October 10, 2012

I Didn't Think It Could Happen...But I Hated the Thought of My Wedding

Hey guys...yeah, I'm not dead, I swear! XP

I just didn't want to keep filling up the blog with negative and whiney blog posts.  Complaining about the costs of wedding dresses, costs of weddings, mostly costs of things XD

But the truth is...

I really hated wedding planning for a while.

*GASP!!!*   Me?!  Hate wedding planning?!  How could this be?!????

Apparently it's different once you really start planning.  A LOT different.

Here, I have the freedom to do whatever my little wedding-obsessed heart desires, because it's all speculation and in good fun <3

But now I need to factor in what my mom thinks, what my grandmother thinks, obviously what my groom thinks XD, what will my guests like or be able to stand...etc.

And when you have strong personalities in your life...it can get really frustrating really fast.  For a while the wedding just made me super depressed and crazy stressed out.  Eloping options were researched XD

And I know I posted last month saying pretty much the same thing, and that I was fine...but oh boy!  What a freaking emotional roller coaster these past couple months have been.

Inside my cray-cray brain, as I get closer to the lovely time-of-month were PMS takes over:

I think I'm okay with spending this much money...it is a wedding after all...
Finance:  "You know we could really use the money to do some renovations on the house..."
Oh God, this is so wasteful, what am I doing?!

(a few days later...)

Well-Meaning Friend:  "You will regret not having a wedding later on in life, go for it!"
Well, if we don't go overboard with wedding extras, it could be doable...you really think so?

(more days pass...)
Well, if we decide to spend the money on a wedding, which venue should I choose?
Grandma:  "Have a list of pros and cons, that always helps me."
*makes list, and in my opinion everything evens out*
Which one do I choose?!? o.0

(many days of pondering go by...)

All I need to do is pick a venue and then I'll be set...
(the phone rings)
Well-Meaning Friend:  "Omg, you should just elope, you're going to want the money later on!"

So instead of this blog turning into "Sarah's Proof of Emotional Instability", I decided to wait until I felt better about the whole thing XD

The whole thing was just really unexpected for me, even though I've seen the proof plastered on every wedding blog in existence, some things you still need to learn firsthand.

So I think I'm better.  I figured out what I wanted, (mostly anyways), and feel like I'm in control again.

All brides with me now, *deep breath*


September 4, 2012

The Problems of the Budget Bride

Okay, so I've been absent for quite some time.  Why?  Well let's just say my bridal thoughts have been less than rosy :P  I didn't want to be a Debbie Downer, so I figured it would be better to wait until calmer thoughts came around.

All brides need to do this periodically, including myself!
*deep breath* "I LIKE planning weddings" *deep breath* "I LIKE planning weddings"...

And you know what I realized?  That all brides put themselves through torture!  If we're not trying to create the most beautiful wedding, we're trying to have the most unique wedding, or trying to make everyone happy.

But even the budget brides may have a problem--we're trying too hard to save money.  We're trying to be those clever brides out there who find the diamond-in-the-rough, that seemingly perfect gem that doesn't break the bank, yet forfills all our wedding needs.

Well...what if the venues you find that are affordable are horribly complicated?  Sure, you find a pretty empty rental space for cheap, and you find an affordable caterer.  But then who's coordinating the vendors, buying the booze, hiring the bartenders, renting the tables/chairs/plates/silverware/etc, setting up the space?  Yeah, that falls on you unless you find that diamond-in-the-rough wedding planner for cheap too :P

So you find close to what you're looking for, a venue that covers the basics, has an in-house coordinator, is different and beautiful, can have a ceremony and reception onsite, has great food...wait?  It costs HOW MUCH?!?  *faints on floor*

So then, we either leave the fabulous venues behind, because we are too stubborn to pay the piper, or, if you're like me, you beat yourself up for spending that much money.

What are we doing?!  This is supposed to be enjoyable, not a road of disapointment!

What every bride who scans the bridal blogosphere needs to realize is ALL weddings are inspiration, but just that.

Just like the bride who has the 6-tier cake, the bride who snags the $1500 caterer for 150 is just as unreachable for most of us.

An extravagant, custom wedding cake.
Weddingbee's Mrs. Earrings beautiful and affordable tea party/picnic wedding.
I have to say Mrs. Earrings had one of my favorite budget weddings, but unfortunately a picnic tea party setting just isn't me

Am I saying that the budget bridal stories are just as damaging as the expensive bridal stories?  No.

But they both can give a bride unrealistic expectations, and that's what's dangerous here.

Because even though we want the prices of the wise budget brides, some of us may also want an evening wedding on a Saturday in May or October with a sit-down dinner and booze flowing freely. :P (Oh how my bridal vision keeps changing...more on that later...)

Yeah, I'm pretty much going against every budget reception tip in the book here.  And I need to accept that that brings the price up, and there's not much I do about it if I'm not willing to compromise on certain factors.

Well, I am willing to compromise on some, but my finance?  Another story XD  No one filled him in on the budget saving reception tips apparently! :P

I envisioned finding that perfect place for the perfect price, and I would post it here on my blog, and fellow brides would cheer! and my mother and mother-in-law would be impressed! and my finance could relax about finances! and all sorts of other delusional stuff like that XD

A high-fiving bride and groom cake topper.

And when it didn't happen?  I beat myself up about it, feeling guilty that I'm putting financial pressures on everyone around me and that I'm not saving enough money myself to single-handedly pay for the whole shindig and save everyone from financial torture.  This involved a lot of pouting, complaining, and being cranky and generally awful to be around whenever someone mentioned the wedding XP

Until I finally realized that I was being a whiny bitch and should just suck it up and enjoy picking my pretty venue for heaven's sake!

Why did it take me a month to figure this out?  No idea, but better to come late to the party than not at all, huh? XD

August 7, 2012

A Castle For A Castle

As some of you may know, this whole blog was spawned because of the timeless beauty and charm of Boldt Castle in Alexandria Bay, NY.

A wedding at Boldt Castle, a Thousand Islands, NY wedding venue.

Such a romantic place made it easy to daydream about a wedding with my sweetheart, but when the time comes to put down deposits, how does it level up to reality?!?

I've mentioned three favorable venue ideas a while back, but since I've posted those, Pine Tree Point Resort's website is nothing more than a real estate listing, so it may be out of business, prices have gotten RIDICULOUS for Edgewood Resort, ($125 per person?!? o.0), and prices have gone up the Clayton Opera House, however those prices are still very reasonable for a building rental.

After looking over the local venues again with a fine tooth comb (since I decided I didn't want to go too far from the castle,) the ONLY other venue worth considering was the newly-renovated Thousand Islands Club.

The Thousand Islands Club, a newly renovated Thousand Islands, NY wedding venue.

I found a couple more pictures on their facebook page, their reception room is alright, however the bar looks smashing and overall it's a lot better than most in the area.  But of course, their wedding packages have not been posted yet  :P  I messaged them on facebook weeks ago and have not received a response.


So I started thinking, "Do I really want to deal with the frustration of dealing with a destination wedding venue that won't return my messages?!"

And I realized...that I don't.

I realized that it might be too difficult to get out-of-town guests over to a town that's 2hrs away from any major airport.

I realized that it might be difficult to afford venues in the area when there aren't many existing to begin with!

But what helped ease the loss of such a pretty ceremony spot?

Why, another castle of course! :D

I present to you:

Belhurst Castle, a Finger Lakes and Geneva, NY wedding venue

This lovely venue my friends, is located in Geneva, NY in the fabulous Finger Lakes area!

Let me tell you, I LOVE THE FINGER LAKES!

There's a reason why Mrs. Locket and Miss Fairy from Weddingbee choose that area for their weddings!  Everywhere you go you are going through gorgeous countryside, with so many lake views, you won't know what to do with yourself! :D

And this gem is on Seneca Lake, right on the shore :)

A wedding ceremony at Belhurst Castle on the shore of Seneca Lake in NY

You want to know what else is everywhere in the Finger Lakes?  Wineries.  Top-notch, quality, wineries.  Dozens of them!  It's awesome sauce XD

And guess what?  This castle is a winery too!  Ack I die!

Belhurst Winery wines

And you want to know what else?!  It's a hotel too!

The Lewis Suite at White Springs Manor, a part of Belhurst Castle in Geneva, NY

AND it has a spa!

Tell 'em what else they've won Johnny!

(just kidding, I was on a roll XD)

So as you can see, this is what Boldt Castle would be like if it was easier to pull off! XD

It's a stunning one-stop-shop, the girls and I can get ready in the spa, (or my hotel room,) the ceremony would be outside facing the lake, the reception indoors, their tasty wine would be poured for the reception, guests can stay there for the night, and then the morning after brunch could be in their restaurant the next morning! :D

(Best photo I could find of the Meritage Ballroom that's not the virtual tour :P)

Doesn't it sound just perfect?!

I'm definitely starting to think so :)

So, what's the catch?

1) It's two hours away from Buffalo
2) It's a bit pricier than my other options

Both are fixable, however:

1) Geneva, NY is close to the thruway so it makes things mildly easier for driving commuters.  For out-of-town guests, Geneva is equidistant from both the Rochester and Syracuse airports, one hour away.  Not ideal, but I can get them a reduced group rate for car rentals at one airport to lessen the blow :P  I found that Rochester, NY was consistently more affordable than Syracuse for flights, so the special rate would most likely be there.

2) Belhurst Castle does have an absolutely horrible policy of having a minimum of $9000 for Saturday receptions May through October o.0  I don't even KNOW how you would spend that much money, (trust me, I've tried pricing it out!).  Solution?  Pick a date in the off-season, where there are no minimums, which is totally doable.

So, is two hours an ideal commute?
--No, but it's better than four hours XD

I can't WAIT til we come for a visit!!! :D

August 6, 2012

A Penny For Your Thoughts...

So, let's talk about that 6-letter-word in the wedding world, budget.

*shudders* o.o

Or another way to put it:  What ridiculous amount of DIYing am I going to have to do to keep the budget down?!? XD

An anxious bride, probably worried about the budget...

Yeah, our budget is going to be smaller than I would have liked...

...a lot smaller :p

Why? Well, the key thing to note here is:

Home Ownership = Empty Pockets
Empty pockets, so not much money for a wedding budget

Allow me to explain:

1) Foundation cracks downstairs start leaking water
2) Cracks start leaking a LOT of water...
3) Niagara Falls now resides in your rec room
4) ...and your laundry room
5) ...AND the home theater starts developing mold on the walls
6) Time to demo the drywall!
7) *cue sobbing over the mess that was once your home theater*
8) Oh look, another crack!
9) Call in contractors
10) Receive quotes and faint
11) Wake up and realize, no this is not a dream
12) Pout, but fork over the dough because your sick of bailing out your home and you want a quality job done
13) Spend the next year renovating the home theater, which would have taken the average do-it-yourself-er 2 months
14) Give up on the crown molding, leaving only parts of it on the walls and move the theater equipment back in
15) Weird spots start to appear on the ceiling...hmmm...
16) Floor starts warping in the hallway
17) GIANT PUDDLE appears in hallway
18) *cue sobbing as you realize the roof is leaking*

The cost of home ownership can be much more than anticipated.
XP  Yeah...

Pair this with my slow improvement of my spending habits and what do you get?! =
A very, very tiny wedding budget!

I knew this blog would be good for something! XD

So, what have we done to remedy this situation?

-The finance suggested getting married in Vegas by Fat Elvis -.-  I was not impressed.
-A 2014 wedding is practically confirmed.  We simply need more time to save up money, and as they say, time is money!
-A winter wedding is more desirable due to the across-the-board, off-season discounts with all vendors and services (Plus it's so pretty!!! :D)
-Venues that are too expensive get crossed off my list, no questions asked (There might have been some pouting however, lol)

So what does this mean for the gorgeous Boldt Castle in the Thousand Islands?  A very surprising outcome, to say the least.

To be continued!

July 31, 2012

Why I'm Dreading Wedding Dress Shopping

Guys, I thought I would have a fun time looking for my wedding dress.

I'm flipping out.

Why?  Because of my &$%-&$^@ expensive taste! XP

What do I like?
A textured, ruffled, and ruched a-line wedding gown from David's Bridal
Dimensional lace
A soft, flowing a-line wedding gown with lace and dimensional flower appliques from David's Bridal
A modern a-line or ballgown wedding gown with lots of unique texture from David's Bridal

What does every budget dress look like?!?

A simple and elegant empire waist sheath wedding dress from David's Bridal
A traditional satin a-line wedding dress with pickups from David's Bridal

Meh.  Simple and streamlined I am not.

Yes, I mentioned the eBay dresses before, but now that I'm doing more research, I have found that these are just "inspiration" photographs, and not what really comes shipped to your home.

There are some great sites here and here where you can see the difference...

A wedding dress a customer actually received from inweddingdress.com, pretty but not really like the Maggie Sottero original photo given for the item.

A Maggie Sottero wedding gown, which inweddingdress.com put as a photograph for one of their items.
Nice, but not the same...

I mean I could try out eBay and see what happens, I have enough time, I'm just worried that they can't do the complicated things I would want in a gown.

So my next step is researching these knock-off sellers and see if any have more positive reviews than most, try them out, and if it doesn't work out, go to plan B.

What's plan B?

A LOT of research.

Plan B is searching on Craigslist, eBay, WeddingBee Classifieds, BravoBride, RecycledBride, sample sales, etc. to find that one used or sample gown that is going for a reasonable enough price.

Like finding a needle in a haystack my friends.

So now I'm incredibly deflated...and getting a headache :p

I mean why does the WIC (Wedding Industrial Complex) have to be this way? Any white prom gown costs *more* than the same thing colored would be.  All wedding dresses are labeled as "affordable" if they're less than $1K.

A dress made of money, sometimes I wonder if this is cheaper than buying a wedding dress
Sometimes this seems like the cheaper option...

You what I think is affordable? $250
Highest price? $400, and it BETTER look like the dress from the Gods! ):<

I'm starting to feel that I can't escape this wedding budget blunder...yes, my mom IS going to pay for the dress, but it's just the damn principle of the thing!  I don't want anyone to pay more than $400 for a one-day deal for me.  And that's that.

And is it my fault that I like a little style???

Meh, maybe my new edition of Bridal Bargains can help me :P

Hopefully my dress ideas start becoming a bit clearer and the dress will come to me...but I think it will be playing hard to get.

Wish me luck <3