Saturday, August 6, 2011

The MOG Dress

Since several of you have asked me (several times) to show the runners up for my Mother of the Groom dress, I will go ahead and do it even though the only pictures I have of those dresses are pretty terrible. Not to mention awful. I wasn’t wearing much make up, my hair was awry and I didn’t have on proper shoes—not to mention that the pictures are very much on the blurry side.

But hey. You all make me happy by reading my blog so I will do my best to make you all happy by doing my best to honor your requests for certain post topics. So here we go!

Dress Number One

I liked this one pretty well although it would have had to have been taken in on the sides of the bodice since I had to get it one size larger to accommodate my, um, capacious hips. It was sort of a bronze, champagne color and it would have done fine if nothing else was available; however, I didn’t truly love it.


Dress Number Two

I liked this one pretty well in the store but once I got it home, it just felt more, I don’t know, conservative than what I was looking for. (Although hemming it just above the knees would have helped jazz it up a little.) I did love the green color, though.


Dress Number Three

This one was a strong contender. I loved its classic, sophisticated design and I thought the color was good on me. The two drawbacks were: 1) I knew it was going to be a bright and colorful wedding and I didn’t love the idea of wearing a “non color.” 2) It would have had to be hemmed and while I have a great seamstress who does my basic alterations, I knew that to turn a gown into a knee length dress is not just about hemming, it’s also about being able to accommodate the flow and the drape of the design so that it still looks right when it’s in a shorter length. I just wasn’t sure if my seamstress had done that sort of thing a lot and I was nervous about it not working out well. So I put this on the “I’ll wear this if I don’t find anything else" shelf. (Note: all dresses came from Dillards.)


At this point in the MOG Dress Choosing Process, it was about two weeks before the wedding and I was starting to feel just a teeny bit of stress. And you have to understand that where we live, it’s at least a four-hour round trip to any sort of major shopping center so just getting to a store is expensive and time consuming. I had looked around on the Internet when I first started shopping just to get some ideas, but I hadn’t really considered actually ordering something that way. By that point in the process though, I thought it might be time to give online ordering a whirl.

I browsed between different major department store sites and found that most of the dresses that I really loved were just way too expensive; I finally made my way to the Dillards website and found two possibilities. Since I couldn’t make up my mind, I ordered them both, knowing I could return them at any Dillards store.

The first dress just didn’t do well on me. It was too short and the big bow (which looked really good on the model in the picture) made me feel like I had an unseemly growth emanating from my middle And my middle emanates enough “growth” on its own, thank you very much. (I saw a quote recently that said, “Middle age is when your age shows up around your middle.)

Dress Number Five


But the second dress I ordered? Ladies and gentlemen, we had us a winner!

I loved the length of it and the special detailing on the bodice and sleeves. The color was vibrant and seemed like it would be a good fit for a colorful, Florida wedding. The only alteration needed was for it to be taken in on the sides of the bodice. (Once again, I had to order a bigger size to accommodate my, ahem, you know.)


I really liked the detailing in the back because the piece that stuck out from the shoulder helped to balance out the “wider area” below. And I’m all about Wide Area Balancing Out.


So there you have it. The Dress Decision was made.

sideways pose

And just because I absolutely love messing with pictures and graphics, here is the dress (and I) in several artistic permutations.

becky texture

living room tree

purple ripple



L in Alaska said, “I must say, I am so impressed with Meagan's CRAFTY dad! Has he always been so talented? Did he take a class on flower arranging? Did Steve help him out at all?”

Actually, we had no idea Frank had a crafty side until this wedding. It’s amazing the cool stuff you learn about people along the way. As to whether or not he took a class in floral arranging, I have no idea; however, I tend to think he just found that he had a knack for it and went ahead and did it. And since he had the vast majority of the work done before we arrived in town, no, Steve did not help him at all. Although, the only help Steve would have been able to offer in this particular department would be, “Keep it up, Frank; you’re doin’ great!” Steve has a very long list of talents but floral arranging probably isn’t one of them. (Although he has an excellent eye for color and design so who knows? He might actually be good at it.)

(There were several comments/questions about the cake reception so I’ll just post them all together.)

Margie said, “I'm glad I'm not the only one who had never heard of a cake reception but it sounds lovely. Also there would be no problem having room for desert if it came first.”

Love Being a Nonny said, “I love that you are taking us through the wedding. I have never heard of a cake reception after the ceremony before the lunch...but I love the idea!”

Gayle in AL said, “I haven't ever heard of a cake reception either. Was the luncheon just for a select group of people? And just out of curiosity, why wasn't the wedding held at Meagan's family church? I love hearing all of the wedding details! Keep 'em coming!”

Gayle, the wedding was held at a different church because Meagan’s family’s church wasn’t large enough to hold everyone.

As for the cake reception, Nathan and Meagan stood in the lobby and greeted all the guests as they went outside to the lovely veranda outside the church where lovely sprawling trees shaded a canopied cake table, tables, lovely punch decanters, artistically arranged, colorful napkins and many varieties of flowers. That is where Nathan and Meagan cut their wedding cake and took their first bite. It was a great place for the guests to mingle and to talk with Nathan and Meagan and visit with each other--fun, informal, joyful.

An hour or so later, there was a luncheon held for family members and close friends of both families. When I posted the pictures last week of the wedding party leaving in a motor home, that’s where they were going—from the wedding site to the luncheon site.

Guerrina said, “I am loving all the posts taking us through the wedding! Don't stop! The 1st wedding I was ever in I was the flower girl (7 years old) and I remember after the ceremony we all went to the fellowship hall of the church and it was a cake & punch reception - end of story. As I've watched many weddings (not the Meaganate's) take on the proportions of a Broadway show, I've often wondered why the "simple" reception was left behind - would leave so much more money for a honeymoon and starting life! Great idea & great job, Meaganate & family!”

Guerrina, I couldn’t agree with you more—simpler wedding celebrations are sweet and lovely. One of the things that impressed me the most about Nathan and Meagan’s wedding was how much they were able to do with limited resources. A little bit of creativity goes a long way!

Deb in Green Bay said, “Becky, since you are from WI, too, I am guessing that you will remember we do weddings differently up here.... the wedding is held either late morning or early afternoon (same as down there), then pictures etc, for the bridal party; but the bride's parents will host out-of-town guests with refreshments/ snacks usually at their home or another location.

Then around 4 or 5 guests begin meeting at the rented hall for cocktail hour/dinner/dancing concluding around midnight. I remember when my brother got married in Texas they served a formal lunch immediately after the ceremony and everything was complete by late afternoon/early evening. I found that so odd and I wonder if you do/did as well?

On another note, I absolutely love the colors Megan chose for her wedding.....beautiful!!!”

Deb, as for your brother’s wedding where everything was over by early evening, I actually love that idea! (Maybe I have a little bit of Texan in me.) I think it’s a nice thing when the newlyweds aren’t getting to their hotel room at midnight because by that point in the day, they don’t have a lot of energy left over for each other. When Nathan and Meagan left the reception at about 5 pm, I remember thinking, “Oh, I am so glad they still have some moments of this special day that are just for them.”

However, I’m also aware that some weddings don’t even start until 6 or 7 in the evening, so those would go really late into the night. (Can you tell I love being in bed by 9 pm whenever possible and get overwhelmed by the thought of staying up till midnight for anything?)

I know the bottom line that we all agree on is that weddings should be started and ended at whatever time makes the bride and groom the happiest!

And Finally . . .

Deb, it was so much fun reading what you wrote about wedding traditions in Wisconsin. If any other readers would like to share your wedding traditions from your part of the country (or the world) please do. I think it would be fascinating to get a glimpse into how other people celebrate this most special of days.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pre Wedding-ness

We all know that before that Big Moment when the bride starts her walk down the aisle, there are myriad details to be taken care of ahead of time--from planning to decorating to rehearsing to organizing. This post covers a few of those pre-wedding events.

Decorating and Pre-Rehearsal

Meagan’s sister, Kristin, and her dad made a great decorating team.

decorating church1


When all the decorating was done it was decided that, since Nathan wasn’t around, Meagan should practice walking down the aisle to The Surprise Song.

She and Frank did the Big Walk a couple times, alternating between tears and giggles, sobriety and laughter.

decorating church2

When they got to the front the second time around . . .


. . . Frank suddenly launched into some spontaneous funky, vocalized beat boxing. And that’s all it took for the dancing to commence.




Spencer (Nathan and Meagan’s nephew) and I watched happily from the sidelines.


The Real Rehearsal

On Friday evening, it was time for the real rehearsal. I loved that Nathan opened it with prayer.


Nathan is about to walk to the front center aisle to wait for Meagan.


The look on his face as he waits is priceless.


This shot shows the final rendition of the decorative balls that Frank made.


Steve scrounged around during rehearsal and found a bass guitar (which is the instrument he plays) with his dad’s name on it. I hadn’t realized that there was such a thing as a Ken Smith guitar.


After the rehearsal, it was on to the rehearsal dinner which was held at Meagan’s family’s church. My sister, Debbie, had spent the afternoon with me helping to decorate and set up; I couldn’t have accomplished the task without her and Sarah’s invaluable assistance. Since the wedding was featuring bright colors, we did a brightly colored rehearsal dinner, too.



Since Nathan has worked at Chick-Fil-A on and off for about five years, we thought some Chick-Fil-A Party Platters would be just the thing for the meal. Also, the manager at Nathan’s restaurant gave us a 50% discount on all the food as a wedding gift to Nathan which was lovely. Since I love Chic-Fil-A and bargains, I was one happy mama.

And speaking of mama’s, I hope am I am half as good a mother-in-law to Meagan has Steve’s mom has been to me. I have been so incredibly blessed with both a wonderful mom and a wonderful mom-in-law.


The picture sums up the week pretty well—a colorful, joyful celebration!



Anonymous said, “So I keep reading about a cake reception. Did you also have a lunch reception following the ceremony? Just curious.”

Immediately after the wedding, there was wedding cake and punch on the lawn in front of the church for all the wedding guests. That was where Nathan and Meagan cut the cake and did the whole “feeding the first bite to each other” thing.


Then after some photos were taken back inside the church, there was a formal sit down lunch at a local country club.

Note: there have been a few requests for pictures of the dresses that I had considered in the dress-choosing process. I’ll post pictures of those soon.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jewelry and Swooning and Love.

About a week before we were to leave for Nathan’s wedding, Libby, a lady in our church asked, “So, are you all set for the wedding?” I said, “Well, I still need to find some jewelry for the dress I chose; I’ll probably look around for some tomorrow.”

She casually inquired, “What color is your dress?”

When I told her it was lavender her face lit up and she said, “Well, I might have something you can borrow. Why don’t you bring your dress by the house later today.”

When I arrived, I was flabbergasted at the absolutely perfect match her jewelry turned out to be. And beyond being flabbergasted, I was thrilled down to my toes that I was getting to wear a pendant and earrings that had been owned by her mother and were over a hundred years old! (I don’t think I’ve ever been younger than my jewelry before.)

Are those gorgeous pieces, or what?




Then Libby inquired, “Do you have a purse to carry?”

Well, I had a small, 10-year old bag that didn’t match my dress very well, but I didn’t feel like spending extra money on a purse. So I answered, “Um, sort of, but, well, not really.”

She said, “I may have something that will work for you.”

When she pulled this out of her closet, I swooned! It was exactly the kind of bag I would never spend money on but the kind of bag I would love to carry.


And when I put all the pieces together, I swooned some more; in fact, I was a veritable Swooning Smith.


So by that point, the only thing I was lacking was a dressy watch. The one watch I own is fairly utilitarian and it would not have been at all comfortable hanging out in the swanky neighborhood that my outfit was becoming. And yet I didn’t want to spend money on a dressy watch that I wouldn’t wear that often.

I finally figured I would just put my everyday watch into my purse and take it out occasionally when I needed to see the time. However, that whole idea didn’t thrill me much because I knew that during the hours leading up to the start of the wedding, I would be wanting to know the time about every 93 seconds and the thought of locating my purse, opening it, and dragging out the watch did not engender any joy in my soul.

The Saturday before we left for Florida I happened to be walking through a local thrift store. And I found this. A dressy watch. That worked great. For seven dollars!


Bottom line? Jewelry/purse: free. Watch: $7 Shoes: On sale for $29 (And I bought some little pads to put in them which should make them wearable for future celebratory extravaganzas.)

I paid a little more for the dress than I had wanted to spend (it had been $170, on sale for $90) but I figured it was a pretty big deal to have a son get married and I consoled myself with the thought that everything else came in way under budget and therefore it all balanced out.

And so there you go. The story of the Mother of the Groom outfit. I hadn’t had a reason to get really dressed up for a long time, so the whole thing was an extra fun experience.

I’ll close with a few miscellaneous pictures of other Wedding Stuff. And I promise you at some point that I will stop posting about this subject; you all have been very patient to put up me and my pictures and my stories.

(Please note that due to a forgetful mix up on my part, I did not have my Nikon with me at the wedding so the pictures are not as good as they might have been. I will have the complete camera mix up story coming soon—along with my hair crisis story.)

This picture is so typical of Nathan. He and I were practicing our little mother/groom dance in our hotel room and all of a sudden he just reached out and wrapped me in a bear hug.

I started flapping my arms and yelling, “Nathan, you’re squishing me!” which of course caused him to hug me all the more tightly.

There’s nothing quite like being attacked out of the blue by a Nathan Bear. And may I just say how much I miss those hugs? (Please note Steve grinning in the corner of the mirror.)


Sarah with her cousin, Caleb, who was an usher for the wedding. He lives in Wisconsin with my younger sister, Debbie, and her husband, Randy. They are some of our favorite people in the world.


Some more favorite people.


A definitely non-professional shot of the bridal party but, oh well. Getting ALL the groomsmen in a photo is highly over rated.


I loved this vantage point. This is the candle that was lit during the ceremony in memory of my dad and Sheri’s mom.


And yes, Nathan and I did make it through our dance. Fortunately, he didn’t attack me with the aforementioned bear hug in the middle of it.


Nathan’s best man gave a wonderful speech about Nathan and Meagan which made me quite teary-eyed.

Please also note in this picture the floral centerpiece created by Meagan’s dad, Frank.


Sheri, the mother of bride, watching the wedding photography taking place on the golf course beyond. (And may I just say that bright blue is definitely Sheri’s color—she was radiant.)


And finally, the mother of the groom, looking at her son and daughter-in-law and being reminded all over again that love is life’s greatest gift


Monday, August 1, 2011

Shoes. Pocketbooks. Buttons. Fans. And Stuff.

Today’s post is all about the smaller details that make a wedding work because we all know that it’s the little things that make the big picture so memorable.

Let’s start with shoes, shall we?

When we first got to Florida, Meagan showed Sarah the shoes that she had bought for her and the other two bridesmaids. Sarah absolutely loved them and was so excited about wearing them; however, when she tried to walk in them, it was a wee bit less than inspiring because she looked as though she might topple over at any moment. Sarah has not had a whole lot of High Heel Wearing Experience.


We all agreed that a toppling bridesmaid wouldn’t do much to enhance the wedding so Meagan suggested we shop for an easier-to-navigate style and just return the shoes to the (national chain) store when we got home.

Thankfully we were able to find an alternative style for Sarah which were still cute and pink but just a little easier for her to get around in.


And while I’m on the subject of shoes, during a mini rehearsal before the real rehearsal, Meagan put on her wedding shoes so that she could practice getting on and off the platform in them. And then, since they were trying to figure out how much space her train would take up in all of the platform maneuverings, Sheri tucked a piece of crepe paper in the waist band of her shorts to help to "picture" it. I think it’s a very attractive look, don’t you?


Now. For those of you you are really up on fashion stuff, please take note of the extra accent I added to my own Mother of the Groom shoes.

Paper towels! They’re the latest wedding accessory!


Here’s the whole Paper Towel Story:

The wedding party ladies all met at the church early Saturday morning to get ready. When I had finished applying the all-important make up and the even more all-important Spanx, I slid on my new silver sandals and walked around doing last minute stuff. And all was well.

I walked around another minute. And then suddenly, all was not so well.

For no obvious reason, the straps suddenly started sliding down my heels so that I could not walk even one step without flailing and weaving around in an attempt to keep the shoes from falling off my feet altogether. I looked about as regal as a pregnant platypus trying to square dance.

Steve, my own personal Sir Galahad, appeared on the scene and using the file from a nail clipper, punched new holes in each strap to tighten them up.

I was most grateful to him for his ingenuity and I walked around for a few minutes with the newly tightened straps. And all was well again.

Then I walked around a minute or two more. And all was not well. Again.

The straps had slid right back down, leaving me totally incapable of walking. And when I say I couldn’t walk, I am not exaggerating in the least bit. I couldn’t take even one step. And to make things all the more stressful, we were only about ten minutes from the start of the wedding when I was supposed to make my graceful, elegant way down the long, long center aisle on the arm of my handsome nephew, Caleb.

I half thought about grabbing the nearest woman who wore a similarly sized shoe and wrenching her shoes off her feet but I didn’t that think that shoe snatching was proper behavior for the mother of the groom. I then thought briefly about tossing the shoes altogether and making my way down the aisle in a bohemian-esque barefoot fashion, but I figured that that might ruin the whole lovely lavender dress vibe I had going on.

Steve and I huddled frantically in the side hallway of the church’s foyer trying to figure out what to do. He eventually deduced in his analytical male brain that punching another hole was not going to make any difference because my foot was sliding forward in the shoe and without something to hold my foot in place, further hole punching would not help. So with just four minutes to go, he ran into the bathroom, got some paper towels and knelt down in front of me so that he could insert a folded towel into each shoe. He remarked to one curious onlooker, “Now this is a picture of real marriage!” And he was so right.

Happily, the straps stayed up all the way down the aisle and when the wedding was over, they stayed up for the walk back up the aisle; however, about five minutes later, they fell down altogether. I rummaged around and found a pair of lower heels (not half as lovely) to wear during the reception so that I wouldn’t have to be the Barefoot Mother of the Groom for the rest of the day.

And speaking of shoes, Meagan was spotted sporting these darling yellow numbers to the rehearsal. She has such wonderful taste in shoes—and clothes. (I cropped the picture because her head and face were very blurry.)


And my last shoe shot? Nathan and Meagan’s nephew’s teeny tiny dress shoes were left on the top of a pew and I couldn’t resist a picture.


The Buttons

Shoes weren’t the only detail to be attended to during the wedding prep; we also had the Wearing Of The Buttons. For Friday night’s rehearsal, each of the people in the wedding party was presented with a custom made name badge. In fact, even this strange guy who wandered in off the street got one.


His groomsmen got buttons too—just so that none of them would forget who the other guy was.


Me and my handsome, button-wearing, almost-married, no longer College Dude son.



A wedding isn’t just about shoes and buttons though; it’s also about pocketbooks--big and small. After the wedding, as Sheri and I were getting ready to leave for the reception, we looked at each other and just had to laugh; although we had both carried lovely, dressy purse-ettes for the ceremony itself, we immediately went and grabbed our honkin’ big purses at the earliest opportunity. I just can’t do life very well without my big purse and it’s nice to know that Sheri is the same way.


Wedding Programs/Invitations

The last wedding detail to be featured today is the wedding programs. Meagan had a great idea of turning the programs into fans, much like the old-timey church fans back in the days of yesteryear. (Or maybe it was back in the years of yesterday?)

At any rate, Steve, Sarah, and my brother-in-law and nephew set up a little Wedding Fan Production Facility and got them all knocked out in a couple hours.




They turned out so beautifully. On one side was a verse that was meaningful to the couple; you can read Meagan’s mom’s blog for the story behind it.


On the other side of the fan was the listing of wedding party and the ceremony.


The design of the fans tied in perfectly with the wedding invitations and it was just a really fresh, creative look overall. I really loved the fact that Nathan and Meagan’s wedding was very much “them,” right down to utilizing bright, unusual colors.



Not only did I love the bright colors, Snowy approved of them also. He just thought you might want to know. (And yes, he really does need a haircut!)


Before I respond to a few comments, here’s a photo of the bride and groom about to leave for their honeymoon. (Nathan had to leave his tux behind since it had to returned to the rental place that afternoon.) I just absolutely love the expressions on their faces because there’s much joy and contentment there.

It was a day full of big details, small details—and much, much happiness.


Much more Wedding Stuff to come!


Lisa from Georgia said, “I posted last night after first hearing the song. Now, that I have listened several more times, would you consider selling the music? I can imagine many future brides wanting to make this their song. I understand if you want to keep it special for Nate and Megan, but it is seems too pretty to keep hidden.”

Lisa, thanks for the compliment; so glad you’ve liked the song well enough to listen to it several times.

As for selling the music to other brides, I think the biggest challenge in doing so is that the song is so specific to Nathan and Meagan (as far as them meeting when they were both still kids) that the lyrics would probably not apply to many other couples. But I’m honored that you would suggest the idea!

Lisa also said, “Are any of your songs currently available on iTunes? I would love to have some of the songs from Like a Blanket for my I-pod. I cannot find the CD I had and really miss the music.”

Lisa, the only song that’s on iTunes is “Like A Blanket” but it’s not the version that we recorded. I would be happy to e-mail single songs to you in an Mp3 format for a minimal cost if you e-mail me and give me an idea of which ones you would want.

Buff said, “Just wondering...did Megan's wedding dress bustle in the back? I've noticed several pictures where it is not..hopefully she didn't have to hold it up through the whole reception!”

Buff, yes thankfully, Meagan’s dress did have a bustle which definitely made life a whole lot easier for her during the reception.

Debbie said, “I love the black and white dress Megan is wearing! Was that her reception dress or was that after the reception was over? Her wedding dress was so beautiful I imagine she wanted to stay in that as long as possible.”

Debbie, that picture was actually taken several years ago of Nathan and Meagan in High School. I agree with you—it was a gorgeous dress!