Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wah-dings: Gardens, Caterers, and DIY



I'm running a little low on material, so I thought I'd write a post about wah-ding planning. I'm using "wah-ding" because my original post about planning was picked up by blog scrapers and posted on bot-run blogs. Ick.

We've settled on a site, the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. Venue selection wasn't too bad. We visited, we chatted with site coordinators, we took pictures, and we griped about how every site we saw didn't match up to the JFG. Other places had time restrictions (many said the party had to end by 9pm or 10pm, due to their location in a residential area) that we weren't sure we could work with. What do we do? Chase people out at 9pm? Oy. We were suckers for the JFG's gorgeous mix of outdoorsy and elegant, so we're very happy to finalize a site.

Other venues we loved:

The Darlington House

Water Conservation Garden

Caterer selection, on the other hand, was frustrating. Some don't return calls or emails. They're only available during weekday business hours, which is understandable because many events occur during the weekend. Everything, from phone calls to emails to meetings, have to be done during the workday. Hey, we happen to have full-time jobs, too. It still continues, as we're starting our tastings.

I'll post more about catering when the tastings are over, but for now, a recap of the most appalling conversation in this whole search:

One rep actually had the bloody
gall to imply that we were out for a free meal when I inquired about pre-signing tastings. After I incredulously asked her how she could expect us to even consider her company without tasting the food, she confidently (or delusionally) told me that they are so good and their events are so exclusively customized that tastings are unnecessary and they only take place at the end of the timeframe. That is, you taste your wedding meal not long before your guests do. Then, she haughtily told me that that's the way it's done.

No, ma'am, people research before they buy things. If you tell me that I have to blindly sign a contract without any inkling of how the product will turn out, I'm running in the other direction. She was also rudely condescending of our decent-sized budget, basically telling me there was no way we could have a wedding on that amount.

I was also asked by another rep who was financing the party, us or the parental units. What?! What bearing does it have on anything?

Rant over. Now, we're headed to the fun stuff...

Budget-wise, we're putting the huge majority of our budget into food and drink. The way we're looking at it, people are going to be traveling quite a distance to celebrate with us and there is absolutely no question that we will provide a delicious meal and some good booze.

To save money, we're doing a lot on our own, like invitations, flowers, and centerpieces. The JFG was already pretty booked up for 2009 when we contacted them, so our choices were May, early June, or August. In the end, we chose August, which gives us 15 months to plan this sucker. We're hoping to lock in our major contracts (venue, catering, photographer) ASAP, then focus on smaller things. In other words, I will indulge my wannabe-crafty self with lots of DIY projects.

Some ideas:

These trees are great, but instead of place cards, I was hoping to display photos of friends and family like this couple did. For us, however, it won't be limited to married people only.

I can't wait to cobble this guestbook together post-wahding. We're hoping to put cameras with the cards, so hopefully we will have photos of most of our guests to go with the messages. Taking it one step further, everything will be pasted into a scrapbook.

I'd have to say that this wedding is inspiring. It's outdoorsy and elegant in its simplicity, which is what we really want. I love the dress. My mom does, too, and it's a shame she doesn't know Oscar de la Renta (like the bride's mom) so he could design something similar for me. Hehe.

All right, all right, I'm gushing a bit. Hey, while I'm offended by the broad assumption that every engaged female wants to be a princess bride, it doesn't mean that I don't appreciate elegant details. I'm hoping that those DIY projects turn out as lovely as they look on the blogs.

7 bites:

KirkK said...

Good Luck - You got quite a bit of work in front of you. But as with 99% of these, things always work out.

Garrett said...

Well, of COURSE you taste everything after you've already paid for it. Just like you get to see the wedding location after the deposit has been put down, and you don't even get to know who's making your cake until it's paid off.

It really makes no sense to me...even if they believe their food is that good, who's to say everyone will agree?

Alice Q. said...

Oh Marie that sounds wonderful! And you have to email me (please!?) and tell me who those caterers are, so I can see if I guessed right! :-)

Kelly said...

Gorgeous location, Marie! :) It looks absolutely perfect! I'm sorry you've had to deal with crappy vendors. I actually had a florist tell me I was tacky because I liked tulips. Jackass. jaja. Needless to say he didn't get the job, and I got my tulips!
I love those blog links! The guestbook is perfect :).
I can't wait to see what amazing food you will have!

Carol said...

OMG that idea is DARLING! I love the links you posted, I love the card tree, I love the JFG, and I've never felt so inadequate as a woman before. I seriously never thought about any of these details until I read your entry. Haha. Alright!

Carol said...

OMG I love the JFG, the hanging card tree, and the deisgn work on those invitations! Incidentally, I've never felt so inadequate as a woman for never having thought about these details until just now.

Ace! Good luck!!!

Liz said...

Look forward to hearing the wedding plans!

7 bites