Things I never suspected I would learn planning an Adirondack wedding
So there may not be any factual data to support my daddy longleg burlap attraction hypothesis. All I know for sure is that on the morning of my wedding, amid a whirlwind of madness, I paused to adjust the cake table and was greeted by a horde of daddy longlegs. My bridesmaid Lisa dutifully helped me gently remove a few, only to have a new host come swarming up frantically from the netherworld of the table. I stepped back and watched in horrified fascination, imagining the spread of cookies and the cake that would be laid out on the table in a few hours. I debated removing the burlap tablecloth for a moment, wondering if the spiders would make the guests squeamish about eating cookies.
In a panic, I envisioned my parents having to pack up a whole table of uneaten cookies. Then I decided that the guests who had agreed to come to my Adirondack wedding were the kind of people who wouldn't be scared away by a few spiders. I moved on to the next project, filing away daddy long legs love burlap into the growing list of things I never suspected I would learn planning an Adirondack Wedding.
Beware of birch bark and sticks
Here's another one: the sound a person makes when burned by a hot glue gun is universal. Our wedding took place at one of my favorite places in the entire world: Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp. As an homage to camp traditions, I had my heart set on an Arts and Crafts activity called Wish Boats. It required me to pre-make 150 or so little boats out of sticks and hot glue. Fortunately I had an amazing team of family and friends to help me assemble these creations. The squad encompassed a wide variety of people of all ages, men and women, from the area and from out of town. Yet no matter who it was, they always made the same sound when they burned themselves with the hot glue gun. A sharp, hissing intake of breath, which might then be followed by the swear word of their choice. But first, there was always that sound. It's universal.
Furthermore, I can tell you that gluing sticks and birch bark to things is not as easy as you may think. If you've ever walked into an Adirondacky sort of shop and seen a picture frame with birch bark on it, and thought to yourself “I can make that,” let me tell you this - maybe you can, but I wouldn't recommend doing it with hot glue. It's not easy to get the stuff to lay flat! Plus, it doesn't hold well over time, which I learned the day before as I re-made the card box my brother had done for me several weeks before. And on top of that, if you're not careful AHSIIIISSSS! You try to hold something down and the glue burns you through the bark. Although personally, I'll treasure the heart-shaped scar on the top of my hand as a reminder of the fun days I spent playing Arts and Crafts with my loved ones. (And the birch bark and stick decorations were totally worth it.)
A note on humankind
I also learned that humans smoke cigarettes. Maybe that's something you already knew, but when planning an outdoor wedding, it never occurred to me that people would be smoking wherever they went. I could add to the list that everybody who smokes cigarettes takes care of their own butts, but somehow they will still be on the ground the next day, but instead I'll proudly add, smokers and non-smokers alike will happily help you pick up butts the next day.
In fact, I found there wasn't much that our family, friends, and guests wouldn't do for us. I was constantly asked “what can I do?” or “what do you need help with?” on the day before, of, and after the wedding. Even if a couple of your bridesmaids argue with you about their outfits, let's say refuse to wear Converse all stars as an example (Olga and Mari), you will find that they will bend over backward for you on all other matters. The whole wedding party will.
If you are planning a wedding yourself, be aware that you may find yourself overcome with gratitude for the people in your life. If you're not careful, it might sneak up on you. For instance, you might make it all the way through the wedding ceremony without crying, only to burst into tears when your maid of honor gives a speech about your friendship (thanks a lot, Hailey!).
Vendors you can rely on
You will also find yourself full of appreciation for the vendors you've picked. Check out this recent Saranac Lake wedding planning blog, and if you need a recommendation, I give out these names wholeheartedly:
Nicole at Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp, for letting me call a million times with questions. You would not believe how inexpensive it is to rent this entire beautiful property! Complete with cabins, an awesome kitchen space, and a beach! Plus, if you become a girl scout (no acquiring of badges is necessary) you can then use the “Friends and Family Discount.”
Lakeview Catering, for the amazing spread of food and wonderful service. And if you are not into birch bark and stick hot glue gun parties, you may want to contact Katy at VanBee & Co for help with the organizing and planning side of things.
Q-ing with Chris and Missy, for the delicious roasted pig, which was a huge hit.
My photography team, headed by Joy King, who captured the magic with the help of her husband Dan, and siblings Catherine Curtis and the one-of-a-kind Stephen King.
There are, of course, a million other people I need to thank (Jess Ackerson, for growing and arranging all of my flowers with Lauren's help!) but I'll save that for my thank you cards, which I have yet to tackle.
Quantity and quality
You will need less programs than you think, and if you've provided guests with a place to sleep on site, you'll need more beer than you planned on. It's important for you to know ahead of time that everything will not be perfect. I submit into evidence the unity candle, which symbolizes our individual lives coming together to create new light, and which was blown out by the wind moments after Eric and I lit it. However, it provided a much-needed comic relief after the intensity of the vows we wrote for each other.
So next I present you with Exhibit B, the wish boats. Picture this: Eric and I are standing on the steps to the waterfront. The sun is going down and the lake and mountains could not have been more beautiful. My initial plan for this part of the wedding was that 3 or 4 of my bridesmaids would form a chain to pass my wish boats down the dock, but it doesn't work; there are too many boats, we're lighting the candles on the boats faster than they can get to the dock. The people waiting to hand us their boats is swelling into an intimidating crowd.
For an instant I panic, thinking it's not going to work, that this important tradition is going to fall to pieces in front of me. But a few friends jump in line to pass the boats. Then a few more. Then my cousins, then my grandparents. All of these people crowding onto the rocking dock to help pass the boats, little kids darting up and down, weaving around the adults in total chaos, everyone in danger of toppling into the water dressed in their best clothes, but all smiling and laughing. I look back up the steps to see my amazing husband Eric, lighting the candles on the boats held by my parents, all three glowing with happiness. And all around us, a never-ending sea of family and friends, literally flowing around us in waves of light and love. So although everything may not go as planned, it will be exactly right.
Most unexpected of all lessons
The wedding is done, the honeymoon is over. We're back to real life where there is nobody to make us breakfast, the dog has fleas, and the car is making a funny noise. Yet somehow I find that I am happier everyday than I was the day before. When I wake up, or come home from work I am astounded to realize that my love for Eric, and my confidence in the life we are building together here in the Adirondacks continues to grow. Considering how strongly I felt about the love of my life before the wedding, I didn't think this could happen, but it is possible to love your soul mate more.
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