I am a Vulcan of love. Rational, logical, analytical, melding my mind with my Pastry on our mutual adoration of air hockey, pie, and adventures. I am by trade a researcher, educator, and artist. In Pastry’s phone contacts I am still listed as “Cucumber The Singer/Researcher” from our first date (a glorious evening of sushi, people watching at Walmart, and playing Battleship at Ihop over hot chocolate). So, I research stuff, and by stuff, I mean everything. And, I love me a good criteria, rigorous study, and analysis. This process, probably to the chagrin of my more emotionally driven love, is how I have approached my equal part in planning our wedding.
Reconnaissance is generally defined as a preliminary surveying to gather information or a strategic, military observation to ascertain strategic features. Within my own field, reconnaissance is a preparatory stage, an initial phase in which an exploratory stance is adopted, the understanding of the problem is developed, and plans are made for an interventionary strategy. So, wedding coordinators beware, I AM ON A MISSION. A MISSION OF LOVE AND EVENT COORDINATION, possibly with a signature bourbon cocktail and a small zoo animal encounter during the reception.
I think I have perhaps slightly terrified Pastry in my martial scouting of possible wedding venues. Meanwhile, The Wedding Industry Machine has instilled in me a great fear of not being able to find a venue, afford a venue, book beyond the select caterer, plan the nuptial date, coordinate ALL THE THINGS, incorporate whatever deranged rustic rodeo clown in Paris theme we desire, GET EXACTLY WHAT WE WANT, DO IT NOW, NOW NOW OR YOU WILL LOSE OUT FOREVER ON THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF YOUR LIFE, FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR. (Pant, pant, pant.)
In actuality, Pastry and I have discussed how though a wedding is a kickass way to celebrate our official union with our nearest and dearest, it is likely not going to be the Most Important Day of Our Lives. And, how our lives together will be composed of important days of various weights, graduating with a terminal degree, getting a promotion, having/adopting children, falling more in love, battling in future air hockey championships, playing Battleship and pie on our anniversary years and years down the road. The wedding is an important day, but it’s just a day. My sincerest hope is that it is just another great day in our lifetimes of many good and great days.
But, back to the assault upon finding a venue as the first wedding-related task. I coordinate very large events (1,000+) quite frequently for my actual job so I do know the importance of a solid timeline. As much fear-mongering all wedding planning guides instill in the average reader, there is some bizarre truth to it all as this shit needs to get done a year in advance. Which is ridiculous, but there you go. So, we’ve been gathering reconnaissance on venues, non-traditional, farms, zoos, gardens, parks, all-inclusive, historic buildings, cultural centers, goat farms, whatever place that might let us gallivant in our best finery and then drink in semi-public with our families. I made an Excel spreadsheet to track it all. I haven’t color coded it yet, but it is really just a matter of time. And, thus, this weekend we are off to start the whole looking at expensive places to hold this shindig.
Second, a weighted decision matrix. (Also sometimes referred to as a grid analysis, Pugh Matrix Analysis, or Multi-Attribute Utility Theory.)
My mom taught me some very important things in my life; How to stand up to injustice, how to endeavor to be fair, how being a strong woman is a wonderful thing to be. She also taught me how to put together awesome Powerpoint presentations (circa 4th grade when I made my astounding marking presentation debut with the innovative, “patent-pending” Sponge Coat, a rain jacket made of sponges) as well as the utter glory that is the weighted decision matrix (which I still currently utilize in my everyday practice). Essentially, you use this handy ol’ tool when you need to make one choice based on a multitude of criteria as well as account for the importance of the criteria by reducing everything down to a numerical weight. I am a nerd and I love this shit. #noapologies
Pastry is on board with my analytical framework as he is just as much of a data nerd. In my Vulcan logic-is-king manner, I was listing out possible criteria, location, catering/booze, flexibility, parking, insurance provision, cost, as well as the associated importance. Pastry kindly asked that we include an “x-factor” to my very tangible list of criteria, so that we could account for what just pulled at our heartstrings the most, the place that we just knew in our hearts was the place, what moved us the most. This. This is why he is my partner and makes me a better person. So, I gave our x-factor the highest numerical weight. Because even sometimes Vulcans can fall in love with humans.
Bonus Spock .GIF as recommended by Pastry: