Thursday, July 25, 2013

40 for 40 Annie West

 My guest today says in her post that she's smiling as she writes her contribution to the blog. Well, so am I  - smiling that is.  Smiling at just the memory  of meeting the lovely Annie West  - and the image of her wonderful smile that's in my thoughts as I write this. (You can see that in the wonderful picture of Annie here.)
Annie lives too far away  - over the other side of the world in Australia, but I've been lucky enough to meet her on a few occasions - when the BM and I visited  the RWAus conference in Sydney and on the too rare occasions on which she and her lovely husband have visited the UK. I remember one  wonderful  evening in a hotel in London when we all relaxed in our (mine and the Babe Magnet's room)  after an Italian meal - and talked and talked . . .and talked. 
Annie has weddings on her mind right now too. Not  a wedding anniversary  but the very special day for her daughter.  I can't wait to see the photos of Annie as Mother of The Bride. Annie's looking for ideas   and hints as to how to handle all that a wedding entails. Can  you help her? I'm afraid I wouldn't  be much help - when the Babe Magnet and I got married it was when we'd just left university - three weeks was all we had to organise everything.  So perhaps you can give Annie more advice.

Anyway - here's Annie -
Hi Kate! Congratulations on 40 years of marriage. I'm so thrilled for both you and the Babe Magnet. Seeing you both together last time I was in London I can understand how your marriage has lasted so well. Obviously there's great affection and respect there. It's wonderful to see.
I had to smile for purely personal reasons too, when you mentioned contributing to your 40 blogs to
celebrate 40 years of marriage. Weddings have been on my mind, you see, as a member of our family is getting married very soon. It's all been a delightful surprise but now we're getting down to the business end of organising a wedding.
After years of marriage it's quite a change to be thinking about that first celebration again - the day when you tie the knot with the one you love. Isn't it a magical time? No matter how simple there's something so special about declaring your love in front of family and friends.
The wedding we're planning is in the vineyards of Australia's beautiful Hunter Valley. Here's a location shot to give you an idea. I should be lovely there on a summer evening. I'm so looking forward to it. So far we've got a few things in place: location, celebrant, photographer, bride's dress and (almost) the invitations. Still a fair bit to do of course and the upcoming months will be busy.
So in between writing, the rest of my year will be filled with wedding arrangements. I suspect it will be a big year for us all!

 Have you ever had to organise a wedding, or some other special event? Do you have any tips on what works or doesn't, or even suggestions on how to stay sane in the process of juggling so many different priorities? I'd be grateful to hear any suggestions.

In honour of Kate's wonderful anniversary I'll give a copy of my latest release 'Imprisoned By a Vow' to one person who leaves a comment.

Happy Anniversary, Kate!



Sally said...

Don't stress! Plan as much in advance as you can but be willing to change things at short notice. Remember that your guests don't know what you had arranged so if it is different, as long as you don't tell, nobody will know and everybody will have a fabulous time. Good luck and congratulations to the happy couple.

Annie West said...

Hi Sally. What terrific advice. Thank you! You're so right. Things change, don't they, and even if the end result isn't exactly as planned, who's to know. I suspect that our good friends and family will be so happy to celebrate this special occasion that they'll simply be in the mood to have a good time. Thanks for the congratulations.

Susanne Bellamy said...

Two things spring to mind: as the bride-to-be, I was doing so much running around that I ran out of petrol a couple of days before the ceremony. Keeping a full tank of petrol is really helpful!
The other--don't leave the organising of the music to the groom. The DJ we ended up with didn't even have a proper wedding waltz for us to dance to! Although in the end, it didn't matter too much, and has provided much fodder for jokes over the years!
Have fun and enjoy every moment of the lead-up to the big day.

Maria Perry Mohan said...

Hi Kate and Annie

Best of luck with your wedding arrangements Annie. Your lovely book is next on my TBR pile.

bn100 said...

No, I haven't

Laney4 said...

Hi Annie (and Kate)!
Lovely blog. Good luck with the preparations!
Things are so different today. When I wed 32 years ago, my mom handled most of the arrangements on the day of the wedding (but my husband and I chose everything ahead of time). I was free to sleep in and just enjoy my day, which was nice as a bride. Today, I would choose/order/pay for the majority of things myself (with my husband, of course) until the big day, and THEN have everything delegated to various people: flowers, rings, photographer, church, decorations, etc. Perhaps you too can help in the delegation department. (This has worked for me when planning various other parties through the years....)
Sally was right about not sweating the small stuff; all that matters is that they wed, and the rest, as Susanne said, provides fodder for years to come.
My suggestion is to agree with everything suggested by the bride/groom, whether you agree or not, complete with smiles galore. Happy breeds happy (or something like that).

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Kate! Hi Annie! Look at this, two of my favorite people in one spot. Congratulations again, Kate. Annie, how exciting about the wedding coming up in your own family! Did you know I used to run functions for a hotel and did weddings pretty much every Saturday for a year? Saw lots of different brides and different weddings - all lovely. I think you have to remember that while there's lots to do, you're not a machine and you need to slow down occasionally to enjoy the journey. You'll only be the mother of the bride once. Have fun! Congratulations on IMPRISONED BY A VOW - it's a corker!

Kaelee said...

I was at a dinner theater last night. The play was My Big Fat Calgary Wedding. We were talking with another couple we met about our wedding and their wedding. The points that stood out the most were the unexpected things that happened and how they turned out to be among our fondest memories. So I've just got to agree with Sally and say don't stress over things too much. Enjoy the day and if something doesn't go just right it will probably become a fond memory in the future.

Annie West said...

Susanne, what a great tip about petrol. The wedding is in the vineyards, not near home and not near petrol and you're so right about the running around. I'm glad you mentioned this as it's the sort of thing that just might get forgotten in the rush!

Laughing at the music issue. I think it's going to be an interesting mix of music given bride and groom's tastes, but definitely we'll need to include something for a bridal waltz. I wonder what would be a good tune for that.

Thanks, I'm enjoying the lead up, even though it's a bit frantic.

Annie West said...

Hi Maria. Thanks for the good wishes. I may need them. I hope you enjoy 'Imprisoned by a Vow'!

Annie West said...

Hi BN100. Thanks for stopping by.

Annie West said...

Laney, I think you've hit the nail on the head about agreeing with a smile to what the bridal pair want. After all, it's their day. And things have changed so much since I was married. The wedding industry seems to have burgeoned! It's interesting to see reactions when the bride says she wants it to be kept simple. Well, except for the cake, which, while simple seems to be a bit of a challenge...

Annie West said...

Hi Anna. Thanks for dropping by. Hey, as an ex-wedding organiser perhaps you'd like to stop by and lend me a hand with this. I'm sure it would be a snip for you! Please...?

I hear you on taking time out to enjoy. I definitely will.

Thanks for the kind words about 'Imprisoned'. I love hearing it described as a corker!

Annie West said...

Kaelee, that sounds like a marvellous night out. I bet you enjoyed yourselves. Yes to the fond memories idea. I suspect that will be the way of things. I wonder what they will be? Hopefully not the mother of the bride tripping over onto the cake!

Eli Yanti said...

Hi Annie :)

I haven't plan any because I'm still waiting for my right one :D

Cheryl Leigh said...

Annie, huge congratulations on your daughter's upcoming marriage! Try not to stress (hard not to, I know) so maybe take time out with your daughter at a day spa just before the wedding and do all those girly things. :) The wedding will be over so quickly and you will forget some things, so make sure you get lots of photos.

My d-i-l had baskets of thongs (flip flops) for guests to change out of their uncomfortable shoes. They were a great hit, especially when dancing for a long time.

Have a fabulous night and much happiness to you all.

Annie West said...

Cheryl, thanks for the good wishes! I love the idea of the day spa close to the event. I'm sure she'd love that too. As for the comfy shoe option - how brilliant! I love these suggestions.

Annie West said...

Hi Eli,

For some reason Blogger has eaten my response. I hope the right one comes along for you soon.

Mary Preston said...

Keep things as simple as possible. I think that you can relax and enjoy the day more if you are not stressed out about detail after detail.

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Congratulations on 40 years of marriage, Kate! That lovely photo of Annie always makes me smile too.

Annie, the location of the wedding looks perfect. I just know it's going to be a wonderful day for your family.

My wedding was a "destination" wedding. It was a little nerve-racking to organise the details from afar, and a few things didn't go to plan on the day. But we decided not to dwell on what went wrong (like an approaching hurricane!), and just enjoyed the celebration.

Annie West said...

Mary, those are definitely words of wisdom. I like the idea of keeping it simple. Much less to go wrong! Thanks.

Annie West said...

Vanessa - I'm trying to imagine getting married with a hurricane bearing down on you. What an opening for a story! Perhaps you should use it as inspiration for a book.

Thanks so much for the good wishes! It is indeed a special venue.

Sharon Archer said...

(waving) to Annie and Kate! Congratulations again to you and the BM on your 40th, Kate! Something to celebrate!

Annie, as someone who eloped rather than do the big-wedding thing, I'm probably not that well qualified to give you organising tips for the big day! LOL

I think the thing I would say is - keep it all reasonable! I see some of the scarily expensive weddings these days and I can't help wondering whether the people having them have lost track of what they're actually there for. It's about the commitment to each other, not who can order the most extravagant trimmings.

Anyway, I wish you all a fabulous day and lots of wonderful memories!

Annie West said...

Aw, thank you, Sharon. I have to agree about some of the huge, fancy weddings. It's about what's at the heart of the ceremony, isn't it? I figure that the rest of us are there to share that moment and are in the mood to be happy so it should go well.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Congratulations to Kate and your so-nice husband on your 40th! Hope we will see you both again in Australia before too long...
Always nice to see your smile, Annie!
How wonderful to be organising your daughter's wedding. I look forward to my own daughter's one day!
I had such fun helping with our nephew's wedding a few years back. In particular his darling then fiancee asked me to help her with her dress, etc, as her mother and sisters were in another country. I worked in magazines at the time, and thoroughly enjoyed "styling" her for her "big day". She looked so beautiful!
It was a very simple, happy, sincere wedding that didn't put anyone in debt for years.
From their experience, and from my own simple wedding, my best advice is not to get "guilted into" all the expensive bells and whistles that you don't really need but the wedding industry promotes as essentials. Sounds like that's what your daughter wants, anyway!
Best of luck for a wonderful wedding that the mother of the bride will enjoy too!

Annie West said...

Kandy, thank you so much for that advice. It chimes with what we're thinking too.

How lovely of you for your soon to be niece to ask for your help in organising the dress and so on for her special day! What a thrill that must have been. Must say I had to blink back a tear when I saw my girl in the lovely dress she's chosen.


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