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Wedding preparations open door for creativity - Valerie Baldowski

Our family is preparing to celebrate a series of life-changing experiences, a rite of passage for three young adults. We have a trio of weddings staring us in the face, and it's interesting watching how each couple is handling them differently.

Two nephews and a niece are getting hitched, and observing their preparations is revealing. Nephew No. 1 is getting married Saturday. This wedding date is the clearest and most defined, with the greatest number of details known, and the couple decided to do things the high-tech way.

Instead of picking out invitations from a traditional store, they went online to order and print them. Fair enough, invitations can run into some money, depending how many you order. They set up their own web site announcing their wedding, how many days until the big day, their backgrounds, how they met, photos, hotel accommodations, who's who of the wedding party, etc.

Instead of mailing out the RSVP cards for the wedding and the reception, the couple had the guests click on a link to RSVP whether they would attend a Hawaiian-themed party the night before, the wedding, and the reception.

Instead of the bride registering at the traditional stores for guests to choose a wedding gift from the wish list, and purchase it from the store, the web site has a link to click on to view items the bride and groom hope to get. Those wishing to visit the online gift registry need to enter the registry number or bride's name to access it.

Guests have the option of selecting one of the items listed, and entering in the amount of money they wish to contribute toward the gift. I have never heard of that. My husband and I chose the old-fashioned way of getting a card and slipping some cash in it.

Instead of sending traditional announcements for her bridal shower, the bride, instead, sent out online "evites." I did not receive any such notification, and was completely unaware I was expected to attend a Sunday afternoon bridal shower until I received a phone call from another family member that morning. I scurried around, making last-minute arrangements to get a card and drive up to meet the others who were going. I had no idea where the party was.

Nephew No. 2 and his fiancee are handling their wedding differently. We have not heard a solid date yet, just something about getting married sometime later this year. He has already bought a house, so he is doing some advance thinking. That's always a good thing. Some of the other folks in the family wonder if they are going to elope without a formal wedding. We haven't heard a lot of splashy details, so I guess they are keeping things close to the vest.

The niece and her fiance, I have heard, will tie the knot in June. I have also heard, to my relief, they will, at least, mail out traditional wedding invitations instead of online stuff that mysteriously disappears before arriving in my e-mailbox. They seem to be traditionalists, so, maybe, there won't be a whole lot of surprises or twists, turns and deviations from the "norm."

I might actually get a snail mail invitation to her bridal shower in time for me to prepare for it. It's just that the wedding is going to be on a Friday afternoon, not the traditional Saturday. Taking time off from work on a weekday to attend a wedding is tricky for some guests.

The good thing is, we're getting the tip-off far enough in advance to avoid the "I'm sorry, I couldn't get the time off" syndrome. More wedding thoughts to follow at a later date.

Valerie Baldowski covers government and politics for the Henry Daily Herald. She can be reached via e-mail at vbaldowski@henryherald.com.