One of my friends asked me if I was going to blog about this experience of planning a wedding, and I enthusiastically replied that I would, but honestly this is something that is very difficult to put out into the void because there are so many personal moments wrapped up in the whole business. There are arguments with family members, disagreements about what should be said in the ceremony, where it should be held, who to invite (my God, the guest list alone is going to kill us!), opinions on colors, flowers, tableware...it is ENDLESS. If you are a control freak (raising hand) and you were born into a family of control freaks (who you love dearly, btw), you are bound to clash on some things, and those things are personal, and feelings get hurt, and one just doesn't want to blog in detail about that stuff, you know?
One thing I would advise is to get yourself a good, understanding, supportive fiance who is on the same page as you. This is always a helpful first step. (I hate the word "fiance," by the way. Hate it.)
Once you have this supportive man/woman in place, find a venue, because until you do, you will lose your mind, lose sleep, lose weight from not being able to eat, and basically lose perspective on life in general. Once the venue is decided upon, things magically start to fall into place all at once and you realize all that worrying was for nothing and you must now reward yourself with a box of Cheez-Its and a glass of wine.
Rob and I went to Long Island and looked at 9 places. I had called 42. I'm not kidding, I have a spreadsheet. Now, understand that I am specifically speaking about the North Fork of Long Island, not like crazy-suburb-wedding-mecca Long Island. The North Fork is covered with vineyards, farms, and seaside locales that are all amazing spots to have a wedding. The even more amazing thing about these places is the prices they charge to have said wedding on their property. I mean, I am in the wrong business, people! We're talking site fees that range anywhere from $4,500 (which includes nothing, not even bathrooms) to $17,500 (which includes use of a waterfront winery, but does not include, tent, food, wine, or anything you actually need to have a freaking wedding). It was astounding to me. I grew up down the street from these places, rode my bike past them as a kid, and they are now official destinations for weddings.
We looked at one winery, two restaurants, one historic mansion, two parks, one community hall, two marinas, and one historic farm that were all in the range of our budget. Anyone who knows me well already knows which one we picked. We ended up going with the historic mansion. Brecknock Hall in Greenport is simply beautiful.
Of all the places we saw, this one had the highest site fee, but they negotiated with us on the price and the "pros" were well beyond any other place we had looked at. We have access to the building for two days. There are places where the whole wedding party can get ready. If it rains (please, God, no) we can have the ceremony inside the hall and it will still be lovely. We don't need to over-decorate because the place has a loveliness all its own. The ceremony can be held outside, dinner and dancing inside, and we can even get pictures by the water. The second we stepped foot in the building we were sold. The site fee goes toward the historic preservation of the building, plus they do a free wedding for a local veteran every year on Veterans Day, which I think is really special.
The building holds 90 people, so we have cut our guest list to shreds and are bound to offend people we really love, but if there were more than 90 people there, I would have a total nervous breakdown the day of the wedding. Not because I'm getting married, no. I'm very sure about Rob. It's the thought of walking down an aisle without tripping with everyone looking at me in profile. I can only have very very very close people who have known me most of my life looking at this nose from the side because they're all used to it already. All kidding aside, the guest list thing has been gut-wrenching, but we're doing our best and are so thankful for the people in our lives who have shared their happiness with us.
You know, Rob and I have been dating for a long time and I just love him to pieces. As full and wonderful as my life is, it would feel emptyish without him, and that is the most important thing to remember, to hold close at night. All this wedding nonsense can really get in the way of remembering what truly matters, the person you are marrying. As he has reminded me many a time over the last month, we could go to a Justice of the Peace and the result would be the same. I'm thankful that everything seems to be falling into place just as it should with all our plans, but I'm more thankful that we have each other right now. Because life is so short and I don't want to take any moments for granted or lose sight of the true things that bring meaning to life: loved ones, faith, and cats obviously.