Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dreams vs. Reality

I was never the kind of little girl who dreamed about her wedding.  I went to relatively few weddings as a kid, and even when I hit college and my cousin and sister got married, I was happy to be a bridesmaid, but the planning gears didn't start turning.  I think, in my heart, I didn't want to become fixated on a certain color or a certain aspect of the wedding and then not be able to do it.  All this changed about a year ago, when I'd been dating Mr. Toshella for about six months and began to realize he was truly my "one".  One night we were lying in bed, and for some reason started talking about wedding colors.  The next day, it was like a lightbulb turned on.  I trolled the Knot for purple and gold weddings and built up an imaginary wedding scrapbook on Evernote.  I didn't tell M about this (he already said I was pressuring him!), but in my mind I began to plan out my perfect wedding.

I knew I wanted an ourdoor ceremony, preferably overlooking water or maybe next to a gazebo.  The reception would be outdoor as well, on a patio or under a tent, though I was willing to fantasize about that perfect barn reception.  I wanted cute details to ensure that my guests had a good time - like complimentary parasols and flip-flops.  And above all, I wanted to have it at a winery - one of M and I's first dates was at a winery, and we enjoy spending our summer weekends sipping wine on the patio of our favorite spots.

At the time, I didn't think there was any harm.  With wedding colors already picked out, and knowing M's style as well as I do, I planned my modern, vineyard wedding.  My (impeccable) taste was validated just last week, when I finally got to show M everything I'd been planning.  Of course, he didn't agree with everything, but he love the idea of an outdoor wedding, and we agreed on enough to move forward.

So what's the problem?  Budget.  I thought I would be okay; I'd been saving for my wedding for a year, and the vineyards I was looking at were so far from DC I figured the prices wouldn't be inflated too much.  But I severely underestimated what a vineyard wedding- or even an outdoor wedding! - costs.  Last weekend we put together a budget spreadsheet, and I almost cried.  I knew immediately we couldn't afford the vineyards I'd been looking at.  At this rate, even a tented reception at a cheaper venue was very likely out of our budget.

All week I've been gathering alternate reception sites and my mindset has adapted.  I realize now we might end up with an indoor reception, or a less picturesque ceremony.  Or we might just bite the bullet and put more money into this shindig than we'd originally planned.  I'll share some of our possible venues, as well as the cheapest places we've found in the NoVA area later this week.

Stone Mansion, Arlington, VA

I'd love to have your opinion - have you had any pre-wedding dreams fall through?  How did you cope?  Is there anything you refused to compromise on?


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