Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer Dates, August Weddings

While I've been writing about Fava Bean Recipes  and Navy Cashmere Sweaters and Churches in France and Chainsawed Beach Furniture, two dates have been creeping closer and closer.

One is the date on which my colleagues and I are once again at the institutional beck and call. Vacation is officially over, prep time and meeting time and professional development time have begun. From this Wednesday on, my time is no longer officially my own. Unofficially, of course, I've quite liberally used my vacation time to read and research for the upcoming term as well as to undertake necessary correspondence for a committee I'm on. Also unofficially, I'm still squeezing as much "me time" as possible into these days before class actually begins, the day after Labour Day. And any work that doesn't require me being in our non-air-conditioned building on campus in our current heat wave, I'll do here at home -- we might not have air-conditioning here either, but at least I've got an ocean breeze and I can swim when I really need to cool down.

The second date, August 25th, is the date we host our son's wedding here on our little island.  It will be a very different wedding from the nuptials suggested by those confections in the Paris window above. At least, one doesn't immediately think of sand and driftwood and the sea when admiring those lazy gowns. Nor of worrying about the uncooperative tides of the day -- our young couple will be exchanging vows somewhere between a 13-foot and an 11-foot tide, and there's not as much beach as one might want at that point. Some worry has gone into imagining just how much space 100 guests take up and whether they'll be able to see the ceremony from the spots we can squeeze chairs onto, how many will be content to stand or to sit on the stone stairs nearby.

And although the emphasis is on casual, as you might guess of a beach wedding, the simple food we have planned has still to be brought over to the island as do the boxes and boxes of rental china and cutlery and glassware, the extra serving tables and linens and stacking chairs. So pick-ups and deliveries and barging and storage, all these considerations are amplified by island logistics.

And the garden and house to be spiffed up. The new gate we had built several weeks ago is being replicated in smaller form at a few other key spots AND an outdoor dance floor is being put together, at the request of the groom. . . . so lumber was also being boated over. It's a production, I tell you!

To be fair, Pater is doing most of the work, he being the retired one in the family, after all, and being apparently indefatigable. (And he's contracted out much of it -- he's hired a carpenter for the building, a local expediter for all the transport, some food prep and serving help for the day of.)  But I've been making up and freezing the multiple batches of chili that will come out to refuel the dancers if the party goes as well as we hope and guests linger until the latest boat back (another consideration for a tiny island wedding -- arrangements must be made to get guests here and to take them away again). And I'm making lists. . . .

Most of all, I'm remembering that we did this eight or nine years ago for our oldest daughter's wedding reception -- about 70 guests, all of whom chowed down on the beach-themed food (essentially hot dogs, but with grilled artisan sausage and a gourmand's array of condiments), and many of whom have told us since that it was the best wedding they'd been to. Mind you, that day was a beautifully sunny one, as we tend to have at the end of August. Much depends on that weather being repeated the Saturday after next. So much that I'm rather wishing we weren't using up quite so many sunny days in a row as we are just now . . .

Here's where I should say that because of these two imminent dates, posting will be light from here through September. But I find that the posts are an important part of my Me Time. I enjoy writing for you; I love knowing that you're reading. And those of you who comment or who subscribe/follow absolutely make my day! What may happen is that you'll see quite a few France posts appear, ones I've written earlier but not yet posted, and there might be a few that are mostly photographs, light on the words.

Meanwhile, if you have any wedding wisdom to impart, do share. And if you're setting your intention at yoga practice, or directing your energy to the universe, or praying in whatever form that takes for you, do think of our little matrimonial gathering and wish us some sunshine!


20 comments:

  1. I'm sure it's a lot of work, but you and Pater must be getting SO excited. Relax as much as you're able, have fun, and we'll look forward to pictures!

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    1. Oh, there will be pictures! As for the relaxing, we'll see. . .

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  2. Hi Mater - what an exciting time! I would be totally intimidated, but it sounds like you have it all in hand. Here's wishing you wonderful weather on the day and fun for all. P.

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    1. I'd be much more stressed if it weren't for Pater -- he's seriously pretty fabulous about pulling it all together. And he refuses to sweat small stuff. . .

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  3. My daughters wedding was last month. The wisdom I could share would be, once the day has started, let the details take care of themselves. Enjoy, celebrate and wear comfortable shoes!
    I can't wait to see the pictures.
    Oh yes...meditate frequently between now and then.

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    1. The photos you've shown on your blog, of your daughter's wedding, show an absolutely beautiful day!
      And you offer very good advice -- I'll do my best to let go of worrying once the day is here. And meditating, remembering what's important, yes!

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  4. I echo A Well Styled Life, relax and enjoy. Having hosted 4 backyard summer weddings in Los Angeles, I didn't have to worry about the weather - and importing the equipment by boat. Just valet parking, and winding things up before the neighbors called to complain.

    My advice is for you to remember that whatever goes wrong - and something will - you will be the only one that knows - not your guests. And whatever does go wrong will make a great story later.

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    1. Thanks, Ming -- you're very well seasoned in this, with 4 under your belt!
      It's go to remember ahead of time that mistakes will happen, problems will arise, and to enjoy the day anyway, with an eye to having a good dining-out-on story. ;-)

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  5. It does sound like a lot of work. If 70 worked well I'm sure 100 will also work very well. People have a way of managing. At our wedding there were 80 and I think we have less room than you do but it was a wonderful event. You're so right about the importance of weather.

    I'm still not commenting much at the moment but I read your posts and will chime in here and there. The picture of the wedding dresses reminded me of a recent shopping trip for my daughter's. Her wedding is next July and it's a good thing as it will take 8 months for the dress to arrive from Spain.

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    1. "People have a way of managing" -- This is exactly what I'm counting on -- AND that folks are here for a wedding, so in a celebratory AND cooperative mood. So even in a worst-case scenario, like rain, there will be a will to make the best of it. I hope.
      Will there be pics of your daughter's dress on your blog -- sounds as if it must be worth waiting for!

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  6. I will certainly be sending vibes of sunshine your way. I hope you'll share some pictures of the day wit us here, but even if you don't I'm sure that it will be a lovely day.

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    1. Thanks, Raquelita. Of course, you may not have any sunshine to spare from your new location, but I appreciate the intention. ;-)

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  7. Advice? You could probably give it out better than most, after surviving a couple already. One thing stands out though - no matter now much you think you've told yourself...slow down and be THERE on the 25th.
    It sounds wonderful!
    I have no energy for posts right now - dry, dry, dry.

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    1. It does help, you're right, that having survived two daughters' weddings, I have a sense of perspective, although I don't feel equipped to give much advice.
      But I agree with you that if I did it would be to simply enjoy the day ON the day. By that point, the worrying and rushing around won't accomplish anything important.
      And I hear you re the posting -- that energy comes and goes. And when it's not there, it's tough to fake. You must be getting pretty focussed on your upcoming trip.

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    2. You're right - I am beginning to think about the empty suitcase, what to read and what I want to see/do. In the meantime I have energy only for going back and reading posts, engaging in small conversations and (to be honest) worrying just the teeniest bit about connections, planes, trains and automobiles. It was one thing to travel alone in Europe when I lived in Europe. This feels like quite another.

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    3. Those are legitimate worries -- I remember feeling terrified when my husband kissed me goodbye in a Paris hotel to head back home on a plane while I was heading to the train station and then south to Provence, all on my lonesome. I knew it was a good exercise, though,and I wasn't anywhere near as seasoned a traveler then, over 20 years ago. It was stressful at times, lonely at others, but overall it was -- that overused word -- empowering to know I could do it. As, of course, you know you can, having so much more experience than I did then. You're allowed to worry that teensy bit . . . and to revel in the planning and anticipation as well. . .

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  8. I'll be sending you all the positive vibes I can muster. Just remember to surrender to things as they come - a good primer may be the comedy starring Michael Douglas, Albert Brooks, and Ryan Reynolds, The In-Laws. (It's a remake of one with Peter Falk.) There is also an hilarious appearance by David Suchet. The movie has every calamity tied up in a beautiful bow.

    I think there is nothing more winsome than a window full of bridal gowns. I never had one and never wanted one, but they are beautiful. Great photo.

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    1. The word "winsome" is a wonderful word that just doesn't get used enough -- it's perfect here! So much about the whole wedding narrative that bridal gowns get at (much of which I'm uncomfortable with, quite honestly)
      Think I'll save the movie for AFTEr the wedding. . . ;-)

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  9. No advice just enjoy!
    It must be so much more of a challenge hosting an event of this size on your wee island.
    I hope you'll show us the brides gown. I love weddings!
    What will you be wearing mater?
    You looked lovely last year at your daughter's wedding so did Nola!

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    1. I've got a loose little shift I was delighted to find in San Sebastian earlier this year -- should work well for beach wedding, dressy-enough fabric (silk & linen), but simple lines. Nola claims her dress has a button that will turn her into a princess -- I'm quite looking forward to seeing it!

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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