Location, location, location: a wedding update

Well, we've been engaged nearly four months now. And we have yet to set a date. Or a venue. Not for lack of trying...

We have looked at a slew of venues, both by driving all over the western suburbs and poring over online galleries and websites. Yet nothing has truly stood out to us. Or the ones that did wanted $6,000 for just the empty space- no linens, food, or silverware included! Definitely not something we can swing. Or would even want to, for that matter.

I think it was on the way home from one of the venues that we got to talking about what it is we really wanted for our wedding. Because neither of us are the type to have planned our wedding day since age six, and because I had no clue we'd be getting engaged so soon, we hadn't really planned out much of what we wanted. Except for one thing: a hog roast.

Yes, I know, I sound completely crazy. But the only detail we had really discussed about our future wedding was how we wanted our reception to be an upscale BBQ-type event. Totally different, and totally us. So, we thought about how we could make such an event a reality, especially since most venues have severe food restrictions and make you either use their chefs, or make you select from a list of pre-approved caterers. We ended up revisiting an idea that we had at the very beginning: a backyard wedding. We had thought about this idea early on, but quickly got caught up in the whirlwind of wedding venues, event concepts, and the like. Plus, I had worried that a backyard wedding might end up feeling like "just another party" instead of the special day that our wedding should be.

Yet, the more we thought about it and talked it out, the more a backyard wedding started to seem like the perfect idea. Not only are we low-key people, but there are a bajillion ways to make a backyard wedding stand out from the typical bonfire or graduation party (both of which we have hosted at B's parent's house- aka our potential wedding venue). So, we invited B's parents over for dinner a few weeks ago (and grilled steaks to butter them up) and asked them if they would be willing to be the hosts of our big day. Needless to say, they were a bit shocked, but they didn't immediately turn us down. Instead, we spent the evening discussing all the options, possibilities, and possible downfalls of hosting our day in the yard. Weather was the biggest issue, followed by what we would do with that many people (especially with only two bathrooms). So, we left the decision a bit open- we were tasked with coming up with a list of possible pitfalls and also to see what the costs would be to host an at home wedding. Since then I've learned a few things:

1. You don't think about all the things you need to rent for a backyard wedding. Like coffee cups. Or dessert spoons.

2. You can find surprisingly nice portable toilets for rent online. I'm talking full stalls with sinks included. Pretty sweet, considering we're planning on reserving in-house bathroom usage for immediate family only.

3. You can rent dance floors! I had no idea, and simply thought my guests would be grooving sans shoes.

The list could go on and on. But we did learn a few very important and helpful things as well. Number one on the list is all the ins and outs of tent rental. Now, I've seen some outdoor weddings where people go without a tent, don't see a single cloud in the sky, and go about their merry way. I think they are crazy. We are planning a fall wedding, and we live in an area of ridiculously unpredictable weather (i.e. no snow a week into December). Therefore, I will have a tent, thank you very much! Hopefully it will look something like this (from the Official Blue Peak Tents Blog):

I've been working with a wonderful employee from Blue Peak Tents, and we have spent plenty of time going over all the details from square footage per person to what style of walls we might want. He has provided multiple estimates with all sorts of different options. Next up is a site visit so he can measure the space to officially determine what our best set up would be. Our appointment is this Saturday, and I'm a bit nervous. We did some preliminary measuring last weekend, and it looks like the yard might be a bit too small for the style tent they are recommending for our guest count. Fortunately, B's neighbors are wonderful, and had said we could use their yard for anything we needed long before we decided on a backyard bash. So we are hoping to make it work using a combination of the yards- maybe the ceremony and cocktail hour in B's yard, and the tented reception in the neighbor's yard... we'll work it all out tomorrow.

If Blue Peak says that our plan is feasible, it looks like we have our venue! And because we would host the ceremony AND reception at his parent's place, we can pick any darn date we want to get hitched (another issue we faced when looking at "official" venues- those dates fill up fast)! After confirming our location and date, our next steps will be to finalize the guest list (which we've started, but need to trim down) and work on getting address completed so we can send save-the-dates.

Whew! Who knew you could do this much planning when the wedding planning hasn't even officially started! But I'm super excited to get into the nitty gritty of planning our wedding- I've been a bit stir-crazy after the last few planning free weekends. Then again, this is coming from a girl who still thinks being a wedding coordinator could be a viable and potential future career!

Hopefully now that things are actually happening, I'll be better about posting wedding updates to the blog. And I have it written down to remember to take pictures of the measuring process tomorrow... hopefully I can make tent measuring photos look somewhat interesting!

Have any of you been to or had your own backyard wedding? Any tips, suggestions, or things to watch out for? You know what to do... please comment below!

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