Austyn is very creative. She also is very sensitive and the two were at war in her mind. She was having a very difficult time with all the questions and suggestions she was being inundated with. She felt some sort of responsibility to listen to everyone and felt helpless when it came to thanking them and walking away. I learned early on how to balance the two. “Tell me what you see for the reception?” I would ask. That opened the door to her creativity. She would rattle off the picture in her mind to the smallest detail. She knew exactly what she wanted.
Holden Beach, NC would be the place. We were to have a family reunion there several years ago, however the family part kept decreasing to my parents, my elderly aunt and uncle and Austyn and I. The entire week we were there we looked at each other making comments about our choice of vacation spots with the elderly. Austyn fell in love with the beach and proclaimed that she would get married there. Several years later it was still at the top of her list.
We knew that this location would prevent family coming for just the day. They would be making a vacation out of it or not come at all. We could schedule the wedding anytime during the week.
“I’ve always wanted to get married on a Tuesday,” Austyn commented. Really? Tuesday? It took me a while but Tuesday seemed to work just as well as any other day.
Tuesday, June 24th 2008. Receptions were the next topic. A small reception following the wedding for the family who were there and two later in the summer; one in Colorado and one in Chicago. We had time to make those arrangements.
Between Austyn’s school schedule and my work schedule we did not have much time off together. We found a free morning and headed to a bridal shop. Very overwhelmed, we selected a few dresses and Austyn tried them on. In the next three weeks we had looked at all types of dresses from evening gowns at the department store to catalog wedding dresses. Austyn made an appointment at a little boutique. The night of the appointment (which had actually been rescheduled several times) we made our way over. Both of us thought this was one of those fun events that brides and moms were expected to do.
We walked into the boutique. The sales person was finishing with another party and we began looking through the dresses. She selected a few and made her way into the dressing room. The first dress was beautiful but too big for a beach wedding. Back in the dressing room for number two. As she exited the dressing room she was beaming. This was it. I had never believed in the idea of the perfect dress. A dress is a dress and most important factor is that it is comfortable. But this one shouted something completely different. Austyn danced around the room.
We were given the important information; price, timeline, etc. We wanted a few more opinions before we made the decision. We made a few phone calls; one to her maid of honor and one home to dad. We would be back at 7:00 with the crew.
We ran home, had a bit to eat, put our coats back on and headed out the door again. Jeff was a bit reluctant. At one point he asked, “Do dads do this? Should I be going?” I had decided early on that this was not my wedding and I wasn’t carrying the load. We would share this experience and at no time did I want Jeff to feel like he was out of the picture.
I cringe when I hear dads say, “I don’t know what’s going on, this is their thing.” This was going to be our thing and I wanted his input and support the entire way. No, I don’t think that all dads do this. I don’t even think that most dads do this. I do think that dads who don’t miss out. I also think that most daughters would be thrilled to have their dads take the time to be a part. Writing checks is easy, investing time is an entirely different realm.
The dress transformed her again. As she danced around the room the audience of 4 was caught up in the moment. It was perfection.
We had the date, the place and the dress. This was going smoothly. 2008 would be a full year.