I'm going to be a June bride!
Yes folks it's true. We finally picked a place and set a date. June 18, 2011. I can't even wait but let me tell you with the amount of planning to be done I am thankful for the time to plan/plot.
As you all know, we got engaged last September and I immediately dove headfirst into planning. I trolled the Internet all day gathering venue ideas, contact info, pricing. I made dozens of phone calls. I started an Excel spreadsheet, people! After a few weeks though we did not have a place but we did have a sense of dissapointment. It seemed impossible to find a place that suited us, what we wanted for a wedding, what kind of people we were AND within a budget we were comfortable with. And I had this increasing sense that I didn't have the quote unquote bride gene.
I didn't want to wear a big white dress. I didn't want to have this endless ceremony with readings and songs. I didn't want to have a formal reception with organized dances and an order of events. These are lovely wedding tradiditions but they are not OUR traditions. I felt like a duck trying to plan a swan party.
Not to get totally unromantic on you, but the wedding industry? Total racket. I cannot believe how much more things cost when you go from having a "party" to having a "wedding". I could not wrap my mind around spending $20,000 for ONE DAY OF MY LIFE. I was never the girl who pictured myself on my wedding day, instead I pictured the man I could spend my life with and I have that so really the wedding is secondary. You would not believe how unpopular an idea that is. I would tell a potential caterer "We just want to do something low key and fun" only to be told "But it's your DAY! You should go all OUT!". I would tell a venue manager "I really dont want to spend more than $8,000 on this wedding in total" and basically get tossed out with the number to the nearest city hall.
To further complicate things, my parents told us they were going to be going into the Peace Corps and leaving this summer most likely which makes a Fall '10 wedding unlikely (which was our original plan). Since they would not be able to travel back to the states until probably spring of 2011. I am happy they are going since they are perfect for the Peace Corps and will love it, but a part of me was like "shoot!".
So for a few months we just hung out, being engaged but without a plan. Then in December/January as my parents' plans firmed up I threw myself full force back into the planning process, this time with a clear vision of what I wanted. Summer wedding. Tons of outdoor space. Japanese lanterns. On the water. Low key. Maybe a cookout/bbq. Awesome. And I decided there was NO way I couldn't make this work with our budget so back to the internet I went. Trolling for non traditional sites, searching for blogs of like minded local brides to see what they did.
And then last week I stumbled upon Camp Kiwanee's website. And as I clicked around, hope bloomed within me. I loved everything about it. The lodge (rustic but gorgeous), the huge porch out back overlooking the pond (so we could do the ceremony outside even if it rained), the gorgeous woodsy setting (I grew up going to overnight camp every summer in the Berkshires and this place reminds me of that place so much). It was close enough that most of our guests wouldn't need to get a hotel but if they wanted to they totally could. It was just gorgeous. I sent the link to Adam and my mother and they both agreed it would be perfect. So I emailed the facilities manager and made an appointment to check it out that Saturday.
It was funny, on the way there Adam and I got into an arguement. Now, we don't really "fight" but we get in little tiffs from time to time mostly when I am driving and he is trying to direct me because I have the worst sense of direction and do not know my left from my right. SO when he says "take a left here" I will usually take a right unless he points as he is directing. For some reason he finds this frustrating? Shocking. So we were arguing on the way down the wooded lane to the lodge about how I should have called the guy we were meeting and asked for directions instead of us getting lost and I am like "I'm driving, shut up" and we get out of the car and are like "Hmph" and walk into the lodge, and in an instant all is well. The main room is huge and light and airy with large windows overlooking the pond out back. There is exposed gorgeous beams everywhere with white christmas lights wrapped around. We look at each other and back at the room and I can tell we are both like "Holy crap this is our place!"
We met Jim the facilities manager and liked him right away. Super nice, low key guy who gave us the grand tour and answered every single one of our questions. Unlike other facilities managers we had met with he didn't roll his eyes when I said we wanted to have karaoke at the reception, instead he said "Dude that would be AWESOME". See? Our kind of guy.
I didn't even tell him our budget nor ask for pricing details but as the tour ended he turned to us and says "There really isnt't any reason you can't have a great wedding here for like $7,000". I was like "Jim can I hug you?". Seriously? A place we love and the words I have been waiting to hear since Adam proposed!! A beautiful wedding that won't put us in debt! C'est un miracle!
As we left Camp Kiwanee I asked Adam what he thought and he was as giddy as I was. I emailed the office an hour after we left. And Monday recieved the rental agreement. After a little more negotiating our deposit was sent and our date was booked!!
We have a lot of planning ahead of is. I had wanted a place where you can kind of DIY everything since we want our own DJ, our own caterer (bbq, of course), and to have as much control as possible over the details. But since I have a little less than a year and half to plan I am confident everything will fall into place. I'm just so relieved and very hopeful that it's not that I don't have the bride gene I just needed to find the perfect space!