Sunday, March 7, 2010
Making Major Progress
I've also been trying to use this wedding planning time to learn more about MJ's family. Of course I know them and have spent a fair amount of time with them, but I want to know more! I want to understand what it's like to be a part of their family. Since I'm going to be joining it in a few months, I want to know how they celebrate holidays, how they fight with each other, what they do on birthdays, etc. It's been interesting and the thought of being a part of a family other than my own is so hard to imagine, let alone prepare for. But I'm trying! :)
Unfortunately for wedding planning, I've been slammed at work. One of my co-managers had to take a leave of absence in Brazil for personal reasons and, instead of replacing him, I took on his projects. So, instead of leading 2 projects, I'm leading 5 with 2 teams I haven't worked with before. That hasn't been great for the time I can spend on wedding researching, talking to vendors, and overall planning. Luckily, I can still continue to look at photographers and makeup artists in the evenings. More on that in the future.
So, MJ and I left in a whirlwind after work on Friday and drove to DC for a weekend of wedding preparations with my parents and brother. We were all up until 2 am discussing some items. It was good to have my dad able to talk directly to MJ. Otherwise, I'm usually the go-between when they have questions and I'm sure some things get lost in translation. We discussed the engagement ceremony, decorator approach, and the event schedule.
On Sat afternoon, we were supposed to sign the contract with the decorator we met with last time I went to DC. But one of the caterers recommended another one to my dad this week who was supposed to be the cheapest in the local industry. So we booked appointments with both decorators in the same day, figuring we'd know better what we wanted to do after we met with the new one.
Our schedule on Saturday was jam-packed! I started the morning with a work call at 8:30, then we met with the new decorator at 9. She came to the house and showed us her previous designs. She was a very quiet Hispanic lady, but she had done many Indian weddings and had even worked at our venue multiple times. Our general impressions were that she could definitely do the work, but we would have to come up with the ideas ourselves. She wasn't as much of a designer as a doer, but that may not be such a bad thing, since my mom has so many ideas and the venue is already very beautiful and doesn't need much to make it beautiful. The best part was that she was almost half the price of the other decorator and was giving us more (a welcome arch, crystal strings on the centerpieces, etc.). So we decided to cancel the contract signing with the first decorator to give us time to think through the decision.
We then rushed from there to meet MJ's brother and the owner at a restaurant for potential catering options. The food was absolutely amazing and the presentation was also really great. The owner also had some dishes specially made for us and didn't even charge us for everything we ordered.
Then we were off to the venue. I was so excited that MJ was finally going to see it!!! It was even better that MJ's brother would be there as well. In fact, I'd only seen it once and it was on a terrible rainy day, so I was pretty excited too. It was a beautiful, sunny day and we went straight to the back to look at the patio and pool area. We spent almost 2 hours going over the details of the entire day, in the back, inside, and in the front. We got some more ideas for decorations and for the flow of the guests. The owner of the venue was also there and he had some great ideas and was so helpful. He created a suggested floor plan for us and our vendors to use as well. MJ and his brother loved the venue and MJ said seeing it was the highlight of the trip. I forgot how beautiful the space is...
After the venue, we went to see the hotel (Hampton Inn) closest to the venue for MJ's family to potentially use for their guests. But, after seeing it and talking to them again about their rates, we weren't as convinced it made sense. Then we went to the hotel (Hyatt Place) in Sterling, VA that my family was planning to use for our guests. The rooms and lobby are much nicer, but the rate is half of what we were getting at the Hampton Inn! So we decided to explore sharing the hotel across both families. MJ is going to ask his parents about it when they get back from India and my dad is going to negotiate with the hotel accordingly. There are a few things we need to include if we share the hotel, like a meeting room for MJ's family and extra shuttles that we wouldn't if it was just our side.
After the hotels, we picked up groceries and went home around 5. Soon after, my family came over for dinner. Some of them hadn't met MJ before, so it was a bit of an occasion. But it went well and everyone had fun. Unfortunately, we were all exhausted and everyone left around 11. I think we all slept like rocks that night!!
So we made a lot of progress this weekend. This morning we took it a bit easy. My parents, MJ, and me took a walk in the sun to a nearby lake and just chatted. It was nice seeing MJ interact with my family all weekend. This was the first time we'd been there since we got engaged and it felt nice to see everyone together. It helped to envision us all as one family :)