“OH MY GOSH IM ENGAGED” was the first thing I woke up to thinking on the Fourth of July this year and I literally could not stop smiling. I was so unbelievably happy, my (then boyfriend) Chris had completely surprised me by popping the question on his birthday. I told myself, live in the moment… enjoy the engagement… DO NOT start planning. We were traveling to the rainforest in Puerto Rico the following week, so I told myself I would not start talking about wedding plans until we got back in August. But without fail, Pinterest ideas and years of dreams flooded my mind! I have always been a planner; itineraries, reservations, “to do” lists are just a few of my favorite things. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to start organizing my wedding boards and discussing dates with my now fiancé!
Well, things escalated quickly from there. It really was not intentional to kick the entire process into gear. I decided to reach out to a couple of my favorite venues in the valley just to see how the process would work. Plus, I wanted to get an idea of pricing. The second place I reached out to was a popular resort in Scottsdale, the catering manager called me to say they had not a single Saturday left open in the Fall of 2016. This sent me into panic mode, I couldn’t believe that it was already this booked. Were people booking these venues before they even got engaged? Was I really that naïve in thinking I could even wait a few weeks and enjoy my engagement?? I work in this industry, should I have known better??? From there I went into full on planning mode. I quickly developed a spreadsheet of venues, plotting out price per head, ceremony fees, dates available, etc. and began booking tours as soon as possible.
Yes, I might have taken things a little bit to the extreme… but I really do not like leaving things up in the air. I’ve called myself a “decision making bride” since this all begun, and I intend to keep it that way. We started touring venues of all sorts, during which I realized that plenty of places had available dates for 2016 open. Museums, resorts, golf clubs, event halls… I truly considered it all. Some felt too informal, others I didn’t vibe with the catering manager and one felt like I was at the Olive Garden. I just couldn’t seem to find a place that felt right. Also, working for Your Event Florist and seeing all of the wedding’s we’ve done all across the valley, I had enough ideas to plan 10 weddings.
One YEF wedding, I had fallen in love with the images that conveyed a lovely feel of the wedding day. We decided to tour the venue, a museum. I loved the high ceilings and the feeling of elegance! I envisioned champagne flutes and guests in gowns and tuxes dancing the night away. We decided shortly after that this would be the place!! I felt so relieved, the first big thing to check off my list. I decided to take my dad, who was writing the check for the wedding, to the museum so he could see it in person before we officially booked. Upon going back and showing him around, I just did not get “the good feels” like I had the first time. The venue now felt cold and all wrong and I felt very disappointed. I talked it over with Chris and started realizing that we’re not the kind of couple that gets married in a museum, it just didn’t feel like our style. Plus, I started thinking about an open bar combined with priceless works of art and realized it might not be the best choice… back to the drawing board I went.
So after filling out 15 “Contact Us” forms, touring 8 different venues and a month of madness… we finally found our perfect venue. Desert Mountain is a community in North Scottsdale where my fiancé’s parents live. We originally were just going to tour two of their clubhouses to appease them. However, after touring the Cochise-Geronimo Clubhouse we knew this was the place. It had everything we were looking for…. amazing views, not open to the public, lots of natural light, stunning architecture and a wonderful staff. A few weeks ago, Chris & I stopped by the clubhouse as the sun was setting. It was so surreal to know that we were standing in the place where we would become husband and wife.
I guess what I realized is to not just choose something for the sake of decision making. There are countless options out there, and the one that is right for you will be 100% obvious when you’re there. You will get the “good feels” every time you envision your day! Try not to get too discouraged if you have a small budget. The venue staff are truly there to make the day perfect for you, budget and all. Also… there are these FABULOUS people called Wedding Planners that can help you so much in this process, but I’ll talk about that at a later date. Stay tuned for more updates on my wedding planning process and wish me luck!
**Author’s Note: While editing this piece, I realized how often “I” came up, instead of “We”. Chris was a huge part of this process and his opinion is highly valued. Ultimately, he knew how long I’ve been dreaming of this day and really left the final decisions up to me. Plus, like a lot of grooms, didn’t really have a strong view on most things.