Once upon a time, I witnessed two brides-to-be talking intensely at great lengths about their wedding planning and I wondered how there could be SO MUCH to talk about and I know I’m not going to be like that when it’s my turn right… but I completely get it, and I am that person now. There is SO MUCH, even at this beginning point we just passed of picking a venue which I hope is the hardest part my goodness. By some miracle we’ve finally come to a decision that we both feel good about and I’m going to talk about it with you guys while trying to not make you fall asleep. There’s sort of a moral at the end of the story if nothing else!
We decided on what our biggest logistical priority was for our wedding, and it was that we don’t want to go into debt for it. This itself is what makes it so hard because traditional weddings, especially in places like LA, are not cheap. We contemplated going non-traditional routes but learned that it’s going to be expensive no matter what because the things we wanted that we thought were simple and cheap aren’t actually simple and cheap.
We imagined having an intimate, private backyard wedding, dinner and dancing under string lights, plenty of drinks, partying late, and lots of fun. Our ideal plan was to rent a house with a backyard, but we either couldn’t get a response to our inquiries to have a small wedding or we’d get a no. Apparently people don’t want strangers having weddings at their homes, makes sense. We looked at other homes that advertised for event purposes but still couldn’t find one we liked that was game for our plan or wasn’t a million dollars.
So the next plan: let’s find a venue with both indoor and outdoor spaces that feels like a backyard wedding but is experienced and staffed for putting on weddings so that we don’t have to do as much work.
We found two venues that we considered “the ones”, perfect and made of our dreams but you know, it couldn’t be that easy. Option 1 was way out of our budget, and option 2 was not available for our timeline and in hindsight was out of our budget too.
We tried looking at restaurants, which we quickly learned were not going to be more affordable and at most times were turning out to be the more expensive options considering food/drink minimums and wanting private space and dancing.
At this point I started gunning hard for elopement, but O was never down for that plan, and deep down I wasn’t really either. I think elopement is a beautiful option but ultimately for us, it didn’t feel right.
So, updated plan: let’s find a venue that’s cool and offers the best value. We came down to three options.
-cute and most our style
-reasonable rental price
-intimate setting for our smaller guest count
-extremely limited catering/bar options that basically counteracted the affordable venue fee
-awkward two level layout
-doesn’t need decorating and is fully furnished
-located in one of our favorite neighborhoods
-lets us choose whatever vendors we want + BYOB
-though beautiful, not at all what we imagined our wedding would look like
-a bunch of little rules and requirements that add on costs
-would need to have our wedding on a Sunday, not so bad, but a Saturday would be great
-one stop shop, they do most everything for you
-cute reception area
-good size for our guest count
-though convenient that they do everything, we felt they were up-selling those other vendor services
-we both didn’t like the style of the ceremony area
Which venue would you pick??
Spoiler, we picked venue 2. What it came down to was how awesome the neighborhood will be for an after party and for our families/out-of-town friends to hang out around + how we felt when we first walked in to tour the place, and that was “OO, this is FUN.” It felt like a destination and also felt right for the kind of party we want to throw, though at first it pained my design-prioritizing heart that the space isn’t really our style. On the flip side, this is turning out to be a relief, that I’m giving up control on major “aesthetics” and can focus more on the feeling of that day. We frequently referred to this venue as “the least stressful venue” since we really don’t have to do much to the space and I think my crazy overthinking self will appreciate that the most. Contrary to popular belief, completely DIY’ing my wedding sounds like a nightmare to me!
Looking back at how much we’ve put in to get to this point of setting a date, it all feels a little silly considering I started off thinking that I’m going to be different and simpler about it when it turns out I want a lot of the same things most brides want. I’ve sensed a trend of guilting and shaming put onto people who do “too much” for their weddings, but as that timeless saying goes, you do you. Back when I shared about our engagement and asked for wedding advice from you guys, you encouraged me to go however big or small we want regardless of anyone else as long as we remember what’s important and what it’s all about, which felt obvious but now I really see the weight of it. We ended up at a decision different from what we expected, but it still feels us, and I’m finally finally feeling very excited about this whole wedding thing. It’s going down 10.01.2017
Is anyone in the same stage of life or about to be or just generally interested in this stuff? I don’t plan on sharing about wedding things too much before the date anyway but it would be cool to know if anyone relates to any of this! One thing I want to mention is that one of the best things we’ve done so far was hire a coordinator. Emilia actually turned us on to venue 2 and I truly think we still wouldn’t have made a decision by now if it weren’t for her generous guidance about everything. She’s simply good people and I’m very into supporting and sharing about that. I know talking wedding stuff does not apply to many of you ha, but if you want to chat that and share, let me know!
18 comments on “Wedding Update: We Set a Date!”
Yay! Finding a venue really is a big deal. Once you do that, things start to fall into place a bit more, but there is definitely still so much to think about and talk about! And I’m sure it will be so beautiful, even if it’s not your style!
Thanks, Grace! We have 7 short months to plan but luckily have a pretty good idea about the rest of the stuff, should be smooth sailing I hope!
Congratulations on a date! And the venue sounds great. Originally we were going to do a backyard deal, too, with food trucks and now we’re doing brunch at a local restaurant after a morning ceremony in our backyard. It’s not our original vision but sometimes practicalities and budget and not wanting to be stressed and poor afterward win out. ;-) Also, hooray for October weddings! (Our date is 10/14/17)
I wish we had a backyard! That would’ve been our first pick. Your plans sound PERFECT. And so cool to hear we’re getting married around the same time!! Congrats to you too, Cyd!
Congrats on finally setting a date and getting a venue! You two are the cutest and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!
Aww thank you, Andrea! Can’t wait to share it all :)
We are going the nontraditional route, with a 4-month long engagement. We are splitting the ceremony and reception up. The outdoor ceremony will be immediate-family only during our trip to Iceland in May, which we had already planned before deciding to “elope” there. Luckily nature will take care of the decor. The reception will be back at home with our friends, in the summer. In the same boat with trying to find a lovely indoor-outdoor space where we can picnic around long tables under string lights. We want to spend very little money on the reception portion so are looking into doing it potluck picnic style in a forest clearing, and then moving it back to my fiancé’s parents’ beach-view house for drinks. So that our friends get the full experience of the destination wedding without the hassle, we plan to play our wedding video for them during the party. And we are trying to keep it as waste-free and eco friendly as possible, therefore second-hand attire, foraged or local decor, borrowing and renting.
This all sounds amazing. Iceland is near the top of my travel list! That is going to be so beautiful and I love that you are splitting up the wedding festivities. Potluck picnic is such a cool alternative for what I’m learning is typically the biggest cost for weddings. Congrats, Wendy!!
My fiance and I just picked a venue (it’s not finalized yet, so I’m not getting too excited) but we’re almost there. I can’t wait to have a date set & venue booked so we can move on to the more fun things! I never dreamed about my wedding growing up, but since he and I had the talk about getting engaged, I’ve been so excited to plan a wedding.
The one thing I’ve learned so far – it’s going to be expensive, pretty much no matter what. Our guest list won’t be small (because we want everyone there) and it costs money to host & feed all those people! Our date will be next June 2018, so we have plenty of time to save & plan for it.
Oh cool, congrats on picking a venue too! I NEVER dreamed or thought about my wedding and was almost dreading it but now the excitement has set in, I feel ya. Expensive no matter what, yup, and I didn’t know before that feeding everyone was what costs so much. Excited for you Stacy, and good call on giving yourself time to save and plan!
Finding a venue & choosing a date are the two hardest things, so congrats!! My wedding is in a month and I am SO happy it’s almost here. Planning can drive you crazy if you allow it. I’ve chatted a bit about various aspects of my wedding planning process so far on my blog, and my readers have loved it, so I encourage you to share some of yours too!
Good to hear, I can keep going then, ha! Thanks for the encouragement, and congrats on getting married soon!!
I’m getting married in September (in Chicago!) and had a similar experience selecting a venue. I had a really specific look in mind, but when I actually started looking at spaces I realized the amount of $$/DIY work it would take was unrealistic. I’m sure it’s the same in LA, but MAN! weddings in Chicago are expensive. It was a pretty harsh reality check. We ended up selecting a place with a totally different aesthetic than I originally imagined, but once I kind of reconfigured my expectations I realized it was actually pretty perfect for us. And ultimately it was the spot I figured guests would enjoy the most.
Girl, you are literally me. Exactly what went down for us with picking a venue and the same exact feels. And Chicago is my hometown! We have friends and family from there coming to LA for the wedding :)
Great choice of date – my birthday! It sounds like you have it all in hand but my advice would be to decide what matters to you and don’t worry about the other stuff. If you care about what your guests think then think about the things you remember most from the weddings you’ve been to and focus on that. You can’t worry about every tiny detail, it’s too much for one person! Above all, make sure you have fun on the day. Good luck with the rest of your planning!
Haha yay, you’ll never forget our anniversary ;) and I won’t forget your birthday! Totally, I’ve quickly come to terms with how I’m going to have to let go of details and prioritize having fun. Thanks for the encouragement, Rachel!
Yay – so excited for you guys!! Also I love, love those outtake photos!
I love your general aethetic and blog. At the time of this post last year I couldn’t really resonate since I myself was no where close to planning a wedding. but now fast-forwarding almost a year later, I’m in exactly your boat. I would love to hear more about your whole process or any helpful tips you may have as a newly engaged bride-to-be!