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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Venue Search November 4, 2010

Who knew finding a reception venue would be so hard?  I am going insane looking, and I don’t feel like I can plan anything else until I find a place.  So much of my planning depends on the space I’m planning it in.  Decorations, the kind of dress I’ll wear, really even food (although we do have our hearts set on one specific caterer, I’m coming to the realization that we may have to give that dream up if I can’t find a space that will accommodate our needs and let us bring in an outside caterer) all depends on where we’re doing our damn reception.

We are more limited by our budget than I thought we would be, honestly.  We have a strict budget of $1000 for the reception venue, and I would love to keep it lower than that.  What we’re looking for is a space that will fit up to 130 people seated, with room for at least a dance floor (but preferably other extra room so we can have games), and allows outside caterers (or at least has a long list of approved caterers to choose from).  I’m not being super picky and saying “no reception halls” or anything like that.  I’ll host a wedding in a VFW, I don’t care.  What I care about is that my guests have yummy food and a good time, which includes dancing, games and socializing.  Why is this so much to ask for?!?!

Why isn’t there a list somewhere of all the places in town that do weddings?  There are lists on The Knot, and I have a magazine called Bridal Sites and Services, and a few local wedding magazines, but the only people on these lists are the super expensive places.  I’m talking $3,500 site fee, plus you must use their caterer (which probably sucks) at $18 bucks a head for their cheapest (and suckiest) entre.  For $18 a head I could cater my own damn wedding bar-be-cue style with all organic and local fare!  And it would actually taste good.

I found an art gallery that is totally in budget, and I really like it (it’s LEED certified, so it’s totally green), except I don’t think I could fit 130 people seated AND a dance floor in there.  So, if we wanted to dance, we’d have to move tables.  They say they fit 140 people seated or 200 standing in their main gallery, and I would also have access to their patio and another smaller gallery.  I suppose I could put the dance floor in the other gallery along with the bar.  Hmmmm …. I guess that would give my older guests a place to get away from the music if they don’t like it.  Ideas, ideas.

I’m still looking at different sites though.  We’ll see what happens.  My mother thinks I’m being unrealistic about how many people are going to show up to my wedding.  To be honest, 130 is just the maximum of how many people I think will show up (the minimum being 100).  My invite list is closer to 170.  There are people in my family and my friends who I am 99% sure they won’t show, because they have never traveled to come to weddings I’ve attended in the past, but I’m still going to send them an invitation, because I want them to feel like they’re a part of it, and because I would of course love to have them there if they can make it.  But I think I should be planning for the maximum amount of people I think will show up.  I think it’s better to have extra breathing room than to be too crowded in a small space.  I’m going to have guests in wheel chairs and walkers, after all.  Better to stay on the safe side and make sure there’s room for them to get around.  And what about the 1% chance my relatives in Connecticut and Florida want to come? It’s not a big chance, but it’s there.

My mother keeps saying only about a third of the people I invite will show up (meaning, ‘Jessy, I don’t think your friends are going to show’), and she might have a good point.  Only one of my friends showed up to my baby shower, and she only stayed for a little bit of it.  Only one friend showed up to my son’s first birthday, which I spent a fortune catering.  None of my friends came to my son’s baptism.  My birthdays are almost always forgotten entirely.  People have a tendency not to show up for my events.  But I’m inviting an entirely different group of friends to my wedding than I have invited to other events in the past (my past experience with special events has led me to seek out an entirely new group of friends), all of whom have expressed excitement about my upcoming wedding and a desire to go.  One is already planning a bridal shower.  Others are already planning the bachelorette party.  I think there is a good chance that most of them will show.

This didn’t stop me from having a disturbing dream the other night that no one came to my wedding except for Jeremy, my mom and my oldest little sister.  It wouldn’t have been so depressing, if there wasn’t a part of me that thinks that it might be a very real possibility.

This Sunday we are going to a bridal show, and I’m hoping I can get some ideas there.