This happens to me every July and August. My calendar is full. I try to catch up with friends who are here for a limited time, and who I might not get a chance to see again until next year. Bruce and I either go out more or entertain more, which requires more off island shopping, which takes longer because there is more traffic and fewer parking spots with the influx of summer visitors. My garden has started to grow, it needs weeding and watering, and I just bought more annuals to put in because they were half price. I need to spend more time in the studio because some of the jewelry I made over the winter has sold, and now that I know what is selling I want to make more of those pieces for the stores and galleries before the short tourist season ends. There are hot sunny days that require an hour at the beach to see more friends and to cool off with a dip in the ocean. (Especially since I count on the aromatherapy of wearing the same sunscreen as a moisturizer in the winter to evoke those relaxing beach moments and keep my sanity.) Family members are showing up for their turn to stay at our summer house and I want to spend some time with them. I want to see everyone and do everything, and balance it all with the alone time I need so that the introverted part of my personality does not get exhausted. Whew! Is it any wonder I have reached the deadline for this column and I am coming up blank? Details are taking over my brain and crowding out my creativity as I make my home in one of summer’s dream destinations.

You would think I could remember to write a few columns ahead of time, to avoid this midsummer day-long stare at my computer. Maybe I’ll think of it next year, but this month and next I have an additional deadline clamoring for attention to details. Our son Robin and his fiancé Stephanie are getting married in a “destination wedding” on September 10. I have always wanted to go to one of these, though little did I know that the first one I would attend would occur practically in our own back yard. As a mother of two sons, I admit, I carried an image of this wedding taking place close to the bride’s hometown. I wonder if Cathy, as a mother of three daughters, pictured the same thing for Stephanie? Regardless of our traditional expectations, Tim and Cathy, and Bruce and I totally embrace the nontraditional plans of our offspring and their desire to be married on Islesford. We know it might take a little extra planning.

Robin, Stephanie and her parents visited the island in September of 2010 to choose the location for the ceremony and the reception. The Islesford Dock Restaurant, where the couple worked together in the past, has been the scene of many beautiful wedding receptions, and they confirmed it to be their choice as well. The ceremony itself will be in the front yard of our family’s summer home, which was built on the north shore of Islesford in 1906, as a gift to my great grandfather Reverend George Hill Bottome, from his parishioners at Grace Church in New York City. It is the same spot where Bruce and I were married 32 years ago, with the backdrop of the Eastern Way, Sutton Island, and the mountains of Mount Desert Island.

On an island, with no hotel or “bed and breakfast,” fine-tuning for the destination wedding starts with finding housing for 100 guests from out of town. Robin and Stephanie were wise to choose a wedding date after Labor Day, to minimize the competition for rentals. The search began last October and has been successful thanks to the timing and the generosity of many island friends. After Labor Day there is no restaurant open on the island, so we’re planning on a major-sized rehearsal dinner to accommodate dinner plans for all out-of-towners. We are limited only by the seating capacity of the Neighborhood House, which is 120, and it looks like we’ll be full.  Plans for boating are underway, and we have Wallace’s rentals lined up for things like chairs for the wedding and dishes for the rehearsal dinner.  Robin and Stephanie have hired a photographer and a hairdresser for the day of the wedding, and the menu they have chosen for the reception sounds delicious. Bruce’s sister Karen is making the wedding cake.  Her reputation for making a cake that is both gorgeous and delicious puts all of us at ease about that aspect of the big day.

The “island specific” details are what will keep August e-mails flying between the mothers of the bride and groom. It’s easy for me to say, “Oh, we’ll find someone to do that,” knowing that I have friends who have offered lots of help with details, and that island jobs have a way of just coming together at the last minute.  But most of Cathy’s support system is arriving with her, coming to unfamiliar territory just days before the wedding. I would be wise to reassure her with specifics such as who is meeting the boats and showing people to the houses where they will stay, and who is setting up chairs for the wedding. As her daughter recently e-mailed me, “I know it’s this kind of stuff that keeps my mom up at night.” If our roles were reversed, the same details would keep me awake too.

These specifics may keep me from thinking about what to write for a column next month, but for now they are getting me more organized and even more excited about the destination wedding. I will be so pleased to show off our beautiful island to our new family and friends. Bruce and I are so honored that Robin and Stephanie wanted to get married in the same place we did. And what do you know? Attention to these details just got me through my July 15 deadline.

-Islesford, July 15, 2011