Help! I'm getting married

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by katew, Aug 27, 2003.

  1. katew

    katew

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    I'm mainly looking for general input, but I do have one food question--can I really count on these places that do the whole package deal for you--from the ceremony to the reception and the cake and the catering, etc. etc. or should I hire a private caterer, along with everyone else--a photographer, flowers, etc. Are buffets a good idea or should I stick with the "beef or chicken" plated meal type things?
    I am leaning towards having it in my church in my old hometown and having the reception downstairs in the meeting hall. That means I'd have to hire everyone myself--photographers, caterers, find a wedding cake, flowers, etc. My fiance keeps sending me links to fancy estates and mansions that do ceremonies and receptions--and hire their own people to do the food and everything else, I assume. (Haven't looked too deeply into this yet. Just got engaged a week and a half ago.)
    IThe wedding won't be very big--only a couple bridesmaids, best man, and maybe 40 guests tops. Any tips?
     
  2. chrose

    chrose

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    Kate Congratulations:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: I hope you two have a very long and happy relationship.
    As far as the wedding things go I can't be a lot of help except to say that I got married in a country club that my mother hired. They did everything but the cake (which I did) but they did give me cooler space and we hired the photographer. I did many weddings in a wedding band at so called wedding factories and while not exceptionally fancy they all seemed to do a good job, never saw a problem with anything. Anyway you go as long as you don't go overboard in cost or accoutrements you can have a relaxing, romantic and memorable time. Best of luck.
     
  3. headless chicken

    headless chicken

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    Congradulations Kate to you and your lucky SO...er...I mean, finace :D.

    I'm not very experianced with weddings seeing how I'm only 20 y/o but its been my general experiance with everything these days, package deals are easy on the wallet but your risking quality. If I had the money to spend, I'd individually hire a catering company, baker for the cake, flourists for the decorations, and band or DJ for the music...this is your wedding so go all out if you can. Try to get references from other companies for other services your can't make a decision on like a photographer or driving services. IMO, a buffet is more festive, people are closer and mingle more then a plain sit down inner but with sit downs, its more traditional and fomral (the way I would do it).

    You should just really ask yourself "What do I want in my wedding and how much can I afford?" to determine your decision making.
     
  4. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Congrats Kate!!! A couple of things to think about first off. If you plan your reception at the church, will they allow alcohol? Many churches don't, and if toasts and/or drinking is important to you then you need to look elsewhere. The second thing to remember, is not to focus too much on the reception and food. Believe me when I say that no matter what you do, your guests will have a great time and will be glad to share in your special day. I have been and/or worked in weddings ranging from a backyard BBQ to $100,000 extrazaganza and have seen the guests enjoy themselves at both types, maybe even more at the more informal BBQ.

    A lot comes down to what you (or the parents can afford). I got married when I lived in Chicago. My wife and I started out wanting a reception at one of the "hot" places in town, but after looking at finances we decided that we could not afford nearly that kind of wedding, so instead we went out to the suburbs and held it at a golf club that offered us one of those packages. It was the best decision we could have made. It allowed us to do so much more-open bar, 4 course dinner, longer time with the DJ, nicer looking cake. Ok, so the quality was not 3-star, but it was good, and the place let us do all our own decorating and stuff like that. Afterwards, I never heard any comment about the food we served (and believe me, my restaurant friends would have let me know it sucked). All we heard about was the lovely wedding ceremony and the "great party" we threw afterwards.

    So I guess it comes down to do what you want to do, what you feel comfortable doing. No matter what you decide, everyone will love it, and they will have a great time.
     
  5. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    I agree with Pete that if you can do a decent package deal, do it. If you want to do it yourself, hire or get someone to coordinate it. Even if you can delegate off all the responsibilities you can you will still be overwhelmed by what a wedding entails. It'll take all you got just to show up and get married. Plan your wedding and have someone else do the running around.
    Just an opinion from a guy who gets paid to work a lot of weddings.
     
  6. phoebe

    phoebe

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    Oh Kate, you can't drop something like this on us and expect us to just give you reception tips! I'm so happy for you both :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: !!!

    Since my husband and I were (gulp) older and ours was a second (much, much better) marriage for me though the first for David, we just had 6 friends and a rabbi under a chuppah and then off to a private room at a local Italian restaurant for lots of tasty appetizers and lots of champagne (which the restaurant suggested we bring ourselves in order to drink something decent--they were great). A few weeks later when the term ended, we went on a 3 week honeymoon (lune de miel--the French actually call it the same thing) in Provence and the French alps. What I'm saying is you might think about saving some of the wedding budget for a really fabulous honeymoon trip (if not right now, later).

    But whatever you decide, congratulations, a long and healthy life to you both, and have a great time at your wedding :beer: :smiles: :beer: !!!
     
  7. katew

    katew

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    Another question: Is it custom for the bride's mother to help (or take over) with organizing it? I just talked to her and she is trying to impose her ideas on me (have the wedding and reception in the same place, have it near her so she can help plan for it, don't go too fancy, get a simple wedding dress, blah blah blah). I don't understand why she should have a part of it, (besides some 200 year old custom from back in the day when the parents used to pick the groom, too) And she tells me not to let my fiance help with anything or even give any input--isn't it his wedding too?
    A week and a half into the engagement and I already want it to be over.
     
  8. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Kate,

    If it's your money, then it's your choice. If it's your mom's money, well, expect a lot of input and even outright decisions.

    My wife and I paid for our own modest wedding (70 people) and had a few friends help out. Our cake was made by a good pastry chef friend and the flowers were arranged by another friend. The photographer was a foodie friend and... well, you get the picture, friends. And to top it off, her mother made her wedding gown. What would have cost us probably $10,000 probably ran us half that amount. No limo, no DJ, but we had a 13 course dinner :)

    My suggestion is to young couples is to keep it small and most of all, affordable. The expenses do pile up, from stamps to stationary to return envelopes to... everything costs money! If you can't afford anything big at the moment, you can always make it up at some other time. Remember, your wedding is not about impressing others, it's about you. Many people have immutable ideas about their dream wedding and end up paying for it for the rest of their lives. Be flexible, and be assured that compromise does not, in any way, make you more or less of a woman. I have to side with your mother here a bit. She does have some good advice for the both of you about keeping it simple.

    Anyway, it's more affordable to have a wedding on the outskirts of town rather than in the city. Of course, a Holiday Inn costs less than a Four Seasons, and a pig roast costs less than a sit down dinner. Getting married in church may be difficult if impossible if you're not a member of the congregation. Even then, the charge for a church wedding may be quite significant. It may be more cost effective to do it in the courthouse and throw a big bash later on.

    So anyway, where do you plan on getting married? I wonder if we can find someone on cheftalk to do the reception, someone to do the cake. :) Oooh! It'll be so fun!

    Kuan
     
  9. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Best wishes, Kate! I had a great time planning my wedding in 1992 because I did it all myself. My parents lived 1500 miles away and sent checks every so often. I was nearly 40 so I was not in the mood for a long white dress; in fact, mine came from Eddie Bauer. (No, it was not down-filled.) We fed and watered 115 people. I don't think we spent much more than $5000 for the whole wedding, right down to my shoes.

    Here's my take on your mom's behavior: If your mom is paying, she gets more say than if she's not. Having said that, it's YOUR wedding (the bride's gig, so to speak), and she is in very bad form to make it all about herself. If she wants to plan a party for herself, graciously allow her to do so, but it will not be YOUR wedding. If she wants to have your very important day be meaningful to you, her daughter, she should let you take the lead on planning. Period.

    What does your fiance say? The two of you should decide how big or small, how fancy or simple, formal or laid back. Then go from there. Present your plan to your parent(s), but know what is not negotiable from your standpoint.

    Please do keep a binder with everything- every receipt, every scrap of notes- because you will not regret it. Misunderstood quotes for goods and services, misprinted delivery times, color choices, etc. can all be made right if you have the receipts. Get all quotes in writing, even if friends are baking, sewing, etc. for you. It's fair for both.

    Mazel Tov! :beer:
     
  10. katew

    katew

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    Well, I was a member of the congregation from when we moved there when I was about 9 until I left town when I was about 18. I was an active member of the youth group and in the theater productions we put on (Pippin, Godspell, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, etc.)
    I still pop in once in a while when I'm up there and my mom goes to services once in a while. The congregation has grown considerably since I left, and mom complains that she doesn't know many people there anymore, but I am pretty close with the head minister and have used him as sort of a therapist during the harder times in my life.
    As for money, my mom has said "I hope your father pays for it." They are divorced--doesn't that add a whole other can of worms! LOL
    So if he does pay for it, doesn't *he* have all the say?
    I'll be talking with him over the phone tomorrow night.
     
  11. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Kate,

    To answer the first question, most places which do it all for you will give you the cheapest lousiest cake ever. It'll look quite nice, but it'll taste like crisco. OK, but there are other upscale places which do a great job catering the dinner and also the party. These normally offer a tasting once or twice a month for potential clients.

    If you have noshows at a plated dinner you still get charged. (quite common) If you go over you get charged. Some places will even charge for a coke. If you go with the buffet you can negotiate a fixed price regardless of how many people show. (within reason of course). If you plan on $20 a head for a plated dinner rest assured that your chicken breast will not be marked properly and the sauce will be slopped allover the plate. You might get generic veggies and powdered mashed potatoes. Nothing to do with the chefs, it's difficult to pay for the labor at this price.

    You might also want to ask about service. At $20 a head you might get 1 server for three tables. This is extremely important because it might be 15 minutes before the third table gets served. At buffets this number might even be one 1 server per 5 tables! I've seen it happen before, no kidding.

    But who cares right? People go to weddings to see the bride and groom and wish them well. They don't go for the food or drinks, although I know some people whose eyes light up when they hear open bar! :) It's all about the party after!

    Cheers!

    Kuan
     
  12. katew

    katew

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    Just got your post, Mezzaluna...I haven't talked to my fiance much about the whole thing because of my mother saying he shouldn't have a say! He does say he wants it outdoors (I don't), and at a very nice and fancy place. Sounds beautiful but the fancier we get the more planning we (I) have to do. We also don't really like the idea of having it so close to mom, unless we go with the church idea, because that's really the only appropriate place in the area.
    Unfortunately neither of us have many friends in this area so I don't think I'll be getting any "home made" contributions.
    I think my mother is helping so much because she knows I can be a procrastinator--I'd go so far as saying I am queen of procrastinating--so she is probably just trying to help in her usual overbearing way.
     
  13. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Nope, he does not. He is not giving a party to which you are invited. You are THE BRIDE. His role, and your mother's, is to help you have a wonderfully memorable day. You will notice I said "wonderfully", as opposed to other kinds of memorable!

    May the sun shine, the plans go as arranged, and the bride and groom glow!
     
  14. katew

    katew

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    Why is the bride more important than the groom?
     
  15. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    The bride is not more important than the groom. I find it a load of BS when they call the wedding day, HER DAY. It is THEIR DAY. Your fiance should have as much input as you. You two together should make the decisions. It is the first good test of a soon-to-be married couple. If you can't get along while making the wedding decisions and both compromise how will you ever come to terms on other decisions once you are married? You two, together should plan it. You will both have to make compromises but in the end it will be YOUR wedding. As for Mom, she can make suggestions but ultimately you guys need to make the choices. But I found out, it is much easier if you let her think she is the one making those decisions. Be devious, be sly, but you must not let her take control, if you don't want her to. But don't be so forceful that feelings are hurt. I have seen many weddings marred because the bride and mom were fighting over wedding arrangements. Ultimately, it is not worth that kind of trouble.

    P.S. I think Mezz was referring to your Dad making the decisions if he is paying.
     
  16. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Haha!! Because you ARE! That's a fact! :) :D LOL!

    Actually, in my experience, the groom will go with almost anything the bride says. I have two brothers and my wife has four sisters. In every case, the groom only had strong opinions about the tuxedos, and even then, these were limited to things like no tails, choice of shoes, color of vest. Minor things. Other input from the grooms are mostly about the food and not much more. Flowers, bridesmaids, location, dress, bridesmaid's dresses, you will probably get little resistance from the groom.

    Although the groom may have a more casual attitude about the wedding details, he's by no means less involved or less important. I know for a fact that my would be wife got frustrated because it seemed that I didn't pay too much attention to certain details, but hey, it didn't mean my heart wasn't in it.

    Kuan
     
  17. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Do what you want with your wedding. Not what someone else tells you to.

    Recognize that someone somewhere is going to be offended. Don't let it bother you. No matter what you did, someone would be offended. That's just people being people and it's not your problem. You didn't set out to offend them so don't sweat it.

    Phil
     
  18. phoebe

    phoebe

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    If you think of the "staging" of church weddings, the bride does seem to be the star. The groom and his best man discretely slide in from some side door near the altar and wait with the rest of the guests until those trumpets (or whatever) sound and the bride, preceded by her handmaidens in hideous dresses designed to look good on no one so the bride won't be upstaged, enters. All rise and turn to look on her and smile and approve. She is the center of attention. I read that in the "wee kirk o' the hill"--or something--in Forest Lawn--a huge So Cal cemetary-- brides, when they begin their hesitation walk down the aisle can kick a treadle switch that sets off special lights that flash on her as she walks. :D

    It sounds like you and your fiance might want to sit down together over some wine and make separate lists of what you envision your wedding to be. Then rank them. Can you live with the idea of an outdoor wedding if that's the most important aspect for him? Can he live with something of yours that's truly important to you? See what compromises and trade-offs you can make. As Pete notes, this is good practice for the marriage.
    After you've come to most if not all the major decisions, then, as a couple, present the plan to the parents (all of them together in one room if possible). Now remember that I've never done this myself, but it seems that a well worked-out plan presented by the couple would be hard to refute or refuse. Just present a united front and do it with love.
     
  19. katew

    katew

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    Thanks for keeping this thread going :) I can more than live with an outdoor wedding. I mean, if it goes well, I'm sure it will be beautiful. It's what can go wrong that bothers me. (Weather, mainly.) It just seems like an extra headache that can be easily avoided by just getting married indoors.
    So it seems like most of you think my fiance should have a pretty big part in this. I tend to agree. My mom is all wrapped in tradition I guess. If I followed tradition all the time I'd be a very different person today. :D
     
  20. katbalou

    katbalou

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    dear kate,
    when is the wedding? if it's to be soon that could only give you a few options as many places are booked way in advance.
    kat