While some people hire wedding planners to help them get ready to say “I do,” many brides-to-be look to someone a little closer to home to help: their moms.
Many mother-daughter pairs wandered from booth to booth Saturday at the Le Mars Bridal Expo at the Willow Creek Golf Course banquet room in Le Mars.
Sarah Opbroek, of Kingsley, said she’s glad she’s planning her wedding with her mom.
“She has more ideas than I do,” Sarah aid. “And as far as money-wise, she’s better at finding savings.”
One thing she and her mom, Sherry Opbroek, who lives in South Dakota, haven’t agreed on yet is the centerpieces for the reception tables.
“I want them really bling-y, and she wants to tame them down a bit,” Sarah said with a grin at her mom.
Sherry said weddings are a little more complex than they were when she got married.
“I think in general you hire more people today,” she said. “We didn’t cater. I think my mom cooked and my neighbors did the serving. We had a neighbor make cakes.”
Her reception, which was in an auditorium, featured a meal of ham sandwiches, salads and cake.
Photography is more of a big deal now, Sherry added.
Sherry said her own mother’s wedding was even more simple than hers.
“They still had celebrations, but they weren’t as big,” Sherry said. “They didn’t have as many bridesmaids — about two was the max.”
Sarah is planning to have five bridesmaids, the same number Sherry had.
Sherry said her dress was very different from the one her daughter will wear to get married.
“It had pearls instead of bling,” Sherry said. “And it was long-sleeved instead of strapless. It had imported lace.”
Sherry didn’t know much about her mom’s wedding dress.
“She lent it to a friend to get married in, and she lost it,” she said.
But Sherry did wear her mom’s shoes in her own wedding. And her mom’s pearls.
Sarah will wear those very same pearls — her grandmother’s — as she walks down the aisle.
Sherry quoted a tradition passed down from generation to generation: that the bride wears “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”
“The pearls are the ‘something old,’” she said.
Another mother-daughter duo enjoying the bridal expo Saturday, Jill Meyers and her mom Anita are working together to plan for Jill’s April 13 wedding
Anita remembers planning her own wedding.
“It was a big deal then,” she said.
Anita remembers picking everything from a location for the reception to the color of the bridesmaids’ dresses.
Still, some things are different, she said.
“They have more modern things now — we didn’t have square cakes or colored ones,” she said.
Jill is considering a green cake, she added.
Another difference: Anita didn’t have a DJ at her wedding. She had a live band.
Jill said it might be harder today for a live band to play the variety of music people might want at their dance.
“Could they play all the hip-hop?” she asked.
“And the rap?” her mom added. “We didn’t have that.”
Jill’s wedding will be at her house, while her mom said her vows in a church.
Anita said it’s OK for Jill to do things the way she wants for her wedding.
She remembers the stress of planning her own walk down the aisle.
“You wanted to make everyone happy, but you have to realize it’s your day,” Anita said.
Her advice to her daughter?
“Live, laugh and love forever.”
Gloria Fischer, of Le Mars, stopped in at the expo to get tips — she’s helping her son and her future daughter-in-law prepare for their upcoming nuptials.
Weddings are less formal now than when she said “I do,” Fischer said.
For example, she loves it at wedding receptions when the bridal party comes dancing in as they are introduced.
“That wouldn’t have happened when I got married,” Fischer said.
On the other hand, her wedding reception and dinner were less formal than today, Fischer said.
“We just had it in the church basement,” she said.
The main dish was chicken salad, and guests sat in rings of chairs set up in the room.
There was no dance for her reception, which wasn’t unusual at the time, she said.
“Some of our farm family friends did have big old country dances for weddings, with polkas and other dances,” Fischer said.
These might be held at a dance pavilion, with the bridal party just mixing in with other dancers out for their own evening entertainment, she said.
“It was a lot of fun,” she said.
At the wedding expo Saturday, Sheri Driver, of Le Mars, and her daughter Taylor, perused the tables together.
“It seems like there’s a lot more planning now than when I got married,” Sheri said.
Brides have more options to choose from for everything from invitations to reception entertainment, she said.
“And the prices are more expensive now,” Sheri said.
She actually borrowed her sister’s wedding dress to walk down the aisle when she got married.
The dress was long-sleeved and lacy, with a higher neck.
Sheri’s mother, Taylor’s grandmother, also wore a lacy dress with a high neck, Sheri said.
Taylor’s dress is a much different style: strapless with a long train and lots of detailing.
Mom and grandma like it, though — the dress was the result of a three-generation shopping trip that included her grandmother, her mom, and her fianc’s mother and step-mother.
“We picked it out together,” Taylor said. “I love it.”
Taylor said her grandmother didn’t take long to plan her wedding, unlike today’s brides who are engaged an average of 15 months.
“They were dating three months, then they were engaged for three months,” Taylor said.
“My mom said she made a homemade apple pie, and that’s how her husband knew she was the right one to marry,” she said.
Taylor said she’s glad to be working with her mom on wedding planning.
“She knows things I don’t know, and I know things she doesn’t,” Taylor said. “It’s a bonding experience to plan things with your mom.”