Sunday, May 25, 2008

wedding gifts

I am very excited to be going to my first German (Bavarian) wedding in just a couple of weeks. Stefan's cousin Andi is getting married and we are celebrating their church wedding. They already had their legal wedding last December, however the big celebration will happen in June.

We are trying to decide exactly what to give them and how to present it. I was amazed at the generosity and creativity of people when we were married. Among my favorite gifts were my aunt tailoring my wedding dress so it fit perfectly, another aunt designing and making our programs, a piece of artwork from our reception site (the site itself was a gallery / restaurant), personalized platters and ornaments, and of course one gift that almost wasn't.

Every wedding has it's snafu's that end up making things memorable. Mine still makes me slightly upset, but that's also probably typical. We got married before noon for a variety of reasons, but namely because we wanted to enjoy the evening with friends that we knew we wouldn't see for quite some time due to our move.

This didn't leave a lot of time to get things done in the morning, however being the wise bride that I was, I decided that we should get more flowers at the market the morning of the wedding. I thought it would be easier to send Ryan, one of my attendants, to pick them up. He and my mom went and didn't find any white flowers that were tall enough for my vases.

The morning chaos continued when Ryan and I went to Panera for a quick breakfast, while my Mom was searching for open flower shops that also had tall white flowers for the vases. Rather than giving my Mom time to get ready, or be present to help me get ready, she was getting the flowers according to my wishes. I never realized it would be such a task.

My parents arrived just in time to walk me down the aisle. It would have been nicer to have them witness the first time Stefan and I saw each other, and the other sentimental moments brides go through. The difficult part is realizing they were doing everything in their power to make me happy on my special day. It was a bitter sweet time since they were happy that we were getting married, but only preparing themselves for me to move so far away. Of course I was wrapped up in making things nice.

My Mom found white dendrobium orchids and white roses for the vases. Some were used to decorate the church, while others were used at our reception. Unfortunately some got left behind in someone's car, which I would have preferred not to know, especially considering the circumstances.

After the wedding she suggested that I get my flowers freeze dried and preserved. My bouquet was not going to stand a chance, since it was made of cattleya orchids, however the dendrobiums that she purchased were still able to be salvaged even days after the wedding.

I decided to get an ornament made, and I am very happy that I did. Now when I look at it I am reminded of my parents and all that they sacrifice to make me happy, as well as the chaos of my wedding. It's a lasting memento reminding me that time is fleeting in many ways.

So as I think about things that we could give Andi + Steffi, that would be meaningful and special, I realize that sometimes the most meaningful things come when they are least expected. Simply having all of the people you care about together is a feat in itself. Surely their day will also be filled with snafus, however I hope they are lasting memories that make them smile in hindsight.

And in the meantime I'll be trying to think of something original and sweet. Unfortunately Germany isn't up with the times in freeze drying flowers.


Abby said...

That is such a lovely ornament!

At our wedding, Matt said "I do" too soon, like he interupted the woman, he was so excited. He also held out the wrong hand for his ring and had to hide his hands behind his back to switch the ring because he thought it would mean our marriage was somehow invalid. Ahhhh, that still makes me laugh!

I'm sure you'll come up with something wonderful and thank for the Belgium tips!

JoernandAllison said...

You're so creative, you'll definately come up with something much more meaningful than money (Joern's standard gift.)
When is your wedding? We're going to one on the 7th. It will be my first German church wedding too- they're not such a common thing here :)
What a sweet thing of your mom to go out of her way to help make your own wedding so special!
Sometimes it is the things that don't work out our way that turn out to be the most memorable.

Emily said...

Abby -
That's so cute! - I love the memories like that. I can't wait to hear how the trip to Belgium goes.

I think money is the quintessential German gift, but even the money we got was so creative in how it was presented. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Caitlin said...

This was so sweet and I love the idea about the ornament. If only I thought to do this!