Venues and music and cakes and shawls and oh my!

So, we went venue hunting on Thursday. To set the scene, finding a good venue was pretty critical – and we were away that weekend. I mean, a lot hinged on having a venue – everything else could be figured out / bought last minute; even the dress if needs be. You know my attitude: if I don’t fit into the dress on the day – I’ll go get a new one… If the catering doesn’t turn up – it becomes a fancy pizza party… No alcohol? No problem; that is what Sam’s Club is for. But we do actually need somewhere to hold the darn thing and need it stat seeing as:

1)   Many things are ‘on hold’ until you have a concrete date and address “please turn up June the something somewhere in Alabama” doesn’t go down very well;

2)   It is the main part of our budget. We were aiming for $1,500 max, but if it HAD to be $3,000 then it had to be – we’d adjust elsewhere;

3)   People in England really needed to get to booking their flights;

So Wes and I are in the car, desperately optimistic, driving through Jasper – aware that it is not the most er… picturesque of Alabama locales, but is the closest ‘major’ town to the proposed venue. We turn off the interstate, and start wending our merry way through the back roads, and start to get untidy and unkempt and downright neglected and dangerous and they get worse and worse… paved roads give way to dirt tracks which give way to rubble. Dead animals line the sides of the road, and tranches of woodland have been forested leaving exposed sand and a few bare stumps / branches. I plaster a smile on my face. We turn left onto the road (aptly named ‘Dismal Road’… not even joking) and see a dilapidated house next to some murky water. Determined not to be a bridezilla I say nothing. Wes looks at me and says with faux brightness ‘So… baby, if you don’t like this, you must just say, because we can totally find another place’. ‘It’s awful!’ I burst out, and Wes nods grimly in agreement. In steely determination we continue down the road…. Things aren’t getting better and we spy a gorgeous chalet style home with huge garden gently sloping to the lake. Concerned about sorting this out and a little blue, Wes said “if only that were the place”.

It was! Somehow this haven of grace and beauty in the midst of devastation and neglect was the place to rent. Yaaaaaaay! It is a gorgeous 5 BR lakehouse with a huge garden to have the ceremony in. 2 large reception (party) rooms, and nice side rooms for people to relax or have a quiet moment. Also a huge deck all the way around the front. Could not be more perfect. And under our budget. Phew (which is good as we managed to forget to budget for a minister… somewhat of a necessary expense).

Then… more good news. I had some trauma with a wedding band – the ring from Wes was so darn nice that anything less than largish colourless diamonds looked rubbish (but were hideously expensive), and a plain white gold band even worse. It was the last day of a JC Penney 40% sale, with an extra 20% off if you took a card out. Miraculously I was approved… so we got the perfect band of ½ carat colourless diamonds that are eye clean for inclusions (and not bad under 10 X magnification). J C Penney also have a good rep for their cuts, which are done well. So we saved lots and lots on something pretty:

Then, my Ma agreed to make the cake!! I was so excited, we had picked someone to make them (who does make amazing cakes) but Wes and I’s dream forthe wedding was to have it as personal as possible, and as memorable, which means involving our friends as much as possible. Then after some cajoling, Ma (somewhat reluctantly) also agreed to try to go for the full 3 tiers. Woo-hoo! She is worried it will go wrong – Wes and I are utterly prepared for this. Cake stands at T J Maxx + 3 publix cakes (carrot, sponge and chocolate) = an amusing anecdote and memory 🙂

Finally, I was slightly worried about getting BBQ sauce / ketchup on my dress. My friend Emily wandered into my office and said ‘are you thinking of doing the whole tiara / wrap thing… coz if you are, I would love to make your wrap’. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Her husband, Nate, is also playing my entrance music and Wes and my exit music (forget what they call it – precessional and recessional or exitsessional or sessional something-or-other). And Wes’ Mum is making bows for the chairs for the aisle seats.

And so, with the advent of a venue, I could actually ask people to save the date. I have to make all the invites, programs, decoration etc, so I wasn’t sure I wanted to make Save the Date Cards… nor spend lots of $$$ on buying some. So everyone got a save the date email:

So… we’re getting exactly what we want, at a price we can afford, and I feel very blessed. And I promise to write some non wedding / Atkins posts soon. Maybe 🙂

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