Saturday, October 5, 2013

About Those Wedding Expo Things. . .

. . . They really do vary widely.

I didn't get the chance to sit down and write the rundown on the first bridal/wedding show my mom and I attended in August.  Or, now that I think about it, was it that I just didn't care to because there hadn't been much that appealed to us?

I mean, everyone we talked to was nice, and I really liked the liquor vendor (not just because he gave me a glass a wine! He was friendly and knowledgeable!) and the photographer whose cute daughter sold lemonade for Alex's Lemonade Stand.  But the actual venue, a mansion with beautiful grounds but a chopped-up interior and creaky floors, left us cold.

The place where we were last weekend, however, felt completely different.  It even managed to win me over in spite of how rotten I felt with a lousy head cold which rendered me not in a particularly good mood to tolerate crowds.

To set the scene, we had to descend to the "Ballroom" which had not only a main floor but also an upper level and a built-in stage.  The stage had a DJ/emcee and from time to time had ladies modeling wedding dresses walking across it as well.

Before we went down to the ballroom, I was handed a little woven bag and a card where I was supposed to have the various vendors sign as I visited them.  After I visited everyone, I had to turn in the completed card for a raffle drawing.

I also was handed a big pink "Bride-to-Be" badge which I pinned on my sweater. Hey, if I had to impersonate Younger Sister, I had to do it all, right?

(Of course, much later in the day, after receiving some odd looks at the drugstore, I realized I hadn't taken it off!)

Down in the ballroom, there was an outer circle of tables as well as an inside circle.  Interspersed among the tables were food stations--the hot food ones staffed by very friendly employees, who served me tasty veggies; my mom, steak.  We also liked the crostini at what I later determined were cheese tables, although the crostini had just tasty olive tapenade.

So onward we went, looking at photo books and linens, talking to DJs and tuxedo reps (hey, we found a possible provider of tails and a top hat, if YSF isn't kidding), and smelling lots of sugar from the cake and candy samples.  I stuffed samples and logo'd trinkets in my bag, at some point acquiring a second bag from a limo/bus service.  We talked to the event coordinators and while I couldn't make an appointment with them, I explained (as YS) that my sister lived out of state and her opinion was so important to me that I would be making an appointment as soon as she had plans to come visit.

I made mental notes of who seemed nice and clued in; Mom already had in mind her favorite cake despite a yet-to-be-tasted sample placed in my one bag.  There also was the "candy lady" who had me at "Chocolate Fountain."

It was so easy to get caught up in looking at things and talking to people that we were surprised when we got to the end of the line that many people had left.  It was, after all, about one o'clock.  Football games were starting.

But then the event coordinators started drawing names for the prizes.  It was interesting to see brides win gift bags and free services--and then they drew the final, very large prize.  Over $200 in gift certificates.

They called my (I mean, my sister's) name!

If they hadn't required that you be 21 (and therefore show I.D.) I would have just smiled and said thank you.  But I felt I had to be honest and explain to the general manager, a genial Latino man, that I was there as a proxy for YS.  He said it was no problem and in fact if I wanted, he could split the certificate in two for us and change it to restaurant credits (there are a few in this facility) so I could bring YS to try out some things.  He handed me his card and told me to give him a call after we decided.  So nice.

A few days ago, I sorted through the pamphlets and trinkets and laid them out.

The pamphlets, I filed; the trinkets (candy included) I shipped to YS.

And I kept the larger of the two bags.  I probably will be using it to shlep stuff for the bride on the big day!

Obviously, it's going to be up to the bride and groom (and the date once set) where the reception will take place, but I do hope they will consider this place.  I really enjoyed the friendly staff, the tasty food, and the setting.

But in the meantime, Mom and I are keeping our eyes peeled for more of these bridal events! Whee!

(Edited 10/06/2013 to fix the typo/missing verb in the last paragraph.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Question and a Promise

Younger Sister finally "popped the question"--although really it isn't fair to say "finally."

It's not her fault.  She had no idea there would be some required paperwork on the part of her fiance'.  It's not exactly his fault, either--he never thought he'd end up marrying, well, someone like her.  It's not my place to discuss all that business, but to sum it up: They can't set a date yet.

Which must be torture when the first question asked EVERY TIME the engagement ring is spotted is, "When's the big day?"  I've already seen YS get absolutely hounded by someone (well-meaning) on facebook.  

Plus, when you can't set a date, you can't really plan much of anything.  That's even more torture for a practical planner like YS (typical Taurus--plus they want to get to the party part pronto).

So Friday night, as I was texting YS to tell her about the interesting attire of some of the guests at the wedding I cantored that afternoon (blue flaming skulls shirt! 6-inch stiletto heels! Not on the same person!), she wrote back asking me to be her Maid of Honor--"whenever" she gets married.

Little did she know that after dinner, I cracked open my fortune cookie containing the following prediction: "You or a close friend will be married soon."

I don't think you can get a better promise from the Universe than that!

Naturally I texted that to her verbatim right away.  And I mailed the little slip of paper to her today so she knows it's legit.  

So part of my MOH job is already in play: reassurance


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

More of What I Do

It occurred to me that in addition to getting information about planning a wedding, the other kind of research I can do for YS will be of a local sort--as in playing "scout."

I mean, she lives in another state (and has been there for 10+ years), which makes it difficult to scout some reception locations and know about many of the local businesses (not to mention their reputations) and so on.  But I could do that for her, right?

Yeah, twist my arm!

So far, I asked for a "wedding packet" from the banquet manager at the place where our staff "end of the school year" luncheon was held--hey, the people are nice, the food's really good and there's a great view from the balcony--and I have long-standing relationships with both a hair salon and a Mary Kay rep--and probably some other businesses I haven't thought of yet.

I could be really helpful.  You have no idea how much that excites me.  Probably an introvert's (INFJ's?) personality quirk.

And probably also caused by the fact that I like my sister a lot.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Because This Is What I Do for a Living

Mom had mentioned that YS had called with a number of questions--probably all things that start running through one's head at the outset of planning a wedding, the kind of questions (or amount thereof) that get a person a bit anxious.  When Older Brother got married a few year ago, there were a few awkward moments (not to mention a misworded invitation and a disgruntled phone call or two)--things I'm sure YS wants to avoid.  She's also the kind of person who wants to be fair to everybody, most likely the result of her experiences at all the weddings she's attended.

In my experience as a librarian, information often calms people down, so I ordered a couple of books to be shipped to her home.  One was a book on etiquette, and the other was a companion planner.  I know, everybody keeps stuff on their smartphones now and there are apps for all sorts of things (and technology is addressed in the etiquette book), but nothing helps you see the big picture better than laying it all out physically and in an orderly manner.

Then I got nervous, that I was imposing my own opinions on her and/or implying she didn't know what she was doing, so when I mailed her sparkly little engagement card (with $ towards manicure maintenance, such a must), I wrote that I was sending her some books and if they weren't right for her I'd be fine with her exchanging them for whatever she wanted.

Friday night, after I'd texted her about something else, she wrote back, "Hey! Thanks for the books! They arrived today."  

I hope they'll head off some of the planning headaches.  

Sounds as if she's enjoying herself right now and that's really good to hear.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Because I Am So New to This. . .

. . . or so deprived--I honestly can't tell which--it didn't occur to me that anyone I told at work today would demand to see a photo of the engagement ring on my cell phone.

I just got charged $0.25 for e-mailing the photo to my phone.  Gotta love modern times.

Oh, well, she's worth it. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sentences You Never Thought You'd Say, Ever

As my parents and I were finishing up dinner at their house, the phone rang.  I'd linked the Caller ID on their TV, so my dad read it and called out, "You can pick it up!"  I was the closest one to the kitchen phone as I'd been clearing some of the dinner dishes.  

It was Dad's first cousin, one of the closest of the few relatives we know on my dad's side.  She is YS's godmother, in fact.  She and her husband had been doing maintenance at their NJ shore house for the weekend, and they came home to a very special phone message from YS. 

We chatted for a bit, and then I passed the phone over to Mom for congratulations.  They talked for little while--they both have experience as Mothers of the Groom.  Mom admitted, "The only thing I'm dreading is having to look for a dress."  Then she laughed and said, "Of course, I just got rid of all my Spanx because I thought, 'Well, I don't need these for anything!'"

"I think a special occasion calls for new Spanx anyway, Mom," I assured her.

And then we all laughed pretty hard at that.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

And So It Begins

She got a powder pink manicure the next morning.
Last night started off as the usual for me--got off work, went home and took a quick nap, went to the gym, and then came home to make dinner.  While I was cooking, it occurred to me that I needed to text my Younger Sister to advise her she might get a strange phone call Saturday morning.  This weekend is her birthday, and I had managed to win a "character call" from Monsters Inc. as the result of a promotion in a package of juice boxes I'd purchased for my sixth-graders.  (I know--so random.)  The character "Boo" has a strong resemblance to her as a child, and she also has a fondness for PIXAR films.

It seemed a little uncharacteristic of her to respond so enthusiastically (and effusively) to my message, but it was after 9 p.m. and I figured she might have started celebrating her birthday, so I didn't think much of it.

About ten minutes later, my home phone rang.*  I looked at the Caller ID and it was Younger Sister's cell number.  I thought to myself, "Jeez, she's dying of curiosity about the mystery phone call and can't wait until tomorrow morning? Isn't she doing anything more interesting with her evening?"

Me: (Laughing) Hello?

YS: (Sing-songy) I got something shiny for my birthday. . .

Me: (Nothing but a HIGH PITCHED SQUEAL which I'm sure bothered all the dogs in the building)

Yes, YS's Boyfriend had set her up for a proposal under the guise of a fancy birthday dinner. . . and even The Question was hidden in what looked like a birthday card!

Pretty slick.

After I screamed, I was able to get a couple of words out as she told me how it all went down.  I could tell she was happy as she talked with me.  She even said she cried--and then continued to cry off and on during dinner--which is really unusual for her.  If you know your Zodiac you'd say she's a typical Taurus in that she usually keeps her emotions close to the vestThe man who can get happy tears out of her is a keeper, for sure.

Of course, I knew he was a keeper the first time he came for Thanksgiving, and very late that night after all the company had left, I walked into my parents' TV room and there he was, dangling a string patiently for my parents' very timid, not-very bright cat.  The mere fact that the cat had come over to a big, muscle-y English guy in the first place was astonishing.**

But what an exciting night it was, Friday evening, just to hear the happiness in her voiceI wanted so badly to hop several states over to hug her and fuss over the ring--and take her for a manicure.  I got to do that for my now-Sister-in-Law after Older Brother proposed.

And that's honestly all the envy I have--that her friends down where she lives get to witness all the early thrills and conversations and plans firsthand.  I was among the first called; they waited to change their facebook statuses until this afternoon (probably a wise move so they had time together before the frenzy).  And I know all her married friends (and probably my SIL) will be able to offer all sorts of opinions and wisdom that I know nothing of.  

I might even be mentioned as an "older model" that's "still on the market" like Jennifer Aniston's Beth at her sister's wedding in the movie version of He's Just Not That Into You***.

Even so, regardless of where she lives or who else is close to her, I know I matter to her and she's always going to be my sister--something no one else can claim. Maybe all this stuff will bring us closer.  

And it remains to be seen how all the things in the future with their wedding and married life will play out, and I couldn't begin to speculate on all that--or be anxious about it, for that matter.   

I say that now.  This blog may bear that out. . . or catch me in my moments of weakness.  Or both.

In any event, it's going to be an interesting ride.  You're welcome to go along with me--keep reading. 

*Don't judge me--I make a lot of local calls!
**Real men have a soft spot for cats. It's true
***Again, please don't judge me.  I kind of like Jen.