Pine trees and coffee samplers: My how weddings have changed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I go very few places now that someone doesn’t ask me about the wedding plans for my daughter Holly’s wedding.

I keep a notebook with me all the time that is crammed full of notes, prices, pictures, prices, estimates, things to tell the bride, prices, things to tell the mother of the groom and oh, did I mention prices? I am amazed at how much a wedding costs and at all the little details that you take for granted.

The first thing we encountered that I had not even remotely considered was save the date cards.

Email newsletter signup

Yes, I’ve received some of these and most of them were very lovely, I just hadn’t figured in the need for them. My thinking on the subject was this, if you send the invitations out six weeks in advance, and if your friends know your daughter or son is getting married, well, they’ll save the date in their calendar.

From Holly, I got the explanation that so many of her friends live away from Natchez and have jobs that the more notice they get the better. Soon to be in-law Laurie said yes, they are being done in Dallas also. And with that she very graciously offered to do them for Holly.

I stuck with my faith that my friends would save the date on their own, and said I needed exactly 20 of them. When we went to the engagement party in Dallas she had them all ready and we took one evening to do addresses and stamps.

Funny thing is now I have one on my mirror in my bathroom where I can see it every day and it makes me smile. There on a little card the date May 30 is circled with my little girl’s name beside it. And honestly, I wish I had ordered 100 of them so I could see them on all my friends’ refrigerators.

Next up on the I-didn’t-understand-list, favors for the guests. I’ve decided these were started by the same group of evil mothers who started giving out treat bags at children’s birthday parties.

If you’re a mom of my age group then you can remember when your child invited their friends to their birthday party and your responsibility was to provide the place, the cake and ice cream, and, if you really were on the ball, you made sure the cake matched the theme of the invitations.

The guests brought a gift and your child said thank-you. Everyone played a few games, rubbed cake in their hair, spilled melted ice cream on the floor and cried over whose present would get opened first.

After they outgrew that you moved on to the bowling alley party, where they still got cake on their clothes and spilled ice cream.

Somewhere in there a mom, who obviously had too much time on her hands, decided that cake and ice cream weren’t enough and guests would need to be rewarded for attending the party, voila, the birth of the treat bag. That same mother has gone into the wedding favor business.

Now before you all gasp in disbelief let me say that I have seen and been the recipient of some very nice wedding favors. My favorite is the huggie with the bride and groom’s name on them. Especially since now you usually get your beer in a bottle at a reception, these are pretty nice.

I also have seen some very creative displays of candy in the wedding colors, and let’s face it who doesn’t like candy?

If you are having a small reception or seated dinner this is also a little easier to handle.

This past summer I went to a seated dinner reception where there was a little white box at each place setting filled with white Jordan almonds. These were tasteful and tasty, but the bride knew exactly how many to order.

If you didn’t how on earth would you know how many little bags or boxes to fill?

But you should see some of the favors that are in wedding magazines now. Seriously, tea bags, coffee samplers, small seedlings to plant at your home in honor of the newlyweds (I mean, as much as some of my friends love me and my daughter, do they really want a new pine tree in their yard?) and the list goes on.

The real problem with the favors for me personally is I will obsess myself crazy over how many to order and what if we run out? That’s the sort of thing that makes me sleepless for a week, or at least until that detail is replaced by another one.

So, yes, we’ve settled on huggies for Holly’s favors, and I’m still wrestling with the number to order.

I have had fun doing most of the planning with Holly, picking out her dress was definitely a day to remember, picking the music was even fun, stressful but fun.

Our biggest problem with the music was we had to listen to a CD to decide and we couldn’t help but talk about her grandmother, Joyce. Joyce loved music and would have told us in about 10 minutes what we were having, who was walking to what and that would be done. Instead I drove Holly insane listening to little snippets of music and after she would say I like that one, I would insist she listen to one more, just in case she liked it better. But finally, that too was taken care of.

Another lesson I’ve learned is that it is really hard to go to a wedding after you start planning one. You have a little trouble paying attention to the vows when you are staring at a bouquet trying to figure out what that perfect shade of green is in it, or craning your neck to see if the bridesmaids all wore the same shoes.

And you have to remind yourself that you can’t keep changing details just because you saw something different.

I did offer the groom a check to get married at the courthouse, much to his credit he laughed and turned it down. I have a feeling since he is in banking that was rather hard for him to do. And since I only meant it a little bit, I guess I’m lucky he did.

So the new year is here and countdown to May 30 is on, if you see me around town muttering to myself, it’s fine to ask me about the wedding just don’t be surprised if I want your opinion on something in my notebook.

Christina Hall writes a weekly columns for The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at