Green Cheap Wedding

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Things are coming together now December 20, 2010

It’s almost Christmas and I’m about to put wedding planning on the shelf for about two weeks.  I’m feeling pretty comfortable with where I’m at right now and happy with how things are looking.

After much searching, I found a photographer I just love, Clara Images.  They do fantastically artistic and unique work for a really reasonable price, comparatively, I am actually able to purchase their unlimited package, which is more photographic coverage than I ever dreamed of when I started planning, and sure to be the number one thing that will make me feel like a princess all day, and help me to be happy with my wedding for the rest of my life.  Pictures are the one part of the day that lasts.  Oh yeah, and the commitment we’ll make to each other.

I also had someone from Butler Rents out to look at our yard and estimate what we’ll need.  We’re getting an assortment of tables, some with umbrellas for the sunny parts of our yard, and we’ll be getting tables for food and cake and bar and just to place around the dance floor (our patio) for people to set drinks and whatnot on if they’re standing.  We’re also getting keg coolers, how cool is that?

Jeremy is excited to build a small deck to place the head table on.  We’re using the deck to cover my son’s sandbox, and we’ll place the head table on top of that.  Meanwhile, I am excited to start cheese making, which I will probably do tonight when I start my gouda.  Gouda has to age 6-9 months, and I will be making several batches over the next few weeks, because I’ve never made hard cheese before, and I think making a few batches increases my success chances.  If we have too much, well, then we’ll be eating cheese for a while after the wedding.

Tomorrow we are going to try on wedding dresses.  This is my second trying on of dresses.  I’m being sort of secretive about the dress thing.  I’m not sure why.  Rest assured, I will never, ever share pictures here.  Okay, maybe I will after the wedding.

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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.

 

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.