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Friday, February 05, 2010

Wedding Saturday Within The Month of June

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.

Completely wretched.

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!

22 comments:

That Kind of Girl said...

Oh man, that venue looks GORGEOUS. Perfectly magical. Congrats on finding it -- and I'm happy you have enough time to plan without (hopefully) going crazy!

Mandy said...

It's gorgeous--I love it! Your wedding is going to be great.

J said...

That looks amazing! I just started looking at venues with my sister for her wedding and she wants something more rustic so I am definitely going to show her this.

Sky said...

You had me at karaoke... which we also are including in our anti-racket antiweddingindustrialcomplex event this May - 250 people for under 10k - we have succeeded and you will too!!! Congrats! Email me if you want to chat DIY!
-Sky

Caitlin said...

Oh my lord, Sarah. A year ago, I could have written the first half of this post. I was in EXACTLY your shoes. I felt like I had to become a player in The Bride Game to even THINK about a wedding, and yet doing so would not get us what we wanted. (Just a big party! Never dreamed about Wearing The White Dress! Cannot/don't want to spend a fortune!) It felt discouraging, and unfair. (Don't you love how people are all 'But it's your daaaa-eeyyy!' while staring at your wallet??). In the end we did it our way and it was everything we wanted. We got so many compliments on how fun, relaxed, and how very US it was and that was so validating. So I am here to tell you that there is hope! I have vendor recommendations if you want them. I will email you. CONGRATS!! xo

John J. Wall said...

Congrats on the venue, that's a huge deal.

For the love of god though, get a GPS, ours has eliminated all of the car arguments. Here, this is a good one http://bit.ly/cljCNj and tell me if you are going to buy it, I have a $20 gift card around here somewhere for your engagement present...

And you have to blog about it after you use it for a month.

eileen said...

yay! I'm so happy that you found the perfect spot...and it does look perfect. And the fact that you're having karaoke at the reception makes me want to marry you and adam.

Sarah said...

Beautiful, Sarah. Your wedding is going to be fantastic. Have so much fun with the planning process!

Melissa said...

What a lovely venue!! Congratulations!!

Sarah said...

John we have Tom Tom BUT I was under the distinct impression that I knew where this place was so we didn't bring it. Super smart!! Thanks for the offer though!

Brianne said...

what a GREAT place!

matthew said...

matt will bartend this occasion! hahaha

kim said...

it looks gorgeous, sarah! <3

Jenn said...

Ha, I have a feeling I am similarly non-bride-gened as your stories from your early searching strike fear into my heart. I don't like the idea of people telling me it's "MY DAY" and so I should spent a bazillion dollars. I also hate wasting money on things I don't care about just because you're "supposed to" etc.

I'm so excited for you that you found this place! It looks just lovely. Hooray!

Anonymous said...

Camp Kiwanne Rocks!!!!

Anonymous said...

That is so great! I have read your blog for a few years now and really enjoy it. I am quite a bit older than you but can really relate to many things. I am getting married in April and we have similar ideas. Have fun planning!!!

Melissa said...

How exciting!!!!!!!!!! Your venue looks GORGEOUS!

Jenny said...

Gorgeous and perfect!!! So excited for you!! And remember - I'm here for any advice! :)

Suzanne said...

I just got engaged on Friday night. Although we probably won't be getting married until September 2011, I am so excited that I am already planning it in my head. We are on a pretty strict budget ... as in, we have no money now, but hopefully we will by next September! :-) A friend recommended Camp Kiwanee, and so of course I looked it up online and already fell in love with it. So much more my style (and budget) than some snobby luxury hotel. I'll definitely be bookmarking your blog, and maybe you can share some info with me as the planning progresses. Good luck with everthing.

Sarah said...

Congratulations Suzanne! That's awesome. We should definitely share tips/tricks. Drop me an email sarah . stewart@ gmail . com (without the sapces of course!

Erika said...

Hi! Congratulations! I am actually getting married at Camp Kiwanee this August! We fell in love with it immediately. Have lot's of fun with the planning. I am!

Good Luck!
Erika

Sarah said...

Erika that is awesome! Would you mind if I emailed you? I Have a few questions actually (Kiwanee logistics!) My email is sarah . stewart @ gmail. com (no spaces)