Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Royal Wedding Part 2

Well, after a crazy morning, my dear son has decided to take one heck of a nap! I should have followed suit after cleaning our entire house from top to bottom, but I didn't think he would be out for this long!

So, where did I leave off... oh yes, the Johnson-Barr Wedding. You know we had to ask the protocol on that one. B comes before J but does the bride's last name always go first? The answer is yes! Now, I have some issues with putting Johnson on my wedding invite. The first being that it technically belongs to my ex husband ....which is why I have to laugh when people ask me these 2 questions: 1. Is the baby going to have your last name? and 2. Are you keeping your last name? The answers to both: HECK NO!!!!! Both of my children have their father's last name (not my ex's!) and there is no way in hell I am keeping my ex husband's last name if I am married to someone else, particularly my childrens' dad!

Which led me to wedding consideration #1.... invitations! I tossed around a few ideas. I spent some time on Etsy the home made craft website that is the mother of all websites (LOVE IT!) but didn't see anything particularly striking for my "theme" (I will get to the theme later!). I looked at Target, and actually did buy some DIY invites, but had issues with these as a) I did DIY with my first wedding and although they were cute, they weren't WOW. I looked at Michael's. I looked at many a wedding blog, and even considered paying top dollar for letterpress invites from located in Emeryville. But after looking high and low and not seeing anything that really wow-ed me, my friend/photographer/fellow NACE board member Barbara asked me why on earth I had not yet asked Mimi, another board member, and owner of Creative Designs by Mimi . Truth be told, I hadn't asked Mimi because I didn't think that custom invites were in my price range. And to be honest, they aren't (my paper good budget about doubled) but Mimi was able to work some magic pricing around and is now creating an amazing invitiation suite for me along with escort cards, table names, programs, you name it! WELL WORTH IT! And I will tell you why:

For all of you DIYers out there, I commend you. And a few people have said "Oh you're not working, that's perfect you can plan your wedding"! What these people forget is that I have 2 small children whose daily care is WAYYY more time consuming than a 9-5 job. So although DIY saves a lot of money, it a) takes time and energy and b) takes patience. I have neither! Plus all I do is give the names and info to Mimi and WHAM! Gorgeous custom paper-goods! I get my first proofs today and I am so excited to see them! So excited that I had to blog about it! haha. Plus I am way behind as according to my EZ-wedding planner website, I am way behind... these puppies should have gone out a week ago! Oops. Thank goodness for Save the Dates, even if they were electronic!

But before the invites came our amazing venue!!!! From someone who was used to giving site tours, it sure was fun to be going on them! I started with Hiddenbrooke Golf Course because I know the Director of Catering there (Hi Sandy! if you are reading this, I love you! xoxo). I figured, golf course, nice, and Sandy can hook it up! But... the catch is that is in Vallejo. That's a good 45 minutes from SF, which is where the majority of the guests will be staying. Sandy was able to work some MAJOR price magic, and their clubhouse is nice but my issue was the geographic location and the ceremony site. Since it is a golf course, golfers can essentially walk righ tby your ceremony. And the patch of grass was on the 1st tee. I worked at Harding Park, so I am very familiar with this, but Hiddenbrooke does wayyyy more weddings so I thought the ceremony site would be better. So.... we had to cross it off the list :( Then I realized how important ceremony site was so I thought of Jason (pres of NACE who manages a home in Vallejo that does private events) because he had posted pics of a new "Sunset Terrace" that was gorgeous... perfect ceremony site! Went to visit the estate and the site rental alone was over $100 per person. Ummm that didn't even include food or drink. Cross that off the list.

So, Vallejo was out in general. Time to reel it in! I didn't ever think I would have a hotel wedding, but the more I thought about it, the more I warmed up to the idea. The question was just which hotel? My first thought was Hotel Shattuck, in Berkeley. GORGEOUS renovation, and I had attended a NACE event last November and the food was to-die-for. Like seriously, put restaurants to shame, which is unheard of for banquet food! They focus on sustainable foods, seasonal, etc. The space was perfect size, but the ceremony site was a little tight.

Here is the ceremony courtyard: and here is my entourage in the lobby: check out that super cool wallpaper!!

But I wanted to love it. Had the price been right, we would have booked it. But God works in mysterious ways! The price wasn't right, so we had to keep on looking.....

At the beginning of April I attended a NACE board meeting and announced my upcoming nuptuals. I also brought up the issue of venue and a few people suggested the Hotel Adagio in downtown SF. A fellow (now former) board member, Krystal, was the Catering Manager there and the space is gorgeous. I had never been, but called anyway. Heck, at this point I was desperate! I also called a few other locations in SF.... smaller hotels that I thought might be flexible with pricing. Both Roger and I didn't even consider a SF wedding at first because we just assumed it would be out of our price range entirely. Well, I started calling around with our new adjusted budget (lower than the Shattuck, but higher than the original number) and couldn't believe that certain properties were willing to work with me on it! HOLY MOLY! Also, I had originally started with a Sunday wedding date because I figured that we could get better pricing.... 3 monthts out and a Sunday should be an easy deal maker, right?

Well, I walked into the Adagio and FELL. IN. LOVE!!!! I (lobby) immediately knew that it was the place for our wedding reception. It has this old SF vibe, but it is also renovated, chic, hip, everything I like to think I am LOL! Yeah right, but still, it just felt perfect for us! Back in our hey-day Roger and I used to go out downtown quite a bit, so it felt like we were coming full circle in a weird way.... way more than a golf course, estate, or Berkeley could. He actually called me while I was there and I told him "THIS IS IT!". And after sitting down with Krystal to talk about pricing, and the fact that we could have our event on a Saturday, rather than a Sunday.... omg HEAVEN!!! I don't know their website, but google "Hotel Adagio SF" and you can check out the hotel. I don't want to post event space pics because I do want the guests to be a tad bit surprised at how everything gets spruced up.

Sadly, Krystal is no longer with the hotel, but she totally hooked us up. Intimate Dream wedding in downtown SF, black tie optional, complimentary hotel suite for us (SCORE!) and $9 parking for our guests. I'm sorry, did you say $9?!!!!! YES I DID!!! (for out of towners, avg "discount" weekend parking downtown is like $20/car). In addition, our wedding "package" includes WAY more than I could have dreamed. So Krystal, cheers to you and your future adventures, and THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!!!

But, the catch with the Hotel Adagio is that it is a boutique hotel, and event space is at a minimum. We are using their entire upstairs suite area for cocktail and reception (along with an outdoor deck, imagine this skyline at night....SCORE!), but that left us with the dilemma of where to have our ceremony. The first option was St. Gabriel, my parent's parish church, where I attended grammar school, where are children are baptized, land of the free home of the brave... you get the idea. Let me insert a pic of St. Gabe's for reference and bc who likes looking at an all word blog?

Uncles @ Benji's Baptism.

I mean, it's fine. It's not "pretty" per se, but it does have sentimental value. But Roger was raised Mormon, and although he was not opposed to our kids being baptized Catholic, he really didn't want to get married in a Catholic church as a "Sacrament". I was ok with that. let's be honest, moreso because a) the church size & decor, and b) the location of the church. St. Gabe's is about a 2 minute drive from my parents' house and a 40 minute drive from downtown on a busy Saturday! That is WAY.TOO. FAR! Well way too far to trust people to get to in time for cocktail hour. So we kept looking.

I looked at other prettier Catholic churches who like to charge over $1000 for their use and force you to use their florist, musicians, etc. I looked at historical landmarks like the Presidio chapel, etc. I looked into Golden Gate Park, but outdoor anything in SF freaks me out, so I said forget that idea. And then one day I was facebooking and mentioned my ceremony dilemma to my friend Aimee! She saved the day!

Her church is the 1st Congregational Church of SF and just so happens to be located about 5 minutes from our reception location!!! Also, the fab part is that since she is on their board, we got a killer price, and the church is very pretty inside. All pluses in my book! Roger was skeptical because it doesn't really look like a church from the outside, but when we did the walk through he was impressed. Plus, their website kinda doesn't do it justice (google 1st congregational church SF). Ceremony problem SOLVED!!!!

Whew, even this post was exhausting, but ironically in the midst of writing it, I got my proofs from Mimi and LOVE THEM! YAY! Plus I have a needy almost 2 year old who wants to play now, so alas, this is to be continued YET AGAIN!

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