Planning The Perfect Wedding!

I know you guys were probably growing tired of hearing about our daughters wedding last summer. It was an exciting time for sure! I’ve typed out this post a few times now – changing it along the way. I’ve decided to break it down a bit, hoping to keep from having a 5,000 word post!

As you should already know, if you’ve read my post simply titled “Southwest PA” we arrived to Hickory Hollow Campground, near Rockwood PA, ready for wedding prep central!  Lots of things had already been taken care of, but there was still bunches to do!

A few days before our arrival was the deadline for responses, so one of the first orders of business was table assignments.  It wasn’t really complicated, as we will be hosting a total of 68 guests.  Perfect size!

We brought that “homework” with us to our final planning meeting at the venue.  For anyone who will be planning a wedding in the future, I strongly suggest a venue that has an on-staff planner.  At Green Gables, this role is filled by the owner, Teresa.  You might think that makes it extra expensive, but this venue is actually reasonably priced, with options for most any budget.  Teresa drew a chart to show where tables will be placed, and numbered them. We discussed all details about the event, when the rehearsal will be and what we needed to bring so we would have a complete list. They needed to know the outside vendors, and when they would be dropping off their items and/or when they would arrive on the big day.  We reviewed where exactly the ceremony would take place, and options for all possible weather situations.

We left the meeting feeling like all would be okay, we knew who was doing what and when – it was all good!

As soon as we got home, Michelle finished the place cards by adding the last bit of info – table numbers!

Later that week, the next order of business was to visit the florist.  Michelle choose exact designs and which flowers would be used, based on pics she found on Pinterest. Fun!

We (mostly me!) had been exploring different ideas for favors, and ultimately, I decided I would make mini pumpkin breads.  Michelle liked the idea well enough, but made it clear she didn’t want more work, which I understood. So, over the course of 2 days, I baked about 40 mini pumpkin breads, wrapped them and put them in the freezer.  I’ve made them many, many times before over the years.  Easy peezy!  Bill helped me find perfect little boxes on Amazon to put them in for the big day.

Making purée from the neck pumpkin we got for $1 in Lancaster. We cut it up and cooked it for about 2 hours
Last batch!

Michelle and Derek moved into their house a little over a year ago.  They had a couple of guests here and there, but wedding week a total of 5 were expected!  My parents, Jaime & Matt, and cousin Cindy.  Billy stayed out in the rig with us. Whew!  While Bill and Derek worked on the car Sunday, getting the house guest ready was on Michelle and my agenda.  At the end of the day, we were exhausted!  But all was sparkly clean and ready!  Michelle and I also finalized the list for food shopping, based off the meal plan for the week we had already decided on.

My parents arrived Tuesday, after taking the auto-train up from FL.  They got settled quickly and got a tour of the house.  We enjoyed a quiet afternoon and dinner.

At the bride-to-be’s request, Wednesday’s planned dinner was seafood bisque. We got started early on making the broth, using the shrimp and lobster shells they had saved in their freezer. My Mom got caught up on what the activities would be for the rest of the week. Bill moved the rig to the driveway.

Thursday we anxiously awaited the arrival of the Maid of Honor, my niece Jaime, her boyfriend, Matt and cousin Cindy.  After getting them settled in, Derek sparked up the grill and started cooking burgers and hot dogs.

Friday was time to get our nails done!  We left the house in plenty of time for our 11am appointment.  Our nail tech, Paige, encouraged us to bring wine and snacks with us, and we happily obliged.  We returned home later that afternoon, with fingers and toes looking good!

Our son, Billy, finally arrived on Friday.  It was then I finally felt like I could relax.  I would have preferred for him to come Thursday, but he was unable to, as he agreed to accompany his roommate to an appointment in Philly that morning.  It turned out to be a very long driving day for him!

We were all watching the weather throughout week – it was perfectly sunny skies, but rain was threatening for Sunday. Fingers were crossed it wouldn’t materialize.  Saturday we packed up the car with boxes of the items that would be used the following day, the boxes of pumpkin breads, the little cards with the wallet size pics, the place cards, the fall leaf/light garland I had put together back in August, and the cake topper.  We also brought the hand-fasting cord and card box Michelle made herself.  When we got there, we were encouraged that they had set the chairs out on the lawn, the top choice of where to hold the ceremony. Considering there was a fairly high chance of rain the following day, we did discuss in more detail the patio option and also the indoor option, just in case.

Rehearsal went well, everyone was confident about when, where, and who they were walking with.  Once again, Teresa put us at ease, all was going to be perfect!

The timing for dinner following the rehearsal allowed us plenty of time to get back to the house, freshen up, pick up my parents and find our way there.  Michelle and Derek didn’t notice, but earlier in the day, Bill had loaded their basement TV into the back of our car, which would be used for a photo montage that we would be showing.  Shhh… its a surprise!

Dinner was delicious and a wonderful opportunity to have the families of the bride and groom meet informally before the big day.  After dinner plates were cleared, we dimmed the lights a bit to show the montage.  Our friend, Lee, did a great job putting it together, and I cannot thank him enough! Months ago, at my request, Derek’s Mom, Tracy, had sent me a CD with a bunch of pictures from his childhood. I choose the ones I felt were best quality and also the cutest, and a few that clearly had a story behind them.  Lee arranged them to show one of her, alternating with one of him.  The last part was them together.  Bill made copies of it for everyone, and I believe they all enjoyed it!  It made me smile, laugh out loud and also choke up a bit too!  Perfect!

Back home, we relaxed with some wine and spent a little time with my brother and sister-in-law who had arrived while we were out.  Cindy had made two delicious trays of baked ziti for their dinner.

Shockingly, I actually slept fairly well that night.  I assume that was largely due to being completely at ease with all that was happening. Most importantly, my daughter had chosen the perfect husband. Secondly, all the details of the day we had planned were ready to go.


Michelle, Jaime, and I, arrived at the venue right on time Sunday morning, ready for hair and make-up. Derek’s best lady, his sister, Autumn, arrived a short time later, dressed in her gown, looking beautiful! As the morning turned to afternoon, others starting arriving, all hoping to catch a glimpse of the bride.  Michelle didn’t mind letting ladies into the ready-room, but men were blocked out completely. We enjoyed lunch and wine and being pampered.

I could go on and on about how perfect and awesome the day was, but how about I show you some pics instead? That way you can see for yourself!

10 thoughts on “Planning The Perfect Wedding!

  1. Everything sounded and looked perfect. I have to say the first picture of Michelle and Derek under the umbrella is one of the nicest pictures I have seen. I love it. She was a beautiful bride. You and Bill clean up nice as well. Nice looking couple. 😀 Congratulations. What a great day and thank you for sharing pictures.

  2. Good ideas! We’re in the planning stages for my son Adam’s wedding which is in August. Lovely pictures of your daughter and new son in law.

    1. Thanks Laurie! Congrats to you on the upcoming wedding! I think being Mother of the Groom is a bit different – hopefully your new Daughter in Law To Be includes you in things!

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