The Mid-Year Planning Lull…Plus Muumuus

I’m still kicking in the desert, planning our nuptial shindig ever so slowly with the Pastry. We entered the mid-planning timeline lull from about October to end of December in which we made some easy decisions, finally booked a florist,  did our tasting at the venue, and generally wandered about no doubt eating too much cheese. All in all, terribly boring things which were quite fun for us while still remaining uninteresting blog fodder. Then there was the joy of a the first dual family holiday season…which actually afforded no drama whatsoever. How dull to get along with both your old and new families. (Though Pastry and I did spend an epic evening drinking bourbon with my mom whilst watching Step Up All In on her 3D TV, making snarky remarks and critiquing dance choreography with perhaps too much intensity.)

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This Lull is also not doing much wedding planning.

So, nuptial updates…Just because I should endeavor to not forget where we are in all of this planning.

Final reasonable florist was reasonable, producing a super creative mock-up of textured flowers, a giant manzanita tree for a wishing tree, and multiple stone, concrete, and glass containers filled with a bizarre array of desert plants. We’re going to do a 10 foot tree in the reception space with a table set up to write wishes for us on colorful tags with long ribbons. The guests will hang the tags, effectively decorating the space for us with bright ribbons, and then we’ll eventually pull them all off the tree. I’m planning on framing them in a large art piece to go in our house. This all theoretically works…But, there is now a chance of a drunken Midwestern relative knocking over a massive tree in the middle of the YMCA showdown on the dance floor…Which honestly might be fine if just for the story and minus the rental costs.

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An even more intense wishing tree likely in Lam Tsuen.(Queue outdated Mrs. Doubtfire reference.) Watch out for the drive-by fruitings!

An Origin Story of Wishing Trees: Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees
“In the past, whenever there was a festival, villagers would throw joss paper into these two trees and make wishes. The higher the branch the joss paper landed on, the more likely it was the wish would come true. People from all over Hong Kong still come here in their droves to make wishes during festivals; however, as it’s not just local villagers hoping to try their luck in the trees anymore, measures have been introduced to protect the wishing trees from becoming buried in paper. Nowadays, wishes are more tidily made by tying joss paper to nearby wooden racks or imitation trees.”

We went to do our tasting and figured out the menu. It was glorious. And, there will be tons of food. I find this exciting (because I get to eat it all) and boring all at once (because talking about a menu for an evening four months away is…boring). Weirdly, lots of people want a full rundown of the whole menu. Essentially, there will be bourbon, snacks, steak, chicken pot pie, tiny grilled cheese sandwiches and cups of tomato soup, a whole bunch of local produce in vast variety of salads, tiny dessert shots, and lots of pie. No favors though as our favors to our guests consists of 5 hours of open bar and a large selection of pie. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!

I obsessed over what to wear for engagement photos. It’s included in our photography package. It seems like a good plan. I’m going to wear a ballgown and try not to fall in a cactus. Pastry wants to embrace his newfound love of sweaters (he had never owned one prior to last year and now wears them all the time). I just keeping thinking about what our future children will say about my questionable outfit choice. “Jeeeez, mom, showing so much leg in such a weird bat-winged dress. You look like an eggplant in a tropical muumuu.” To which I say, “Well, tough, little Adomicus. I may have looked like an elephant-eggplant hybrid, but you’re stuck with a terrible name so I have the last laugh.”

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Muumuu Inspiration = Muuspiration?

I bought a bunch of shoes and used everything wedding planning to procrastinate from writing actual critical analysis papers for ye olde doctorate. Read a chapter, pin dinosaur related items to wedding board. Read four sentences of social construction book, suddenly become enthused about our wedding website! Consider writing outlines, remember blog suddenly and update for first time in months! Look up muumuu patterns! Order another pair of gold wedges! Inquire about Pastry’s suit ordering timeline! Sketch ideas for flagging tape 20 foot curtain with magnetic attachments for outdoor reception area! EVERYTHING WITH ENTHUSIASM THAT IS NOT ACTUAL WORK! Sigh. Then return to work 10 minutes later.

At least there will be lots of pie and bourbon in four months.

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The Venue Search: Lucky Number…?

So, we have looked at a total of fourteen wedding venues over the last month. What we thought we would like, we really disliked. What looked iffy online, turned out to be beautiful in person. If anything, this entire search has been fascinating look into the importance of flexible business practices, superior venue maintenance, and incredible customer service, all covered with twinkle lights and the possibility of chair bows.

These things are insanely expensive. Seriously, I could think of so many more things on which to spend money…Pie, bourbon, capybara encounters…

Here is a list of every venue we have seen thus far:

  1. All inclusive wedding venue in the middle of tech industry central, vague Italian theme with possibility of fireworks. Truly did not expect to like it, and somewhat fell in love with its eclectic yet entirely neutral décor.
  2. A massive art gallery in the middle of a metropolitan city, in the arts section surrounded by new build luxury apartments and condemned/abandoned lots. Colorful street murals, colorful locals, possibility of finding human poop in public art display.
  3. Small, gorgeous botanical garden with historic buildings and views of desert. Site of our second date. Amazing. Expensive. Still amazing. Still way too expensive as would have to sell unborn children to pay for open bar at reception.
  4. Renovated historical building venue space and artist lofts on other side of metropolitan city, located between the police station, the courthouse, and the county jail. Huge cavernous spaces made of brick open to the sky and slightly terrifying elevators. Would need to import oak tree sized decorations to make place seem kind of homey. Used to be the site of large raves.
  5. At first glance, lovely 1920s home with palatial, classic gardens. At second glace, slightly decaying old home with serious lawn maintenance issues and a featured scum-filled mosquito pond for pictures. Additional feature of feral cats in bamboo forest. Would have liked to learn more, but staff so spastic they essentially locked us out of the ballroom and never offered us any information…OR CANAPES.
  6. Old orchard in the middle of nowhere with a cocktail barn full of chandeliers and a huge back patio. With the serious lack of restrooms, figure many bushes have been peed upon by drunken wedding parties. Reminds Pastry of his Midwestern roots and reminds me of my grandfather’s house in Colorado where I used to listen to the rain hit the tin roof of the barn. Lots of sparkle lights.
  7. Historic landmark of house converted into intimate concert venue with midcentury furnishings, professional lighting design, and the ability to bring in your own alcohol. Unmovable concert seating takes up majority of reception space and, upon seeing the back patio, I realized I had combined two different historical houses in my mind to create the perfect place…which was sadly, not this reality.
  8. Ultra-modern event space near a semi-hip historical downtown, multiple rooms all decked out in white and crystals. They served a mean cucumber martini (I approve), and fed us lots of carbohydrates even though majority of attendee brides looked like they had not had a carb in a year. No green anywhere. Seriously question if we are these kind of people, and simultaneously feel too cool and not cool enough for venue.
  9. Massive old estate way far north near the mountains, nestled in old orange groves. Great Gatsby themed wedding here would trump them all. Astoundingly awesome customer service and attention to detail. Any wedding here would be gorgeous and classy. Unfortunately, we really are not all that classy.
  10. Brand new rustic/ modern venue at base of large mountain, closest landmarks literally a ghost town and an abandoned tire shop. Got nail in tire actually on trip to venue and had a moment in which I had to go buy a bag of flaming hot Cheetos while Pastry tried to fix tire in gas station parking lot. Venue a nice mix of modern and rustic with the best view in the area. Only possible hotel is additional 10 miles away from town. Might lose guests in desert or hills. Venue actually provides security “in case anyone wanders off into the desert” (subtext to likely die).
  11. Massive museum far north of town featuring music related everything. Toured on a family day and got to witness many lost children, crying toddlers, and exhausted looking parents. Even though this is entirely in my wheelhouse, completely overwhelmed by collections. Venue is fancy performance stage which to me just feels like yet another concert. This place would make the wedding seem like a music gig to me, one that we were paying instead of them paying me to perform. 
  12. Hidden garden right next to freeway built by former gardener over 30 years. It’s like TGIF Friday’s, Rain Forrest Café and a Mexican furniture store had a baby with a tropical garden. Completely bizarre and wonderful. As a venue, we worried we might actually lose guests among the giant chairs and random elephant statues. Too many drinks might also equal falling into a fountain or fighting a monkey totem.
  13. Super modern venue with fountains, patios, and two stories of blank spaces overlooking a beautiful, green park. Park is a special place to us both as when we started talking about this whole marriage adventure, we decided to go look at engagement rings. We went to appointment at a custom ring store and were stood up by the jeweler. So, we decided to make the best of the day, went to the local farmer’s market, grabbed iced coffees, and sat in the flower garden talking about all the things we want to do in our lives together. We then saw ducklings in a fountain, and Pastry got a semi-mortifying video of me squeaking in dog hearing range of how much I love baby ducks. Venue is directly across from that bench where we sat, and the city rents out the park for ceremonies.
  14. A large zoo toured on the hottest day of the year thus far. Saw many GIANT jackrabbits rustling in bushes, and literally no zoo animals beyond a couple birds. Possibility of reception in giant African tents (with sparkle lights). Venue tour possibly one of the sweatiest moments in my entire life.

“Whatcha lookin’ at, punk?” says the world’s largest jackrabbit. “I judge your appetizer and color scheme choices.” 

And, today, we picked one. Any bets on the final winner?

Extra picture: Just because they are super cute.

BABY DUCKS. I LOVE THEM.

The Venue Search: “Flexible…But with the Possibility of Human Excrement”

Today Pastry and I began the great wedding venue search. Thus, we have added our own new third definitions to the x and y factors of yore.

X-Confusion Abounds.

X Factor

  1. a variable in a given situation that could have the most significant impact on the outcome
  2. a noteworthy special talent or quality
  3. Any venue with the possibility of fireworks and a reasonable open bar cost which does not require the sale of a gently used kidney (Irony?)

Y Factor

  1. a widely used technique measuring the gain and noise temperature of an amplifier
  2. Showing you or someone else’s feelings by the amount of Ys at the end of a “hey” in a text message (via UrbanDictionary.com)
  3. the “WHY WE SHOULD NOT GO WITH THIS VENUE” factor of wedding planning (via The Pastry/Cucumber Consortium for Nuptial Planning Excellence)

We went to two very different locales, a more traditional renovated home venue at which the Pastry’s older brother had been married circa fifteen years prior and an avant-garde, flexible gallery space in the middle of a major metropolitan city. One venue included an outdoor fireplace, overgrown gardens, twinkle lighting in all the pecan trees, and the possibility for fireworks. The other venue included a very large white space, a small art gallery with a total of four seats, and the possibility of seeing a drugged out person literally shitting in the middle of a public art display outside the gates.

Please take a moment to ponder which venue may have made the decision matrix cut.

Hint: It was not the venue featuring a piece of dried poop next to a massive mural of Krishna. It was dried, slightly aged poop, but it was still obviously human poop just hanging out in public, in the middle of an interactive art display, next to a park, in broad daylight, directly next to an expensive venue. While staring at said excrement, we paused to ponder whether Pastry’s nice Midwestern family would enjoy this locale and then decided my hardened, more urban family would probably just step over the leavings, jaunting across the street to get a food truck street taco while Instagraming said poop-display with the hashtag #PublicPoop.

Beyond all that, the whole fireworks thing at the first venue is pretty exciting. But, all you or we are going to really remember from this day is…poop.

Invitation idea should we go with venue option number two?