Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Always a Reason to Party

We had the party of our lives this past March - I shared the story of our youngest daughter's lovely wedding in my Mom Blog for the April issue of our magazine. I highly recommend celebrating our grown "kids" whenever we can - it's so easy to party when they're small.  Fewer occasions present themselves once they're grown and gone....

April is when we celebrate FAMILY Magazine’s “Birth”day. It means a lot to me since it is my “baby” - and it’s always a fun time for our staff. This year, as we celebrate our 23rd year of publishing, I’m as happy as ever to mark the milestone, but I may forgo a big celebration. I find myself still in recovery mode from throwing one of the biggest parties in my history - Brittany’s wedding. 
We will certainly still use the Magazine’s birthday as an excuse to have cake. I don’t want to
disappoint the office. Although my staff is probably celebrating having my undivided attention back after the wedding planning ate into good portions of my mental capacity.
Don’t get me wrong, I love parties and look forward to this time of year - we have several birthdays in our family during April and May that make for great parties. This year though, I hope my family members are okay with gifts and a quiet dinner.

I remember with great fondness the birthday parties we have had over the years, each as unique as the child we were honoring. We had a “sound” scavenger hunt in a mall for a thirteenth birthday party. We hosted 25 four-year-olds in our back yard – they created and decorated space helmets from grocery bags and blasted off into outer space. Then there was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle party complete with a pizza-throwing contest – again, in the easy to clean back yard.  

This year, I’ll just revel in the wedding that was the party to end all parties for me (for a few months at least!). I have to say, with all humility and credit to everyone who made the wedding possible, we did a fabulous job! It was this time last year when I shared with you, my treasured readers of FAMILY Magazine, that Brittany was engaged and would be married in 2014.  

I trust you have enjoyed my year of the wedding (vicariously) through my musings in this blog. I love to share – you get all the fancy romantic details, and I did the heavy lifting. With pleasure! Parenting is a shared experience and although most of you are probably closer to your own wedding day than to your kids’ weddings, I remember what it was like to look at my then “little” girl and imagine her big day. Giving her that “princess for a day” experience. Watching her walk down the aisle on daddy’s arm.

Planning a big wedding is much like producing FAMILY Magazine each month. We planned, made choices, set deadlines and compromised when budget issues or delays cropped up. They always do. The ultimate goal was a perfect wedding, but also to set in place moments when we would all come together throughout the weekend.  

We did our best to cater to our guests’ wide range of interests. Activities ranged from a golf outing, to shooting for the hunters and a spa party for those more indoor inclined. The parties (every night!) for all our out of town friends just about did me in…I couldn’t tear myself away. The parents of the groom had a fantastic rehearsal dinner and then the big day! 

Brittany wore my grandmother’s brooch on her bouquet and my husband’s mother’s wedding garter on her leg. Inside her wedding dress was a piece of my wedding dress sewn in close to her heart. Doug and I gave her diamond and pearl earrings to match the pearls we gave her for eighth grade graduation. She was a beautiful bride – unbiased.

As if to give Brittany the perfect send-off, Mother Nature stepped in and gave us the dream backdrop for the wedding photos: the most spectacular sunset I have ever seen. We had hoped the photographer could take a sunset shot with the bride and groom overlooking the beautiful lake at our venue. Just as the bride and groom were finishing up their photos, the sun dipped down, the colors flowed across the sky and red blazed out across the horizon. It was breathtaking.

Doug and I were watching the photo shoot from a balcony. When we saw the emerging sunset, we just looked at each other and without a word, raced down to join them out on the lawn. It was perfect – like the end of a favorite movie. I hugged Brittany and Randy. Doug and I hugged each other. The bride and groom were beaming. The photographer captured every hug and every resulting tear.  

Then we went in and danced the night away. And now I need to rest…I’ve earned it.