Happy New Year!

Happy 2011 Everyone! I hope each of you enjoyed a restful holiday and maybe even extra time off to spend with those you love the most.  That’s how I spent the last week, and while I felt I was being a bit neglectful of this here blog I decided the time spent with the people I know IRL (In Real Life) was much needed.  And with the date set, and venue chosen the Boy and I even took some time off from W-Day planning.

But now it’s January 3rd, and that means back to work in all aspects of life, blogging, W-day and that pesky “job” place.  Bah!

So how can I get back in the swing of things? I think I need to give the people what they want… a rundown of what venue we ended up with and officially beginning our countdown by announcing the date.

But first, a recap:

Venue 1 – Holland Marsh Winery.  You may recall that the Boy and I L-O-V-E-D this venue.  We could really see ourselves celebrating our marriage there, but alas Rolland who claimed to always take care of his first, was typical of the teenage boy he stole his line from – and totally screwed us over. He wanted $5000 for the space alone, and the caterer we were looking forward to working with there, has still yet to send me her quote.  Cons all around.  We moved on.

Venue 2 – The Doctor’s House. The Boy and I really didn’t like this one, their new space looks like it will be lovely but is designed for way more people than we will be having, and the space that was available for us had too many pillars and the spaces were too seperate for our liking. Veto.

Venue 3 – The Estates at Sunnybrook. Heart.  If we were planning a slightly smaller wedding with an unlimited budget I’d be all for it.  I believe the word stunning was used multiple times.  So pretty, and socially conscious.  Unfortunately philanthropy comes with a price tag I just couldn’t get behind. With a heavy heart, we I moved on.

Venue 4 – Nottawasaga Inn.  I didn’t get to a full review of this one – please forgive me.  But there really wasn’t much to write about.  It’s around the corner from my parents new house, so we had to check it out for the convenience factor alone.  But once inside, our suspicsions were quickly confirmed.  Two words: Old and Dated.  The first space they showed us looked like like a church basement.  Nothing against church basements, but if we wanted our wedding in one we would have it in a church basement.  The second space was better, but really nothing unique or special.  It just looked like a hotel banquet room…. which is fine… just not what we were looking for.  Convenience be damned – veto.

Venue 5 – McMichael Art Gallery. This one was up there with Sunnybrook – it was beautiful, and the best pro, you can rent the gallery for cocktails.  Awesome!  Cons – it’s close to nothing (hotel and church wise) and it too had a nice price tag.

At this point we were getting discouraged.  We still hadn’t had the full dud experience of Venue 1, so we were still holding our breath for that one, but at the same time the prices of everywhere else were causing me a slight panic attack.  So we made the trek into the country and checked out Venue 6.

Venue 6 – Woodington Golf Course. Woodington Golf Course was lovely. The price was right.  The coordinator was awesome.  It made its way into our top 2 and our top choice for a short time.  The only con, location.  The golf course was in Tottenham, where there isn’t a hotel.  It was about a 20 minute drive from Alliston (back to the high prices of Nottawasaga for hotels) and about 30 minutes from Newmarket.  Given that pretty much all of our guests are coming from out of town this was a major consideration.

At this point the bottom fell out of Venue 1 and it was about 6 days to Christmas – the day when the whole world gets engaged. And we had nothing.

Venue 7 – Waterstone Farm and Estate. We booked an appointment for Saturday at 11 to see it.  We got there.  And the Coordinator didn’t show. Well isn’t that fantastic.  The good news?  She left the door open so the Boy and I snuck in and showed ourselves around.  We liked it.  We didn’t like that the woman we were supposed to meet didn’t show.  So we left her a note and went on our way. We made a mental pro/con list and started to really lean toward Venue 6.  Then I got an email from the owner of Venue 7 complete with a big apology and an offer of a free butlered shrimp cocktail should we choose to book with them.  She also sent me there prices and menus.  I appreciated the customer service and the reasonable prices – we booked another appointment.

This time my mom came with us, the coordinator/owner did show up, we got a full inspection of the place, a good understanding of what was being offered, we saw pictures of what it would look like on the day of.  We liked it.  There was just one issue… September 17 – booked.  September 24 – booked. October 1 – booked.

That left us with September 10, October 8 and October 15.  We didn’t want our wedding on Thanksgiving.  So that left September 10 and October 15.  We voted. The Boy voted for September 10 – he didn’t want to risk the wheather in October.  My mom agreed (though hesitant since that weekend coincides with our Kitchener Knitters Fair weekend).  I was hesitant only because I really wanted the fall colours – but the Boy assured me my red hair was good enough, and while it could be lovely and colourful and beautiful… it could be snowing.  So we did it.

We signed the contract there and then – 3 days before Christmas. And set the date for…

September 10, 2011!

Tomorrow – a little more about Waterstone… you had me at barn

Venue 1 – Shenanigans

You may recall that when the Boy and I saw the first venue – Holland Marsh Winery, we were in love.  We had some reservations about the size of the space, but we were thinking since it wasn’t built yet, and we were the first to inquire, and Rolland (the owner) said he “always takes care of his first,” it was looking like Venue 1 would be the standard by which all others would be measured.

Well, we looked around.  In that process I decided that it’s really unfair that the most expensive part of the reception is the first decision to be made. Both the Boy and I suffered a little sticker shock.  But in the back of our mind we thought – but we’ve got a great deal at the Winery.  What’s that thing they say about things being too good to be true? Argh.

Since Rolland couldn’t give us a ballpark having never had an event in his space, given that it’s not finished yet, my parents and I went and saw a local caterer that my work uses regularly and creates all things delicious.  On the pro list for the Winery was we could use any caterer we wanted, and the caterer that I knew was looking to become Rolland’s preferred caterer. So we met her and made our wish list (the Boy chose to opt out of this meeting and made dinner for me upon my return instead – cool with me).  She said she’d put together a quote, meet with Rolland to see how he wants to work out his end (room rate – he had no idea when we met him, and/or percentage of the food – and what percent that might be).  She said she’d have an answer for me by the end of the week…. that was 2 weeks ago.

I emailed her last week to say – I know you’re busy with the holiday season, but I’m here looking to make a decision before the rest of the universe gets engaged over Christmas.  She answered – thanks for your patience, meeting with Rolland should have a quote in the next few days.  That was December 13.  On the 17th I called her.  Really looking to make a decision this week.  She said she’d send me her quote by Saturday afternoon but she wanted to let me know that my BFF Rolland – the guy that was going to take care of us as his “first” wants $5000 for the space alone.

What?

Should I repeat that? $5000 FOR THE SPACE ALONE. As far as I know (since it’s now Monday and she still hasn’t sent me a quote) that price doesn’t include anything… just space.  Space that’s not even built yet.  Space that we have only seen digital plans of.  Space that no one else has used.  There are no testimonials.  There is no coordinator.  There is no history. There is no reputation.  $5000, for 150 people to come to a space and stand there.  No one has anything to eat. There are no decorations. There is no food.  And the Boy and I are naked.

I repeat… Uh… What?

So I said what any bride-to-be (BTB for short you know) would say – “Um What? Does he know that that is 2-3x the venue price of other places we’ve looked at.”  Let’s keep in mind that those other venues are built, not North of Hwy 9, some of which are right in the beautiful city of Toronto, with beautiful city of Toronto prices?  To put this in perspective, stunning Venue #3‘s rental fee is $2500 and that includes tables, chairs, basic linen, silver candlesticks, all staff costs and a night of Maitre’D.

So what did Ms. Caterer say? “Well, he says he’s done some research and spoken to another similar venue in town.”  This other venue that he “researched” has done over 800 weddings according to their website.  She did not try and convince me.  She did not say she thought this was a reasonable price.  In fact, she followed that statement up with, “Have you looked at Waterstone Estate and Farm?”

We hadn’t.  We did this weekend.  There were more shenanigans there, but it seems that this might be another viable candidate.

As I’m typing this it’s now Monday evening, I still haven’t received a quote from Ms. Caterer.  I should say I would normally just say the name of the company I’m waiting on, but she is really good, and I think the delay (while I still find it unreasonable) is likely due to the holiday season.

So the long and the short of it is we thought the venue was going to be an easy decision, but I’m quickly learning that when it comes to wedding, there are few “easy” decisions.

BAH!

Positive thoughts.  Positive thoughts.

4 Days ’til Christmas!

the sexy santa assistants were there to take a...

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Venue #2 – Pillars anyone?

The Boy and I are looking for a venue that is beautiful.  We’re not looking for a big box banquet hall.  We want something a little different, and somewhere that doesn’t need a lot of extra fuss.  Why not just start with a naturally lovely canvas instead of spending money on covering up something ugly.  Makes sense to me.

So I took to Facebook and asked my peeps for venue suggestions.  One recommendation – The Doctor’s House in Klienburg – I’ve been there for Mother’s Day brunch… it was delicious.  We’ll give it a whirl.

The pro/con list:

Pro – Beautiful.  Lot’s of nice pictures.  The outside is lovely.  It’s an old house – estate styles.  Definitely charming. Not big box banquet hall.

Pro – We would be the only wedding on site that day.

Pro – Wedding suite for the happy couple (that’s us!) onsite.  We wouldn’t have to travel anywhere, and the accomodations are in a cute little house that has all kinds of adorable character.  Plus the biggest shower I have ever seen.

Pro – Lots of space. This is both pro and con really.  There is LOTS of space.  The venue seats 200 (questionable).  There is a separate bar room, pro (I think… maybe) and a separate ballroom for dancing.  Con. Maybe its because I haven’t been to a wedding set up that way before, but it seems to me that having dancing separate would kind of break up the party.  Sure they said we could put tables along the sides to invite the non-dancers into the space… I’m not convinced.  Maybe if the bar and dance floor were connected, but everything is separate.  It seemed really formal and old school and classy on the one hand – and really separate on the other… I didn’t like that.

Cons – Pillars. Pillars. Pillars.  EVERYWHERE.  So much so that the set up is tables of 6 set between the pillars. In rows.  So it seemed that if a pillar wasn’t in your way of seeing – someones head would be.   I didn’t like that at all.

Con – Proximity to hotels. Not too big of a deal, but something to consider for sure.

Con – Price. At this point I’m not freaking about price too much since a lot of the places we’ve seen are pretty similar.  But man alive when you do the math – heart attack.  Definitely a con on this one. For the price, there better be ABSOLUTELY no cons.

Con – no feelings. It was lovely.  I’m glad we went to see it.  But neither the Boy nor I got the feelings.  I couldn’t see it.  I couldn’t see ourselves there.

The feelings.  Oh the feelings. Here’s the thing loyal followers.  I like the lists. I like the pros and the cons for each, and I will continue to list them.  But when it comes down to it. I’m a gut girl.  Screw best mileage, great insurance rates…  if I ever get to the point of being able to buy a new car – I’m sure I’ll test drive, but ultimately I make the decision based on my gut.  I have little doubt that this very big decision will be any different.

Tomorrow – visiting the original vision… I’m in love.

How do you make big decisions?