We survived! Hallelujah!
Weddings are such a trip, aren’t they? And I have survived my first “daughter” wedding! Here are the things that I know for sure about this experience!
Weddings are Expensive.
And I am a huge cheapskate. So is my daughter, the bride. Even some things that we did not expect to be expensive, are very expensive! We did everything as economically and affordably as possible, though. Which leads to the second thing I know for sure…
Weddings CAN be Beautiful and Meaningful on a Small Budget!
We saved $$ in a variety of ways. We have so many good friends who lent us decorations, everything from vases to backdrops, to the huge chandelier at the reception made from a wagon wheel and mason jars, (Thanks Nick and Josie!)
And we DIY-ed this wedding to death! We made our own flower arrangements, cooked our own food, did NOT hire a wedding planner, a baker, or a band… An awesome friend, who has all the proper equipment, DJ’d this thing for us as his gift to the bride and groom, and did a fantastic job! Another dear family friend played the piano at the ceremony.
The only thing we hired done was the photography. Lillian Reed Photography, by the way. Lillian worked with Dakota for a short time at Lisa’s Western Wear, and they became friends. She is a talented young lady with flaming red hair, who did an amazing job for us for at a very reasonable price!
We shopped online, checked out clearance racks, even bought things in second hand shops and on Facebook!
Dakota’s beautiful dress was perhaps the very best bargain of the whole ordeal! We found it during a 5 hour sale in a fantastic, small bridal boutique about 4 hours north of us. It was a discontinued design, for the unbelievable price of $99! (It was more than 90% off the original price!)
Thirdly, I know that…
Differences can be a Cause for Celebration!
There are vast cultural differences between the family of the bride and the family of the groom! My daughter wanted to feature a combination of her Native American heritage and her groom’s Asian heritage. She wore a beautiful belt that she beaded herself and earrings to match. She also beaded earrings for each of her eight bridesmaids. Under her gown, she wore white moccasins, and added feathers to her bouquet that her dad acquired for her.
Then, in observance of Shane’s Asian heritage, his mother and I participated in a Tea Unity during the ceremony. There was one teapot belonging to the bride, and one teapot belonging to the groom. I poured tea into my daughter’s cup, and the mother of the groom poured tea into his cup. Then the bride and groom each poured from their cups into a third cup. Shane first lifted the cup to her lips for her to drink, and then she gave him a drink from that same cup.
The food was an interesting combination! Shane’s family brought in Asian cuisine: Beef and Broccoli, Fried Rice, and General Tso’s Chicken. We served Indian Tacos and Corn Soup. We made 350ish pieces of frybread the morning of the wedding! Here is a picture of a few of my hardworking frybread cooks!
At the reception, my husband’s brother offered a prayer song in the Native Shoshone language to bless the bride and groom. He also did this for our son’s wedding last May. I hope it is a tradition that will continue for future weddings!
Lastly, their cake was a beautiful nod to the Asian culture, with cherry blossoms and lanterns. My Aunt Ann, my mother’s sister, made the cake, and our son Cole built the lanterns.
Family and Friends are Among God’s Greatest Gifts!
There is nothing like a wedding to bring family and friends together for a time of fellowship! Our families and friends were incredibly helpful, I am so grateful for everything they did!
Both of our sons who live out of state came home for the occasion. It was so wonderful to have all 17 kids here. Dakota had six of her seven sisters in the bridal party as bridesmaids and flower girls. Alaina, the youngest, was sleeping in Aunt Tina’s arms during the ceremony!
One of my favorite moments of the whole wedding was the father/daughter dance. They danced to “I Don’t Dance” by Lee Brice. Which Dakota chose, no doubt, for the reason that her Dad does not dance! But he did for her, of course, and it turned into something incredible! Each of her nine brothers stood in line, and took turns cutting in, in order from oldest to youngest. It will be a great memory! I apologize for the quality of the video, but I just had to share!
And our friends! Y’all, I have the best friends in the world! I did not have the privilege of growing up with sisters, but God has given me some sisters in Christ that I am so thankful for. We take turns helping with each one’s kids’ weddings (what a mouthful), and it is such a blessing!
Among all the Difficulties of Life, There are Moments of Pure Gold!
It is moments like these, that allow me to step back and feel a full circle moment of…”Every episode of morning sickness, every poopy diaper, every set of braces, every teenage driving lesson, every annoying moment of failed attempts at communication during this wedding planning process (ugghhh) … was worth this beautiful mess!”
Life is tricky. It’s hard and it’s chaotic sometimes. Life is complicated and messy. But it is a gift! And it’s beautiful! My youngest child is 1, and God willing, I have many more weddings ahead of me. May He give me the strength and grace to rock each one!
Which brings me, however, to the last thing I know for sure…
It’s not about the Wedding. It’s about the Marriage.
The sacred vows and the joining of lives and families into one. My maternal grandparents were married during a very different time. Their wedding could hardly be called a wedding by today’s standards.
On Sunday, after the usual service was finished, the minister called Marian and Ray to the front. They stood there with him alone, no attendants, and repeated their vows. My grandma did not wear a wedding dress. Rather, she had a new dress, that she would wear for many more Sundays to come. There were no flowers, decorations or special music. After they were pronounced husband and wife, the minister and his wife went back with them to the home of the bride’s parents for Sunday dinner. And that was their wedding.
They were married for more than 50 years. They loved one another, faults and all. God blessed them with children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren before He called them home. And they left a legacy that we hold onto still. We will always revere them as the standard by which we measure a worthy devotion, family, commitment, virtue, and much more.
Their wedding was not an expensive party, it was all about the vows they said, and the vows they kept for more than 50 years.
Thank you to all who were a part of this day, or sent a card or a gift, or prayed for these two! Blessings to you all!
P.S. If I can throw a wedding… you can do any job God sets before you!! Hang in there, mama… You were made for this!
I teared up so many times reading this – SO BEAUTIFUL!!! All of it.
I love everything you write – keep it up!!!
Hi, Laura! Thank you so much! That’s a great compliment coming from an experienced, talented writer like you. Thanks for the encouragement!!!