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Stephanie Wilbur Ash
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By Real Brides-to-Be
In Case of Emergency
By: | Posted: 04/17/2012
Before I get into this week's post, I need to first and foremost thank everyone for their incredible support for my mother. Just a little update for you all—she had two lumpectomies in one week and was recovering well. But unfortunately, the doctors weren't able to get it all and have scheduled her for a full mastectomy. I know she appreciates everyone's love and thoughts so far, so please keep 'em coming!
I feel so blessed to have such amazing friends and family and it's that thankfulness that's made me want to incorporate many of them into my big day—to make it all that more personal.
On Monday, after my mother's final lumpectomy, we sat together and went through some of her keepsakes and my grandmother's jewelry. I lost my grandma a long time ago but have always known I wanted her to be a part of my big day in some way. While looking through some of the items my mother hung on to, I could definitely feel her presence—in her many scarves that still smelled like her to the clip-on earrings she always wore.
My mother grabbed an old, tattered ring box and pulled out a beautiful silver ring with a small row of diamonds. She told me it was my grandmother's wedding band. You could see the wear from over the years and the amazing history in it—it was so delicate and yet, perfectly cared for. My mom gave it to me and suggested I use it as my own wedding band. I couldn't think of a better way to have my grandmother be a part of our wedding day.
We grabbed a few other items from her collection—my "something old" would be one of my grandmother's handmade handkerchiefs (seen below the rings) and my "something borrowed" would be my mother's wedding band, which I plan to wear on my right hand.
In looking for other wedding accessories, I was a bit shocked to find out even the simplest of bridal veils can sometimes cost a couple hundred dollars. So instead of spending more money, a childhood friend of mine (and my personal attendant) suggested her mom's services to make one. All that was needed was a simple hair comb (found at Michael's or Target) and a couple yards of ivory tulle. She'll be taking care of the rest. I feel so honored to be able to say my veil was made by such an important woman in my life (I've known her since I was a baby) and to know she'll be a part of my special day.
As I mentioned before, we were lucky enough to win a dessert table from the outstanding Cocoa & Fig and decided on a display of cupcakes. Since it's not ideal to "cut" a cupcake for those traditional photos, I asked my lovely sister-in-law (and uber-talented baker) if she would make us a small cake for cutting. We'll decorate it with flowers from our color palate but the cake itself will be a reminder of all the birthday parties and holiday gatherings from our family. She makes a cake for every big event, and it's always been my favorite dessert.
Adding those kinds of personal touches can make everything about that day even more special and even more memorable. I wanted to make it my goal to have our wedding feel 100 percent "us." Incorporating friends and family is an excellent way to accomplish that goal.
I took that same personal approach to our table numbers. Instead of just listing the number for each table, I decided to put pictures of Tom and I at that age for each number. (Thanks, Pinterest!)
It was a lot of work (luckily I had friends to help) but so worth it—plus, it'll add some fun encouragement for our guests to move around and check them all out. After 28 tables, I found they were mostly cute, some embarrassing (why did I ever think a perm was a good idea?) but most of all, it was a fun, personal touch.
I got the frames at IKEA, for a whopping 99 cents each, bought several different pieces of scrapbook paper in our colors (plus a more basic pattern for the backs of each—I did stripes and polka dots) and did the numbers with a simple stencil from Michael's. It was a bit of a challenge to track down all the photos, and decipher how old we were in each, but once I had a good selection, I scanned them, cropped them to the same size, and printed them in a sepia tone.
Then I just cut each photo out, used some double-sided tape, and centered them in each frame. Like I said, a lot of work but I think, a big payoff.
Our decorations, for the most part, are going to be pretty simple, so I wanted to make sure I added a few personal touches throughout. I found a big white, wooden letter "P" (my new last name will be Pelissero) that I'll be tying ribbon around and using to tie our two chairs together at our head table.
We're also planning on a few fun signs around the reception hall—suggestions for our own hashtag, should guests be tweeting about our event (#TomandSara) and perhaps some I-Spy ideas with disposable cameras.
When it came to deciding on wedding favors, I couldn't help but feel like everything was kind of a waste of money. Do people really care about the bag of chocolates and mints or could that be better used elsewhere? That's when we thought, why not donate that money to a good cause. And I couldn't think of a better cause than a great breast cancer organization, in honor of my mom. We'll print small signs at each table to let them know our decision and how that money will be used.
Every bride is different but for me, having a little piece of the people I love incorporated into our big day makes me feel surrounded by love and support—and on such a monumental day, you can never have enough of that.
Kara is a communications manager at U.S. Bank. See her engagement story.
Brittney is a digital marketing and social media specialist at 3M. See her engagement story.
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