Okay. So, we’ll try not to start off this entry about buying wedding rings with a rhyme about the Black Death. Except I’ve been to six jewelers in two days. Shopping for wedding rings is beginning to feel like a plague. Ashes, ashes we all fall down. Because we’ve died of boredom and exhaustion.

As you can tell, I’m one of those brides that doesn’t get excited about many of the things that would usually make any normal bride-to-be’s heart race. Just read some of my other entries. Ring shopping was one of those things that doesn’t make my heart race. What I want is simple. It needs to match what I have as an engagement ring. Tiffany. Princess cut. Solitaire. Obviously I was the easy one to pick for. Except, I found out that I like the Princess cut channel set band as well as the regular Tiffany wedding band. So, diamonds or no diamonds? I like them both. Now I need to think about this.  I plan to talk more about Jake’s ring choices in another post because choosing a ring for Jake is where this process became a plague.

What’s next? I have a meeting with the wedding venue tomorrow, so off to prepare a few questions and get some sleep.

My ring.

I’ve been away from the blog for a long time. I really haven’t been on the ball with it. However, I have excuses. We found a caterer who promises to be fantastic and is willing to do a served sit-down dinner. Which is great. Except right before we were going to sign with her, the venue called.

The venue tried to tell us that there was no way that we could have our wedding in the conservatory that night. Due to a scheduling error on the coordinator’s part, they had a student event there that lasted the whole month of April. I was 6 months into the planning already and the venue was trying to dump us. To make it worse, the coordinator for the venue and her boss both took the rest of the day off and refused to return our calls. Classy, no?

Due to the way their contract was written it didn’t cover them from the potential of their own mistakes, it just covered damages and issues at the fault of the client. The venue was a sitting duck and they were in breach of contract. We called a close friend who also happens to be our family lawyer. After getting on the phone with the family lawyer and having him call those inept people at the Gardens, we finally had a solution to the situation. They would move the student event or risk being sued for breach of contract. In the end, we won. I could have my wedding in the original venue and there were no more problems. I’m sure that the Gardens are working on updating that contract to cover their butts a little better after this fiasco. I can say that it took me a long time to stop being angry about the situation and to get back into the swing of planning.

Over the holidays I found two seasonal jobs; I then lost two seasonal jobs once the season was over. The job hunt continues. I’ve been submitting applications left and right. Now it’s a matter of waiting.

I found a florist. Which I will detail in a later post. Perhaps I’ll write it flashback style.

Currently, I am waiting on a call from one of the hotels that we’re looking to book a block of hotel rooms with for our guests.

What’s next? Ring shopping and a meeting with the venue to discuss layouts and grab pictures of the space for personal reference. We’re less than 90 days out from the wedding so things are going to get crazy soon. I hope to update more frequently than I have been.

Due to my choice of venue (MSU Horticulture Gardens and the North Garden Conservatory) most of the caterers we’ve looked at thus far only really offer buffets. I can’t stand buffets at weddings. I personally think they’re terribly tacky. There’s the inevitable free-for-all for the food, whether you’ve had passed hors d’oeuvres or not. The less than orderly setting and overt casualness of it just turns me off. My wedding is less than casual. I will not have it taken down a notch by a buffet. 

So I’m waiting to hear back from several caterers as to whether they will even consider a sit down dinner. Or if I’ll be forced to cave and do a buffet. I know I’m on track for booking things for this wedding, but I can’t help but fear that my date will have been claimed by some other bride.

Needless to say this endless worrying isn’t helped by the fact that I have yet to find a job, part or full-time to replace the one that I lost when the summer ended at the University. 

Much like looking for caterers I’m sure a job is out there … I just haven’t found it yet. Meanwhile, what’s next?

After a day off of work, filling out numerous job applications and chasing down potential leads on jobs, I took a break to start looking at caterers.
Even though our date isn’t a peak month, it’s still a Saturday evening wedding so the fiancé and I really need to start talking to caterers.

Our main obstacle to overcome is that the wedding and reception venue is the MSU Horticulture Gardens in the North Garden Conservatory. Essentially we are only renting the space and have to rent a tent, tables, chairs, flatware, china, glassware, etc. Which means that there is no on-site food preparation. Which really makes things a bit of a pain. We’d rather do a sit-down plated meal, as opposed to a buffet. Buffets tend to turn into free-for-alls unless the catering staff is carefully managing the buffet. 

Our Wedding Venue

Our Wedding Venue

This is where problems would pop up. Naturally, a buffet would be easier but we both like the sit-down meal better. So, we’re going to have to chose a caterer based on who will be able to accomadate that request the easiest. Essentially this decision is going to come down to customer service, willingness to work with our ideas and our budget.

I have tomorrow off as well, so we’ll set up as many appointments as possible and go from there. In other words, what’s next?

I finished my last class as an undergrad on Saturday. It was an interesting day because, unlike commencement which was a show for the family, it made me realize that I’m a grad and I’m done with college. It really hit me that I won’t have the safety zone of academia in the fall. With my summer job coming to an end in less than a week I’ve had to jump start my job search while trying to overcome deadlines at the summer job. The result was stress, lots of it. I’m fresh from updating my resume, yet again. However, what I’ve learned this week is that networking and connections really can make a difference when you’re looking for jobs. 

I knew this already. However, seeing that it rings true in real life was an eye-opener for me. My fiancé asked around at work whether anyone knew of openings on campus. It turns out, when the right people recommend you it can lead to opportunities. I now have two leads to follow up on tomorrow because the fiancé is well liked at his job and they know that he’s an excellent worker. An overview of my qualifications from him really helped me out, because the fiancé is known for being fair and trustworthy and able to separate personal from professional. We met at work, so he can objectively vouch for my qualifications as an employee and not as his bride-to-be. 

That said, it’s my day off tomorrow. I plan to spend it submitting applications for part-time retail work and filling out online job postings. We’ll see if anything comes of it. I’m not above working retail or waitressing until I find a real job. Anything is better than nothing. I’ve been working since I was 16, so I’m not used to having a lot of free time on my hands. I really need to find a job, even part-time, ASAP.  

Now that I’ve put in a solid 2 hours filling out employment information and searching for jobs, I’m off to take a much deserved break.

What’s next?

Previously: Sara went to a sample sale and found two sample dresses that she liked. They were great deals, the pressure was on to buy. She also found a gown from the current stock that wasn’t on sale that friends didn’t think was “her”. Sara ruled out Gown 2. Gowns 1 & 3 are still in the running. 

Day Two. Maid of honor, a close guy friend and I went back to look at the gowns they held for me. I was no longer interested in Gown 2. I did however, want to try on Gown 3 again. I had a feeling about this dress. I vacillated back and forth between Gowns 1 and 3. Gown 1 was only $200 and only on sale until closing that day, but Gown 3 was so pretty and garden-y feeling which is perfect for our garden wedding. I tried them on numerous times. Finally, I picked one. 

Gown 3 was the winner. I liked it best, it was light and airy and it had straps. The beading was lovely but not froufrou or fussy. It was a simple A-line, the universally flattering cut. I had picked a winner and god, I just wanted to go to the beach with my friends because I was finally done. I was measured, they figured out the dress size (we sized up, not down even though I was the smallest bride-to-be they’d seen in weeks), I laid down the deposit. I was done! I just wanted to get out of there!

The experience of shopping for a wedding gown was interesting. I didn’t cry when I found my gown, that just seemed stupid. I don’t cry over clothing. Then again, up until 3 months ago I also said I was never getting married;  I’m not the girl who’s been dreaming of her wedding her whole life. That may actually have a lot to do with my lack of a huge emotional response to my gown. I did however, know it was the gown I wanted. 

In the end, the friends and I met up with the fiance and went to the beach. I had the venue booked, a date set, and now I had the gown. I was in good shape . With nine months until the wedding there’s plenty of time for them to make my gown and the slew of fittings that follow. I had a day to relax, then it was back to work all week and calling caterers on my lunch hour. 

 

The front of Gown 3

The front of Gown 3

The back of Gown 3

The back of Gown 3

So, I bit the bullet and went to a sample sale for wedding gowns recently. Due to a strange twist of fate, I a) bought a wedding gown b) found out that the gown I was set on from various pictures wasn’t available to be shipped as it was currently elsewhere  c) saved a bunch of money on my car insurance wedding gown. Back to the story. I went to this sample sale expecting to loathe everything I saw. I was still set on what I was thinking of as my dress.

Day One. I ended up finding three gowns I liked a lot. I secretly liked one more than the others but that one was full price and would have to be ordered for me, not bought as-is like the sample gowns. Gowns 1 & 2 were sample gowns. They would have to be massively altered to fit and then cleaned but they were both steals at under $200. My dress, the one I was looking at from pictures, was around 2K. Reasonable for designer (he designed for Vera Wang before moving to another label) and the design but at the top of my price range. Gown 3 was in the middle, around $900. 

I tried on Gown 1 and liked it a lot. Then I tried on Gown 2, it was very similar to Gown 1. One hitch, they were strapless and I really wanted something with straps/ sleeves. The thing here was that I liked them both, despite the fact that I went in saying “NO” to strapless dresses. And they were so inexpensive and only on sale for one more day! So the pressure was on me to make the decision then and there about whether I’d be taking either of them home.Except when I had browsed the racks and pulled my choices … I came across a dress that had straps. It also had a lot more beading than I had originally thought I wanted. But, they tell you to keep an open mind when trying things on so I pulled it. 

I liked Gown 3 a lot. My friends thought it was pretty. The sales associate thought it was pretty. The friends and shop help both weighed in and said, well, maybe it isn’t really “you”. So I was conflicted, because I was secretly taken with this dress that the other people said wasn’t “me”, but they really thought Gown 1 and Gown 2 were very “me”. I trudged back to the dressing room to try Gown 1 again. And then Gown 2 again. I stopped trying on Gown 3. I didn’t end up buying a gown. They were open the next day, they’d hold the two sample gowns from the sale, I could come back and decide then if I liked either one more. 

My maid of honor had taken pictures for me to take home and I emailed them to my mother and to a close family friend as well as one of my out-of-town bridesmaids. I got opinions, I weighed them all. I kept going back to pictures of Gown 3. I had only tried it once, the others had been tried three times. I really wanted to try it again the next day. I ruled out Gown 2 overnight. It wasn’t right for me. 

Continued in part 2 of 2.

The front of Gown 1

The front of Gown 1

The back of Gown 1

The back of Gown 1

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