After my dad made the announcement (and he did so, beaming with pride), I knew we were off to the races. Or at least I was. Planning the wedding would be my project and Mike's involvement would be bare minimum when I needed him. He wanted to participate in the big stuff, but not the fine details. I had never planned anything like this in my life so it was a pretty big deal. I wasn't even real sure where to get started. I bought a bunch of wedding magazines and used the internet the best I could. The internet then, wasn't anywhere near what it is today. So searching for ideas was a little limited.
First thing was first. Location. We had talked about different places to get married and had agreed that we wanted it outdoors, but we weren't quite sure where. I figured a golf course wedding would be beautiful because no matter where you look, the scenery was perfectly manicured. I had already gone out to lunch with Jen at New Castle Golf Course to see that location, but Mike and I weren't millionaires. On average, that place cost $50,000 for a wedding. No thanks. Then we remembered where we lived. Gleneagle Golf Course. I called the golf course and talked to the lady about available dates, what they offered, and prices. At first I was quoted $500 for the Reception Room. That alone was super cheap. Then I mentioned that I lived in the community and paid Homeowner Association fees and thought I should get some sort of a discount. Mind you, I said this teasingly and she offered me the Reception Room for $300 and threw in the outdoor tented area for free. This was awesome! Mike and I were penny pinchers and realistic with our funds. While we did fine financially, we had just bought a house. Our logic was this: people often get married before buying their home and ultimately their $50,000 that went towards a BIG PARTY could've actually gone toward the down payment on a home. We did things backwards and that ended up saving us.
So, now we had a location for both the wedding and the reception. Awesome! That made it feel real. Then I did the next big thing to make it feel real. It was time to look at dresses. My memory isn't perfect, but I know Jen was there with me and I'm pretty sure Mariah was too. I couldn't remember if Evie or Bree were there, though. In any case, my mom wasn't there for round 1 because she and my dad were on a cruise with Grandma and Auntie Dianne and Uncle Mike.
When I was first planning my wedding, I was thinking "keep it simple and cheap". That was just my way. So, I passed all the big beautiful dresses and went to the clearance racks. After trying on a few of them, I picked one that I loved. It was a spaghetti string blue diamond chiffon dress that flowed beautifully. It fit my boobs and then the rest of it hung in different layers. I put it on hold so I could have my parents look at it. They were paying for it, so I was going to keep it cheap. It was selling for about $100. Perfect! Well, not so perfect when my parents saw it.
Mike and I had originally thought we'd keep the wedding light and informal. We (or maybe I) figured maybe he'd wear some nice slacks and a lightweight dress shirt (kind of a Tommy Bahama look) and in flip flops. I thought I'd be wearing my blue diamond chiffon dress, with my hair down, no shoes, and carrying daisies. Picture a pretty hippie. That was my vision. The vision did not impress my parents. They thought my "let's keep it simple and cheap" idea was going a little overboard. Looking back, they were right. I wasn't having a backyard, BBQ, jeans and a t-shirt wedding...I was having MY wedding. The one and ONLY wedding I would ever have! So, my parents got me refocused when they arrived. They came along to the dress store and I modeled the chiffon dress. They weren't impressed ESPECIALLY when I said I wouldn't be wearing shoes. Mom went around looking for dresses in my size and told me to stop looking at the price tag. It bugged me because they were retired and I didn't want to have them spend retirement money on a dress that would be worn once. I'm quite practical.
I tried on a bunch and it came down to 2. One was a mermaid style dress that was very form fitting and the neck line came up around the sleeves. I didn't like it as much as they did. I didn't want to walk down the aisle looking 15 years older than I was (because that's what it made me feel like I looked). I didn't want to look super sexy either. Something about just wanting to look pretty was more important to me. So I picked the other dress. It was a strapless princess style dress. It was form fitted around the bodice and then it flared out a bit, but not too much. It had beading around the bodice and at the bottom of the dress. It was simple and elegant. It was perfect. The dress changed my entire vision of what my wedding would look like. I was now going to plan the rest of my wedding around my dress that I loved.