March 26, 2014

Reception & Ceremony Locations!

Thank you all for your lovely comments and e-mails last week! This week’s post is also a bit long, but there is a surprise at the end!

Before I was able to send out the invitations or even the STDs Thomas and I had to be sure of the location of our ceremony and/or reception. As I mentioned last week we had looked into having the wedding at a restaurant but the huge price tag that came with it would not work for me, so we had to look at alternatives. What I quickly realized was that weddings are super expensive! Especially venues to hold receptions. Every place I look at was either really expensive or required A LOT of decorating on my part. I’ve mentioned before that I am not crafty, so this was a big problem for me. I had to find a location that did not need me to provide decorations beyond maybe a couple here or there.

This led to the conclusion that the best thing for me would be to have the reception at a restaurant. Thomas had suggested using his parents backyard at some point but I did not want to do this. I didn’t think it formal and I desperately want a formal evening.  Also, while the backyard is a decent size it isn’t as large as I would want because it will not allow a lot of moving room with 75 people or so attending. I looked into a few different restaurants but we couldn’t really pick one. At some point I realized that our best option, since we were really trying to keep the cost down, would be to have the reception in their backyard. Thomas promised me that there would be enough space and calculating seats by the tables that his mom had used for his sisters’ wedding last summer, we figured out that although it will be tight there will be enough room for all of us.

I knew early on that the reception would be catered by Stone Fire Grill. They have amazing food! (No, they are not giving me anything to say this, but if they want to I wouldn’t be opposed!). SFG is also very inexpensive. My per person cost is $11 with my total bill probably running at $1000. They also have great service; I went to a birthday party they catered a few years ago and they did a good an amazing job at serving the food (via buffet line) and then boxing up and cleaning up after the event. There was no question in my mind that they would do my catering. This seemed to ruffle feathers because some people thought that if I wanted a formal evening that I shouldn’t have such informal catering. I basically did not really give that much mind because the food is delicious and both Thomas and I love it (I should mention he and I work a few blocks away the SFG is within walking distance!).

When Thomas and I came to the conclusion that our ceremony and reception would be held in different locations, I started to look for places to hold the ceremony. I am not one to call different locations (that gives me anxiety) so I relied on locations that had decent websites with e-mail contacts. There were a few different chapels that already had prices on their websites which was very helpful. I went through 3-4 different locations on Yelp (yes, on Yelp). I believe that 2-3 of them weren’t actual churches but instead the type of chapels you see in Las Vegas. While they looked nice on the internet and a co-worker got married at one and she liked it, it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t like the fake grass outside or the look of the outside of the place (one of them was in a strip mall). I was given other recommendations of actual churches and chapels all of which I didn’t like the look of or required pre-marriage counseling (which Thomas was against). One that was recommended to me by a few people was call The Little Brown Church. As the name suggests, the church is brown on the outside. I just couldn’t see myself in pictures with a brown background. Not my favorite color.

Finally I found The Little White Chapel, a Disciples of Christ church. It’s about 15-20 minutes from our reception which is not a problem for me (after all our guests will head there before we do to allow us time for pictures, so it works out perfectly in my mind). This was a problem for others around me, however. They argued that if they were already going to be driving 30 minutes to get to the chapel they would not want to drive again for another 20 minutes to get to the reception. My response to this was: don’t come. It was hurtful to me since I know that my sister (and family) and maid of honor are traveling hundreds of miles to be here for our wedding and they have to problem making a trip to get to the reception.

Neither Thomas nor I are very religious. Thomas considers himself atheist while I do consider myself Christian. He allowed me to have the ceremony conducted by a minister with religious wording for the vows. I went to visit the Chapel with my parents (Thomas didn’t feel like he needed to go) a few days before Christmas. I loved the rustic feel of it. It’s wooden on the inside and has a classic chapel feel with a bell tower an all outside. The carpet is red which will make my dress stand out (I’m not having a runner, but I will lay petals on the aisle – no flower girl). The chapel is small which will make the wedding nice and cozy. My guest list ended up being 75, and while I still haven’t gotten all the RSVPs back, I expect that I will have around 65-70 people in attendance. The chapel seats 75 people maximum.

The ceremony will be done by someone that many of you probably know! Rev. Bill Thomas played Vanessa Huxtable’s fiancée on The Cosby Show! Recognize him?

Next week I’ll talk about my other vendors!

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