Emily Engaged

Going to the Chapel (Or Country Club, Hotel, Winery, or Ranch)

Guys. I haven’t written in a nearly a month and the reason is this—searching for a wedding venue sucks. I am not being melodramatic, it stinks so hard. Looking for a venue has been the biggest source of unhappiness, confusion and guilt during what is supposed to be a really happy time.The venue choice determines everything: the budget, the style, the guest list and the wedding date.

There is this strange pressure to have my wedding be the ultimate expression of who I am and who we are together. Why does that exist? Has it always been this way?As soon as we started looking for the right place, everything became difficult. The wedding seemed like it had to be everything to everyone; it wasn’t just about the two of us but about parking and bathrooms that were accessible to grandmas (no stairs) and space enough for two entire extended families. In the end, we were only able to find about three places that fit the bill and to be honest, I wasn’t crazy about any of them.

I thought I was supposed to have a moment of clarity, a feeling that I’d walked into the place I would be married. The only feeling I had was a bloated one, from emotionally eating too many gummy bears. After  weeks of uncertainty and crying and arguing over budget and everything else (Jim and I got into the worst fight we’ve ever had over this), I broke down during a phone call with my dad. I didn’t like any of the choices and due to our tight planning schedule, I had to make a decision. Then my dad, just like he’s done a hundred other times, calmed me down. He told me about his wedding and how he doesn’t really remember the room, the food, or the open bar package. He explained that what he remembers best is seeing how happy and proud his parents and my mom’s parents were. He remembers seeing his family and friends laughing and having fun, and all because this exciting thing was happening to him.

In the same way that a band-aid and a cookie made me feel better as a kid, I felt magically healed after talking to my dad that night. We’ve made our choice now (it’s the first place we looked at, naturally) and even though I don’t have lovey-dovey feelings for the venue, I kind of realized that I’m not really supposed to.  I think I had to mourn the loss of this dream wedding I had planned, and once I had, I was able to actually start to plan a real one.

Image courtesy of Wedding Party Venues

  • http://www.facebook.com/tianalyn Tatiana Daugherty

    Dad’s have a way of making things all better, don’t they? :) Glad you found your venue without having a nervous breakdown. Now…take a step back, and enjoy! The hard part is over.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1328250363 Jennifer Davis

    Picking a venue SUCKED. There really is nothing good about it. I remember when we started looking a few months ago we were so excited and then as we looked at a couple places we started feeling all the overwhelming chaos. Each has so many different options, some include everything while others simply include the place for the reception. There were too man deciding factors and it all became so stressful. I felt SO much better when we picked our venue, we looked at about 8 and ended up with the first one we looked at too! If there is one tip I have, it is book your DJ/band next! We just had so much trouble finding one and our wedding is not until next September, I never thought it would be so hard!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505367453 Eileen McNeil

    I’ve been going through the same thing and it seems like everyone says, “Just do what makes YOU happy, don’t try to please everyone,” but we can’t forget about the guests either. Like you said, making sure it’s accessible, making sure they can provide for special dietary needs, etc. Luckily, we’ve got people to keep us grounded; you’ve got your dad, I’ve got my mom! In the end, as long as you’re married by the end of the day, it’ll be success. Good luck with the rest of the planning!

  • http://www.facebook.com/robertafossil Carly Rachel Stacey

    Oh Emily! How delighted i am to have found your posts as i am too newly engaged (Oct 17th). I can watch your journey and take advice from you (awesome)

    Although i am a bit gutted you have pointed out parking and stairs for oldies (2 things i had not thought about at all and may possibly impact the venue i want!) Damn you and your forward thinking 😀

    I came to a realisation at the wkend that you cant please everyone and simplicity is key, not necessarily elegant simplicity maybe lazy simplicity!

    Good luck and i look forward to reading your posts…. you have been bookmarked/ favourites x

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=152501101 Emily Johnson

    AHH YEs! I got Engaged on Sunday! I am so excited yet already had a little cry fit last night about guest lists! I also had my mom and my fiance calm me down and remind me it’ll be fantastic no matter what.. but boy the pressure sure does come from a lot of directions! I think I’m going to go with a big Barn wedding… but still soooooo many places to look through and choose from.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000627691307 Christina Boucher

    Girl, I had the same problem. That’s why I’m getting married at my uncle’s house in Martha’s Vineyard. It makes everything so much easier and even better than that- it’s free. :] Good luck!

  • http://www.facebook.com/katherine.daneen Katherine Brashier

    My fiance and I went through the same troubles. It SUCKED. Nothing was right and to add to our turmoil, my family is from Louisiana and his is from Kentucky so we had to try and find somewhere in between to get married at. In the end, we actually decided that we didn’t want to get married. We’re still engaged, still in love and happy, but neither of us can figure out a reason to get married Right-This-Minute. And of course, a year after deciding not get to married, the perfect venue fell into our laps when we moved to TN and discovered that the library where I found employment has a cute little Gazebo in a reading garden, perfect for a summer wedding (next summer, though. I like to take my time about things).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=166400082 Katie Daniels

    I recently started looking at venues too, and I’m so overwhelmed! I love what your dad said to you; it’s so lovely, so true, and lifted a bit of pressure off of the idea I have in my mind of what I need to look for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emily.dubinsky Emily Dubinsky

    Thanks everyone! And congrats to all the newly engaged on this chain. 😉

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