When my children were young I would throw some of the most amazing birthday parties. Every year I would throw six fun birthday parties, one for each child with a theme, decorations, and activities. 20 years later I still bump into to parents and children who share their memories of the Newsome kids’ birthday parties. These parties were always a hit and I was creative and resourceful and pulled them off on a very small budget.
I was folding laundry on a Sunday afternoon with a smile on my face. One of my daughters, Aidan, had surprised me and come home from college to spend the day with us and I was listening to her whispering and laughing with her brothers and sisters. It was one of those precious moments when everyone is getting along and so happy that I even had joy in my heart tackling the never ending task of laundry. They all went outside together and my heart was overflowing thinking I really am a good mom. I’ve raised these kids and they truly love each other.
Suddenly one of them came running back in and handed me a newspaper. That was odd I thought because I read the paper online, so why were they giving me a hard copy? I opened it up and there was a piece of paper with a photo on it and it read, “Pop the Bubbly, Loughlin’s getting a Hubby”! I heard screams of joy from outside and I ran out there to see my oldest daughter Loughlin with her boyfriend Levi, her high school sweetheart, surrounded by her siblings looking at her ring. Yes, my baby girl is getting married!
Wait…my daughter is getting married? Oh my gosh… MY DAUGHTER IS GETTING MARRIED!!! It was then that the panic set in as I began to feel my bank account, savings account, retirement account, and all the equity in everything I own begin to slip away.
As Loughlin’s sisters surrounded her and oohed and awed over her ring and started to talk about wedding details, I realized my new reality. 4 DAUGHTERS=4 WEDDINGS=THIS MOM BETTER WIN THE LOTTERY!
The girls were ready to jump right in to the wedding planning, so I pulled myself up by my boot straps….which better last me a long time because new boots will not be in my budget for a while, and we got busy picking a date and finding a venue.
Loughlin has always wanted to get married in the fall with a weekend filled with activities and fun. So we began planning for a celebration weekend for the last weekend in October which will begin on Friday and end on Sunday with a beautiful wedding in the morning followed by a brunch. Okay- if I can throw great creative birthdays like I did for my children when they were young, certainly I can plan a fun weekend all leading up to the wedding finale. I going to show my girls how I can be creative and do it on a budget.
We began looking at venues. She wants an outdoor wedding under the majestic oaks that this city is so well known for. The first place we looked was a beautiful garden area and for $1500 you can stand under the oak tree to get married. The downside is that the beautiful oak will also have to serve as the bathroom because there are no bathrooms around for guests to use. Hmmm….I’m thinking this might not work. The next one is an old plantation home with a gorgeous, old oak tree out front and around back there is courtyard perfect for a reception with the canopy oaks and beautiful white lights and Adirondack chairs. Truly beautiful and a deal for only $4000. I think I am having heart palpitations.
As I am looking at these places and my daughter is day dreaming about walking down the aisle under the beautiful majestic oaks, I am thinking that I am going to be living under them after paying for this wedding. But being the ever resourceful mom who remembers throwing parties on a budget I tell them I have a suggestion.
The girls seem open to listening. “We could do it at our house under the big oak tree in the front yard,” I began. “Yes, I know that it is really only half of an oak tree since Hurricane Hermine came through and tore down half of it, but you can stand on its good side and no one will even notice.” I go on, “Then people can walk around back and we can have a reception by the pool. I will get your brothers to string up the Christmas Lights…most of them work and the ones that are out will give it character. We have pool chairs and chaise lounges for people to relax in and we can bring the dining room and kitchen chairs out and we can roll all the desk and computer chairs out here as well. It will give it a nice eclectic feel.” I sense that aren’t envisioning this. “Since North Florida weather is unpredictable in October we will be prepared,” I continue. “If it is 85 degrees people can dip their feet in the pool (yes I will shock it to make sure its blue) and if it’s 20 degrees we can start up the fire pits. It will be perfect plus I have three bathrooms for guests (well that is as long as your brother don’t continue to clog up the downstairs toilet) and if it rains everyone can come inside. Great plan right?” Nothing but silence and the rolling of their eyes.
Next we move on to the guest list. My daughter and her fiancé were thinking they would like a small intimate wedding. My wallet was thinking the same thing. We started first with putting the family on the list. My daughter obviously is one of six. Her finance one of five. I am one of five and from a huge Irish family. By the time we completed just the list of family we were at 200. I am trying to breath. Then we add friends, old family friends, new friends and the obligatory “have to invite” people and as of today we are at 305. I might need CPR.
Then there are the dresses. Most of the time you only have to budget for the wedding dress, but not this mother of the bride. The only downside to having six kids who are so incredibly close is that they make up the wedding party. So I get to purchase the wedding dress, three bridesmaid’s dresses and two tuxedos. I suggested a casual wedding and that we can get some cute jeans and matching t-shirts from Old Navy. More eye rolls…geez kids I am only kidding! But I am secretly hoping that as the other girls get married maybe they would be willing to just wear the same outfits for each other’s weddings! Get the most bang for the buck.
I am a mom who is all about throwing my hair into a bun and hold in into place with whatever pen or pencil I have handy. So imagine my surprise when we got on the topic of hair. My daughter excitedly told me she had found someone to come to the plantation home and do their hair. It’s $75 for the bride and $50 dollars for each bridesmaid. Okay- I can deal with that. “Oh and mom, they charge an additional $500 to come to the location so the total will be around $800 including tip”. Huh? They are located two miles down the road. Did I miss something? Are they being helicoptered over here to avoid the crazy Sunday morning traffic? I assured her that we would go to their studio to have the hair done and still make the 2 minute drive back to the venue in time for the wedding.
These next nine months of 2017 are going to be filled with lots of wedding planning. I can hardly wait to start talking about caterers (if I can pack six lunches every day for 20 years, certainly I can throw together some pretty good finger sandwiches, make a few bowls of onion dip and even go all out and pull out my griddle to make large batches of pancakes and bacon…I can totally care this!) but somehow I don’t think my daughter will agree. So caterers here we come! Decorations will be next and those I know that I can handle because I have so much experience from birthday parties. Perhaps I can suggest we go with a theme wedding and I can work around that. Hmmm, I might be on to something but somehow I think my daughters will not even let me broach that subject either. So instead it looks like I will have to buckle down, work 24/7, hits the slots in Vegas to win a few million or start playing the lottery.
In all honesty, I am blessed beyond words that my sweet Loughlin has found such a wonderful man such as Levi to spend the rest of her life with and I cannot wait to celebrate the marriage of these two special people. But if you have any wedding tips please feel free to share them!
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