The wedding is over and it went perfectly! In the interest of helping others and preserving reminders for myself here is a list of wedding day tips for parents:
Accept all help that is offered by friends and family. The mother of the bride had an experienced friend supervising set-up and tear-down, and she made an overwhelming job quite manageable. I needed moral support more than anything, and my friend Kim and her family provided that in spades (as they always do). And without my step-mother, Edie, I don’t think I would have ever managed to get dressed and out the door to the wedding.
Hydrate. My son texted me early in the day about not crying too much or I’d become dehydrated. He meant it as a joke, but between the mild diuretic I took to make sure my feet and ankles didn’t swell during the reception, not drinking anything so I wouldn’t have to struggle out of my Spanx to use the bathroom and miss something important, crying (of course), and a hot flash that lasted through the entire wedding and reception I was a dried-up husk by the end of the night. Even Michael said the next day he thought he was dehydrated and that added to his post-wedding exhaustion.
Have lots of handkerchiefs ready. Not tissues, which dissolve and leave bits of white fluff all over your clothes, but real cotton handkerchiefs. I brought a stack of both men’s and women’s with me and passed them around to the wedding party, and they were certainly put to use!
Have some food waiting in your fridge for afterwards. The food at the reception was fabulous – probably the best food I’ve ever had at a wedding. But my stomach had been too upset for me to eat anything earlier in the day, and by the time we were on our way home I was ravenous. We went through a drive-thru in full wedding attire since I had no idea what we had at home.
Bring comfy shoes to change into. My low silver sandals were quite comfortable as far as dress shoes go, but I ended up barefoot for the tear-down, and really wished I’d brought my sneakers. John was out of his cream dress shoes and into his high-top Chucks as soon as pictures were over, and I think he had the comfiest feet there.
Don’t forget your pets. We were a four-dog house during the wedding, which worked out quite well since people were arriving and leaving at different times and could refill water bowls and give potty breaks throughout the afternoon and evening. If you don’t have this option ask a neighbor to stop by.
Don’t take pictures – just enjoy yourself and make memories. I took my phone, intending to take a few shots, but it died before I took a single picture. It was a blessing in disguise, though. Without the need to take pictures I just watched everything going on around me and was more involved than I probably would have been otherwise. There will be plenty of pictures, and they’ll all be better than any I could have taken.
Leave as few tasks as possible to the last minute. I love fresh flowers, but using silk flowers made everything so much easier! There was no last-minute scrambling because the florist hadn’t gotten the number of corsages right, no frantic arranging of wilting blooms in the centerpieces. The men all picked up their suits several days earlier, so it wasn’t a crisis when half of them didn’t fit and replacements had to be ordered. Do everything early that can be done early. There are fewer “last minutes” available than you think.
You can’t control anyone’s behavior but your own. Someone in one family or the other is bound to make an ass of themselves. Just let it go. Don’t let anyone spoil the day for you!
Schedule a day afterwards to rest. I had planned to attend my niece’s graduation party the day after the wedding, but I could hardly get out of bed. With my chronic neck pain I should probably have expected that, but I was overly optimistic. I actually am just getting back to something resembling normal function for me, and the wedding was three days ago 🙁 Schedule yourself some down time – you will need it.