As I mentioned in my previous post, I started planning almost immediately after I became engaged. Since I got engaged the day before Thanksgiving, I was able to enjoy that Thursday with family and friends taking in the excitement of knowing I was going to marry the love of my life. As soon as it was an acceptable time on Friday morning, I called my dream venue to ask questions about holding my January wedding. I knew my wedding was going to be in January for a while, in fact, I had the exact date down. January 17th 2015 was the date I dreamt about even before Oren popped the question (though he did not know that!). I wanted that date for many reasons:
1. It is MLK Jr. weekend, which is a long weekend for some and would provide an extended day for travel.
2. I am Jewish and we can not get married on Saturdays because of Shabbat. However, in the winter Shabbat ends earlier than the summer (because the sun sets earlier) so I knew that if I had a winter wedding I could possibly have an easier time getting married on a Saturday. Though everyone in my family gets married on a Sunday (both because of Shabbat and because no one has yet to have a winter wedding) I like the way Saturday weddings feel- knowing you do not have to go to work the next morning after a night of dancing and drinking.
3. I have always dreamed of a winter wedding. Snow (already) on the ground, the beauty. I love winter! I also tend to sweat a lot in the summer and did not want to have this occurrence on my wedding day. I would rather be cold than hot, you can always add more layers. In addition, I wanted my wedding attire to be Black Tie (though I have come to realize it may be rude to ask Black Tie of your guests, because that would mean if they did not already have a tux they would have to rent or buy one, so we are doing Black Tie Preferred) and people are more willing to dress fancier in the winter, than the summer (my observations).
4. Finally, probably the biggest reason I wanted a winter wedding in January was because my Mom’s birthday is January 13th. This may seem foolish to many, but for me to have my wedding by my mother’s birthday was symbolically a way to honor her. In addition, it turns January into a joyous month (I hope!) rather than me being sad I can not celebrate another birthday with her. This is my thinking, and to me it makes sense, however I tend not to tell anyone this reason I want a winter wedding- the mood becomes awkward very quickly.
After calling my venue, I was setting up meetings with all the vendors I wanted to lock down immediately. Thankfully, I was about to be on Winter Break from my graduate program, so this gave me ample opportunity to make appointments with many different vendors for the next month and a half!
By Christmas I had locked down the venue, the photographer, the videographer, the band, a Photo Booth, the florist, my dress, my bridesmaids dresses, wedding party, and an event coordinator for the day of my wedding. I felt good about my progress. I am one who decides what they want fast. I do not take much time second guessing my decisions. Usually I listen to my heart over my head. If my heart says go, I do it. If my heart feels anxious, I stay away. I have let my heart guide me with every vendor I picked (especially when I had a lousy interview with a “know it all” photographer who was rude and made fun of my wedding planning book!).
Let’s talk about that photographer. She was something else! I purchased a wedding planning book from Barnes and Nobles. It is not one from “the knot” or any of those other brand name wedding sites. I picked it because it seemed to be the most organized out of all the planners on the shelf. And organized does it keep me! It has a section for every single vendor, questions to ask, things to pay attention to in the contracts, and the thing that helped me the most, a way to budget my wedding! I found this very helpful, especially since I was mostly planning alone.
I went to my appointment with this photographer and was turned off immediately. Her condescending ways did not match up with my personality. She told me she would yell at my family and friends if they were “getting in her way” or “not listening to her”. I was not okay with this, especially knowing my family. She was out of my price range and I asked her about winter wedding deals (as I ask every vendor. It is well known that winter weddings aren’t in high demand and that by asking about winter wedding deals almost all vendors will give you some sort of discount) and she went on to tell me by looking at my ring it did not look like I needed any deal. In my opinion, that was a rude statement. She had no idea about where I came from and what I needed and didn’t need. For her to make a generalization about my finances just from my ring was absurd! But the insults did not stop there, as I was wrapping up my questions she said “Do you have anything else to talk about that your little book advises” in a rude and bitchy (sorry I have a sailor’s mouth sometimes!) voice. At that point I looked at her and lost control. I said “as a woman who is planning a wedding without my mom, I need this book and do not appreciate your tone”. Yep, I said it. I do not let people be rude to me, no matter who they are. I walked out of the meeting with both of us knowing I would not be using her services.
That would be the only “horror” experience I have come across with a vendor so far. Thank goodness!
When I set up meetings with my vendors I always add a little note “by the way, my mother passed away so my father will be the one helping me, or the one you’re meeting”. I do not do this to get sympathy from any vendor, but more importantly to avoid their questions about my mom. I found that when I do not mention anything the conversation comes up, and automatically I become emotional. If I let the vendor know before that my mother will not be involved with this process, than we can skip the awkwardness of them bringing her up, and me becoming emotional.
Yesterday my Dad and I ventured to Dayton, OH to attend a vendor event. We went specifically to order my Chivary chairs that I have had my eye on since December. The rental company was having an amazing deal, 15% off the rental AND future rentals from their company if you booked and paid in full that day. I love a deal and had to get there! I asked my Dad if he wanted to come and he was more than willing to come help me with this venture. In the past, my Dad has given me his advice and helped with the payment. He has never come to a vendor meeting with me and I was excited to have him see me work my magic.
We got to the rental company, checked in and sat down with a consultant right away since I already knew we were going to rent the Chivary chairs. After we did business, we went out back and took a look at all the vendors. As I walked around I kept getting asked “do you have a venue? do you have a band, DJ? Do you have…” It felt AMAZING to have most of my vendors and I realized how much I have already accomplished. My dad was LOVING the vendors! He had cake samplings, beef samplings, and any other food he could get his hands on. I kept having to wait as he looked around to see what else he could eat. It ended up being a very fun experience! I do not think I have many more vendors to secure, but I plan on bringing him to future meetings with me from now on.
As we were leaving my dad said to me “thank you for including me in this! I know you would have loved to have your mom here, but it was an honor for me to join you.” He is right, I would do anything to have my mom with me, but having him, I realized in that moment, was just as special.