It was Thanksgiving Day when the call came in. “Mom, Barbara and I want to get married at home two days after Christmas”. My son was in the Navy and stationed a thousand miles away. His future bride was from the mid-west and had no family. I had just been elected as the “wedding coordinator”. I had to plan a wedding in a month.
I have to admit that my children think I can do anything. I guess I should have discouraged this view of me years ago but what the heck, I am Superwoman. The first thing I did was what I always do, make a list.
Find a Justice of the Peace
Call the town hall and find out the requirements for getting a marriage license
Find a caterer
Arrange for chairs and tables
Find a photographer
Try to stay calm
Get a list of people who the couple wants to invite
Send out invitations
Order the wedding cake
After some serious consideration, I decided that we would host the wedding in our home. We would remove all the furniture from our living room and fill the room with chairs, chapel style.
The actual ceremony would take place in front of the fireplace. When the ceremony was complete tables would be set up in the room and also in our family room.
The dining room would hold the buffet and the bar would be in the kitchen. The bride would dress upstairs and come down the stairs on my husband’s arm.
With only a month and no engaged couple available, a religious ceremony was out of the question. One of our friends is a justice of the peace, so the first order of business was to make sure that he was available for the day that we wanted to have the wedding. He was and so that was one item down.
I passed on the official information to my son and his future wife about what they would need to get their marriage license.
I didn’t have time to order wedding invitations online so I went to the local stationary store and picked up invitations that could be filled in by hand. Luckily for me, my best friend is also my son’s godmother. Soon she was seated beside me helping fill out the invitations and the envelopes. Of course in the meantime, I had to run to the post office for stamps for the outer and inner envelopes.
Once they were mailed out, I called a caterer that I am familiar with and asked him to save the date and discussed what the meal would cost. I made a few changes to one of his standard menus and then agreed to call a week before the wedding to give him the final numbers.
Luckily I work at a church and we have a center with lots of tables and chairs so I was able to borrow these at no cost, which is always a good price.
After some serious thought and some looks at the expenses, I decided that I would decorate with red, white and pink poinsettias. I decided to fill the fireplace with large ones and then order small ones to place on each of the tables and the mantle.
After checking the price to rent tablecloths, I went to a local discount store and bought white tablecloths for all the tables. The cost was less than $100.
We decided to have a champagne toast and then wine and beer only at the wedding. We purchased a bottle of white and one of red wine for each table and then several cases of beer which was kept in a cooler in the kitchen.
My best friend also makes wedding cakes; this was her wedding gift to the couple. That was a big relief, one less thing for mom to worry about.
My brother-in-law was in charge of making a wedding video. He recorded the ceremony from start to finish and then I took some formal wedding pictures.
Did it come together? Yes,it did. The menu included pasta and meatballs, sausage and peppers, salad, chicken, roasted potatoes, ham in a raisin sauce, kielbasa and sauerkraut, rolls and butter.
As soon as we finished taking the pictures the guests all chipped in to set up the tables and put the table clothes, flowers and wine bottles in place. We had a head table at the end of the room opposite the fireplace. We ended up with about 35 guests and the wedding party.
The cost was under $1000 and a good time was had by all. The marriage only lasted two years but that is another article altogether. My suggestions, use what is available to you at little or no cost, have a budget in mind, be very organized and try not to have a nervous breakdown.
I have been an Internet writer for more than 16 years. While I specialize in travel, I write on a variety of subjects. I love genealogy, food, and fashion. I have 10 grandchildren so family travel is something we often do.