Mike and I got married on May 17th, 2014, at my aunt and uncle’s bed & breakfast in Skaneateles NY.
We went back and forth for quite a while after getting engaged, on exactly where we would have our wedding.
Having a wedding in Southern California was pretty much out of the question, because it’s just too expensive, and I know that not all of our family and friends could travel out here. (Both of our families live on the east coast, in NY, MA, NJ etc. With the exception of my sister, who lives near Vancouver.)
Then we considered eloping in the vineyards up in Napa, just he and I, a couple of our California friends, and just our immediate families. That would be more affordable, still beautiful, and still special. But then I felt guilty for not being able to invite the rest of our family and friends.
So then I called my mom, and asked her if she would ask my aunt if we could have the wedding on her property. I love my aunt and uncle’s home; I have wonderful memories of growing up there. They have a video of me when I was 4 or 5, walking through the woods looking for Snow White. (For the record, I know she’s still in there somewhere!) I had my mom ask for me because I was too nervous to ask. It’s a big deal: “Hey can I take over your property for the weekend to have my wedding?” But she said yes! Yay! And the planning began…
We didn’t hire a wedding coordinator, because budget. So I had checklists for my checklists, alarms to remind me to look over my checklists, and then revisions of both the alarms and the checklists. I nailed down the caterer and the photographer in the first week. In June (of last year,) I went out to NY to finish the rest of the vendors (florist, DJ, cake, etc). Honestly, planning the wedding wasn’t hard. I just had to make phone calls and keep track of emails and organize our bank account. It would be assembling the wedding space later on, that would cause me anxiety and panic attacks. But more on that later…
The florist was the most difficult decision to make, because I don’t really like a lot of flowers. The one flower I love, are lilacs, but he told me that for May, in NY, there was no way he’d be able to get any. Ultimate sad face. But he put together a beautiful bouquet of flowers for our centerpieces that fit our theme. I forgot about a bridal bouquet until a week before the wedding. Yeah. Bad Cathy. But luckily I shot him a quick email with some inspiration pictures and he took care of it for me. Phew!
Speaking of theme… our theme was kind of like a post-apocalyptic world, mixed with the animated movie 9. So everything was worn and old, a lot of rusty metals, gears and gadgets, and wildflowers picked from overgrown fields. Boxhead Creative (Mike’s web/graphic design freelance) designed our invitations, and our website.
We either purchased decorations (through Etsy) or made everything ourselves. I found this great tutorial for these sparkly votives here. I made more than we needed, and shipped them out to my mom and dad’s house.
A couple of snags along the way… I ordered my dress through Dolly Couture. I love their vintage, tea-length dresses! But the first dress they sent me, was ballgown-cut(due to an error on their part,) my dress was supposed to be A-line. But no worries, they took care of it right away, so I had no stresses about that. Another snag, I forgot about hiring a hair stylist… I have no idea who was available/did good hair in Syracuse NY. I ended up running into a lot of dead-ends (no pun intended) because everyone was already booked. But eventually found a woman who fit me into her schedule. Since I didn’t have a bridal party, it was just me who needed her hair ‘did, so it only took about 20-30 mins out of her day.
Ok, with everything set, Mike and I flew out to NY a week before the wedding (and my sister, brother-in-law, and niece came out around the same time too, to help us) so we could get the last odds and ends tied up and all the decorations set up.
But… it rained, ALL WEEK.
“We should have just eloped up in Napa!” was my sad song all week. We couldn’t get anything set-up early like I wanted to. The tent guys arrived around Thursday to put up the tent, but we couldn’t set anything up inside the tent because of the rain. We tried to come back on Friday, but it was raining even harder. We just had to wait it out until Saturday morning.
So we went to check-in to our hotel, (where we’d be staying that night and on our wedding night,) and I tried getting the check-in guy to sympathize with me. (I used tips I found online to try and get our room upgraded.) I told him how my wedding was this weekend, and it was outside but it was raining so I was stressed. “Uh huh” is all he said. Prick. Show a little compassion at least, …and upgrade my damn room! Anyway… we made our way up to our room, and I felt a scratchy feeling on my butt. I thought it may have been the tag of my pants or something, so I went to the bathroom to go see what was going on and I saw…
In all of my 29 years, running through the woods as a kid, I never got bit. But the day before my freaking wedding? Bit right on the butt. Oh life, you’re just HILARIOUS.
I broke down. First it was pouring rain all week, and then a tick bites me on my ass? Life was definitely giving me a big middle finger.
I’m sure the other guests in our hotel could hear me crying through the walls. It was game over. “Let’s just go back to CA. Please? I just want to go home, I give up,” I was literally begging Mike. He peeled me up off the floor, and convinced me to go out and get a manicure with my sister. He was being really pushy, trying to get me to go out, maybe he too was stressed and needed some alone time… so I agreed and left.
Upon returning, he met me at the elevator door, and he turned right. “Our room is to the leeeffftt,” I said, exhausted and annoyed. He looked back and had the biggest smile on his face: he got our room upgraded for free! My jaw dropped open. Then, after opening the door to our huge suite, I saw two beautiful lilac bouquets on either side of our bed!
Because our florist wasn’t going to be able to get them for our wedding, my brother-in-law’s wife (does that make her my sister-in-law?) surprised me with lilacs! One bouquet, and one lilac plant (which would be later planted in my parents’ backyard.) That’s why Mike was urging me to leave earlier, because the flowers were about to be delivered and he wanted to surprise me.
The room upgrade was just an added bonus; he told the hotel employee who delivered the flowers that it was for me, and talked about our wedding, and that kid upgraded our room! Mike tracked him down later and gave him a hefty tip. That kid was so nice! I wish so much happiness for him.
I broke down again, but a good cry; even after all the crummy stuff that had happened all week, I was so happy. Damn the tick bite, damn the rain: this man, my soon-to-be husband, was all that mattered.
(Next up in Part II: Setting up the wedding space, and getting married!!)