Oops50 Jane: On Preparing for a Daughter’s Wedding


My oldest daughter is getting married this summer. Even though I hesitate to say it, I guess she’s old enough. After all, she is 24. She has met someone who, in many ways, seems ideal for her. It’s all good.

And yet, I’m struggling to deal with it. I mean, for some reason, I can’t take it in. I can’t believe my little baby girl is getting married. There is no way that 24 years have gone by since she was first holding her head up in the hospital room, looking around with a look of total curiosity! I can’t believe I am actually planning a wedding. I can’t believe that, when the party is over and all the guests have gone home, my daughter will be married—and living her own adult life with someone else. She’s not coming home again, not now, not in the future.

My daughter’s fiance’s family was here this past weekend, and we had a wonderful time with them. They are great people. Everything is great. But there was a big part of me that kept waiting for this movie to end, so that all of us could walk back into our normal lives.


The whole wedding ritual doesn’t really help either. There are so many ways you can spend money that you do not have. There are so many people making a living off this industry. It can be overwhelming, and you can easily get caught up in the planning and the expense and lose sight of what the event is all about. A dear friend said to me recently, “Are you worrying so much that you’re taking all the fun out of it?” She drew me up short, because that’s exactly what I was doing. I was worrying and worrying and stressing and stressing, instead of trying to enjoy the whole planning process with my daughter. I was ruining it for her.

My daughter is well aware that we can’t have a wedding that’s straight out of one of those shows on TV, and she has been amazing about it. Even though the small, family wedding we’re planning may not be the wedding she envisioned, she is joining in the spirit of things and finding special bargains and creative possibilities. She has come more than halfway. I’m the one that has been hanging back, maybe waiting for this whole thing to go away?


My words of wisdom for others heading down this road:

1) Remember that your daughter is going through a major change in her life and needs your support.

2) Remember that you are gaining a son, not losing a daughter.

3) Remember that, when all is said and done, it really doesn’t matter if you have engraved invitations or white linen tablecloths, as long as you and your daughter arrive at the wedding still loving each other.

4) And decide, early on, what you can spend on this event and then give your daughter a budget and try to sit back and relax a little, every now and then. OK, I will try to take my own advice, starting NOW.



10 thoughts on “Oops50 Jane: On Preparing for a Daughter’s Wedding

  1. Thanks for this great post. I have a daughter who is getting close to taking this step. I’m just amazed at how elaborate, time consuming and costly weddings have become. No matter what…I know it will be a great day for your family as it becomes slightly larger. Have fun!

  2. Jane,

    Yes, please ask us for stuff to do. Your friends want to make a contribution, too, in some way. That’s what friends do. a little bourbon along the way will also help.

  3. Va, you are so right–and my friends have already been wonderful. I’ll probably be calling on them more as the day gets closer. We’re having a small family wedding, but then a party in Asheville–and that’s where I’ll need help! Speaking of friends, when will we see you gals again?

  4. We have had 5 weddings in our family and have great memories of every one. It’s getting past the actual day to have these types of memories. I WANT TO BUY THAT PINK ROYAL TYPEWRITER – what is your price?

  5. Hi Jane,

    I’ve been through this twice. It is all consuming. Hang in there! Holler at me if you need to borrow any mother of the bride clothes or accessories.


  6. The question is, how do you set this up so it is a joyous occasion? You know friends can be very helpful with costs of things such as knowing someone who has a lovely voice and would sing for free or having guests all bring a dish for dinner or hors douvres just for reception or have folks sign up to bring flowers except for the brides bouquet. Your friends will help carry the load, the simpler the better.

  7. Oh, Jane….Oh, Jane….

    So glad I have you to go ahead of me in everything and show how to do it so gracefully and lovingly.

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