Thursday, February 14, 2008

I thought I was actually going to write more in this thing but I've been preoccupied in the kitchen.

Matt and I have made some solid plans for a nice, budget wedding that we like to call traditional-with-a-twist. I was feeling a lot of pressure to either bend completely to tradition or bend completely away. All of this bending made me feel like I was going to lose my mind. I wasn’t getting anywhere. There had to be a way to combine both. After all, as much as I am an individual, I still respect and admire tradition. So I sat down and thought about what I had to work with, wrote out some lists, and began to move forward.

Matt’s business only allows him a small window of time in which he can get away so it was either January or August. August = TOO BLOODY HOT, so it had to be January. I had a tough time dealing with this at first. I kind of envisioned an outdoor wedding and instead found myself having to do something entirely indoors. While most people said, “You should just do it in the fall like you want,” I was thinking of anniversaries and celebrations in the years to come. Granted we can’t guarantee what the future may hold, it was important to me to consider it. Fortunately, Matt and I both love winter. A January wedding would force me to be creative and by gum, I was going to make this thing happen. Here it goes:

About a month ago, I went to try on dresses with my mother. I felt like this would help me to make some decisions; I needed to see myself as a bride. I was right. The second dress I tried on was the one for me and it was on sale for $350 so I went ahead and bought it. Yes, a year early but I loved it so much and there is no doubt it is the right look for me, elegant yet contemporary. My dad nearly cried when he saw it and Matt smiled and said, "My baby." Yes, Matt saw the dress. We aren't superstitious about things like that. Besides, it will be hanging in our house for the next year, he was bound to see it anyway.

Once I bought the dress, the rest of the logistics planning came to me like a flood. Here are some of the things we have nailed down:

Matt and I chose to get married on a Sunday, for the following reasons:

  1. While everyone will tell you, “It’s your day, you can have whatever you want,” that’s a load of malarkey. You can have what you want between specified hours, with the approved caterer and production team, this DJ company, etc, etc. This completely sucks.
  2. We get an entire wedding weekend. Yes, an ENTIRE wedding weekend. Complete with pampering, time with family and friends, and a chance to absorb everything that is happening to us.
  3. No Central Maryland rush hour traffic on Friday night, no busy Saturday afternoon shopping traffic. No stress. Done.
  4. Site rental fees drop SIGNIFICANTLY for Sunday receptions. For example, our reception site wanted $5000 for a Saturday rental but only $1500 for a Sunday. SCORE!
  5. Start times are usually flexible for both ceremony and reception. We can have an afternoon into evening wedding no problem! This is excellent since the ceremony site has a giant skylight. Let the sun shine in, or the rain beat down on the glass, whatever.
  6. It's different without being off the wall.

The ceremony is in an interfaith center. My father really wanted a Christian ceremony, which I was not opposed to, and an interfaith center is a nice compromise. The room we will be in is minimalist and non-denominational. I found a rather awesome Protestant minister to perform the ceremony, who offers readings from poets like Rainer Maria Rilke—see again, awesome. The room has lovely art glass windows but the best part is the previously mentioned HUGE skylight that is set in a vaulted ceiling. I can bring the outdoors inside and this was the selling point for me. There is another skylight in the atrium, as well as a fireplace so there will be a fire burning for our wedding, which is cozy, inviting, warm, and passionate.

Our reception is in an old manor house/restaurant. Matt and I both knew this was the place we wanted to have our party even before we talked seriously about getting married. A river runs through the woods behind the manor house and the grounds are lovely even in winter. It’s easy to get in and out of the house and tent so, again, there is that element of bringing the outside in. The following is provided:

  1. An event manager that is present at the event to ensure things run smoothly. This is SO incredibly important.
  2. And outstanding, phenomenal, glorious, wide variety of food.
  3. Exceptional service.
  4. An event team that is willing to work with you as opposed to having you work with them.
  5. Four beer options, one of which can be seasonal beer. Mmm … rich, hearty winter ale.
  6. We can make our own CDs to play in the manor house and hire a DJ to run the dance party for us out in the (heated) tent. Perfect.
  7. Flexible Sunday hours.
  8. Fires in the gas fireplaces.
  9. Since we are getting married in January, we got the fifth hour for no charge.

To make this happen, Matt and I cut the guest list to family and a smattering of our oldest friends, which still ended up being around 120 people (sheesh!), and chose to do it on a Sunday. It’s totally affordable this way. In addition to being affordable, we get to have a smaller wedding than originally planned (by my parents), which is what we really want, and my parents still get to have a decent-sized event, which is what they want.

Remember earlier when I spoke about having to be creative? Well flowers are one item I had to think long and hard about. I am opposed to a bouquet of spring flowers in winter so I started working on winter themes and came up with Cranberry and White Chrysanthemum. Not only is this strikingly simple and indicative of winter, it will save us a ton of money. In addition, my mom and I are going to make cranberry preserves as a wedding favor. How delicious! Looks like I’ll be spending more time in the kitchen. Hooray!

We have lots more planning to do but I’m really excited how things are coming together. It’s nice to have a year to think, plan, and execute. I have a supportive mother and a fiancĂ© with yea or nae opinions about what he wants—no questions asked, no reasoning needed. He either likes it or he doesn’t—he’s a guy, after all. I’m grateful that he is being a part of this as much as he can because really, while all eyes are on me coming down the aisle, it’s not just my day. This day isn’t just for me, it’s for Matt, our families and our friends. It's a time to celebrate who we are and I'm doing my best to make that happen.

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