The Eco-friendly, Affordable, Beautiful Wedding (your ideas are welcome!)

Emily will not let her dad and the officiator (her dad’s friend) wear their kilts to the wedding.  The child is like 98% Celtic origin.  She wants what she wants.  She (like most of us) has been planning her wedding since childhood.  Pinterest is well used.  The wedding is going to be beautiful, all spring desert colors of blushes and mints.

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Weddings are costly numbers.  Venues are pricey, and photographers are even more than the venues!  There are ways that my family has kept costs down in the past.  My sister was married in a park at the base of the foothills with the fall colors blazing in the trees.  We then went to a rec center and had a potluck, our great-aunts busily working in the kitchen.  We love potlucks.  This wedding will feel like a destination wedding, however, because it is in the mountains west of Pueblo in a spectacular park in the woods, in the morning, so folks won’t be able to get up and cook and drive to the mountains.  There is no kitchen in the lodge where the reception will be.  So, we are looking at catering.  But…

What if we did huge batches of spaghetti and garlic bread and salad?  Could we get them up there and keep them hot?  How do you make enough to feed a hundred people?  Any ideas out there?  We are a creative lot in this blogging world, I am all ears!

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A bright, rust colored fox shot past us nearby as we got out of the car at the park.  Auspicious, I am sure.  The hawks and crows gather and the frogs sing from the river below.  There are deer tracks.  The lodge is made of stones that are a couple of feet thick, built a hundred years ago.  The wheels from the wagons that were used to transport granite from the quarry here to the state capitol have been turned into lantern chandeliers in the high vaulted wood ceiling.  A fireplace with its elaborate stone face stands prominently, taking up nearly an entire wall.  The heavy, wood doors open to the magical woods and picnic tables beckon.  There is an old bar and steps to a choir loft.  The worn wood floors are heavy and long to be danced upon.  Parks are an affordable option for any event.  They are scenic and lovely and support a good cause.

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I am realizing that weddings are quite easily not eco-friendly.  Emily wants succulents and roses.  They are fifty cents a piece, plastic and from overseas.  They are affordable.  The succulents are five dollars a piece at the store.  We have opted for real tablecloths and chair covers.  It is cheaper to buy them then to rent them.  I found that odd.  Emily says she can always resell them.  It is cheaper still to do plastic.  Then there are plates, silverware, glasses, containers for food…

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Succulents are on sale right now so I think I will purchase them and keep them alive until the wedding in July.  I just cannot bring myself to buy plastic plants!  Maybe we can get compostable dinnerware.  Ideas?  Thoughts?  How do you keep the cost of a wedding down while still making it an elegant and memorable affair without destroying the earth in the process?  We will be figuring out all this and more as we go.

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I would love to hear your ideas and I will report back through the planning process as we master the eco-friendly, affordable, beautiful wedding that I will certainly share with all of you readers out there.  Many of you have been with me since Emily was fifteen years old.  How wonderful to see her marry the love of her life!

 

A Wedding to Remember

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Renewing our wedding vows and inviting friends and family to help us bless our new home was amazing.  There were just enough chairs, even though the air turned cold and windy, for the hour or so before and during the ceremony it was clear and a touch warm.  The sun shone down on us with approval as bagpipe music filled the air transporting this little blue collar town into Scotland.  People I expected didn’t make it and those I didn’t expect came with smiles on.  It was all quite perfect.  My husband looked fine in his kilt and sporran and his vows touched my heart, his eyes filling with tears.  I read him mine.  Maryjane was adamant about being the wedding planner.  She stayed in our bedroom as we dressed, ordering my friend, Pat, around as she fastened Doug’s belt, and zipped up my dress.  Maryjane declared herself both ring bearer and flower girl.

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Our friend, Cliff, a blacksmith, member of the Renaissance Scots, and a respected police officer, told the story of the anvil.  The blacksmith was usually educated and was the judge in many matters.  Young people went to the blacksmith to be married.  After our vows and exchanged rings he rang the anvil.  Then the kiss.  Not the giddy kiss of a new couple just getting married, but a sincere kiss of passion and friendship from years spent forging a life together.  We were grateful that Cliff performed the ceremony.

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At 8:00 in the morning our daughter, Emily, showed up with bags and serving dishes and prepared to cater the event.  My children are grown now and this is the first time that I did not have to do anything.  The house smelled so amazing and the aromas of chilies and spices wafted through the door welcoming guests.  Her tacos and salsa were amazing.  I have never had tofu tacos that tasted so wonderful.  At the end Kathleen and Ingrid donned a few of my vintage aprons and set to work cleaning up everything.  Our good friend, Alvin, takes amazing photographs and we were honored that he was there to take all of these.  Shyanne made a cake to remember.  My daughter has been baking our cakes for the past decade.  This one was my favorite.  Lemon cake with lavender frosting.

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Many of my favorite people were there (I missed my son) and it was a fun time for all.  My brother and his family, my great uncle and aunt Norris and Pat, family, children, great friends, all wishing us good will and helping bless the new life in front of us.

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‘Twas a lovely day and I will leave you readers with the blessing that completed our ceremony with a link to see a clip of our amazing bagpiper, Neil, at his finest.  May you all experience the love and support that we received on that special day.

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A Guide to Renewing Your Vows

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We have been thinking about renewing our vows for some time now.  We decided to wait until we had a home of our own.  A celebration in itself coupled with a renewal of love and new beginnings.  We have certainly lived through all of our promises…through sickness and health…through richer and poorer…and have come out stronger than ever.  There were times of great sadness.  But the times of great joy and a life together lived with excitement and courage has reigned prevalent.  We share a friendship and a bond with more great memories than we can recollect.

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We had a lovely wedding.  As many weddings go, we planned for months, spent our life savings (and a good chunk of my in-laws’ savings), I became Bridezilla (crying bitterly over the greens in my flowers…I plead insanity), and then a snow storm hit and everyone skedaddled out of there promptly after the meal.  It was a blur but we were married.

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This time is different.  A bit of fun, a bit of whimsy, without expectations.  That is what makes things stressful.  Expectations.

1. This time we have no idea who is coming.  We invited to our joint house warming/vow renewal one hundred and thirty people.  Most have not responded.  It doesn’t matter.  Those that want to be a part of the ceremony and stand by us will be there.  I expect roughly forty, but perhaps not all for the vows.  I rented twenty chairs for a buck a piece.  The couches and miscellaneous chairs will fill in.  We do not need everything to match.  Just invite your favorite folks and let it roll.  Do not be hurt if certain people do not come.  We are all on many journeys.  We cannot possibly handle everyone’s schedule.

2. Have fun!  We are having a traditional Scottish wedding.  Why not?  Our friend is coming down with his bagpipes.  Our Renaissance friend is doing the ceremony complete with anvil.  Doug is wearing a kilt.  I am wearing my original wedding dress (which was my mother’s wedding dress when she renewed her vows) with corset, slips, and plaid beneath to show through.  I’ll pick up roses or something from the grocery store tonight.

3. Ask family and friends to help.  Our daughter, Shyanne, is making the cake.  Our other daughter, Emily, is taking care of all the food.  Shyanne is a master baker and has her own baking company, A Witch and  Whisk.  Emily wants to open her own restaurant.  She has been in the business for five years.  She is setting up a taco bar.  My friend, Alvin, is doing the photos.  He is an amazing photographer.  My mother-in-law is making some delicious desserts.  Fruit infused waters make an inexpensive and delicious drink.  Homemade chokecherry wine and beers for toasts.

4. Go with the flow.  It always feels like Spring in Pueblo but it is not going to be particularly warm tomorrow to my great dismay.  Somewhere between 35 and 45 degrees in the morning.  The sun always makes it feel warmer.  We may not know until morning if the ceremony will be outside or inside.  The bagpipes should be outside!  Folks can grab a couple of chairs and we can move them where we wish.  Take weather and the flow of the day with a smile and a heart of gratitude.

5. Gratitude.  That is the key.  Be happy there is a celebration to be had!  Loved ones made a point of being there in a world of busyness.  There is food and drink and laughter.  And bagpipes.  Can’t get better than that!

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Next week I will share with you the celebration in pictures.  Perhaps it is time for you to plan a celebration of your own?  They do make life ever sweet.

 

 

A Love Story

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It was a blustery morning that February day.  Two hundred and twenty brave and loving people came through a snow storm to be present at our wedding.  Since we had spent the night at the hotel we didn’t know there was a huge storm going on. Two hours later as everyone was leaving we wondered where everyone was going!  We had a beautiful ceremony where we promised to stay together through sickness and in heath, through richer and poorer, and in good times and bad.  We didn’t really know what that would be like.  We were just excited to be married.

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We drove children to preschool, attended middle school plays, held crying children, raced fast children, encouraged their imaginations, watched them grow into young adults, cried happy tears at the sight of our granddaughter entering the world, and have kept each other laughing even in the worst of times.

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For nearly six years, after Doug left his job and we moved to the country to be full time herbalists, we have spent almost twenty-four hours a day together, working together, living together, raising children together.  It is almost as if we circled back and started over.  He is working full time, often opposite shifts of my store being open, I watch that beautiful toddler four days a week.  We meet up and run off for “dates” whenever we can (we had a raucous time at the grocery store yesterday).

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Would we do it again if we knew what those words meant?  So I asked my husband to marry me again.  And he said yes.  So next June (not risking a blizzard this time!) we will invite the very dearest to us to help us renew our vows and have a celebration to remember.  For the greatest thing in life is love.

The Life of a Healer- Part 5 (wedding bells and adoptions)

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It was a long recovery but there was a new fire in her spirit.  She was happy to be home with her children.  She started to stash money that she had made.  She fell in love with the smiling man (though he didn’t know it yet).  And a wonderful thing happened.  Wildflower realized that when her cousin, Faith, was there, the raging husband wouldn’t do anything.  So, Faith moved in.  He had his rants if she were gone and did proceed to finish breaking the majority of Wildflower’s belongings, but while she filed for divorce and found an apartment, and put the house up for sale, there was no more violence to her as long as Faith were there.  Within four and a half months from her determined decision she was free.  All she got from the divorce was her children and her animals and that suited her just fine.  She set up the lawn chairs and the two mattresses in the apartment and breathed a sigh of relief.

She was dating the smiling man and the children took to him immediately.  He attended their pre-school programs and their soccer games.  They soon moved in with the smiling man and seven months later all moved into a house together.  A house in a suburb, with a yard, and neighborhood children, and a happy household.  The smiling man asked Wildflower to marry him one night before karaoke and she accepted.  Things at the new house were very good.

The raging husband turned on the children and Wildflower immediately sought a restraining order.  It is next to impossible to get a permanent restraining order against a parent.  But over the next two years amazing things occurred.  A free attorney from a prestigious law school found and defended Wildflower and her children.  A kind children’s advocate saw through the raging husband and his family’s lies and sided with the mother.  The judge found that all of the evidence led to the obvious fact that the raging husband was entirely too unstable, in fact possibly capable of murder, and put a permanent restraining order in place.  The raging husband chose to sign over his rights and the smiling man adopted them.

The children were already calling him daddy and using his last name at school and finally it was complete and they were all safe.

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The wedding was beautiful.  Two hundred and twenty people arrived with the snow steadily coming down.  This would be Wildflower’s first wedding.  The first in crumpled clothes at the Justice of the Peace then dropped off at home so the groom could go to work had been annulled.  She wore her mother’s dress and a vintage inspired veil, with double tulips and long ribbons that hung from them.  The little boy, the girl with the big blue eyes, and the red head along with their new cousins of similar age all looked fine in their suits and silver laden dresses.  Surrounded by family and friends, with Faith as her maid of honor, she and the smiling man promised to protect and love each other for the rest of their lives.  That was nearly twelve years ago.

Now the next scene may seem completely unfair and perhaps improbable but there are medical documents out there and many witnesses that can attest to this phenomenon.  Of course there is Wildflower, herself, completely well now.  Another paving in the road to becoming a healer.  One must have the utmost compassion for others, be able to understand in great empathy what others feel, what they need to be well, and though she didn’t know how she would use her gifts and help them yet, she was on her way to that time.  But first, the tragedy.

 

A Simple Wedding and Promises

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Those two have been crazy about each other for a very long time.  We moved to Parker when the children were five, six, and eight respectively.  There were several children in the neighborhood and never a shortage of antics, wars, camaraderie, and fun.  One of those children was Megan.  They moved away a few years later.  She still went to the same school though, and was in Shyanne’s grade.  Megan became good friends with Shyanne’s best friend, Kim and the three were often together at Kim’s house.  Kim’s brother happened to be Andrew’s best friend.  His name was Andrew as well.  They all had great times and a romance sparked between Megan and Andrew.  The problem was Megan was thirteen and Andrew was fifteen.  They were enthusiastically bound by youth and fate, a love affair that could not be extinguished.  Her parents did not want her to date.  We moved to another town.  Their five friendships were strong and distance could not separate them.  My grandmother said that Andrew and Megan would someday wed.  Her prediction came true.

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In the past year we have certainly been dealt some life shattering blows, multiple deaths (including Kim’s), changes, sadnesses but there are always amazingly beautiful, life healing events that round out the circle of this life.  Maryjane being born was one of them.  The light of our life.  Our son’s wedding another.  To be present with him on the most important day of his life was a blessing and an honor.  One I did not take lightly.  A day remembering how we used to go to the coffee shop before school to get him ready for a long day of thinking, holidays celebrated with enthusiasm and magic, our many trips with the children seeing new things, walks and talks with my little boy.  Even though he is twenty-one, I guess I didn’t realize he had grown up until he became a husband and the day was sweet reminiscing and loving my child with all my heart as I sent cosmic wishes of health, humor, and a very long happy marriage to my son and this sweet young woman that I have loved for a long time as well.

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Their dream wedding will be on July 5th of next year.  Seven years from the date they started dating.  But they did not want to wait another year to be wed.  So on the 5th we met at a park in the middle of the day in Lakewood, a gorgeous patch of land tucked away from traffic, along a river with large cottonwoods and willows resting on the banks creating canopies and backdrops.  Megan’s mom, Teri, Doug and I, and Megan and Andrew walked until we found a lovely spot with luxurious slacken branches, the sound of the river, and geese as witnesses.  Teri videotaped on her phone and I silently cheered, Doug teared up, and Andrew and Megan stood close as they spoke words they had written in their own homemade vows.  From the heart and sweet as the sunny summer day upon us, they kissed with passion and relief after years of wanting to be old enough to be married.  The mothers signed the marriage license as witnesses and our little children were now Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Sanders.  How time whispers past us.  Such a beautiful and moving moment.

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A cake and champagne reception at Teri’s house followed with photos, brief toasts, and grandparents and parents conversing.  Our parents in attendance, our children, and dear friends, Kat and Rod, joined Megan’s family in a celebration of life and sacrament.

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So, if you will, raise your coffee cup, or whatever glass you have and let us toast to Andrew and Megan that their marriage will be blessed and that happiness and laughter will far outweigh any rough patches, that the promise of blissful events will always trump the saddest.  May they be blessed with many children and many sweet memories!