Finding a venue was almost as hard as choosing a date. We had to find a venue that would comfortably hold about 75 people, with the availability for an on-site ceremony, and an easy distance from all of our local(ish) relatives. We thought this would be pretty easy. Unfortunately, since we had moved the date from the dead of winter to the end of the wedding season, our choice in venue would also determine our wedding date. When we were planning a winter wedding, we had gone to visit Steele Hill Resorts, where my parents had met. It was a beautiful location but, the distance was too far for some of our relatives. So we continued our search.
Most venues that we looked at online seemed to be equipped for either a huge wedding (150 +) or an itsy bitsy one (less than 20). Since we are planning an in between size wedding, neither of these seemed like a good fit. We started to play with the idea of using someone’s backyard and using an outside caterer, but that seemed to be just as expensive as doing a traditional sit down meal in a standard venue. Plus, we couldn’t find anyone who a backyard that was flat enough to put up a big tent, or big enough to hold all the people that we wanted to attend. We looked at dozens of places online and when we did the math, the venue and the food usually took all of our modest budget.
Finally, we found Candia Woods. When we were looking at the venue online, the food sounded good, the pictures were beautiful and the location was perfect. We set up an appointment to go visit and meet with the wedding coordinator when there was still snow on the ground. We talked to the coordinator for a while and went to see their reception hall. We had to use our imaginations a little since they were using it for a storage area and workshop over the winter, so there was power tools, dropcloths, chairs and plant pots everywhere. But under, or rather above, the mess were exposed beams, floor to ceiling windows and a faux fireplace. After we let our imaginations run wild, we decided that this was the perfect location and sat down to discuss dates, which is how we ended with a September 30th wedding!
The first step, (after saying yes of course!) was probably the hardest. Picking a date for the wedding felt like it was impossible!
At the beginning, it was easy, we wanted either Friday or Sunday, since those days are cheaper and would allow our friends and family ample travel time. And I knew one thing: I wanted to get married in the wintertime. The only thing I had ever pictured about my wedding was the elegance and simple beauty of getting married with the snow falling in the background and the evergreen trees covered in a sparkly layer of new snow. Plus, the wintertime is off-season for wedding season, so vendors are willing to give steep discounts, or so we thought. Every time we did out the math for the vendor fee, site fee, setup fee, breakdown fee, rooms tax, meals tax and the food for our approximately 75 guests, we very nearly used up all of our budget. In order for those to work, everyone would have to wear potato sacks, there would be no flowers or decorations, no JP, DJ or photogs.
So Bug and I sat down and discussed the date, it seems he was hesitant about the winter wedding to begin with, but wanted to make me happy so he didn’t say anything. We around tossed the idea of springtime, but those dates either left us with too little time to plan the wedding, or too long of an engagement. I quickly vetoed the summer, because who wants to melt in their dress clothes. So we were left with the fall. The fall could be a pretty time for a wedding, so we picked a date in the middle of August, turns out it was also my grandparents anniversary. They agreed that we could share their wedding date. As we started looking for venues, we got Bug’s cousin’s Save the Date in the mail for the first weekend in September, so that meant that weekend was out of the question too.
Once we found a venue that we liked (more on that tomorrow), we talked to them about what date they had available. All the weekends in August were already taken, so we moved on to September, trying to put as much time between our wedding and the cousin’s. My mom was so excited when she put down the deposit and confirmed our date! It was finally official, we were getting married on September 30, 2012!
Though I won’t get the winter wedding that I wanted, we will instead get a beautiful wedding, with all of our family and friends, and we won’t have to worry about whether our family will be able to make it due to the unpredictability of New England weather. Just 167 days to go!
I’ve decided to spare my Facebook friends, my colleagues, and most of all, my father, from the continued rantings, ravings and planning of my not-so-traditional impending nuptials. So this will be my outlet for the good, the bad and ugly of my wedding planning (while trying to finish my bachelor’s degree, start a master’s degree in a separate field, find a new apartment and get my Bug a new job).
So far, the planning has been like a roller coaster ride, first nothing was getting done. I couldn’t decide on what I wanted the venue to look like, what I wanted the atmosphere to feel like, what I wanted the theme to be, anything. Bug was being relatively unhelpful, but that wasn’t a problem. He said for most aspects of the wedding he only wanted what would make me happy, if he had an opinion on something, he would let me know, otherwise he was okay with what I wanted. After weeks of getting nothing done, we finally figured out why. I was trying to plan the perfect, white, traditional wedding that everyone seemed to want, without thinking about what fit me and Bug best. Then I found my new favorite website ( http://offbeatbride.com/), all about brides who don’t want to follow every expectation their families have for them.
Once I finally decided to plan a day that suited us, not everyone else, things started to get done. We found a great venue with awesome food (and golf carts for pictures!), rock walls and a covered bridge, where we can plan a meal that everyone (including me!) can eat. We finally found my wedding dress, after I fell in love with a dress I couldn’t afford (even though Bug said I could), and it’s not white, cream, champagne, ecru, vanilla or any name for kinda white, but not really. We finally got save-the-dates sent, we bought weddings bands, found a baker who specializes in allergen-free cakes, picked a theme, and settled on a color scheme that doesn’t make my sister look like she’s an extra on Walking Dead. But we still have a long way (and 168 days!) to go.
So here’s to embracing our inner geeks, our inner gamers, and my rebellious, stubborn streak. Here’s to breaking traditions, not just to break them, but because we don’t agree with them. And here’s to planning a day that while it is a celebration of us, our love for each other, and the start of our new life as husband and wife, it is also a day to celebrate the blending of two families, and hopefully to have a whole lot of fun!