sane wedding planning

wedding related ramblings revolving around sanity and practicality, with a little bit of geekery and crazy just for fun!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wedding Voices: Katie & Jeff

Today is the first in a series of wedding stories; a sort of 'words from the wise' from folks who were married long ago and have the benefit of several years of hind site to reflect on their wedding day. Today's story is from Katie, who is about to celebrate her 14th wedding anniversary! Follow along as she strolls down memory lane, and even has a few bits of advice for couples planning their wedding in todays crazy wedding world.

Jeff and I got engaged May 25th, 1996. It was my 24th birthday, and exactly two years after I made a birthday wish that within two years we'd be engaged. He proposed to me at Columbia Winery, which is where the Spirit of Washington dinner train stopped for wine tasting. The funny thing was, I knew it was coming. When we first boarded the train, I went to sit by the window but he was trying to get me to sit in the other seat. I was annoyed, since it was my birthday, and he relented. As we sat down at the table, I put my left hand on his leg, and immediately felt the ring box in his pocket. I pulled it off, but he knew that I knew.

That proposal was a long time coming. We had been dating for four years, and our daughter was a year and a half old. Our pregnancy was unexpected, and we hadn't been ready to get married. But we worked on our relationship so that by the time we got engaged, we were ready. After he proposed to me, he said, "Now you can officially pull the wedding magazines out from under the bed." I had already been planning for a while!

Even though we already had a child together, I didn't feel that meant I had to give up the traditional wedding I had always dreamed of. We gave ourselves a year to plan, and set the date for May 31, 1997.

We were working within a very tight budget. We had just purchased our first home, and my parents were able to contribute some, but not a lot. I believe the entire wedding was less than $6000.00. We picked a church near where we had been living and after looking around, decided to have the reception at a nearby Senior Center. It wasn't fancy, but the price was reasonable and we could bring in our own food. And the view was amazing!

I found my caterer at one of the bridal shows. She seemed reasonable price-wise, and she allowed my mom to work some of her events as a server to help pay down the cost of the food. In the end, we regretted picking her because we had less than our expected number of guests, yet we still ran out of food, and when someone asked about more food in the back (a guest) she said, "that was all that she paid for." 

We didn't have alcohol at our event, mostly to save money.

We hired a DJ who had a videographer as part of his package. They recorded the wedding and a small portion of the reception, but it was only 2 hours of videography, so they didn't get much.

I got my cake from the European Bakery Café. The feedback from our guests was that it was the best cake they had ever tasted, and there was very little cake left at the end of the reception. I highly recommend them.

In the weeks leading up to my wedding day, one of my greatest stresses was the weather. I checked the farmer's almanac. I even emailed the local weatherman at King 5; he told me to relax and whatever would be would be. As it turned out, it did rain on my wedding day; they say it's good luck, and I won't disagree. Thankfully, it cleared up in time for the ceremony, and we were able to take pictures outside during the reception.

Speaking of pictures, our photographer was the best deal of all. He was just starting out and he did engagement pictures too. He took tons of pictures at the wedding and gave us copies of every single one. We decided to go the traditional route and not have Jeff see me before the wedding, which definitely makes things a little tricky after the ceremony. Keeping everyone in the wedding party close after the ceremony so we could rush through pictures and get to the reception definitely stressed me out. I see now why people don't do that often anymore. 

As for the actual ceremony, my greatest regret was not being in the moment as much as I should have been. I was so focused on everything going as planned, that I feel like in many ways I was going through the motions. I did start crying right before my walk down the aisle and that sucked. It was an ugly cry, and I cried the whole way down.

If I had it to do all over again, I would want to personalize it more. I'd want to simplify things and not worry so much about following protocol, make it a real celebration of the two of us. I would have made it more fun, less serious, because we aren't really serious people.

I think it's hard when you've grown up with ideas of how things are supposed to go. I watched Princess Di and Prince Charles get married, and I always thought it needed to be solemn and formal. But now I realize it's not supposed to be a show for the guests, it's supposed to reflect the two people who are making this huge enormous commitment. And it should be a party!
Katie and Jeff today, still happily married and adorable!

1 comment:

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