and landline are filling in pretty well for my smartphone in the meantime. 

I've been pretty immersed in wedding planning and prep (please send reinforcements, I'm in over my head!). More posts to come on this topic. I may not know the first thing about throwing a wedding but I do appreciate a good website project (Minted makes it super easy):

I'm still riding the boost of a terrific family trip to New Zealand over the holidays--forced family fun along with some (slightly uncomfortable but important) learning opportunities with everyone figuring out how to reconfigure as a family every time we get back together. But totally worth it!

Speedboats in Shotover Canyon

Speedboats in Shotover Canyon

Gorgeous Doubtful Sound

Gorgeous Doubtful Sound

Hiking Queenstown Hill

Hiking Queenstown Hill

In an attempt to fit in as much as we could over our last and final summer holiday break in Australia, after we put the girls on the plane back to their universities in the states I joined G and Sam (miiiiiiiiles outside of my comfort zone and fitness level, to be honest) on a 4-day backpacking/hiking trip in Tasmania. It was spectacular, rewarding, and hard going now and then.  (Again, though, totally worth it!)

Top of The Blade at Cape Pillar

Top of The Blade at Cape Pillar

Looking down from Cape Huay

Looking down from Cape Huay

After that excitement we came back to routine+everyday life last week--digging through emails, catching up on various commitments, doing laundry, trying to get ahead of the weeds in the garden, and putting away Christmas. Hey, if a Christmas tree was never decorated, can it just be called a tree and kept up all year? Asking for a friend.

Which brings me to right now: I'm christening this solo weekend, while G and Sam are away on a scout trip, as my "personal retreat weekend"--making 2016 plans and goals and generally embracing my list-making, future-planning inner geek. Also staying in my pajamas far into the day, eating when/what I want, and streaming some Netflix. Because inner lazy geek, too.

What about you, friends? Catch me up on your doings lately.

And I know Sarah has had a very full month as well...she'll catch us up soon, too.


Big news at our house! Over Thanksgiving weekend my daughter Lauren got engaged! We had a bit of an inkling in advance and they've been kind of pre-engaged for a little while. (Is "kind of pre-engaged" even possible? Or are you either engaged or not? This question has been a topic of conversation around here for a little while. Please advise.)  Early last week Patrick skyped with us to ask for our blessing and let us know it was happening soon, which was much appreciated--maybe even more than is usually the case in these situations, since we feel so very far away at times like this and we were happy to feel a part of it.  We had a good heart-to-heart and feel delighted to welcome Patrick into the family.

Side note: When we moved to Australia I joked with G that maybe we'd have a little Australian surprise addition to the family while we were here. Turns out he came fully grown, ha! And not Australian. Much easier to grow a family this way.

In case you're curious (and I always am about these things): They've known each other for four+ years--they met their freshman year at university when their apartments were assigned to the same FHE group. They were good friends and never dated but spent a lot of time together--I remember that Lauren thought he was terrific. They kept in touch on and off over the years and then when Lauren moved back to school after her mission in April, they ended up living right across the street from each other and the friendship picked up again. By the time we came to the states in July they had grown close and Lauren invited him to our family reunions on both sides--so he's had the chance to see what he's getting into, mwahaha. The engagement took place in Logan after several days of Thanksgivinging with G's side of the family. It was just the two of them on the grounds of the temple, lovely words, a ring, and a few tears, she said. Hooray for the kind souls who snapped a picture afterwards:

So bring on the wonderful world of wedding planning! From afar! (Insert emoji that combines joy and anxiety and anticipation and homesickness. With a dash of inherent but contained parental-control-freakery and hopefully twice as much go-with-the-flowness.) 

Although this is definitely not all about me (or even a little), it does feel surreal to be at this stage. I'm a mother of the bride! It's a stamp in my grown-up passport, for sure, to return to this land of weddings as a mother when I was last here as a bride over 25 years ago. Do I need to pass a certification of some kind? Have a badge? 

 The wedding will be fun to plan and I am eager to get any and all hints and recommendations for planning a lovely, hyggelig celebration--I'll pass along as much as I can here, too. Ultimately, though, it's about that marriage relationship and their future. It's about my daughter being happier than I've seen her. And it's about adding Patrick to our family with open arms, expanding even as we are shrinking, gaining even as we lose. I love what my good friend told her son as he was dating and getting close to getting engaged: "all I ask is that you choose someone who will let me love her." I can definitely get behind that sentiment: more people to love.