Monthly Archives: March 2012

Photo Research

People ask about the wedding planning all the time {such easy conversation, right?} and Evan always laughs and mentions what a thorough researcher I am. The thing is…I don’t know if people really know what that means. I practically majored in research in my undergrad, and I can gather data with the best of them.

When we got engaged, I had this idea that we would accomplish one major milestone every calendar month for the first few months. Month One, we chose a date and secured our church- not at all difficult or thoughtful. Month Two, we selected the venue for our reception. This was a little trickier, because we didn’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on venue requirements, and then we were a little shell shocked regarding  pricing {are you kidding me,$40 for a meal, and then another $30 for a bar package? And wtf with the 8-10k minimums? That’s most of my budget!}. We did chart about twenty possibilities in a spreadsheet, but in the end we chose a place that I had been considering for a while and brought into the game at the last minute.

Our photography, however, was a whole new ballgame. I had a general idea of our photography budget, and I knew what we would want for a package {two photogs, eight hours coverage, rights to print, and an engagement session}. What we budgeted for photography wasn’t really a small amount, but I was shocked to see that all of the photography that I liked was roughly twice what we could pay! After collected information from a few bridal shows, I started to put together a spreadsheet. By the time we were halfway through the allotted month for photography selection, it was clear that we couldn’t really find a way to make it work with the two dozen or so photographers I had amassed. Wa wa.

At that point, I embarked on a manic research project, which is what Ev is usually referring to when he comments on my thorough preparation. Using the resources available {the knot, weddingbee, weddingchannel, weddingwire} I amassed a list of, wait for it, 104 photographers located in the central Ohio area. And then {no kidding} I visited each of their websites, collected pricing info, and made a general comment regarding their portfolios.


Just a few of the over 100 photographers I looked at...

I was not messing around. I generally marked each listing as good, ambivalent or negative, noted why it was marked that way {everything from  ‘amazing photos’ to ‘offensive music, terrible pics’} and wrote in the general pricing information. {Sidebar: wtf with selective color? Like so many brides I know, if I see selective color in your portfolio, I usually eliminate you from the running. It hurts my heart, and destroys any sense of human decency.} From there, I deleted any marked negative or ambivalent and ranked those left over in order of pricing.

So where did that get me? Nowhere. The photography that we could afford was acceptable, but I didn’t love it, and the photography I loved was so far over what we were willing to pay. Thanks for showing me that, Google Docs J



Spring break!

My family has always gone on Spring Break, and this year was no exception. We spend 24 hours driving down to Key West, and then camped on the beach for a week. You might assume that I spend the week making important wedding decisions and planning things out with my mom, since we had the whole week. But then- you might assume wrong.  

Instead, I spend the week drinking bourbon. Amen.



This Time, It’s For Real

When we left off, Mr G and I were still looking for the perfect reception venue with the following qualifications: not a hotel or country club, somewhere with a bit of character and personality, a big enough interior {winter wedding!} without being too big, and {we knew it would be a stretch} somewhere that would let us bring in our own alcohol or catering, to save some costs.

We visited {let’s be honest, I visited} so many places, and it always felt like something was just not right. Finally, I recalled a place that I had heard of a few years ago, The Venue {real name}. The Venue is part of an old hardware warehouse that was converted several years ago to event space, and I was nearly certain that it would be too trendy/urban/not traditional for Mr G to handle. I scheduled a preliminary meeting, to see if it was worth it to bring G, and was originally not too impressed with the space- liked the bricks, but it was pretty small and one dimensional.

However, the Venue has a sister location in another part of the warehouse called The Loft. Once the owner took me to The Loft space, I was sold. The Loft is actually a two story venue: the first floor is where the bar, dance floor and restrooms are, and where we would hold the cocktail hour. Upstairs is where all the tables would be located for dinner and dessert. There is an awesome light fixture over the staircase, and a cut-out in the floor where guests in the upstairs can watch the dancing from. It’s pretty non-conventional, and I wasn’t sure if Mr G would love it, but I really did.

When I brought G in to meet the owner and discuss pricing, etc, they were able to bond over their love of antipasti and various other Italian things, and reached a mutually agreeable rate. We’ve already put down our deposit and booked the venue and everything, and I’m really thrilled, I swear! However. Every. Single. Interaction. With the owner since that first meeting seems to have gone poorly.

{A little warning: this post is about to get pretty ranting, pretty quick.}

First, the day that I went in for a preliminary meeting, without Mr G. I was early, as usual, and the owner was late. Although several people walked in and out of the main room, no one talked to me or asked if I had been helped or anything. Not a deal breaker, but I was a little frustrated. Same thing on the visit when I brought the G-man.

Then, after the second visit and G and I agreed that we wanted to book the place, I emailed the owner to get a copy of the contract and set up a time to discuss the details- it was a Tuesday, and I asked if we might come in on Thursday. On Friday evening, I still hadn’t received a response. {I know that some people aren’t as immediately accessible by email the way I expect, but come on. He’d emailed me from his phone before, so I know full well that he’d read the email.}

After I followed up on Friday, his assistant sent me a copy of the contract, but that was it- no mention of actually meeting. When I asked her to schedule something, she told me that the owner would follow up.

Six. Days. Later. Having heard nothing, I emailed both the owner and the assistant, asking if I had missed a communication somewhere. G’s family was in town that weekend, so I also asked to stop by that evening to show them the space and deal with the contract and deposit. I got a voicemail saying that that would be fine, the owner would probably be in and if not, his assistant definitely would be able to help us {I was only a teensy bit shocked that there was no apology for his prolonged lack of communication- come on, man, we’re giving you all of the dollars…pretend like you want our business!}.

I called back and got his voicemail, so I left a message that we would see him that evening. Mr G and his dad and sister and I all drove over to the space…where an event was taking place. Which, ok, was fine, and we probably still could have looked around {since part of the visit was intended to show them the space} but –and I cringe sharing this- not only was the owner not on the premises {allegedly having left sick for the day} his assistant also had no idea we who we were or what we were there for.

She asked the date of our event, told us it was available and started to talk about pricing…uh, no thank you. We knew it was available, we were prepared to put down money, and she was quoting a price substantially higher than what we were actually paying. Please. We were able to at least discuss the contract with her, and she answered some of our questions, and she made a note for the owner that we would like to meet the following week. {I would also like to add that she was unprepared, snarky and somewhat condescending. This, however, could be blown out of proportion by my rage and the fact that it was dinner time and I was hungry. So.}

So, that was a Friday and the following Tuesday I received a voicemail from the owner. I, of course, was not prepared to interact with the man in an appropriate tone of voice so I forwarded the call to G. They set up an appointment to meet the next day, Wednesday {and no, the owner didn’t do anything that was even close to apologizing for being the worst}. When G got there {I almost cannot finish this sentence- I die.} the owner was not there. Are you serious? Ok, when he called, immediately, to tell me this, I was at the same time unsurprised and infuriated. Whew. The assistant manager, who was apparently more competent than the assistant we met the previous week, was able to agree to come changes Mr G made to the contract {please don’t even get me started on that- he used every form of the word indemnify that exists, as well as some that he made up}, signed it and took our deposit.

So, I mean, we do have a venue. And we love the space and the idea of our reception there. It’s just that- when you have to force people to take your money, it kind of seems like a bad omen for what’s to come, you know? Here’s to crossing our fingers…

The Unending Quest for a Venue

For me, starting to plan our wedding was one of the most frustrating processes, for a few reasons. First, I already had a clear idea of what I wanted it to look like and, although I was set on a traditional ceremony in the church, I was absolutely opposed to holding our wedding in a hotel ballroom or a country club. I just find those settings formal, yes, but incredibly stuffy and without much room to inject any personality. This was a challenge because nearly every person involved in our planning {moms, dads, Mr G} thought that, of course, our wedding would be held in a hotel ballroom {to be fair, Mr G’s dad works for a company that manages several hotels, so I’m pretty sure it was a foregone conclusion for them…oops!}.

We looked for a minute {to humor everyone} at the Marriott, but it just really, exceptionally was not what I was hoping for. The capacity to seat 700 is really lovely, but I just don’t need to seat 700. Or even 200.

So then I tried to steer every towards a few non-traditional, but still reception venue, options. One of my main contenders was the Vault. It’s an old bank building that, after the bank closed, a guy bought the space and opened it as a meeting venue. It’s pretty wide open, has the amazing staircase, and the bar is actually located in the bank vault. It was really one of my top choices, but the space was a little too big and, to be honest, I got a weird vibe from the owner who gave me a tour. So.

Next, we tried out the idea of having our reception at the Statehouse. The Statehouse is so insanely gorgeous that I can’t stand it, and I would have been thrillllllled to have our party there. Unfortunately, we had a budget and this venue did not fit. Also, they didn’t even try to cut us a break, even though it’s a January wedding. Mr G has a very serious rule about not working with anyone for the wedding who isn’t willing to work with us, so they we’re out of the picture pretty quickly.

We tried a few more places, including a few of the local park buildings which, for various reasons didn’t work out, but also would have been lovely {mainly because they would have let us bring our own catering and alcohol} before we finally found a venue that was perfect!