in partnership
This mother-in-law learned that when planning a wedding at your home, the doubts will come, but the best thing to do is stay calm and keep them to yourself. Everything will work out in the end. (Image: Courtesy

Staying sane planning an at-home wedding ... as the MIL

When my son Scott asked me if he could have his wedding at my house, I was thrilled. Then I thought ... a hundred people, moving furniture, pulling up rugs. The fear quickly set in -- all I could think of was Father of the Bride.

Scott and his fiancée Samantha, a lawyer, had definite ideas of what they wanted -- a fun, casual party with friends and family. "Not a backyard barbecue, but not a banquet either," said Samantha. As for food, the menu consisted of items memorable to their relationship, mainly pizza. Being from New York, all my friends said, "What kind of main course is pizza at a wedding?" Even with a salad, a huge antipasti bar and a dessert table, my fear was turning to panic.

Not wanting to be pegged as the mother-in-law from hell, I stood down and keep the worries to myself ... most of the time.

The date was set: December 12, 2015. Why December? Scott is a golf pro which eliminated the warm weather months. And winter is their favorite season anyway. But that only added more worry. Would we have ice or snow? Oh no ... wet shoes and coats and umbrellas!

Their planning began shortly after Christmas, 2014, and boxes quickly began arriving. Not gifts, but boxes filled with lights, linens, trees with little lights, red and white wine, silverware, plates of all sizes and glassware. And they kept coming. Our basement (and Scott's former bedroom) became a makeshift wedding DIY warehouse. Tip: If you have almost a full year to buy items off season, you can save a bundle!

As planning continued, the wedding expanded into a three-day, full-blown event. The kids wanted a small Friday night ceremony and I wanted a brunch for out-of-town guests.

Then something major happened. Samantha changed careers. She joined Something Fabulous, an event design production company. And that's when the wedding really turned into a production. One day, I found Scott and Samantha on our garage floor, sawing, painting and constructing a beer bar. I don't even know how many trips to Home Goods they made -- throws, pillows, even a had-to-have-it three-tier silver dessert tray were purchased. Samantha's parents, very crafty people who live in upper Michigan, constructed a wooden backboard for the "LOVE" sign and a display for the antipasti bar.

On Thursday, the dismantling of our house began. I left, but when I returned, paintings were down and my wine rack, rug, and coffee table were gone. The LOVE sign went up. Flowers were arranged. Reinforcements arrived, in the form of Samantha's boss and an intern (It helps to work with event planners, when DIY-ing your wedding). At 5:00 p.m. the tent arrived. At 9:00 p.m., it was set up. A pipe and drape hid the living room mess. By 11:00 p.m. everyone was gone.

Friday, a December day that turned out to be 70 degrees, Samantha and Scott moved our furniture into the tent to create "conversation areas." The guests arrived at 6:30 p.m. and hors d'oeuvres were served. A moving ceremony followed.

On Saturday guests arrived, and were blown away by how they transformed our house. The antipasti bar and dessert table looked like they belonged in the Four Seasons. In the end it turned out as beautiful as the Father of the Bride wedding---albeit without the swans and Martin Short.