August 2-7, 1969
Wedding planning kicked into high gear during the first week of August. Nate and I made a quick trip to downtown Chicago to finalize all the choices that would go on our gift registry. A seasoned employee at Marshall Fields helped us narrow things down, and by the end of the morning, she had checked all the appropriate boxes on the bridal registry forms.
Nate and I held hands throughout the process, sneaking a kiss now and then as we envisioned our first “nest” (as he called it) decorated in the vibrant colors we chose: orange, yellow, and kiwi green.
We also spent time perusing used car lots, looking for a practical replacement for our impractical Corvette, but we weren’t quite sure what we were looking for. We would need a loan from Dad to swing any purchase, so we decided to wait till after the Corvette had been sold before approaching him. Since it had a couple of mechanical issues, it might take a while. Besides, we were happy to cross one item off our long list.
Our caterer would be a dear family friend, and Jeanette’s casual attitude helped immensely as she outlined practical suggestions for the “light supper” menu we wanted. In those days, most receptions were held right in the church, so that part was easy. Choosing a giant wedding cake was a little trickier. How do you feed 500 people from one cake? We tabled that decision till later.
Mom promised to look into music options, since she was the musical one among us. She announced she would be playing either the piano or organ for 6 other autumn weddings and could hunt through sheet music for all of them at once. We wondered how she would keep it all straight but decided not to worry about it… and crossed it off.
Choosing and ordering invitations at a printer didn’t take long. Both Nate and I were traditionalists and decided to mix elegant with tried-&-true. At the last minute we eliminated the response card and its envelope, trying to save Mom and Dad some money. If it upset Mom that she wouldn’t know how many guests would be coming, she never showed it… probably because she had become fully absorbed in redecorating their new home.
Mom was meeting with kitchen consultants, tentatively planning to gut the old kitchen and get it completed before the wedding. She was also shopping for drapes, carpeting, furniture, and paint colors. Her plan was to paint every room herself, labeling it “therapy for when I get too busy.” She wasn’t joking.
Nate and I wondered when we’d be able to get back to Champaign to seek my employment and find an apartment, but by the end of that first week in August, we were off to Rockford, Illinois, where I was a bridesmaid for Carole, a close friend from Wheaton.
The wedding rehearsal fell on my birthday, but Mom insisted we have a party anyway. Nate and I did our best to get there quickly but arrived near 10:00 PM… which is when the party began. Little did we know that jam-packed days like these would soon become the norm.
“Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)