Green Cheap Wedding

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Overhaul! December 6, 2010

After speaking to my mother and Jeremy about my wedding concerns, we have decided that since I have not signed any contracts yet, we are going to move in another direction.  First of all, we are going to move our wedding forward a month or two so that it will be warm enough to have an outdoor wedding, which is what I always dreamed of.  We are considering a few outside locations, but if none of them work, we’re probably just going to hold the reception in our back yard.  So this year, I’ll be gardening with a purpose.  I guess I always have a purpose, but I’ll have even more purpose this year.

A back  yard wedding will save fantastic amounts of money.  We pretty much will only have to rent tables and chairs, which is about $1100 cheaper than the reception hall was.  We also will be able to let people serve themselves out of kegs, vastly reducing our alcohol costs.  We can bring in our own caterer without issue, and our patio should make a decent dance floor.  We can decorate the day before, or even days before.  Because we’re saving so much, we’re going to switch our wedding to a Saturday, meaning we can start earlier, and get more partying in before noise ordinances are an issue.

The only things I’m concerned about is parking and how the neighbors will feel.  I think I can appease most of my neighbors by inviting them.  As for parking, I think the best option will be to encourage people to car pool (which is green!  I’ve been worried my wedding isn’t green enough).  I’m thinking we may have 130 or so guests (apparently, a lot more of Jeremy’s family is going to come than we originally thought), and they’ll probably be arriving in 50 to 60 cars.  Anything we can do to cut that down will be great, because parking isn’t exactly abundant in our neighborhood.  I should also verify with our HOA that this is going to be cool.  Or maybe I shouldn’t.  Better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission sometimes.  There are things about our yard they don’t know about, and I don’t want them to (our beehive, cough, cough).

So as it stands right now, we’re probably going to be doing a back yard wedding.  I feel much better about this.

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Success! Venues and other news November 23, 2010

So, I’ve found a reception site.  It’s nothing special, beauty wise, but it has plenty of space, is handicapped accessible, it’s open until the wee hours of the night and it allows me to bring in an outside caterer and my own booze.  Score!  Really, it’s not nearly as important to me to have a beautiful venue as it is to make sure my guests have a really, really good time.  That’s just not possible in a beautiful but small space, or a place that makes us be out by 10:30 (as my runner-up choice did).

It does some nice features for a reception hall.  A fire place and a large, pretty patio space chief among them.  It’s next to a golf course, which doesn’t exactly thrill me, but you know what?  Who cares?  We’re going to have yummy Mexican food, open bar (well, only beer, wine and margaritas will be served, but that’s enough) and good music.  That’s all that matters.

The reception venue is also just a few miles away from my church, so I’ve decided to go ahead and do the ceremony there.  I got all the paperwork and now am overwhelmed with options I hadn’t even thought of before.  Do I want my guests to sing hymns during the service?  Do I want our mothers to light the unity candle for us?  What order will our attendants be walking down the aisle in?  Will we be serving communion during our services?  Hmmmm …. probably not, that sounds kind of cool, I don’t know, and maybe?  I didn’t even know that was an option in a Lutheran service.  We do serve some kick ass yummy communion bread at my church.  Not those lousy wafers Catholics eat.

My church offers the services of two wedding coordinators to help me with these planning issues, which is awesome.  They’re also cool with interfaith marriages, which, if you count non practicing Catholic / vaguely agnostic as a faith, our wedding will be.  But it’s costing more to do a church wedding than I thought it would.  We have to pay for our pre wedding counselling, which I didn’t expect, and I don’t know how much the donation to the church in thanks to God for our union is expected to be.  Even if we didn’t get married actually in the church, though, we’d still have to pay these things if I want to use my pastor.  Which I do.  I don’t want some stranger to marry us when the guy who confirmed me and baptized my son is right here.

So now I have to start thinking about decorating and vendors.  My mom works with a photographer who does really cool work, and I totally planned on hiring her, until I looked at her prices.  She’s about $1000 over our budget.  So now I’m looking for someone else and feeling pretty disappointed because I’ve already fallen in love with her stuff.  I also found a DJ I really like, but she’s kind of expensive.  She had two home births though!  I know, that’s not a good reason for hiring a DJ, but she also has an extensive collection of indie music and that’s hard to find.  I promised I’d look at other options before hiring her though.

As far as decorating goes, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this wedding.  If I could add a Mexican flair to this type of decor, I’d be all over it.  Don’t know how my family would feel about such a shin dig.  They’d probably think it was cool, for any other event but a wedding.  Why does everyone think a wedding has to be so super formal?  It doesn’t have to be.  Why can’t it just be a big, fun, comfortable party for everyone involved?  I mean, if I’m going to be spending this much money, I want my wedding to be really enjoyed, not just appreciated aesthetically.

Something I really love about this wedding is that the couple made almost everything all by themselves.  It is my instinct to DIY as much of my wedding as I can, but all I hear from everyone is “Don’t do too much DIY, you’ll drive yourself crazy.”  Well aren’t you equally as likely to drive yourself crazy trying to control every little detail that you’re depending on someone else (who you ultimately cannot control) to provide?  Doesn’t it make more sense, if you’re going to drive yourself crazy, to do it on your own terms?  This couple inspires me.  I don’t think I want to be building my own dance floor, or anything, but I would love to make my own napkins and thank you cards.  Come on.  I have a year.  I just need to time everything.  I’ve already plotted out a timeline for cheese making (which reminds me, I need to buy the stuff I need to make the gruyere – I’ll bet Jeremy could make me a cheese press for cheap!)

In other DIY news, I harvested honey and wax from my bee hive over the weekend (and got stung once!  It’s the first time I’ve been stung in 8 months of bee keeping!  I have a welt the size of my palm, and it’s super itchy).  I have so much wax, I’m going to attempt to make my own unity candle out of it.  It might be the ugliest candle in the world, but it will be super meaningful, having come from the bees that my mom and I raised in the hive Jeremy built.