Over the past 30-plus years, I have had the privilege of designing and producing hundreds of weddings as varied in theme and location as the individual clients themselves.
I love my work. It is joyful, creative and filled with that unique energy that happens when families and friends come together at a time of great celebration.
Nevertheless, all of these special times have been with other families, and not my own.
I have four grown children, three girls and one boy. They vary in ages but are all approximately four years apart. Over the years, when I have thought about their weddings, I always assumed that, due to their wide span in ages, their weddings would be comfortably spaced apart as well.
My husband, Terry, and I were enjoying a mini-vacation June 18, 2011, when we received a call at dinner from my son, Jory: “Mom, Alexis and I are engaged!”
Sweet words to our ears. This announcement was not unexpected. Jory had asked for my guidance in imagining the perfect engagement ring for his beloved Alexis. Ferro Jewelers of Stowe helped him design the perfect masterpiece.
Next, the elaborate plans for the big surprise engagement. As fans of the popular television series “The Amazing Race,” Jory designed an engagement experience that would include a scavenger hunt around their hometown — Manhattan. Special clue cards were designed, laminated and enveloped, ready for the big day. Moving from one romantic destination to another from early morning until late that night, the adventure concluded back at their apartment with the words, “Will you marry me?” Affirmative. Now, on to the wedding planning.
Jory and Alexis will be married July 14 at the Carlyle, an Upper East Side boutique hotel. Famous for art-deco style and old-time New York glamour, the Carlyle has been a classic since it opened in 1930. Its two French-inspired suites make for especially elegant wedding venues. The after-party will be in Bemelman’s Bar, famous for the late-night performances by Bobby Short and Woody Allen.
With those plans now well under way, this brings us to September 2011. My daughter Meredith celebrated her 25th birthday on Sept. 29. What made it doubly thrilling were the words at the other end of a late-night phone call: “Mom, Dana and I are engaged.” Dana’s proposal was equally as imaginative and romantic. Having spent weeks renovating a small rowboat, he wrapped it in a big bow to present to Meredith on her birthday. Little did she know that this vessel would take them out into Mount Hope Bay, just footsteps away from their home in Portsmouth, R.I., complete with champagne, two flutes, a stunning diamond ring and those four sweet words: “Will you marry me?”
Meredith and Dana will be married Sept. 29 (her birthday) in an outdoor beach ceremony and tented reception at Fort Getty Park in Jamestown, R.I. Colorful, relaxed, kid-friendly (complete with bouncy house) and lots of delicious seafood, this is their own unique vision for a wedding by the sea.
Two entirely unique and personal wedding experiences now lie before me. Oh, my, thought I – TWO of my children will be getting married in 2012! As a parent and a wedding planning professional, this is just astonishing. I am truly doubly blessed, and sometimes doubly stressed.
Which hat do I wear — parent or wedding planner? I’m learning that the answer is both. Listen, suggest, listen some more, then make suggestions, listen again and wait for their answer. Actually, being a parent and a wedding planner are pretty similar after all.