Monday, November 15, 2010

First Wedding Appointment!

On Saturday November 13th we had our first wedding appointment!
To preface- figuring out a location (in connection with out budget) is a challenge. For a long time I've been adamant that I wanted something a little different than the traditional wedding venues. To be clear, I love weddings. I love weddings in reception halls, I love weddings in backyards, I love weddings in VFWs. I really enjoy getting dressed up, watching a couple get married (I always cry), then enjoying an open bar and dancing my butt off all night. Plus food & cake- what’s not to love? (Unless your wedding does not include the open bar part. Then I love it less.)

But of all the places I’ve been, none of them ever felt like me. Trying to imagine myself having a similar event, I feel like I would look totally out of place.

So I’ve been on the hunt for a less traditional venue. (I loathe saying ‘unique’. Every single reception center, whether a hotel or banquet hall or restaurant, bills itself as ‘unique’.) And I’ve found what many, many brides before me have surely discovered in the hunt for originality- you most certainly CAN do something a little different than the norm. And all you have to do- is pay for it. So we decided to start with a pretty traditional venue as a base for future comparisons.

I’ll get into both the budget and the hunt for alternative sites in another post. But for now, I’m going to tell you about the site. I wavered between talking about it here and trying to keep it a surprise, but if I don’t post about the venue hunt, this blog will end up consisting entirely of me yapping about how fat my ass is and cooing over the adorable things Michael says. For some reason, that’s not what most people consider ‘informative and interesting’. Or ‘bearable’.

So! On Saturday we checked out Jack Baker’s Lobster Shanty in Point Pleasant.

The Lobster Shanty actually has a lot of pluses for us. At first I responded a little negatively to the word ‘Shanty’. Doesn’t exactly bring to the mind glamour and elegance, right? But after thinking for a minute, I started to like it. I like the connotations of a New England seafood shack. Fancy food in a low-key environment- that’s pretty much my ideal restaurant! And I spent lots of time when I was younger near the water- we had a little motor boat when I was younger and used to spend time at the docks of the Shrewsbury Yacht Club, or fishing off the pier in Red Bank and along the shore. Pt Pleasant boardwalk is home to many happy memories. We all loved spending time at the beach and by the water- my mom especially loved the beach and practically lived there every summer. Michael grew up near the ocean and loving it too, and we both LOVE seafood.

The Lobster Shanty has a pretty expansive menu for a decent price, too- there are discounts for Friday nights and off-season nights, with multiple plans to choose from. The package we looked at included a LOT of food- 15 different passed appetizers, carving AND pasta stations, plus four different platters, and that’s before the three course dinner and multiple dessert options.

We were limited to the most expensive package because it was the only one that was 5 hours long. I think 4 hours is just not enough- once you subtract the cocktail hour and close to an hour for dinner, I feel like I wouldn’t have enough time to really relax and enjoy myself. The more expensive package was still a good value compared to what the average price range is in central Jersey.

The view was the main selling point and the first thing that drew me to it- if I couldn’t have something ‘different’, I at least wanted it to incorporate something we loved, i.e. water and the beach. Also, for no additional fee you could choose between having your cocktail hour in the main room or in a separate room with it’s own bar, both of which have beautiful water views, plus access to an open porch.

There’s a spacious bridal suite for us to use, and food would be brought up. I liked the look of the bar, too.

Proximity was another plus- it would be great to stay in Monmouth County. I’m not sure where we’re having our ceremony yet, but if we go the church route, it will be the church I grew up attending, where my mom worked and volunteered for 20 years: 1st Presbyterian Church of Red Bank, Tower Hill. As far as churches go, it’s gorgeous- my mom always called it a ‘Christmas card church’. I spent a ton of time there growing up, and always imagined it’s where I’d get married. I don’t really care about getting married in a church, but I like the idea of getting married there as a tribute to my mom. So, anyway, it’s a definite possibility, and finding a reception venue that’s within the same county would be ideal.

So the first appointment went well! Michael really liked it. I’m still not sold on the whole ‘wedding warehouse’ idea (no judgement! See earlier comments about not fitting in at my own wedding) but that could just be me, being stubborn. I’m definitely open to it as a possibility. I have to say, it was really exciting to be in the room and imagining it was our own wedding night! Every time I start to panic about the budget, I think about how much fun we’re going to have. And how excited I am to marry Michael!

This weekend we only did one appointment, because Mike was a little under the weather, plus my dad is REALLY under the weather- he fell off a ladder last week and shattered his left arm and elbow, plus fractured 4 vertebrae and his pelvis in two places. We spent the rest of our time in NJ visiting him in the hospital. It’s going to be a long haul for him, but he is expected to make a full recovery.

Next week we have two appointments on Saturday; one with a favorite caterer of mine and the next at a cool venue that would require said outside caterer (and also features a whole different water view). I’m going to keep it a surprise- more later!

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