Sunday, December 14, 2008

You Can't Always Get What You Want

So goes the trials and tribulations of wedding planning.

After coming to realization that, no matter how we crunch our numbers, I was not going to be getting the barn/backyard/garden/ wedding filled with all sorts of DIY personal touches (or at least one in the urban landscape of Chicago…in September…and relatively close to hotels for the many out-of-towners…with access to public transportation…oh yeah, and within our budget), Cheese and I stumbled upon a site I had previously ruled out for some reason.

It’s a restaurant – not a banquet hall or ballroom – but an actual Italian restaurant, tucked away in the middle of a residential street in Lincoln Park. The site is surrounded by brownstones, and walk-ups, and single family homes.

For a ridiculously reasonable cost, we would have access to the main room, bar, and patio. The smaller dining room would then be used for the band.

That is, assuming we can find a band within our budget, but I think we may have just ran out of Wedding God favors.

Oh yeah, and we would also be having the ceramony there as well.

And is not a big restaurant – rather, it’s small, intimate, different. So at least it keeps with the feel of what I was going for.

Given the size (of venue and budget), we are sticking with our original guest list of immediate family. Again, I like this idea as well – I am crazy grateful that we didn’t have family members trying to interfere and tell us who we need to invite, or having to give out the obligatory invites to relatives we haven’t seen since we were 10, or friends of parents we don’t even know.

I like to be able to keep it simple.

No drunk cousins, no crazy pervert uncles, no fake smiles to people I have never met or can't stand.

Just my family, and those I considered as like.

That’s good.

So how far away is it from my original wedding fantasy? What are the things I had to give up? Well, instead of having my Chicago-style food I was hoping for, it will likely be pretty much your typical wedding food. Blech. I LOATHE this idea.

And of course, no garden with the wind gently whispering through the trees and swaying my dress as I glide down the isle.

No dancing under the stars.

No smell of a warm late-summer night as the lingering guests sit around on lawn chairs under colorful lanterns, sipping cocktails and laughing until the police show up (although there is a pretty garden patio…)

But what do I get?

They provide at all - food, beverage, staff, valet, set up, take down – pretty much everything you can think of – and the ceremony would be on site too. No need to deal with separate caterers, linen rental, hidden costs, weather fears, need for Plan B in case of rain, staff hassles, or refrigeration concerns.

I would pretty much just have to show up in my party dress - which, being the lazy anti-bride that I am, could not be better.

I guess in the end my biggest concern was making it as stress free, easy and fun for the guests as well – most of whom are from out of town. And this place does that for me.

And, it’s in a location that, if people wanted to continue the party afterwards, it means a two block walk to just about any type of bar you want.

Now, it is certainly a far cry from the garden bride I was saw myself as, but when it comes down to it, I would much rather prefer as little drama and room for disaster as possible.

And with this one-stop-shop, I pretty much get this security.

And let’s be honest people – I never really saw myself as a bride in the first place. So I can let go of my “whimsical breezy garden party” fantasy and be okay with my mahogany walled, Chicago Italian restaurant.

After all, in my heart of hearts – I am a Chicago gal, perhaps more so than I will ever be that “garden barn” girl.

And if nothing else, the wedding weekend will scream Chicago.

Oh, and lastly – it’s on a Sunday. I know, kinda weird – but it was the only way we were going to be able to get a mid-September date (try getting a Saturday date in Chicago before November and you’ll be shit out of luck).

But I have also come to love this idea as well. I figured – hey – people were going to take Friday off of work anyways, so why not just switch it for Monday? That way, Cheese’s family and grooms party can hit the Cubs game that Saturday afternoon before the rehearsal dinner/backyard BBQ at my sister’s house, and then do the wedding on Sunday.

So that's that with the wedding. Now I don't have to think about it for another five least...


Vertical Man said...

I like your plan. I have 4 daughters, all unmarried. Can you talk to them about this "ridiculously reasonable cost" thing? Oh yeah, and the no drama, no disaster plan? I'm already gonna have to work 'til I'm about 110.

Alili said...

That sounds incredibly awesome.

Team Brazo said...

Damn, we think alike (well not always - remember I read every post):

"No drunk cousins, no crazy pervert uncles, no fake smiles to people I have never met or can't stand."

It has been 20 years since my wedding -- but it was going to be "OUR" day and nobody else's. OUR plans, OUR decisions, OUR everything.

Have a nice evening...

starttothink said...

#1 - you are a genius for keepin' this part-tay small. I wish I would have had the brains to do that.

#2 - I like the idea of it being on a Sunday. My cousin had hers on a Friday. It was a total pain in the ass, being as it was 4 states away. Sunday allows for festivities to start Friday for those in town, continue into Saturday, and save the best for last on Sunday.

Hang in there. :) There are bits and pieces of the planning that are fun. When it's all over, and you're sitting on the couch with the Mr., and there's a fire in the fireplace, a cat at your feet, a laptop in your lap, and football on TV, you stop and wonder: Wasn't there more wedding planning to do? No? Ah, then, great. :)

Mommymeepa said...

Sounds like a great plan. I'm glad your happy. Keep us posted on the plans.

T. said...

awesome planning. I think you will ultimately be grateful for having the small intimate wedding at the restaurant over the garden. The garden has too many loopholes for potential stressors. When I got married previously, I had a destination wedding but when I came home we held a "pseudo-reception" for all the family memebers at an Italian restaurant- sounds identical to your wedding plans: bar, room, etc. It is a win win deal. You make all the big easy decisions and they make sure it all carries out. I HATED the planning part so we share similar minds my friend.
Good luck and over all HAVE FUN.

the fire said...

while I am not a drunk uncle, just a drunk, I do still plan on celebrating with you. Nice job!!! I can assure you of two things...that time of year in this town, the only way people don't have a good time is because they choose to and secondly...there will be no new nugget coming out of this wedding for me!!!

Rachel said...

Sounds like a great plan, Meg. Small and intimate - you can't go wrong!

Iron Krista, "The Dog Mom" said...

sounds like a FANTASTIC plan....

P.S. Shane & I ran away to an island and got married alone :-) We had a reception at home after, but not having that stressfull wedding day was worth it!

Anonymous said...

no drunk cousins. no perverted about a drunk perverted brother? i hope to get an invitation in the mail!!!!!!!!!!!

The (IRON) Clyde said...

You're having at it at Lou Malnati's?


anji said...

Have you considered a Friday evening wedding?? My friends got married at like, 6 pm on a friday night, dinner at 7:30.... small, intimate and beautiful! They got married in a greek restaurant, put up some christmas lights (all white) which was just like the stars.... it was really awesome. Then, by midnight, it's all over... people still have the whole weekend to themselves....
Are most of your guests from the city? If so, this could be a perfect solution!

Go Mom Go said...

Sounds like a great plan.
I know no matter what you decide it all really comes down to the fact you are getting married...the details are not really that important.

Take LOTS of pictures!

Amy said...

It will be perfect no matter what. Remember it's about you and cheese 100%. And what do you mean no dancing under the stars... there is a patio and you can make stars and moons from twinkle lights and paper lanterns. It will be wonderful. I'm so excited for you.

21stCenturyMom said...

That sounds absolutly perfect. Perfect! You get to go to the party and have fun and you will have SO MUCH fun!

You could have planned your whole summer breeze wedding only to be confronted with a rain storm or weather so blazing hot no one would be able to move, right? This way it simply doesn't matter.

As for the band - a well loaded iPod and one of those Bose things to play it on works great.