Marie Lydon is a Reference librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.
When our daughter became engaged last June, she and Dan had already decided that they were getting married in March, based on the weather in Australia where they hoped to honeymoon. They chose the location for the ceremony and reception right away, after looking at three or four venues, and loved the friendliness and casualness of the people they spoke with at the place they chose. It was an easy decision and seemed like a great idea in June. Somehow it ended up that it was scheduled for St. Patrick’s Day. The weather possibilities caused us some concern but Heather and Dan assured us that it’s always nice on St. Patrick’s Day in New England. They had been to parties and parades the year before and it was sunny and 75 degrees and they had never known a bad St. Patrick’s Day. Being a librarian, this immediately sent me to the “Old Farmer’s Almanac” for 2012 as soon as it came to the library but, as it was indecipherable to me, it wasn’t very reassuring. We decided not to worry and to go with the flow. This and listening and proofreading were the main duties of these parents of the bride.
Winter, as it turned out, was a fabulous time to plan a wedding. We had very little to do with the planning but everyone, according to the bride and groom, could not have been more accommodating because it was the “slow” season. The week before the wedding, Heather commented that she thought March was the perfect time to get married as it’s a time of hope and anticipation as you look forward to spring and summer and you have the long winter months to make the arrangements.
We had very few responsibilities, as they were taking care of everything from the ceremony to the pianist to the photographer to the DJ to the programs to the place cards to the guest book to just making it meaningful for themselves and everyone there. Heather had said that what she cared most about were the ceremony and the dancing. Dan really cared about the ceremony and the DJ. In addition to these items, I cared about the food and the music.
Although we were not involved in the day-to-day decisions, we were occasionally consulted and I naturally checked out tons of books and CDs from our library and others, just to be on the safe side, as any mother would do who doesn’t go to many weddings. I cannot emphasize enough how helpful these materials were, just to have some frame of reference. We had been to about five weddings in the last 35 years and they had been to about ten in the last year alone. Even so, for my own peace of mind, I needed something so that we knew where to be when, what to expect and what our “duties” would be. The main one, and I liked this idea, was you were mostly just supposed to be calm and supportive and not make waves.
There were several times during the winter when we drove to the Cape listening to wedding CDs, borrowed from the library, deciding which music we liked for which part of the ceremony and accompanying whom. We listened to CDs while we stuffed wedding invitations in January, just to get in the mood. We learned that the theme from “Masterpiece Theatre” is really “Rondeau” by Mouret and is suggested as a processional
for the bridal party. Heather made a CD for Jack of suggested “Father-Daughter” dance music and they practiced to the song Jack chose. It was a nice, cozy time that I’ll always remember almost as much as the wedding itself.
Although Heather and Dan probably did most of their planning online (and there are plenty of wedding websites) I continued to turn to the books, just in case. Some of the books I consulted and found helpful, interesting and sometimes fun were: “Emily Post’s Weddings” by Peggy Post covering every topic which could possibly be covered in a wedding guide with helpful notes on the side and sketches and pictures of the bridal attires of the past; “A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration” by Meg Keene; “Bargainista Bride: Your Dream Wedding for Less” by Aimee Manis; “Wedding Planning Made Easy from WedSpace.com” by Alex & Elizabeth Lluch; “Wedding Rites: a Complete Guide to Tradional Vows, Music, Ceremonies, Blessings, and Interfaith Services”; and “Wedding Readings & Musical Ideas” by John Wynburne & Alison Gibbs.
For a first hand account, “How I Planned Your Wedding: the All-True Story of a Mother and Daughter Surviving the Happiest Day of Their Lives” by Susan Wiggs and her daughter Elizabeth Wiggs Maas was a good first person, easy to relate to account; and for relaxation and out loud laughter when it’s all becoming a little over the top, “Miss Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding” by Judith Martin is just perfect.
A recent bestseller, “The Magic Room” by Jeffrey Zaslow recounts the stories of thousands who have purchased their “dream dresses” at a bridal shop in Fowler Michigan, population 1,100, run by the same family for 4 generations. Each bride in the book has a story to tell and it reminds us of Terry’s Bridal Shop in Norwood, where we and many others, have shopped in Norwood for over 40 years.
So now it’s June and our son John and his fiancée Kristin are planning their October wedding, which we’re sure will be just as wonderful. I haven’t had to “stress out” at all but it’s back to the books: “Groomology: What Every (Smart) Groom Needs to Know before the Wedding” by Michael Essany, for John (not that he’s asking) and “Mother of the Groom: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy the Best Wedding Ever” by Sharon Naylo, to remind me of my place. As there’s a dance for the groom and his mother, we’ll need to pick a song so, sure enough, there are suggestions listed in this book in case we can’t think of one.
Going back to the weather, one thing I never saw in a book but a co-worker of Heather’s told her about was to hang rosary beads outdoors beforehand in hopes that the weather would be good. Her family had done this 4 times and had had perfect results. So we said plenty of prayers and hung our rosary beads in Norwood, Dedham, Melrose, and Falmouth and our prayers were answered. We had a beautiful St. Patrick’s Day wedding celebration.
Call or visit the library in person or online at norwoodlibrary.org for help with your special occasions.