Thursday, June 3, 2010


Right now, I hate my wedding. I hate how our once perfect-seeming venue is now seeming more and more like it won't work. I hate that I have a list of venue alternatives that I know won't work. I hate how, for a variety of reasons, we have no flexibility on our date (which is problematic if you're starting an alternative venue search). I hate that our guest list is huge and complicated. I hate how our budget isn't nearly enough to find other reasonable venue options in Los Angeles. I hate that the one other reasonable venue I thought I'd found won't call me back either, and it's been weeks now (what is it with these places?! And this one is owned by a nearby city!) I hate how we're constrained in every direction: budget, guest list, date, handicapped accessibility needs, geography, and everything else. I hate that my one non-negotiable (having an outdoor ceremony in a place with an aesthetic soul) is seeming more and more impossible to effectively or cost-effectively manage in Los Angeles.

But mostly, I hate that I seem to be losing my wedding. This wedding that started out as a compromise between my backyard wedding/campsite retreat desires and Jason's larger wedding desires became something we dreamed up together and somehow fell in love with along the way. I love the setting for it's views and emotional resonance in our lives. I love that it has an indoor-outdoor setup. I love that it feels a bit rustic instead of being immaculately maintained like most stand-alone wedding locations.  I love our taco truck and friend-made dessert buffet dreams. I love our pinata and lawn game plans. I love the feeling I get in my heart when I think of this wedding.

But as the problems mount, so do my concerns. I'm doubting the ease-of-access between the ceremony and reception area for many of our mobility-impaired guests. I'm doubting the venue itself to hold good on its promises. I'm doubting my own ability to coordinate every last rental, catering option, staffing need, and 10am-midnight timeframe for this production.

I'm losing my wedding. I haven't found any viable, affordable venue alternatives to take its place, and I've spent more time looking in more obscure corners of the internet than I care to admit. If this venue doesn't work, we'll really have to start from scratch and be ready to compromise away the the charming plans that made us so happy. We might even need to consider not getting married outdoors, for a number of reasons, and I already feel my heart twisting up in pain at the thought of it. We'll probably need to use a preferred or in-house caterer, significantly increasing our costs and losing the taco truck and home-baked buffet. We'll probably lose the lawn games. We'll definitely be paying a lot more for something that probably won't feel nearly as right.

So right now, I hate my wedding and wish it would just go jump in the lake and let me have a simple backyard party. Unfortunately, I'm left with this mess instead.


  1. i'm sorry to hear all the venue trouble you've been having. i agree that its hard to let the small wedding of your dreams slip away from you but its you and him and a marriage. its hard not to let the problems overwhelm you but keep thinking of the parts that make your heart feel good and maybe you can overlook/remedy the issues. Sorry I didn't have any actual helpful solutions to anything! Good luck!

  2. I dont think I have posted before, but I can't not post to say I am sorry you are having such a horrible time with everything at the moment, it sounds overwhelming.

    I hope it all comes through for you and you and Jason remain strong through it all


  3. oh i'm so sorry that you're having such a shitty time with wedding venues. i also am feeling the 'hate-on' for our wedding. Andrew and i talked about eloping (seriously eloping) after a particularly bad weekend with his parents recently.

    we're having some troubles too with the venue, i'm starting to worry...

    but i'm trying to remember that our wedding isn't *really* about the venue. it's about US getting married. with family and friends around. it's about publically announcing our commitment to love and cherish each other for the entirety of our lives.

    yes having a venue that matches us would be perfect, but we would also be just as in love and as committed at a courthouse.

    don't lose sight of what the wedding is really about- Love and Marriage.

    I'm sending you positive Luck vibes and Strength all the way from Atlantic coast Canada!

  4. Damn.

    What about negotiating with other venues to let you have your taco truck?

    I don't know--that sounds like such a bummer! Hugs.

  5. I'm so sorry to hear that you're still having venue trouble. I know that everyone says at the end of the day your wedding is about the two of you. I know that people say that so you'll feel better about what's going on. But it's hard when you're in the thick of things to let go of your wedding, the day you envisioned and planned with your fiance. (We've had to change things that we'd fallen in love with for our 10/10/10 wedding.) So I'll be thinking good thoughts for you and crossing my fingers that everything works out. *Hugs*

  6. I'm so sorry to hear you are feeling like this. I know it must be so frustrating. I appreciate how honest you are and know that in dealing with your feelings like this, something will work out in the end. I am sure it is obvious, but have you tried a site called ? It is where I found my venue in So Cal and I had never heard of it before even though it was only 15 minutes from me and most of my local friends had either been to an event there or checked it out for their own weddings. You never know what you might find. :)

  7. That stinks. I hope things improve quickly, you find a way to keep the feel of your dream atmosphere (wherever the venue ends up), and you can recapture some joy soon. Planning a wedding can be so difficult...

  8. I'm so sorry to hear of your issues. We're getting married in my church with the reception in the church hall for exactly this reason. I cannot believe how much it costs to rent empty space in LA, even space that is government owned. It's EMPTY SPACE. Why are you charging me thousands of dollars for EMPTY SPACE?

    All of that to say, I 100% feel you.

  9. So sorry to hear about your frustrations. NYC is also a really tough place to have an affordable wedding which is why we had to compromise by getting married outside of the city limits. I hope things improve for you soon and you are able to have the type of wedding you've been dreaming of and planning for.

  10. I'm so sorry that you're overwhelmed with this icky venue drama! And I still can't believe (nearly a year after securing our venue) how damn expensive empty, dirty, decidedly not pretty spaces in Los Angeles can be. So yes- it's tough. And yes it sucks. And yes I still believe you'll find something.
    You are NOT losing your wedding- rather you're finding your wedding (or it's finding you). The wedding you WANT is the reason this search is so tough and even if you have to compromise a bit it will be because what's important to you is that you are surrounded by ALL of your loved ones. And that matters way more than finding the perfectly "you" venue. Even if you end up indoors. Even though it's hard and we get so attached to what we must have, the reality is, that until we actually get married our "wedding" is just an idea. Just a bunch of ideas really and if one doesn't pan out (even a big one like "the perfect venue") your wedding will still be perfect. Imperfectly so, but amazing nonetheless. You guys are awesome and your wedding will reflect that no matter where you end up, and so as much as I want to punch people who say it, this WILL work out. And in the meantime would you post/email me your list of venue requirements so I can keep my little eyes/ears open?! much love today. maybe just walkaway for a bit (but send me that list first! :)

  11. I'm so sorry it's not working out. I don't understand what is the deal with your venue and why they aren't following through. I wish I had wise words to tell you, but just know that I am sending positive thoughts your way.

  12. Im so sorry. It will work out. No worries.

  13. Ugh, I really, really hate this for you. I am sending you happy positive thoughts that something will pull through. I know how it feels to have the wedding that makes your heart sing not so closely match your own wedding, and it just sucks. Hang in there and keep your chin up, something will pull though.

  14. I'm so sorry. We just lost our date (just the date, we're still planning to use the same venue, just a few months later) and I cried BUCKETS. And then, I'm not making this up, I thought of you and your venue uncertainty and it helped me get over myself. I hope that is even a tiny bit reassuring.

    I have faith you'll find an acceptable alternative and use that wonderfully thoughtful and reasonable brain of yours to come to terms with it as a worthy place for your wedding.

  15. I am sorry you are feeling so frustrated/ disappointed. Stay strong.

  16. I wish I had some contructive advice for you, but alas, here is just one more voice of sympathy.

    Let me know if you want someone to badger these miscreants who aren't returning your phone calls. I've got an office with a door that locks and I can stay on hold with the best of them :)

  17. I swear I posted a comment earlier. Hrm.

    I totally 100 percent understand what you are up against and how you are feeling. We went through about two dozen venues and iterations of our original plan -- a bbq picnic wedding close to home in Orange County -- before the venue search and ballooning budget caused me to curl up in fetal position and cry. This is when Tony said, "Then let's not do this, we're already committed; we don't need a wedding." Which is when I cried louder. Big bucket-sized tears.

    Some time after that, I found a few possibly suitable, but not exactly perfect venues that were do-able. In Orange County and San Diego, I ended up focusing on beach clubs. I looked at rowing clubs, bridge clubs, and women's clubs. The properties were suitable, if not quite what I had in mind, and on the lower end of the venue-cost spectrum. Not sure if LA area has anything similar, but you might look around. We also found a few private residences that were open to use/rental of their facilities for weddings by searching for vacation house rentals. Just a thought.

    Chin up. It will work out.

  18. i am so so sorry, becca. i'm sure you have thought of everything, but have you tried to contact other folks who have had their wedding at your chosen venue? Maybe they can offer some insight...? Maybe they had the same experience with the owners... otherwise, i say you hop in the car, drive straight to the venue, march right in and demand a "yes" or "no" answer. when our venue wasn't emailing/calling us back, my next step was to just show up. maybe the venue owners don't see booking something that is 11 months away as a priority? our venue doeasn't do a whole lot of weddings, so they were really shocked when we booked ours a year in advance. I don't know. maybe people who have booked weddings with your venue in the past couldn't book until 8 or 9 months before the wedding. which would suck in terms of hiring vendors, but at least you'd have the space--which sounds like the most important element. I wish I had better advice to offer, or other alternatives to give... big big hugs to you, B. i know it will work out in the end. i will keep an eye out for venues alternatives and send you anything that comes remotely close to your wedding's needs.

  19. Um, I just want to chime in with what ms. awesome said. Because that lady said it ALL, and WELL.

    And this doesn't help matters, but I heart you.

    Your wedding is finding you. It will come. It's not easy, but it will.

  20. Thank you everyone. All your support and ideas help.

    @BOrn to Be Mrs Beever - I've been through every venue listing on here comes the guide, the Knot, and Project Wedding, but they're all a bit out of our price range. Darn.

    @IRMck - I wish our Temple was pretty in any way shape or form, but it's not. The synagogue is great, but the reception area is just banquet-hall like and I don't really want to use their kosher caterers. And I never really pictured myself getting married IN a temple, just by a rabbi. I wish this were easier. So happy you found something that works for you.

    @Ms Awesome - expect an email soon. Thank you.

    @Sarah - a lot of the beach/yacht clubs are still out of our price range and don't have great reviews. The women's clubs are on my list, but the nearby one I specifically looked into wasn't handicapped accessible. Dang.

    @Bowie Bride - I wish it were that easy. They just generally aren't on site. And also, we're starting to get really worried about the handicapped accessibility of the place but we can't get answers from the MIA venue people.

  21. Ugh, venue troubles are the worst. Other things are pretty flexible, but the date and so much else seems to depend on finding a workable location... I really hope some amazing place either calls you back or just pops out of nowhere. It sounds like your search has been really exhaustive/exhausting, though.

    "But mostly, I hate that I seem to be losing my wedding."

    I have to say, as much as I was determined to stick to my guns, not cave to pressure, have the day our way, etc. etc. I still feel this way a bit. I'm sure some of that has to do with the fact that I'm not planning a fantasy wedding now: I'm dealing with reality, and that includes rain, older people who need padded chairs, and also what's actually available in my area (oh, to leave in some ranch-y area of california, where all those rustic chic venues exist! of course, they probably cost mega $$$).

    So if it's any comfort (ha), I think it's almost inevitable to lose a bit of your wedding vision in the process.

  22. @Margart - if it makes you feel better, the Ranches in California are exorbitant. And then you usually need to bring in generators, bathrooms, all your rentals, and catering. Eff that noise.

    And yeah, reality has already kicked our bum to the curb several times. The wedding we were planning was so far from the wedding of my dreams already, but I'd made my peace with it. I'd even learned to get excited by focusing on the pieces we DID have from the "dream." And now, we probably need to start over all again and get even further away from anything I'd ever wanted and scrap the pieces that made it palatable in the first place. Boo. BOO.

  23. Oh, hon. This part is hard. When you're planning on a limited budget, you can still have what you want, but you can't have everything you want. Or even most of what you want. Sadness.

    I'm sure you've already thought of this, but have you considered switching gears entirely? As in, an outdoor ceremony followed by a brunch. You might be able to do that at a restaurant, more cheaply, if you could find one with an outdoor space. At the very least a restaurant eliminates a lot of the logistical difficulties (wheelchair access, adequate restrooms, chairs, etc). Or even an outdoor afternoon ceremony with everyone you love, followed by light food and drinks but no meal. We've kicked this idea around because the size of our guest list and our budget are not very compatible. You could always follow it up with a bar night with your younger friends and relatives. An afterparty, of sorts.

    But yes, this part sucks. I think you and the wedding need a trial separation. Just for a week or so, to give you a chance to clear your head.

  24. I may have already made this comment or something like it - but is having a ceremony in one place and the reception elsewhere an option? My cousin's wedding had the ceremony at the church at 5pm and then we went back to the hotel and at 7:40, we all piled into a shuttle bus and headed to the reception. It worked out really well, and with the shuttle, was pretty eco-friendly.

    I think that what it sounds like is that you are asking too much from your venue. This is what we found as well - there was no place that was perfect. And if you're this stressed out about it, the time has come to reassess your wedding so you don't hate it. I know it seems like this THING that is out to eat your sanity, but remember - you are in control. Remember what you said about not having a Saturday-night wedding? Well, maybe you're also not having an easy wedding.

    On our venue hunt, I didn't want an indoor space. Our wedding would be outdoors, come hell or high water. And that was a big part of what made our venue search so difficult. A year later, I have been to four indoor weddings and they were all really nice and if you asked me now, I would happily get married inside.

    We recently went to a church wedding where the reception was in the KOC banquet hall across the street from the church. Did the wedding totally reflect the couple's values? No, it did not. Did it reflect their aesthetic? No, it did not. But I can also tell you that it was lovely, and simple, and they made it work and they were probably 90% less stressed than we have been about planning.

  25. @Ellie -
    I've considered it. I've considered most everything on the list here in the comments. And yes, we're going to have to seriously reassess what we do from the ground up, but I really despise the idea of our guests all shuffling around town and of setting up two sites that day. I always wanted a backyard wedding (so we could just hang out together all day) or a retreat/campsite wedding (so it felt like a reunion) and having an all-in-one really feels best to me. And as for 2 sites in LA:

    Shuttles :$2000
    Los Angeles Traffic: Notorious and could cause major issues
    Mobility challenges: immense
    Timing: Set things up in the morning (8am-10am?) drive. Get ready (12-2?) Drive. Ketubah signing (3pm? Where? Outdoors somewhere?) Photos (3:30-4:30?) Ceremony (5:-5:30?) Yichud (5:30-6) Drive. Reception (6:30-10, since it's a Sunday and has to end earlier)

    The DIY Jewish Wedding on a Sunday with LA traffic makes two locations near impossible and incredibly stress-inducing. It's just not reasonable for us.

    Yeah, nothing's perfect. But I'd found something that nearly was and now I'm a bit crushed. And hell, I'll probably have to compromise every damn bit of the wedding if we really do need to change sites, possibly including that outdoor wedding, and my soul will cry and I'll wonder why I'm paying nearly $30K for a wedding that doesn't resemble what I want one whit (this is definitely more expensive than the site option we're probably walking away from that we actually love). I've given up a lot already in "what I want" and came to a lot of compromises already. This beast isn't remotely mine anymore. It's everyone else's and is designed to meet their needs and family politics etc. The outdoor wedding part is the one thing I really have been holding onto. It's the one thing I have left in this wedding that feels right.

    Who knows. Maybe the only thing I'll get out of this that's truly mine is the words in the ceremony with Jason. At this point, that's how it feels. And it would be nice to have something a teensy bit better than that if I'm blowing a ton of my savings on this thing.

  26. I'm so sorry you're going through this Becca. Whatever happens, your wedding will be yours and it will be awesome, but I understand that it doesn't feel that way right now. My wedding looks nothing like I had originally imagined either but I'm finally on speaking terms with it again. Living in an expensive wedding city is a pain in the ass. Hang in there.

  27. oh no! losing your wedding? well this doesn't sound like fun at all. i'm sorry.

    we had issues with our first venue and after we dumped it (along with everything else in our first planned wedding) we felt smarter and thriftier when finding our new venue. not sure where you've looked, but we took the public park route. it's a money saver and we're able to have that backyard/campsite/rustic feel. and it's mad cheap. i don' t know what the options are in LA, but my fiance and I also considered having our wedding at a sleepaway camp- all facilities (even the cabins) were available for rent. Maybe there's children's camp you can use in the off season?

    i have high hopes a venue option will come to you and sweep you off your feet.

  28. @Angie - yeah, "our" venue is CHEAPER than the local public parks and has more flexibility with catering and alcohol. And we would have loved a campsite wedding if not for the mobility challenges. I actually looked into a bunch of retreats and summer camps in the area (cabins are much better for parents if hotels aren't nearby) but they were all even more expensive than what we're looking at and had worse mobility challenges. Grr. Insane.

  29. Wow. This sucks. It's eye-opening for me. I lost my dream venue to, but my pain is hardly comparable to yours because yours is rapidly approaching and I haven't even set a date yet.

    If I were you I'd think fast about standing up for yourself. If it's YOUR $30,000 then YOU need to spend it the way YOU want. If others are willing to pay, then they can have some say.

    In any case, I hope things balance out for you. That all this heartache you're getting out of the way now means that by some miracle, in the eleventh hour things work out and you have a wonderful day. Or if you end up with a wedding that does not go the way you want, that it balances out that you have a strong happy marriage. Good luck!

  30. Hey Becca . . . just wanted to jump in and say, UGH. UGH and GUH and *sigh* and all of that other stuff that goes along with the frustration. I read your post earlier today and just felt so -- well, I felt so bad for you that you feel as if you're "losing" your wedding, and also really pissed off that it's so difficult for some people (reasonable people!) in some places to get married the way in which they want to get married.

    Ms. Awesome's outlook is a great way of looking at it; the reason it's so hard is because you WANT specific things. While I agree that at the end of the day, you'll be married no matter what, I don't think you should have to give up the things that are important to you. I hear what you're saying about the mobility issues, and the non-trustingness of the venue, and those are absolutely real issues. But to me, even if you have to choose another venue (boo), and even if you have to pay more (boo x 826), you should get married somewhere that makes you feel *something* in your heart, y'know? I think it's beyond reasonable to want that.

    But . . . I dunno. I guess too, it's like a lot of life. You want one thing, and you get your heart set on it and plan around it, only to find out that the deal falls through. And what can you do? Not a hell of a lot.

    This babble is all to say that I think you should definitely fight for the outdoorness and the taco truck and friend-made dessert buffet dreams. Fight smart. And in the end, if you have to let it go, then you should throw things and yell a lot, and then throw more things. Then let it go and take a deep breath and start making a Plan B. If there's ANYTHING I have learned in this whole wedding planning process, it's that you have got to work with what you have and what you can get. Otherwise, well . . . there isn't really much of an otherwise.

    It occurred to me after writing all this that maybe you don't want any advice and just needed to vent all the frustration and annoying crap and need other people to agree that you're getting the crap end of the stick (SO TRUE!). In that case, ignore that last paragraph. I think we should all have a drink. Let's make it a double.

  31. The Lummis Home solved all our problems, which sound similar to yours. Totally low hassle, totally low cost. Call them. Go there. If they don't work, then ask if they have any recc's. They are lovely, down to earth people and I'm sure will do whatever they can to help.

    P.S. When I say low cost, I mean it.

  32. I remember that feeling in the planning. When I felt like the wedding was turning into this crazy thing that was spiraling out of control.

    Just remember - the being married part - is SO much better than the getting married part.

  33. just wanted to add something about an outdoor wedding, which was my #1 no compromise: I'm now facing the very real prospect (I think I'd mentally blocked it out, but now we had tornado warnings yesterday...) of rain or insane humidity. I knew, somewhere in my mind, that these were issues, but I kept telling myself we'd will ourselves some wedding magic and have a beautiful day. My fingers and toes are crossed, and I know rain isn't the end of the world... but it kind of makes me wish I'd been more open minded re: indoor venues. Not to say that can't still be your #1 priority and I do think it's important to at least *like& your venue on some level.

    Oh, and we had to sacrifice alcohol, dancing, and proximity for this outdoor location. :P

  34. Wedding planning can be so darn frustrating! I'm sorry you are going through such pains right now. When I was planning my wedding, I only wanted a small, intimate group of about 25 -- but due to pressures from my family, I had to invite 75 more people! Argh!

  35. Wow. We so lucked out on our venue so I'm bummed to be reading all this.

    My advice? Try REAL hard to not let the family politics affect you. It is SO HARD, I know. Have some conversations with people if you must. Have a blow up - it might just clear the air. That happened with me FOR SURE. I'd write about it, but my family reads my blog and I don't want to start ANOTHER fight. :)

    Here's a WAY OUT THERE idea: There was a Nashville wedding that was featured in MArtha Stuart. It was this whol eco-chic deal held ina barn. Very groovy and family-centric. You know ho they got that venue? The couple was driving through the country, saw the barn being built, drove up to the house and asked the owners if they could get married there before they moved the livestock in. They just said "yes." Maybe there are some empty houses around (recession!) with great yards you could offer to pay to use? Just a thought.

    OR, have you looked at VRBO and Maybe you could rent a big pretty house ith a yard for a few days - very little travel involved???

    Just some ideas.....

    Stay grounded, girl. This will happen and it will be OK, I super-duper promise.

  36. Sorry for all the typos. I'm still on the first cuppa joe.

  37. Oh, UGH. I'm so sorry for all the stress. Sometimes the Wedding Beast is such a pain in the ass, you just want to drop kick it into the nearest mudpit. And sometimes I just get so excited that I'm marrying this awesome guy and I can't get over how lucky I am, just for that fact. Except for all the venue/planning stress. Sigh. Wedding planning is a trip. And I gotta say, the worst part is when you step back and feel like you don't even recognize it anymore. Makes my heart hurt a little.

    So try and hang on to the happy thoughts ("We'll be married and happy no matter where this happens"), and try and crush the Wedding Beast in its tracks. Best of luck. <3

  38. Oh no - I am sorry to hear it.

    And I know how you feel, totally. Not that we're having the same difficulties, but the idea of compromising on even the most basic things because of money, logistics, guest needs etc. Things you shouldn't HAVE to compromise on - things it seems unfair to compromise on.

    I had my heart set on an outdoor ceremony and reception: our ceremony is outdoors but our reception is inside - no venues we could find were affordable after factoring in the cost of a tent (hey, it rains in New York State), port-a-potties (ALL sites requires we rent them), tables, chairs, lights, music equipment, a full catering kitchen some cases a generator! I swore we'd only have guests there that we know, but both my grandmothers are insisting on a few invitees that...well, I just have no idea who they are.

    And it's true that owners (even for government property) of lovely wedding venues have unfortunately learned that they can charge out the nose for them...and they do. So those of us not on a stellar budget (our budget is amazingly generous but it's not unlimited) can't even consider them. They'd never do that for any other type of event, but wedding venues get away with it because *someone* out there will pay. They really will: we rejected a venue whose base fee was $12,500 (SERIOUSLY) and a few months later my fiance came across facebook pictures of an acquaitance of his, and noted that they happened to get married at that venue.

    And the whole network of preferred caterers, made-up rules, tacked-on fees...I feel for you!


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