How Important is a Wedding Theme?


 

So much planning goes into your wedding, and for many brides, the visions they have come together easily with a theme.  But how important is a wedding theme?  Do you want your guests to walk into a winter wonderland, or are you more of a Halloween scream fest couple?

Rainbow Themed Wedding
Rainbow Themed Wedding

Whether or not you have a theme, you can still have a perfect wedding.  For some people, however, coordinating everything under one umbrella makes it easier to choose things like colors for flowers and bridesmaids, favors, centerpieces, even invitations.  When everything has to “go together”, it can back you into selections based solely on the theme you’ve chosen.  If fall is your theme, you are probably not going to have neon pink gerber daisies in your bouquets.  If you want a literary theme, you can opt for a pile of vintage books as your centerpieces.  It can be easier to wade through the thousands of wedding invitation options if you can hone in on just one type – nautical themed, Disney themed (you knew I was working that in here somewhere), puppy themed, or even just themed around your favorite color.

Wedding with a Movie Theme
Wedding with a Movie Theme

At the end of the day, however, having a theme isn’t crucial.  It allows you to go with what you love.  If neon pink gerber daisies are your signature flower, use them liberally – even if it is October.  Create your wedding around things you think are beautiful, even if they don’t necessarily go with each other.

Color based wedding theme
Color based wedding theme

Wedding 101: The Beginning – Guest Lists

Your freshly manicured fingers are happily showing off the conflict free diamond, chosen with every ounce of love a human being can hold in their heart after making the jeweler painstakingly show him every one of the 2000 rings in the case. What’s next? The Guest Lists! This is where it all begins (and that conflict free thing is likely to end).

It’s hard to know what to tackle first when it comes to wedding planning, but a big part of many of the decisions you’ll be making has to do with the number of people you want to invite. While many churches will have plenty of seating and room to accommodate most size guest lists, if you plan to have your ceremony in other locations, you may have to consider space limitations. Some locations have unlimited space for an outdoor ceremony, but if inclement weather forces your services indoors, you might have to contend with tight quarters.

You will also need to know how many guests you plan to invite when you consider the type of wedding you’ll have. If you have always dreamed of the fanciest of affairs, a multi-course seated meal, live music, specialty lighting – the whole enchilada – but you are working with a tight budget, you may have to put a strict limit on the number of guests you can invite. When you’ve made your preliminary list and realize you couldn’t possibly cut anyone, you may have to amend the vision of your wedding so that you can afford a larger crowd.

Invitation Flow Chart
Invitation Flow Chart

Whatever plans you make from the time the ring is shimmering in the sunshine as you wave it to passing strangers, you will have to give serious thought to the number of wedding guests you plan to invite.

The first list is your rough draft. Be liberal. Go ahead and put down the name of that kid that sat behind you in third grade and poked you in the back with his R2D2 pencil. It’s better to begin with everyone you can think of so you don’t risk forgetting anyone. You’ll also want to have both sides of the family compile a list. You may think you’ve added everyone you need, then your mother will remind you of her great Aunt Sally who you may not have seen since you spit strained peas on her in infancy. Both the bride’s family and the groom family should be asked to make a list.

Once the preliminary list is made, go back over it with a more careful eye. His ex? Scratched. Paulie Pencil Poker? Outta there. Aunt Sally? She never liked you after that pea incident. She’s gone. You may have family on the list that you HAVE to invite, but you know they likely will be unable to attend. Make a note next to those invitees.

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The number of guests will influence almost everything else you plan for your wedding. Start your planning here to help things progress much more smoothly from this point out.

Gay Days at Walt Disney World

Just like Christmas, Easter, and the day my house is 100% totally clean, an annual event takes place at Walt Disney World.  If you haven’t been to the theme parks the first week in June, you may not have ever heard of this event, and even if you have, you may not have been totally clued in.  The first weekend in June every year for the past 25 years is Gay Days at Disney.  This is not a Disney sponsored event, however, the theme parks welcome thousands of people from the LGBT community, and it may impact your vacation.

There are many events taking place in the Orlando area during Gay Days, so you won’t see all of those tens of thousands of people storming the theme park.  Guests who are with the group visit the parks on specific days – June 4th at Disney’s Animal Kingdom; June 5th at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; June 6th at the Magic Kingdom; and rounding out the weekend fun is a visit to EPCOT on June 7th.  Many guests, especially on Saturday, will don red shirts, and you may notice groups posing for photos and lining Main Street for the parade.

I’ve had many people ask me what they should be prepared for – as if visiting the theme parks the same weekend as Gay Days is the same as hunkering down during hurricane season.  Lines may be a little bit longer, so use FastPass+ when you can.  Restaurants may be a bit busier.  Plan to eat earlier or later than the normal dining times.

And the biggest question I get – How do I explain this to my kids?

Ummm, what?

What is there to explain?  Love comes in all colors and forms – your kids should know that.  Will they see parents holding hands with each other? Yes.  Might they see families having fun?  I hope so.  Are there going to be naked orgies in the castle forecourt?  Seriously, that is a question.

Not all families look like yours – and you might find that out if you are visiting Walt Disney World during Gay Days.  If you aren’t ready for your children to know that, shame on you.

For more information on Gay Days, visit http://www.gaydays.com/

 

If People Come in All Sizes, So Should Women’s Shoes

When Eilis was about seven, as a plus sized kid, she saw some t-shirts and dresses she fell in love with while we were walking through a store.  They were in the size an average seven year old might have been in – size 4 – 6x – but that was too small for Eilis.  The clothes she wanted had Barbie on them, and unfortunately, clothes in sizes that fit her didn’t have Barbies on them.  It was tough enough to find clothes in her size that wouldn’t cut too low on her chest or slit too high on her thigh.  Kids clothes weren’t made for my kid.  I was so sad for her.

Eilis is now 14.  She is also 5’10” tall with size almost 14 in women’s shoes feet.  Except, they don’t make most women’s shoes in a size 14.  I can find shoes when I have to by ordering them from a specialty store (most of which charge an enormous premium – really?  How much more material are you giving me that the shoes are $50 more a pair?).

We’ve been pretty lucky hitting stores like Journeys or Zumiez, where we’ve been able to snag Toms or Vans with a print that’s not too masculine or a solid that could work for a man or a woman.  Today, we hit a brick wall.  All the patterned shoes were definitely “guy” shoes, except one pair that she loved that they don’t make in her size.  We went online to find a pair of Toms or Vans copycats in extended sizes for women, but we didn’t find anything she liked in that search either.  She finally found a pair of shoes that were perfect – pastel background, hibiscus flowers in bright pink – perfect for a girl for summer.  Oh, but wait.  Hiding in the hibiscus flowers was – wait for it – Yoda.  Not what she was expecting.

Vans

Please, shoe people of the world, make shoes that fit everyone.  You wouldn’t have to make too many in these extended sizes, because apparently NO ONE else on the planet has this problem, or it would already be addressed.

I am, once again, sad for her.  But more than that, I’m mad.  Once again, our cookie cutter, one size fits all world is leaving my child in the dust.  I hate when that happens.

First Mother’s Day Without A Mom

I haven’t written specifically about my mom since December 13th – nine days before she died.  It was the day after her surgery for a bowel obstruction, and it was the first time in all the years my mom bounced between being really sick and just sick enough to function that we heard words you never want to hear.  “Grim”.  “Very serious”.  “Brutally honest”.

Dram and Grace POR Christmas Tree

Those are the words that enter my head as I approach the first Mother’s Day I’ll live through without my mom.  No flowers to send that she’ll bitch about because they cost too much.  No potted gardenia that she’ll bitch about because she’ll kill it.  No perfume, no jewelry, no pajamas (which, I think, was the only real gift she ever “let” us give her without complaining about how much it cost or how much she didn’t need them).  No mom.

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No mom.  My father referred to himself as an orphan after the last of his two parents died, and it used to hurt my heart to hear him say it – but my heart is hurt.  It was hard enough to lose my dad, but without my mom, I do feel like an orphan – even as a grown woman.  There is no one to call when my kids do something amazing.  Or amazingly awful.  There are no more calls from someone asking me for a recipe for a dish that she taught ME to cook years ago.  When work is tough or life feels hard, things only a mom can make seem better, I have to figure out how to get through it without her.

Grace and Dram

I am celebrating my mom and Mother’s Day by surrounding myself with her favorite people (her grandchildren – she absolutely adored them) and the person who used to refer to himself as her favorite (my husband – she barely tolerated him).  I doubt we’ll talk too much about her, because barely five months after she died, it still makes me cry.  But on Monday, I’ll know that I survived another first without her.  My first Mother’s Day without my Mom.  May they get easier from here on out.

Anna and Mom

Not the Best Life Ever

I was watching “One Born Every Minute” earlier today, and one of the mother’s, awaiting the birth of her first baby, made the comment, “She’s going to have the best life ever.”

Don’t lie to your children.  It’s not fair to set them up for unrealistic expectations.

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You can’t promise your child the best life ever.  Everyone faces loss, sadness, disappointment.  We face obstacles that we have to overcome; rejection we have to rise above; road blocks that cause us to have to come up with Plan B.  Instead of promising your child “the best life ever”, promise things you can deliver.

I promise my children that I will love them, unconditionally, no matter what.  They may do things that I don’t like very much at times, but I will always, without fail, love them.

I promise my girls that they can tell me anything, even if they know I’m not going to like it.  Will I smile and keep my mouth shut?  No.  I will, in every likelihood, express my dislike.  But this will teach them that they won’t find 100% approval anywhere in this world – not even at home.

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My kids will always know that when they hurt, I hurt.  When they suffer, I suffer.  But we will get through whatever we have to get through together.  There is nothing so awful that we can’t find smiling and happy again.  It just may take a while to get there.

The girls will know there is value in a good old ugly cry now and again.  It may not feel like it at the time, but sadness is better shared with the people that love you on the outside than eating you up from the inside.

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I will be there for lost teeth and lost loves.  I’ll be with them through broken bones and broken hearts.  New jobs, new boyfriends, new husbands, new babies?  I’m so there.

No.  My kids won’t have “the best life ever”.  Life is hard.  It’s got to be hard so they’ll appreciate the days that are slow, sweet, and easy.  But they will have a life where they are surrounded by love, support, and family.  Always.00004