Nancy Hawkins Meyer


Wedding Planner

In 1979, Nancy took on a new role as "Mother of the Bride" or better yet, "The Wedding Planner."  Beth was a clueless bride to be.  Just 21 when she became engaged to Don, she had not spent her childhood dreaming up the perfect wedding.  Nancy knew exactly what was needed to pull off a classy and sophisticated wedding.  Of course, that would be money… and there was only enough for a budget "punch and cake" wedding.

Nancy with Beth and Don at weddingNancy would not put up with that.  She liked a challenge, and she worked well with a deadline. She put her list making and negotiating skills to work.  Luckily Beth was agreeable and egged her on with  "Great idea!" and "Why didn't I think of that!"  and "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

Nancy talked the Styx International House on the campus of Washington University into renting out their beautiful old building for $60. Then she found a wholesale florist willing to sell white ribbon and teach the skill of bow making.  Then Nancy tracked down a quartet of student musicians to play at the reception.  And a distant relative offered his professional photography skills for free.

It was soon time to bring the family silver out of storage for hours of polishing.  Elegant vases and candelabras would attract the eye away from simple, economical floral and candle displays.  Then the night before the wedding friends and family were bribed with food and drink to help with last minute details on cheap but classy reception foods.  Nancy guided friends (full of celebration) in the art of "grape sugaring".  Then when guests left, she quietly washed the sloppy fruits and started over to create the sugared hors d'oeuvres she had envisioned.

Cartoon by David MeyerNancy waited until the morning of Beth and Don's wedding to accomplish the most difficult of wedding tasks.  Using some of her best bluffing (or was it coaxing or distracting skills?), Nancy managed to get her family to Graham Chapel eight hours before the wedding to put white bows on the pews.  Then vases nearly as tall as the bride were dragged onto the alter.  Then it was off to Styx House with Pledge and brooms.  (This charming building was used for student gatherings, not weddings)  In a whirlwind of slaphappy humor and an occasional grumble, Nancy and her four kids cleaned the cobwebs and swept the floors.  They covered tables with heirloom cloths and laid out silver and crystal.  The bathrooms were scrubbed and the paper towels were replaced with neatly pressed linen.   

When Nancy and the kids finished, it was time to shower and dress for an elegant, simple wedding.  It's true that much money had been saved by Nancy's clever ideas and her willingness to work.  But better yet, she gave her children a valuable lesson about achieving goals with determination… or at the very least they learned about the art of pre-wedding cleaning prep, and how that leads to family bonding.

Thanks, Mom!
I'll never forget it.