Chapel Hill: Opinion

Linda Haac: I, wedding planner

I’m planning my younger daughter’s wedding, and I feel as if spring will never come even though it’s already here.

It’s a late spring, I know, but I’ve barely had time to look up from the million details that consume anyone who’s planning to have more than 100 guests visit one’s hometown and celebrate something as special as a marriage.

I can’t say what possessed me to be both the mother of the bride as well as the wedding planner. I know movies exist about the kind of disasters that wedding planners face. I’ve seen a couple of those movies myself. The problem is I must have failed to learn from them, because here I am planning a wedding, and my daughter’s at that.

Right now, you might be asking yourself if I should have my head examined. It might be a good idea.

As some of you know, I tried to plan my own wedding, but my mother had other ideas. So this is the first large-scale wedding I’ve ever attempted. That in itself should give a sane person pause. Luckily, I once planned large events at work, but that was something I did for corporations, nothing like this.

I know absolutely nothing, for instance, about flower arranging, but I’m learning fast.

I’m finding out where to buy the prettiest ribbon. (You might try Purple Puddle in Chapel Hill.) I’m finding out how to create endless decoupage centerpieces with maps as their focus, given the wedding reception has a travel theme, and I’ve decided I might start a new small business after this as a decoupage artist. I’m learning the right size for tablecloths and where to buy little bottles of bubbles shaped like wedding cakes and where to find the best deals on lemonade and wine.

In other words, I’m becoming an expert in all things related to large parties, which is knowledge I hope I never have to use again.

That said, it might be easier next time. I’ve learned so much by now. But I doubt anyone but my two daughters would ever want me to do this again, and my daughters soon will have had all the weddings I hope they have.

My younger daughter is working just as hard as me, but she’s a second-year surgery resident and barely has time to sleep, much less to eat. Both of us, however, have our lists to go through. For me, I have so many lists I’m afraid I’m losing more of them than I’m keeping track of. I have the greatest admiration now for wedding planners in general. How do they do it, wedding after wedding?

Meanwhile, my daughter’s marriage ceremony is just a month away. I’m beginning to feel like I’m already seriously behind: I still have my dress to be altered, my own shoes to buy. There are checks to be written decorations to finish, cocktail napkins to buy, table charts to do, brownies to bake, a wedding cake to make, bouquets to put together.

Still, I’m nearing the finish line. I can feel it. This is may be why I’m feeling so exhausted – and exhilarated.

It’s been a marathon so far, and I expect the last moments will be a sprint. I’ve got to go to the gym more. I’ve got to be in tip-top shape. My dream is to dance the night away at my daughter’s wedding, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed all the guests will dance too. To make sure everyone has a good time, including me, I’ve hired another wedding planner for the day, someone besides me who can make sure the cake gets cut and the dishes get cleared and the paper airplanes get made for my daughter and the groom’s going-away moment, when guests will get to fly those planes in tribute to the happy couple.

After that, I expect I will sleep for a couple of days, knowing spring is in full swing, everything finally in bloom. I will have more free time then to write, but I bet I will miss all this intense, wild wedding planning.

Linda Haac lives in Carrboro. Write to her at