Late September in 2011, my older daughter got married. I have been to many weddings in my life, but I think anyone who has planned a wedding will from that point on see weddings in a completely different light. I had no idea how complicated everything was, and how hectic the actual wedding would be, until we planned one. I have a new respect for anyone in charge of planning a wedding. And if I attend a wedding and the mother of the bride seems a bit distracted, I now understand her lack of focus completely.
Every family has variables that make a wedding more complicated–variables such as divorce and remarriage, finances, family relationships, and distance, among others. Our family wedding had more variables than most. We had issues with all of the above.
The first and foremost complication was that the groom (whom I am crazy about) was from the United Kingdom and the wedding date depended on when his immigration papers came through. Complicating things further, he was also in the process of joining the United States Armed Services, so we were also dependent upon his Army unit and the DOD in addition to the Department of Immigration and Naturalization. And to complicate things even further, the groom’s 35th birthday was rapidly approaching, and he needed to have the wedding ASAP so he could apply for his green card.
This meant that the wedding was basically planned in three weeks—three weeks from the day that we got his green card from Detroit’s Department of Immigration and Naturalization.
To add to the drama, my daughter’s father and sister refused to attend the wedding (because they somehow disapproved), and my son was deployed in Iraq. But we still invited everyone from her father’s side…uncles and grandparents…and then waited to hear if they were going to come. Some of them never even bothered to RSVP. In the end, only one attended, which was good, as every one of the guests who did attend were there because they wanted to be there to show their love for the new couple. I have a large family, with lots of nieces and nephews, so we still had much family support, and the groom’s mother was close to Brit David Atkins, who wrote the Madonna hit Ray of Light. David wound up walking my daughter down the aisle, so in the end, everything turned out for the best and it was a lovely wedding. All the drama took place before, rather than during, the wedding, for which we were all grateful!
In addition, because I was divorced from my daughter’s father, and because he disapproved, the brunt of wedding expenses fell on me. And because the groom’s family came from the United Kingdom, with a sizable number in Australia, the fact that the wedding was so last minute meant that most of the groom’s family would be unable to attend as well. But his mother, whom I also loved dearly, flew in from the United Kingdom, and we read letters from some of his family, and my daughter is planning another celebration in England for the rest of the groom’s family, when the time is right.
Fortunately, my daughter and I are quick with decision-making, and fortunately, The Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids, Michigan did a great job of referring us to printers and designers (for the invites), and to the best florists. In addition, the perfect room was available, and the Amway Grand Plaza did an outstanding job with the catering, wedding cake, and hiring musicians.
My daughter found her wedding dress on the Internet for only $135 and she was a lovely bride. People asked if her dress was from Fendi. What we saved on the dress, we spent on the flowers. I contacted the photographer who took my younger daughter’s excellent high school senior photos. We were making decisions up to an hour before guests arrived…the florist asked if we wanted a unity candle, and we said, “Why not?”—not realizing that there was actually a protocol to lighting the candles, which I was whispering to the mother of the groom as we took our candles to the canopy to light. (My “consuegra”—co-Mother in Law, as the Spanish delightfully call it—accidentally put out her candle, which I fortunately was able to re-light…one of the many funny glitches that make a wedding human and interesting.)
The actual wedding was a blur. Hotel staff were asking me things as the night progressed, old friends were approaching me to talk, the photographer was making requests, I was keeping an eye out for the bride and groom, making my rounds to visit all the tables…and the next day, David said “Things went beautifully. And all planned in only three weeks. You could have planned this for a year and it all could have gone horribly wrong.”
In the days after the wedding, everyone was exhausted, but we all wanted to re-live the event, discuss the highs and lows, process the drama, and bask in the glow of the newlyweds, whose next challenge was to apply for the groom’s green card so that he could join our Armed Services.
This is where Kaptur came in. Many people of my demographic (mother of the bride or groom) might not be as Internet-savvy as our daughter’s generation, but Kaptur is easy to use even for those of us who aren’t on our computer daily. It takes weeks if not months to receive the professional photos from a wedding, and in the meantime, in this day and age, most guests take their own photos and upload them to Facebook.
To be able to go to Kaptur, enter the date of the wedding, and collect my daughter’s wedding photos in seconds, was a godsend. In addition, I created a Kaptur photo book and the auto flow made a book with perfect picture order. After all of the wedding stress, I was glad that Kaptur made those lovely wedding memories so simple to “Kaptur” and create books from.