Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Reception Search - stop #2

Our next stop was The Lily Barn. I'm a gardener so I was very interested to see this place. They have over three acres of perennial gardens and after taking a tour of the place, I have to say that it's beautiful.

Major strikes against it - you could only stay until 10pm. The reception area is an open-air barn which is very pretty. It does have sides that roll down in case of bad weather but you had to decide to do this a couple of days beforehand. Anyone who lives in East Tennessee will be sure to tell you that if you don't like the weather, wait an hour and it will change. It was also pretty pricey for what they offered. However, if you're looking for a place for a gorgeous garden wedding in the spring or summer, check them out. Check out this blog post for some more pictures.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Reception Search - continued!

Our first stop was The Barn Event Center of the Smokies. This is a gorgeous place that looks like it's been here forever. It's actually very new. I have a deep and abiding love for cantilevered barns. The inside is very spacious and airy. The rental fees are reasonable and the catering fees aren't bad either. However, the latest we could stay was midnight and that included cleanup time. I also wanted to be able to bring my own caterer in and they charged extra for that. This was definitely an option but it wasn't exactly what we were looking for.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Why I hate wedding timelines

I'm a bit of a procrastinator. I'll just be honest and admit it upfront. But it's frustrating to feel like the world's biggest slacker without even a chance to redeem yourself. According to the wedding timelines online, I haven’t even procrastinated anything yet and I’m already 6 months behind!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Reception Search

We spent an entire day last week looking at reception venues in the mountains. Finding places to get married in the mountains is very easy. Finding places in the mountains to get married that I can afford and that aren't wedding chapels - not quite so easy.

Let's kick this search off with a completely off-the-wall-no-way-I-could-ever-afford-it choice. Blackberry Farms!

Absolutely gorgeous but outrageously expensive. I once looked into getting a room there for a romantic weekend for The Boy and I but it was over $800 a night and it's only gone up. Our wedding photographer, Julie Roberts, told us that she had found out that it costs $68,000 just to rent the lodge out for the weekend. That doesn't include anything but the lodging - flowers, catering, activities - everything else is more money.
Sigh. Maybe next time I get married. :-D

Friday, May 9, 2008

Photographer - check!

Our photographer was the first thing we crossed off our checklist. My Mom has always stressed the importance of good pictures and I knew that a good photographer was a priority in our wedding budget.

First, I had to get over the sticker shock for wedding photographers in our area. That was hard to do but after pricing several different photographers, I realized we needed to just suck it up. I looked a few recommendations for cheaper photographers from some ladies on the local TN board for The Knot but I wasn't impressed with their online pics. The way I look at it is that if I'm not impressed by the pics they've cherry picked to show themselves off, then I'm not going to be impressed by anything else.

I paged through our local city bridal guide and one photographer in general stood out to me and to my FI - Julie Roberts.

I loved how she made people look so good. I loved her candid shots but I also liked her more formal ones. After reading her blog, I fell more in love with her pics. After showing them to my FI, he stood up, called her and made an appointment! He's certainly not a disinterested groom but that kind of interest speaks volumes to me.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Why am I chagrined?

Why do I call this blog The Chagrined Bride? Well duh! It's because I'm chagrined about being a bride! :-D

Although I BMX biked with the best of them when I was younger, I'm still very much a bit of a girly-girl. I'd probably be more of one if it didn't take so much time. I'm also a feminist who's very proud to call herself one. I love wearing cute clothes but not so much shopping for them. I'm 35 with an insane number of cats. My FH and I have lived together for almost ten years and we own a business together. I'm from a part of the country that usually gets banjo jokes made about it. I'm not really the target audience for most of the wedding industry.

I think the wedding industry has gotten a bit ridiculous. We're subjected to all of these perfect, expensive weddings that are planned by professionals and we're supposed to figure out a way to do a champagne wedding on a beer budget. Botox is required and you might want to think about getting those boobs lifted while you're at it. Don't even think about skimping on the flowers or everyone will know how cheap you really are!

So obviously, I think the current obsession with weddings is a bit silly. I mean, how many damn TV shows can they have about every freakin' aspect of weddings?!! At the same time, I also get very pissed about the idea that there's all these Bridezillas running around, spreading their bitch-i-tude wherever they go. It's a very sexist name first off. It panders to the idea that while an angry man can be admired, an angry woman should be scorned. It's also a way to be dismissive of a woman with a legitimate complaint. It also hypocritical. The same wedding industry that has set these unreal expectations about how perfect your wedding should be has no problem producing TV shows that make fun of woman when the pressure gets to them.

I've found over the past few months that it's hard to find a happy medium. You either must be obsessively planning every last detail down to the monogrammed toilet paper or you must treat the whole wedding process with scorn and make fun of any woman who enjoys it or spends too much money on it. Thank God for the blogsphere! Wedding blogs seem to be the one of the few places where you can find a compromise. You're able to find women who know that the getting married part is actually the most important part but that doesn't mean you can't have fun and take time planning the rest.

I'm very proud that I'm going to be a bride and a wife. At the same time, I'm a bit chagrined at how I've gotten into my wedding planning. I haven't lost site of the important part - that I'm marrying the man that I love. But I also love window shopping at Etsy for the perfect wedding jewelry. I haven't planned my wedding since I was 12. In fact, I hadn't really had any thoughts about exactly what I would like even though I knew The Boy was planning on proposing soon. I'm having a blast planning it now though!