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I am finding that wedding planning is becoming VEEY difficult. I see these adorable ideas and now look at them through a widows eyes. For example instead of a guestbook there were empty bottles labeled One Five Ten Twenty Forty that guests could put notes in to be opened on those anniversaries. I didn't make it to forty with my late husband so I know opening tat bottle without him would be additional heartbreak. Also most I Do Take 2 ideas are more appropriate for divorced people and not widowed. Phrasing on invites and other printed items are now seem through my eyes after loss. No longer can it say the love of my life because I have two. My fiancé can say he's waited his whole life for me because he's never been married but I didn't think I would ever be with another man. I was happy in my 23 years with the man I was with since I was 17. So that's just a ramble of some of the challenges. I will be looking for a lavender dress since it's the traditional color for widows and I want to honor my widowhood in a subtle way. I think wearing lavender will be my only tap into my old life since I want my wedding to be about Vilume 2. I have friends who married and they are both widowed so they both mentioned their late spouses in the program but I'm not comfortable with that since only I'm widowed. Any tips and ideas even phrasing would be appreciated. My daughter will be 20 and 16 at the time of my new marriage so they will both be in it as maid of honors. John has no children so blending I think is easier. My kids are what he's always wanted. It's so weird to think that my tragedy gave him the life he's been waiting for....

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Sorry for all the typos!!! I'm in desktop view to make navigating easier but the typing is harder on my phone!!!!

We were watching the Food Channel one day, and were watching Rachel Raye. Kathy happened to mention that Rachel got married on the Greek island of Santorini.  I said, “Hey! We are going to go to Santorini on this cruise!”

 Well, that got my wheels turning, and I Googled Santorini Weddings. It turns out it is a very popular place for weddings, and there are a number of wedding coordinators on the island. I e-mailed one named Anna, and she was very helpful with the information.

I then called Kathy, and told her my suggestion, and she started laughing. I asked what was so funny, and she said, “Do you know what my first thought was?” I said yes, I do, you thought,”What will I wear?” because you are a woman. And Kathy said, laughing, “You are absolutely right”.

After a flurry of e-mails, all the arrangements were made, and we will be met at the top of the tram by the wedding arranger and a car.

She also told us the ceremony would take place in the veranda of the St. Irene church, so I went to the internet and downloaded some pictures and sent them to Kathy. It is a magnificent site!

While all of this was going on, I had a flash of inspiration! We would need wedding rings, so I went on the internet and Googled Greek Key wedding rings. The first site I hit had a beautiful ring with the Greek key design. I printed out the

picture, and showed it to Kathy. She thought it was beautiful, so I ordered a set for us after we got our fingers sized at a local jewelry store. The rings arrived, and I tried them on, and much to my dismay, they were too tight! I have jewelry store near my office, and I took the rings in to be resized.  The lady explained that the other store used the wrong ring sizer to measure our fingers. They should have used a wide ring sizer rather than the narrow one they used.

Fortunately, the rings are quite heavy and the jeweler was able to resize them up so they fit comfortably.

At 11 sharp, a lady showed up with a sign with our names on it and escorted us to the car. We were driven to the church of St. Irene, and waiting there was the photographer, the videographer, and the official who conducted the ceremony.

Here is the link to the story :

The current fashion for weddings is that they be about the fairy tale of marriage, two people destined for each other coming together and living happily ever after.  It’s not that it’s any more true of a first marriage than it is after being widowed, it just becomes harder to buy into the fairy tale.

An alternative sentiment for a wedding might be something along the lines of: “I love you.  I want to enjoy the gifts and face the sorrows that the future brings with you by my side. I don’t know where the road will take us, all I know is that I want to walk it with you.”  (Everyone is different, this may well not ring true for you)

This time round you are painfully aware of what can go wrong, of how much you could get hurt, and you still think that your new partner is worth the risk. There are lots of things that you could have said the first time that you can’t repeat, but there are also lots of things that you can say this time that you simply wouldn’t have understood before your loss.

On a more practical level, for my wedding we had two invitation, a formal one for the church which was simple unfolded card reading:

[Name]  and [Name] would like to invite [[Guest] to their wedding on [Date and time] at [Church]

and an informal one for the reception which was a folded card with a tongue in cheek image on the front, inside it read:

[Name] and [Name]  would love [Guest] to join us for an afternoon of music and evening of dancing to celebrate our marriage  from [Time and date] at [Venue]

My late wife didn't feature in the ceremony, but I did make sure that I had some quiet time during the day to reflect on how I was feeling, and acknowledge the pain of feeling like I was taking another step away from her.

We did away with a lot of the trimmings used at first weddings - skipping the tuxes in favor of suits, matching dresses in favor of "wear something blue, any shade of blue", skipped the limo, the photographer, the band (opting instead to connect my phone's playlist to the hall's speaker system, playing love songs from the 50s to current), and gifts. Guests were told that we were combining households and didn't need anything and to instead to make a contribution to the charity of their choice.  My son and daughter and their spouses stood up on my side, and Russ' two sisters and their husbands were on his side. It was cute when I handed my bouquet off to my son and he stood there self-consciously holding my flowers while we exchanged vows. Russ' sister produced the rings when called upon, so we had a complete role reversal.

The wedding stationery (Save the date cards, invitations, rsvp cards, and thank yous) were all black and white. It was black ink printed on a white card, attached by a white ribbon to a slightly larger black card. I got all crafty and used a Martha Stewart hand punch to punch a lacy border on the bottom of the white cards. The wedding programs were similarly done except that instead of black I used all different shades of blue card stock for the background.  The wording on the invitation was simple:

[Name, in script] and [Name, in script] Joyfully Announce Their Marriage, to be Celebrated on Friday, the Twenty Fourth of May, Two Thousand Thirteen, at Five O'Clock in the Afternoon  {Decorative Squiggle} [Church Name], [Church address]

We were going to have just a small guest list, but soon decided that we wanted to include all our friends and ended up with 200 people or so.  We found a hall that was very nice - nice rooms, good view out the windows, good catering.  The hors d'oeuvres and dinner was very good (although I can't remember a lot of it, too many nerves) and we had opted for top shelf liquors. There was a wedding cake - and since we like to travel, as part of the design I had the words I Love You translated into about 20 languages written all over the cake. There was also a candy buffet with any blue candy I could find, plus chocolates (anything white, milk, and dark chocolate covered).  With Frank Sinatra, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Buble, et al playing and everyone talking, it was perfect. Drinks, food, music, cake and chocolate - all the important stuff.

Before dinner there would usually be toasts, but we told the wedding party that the most they could say is "Here's to Mary and Russ".  Other than that, they didn't know the story and we would tell it ourselves. I took the mic first and gave some of the background - how I finally decided to join etc etc. I did want to acknowledge Tom because he'll always be a part of me, and I didn't want anyone thinking that I was forgetting him or that he didn't matter any more.  So I concluded my part with the admission that I felt that at times God had taken a direct hand in my life. I said I felt blessed that He had "put me on the right path, at the right time, so that that the right man could cross my path and I would notice him.  And He did it twice in my life."  I think I hit just the right note.

Russ spoke after I did, telling them how he had joined but had opted for the free membership which meant he couldn't communicate with me directly, only text me through the site.  How he had to actually pay the $60 so he could send me an email. He finished the story of our short courtship, telling them how the proposal came about. Neither one of us wrote out our speeches so I don't remember all the details, but we were pleased with how it all came out.  The only other person to speak was the priest, who said that he was retiring soon, and maybe he ought to check out that website! That got a chuckle.  Afterwards he told us that in all his years and all his weddings that was a first - the bride and groom never spoke before to tell their story.  I said we weren't like most brides and grooms, and I was never afraid to blaze new trails.  

My advice is to do what you want to.  Do the stuff that is important to you, whether it's traditional or not, and don't worry about pleasing anyone other than the two of you.

I agree - simplest is best - whatever that means for a couple. 


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