Tips for Planning a Love-Filled Summer Wedding by Barbara D. MacAdam

by Barbara MacAdam July 12, 2019 6 min read

Tips for Planning a Love-Filled Summer Wedding

It’s no secret that planning a Summer wedding takes a lot of Cooperation, Creativity, Compromise, and Cuisine!  However, planning your dream wedding doesn’t mean you have to spend every penny or turn into Bridezilla just to get it done. I recently had the pleasure of being a part of my nieces wedding, and the whole experience was an exercise in love under pressure… priceless and beautiful to see.

Because the bride was living thousands of miles away, my sister took the reins and completed most of the hands-on details and I was blessed to be asked to help. This was for me, a bittersweet yet cherished time, because I would never get this privilege after losing my only daughter, Bonnie Rose, at the age of 12.  However, my niece, the groom, my sister and her entire family embraced me as their special guest, and “Aunt Barb” was treated as an official member of the wedding party, to which I will be forever grateful.  It was the perfect opportunity to give them one of my personalized wedding blessing gifts in a frame, which now sits proudly on their bedroom nightstand!

Also, she gave each girl in her Bridal Party one of my personalized bridal party gifts, a blessing written to express her gratitude for all the things they did “On Her Special Day.” She said it was better than a simple card. It was personal, and our crystal hearts frame she chose for them was the perfect complement to the matching earrings she gave each girl to wear that day.


COOPERATION was at its highest level starting with the venue when they discovered that the groom was a newly enlisted Navy recruit.  They gave him one of my blessing gifts for military service members, and locked in a “military clause,” which guaranteed that not a penny would be lost if he were to be deployed without warning – as late as a day before the wedding!  This, they said was in appreciation for his sacrifice and bravery while protecting our freedoms.  

A simple request to honor that same contract clause went out to every vendor, and I am pleased to say that they ALL agreed. This grand gesture almost came to fruition, when just three days before the wedding, the groom was still not sure if he was being deployed or not…  turned out he was not.


CREATIVITY can be both cathartic and a money-saver. My sister decided to create the centerpieces for the 14 guest tables, and not only did she enjoy the project (after changing candle colors 3 times!), she felt a true sense of pride seeing her creations front and center, scattered around the huge ballroom like beacons of light, guiding guests to their tables.

If you’re thinking that you’re not “creative” enough to pull something like this off, keep in mind that it’s not so much what ideas you come up with, but how creatively you execute them.  After searching the internet for the perfect centerpiece, keeping with the “less is more” theme, she kept her costs down by purchasing candles and artificial flowers, which she glued to a mirrored plate, all found at her local dollar store. The same centerpiece was being offered by a local florist for triple the cost. I call that  creative!


 Trying to fit into a dress

OK, so there WAS a little drama… if you count that the wedding dress AND the Mother-of-the-Bride dress still did NOT fit after two fittings each.  The wedding dresses’ cape came in so large that when placed over the 4-foot 11-inch bride’s head, it fell straight to the floor. So, after turning it every which way, I came up with the idea that we could cinch both sides under the arms and create a “jacket” effect in the front, while letting it drape across the back of her strapless dress like a cape in the back. I took on this task (terrified, but up for the challenge), and when all was said and done, she had a beautiful sheer cape/jacket that transformed the strapless dress into the “twenties” style she originally wished for. She looked like a fairy princess, beautiful in her “one-of-a-kind” dress, complete with thousands of crystal beads and delicate appliques.

My sister’s dress was also so large that the seamstress hiked it up at the top in an effort to shorten the waist… the only problem was that she pulled it up so far that my sister could barely get her arms into the dress and her circulation was at risk had she settled for wearing it “as is.”  We certainly didn’t want her arms turning blue, so I virtually created two new armholes and rearranged the beautiful appliques that had been randomly cut away!   It wasn’t pretty on the inside, but there were no telltale signs left behind on the outside.  Crisis averted!


COMPROMISE always comes into play when dealing with the guest list.  Where do you draw the line?  You want everyone to share in this glorious day, but that’s not financially possible. So, a healthy give-and-take comes into play when inviting extended family like Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins. Everyone agreed as we counted our blessings for grandchildren that graced the dance-floor with tireless energy. The Bride and Groom listed the most important family members first, then friends, then co-workers and so on.

Remember that it’s YOUR wedding, so do what’s right for you. In this case, the bride decided it was best to keep families together on either side of the dance floor, rather than force strangers to sit with each other. It was great, and plenty of mingling naturally took place as the night progressed!

GREAT CARE was given to the memory of loved ones who had passed away and could not be with us. My niece insisted on having a “Memorial Table” with pictures of those who had passed before having the chance to share her blessed day.  My Bonnie sat among them, together with my Mom and Dad (her Grandparents), Aunts and Uncles from both sides, and yes… even her dog.  Memorial blessings were felt by all.



Turns out, it was better to find a higher-end place that includes most everything in the basic package, rather than one that offers little for a great price, then adds virtually everything as an upgrade, hiking the price way up in the end.  I was concerned that the venue would be too expensive, after seeing it advertised in a tri-state area on billboards everywhere.  However, choosing a Friday event, cut the price in half, and the Military discount gave them their dream wedding, unmatched by anything I’ve ever attended.

Over 40 appetizers were served by walking waiters throughout the cocktail hour, as well as five separate buffet stations (manned with servers); including Pasta, Mediterranean, Mexican, Seafood and Fruit and Salad buffets.

Wedding Dessert Table Wedding Chocolate Fountain
Photo: Chocolate fountain and other desserts from the wedding

Next was the meal, with your choice of 3 entrees that were ordered at the table (not in advance).  Finally, last but certainly not least was the dessert.  Set up in a separate room, was a 40-foot table with every dessert imaginable on it. Plus, a soft pretzel stand, a chocolate fountain, a water ice, popcorn and cotton candy stand; and an ice cream Sunday buffet alongside crepes, made-to-order!

That about wrapped it up. Family stayed overnight at the local hotel, and we were all treated to a buffet breakfast – compliments of my sister, as part of their wedding package.

Wedding Dance
Photo: My niece Victoria dancing with her Dad (my brother in-law)

 THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS… they started out with a scenario in mind but remained flexible as options presented themselves. Ultimately, the Friday evening wedding, with the military discount turned out to be the most amazing event any of us had ever experienced, and it was the “basic package” with no upgrades!  This would never have been doable, had the bride insisted on her original Saturday afternoon wedding plan.

In the end, it was having her family and friends close that made her wedding so wonderful, and the Purple Wishing Gate Blessings turned out to be her most cherished wedding keepsake gifts, matching the beauty of her Wedding dream come true!

If you enjoyed reading this, then take a look at these related blogs:

Saying I Do, Don't Forget To Say Thank You Too

Barbara MacAdam
Barbara MacAdam

Author/Artist and founder of Purple Wishing Gate

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