Wedding Venue Where Art Thou?

Let’s preface this post by sharing some of the things we wish people would have told us before we started looking for wedding venues:

  1. Wedding venues are next-level expensive. And you will sincerely consider having your wedding at your house at least ten times before it’s all said and done.
  2. Venue shopping is a full-time job. And eventually all of the venues start to look alike.
  3. Buy a building. Yep, a building. Just think about it, you could rent out your space for special events and make more money for a few hours than some people make in a month. (Okay, I’m kidding, don’t buy a building. It’s not worth the headache.)
  4. Research. Research. Research. And start as soon as you can operate a computer. This should give you a good list of venue options that you can explore once you’re engaged.
  5. Master your poker face, because you will see venues that look nothing like what you saw online, and you’ll need to hide your initial emotions. Don’t let the shock show on your face.

 

Okay, now that we’ve covered that, we can share our weekend venue shopping adventure. It all started a few weeks ago when we compiled a list of two venues that we were interested in. To our credit, we had a longer list, but many factors like: price, availability, friendliness, distance, etc. shortened that list down to two. But we were unmoved, we were going to visit these two venues.

On Saturday, we voyaged to Concord to tour our first venue. And let’s just say, pictures can be deceiving. Luckily, we applied Tip #5 and maintained the highest level of professionalism. And although this particular venue wasn’t the look we were going for, we can say that the staff was kind and very welcoming. The next venue was in Morrisville and as soon as we pulled up to the venue, we fell in love with it. There were elements of both our personalities in this venue and, despite the price slightly exceeding our initial budget, it was all-inclusive.

 

We were ready to put down our deposit until…

We found out our wedding date was not available anymore.

kendrick-lamar-reaction-meme-20

large

These memes say it best

So the wedding venue shopping adventure continues and we’re committed to finding the right venue that meets our exact needs! We have a few more prospects lined up and welcome any recommendations. We want to stay in the Charlotte or surrounding area, so just drop us a line if you have recommendations.

In the next few weeks, we’ll have a lot more to share with you. We’re working on a super cool project with our photographer, we’re creating awesome menu ideas with our prospective caterer and we’re interviewing great DJs to ensure that our wedding reception is a party you’ll never forget.  So stay tuned and thank you all for your support!

~Ciara

Advertisements

Saying “Yes” to the Dress, Part Two!

It may or may not be 11:38 PM on the day after Thanksgiving and I may or may not be huddled under a blanket sipping hot cocoa, surrounded by wedding books and binders. This also may or may not be the most excited I’ve been since Ciara’s proposal!

I’m kidding, it totally is! In case you haven’t guessed, I said “YES” to the dress today! (I’m on a roll with the yes’ these days) Oh how I WISH I could post pictures of me trying on “the one”. But before I get to talking about the dress, let me revisit the experience with you.

Thanks to all of the wise advice from those who participated in our last poll, I decided to go with the dress I loved and not shop around. I know, it might sound crazy, but Kristy (with a “K”) and Phaedra over at Classic Bride and Formals really made me feel SO welcome, they were SO down to earth and were practically looking for ways to give me discounts here and there. That kind of customer service really goes a long way with us. So let me share some pictures from today:

Clothespins bag

Remember the cute little clothespins I was telling you about in part one?

Entrance

Entrance (Click to enlarge and see all the lovely details)

Dress Room #1

Dress Room #1

The experience tonight was just as exciting as when I first went to Classic Bride and Formals except this time it was a lot quicker. I already had the dress I wanted in mind and I knew that I only had two concerns about the dress. So I came in with a written list of questions and made sure to get them answered before paying up. One of those included any potential discounts or sales that they could apply. Since it was Black Friday (or White Friday, as the wedding industry calls it) and I bought my dress “off the rack” they were able to give me the same discount as if I had purchased that first day that I walked in. “Off the rack” means that I bought the exact dress that I tried on. This was perfect for me because hardly anyone had tried on the dress, it fit me incredibly well, I was able to avoid any problems with the shipping timeline for the designer (which could’ve been 4-6 MONTHS) and I was able to get a discount.

Two new lessons from this experience were:

  1. Wearing a bra during while trying on a dress really does make a difference. Even minimal padding or straps can add bulk under the dress.
  2. Trying on a dress on the day after Thanksgiving also made a big difference in snugness that I didn’t experience before. :p Keep that in mind if you do any White Friday dress shopping.

Do you know what the HARDEST part of this whole dress shopping adventure has been? NOT showing or telling Ciara. She’s my best friend, y’all! It is SO hard not to talk to her about the features she’s going to like the most or the cut of the dress or even the accessories (and yes, there WILL be accessories!). Aaaah! But what I can tell you is that it may or may not be Allure, it may or may not be Ivory and it may or may not be a fabric that I would never expect to like! Also, it may or may not be a HUGE relief to have this part of the planning DONE! I’m just kidding, it totally IS!

Now it’s time to lock down our venue! We’ll keep you updated!

~Melinda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our First Wedding Expo

“I wonder what it’ll be like.”

“I don’t know. I’ve never been married before.”

“Do you think they’ll be nice to us?”

Our minds were filled with questions and our hearts were bubbling over with excitement. We were on our way to our first wedding expo! And we had no idea what to expect. Here we are, two lesbian women planning a wedding in the South, with no real clue of where to begin.

We walk up to the registration table and are immediately greeted, “Hello! Are you here to sign in? Please sign in here as we’re raffling away prizes throughout the expo.” “And who’s the bride?”

“Meeee,” Melinda eagerly proclaims. The check-in attendant gives Melinda a plastic diamond ring to put on her finger to let vendors know she’s the bride-to-be. (That would be a light up plastic ring, thank you ~Mel) We laugh and head through the double doors, so far, so good.

Florists, Photographers, Caterers, oh my!

Let me start by saying that you do not have to dress up to attend a wedding expo. Melinda got the memo, Ciara did not. Ciara looked like she was headed to work on Wall Street; Melinda looked comfortable and appropriately dressed for the occasion. (I tried to tell you, babe)

Back to the story…

We walk in and excitement immediately rushes through our bodies. “Where do we start?” Melinda asks. “Let’s just go around the room, starting with this florist,” I suggest. We walk up to the florist and there’s a moment of silence, then the owner approaches us, “When is your date?” she asks. I’m thinking, “an introduction would be nice, but whatever.” (I know, right? She did just jump right into it, didn’t she?) Melinda answers and the next few minutes of conversation is best compared to watching paint dry. We thank them for their time and put their information in our “Not interested bag”. (Learned that tip from bridal blogs. You bring a bag with you even though they will give you a bag. This way you can sort your flyers and information automatically and just recycle the whole bag of ones you don’t need when you get home.)

The next vendor was totally different. She represented a local wedding boutique and immediately engaged with Melinda. I watched as Melinda’s eyes lit up with joy as she described the kind of dress she was interested in. And, inside, I melted. I melted because someone, a complete stranger, made us feel like we belonged there. She didn’t care about our gender, she saw the love and that was all that mattered. After a few more minutes of conversation, she and Melinda exchanged contact information (Using my handy, dandy Wedding Business card – saves you from having to fill out a gazillion forms at the expos) and planned a consultation for Tuesday.  You should have seen Melinda’s face.

So much cake…

I am convinced that wedding expos should have a dedicated workout room for the guests who have one role- test tasting. See, I was given this role  (“given”, babe?) and totally missed that it was a setup. Melinda had a plan to pass all the calories to me, so she could keep that slim figure of hers. And, well, I fell for it. Okay, let me be honest, I didn’t even put up a fight. Everyone and their mothers’ had free samples of food and wedding cake, what was a girl to do? (That food was really good, though)

In between all the cake eating, we stopped by to speak with a photographer who was really excited about us getting married. It started like this, “Who’s the bride?” Melinda raises her hand and says, “I am!” She, in turn says, “Congratulations!” “So wait, are you two getting married?” We both say, “Yep!” And that’s all it took. She’s like, “AWESOME! I love same-sex marriages. We have worked with a lot of same-sex couples and they’re great.”

We spent the next 20 minutes talking about venues, our wedding date, her boyfriend and finally the various packages they have. All of which were incredibly high, like who pays almost $5,000 for a photographer? Melinda takes the information, hands it over to me; I put it in my “Not interested bag”.

IKEA has a baby registry too…

So we’re wrapping up the expo and decide to check out the Groom’s Lounge upstairs. This is the place most grooms go to have a drink and watch the game while their wives-to-be plan all the wedding details downstairs. This was our first wedding expo, so I chose to experience it all with Melinda. Right as we’re making our way to the bar, Melinda spots the IKEA booth.

And it’s over.

Two sweet ladies take her under their wings and start telling her about the wedding registry they have. I just shift my attention to the Panther’s game until I hear, “And we have a baby registry too.”

In my mind I’m saying, “Ma’am, you are out of control.” But I decide to go with, “Oh! Baby steps, babe. Let’s get married first.” The other IKEA representative chuckles, “That’s right, first things first.”

I had to laugh. Sure, IKEA is trying to take all of our money, but these two ladies were genuine. They, like everyone else we encountered, did not see two women getting married. They saw two people in love embarking on this lifelong journey.

P.S. – We will have a wedding registry at IKEA. But don’t worry, we only have two light bulbs on our IKEA wish list- we’re not hard to please.

 

In closing…

We walked out of the wedding expo cheesing from ear-to-ear. (Seriously, we tried 17 times to take a picture where we weren’t showing more than 90% of our gumsWe gave each other a high-five and said, “We did it!” As we got closer to the car, Melinda looked over to me and said, “We’re getting married, we’re really getting married.” With all the joy my heart could possibly hold, I replied,  “Yes, we are. This is really happening.”

 

10365746_780275789633_6934099047702296529_n

What we learned from this experience…

Love will do the work. Just be true to yourself and to the love you share with each other.