Our First Planning Day

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

One of the downsides to booking our venue and the DoC that came with it, is there was a looong gap between reserving it (April 2012) and any planning meetings for the event which start at 6 months out.

More than ready to get this show on the road, I emailed our contact (who was also our DoC) this April to set up that first planning session. Imagine my alarm when the email bounced back as a non-existent address. Realizing that staff changes could have happened in the past year, I didn’t panic too much until I resent the email to the main weddings@ address and it came back as restricted!

Now, rationally I knew that we had a signed contract and they’d take our deposit, so there was no way we weren’t having our wedding at HLP. But rational thought is not always driving this bus–sometimes I think my brain has this worst case scenario blanket over the top of it as I always seem to jump to it and play through the what-ifs for hours. I’ve done this throughout my life so I’m used to it, and at times I think it helps me be prepared for when things actually do go awry, but it was a few tense days, waiting for someone to return my calls, worrying that in the transition our contract had been overlooked and the venue might have been double-booked in the last year.

Bride Brain illustration by Miss Road Trip

illustration by Miss Road Trip

Turns out our original contact had opted not to return after her maternity leave (which, hey, more power to her) and that the current event planner just hadn’t gotten down to us on her list of folks to contact. Now, I’m still pretty irked that we weren’t notified of the personnel change since it does affect us, but after talking with our new planner, Stephanie, I felt much more at ease. Whew!

Meeting set, and scheduled for the only Saturday in May that there wasn’t a wedding going on there, I wondered why it’d take 2 hours for this meeting considering how much we’d already discussed with the former planner via emails, etc. before we signed the contract.

Well, folks, count 2 strikes for the former event planner because she left the incoming staff no. information. whatsoever. As in, when we sat down with Stephanie all she had was a copy of our contract, not even the proposal (with all the details) that the contract was based upon. And there was no way to get into the former planner’s email records either.


Good thing I’m also the type to over prepare, just in case of situations like this!

Unfortunately, more than just the staff had changed since we booked Honey Lake for our wedding.

  • We weren’t the first couple to have been promised colored table linens at no extra charge, but since it was’t specifically in our contract and just a verbal agreement, it wasn’t one we could make stick. So now we’re looking into rentals vs buying outright.
  • Thankfully we did have the BYO wine and signature cocktail written into the contract, because they no longer allow that! Still, we’ve opted to go with them providing the beer on-consumption for the guests that prefer that over the wine we’re providing. And while they do require bartenders these days, they also provide them at no extra charge, so that works out all the way around.
  • They’d also asked if we would be willing to change our lodging option from the Obo Suite (little 1-bedroom quarters attached to the main lodge) to one of the Pines cottages. While I wasn’t super-thrilled to give up the suite, the cottage does give us more getting ready room (2, 2-bed rooms, each with full baths) plus a sitting room but it’s slightly less charming and sort of overkill on the beds (it sleeps 8!). Still, they were concerned that the hunting party that rented the lodge for that weekend might make our stay less that serene, and I can appreciate that.
  • And on the very good front, they’ve now added sound system support for the grounds–originally it was only available in the main event spaces and the chapel. The fee for using their system is probably double of what renting the Passport system and speakers we were planning on, but the lack of hassle having to pick up/set up/break down/return the equipment ourselves is worth the convenience fee.

Oh, and it turns out we’re actually allowed to hang stuff on the walls! Bonus!

The main thing I wanted–no, NEEDED!–to get out of this meeting was table information. See, for months I felt like I was spinning my wheels on some big projects because I couldn’t really see how everything was going to go together. So once we walked the spaces with numbers in mind and started talking about specifics, I was galvanized into action by the time we got home and started revising my lists that night. Finally I knew how many centerpieces I needed and how many tables we would have for the cocktail hour and just where everything would be.

And a good thing, too, because suddenly our long (28 month) engagement is down to just under 4 months and I’m not sure I could have survived any more waiting around!

Did you have to deal with any panic-inducing moments from your venue or other vendors?

Anticipation or Aprehension

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning
A figure waiting on a bench, looking out to sea

image via stock.xchng | photo by coolza

The ring was ordered and I knew the official proposal would be coming whenever the ring was ready. We were told a couple of days but I figured on a week, just to keep myself from going absolutely stir-crazy.

I was excited for the most part, but as the week wore on there were seeds of dread that started to sprout.

I was excited and happy BUT also a little embarrassed to be–like I’m not allowed to feel this way. Like, been there, done that. The do-over is cool and all, but keep it low-key.

I might have also been a wee bit gun-shy; before I’d closed the door to marriage I’d been engaged a couple times without making it to the altar (apparently I inspire a forever feeling in some men, at least at first). I was afraid this over-cautious feeling would last through the whole process–2 years+!–and that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it fully until it was done, and then it would be too late.

Lots of deep breaths, lots of reminders to live in the moment.

I think a lot of encore brides face this fear: we’re not young, fresh with stars in our eyes, etc. We’re more mature (supposedly), we know what can happen when a marriage goes wrong and are a little jaded about some of the happily-ever-after-isms out there.

Or, at least, that’s how we think other expect us to be. As much fun as I’d had reading wedding books and magazines, thinking up ways to make that day more us, and soaking up all the inspiration that was out there on the Internet, I was still feeling a little weird–not about the engagement becoming official so much as announcing it to our friends and family.

I started wondering if those family and friends would be as happy for us as I wanted them to be. Some would, I was sure, but what about those who just kinda took the information and had no reaction? Would that hurt? In my mind it already did. As much as I consider myself to be realistically optimistic, I’ve always lived by the “expect the worst, hope for the best” maxim. And I’ve got a doozy of an imagination for the worst case scenario.

The Wednesday before the engagement was the worst (almost-in-tears-at-my-desk-worst) over the imagined slights of those around us who took the news with ‘oh, okay, whatever.’ I was so glad when T didn’t come home with the ring that day and confessed my fears.

Getting it off my chest made a world of difference, though. By the next day I was back to looking forward to the upcoming reveal.

Did you ever worry about how other people
would react to news of your engagement?

The Lady Doth Object Too Much

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning
Stop Sign

image via stock.xchng | illustration by Billy Frank Alexander Design

So I mentioned that even though the door to marriage had opened a crack, I was still on the fence about whether or not I really wanted to give marriage another shot. These were some of my objections and, I’m willing to bet, they’re similar to a lot of women (and men) considering a 2nd, 3rd or more-th trip down the aisle.

  • Things are fine the way they are, why rock the boat?
  • I don’t feel like changing my name on all my accounts!
  • Debts: I’ve got ‘em and he doesn’t, it’s not fair to saddle him with them (and vice versa).
  • We’re not planning on having children/buying a house, what’s the point of being married?
  • I told Mom she could/should shoot me if I ever talked about getting married again.
  • A marriage license is a contract, I’m contractually obligated to be here, with him, as opposed to choosing each day to show up and be present and love him–I don’t like being obligated to anyone!

If you think that sounds like a whole series to cover, you’re right. I’ve actually puzzled through answers or rebuttals to most of them and will be sharing my thoughts with you, shortly.

Every good con deserves a pro, though, and there were a few definite benefits to being married versus shacking up:

  • Husband and wife sound so much better than boyfriend/girlfriend–we’re in our 30s and 40s for pity’s sake!
  • A wedding is a great big party, and I love throwing a good party.
  • Should (heaven forbid) something happen to one of us, being married would cut through a lot of red tape as far as decision-making goes (next of kin, otherwise, would be Mr. Road Trip’s parents up in Nebaska!).
  • And, hey, some folks can still get tax benefits for being married, right?!

I know a lot of those pros seem terribly dull and practical, not at all romantic or emotionally persuasive. At the same time, though, these practicalities are very important to consider, and not just for brides and grooms who are older than the national average. Life can change on a dime and these practical details are what get you through the day to day.

My favorite Disney movie, Meet the Robinsons, includes the immortal line: “From failure you learn, from success? Not so much.

I might have (okay, definitely have) made some mistakes in the past. And while some of the fall-out was supreme caution and a bit of second-guessing, it also gave me perspective that I didn’t have–and wouldn’t have listened to from others–earlier.

Did you have any questions or obstacles you had to overcome
before agreeing to (another) marriage?