Part I: How to host a wedding at your home…(and other special events)
THE TOP 5 CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE YOU COMMIT TO A HOME WEDDING:
- ASK THE BRIDE ABOUT WHAT SHE WANT THE SPECIAL DAY TO FEEL LIKE
- WHAT TIME OF YEAR WILL IT BE?
- WILL THE WEDDING DATE PERMIT AN OUTDOOR CEREMONY AND RECEPTION?
- WHAT IS THE AGE SPREAD OF YOUR GUESTS?
- GIVE PRIORITY TO THE GRANDPARENTS SINCE THEY’RE NOT ONLY CHERISHED GUESTS BUT ALSO THE MOST VULNERABLE.
Welcome to a brand new year in which we hope with all our heart that only the best will happen. One thing to remember, regardless of geo-political events or pandemics that are going viral, “Love overcomes a lot of things”, even COVID-19. Last spring, my son William Morrow was planning his proposal to Ashley Walker, his girlfriend. I have never been more proud of my son than I was last year…starting with his choice of his wife, someone we all loved and who shares his same convictions and beliefs about life, and secondly with his ability to roll with all of the changes that were to come. Last year, 2020 basically required everyone to be or become adaptable, and those who were the most adaptable seemed to handle the obstacles the best. That the bride-to-be and groom-to-be were both being optimists certainly did help as William and Ashley made and readjusted their plans for their engagement, their parties, the wedding weekend and even their honeymoon. Their smiles said it all, they were in love and nothing was going to get in their way to have a happy engagement and wedding. Our friends who hosted their engagement party wisely agreed that it might turn out to be their only party and rolled out the literal red carpet as only Daltonians do. The engagement party became a couples shower, and took place at a friend’s stunning open air barn, with live entertainment and a large fire. It was the perfect place to celebrate their engagement!
Almost all mothers of the grooms can agree that it’s a little different when it’s your son who’s getting married and you’re not in control of the event, but Ashley and her mother were the epitome of graciousness throughout it all. As we watched and waited from mid-May to September, it became abundantly clear that the state of Georgia restrictions were not going to be lifted for public events such as weddings to allow beyond 50 persons within a banquet space. The beautiful blush-colored wedding invitations that Ashley and William had mailed out were now requiring another new genre of invitations, an un-invitation. The first step for the two love birds was to go back and painstakingly narrowing down the guests to the immediate family and their wedding party, and then send out “un-invitations”. Ashley and I found some cute “un-invitations” on zazzle.com and within an hour they were designed and ready to order.
Our back porch is one of our family’s most favorite places. While having to stay home during the shutdown of 2020, we named our porch “Nature’s Sanctuary”…and why not? We attended “online church” and watched the birds, deer, fox, and all the other kinds of wildlife go right by us as we sip our coffee or have dinner al fresco together. Also on the back porch is Donatella the Truffle dog who reigns as queen of the porch and entire back yard. It should come as no surprise that our family was sitting on our porch after dinner one evening when William said he and Ashley said they thought it might be kind of cool to have the wedding right there in our back yard around the pool. The Covid-19 restrictions were severely limiting their wedding venue options and they were not wanting to change their original wedding date of November 7th. We got really excited about the idea of having such a special moment in our lives right there in our “nature’s sanctuary” and I drafted a short list of to-do’s (a list that grew and grew). Personally speaking, my biggest priority was to elevate our back yard to the event, rather than have the wedding feel like a “back yard barbecue”. Although we love back yard barbecues, this sweet little bride simply wanted the wedding to feel like a wedding, and we didn’t blame her one bit. That meant getting a few things spruced up. Do you know what happens when you start to fix one little thing? It turns into something bigger you didn’t expect and this was no exception.
Have I mentioned we love our back porch? Being southern and living in the south like we do, we spend a large part of our lives on the porch. When the coronavirus swept across the nation and our constant traveling came to a screeching halt, we gleefully parked ourselves on the back porch, loaded up the bird feeders with seed and quarantined ourselves while watching the birds and the bees. From time to time, I’d casually mention seeing these little “winged things” take flight from our back porch and asked my husband what they were, then we’d see a pretty bird fly by and forget all about them. Fast forward to September 5th when we discovered that they were something that no one wants to see, carpenter ants! Our house siding is made of hardy-board *except for the soffit and facia which now it appears needs to be urgently replaced, which requires also new gutters and painting it all back to match. Hmmm okay, the house was built in the early 2000’s and I had been waiting for just the right time to paint it in a new color palette. It’s worth noting that my family is in the commercial construction business…they do not do residential construction, they do not do renovations BUT I called the cavalry and they showed up with their best help and sub-contractors! My family is beyond special in how we show up for each other in times of need, and this was certainly a time of urgent need. Project “Fixer Upper” for the wedding started on our back porch. We became tuned in to the subtle nuances of the men, their various coffee preferences and watched with awe at how quickly they could eradicate our home of carpenter ants, replace the gutters and paint it ~ almost as if it never happened but better. *Paint colors provided upon request. For their skill, strength, and determination to get us ready for William and Ashley’s wedding I will always be grateful.
The most important considerations for a pandemic wedding are to keep yourself and your guests “safe” which meant having masks, hand sanitizer and praying for the weather to be perfect so that everyone could be outside. We had grandparents to consider and wanted to be sure while they were included in the wedding plans while not exposing them to the virus. God is so good and a strange thing happened, my son “the groom” and his groomsmen (almost all 13) contracted the coronavirus on their bacherlor’s golf weekend and brought it home to their significant others which included the bride to be…we began checking calendars at this moment while everyone is sending text messages that they’d tested positive, I noted that we had a little over two weeks for everyone to quarantine, get well (and pray that no one else got it). We ordered the cutest masks for the special day, also at Zazzle.com, which coordinated with the custom designed dinner napkins, the fall foliage and crimson florals in the bridal bouquet ~ details matter ~ even masks. We ordered enough masks for the rehearsal dinner AND the wedding. We weren’t taking any chances with contagiousness.
All of these photos are our own, but you’ll see more to come from the wedding photographer Mackenzie Alexa photography in the next blog post. I can’t wait to share the next chapter of getting ready for the wedding when I can share some of the stunning videography of Kyle Delk. Some of his footage brought tears to my eyes of reliving the weekend one more time in “slow motion”. Here’s a sneak preview so you’ll know what I mean when I say “stunning”!
Stay tuned for Part II “How to host a wedding at home”.