Thursday, June 7, 2012

Booking A Backyard Venue

Alright, second post. I’m beginning to gain some momentum now. I told Adam that I was beginning to blog our wedding adventures yesterday, and my news was met with a highly overdramatic eye-roll. Oh, men.

So Adam and I have been engaged for almost a year now and kept fussing around with a date for our wedding. Money, family feuds, and college all kept effecting our dates. I must have changed my mind a thousand times. But the good news is now, WE HAVE BOOKED A VENUE FINALLY!!! Twelve Acres in Smithfield, RI.

It’s funny really. When I first got engaged, I had said I wanted a backyard wedding with lots of DIY decorations and simple, vintage details. As time passed our guest list grew and quickly surpassed backyard capacity. Our wedding turned into a giant thing, and we set the date in January to help keeps costs low and also because we could get married in between semesters, and then Adam could go back to school in late January to finish his last semester. Plus, I secretly love winter weddings.

See, my parents have 4 kids, three of which are girls, all about 18 months apart. So they couldn’t exactly take out a second mortgage to pay for this thing, because what you do for one, you must do for all. My dad makes decent money, but not enough to drop down $25,000 in one year for a 6 hour party. My parents don’t charge anything on credit cards and have no debt as a result. So having a wedding for 220 people just seemed impossible. But here’s the thing, Adam’s parents are stinking rich. Seriously millionaires. No joke. Initially, Adam and I didn’t want to ask his parents for any money for the wedding because we didn’t want to be “those people” who assume the wealthy friends will pay for everything. But then his parents started to insist on this huge guest list, even recommended a venue that was $150 a head. So we began to assume they would pay for it. Then when we sat down to agree to a budget, they said they would only give us $5,000. Hit the brakes – what?! They led us to believe they would take care of everything, even at one point said, “take whatever your parents can give you and whatever you guys save, and we’ll take care of the rest”. Then when it came down to it they backed out. WHY?

Well I sat down with Adam’s mom and asked her to level with me about the whole thing. She told me that they just felt like they “weren’t involved enough”. Hi, red flag. All aboard the Manipulation Express. So we realized then and there that their money came with strings attached. She told me that her side of the family, their BARE MINIMUM was 116 people. My mom’s minimum? 42. Yeah, not happening lady.

So there were all these fights and plans kept changing until Adam and I had to take a step back and decide that our wedding wasn’t going to be about money. It was about us and what we wanted. Adam and I aren’t big party people. We’d rather spend a night in, sharing a blanket and eating BBQ chips and chugging Dr. Pepper. So I took control of the situation. Yes, it took me 10 months, but I’ve got it now. So now I’m back to my relaxing vintage garden wedding. Which brings me back to our venue. Twelve Acres. He's a pic I snapped with my iPad when we went in to sign the contract.

It’s a little rough around the edges, but it has a lot of potential. I love the Chinese lanterns and there’s strings of little white lights around the perimeter. You can’t see the bar (it was behind me) and all those tent sides come down and it’s all green fields and woods surrounding you. They have horseshoe pits and a bocce pit to get guests out in the sunshine. It’s nice because it’s an actual roof, not a tent, and it has a real floor, not lumpy grass. And they provide all the food. We sprung for a lobster bake and steak fry menu. Sort of keeping with the backyard feel we wanted. Our menu for 200+ people (buffet style) cost us about $8,500, which is REALLY cheap for New England. My parents are paying for it. We haven’t even told Adam’s parents yet. Their daughter is getting married on the 15th, so we plan on telling them everything after that’s done so things aren’t so overwhelming for them. I think they are going to be PISSED that they weren’t involved in the selection process, but between us, they forfeited that privilege when they started using their money to manipulate us. I am so excited to share all my details with you! I’ve already started treasure hunting and came up with some really great ideas!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Finally, it begins.

So my fiancé and I have been engaged for 11 months now and have just now started getting our wedding plans in order. We knew we would have a long engagement, Adam was only 19 when he proposed, and I was 20. I know to some this seems crazy young, but don't worry your little heads. Adam and I have been dating since we were 15. We have never had to "take a break" or had a lot of drama between the two of us. We both come from conservative Christian families that instilled a deep respect of the sanctity of the marriage covenant within us from a very young age. We never were into "dating" and were each other's first serious relationship, obviously. We just both knew what we wanted and found that in each other. According to Adam, and verified by his best man, the second time Adam ever saw me he leaned over to his BM, Jake, and said, "Do you see that girl over there? I'm going to marry her". It took me a bit longer to realize what I had found, all of one week. I remember it clear as day, Adam didn't even have his license yet so I dropped him off and had taken my younger sister along for the ride. After dropping him off my younger sister was asking me what I thought, we had been unofficially dating for about a week at this point. I told her I knew I was going to marry him. And of course, she said that was crazy and we were so young, and that at our age we think every guy is "the one". Theres not too much you can say in response to that that doesn't make you look foolish, so I'd just nod my head. We got engaged on August 14, 2011. We had gone for a hike in the morning (during which Adam had been bitten by some evil bug) then saw some family, then went to my apartment. He told me he had to run out for a sec so I laid on my bed, fired up the Netflix and watched some Mad Men. After a while I heard the door open and found Adam standing in the doorway to my bedroom with his hands behind his back, a smirk on his face and a slightly sweaty forehead. I asked him what was wrong and he quickly walked over to the side of my bed and got down on one knee. I sat up as I realized what was happening. He started talking and choking back tears very quickly all at the same time. He told me how much I meant to him and how he has been blessed by our relationship and knew from the first time we spoke that I was his woman. It was just so organic and beautiful. Not forced or cheesy. I BALLED my eyes out. Of course, the one day I'm wearing mascara. He pulled the ring out and took a breath, looked me right in the eyes and said, "Amie, will you marry me" and the rest is history. We hugged and he cried too. It was the sweetest moment of my life. He put the ring on my finger and then we went to my parents house. He had already asked their blessing, which he received, so they were happy but not surprised. I work at the corporate office for a jewelry company so we got a sweet deal on an amazing diamond that we'd never be able to afford without my discount (and no, none of my money went towards my ring, it was all Adam). We got a nearly flawless .85 carat solitaire in 14k white gold with a very thin (2mm) band in a 6 prong setting. Adam insisted on a classing ring. I did not want to be involved in the ring selection process but because of my job, it was impossible not to be. If I could change one thing, that would be it. I wish I hadn't known because after I knew he had it, every day I was holding my breath. I squinted my eyes suspiciously every time he bent down to tie his shoe. It was torture. All in all, he waited three months after buying my ring to propose. Three long, looooong months. The only thing I asked was to be surprised, to not expect it, and Adam totally accomplished that. We can get back to our backstory later, but right now we are so overwhelmed with all things wedding. It's such an exciting time, we're just starting to put deposits down and have finally set a date - June 1, 2013. Less than a year away! FINALLY. Stay tuned for advice on a ton of DIY wedding projects, how to deal with hostile in-laws, jealous siblings, a non-existent budget, and how to achieve a vintage back yard wedding look that can accommodate 210 guests. Thanks for reading!