Thursday, July 31, 2008


So I lied. I thought, "Once we pick a reception site, things will calm down." I actually said as such, right here. Well I lied.

But I didn't do it on purpose. I meant for things to slow down.... honest I did. But in doing some cursory research on DJ's and Photographers - I realized, again, that more than half of the people we called were booked! So slow down I am not, at least not quite yet. But I can't lie - I'm having fun with it.

We did bunches of research about photographers, and have been casually looking at them for a bit now. I got serious with it this week with a long perusal of this site. I really like the photojournalist style of wedding photographers and I knew that was going to be a major deciding factor in who we went with. This page was such a great resource - it quickly gave me a huge list of possibilities and was very up front with costs and capabilities. I was very impressed.

We've narrowed down our choices to two photographers. They have similar price ranges and styles, and we're going to set up appointments with them next month. (See I can say "next month" all casually like I'm taking my time... when really, next month starts tomorrow....)

Our two choices are Geoff Forester:

and Amy Root Donle:

I think they are both so talented - and they find the prettiest moments. What do you think? Do you like one more than the other?

Monday, July 28, 2008

We have a decision!

Well just about...

We've selected a venue (yay!) after some seriously advanced math last night. While I made dinner last night (yummy roast chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans), Mike sat in the dining room with the computer and did all of the math. We looked at how many courses a place offered, specific packages and what was included, and just about everything else.

Drumroll please....

Things haven't been officially finalized with deposits and all that, but we're pretty excited with the decision and we think all other stakeholders (read: my dad, who's helping out with some of the moola) will be pleased with our decision. It's affordable, easy to get to, near hotels, within 35 minutes driving distance from the chapel, has yummy food, and is super accommodating and flexible.

So flexible in fact, that when I called our contact there, she put our date on hold right away! I'd explained to her until we had a stakeholder meeting (ie - dinner at my dad's on Thursday to discuss), we couldn't officially reserve the date since the deposit is due within seven days of the reservation. She told me it was no problem if it was two weeks or three and that she'd put our rooms on reserve right away for the time and date we wanted!

Now I want to clear something up... Once upon a time (like, say, 6 months ago), I may have made a disparaging remark (or two or three) about the idea of having a wedding at the Puritan. While I'd been to the Backroom (the restraunty part, not the function hally part) and enjoyed both their mudslides and their chicken fingers, it seemed like an odd place for a reception. I was hesitant, at first, to even visit it. It seemed dark and old and not very formal.

Which was why the Puritan was the last on our Reception Venue World Tour. After visiting five other places and not finding anything that felt just right, I was more than happy to give just about anything a try. And besides, as Mike said, I was just being snobby. So I booked the appointment, and we went. I am so glad we did!

The rooms we have are so pretty. The first picture shows the view from what would be our head table. The second shows a view of the two rooms with the divider open. The third shows the permanent dance floor (and the divider closed on the far wall). We're really excited. It's nothing elaborate or crazy, but it's ours and we'll certainly make it our own!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wedding Math

So now that we've been to all of the reception venue possibilities, Mike and I have to sit down and actually make... a decision!

Each of the venues we've visited have things we liked about it. The Crowne Plaza was fancy and pretty and had a great menu. The Derryfield had a good room and pretty grounds. Candia Woods was affordable, had a great package and pretty picture spots. The Highlander Inn was.... um.... close to the airport. The Granite Rose had a great room, a good package, nice extras like a bridal suite and a day-of coordinator. The Puritan was affordable, had a nice room, and yummy chicken fingers (though doubtful we'll be serving those at the reception!).

Right away there is one we can take off the list. That leaves five possibilities. So this weekend we will will embark on Wedding Math!

More complicated than calculus, trickier than trigonometry, more grueling than geometry, Wedding Math requires complex algorithms, advanced theory, and, well, a lot of multiplication. Things we'll be taking into account: price per plate - and what it includes (salad? soup? seated meal or buffet? champagne toast?); package -and what it includes (dj? limo? hotel room?); proximity to the ceremony site and hotels; look and feel of the venue - both the room and the picture places; quality of food; etc.

Just thinking about it makes my brain a little wobbly. But hopefully we'll come out of this weekend with a definitive choice, and one that hasn't been booked on our date yet!

The kittens

So this is only marginally related to the wedding, but I wanted to post a picture of the newest additions to our little family.

Spike is the one on the left, black long-haired. Dru is on the right. They're just the cutest!

When I asked Mike what he wanted for an engagement gift, he had to think about it. First he wanted a puppy, but after realizing that we just don't have the lifestyle right now for a puppy, he decided he wanted not one, but two kittens. I was a little hesitant at first, especially since we already have two wonderful cats, Jake and Chewbacca. But I am easily swayed by cute things, so it wasn't tough to convince me to get them...

Now our little family consists of four cats and the two of us. It's nice to take a step back from reading all of the wedding blogs, looking at venues, and shopping for dresses, and realize what we're doing. We're getting married. We're starting our own family. Kids are still a little ways off for us, but in the mean time, we'll be the Grages Family. And we'll have Spike and Dru and Jake and Chewie to make sure we rarely make it through a full night's sleep.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Venues, Venues, Venues

We've been looking at venues since about a week after we got engaged. The reason it took a week was because I was on vacation and away from the internet and my blackberry. Within two days of returning state-side, I had booked our first appointment. And I realized how late to the game we already were.

I understand that's horrifying to think thatt with a wedding date almost 15 months away, there is no way we could be considered behind in planning. But it's true! Of the 15 or so places I looked into, more than half were booked. So we started visiting.

And visiting...

Tomorrow marks our (hopefully) last visit. We're going to the Puritan here in Manchester. A true Manchester institution, the Puritan has been making the best mudslides and chicken fingers this side of, well, anywhere. I realize that's a ridiculous combination of food and drink, and not necessarily something we'll be serving at the wedding, but I'm excited to go visit and take a look.

We've liked most of the places we've visited. Some were better prepared for our arrival than others. Some were (much) more expensive than others. But after each visit, we had a better idea of what we were looking for in a venue and what we most certainly were not looking for.

Hopefully by the end of this week, we'll actually have a decision made about the reception site and wedding planning may calm down for a few weeks (I keep saying that but I just don't believe it...). In the mean time, I've already begun dress shopping... but that's a post for another day.

Hello World!

So it's official. Mike and I are engaged! I'm beyond excited about it and so happy to be planning our wedding.

This blog will be for planning purposes and will mostly be used for me to babble on about wedding stuff in an attempt to curb the amount I talk about it in public. Hope you enjoy!!