Wednesday, September 28, 2011

the dreaded invitation list.

with this post, i do believe i have surpassed the number of all posts i have ever posted on my previous blogs....combined. ha! so let this be a testament to my tireless devotion to bringing my peeps one hell of a party next fall. "hold on to your butts!" {i love saying that. can you name that movie??}

ok, my sentiments about the invitation list = shoot me. right now. please? yeah.

i am told that this is hands down THE HARDEST THING a couple has to do for their wedding.

we don't want to exclude anyone, but there is a finite number of invitations we can afford to send for a number of reasons.

when we break it down to the cost per person for food and bevies at the reception, it's easy to say we will have X number of people. but then when looking back at the list at names and thinking about how great it would be to have so-and-so come, or how happy this or that person would be to get an invite, it's not so easy. maybe we'll just go to costco and buy a crap ton of hot pockets and capri sun.

luckily the space issue is now resolved by booking st. francis hall, but finding a venue that can fit 100+ people for a ceremony and reception in the dc area for less than $2500 was crazy frustrating.

{with no particular persons in mind} what do you do about a relative whom you haven't seen or spoken with since you were 10, but is within a close circle of your family? or what about the friend whom you used to be ace-boon-coons with, and you may have even talked extensively with about going to each others weddings one day, but life happened, and you haven't really been in touch for a while? what about friends who aren't BFFs but might feel excluded if you invite everyone else in the circle? or what about really new, fun and fresh friends who you just met and feel close with, but can't confirm what your relationship will be in a year? the questions go on.... see? this part is not always fun.

i also want to be sensitive to the bride-groom invite ratio. where polotek is much more selective about his circle of friends, i feel that i have so many that would love to be apart of our special day. so the ratio currently stands at 2:1, but i don't want to dominate the event with all of my people! what to do?

right now the number is fluctuating between 150-200 people, and that is a very large group of people. huge, in fact.

a few people have mentioned that i should consider implementing "the single rule", where my friends that are not married, engaged, or in a serious long-term relationship should be asked to come alone. a few other people have told me they are less crazy about the idea. at this point, i have no clue what is the best thing to do.

because of these overwhelming factors, and my huge desire to make sure everyone is happy, i thank the heavens for schniz. my wedding goddess. we can rest assured that in the end, things will come together with her on our side.

i know, somewhat unrelated to this post, but so cute!

so yeah, it's a balancing act. some of you may be thinking that we should not worry about any of this, and that we should just let the cards fall where they will. but to me, it's not that easy. polotek and i are all about "the more, the merrier" and we want to be as inclusive as possible. we are having this wedding for all our friends and family because it IS a momentous occasion in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. so i say, go big or go home! that is, within the reasonable confines of our budget, of course. ;)

please feel free to share your thoughts and/or invitation list woes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

color me pretty.

today was a good day. we got the contract from st. francis hall (the venue piece is almost officiaaaaal!), and schniz and i put together a color palette for the wedding. the perfect palette blog is awesome, by the way.

figchartreuse. light coral. and ivory and black, of course.

yaaaayayaya! fun girly stuffs!

gone are the days where you pick two colors and everything must be one or the other and matching exactly. i much prefer to paint a picture of varied hues, pleasing to the eye and the soul.

below is a special treat for you. ;)

it took me a really long time to put this together for some reason --  i may be giving myself more credit than i deserve as "tech savvy" -- but i did it! here's a little photo board made from various photos i stole off the interwebs, inspired by my wedding palette. booyah.

i heart pretty pictures.

stay tuned for the official wedding date! i know you are on the edge of your seat. and the next stop on the crazy train: the invitation list. oh, what a MONSTER. more to come on the meantime, feel free to shower me with gushy love and insights about wedding colors!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

my fair lady.

i'm gonna take a moment to hit pause on the venue "woes and wows" and talk about a wedding fair i went to with a friend today. we checked out tilt wedding fair in oakland this afternoon, which was a nice venture into wedding concepts that were alternative, creative, offbeat, vintage, and contemporary.

i got some ideas for cool save-the-dates and invitations -- my favorite design was from hello lucky, from their "big day" collection. love. i especially heart the rsvp cards.

aaaaaand my favorite part of the fair was the magbooth. WANT. it was dangerously good fun. but i don't have the $2,000 built into the budget for something like this, so i would have to find an alternate way to make a photo booth happen for the wedding. like if i did a jerry-rigged slr with a remote shutter and props from the dollar store! um yes, people. the ghetto version. here's my little sess below:

those sunglasses are ballin'.
while there, i also got to gush over linens and jewelry i can't afford. however that was made up for by the caterers with free samples and neat-o swag bags. all in all it was definitely worth the trip. i mean, come on, who doesn't love free shit?! last but not least, i got to finish it all off with a lychee tea snowball. yummm.

why yes, that IS a delicious piece of almond shortbread in it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

gotta get down on friday!

yesterday i talked about st. francis hall as the top venue contender. afterward i ogled the photos some more, went drinking with some co-workers, came home, looked at everything again with polotek, and went to sleep. how do i feel now?

i still feel like it's fabulous. dare i say perfect? polotek likes the place, too. the catch is that we can only afford to book a friday at this venue. with a rental fee of $2500, that fits exactly within our budget with no wiggle room. the good thing is that the price does include everything in the rental, including taxes and fees (yippeeee!!), but i can't just gloss over the fact that booking a friday wedding clearly requires that most people take a day off from work if they want to attend. is it selfish to book a friday wedding?

let's think about this...

  • it would save us $700 (vs. sunday) or $1500 (vs. saturday)! i could do a lot of other awesome things with that money. like buy a wedding dress.
  • fridays are easier to book since most couples get married on saturday
  • we could use the rest of the weekend to hang out with our peeps, without the pressure of the upcoming wedding
  • people can get significantly inebriated at the reception and sleep it off on a saturday ;)
  • we could take pictures that look like this (!!!!):
this is an actual picture taken on their grounds. amaze.

  • people would more than likely have to take a day off from work to attend
  • some people may not be able to make it because of work....?
  • people possibly driving in dc traffic to our wedding in the city on a friday afternoon...?

i would now like to open up this discussion to the public. please PLEASE let me know your thoughts on this!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

more about the venue.

i have to give a shout out to the amazing people who are bored enough to read my whiny ramblings on this blog and give me feedback. thank you.

boy, what a difference a day makes. things have changed dramatically since yesterday -- in a good way! i gotta give props to my lovely stepmom and schniz, because thanks to them we have two new contenders, and one that has made it from purgatory into the promised land.

3. arlington arts center (arlington, va)
i'm bringing this place back into the fold. schniz went to see it for us yesterday, and reported back with great things to say. if we went with this place we would have to go all out on the non-traditional track because there are a lot of compartmentalized spaces that make up the whole, but overall its a fabulous venue that is within budget! i could even see us doing something fun with the catering here...with food trucks!

2. artisphere (arlington, va)
ummm...fabulous in every way i can think of. and centrally located in rosslyn. we'd try to rent the terrace gallery and the outdoor terrace. the (unconfirmed) drawback is that we would have to rent furniture (also an issue with arlington arts center). and that is an expense that we can't afford unless we get extra crafty with the setup. which is a possibility. so this place is a possibility.

1. st. francis hall (washington, dc)
oh yeah, people. check this one out. i just found out about this place this morning and i'm so amped. it's within budget, if we book a friday. tables/chairs/audio equipment is included. it's in the city, and drop dead gorge. look at a couple photos i nabbed from the website...

yayayayaya! can you smell the juicy bacon?

now what i'm going to do is sleep on it. and by sleep on it, i mean i am going out drinking to try to keep myself from obsessing about it, and then i'm going to look at it with fresh eyes tomorrow. if by then the haze of gloriousness hasn't worn off, we may just move to booking!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

this venue mess...

sooo as of today we have officially changed all of our crap over from being virginians to californians. awwww! and with it went any chance of us getting resident discounts at various venues in fairfax county. damn. that can make a $200-800 difference in costs!

(look at him. my babe is so cute <3)

you see, finding a venue in a major metropolitan area, especially when you live 3,000 miles away, is no easy feat. there are some really REALLY beautiful wedding sites in the dc area, but they know they are beautiful. and you will have to pay for beautiful. it also doesn't help that i'm trying for the ever-popular fall wedding. we're shooting for the stars with a late september - early october timeframe. at least it's not june, right? but ah, if money grew on trees....

i wish i had a friend with a huge house and a huge yard...but, i don't. and as a former wealth researcher, i can tell you that anyone with that kind of crib in greater washington is too rich to be my friend. shame.

so far, the venue search has been an emotional rollercoaster. thank jeebus for schniz. she finds all the diamonds in the rough, gives me lots of options to consider, and pursues our leads with gusto. my girl is on top of sh*t. she's even going to visit a couple places on our behalf this weekend. hands down, awesomest wedding goddess there is.

i'm sure something will bubble to the top soon, but i suffer from chronic impatience. and acute indecision. apparently these are two less than great qualities to have when it comes to planning a wedding. but by now, i think schniz has learned that her sharing places with me before contacting them to make sure it's a fit is like dangling a warm, juicy piece of bacon in front of a starving puppy.

speaking of juicy, let's talk about the good stuff. where the hell is it that we are looking?! i'm sure you are dying to know! i can share some of the places i know of, though schniz has some things out there that she's keeping guarded for now. remember, operaqueenie = starving puppy.

in order of how badly i wanted them...the rejects / ones that broke my heart (and why):

the barns at wolf trap (vienna, va) - out of budget
the katzen arts center (washington, dc) - only available mid-may to mid-august and can't book until february
birkby house (leesburg, va) - out of budget
sheraton reston (reston, va) - waaaay out of budget

in purgatory...:
arlington arts center (arlington, va) - no red beverages allowed (including wine!), though i am wavering on this as days pass....; has to be an evening wedding (how do i feel about that?); must rent tables and chairs from caterer (significant hidden cost?)

in order of how much i am currently excited about them...current contenders:

prince george's ballroom (landover, md)
seneca creek (boyd, md)
harbour view (woodbridge, va)
great falls grange (great falls, va)
darnall's chance (upper marlboro, md)

keep in mind that my venue budget line is $2,500. so, for anyone on the interwebs who is looking to get married in the dc area with 100+ guests, and on a tight budget, and is somehow reading this lame blog, there you go. i hope this helps!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

preliminary decisions.

we've been engaged for a little less than a month, and i am already totally obsessed and consumed with wedding fever.

let me say that i was not one of those little girls who started planning this thing when she was five. in fact, pre-engagement, all i wanted was for someone to tell me when and where to show up -- with the idea being that there would be a party all day and all night, and somewhere along the way, we'd exchange some rings and say some stuff.

polotek and i are obviously very serious people. see exhibit A below.

see? so cereal.

ha, but really. while i'd like to think that i haven't strayed too far from my free-loving idea, something did indeed happen when polotek put this two-carat beauty on my left hand. some kind of bridal magic spell came over me and convinced me that i must make this an affair to remember.

all kidding aside, i do consider this an important event for our families and friends. and i'm not going to get all "fight the power" on this blog, but i will say that it makes us proud to know that we are defying the odds and statistics that overwhelmingly show the stable black relationship as some elusive thing. like a double rainbow. or michelle bachmann's common sense.

offbeat. unique. cool. fun. all words i want people to use when they are raving to their peeps about the awesome time they had at our wedding. hellmuthafreakinyeah.

that's literally what i said, by the way. when polotek asked me to marry him. except it was the actual expletive. obviously.

preliminary decisions are the hard part. at least that's what they tell me. i sure as hell hope it gets easier after this. there's a lot of moving parts right now -- budget, venue, invite list. stress? check.

the numbers estimate is floating somewhere between 120-200. that is a large gap. we have to work that out. but part of that depends on what venue we land, which feels like we are playing a game of craps. we've decided to have the wedding in the dc area (even though we recently moved across this big country to san francisco) so we can have as many of our special people attend as possible. but scoring a low-cost venue in the dc metro area is no small feat. so i am learning.

honestly, i don't know what i'd do without schniz to pull more and more options out of her hat. its only been a few weeks, and she has already sent countless emails to places, and pulled me back from the brink of craycray at least twice. she is a wedding goddess. working tirelessly for us to find a venue that we love for less than $2,500.

does that sound like a lot of money to you? because it initially did to me. i'm learning a lot during this process, and let me impart the first lesson: weddings are not cheap. putting numbers on paper for a wedding will hurt your soul. unless you are rich. then the possibilities are endless! however, we are not rich. we are forking up $15K from our pockets to bring this lovely (and not so) little affair to fruition. there have been weddings pulled off with less, and definitely with more. but in the realm of wedding planning, we're looking at smallish peas, people.

and we are doing this the debt-free way, so that means budget, budget budget! lucky for me, i am marrying a money management master.

but still -- this wedding ish ain't cheap.


oh yeah, baby.

let's see if i can resurrect this thing and keep everyone schooled on my progress as "soon-to-be-mrs-polotek".

with a LOT of help from my wedding goddess, the schniz, and other dear friends and family, polotek and yours truly will be wed in about a year!

holidaaaaaay! celebraaaaate! yayayaya!