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Helen's Mulberry Lane Farm Journal

You had to be there.....

Rachel's Wedding, Part Three

You Want To Do What?

I am sure that you have heard or seen family arguments that ensue over weddings. Most often, it is the women; sisters, mothers, daughters, future mother-in-laws and sister-in-laws, etc. The most common is the mother and bride.

I've been shocked/embarrassed to watch a few cat fights myself and pity the person who marries into such a family. But then, sometimes it is women on both sides of the families that fight over every little detail. In that case, the couple deserve each other.

I now have three married daughters. I have yet to have an argument with any of my daughter's about their weddings. At least none I remember.

I personally think the mom sets the tone for the whole wedding atmosphere. (Where's Dad in all of this? Running in the other direction from all the hullabaloo, most of the time.) If the mom is uptight and worried about what people will think about this or that, and that everything must be perfect or else!, etc. you will find that the whole family is up in arms most of the time. And daughters usually copy their mother's selfish behaviour and you know what they say about two women in the kitchen, never mind two selfish women....

It makes very little difference to me what colors they choose, what decor they choose, who sits where at the reception, who they choose for their bridal party or what church they decide to get married in. In ten years, what will it matter? That doesn't mean I don't have opinions about all those things, for I most certainly do!

But unless asked, I keep my opinion to myself. And when asked, I tread carefully and let them know it is just my opinion, and they have the final choice. I was amazed, actually, at how much I was asked about things. You see, once it is clear that they can make up their own mind, then it doesn't have to turn into an argument. After all, they already know they can do whatever they want to.

Now, there are a couple of things Gerald and I won't budge on. Everything else is up for grabs.

They mostly have to do with our personal convictions in regards to worldliness and purity. Gerald and I are Christians and want everyone to know that we are. We are a Christian family. We strive to be pure and holy in our behavior and actions according to our personal convictions.

These things have been settled long before any engagements were ever announced. It is the way we live and have always lived in our home, so who's surprised?


Here are three things that are non-negotiable for our daughters' weddings.

1. No dancing at the reception. Our family has a "no dancing" rule in our family rules; not anytime, not anywhere. These are our own personal opinions and convictions, one of those gray areas that scripture doesn't command yeah or nay.

Since there are many different types of dancing, it was very difficult to allow some types of dancing in our family rules that we would personally consider acceptable and others that were off limits, not to mention all the other types in between. We just decided, that for us and the children living at home, there would be no dancing, period.

2. No alcohol at the reception. We are and have always been a total abstainer family for many very good reasons. But, again, another grey area.

Personally, I need all the brain cells I can get! (Intoxication: definition: poisoning, the physiological state produced by a poison or other toxic substance.)

Our family doesn't need alcohol to celebrate and have fun. If you don't believe me, just visit our home sometime when the gang is gathered. We look like we are drunk but that is simply because we are laughing to the point of hysteria. (Did you notice the first picture at top of page?)

If one wants to have a toast, how about sparklin' grape juice or cider?

3. No immodest clothing for the bridal party. To be specific, no skirts/dresses above the knee, (no slits in skirts that go above the knee) no cleavage, no bare backs or bare shoulders.

Ladies, save the skin for the honeymoon and keep the wedding pure and holy, for that is what it is supposed to represent to others and before God. If in doubt about attire, ask a godly father or brother what he thinks.

Negotiable, Somewhat

Two issues that we have strong preferences about but aren't moral issues.

1. We would like our daughters to get married as close to home as possible, for many reasons, but mostly because of financial and time constraints. Anything more than an hour away becomes burdensome for us. With Gerald and I both in full time Christian ministry six days a week, it is difficult to be away from home for any length of time.

Rachel was wise; she got married 2 miles away from home!

If you haven't had a daughter get married yet...well, the trips back and forth to the church and reception hall from the week before the wedding until the wedding are many. (Oh! We forgot my make-up kit! Scream! And where is the world is the groom's tie? Yell! Another trip back home we go. It happens; all.the.time.) Why make more stress for yourself during an already pretty loaded stressful event?

If our daughter wants to get married in Hawaii, she can do so, if she really, really wants to. But out of our $1,200 wedding budget come all of our family's travel expenses, etc. The rest is paid for out of the daughter's own pocket. Does she still really, really want to do that? Quit laughing over there.

And no, a wedding in Hawaii is not the time to cram in a vacation in Hawaii. After being a part of seven children's weddings, I know of what I speak. Vacation/Wedding is an oxymoron unless you actually own Hawaii and can have servants do all the work for the wedding and reception and all you have to do is brush your teeth and show up. Now, I'm laughing.

2. It is very meaningful to me to have my daughter wear a white veil covering her face, as she walks down the aisle. It is all about symbolism. It represents modesty, purity and chastity. The groom is the first to lift the veil to kiss her. But I won't fight with a daughter over it if she feels that she simply does not want to do it. It has meaning to me but if it does not to her, that is fine. I was pleased when all of my daughter's chose to wear a white veil covering their face. Besides, I personally think the white veil is the crowning touch to a beautiful bride, don't you?

Practice session for hair and veil.

I always felt that the fewer demands that I made on my daughter, the more likely she was to give in on the ones that were really important and had meaning to me. It makes sense.


That is what very special family events like weddings are made up of. Because the memories last way longer than the actual event.

If you are like me, after the wedding is over, you sit down and crash and say, "Is that all there is? Are we done already? After all that work?"

Once the last dish is washed after the reception, you go home to piles of laundry, every dish you own is in the sink, (don't forget all the entertaining that happens when wedding guests come to town!)....crumpled tuxes on the bedroom floor, and a bathroom that has had ten bridal party members use it in two hours or less.

What do you have left?


I don't know about you, but I want good memories of family weddings. (Actually, I want good memories of family anythings!)

Whatever lies within you, make the memories happy. Don't fight over the silly things like the bride's nail polish color or how she wants to wear her hair. Don't major on the minors. You may win over the nail polish if you insist she do it, but you will lose so much in the long run in regards to relationships. The color of the nail polish isn't worth it.

If you live to be a hundred,
I want to live to be a hundred minus one day,
so I never have to live without you.
A. A. Milne


Rachel knew the theme she wanted for her wedding. Since it was a winter wedding, but after Christmas, she chose a winter theme.

We bought all of the decorating items used, except for some candles.

Covering bulletin boards were a challenge.

One year before the wedding, (in November and December 2011), we started hitting the thrift stores for Christmas decorations. We also did some garage saling all summer in 2012. But no green and red Christmas stuff. Rachel had a pale blue color, like the color of Beka's dress, as her base color. You would be amazed at what is out there in that color, and for just pennies an item.

Remember the snowman fad just a few year's back? Well, of course, the thrift stores and garage sales were/are filled with those adorable snowmen. And many in that lovely shade of blue. We also purchased a few pretty sleds/sleighs which Rachel spray painted to match her theme. Rachel collected pine cones to fill the sleighs.

The bridal party table.

Simple, but elegant.
Creativity takes the place of big bucks.
And so much more fun, too!

And let us not forget the color white. Make snowflakes. Buy snowflake lights. Think snowflakes while purusing thrift stores and garage sales.

We stocked up on white Christmas lights wherever we could find them. Also small fake Christmas trees. She planned on our using our Christmas tree, a lovely pine, which we brought over to the church.

We bought way more decorating stuff than we actually used. But we have learned from past experience that having extra gives you more creative wiggle room. Better a little more than not enough. Rachel spent about $100 on decorations.

One of the nice things about getting married in a church around Christmas time, is that the church is already decorated for the season! The church Rachel got married in had a large, beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the main santuary. We removed all the red and green items, and it was perfect!

Rachel started decorating the church on the Wednesday before the wedding. We are sure glad she did. It took the full day and they came home exhausted. While the young people were decorating I stayed home and cooked for them all.

One of the neat effects of doing the decorating yourself is that it turns out very unique. It isn't something you can buy at Hobby Lobby or see at any other wedding. It reflects the bride and her tastes and style. It isn't plastic looking, if you know what I mean.

A little snow here and there.....

We're done!

The day after the wedding, we had many of the wedding guests over for dinner. I took the ladies out to where the wedding decorations were stored and family members picked out some of the snowmen, sleighs, candle holders, etc. and took them home as keepsakes to remember Rachel and Joey's wedding. Joey's mom got something for each of her boys to have as a memory as well. I kept one for my Christmas tree.

Memories. Thankfully, happy memories.

Coming soon! Rachel's Wedding, Part Four: Food


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