As I write this, it is 66 days before the wedding. Sixty-six days in which to get through what seems to be about a million little details, a million decisions, a million places to go and things to accomplish. As I write, it seems almost insurmountable. How in the world are we going to pull this thing off?

Sound familiar? This “pre-wedding” installment will talk about some of these little decisions and details and about our attempts to stay sane throughout these last few months.

Invitations, Programs, and the Guest List
In my original invitation design, I had selected a “playful” font for the invitations and programs (it was called “Present” on the Macintosh, and “President” on the PC). I had clip art of a grape vine screened in behind the text, like a watermark. It was just a card–one panel, no folds–to be printed on a creamy linen with matching envelopes.

In a stroke of good luck, I had not had time to take the invitation to the printer’s before we had to change reception sites! The afternoon we signed for the Commodore, I came home and redesigned the invitation and the program. I found an art deco font (called “Cassandra” on the Mac) and set it in small caps for the 1920s feel I wanted. That same font will appear on the program. We dropped the grape vine for a simple art deco frame. The result is striking; it looks very much like a 1920s or 1930s wedding invitation might have looked. We will still have it printed on creamy linen. I think this invitation will serve the same purpose as the original was intended to serve–to set the tone for the wedding.

Guest lists were another issue to be dealt with immediately. When we had been doing our own cooking, we were playing fast and loose with a formal guest list because we didn’t have to turn in a number to a caterer. Now that we are paying by the head, we had to plan the guest list much more carefully. It was not fun paring down the list, trying to decide who was more important than whom and recalling who we had already told could expect an invitation. In fact, it was the worst experience we had in planning this wedding. I think it was even harder than the decision to change reception sites. By the time we were done, both of us were ready to call the whole thing off and elope!

Arranging the Reception–Food and Decorations
Actually, it will be a treat to go to the Commodore and select our menu. The sample menu we received from the catering director has such yummy hors d’oeuvres on it as “Hot Artichoke Gratin with Imported Crackers” and “Coconut Chicken Tenders with Orange Marmalade Horseradish Sauce.” It’s not hard to get excited over food like that! Within the next few weeks we will visit the site with Ann, who has still agreed to be the reception coordinator, to finalize the menu.

Our decorations, as I’ve mentioned, were tailored toward a country garden motif. Now that we have a reception site that is art deco, we are changing the decorations a little. I took silk flowers and ribbons back to Michael’s, since we aren’t going to use the garden arch we had purchased (that will eventually go in our yard). But we will still have flowers in Erlenmeyer flasks on all the tables that we will get from the farmers’ market on Saturday morning, and the decorations will lean more toward silver than blue. We are going to make big silver bows with my trusty bowmaker, and use tulle and silver bows to decorate the DJ’s stand and the head table.

Little Details
We still have to…
◾ get the marriage license
◾finish getting addresses so the invitations can go out in early April
◾plan the honeymoon (we are considering Las Vegas for a week – a reasonably priced trip for two grad students!)
◾get final fittings for our attire
◾meet with the photographer to go over the photos we would like
◾send the song checklist to the DJ, with our first song choice as well
as the kinds of music we’d like (classical for dinner, mixed for dancing) ◾get my wedding and engagement rings soldered together and Doug’s ring engraved
◾finish buying/making the attendants’ gifts
◾talk to the florist and make sure our order is clear, and make the guys’ boutonnieres
◾meet with Kathleen, our officiant, to finalize the ceremony
◾check the rehearsal dinner site (a bar and grill near the church)
◾check on parking for the ceremony
◾finish the favors (little flower pots with tulle-wrapped Dove Promises inside)
…and a bunch of other things that I’m sure I’m forgetting! We both also have individual things to accomplish; we agreed that we wouldn’t buy anything for each other as wedding gifts, but that we would create something for each other instead. So I am working on a project to give Doug on the morning of the wedding, and he is working on something for me.

Doug has said that getting through the wedding will be the toughest part of our marriage, and the deeper we get into it, the more I agree! The stress gets to be unbearable. We’ve tried to cope with it in several ways.

We’ve taken some time away from each other. Last weekend, for example, I went to a casino with some girlfriends, and Doug stayed home and played computer games. I also belong to a stitching guild that takes me out of the house several times a month. And both of us have school-related functions and work commitments that keep us busy as well.

But we’ve also done some things that remind us why we were attracted to each other in the first place. We threw a Christmas party in December, and in January we declared a “non-wedding weekend” and stayed in a bed-and-breakfast for a night. We visited his parents in February, and we’ll be going to see my parents in April for the shower my sister is giving us. We try to have dinner together most nights, and I try not to bombard him with wedding details the moment I see him! Sometimes that’s hard. Sometimes things can’t wait…but usually they can. Doug has been incredibly patient with all the details, and because he’s not a “details” person, that can be frustrating for him. And since I am a “details” person, the details sometimes gang up and overwhelm me. Admittedly, it’s the little things that distinguish your wedding from a thousand others, but sometimes little things start to matter way out of proportion to their actual importance.

Months ago, I had designed our unity candle arrangement, and I was anxious that the tapers didn’t exactly match the unity candle itself; the tapers were barely a shade lighter. I said to Doug, “The candles don’t match!! Should I try to find different ones that are closer?” He looked at the arrangement and then looked at me like I had just lost my last marble! We both started laughing. When all is said and done, the marriage is the important thing, and the wedding is just the celebration of its beginning. On June 1st, even if the candles didn’t precisely match, we will still be married.