It was very hard to figure out what to do first when Matt and I got engaged (after telling our families, of course). The budget, venue, date, and number of people all seemed to depend heavily on one another. We had no idea where to begin, so our first step became purchasing a wedding planning book. Best purchase ever. It has become our wedding Bible. We chose The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner. It has been a fantastic guide. For more techie couples there are plenty of good planning websites and apps out there, but for us there was nothing quite as good as a book held in hand. The wedding checklist has helped us figure out where to begin in all the planning.
After our book purchase we started figuring out numbers, dollars, and vendors. These choices were tough for us. In the end they were all decided in the same two weekends because the answer to all of our detail questions were “it depends.” When should we get married? It depends on where we want to have it, who we want to be there, and how much it will cost. How much money can we spend? It depends on the date we choose. Where should we have it? It depends on the date and who we want to be there. How many people will come? It depends on what we can afford and the season. Yikes!
Finally, we picked out what was most important to us. We wanted to get married where we currently live (Phoenix) and we wanted our families to be able to attend. This eliminated June to August since temperatures where we live can get up to 120 degrees in the summer. This also eliminated November-February because it would be very hard for some of Matt’s family in North Dakota to travel in the harsh winter climate. This left us with a choice between spring and fall. We figured out how much we could save by spring and it wasn’t enough for what we had in mind. Voila. Fall wedding. October in Arizona feels a little bit less like death and it is a pretty safe time for travel from North Dakota. Perfect.
Next came the fun part – choosing a wedding venue. We didn’t know how early to start since we were having a 16 month engagement. After asking around we discovered that we needed to start ASAP because October is a very popular wedding month in our area. First we spent two days completing research online. Matt and I sat on our couch looking places up, calling, and emailing. We didn’t set up appointments anywhere that would not give us price estimates or that were outside our budget. We were adamant about sticking with what we could afford. We initially chose four places to see in person.
We toured these the next weekend and did our comparisons. One stood out so we decided to choose it. Matt and I wanted to wait overnight just to think it through. By this time I was fine with getting married in a parking lot. I was so tired of calling and touring and talking about available linen colors. I couldn’t care less about linen colors. If one more person talked to me about the linen colors they offer I was going to crush them under the weight of said linens. At least this was how I felt after seeing hundreds of places online, calling dozens, and touring a handful.
Luckily, Matt is more patient, diligent, and optimistic than I. He was not prepared to settle for a venue that was just good enough. Back online he went that night. He found one more place to check out before we committed and I reluctantly agreed to go back out into the world so that someone could try to sell me six hours at a location that would cost more than my car.
We drove out to a golf course in an area near where we do some weekend hikes. From the time we walked into the venue we were in love. The golf club had beautiful open spaces at the base of one of our favorite mountains. It was one of the most affordable places we found and included catering, alcohol, cake, DJ, photo booth, and tons of little perks. We both work so much that we were thrilled to not have to research all these vendors individually. What really sold us though was the event coordinator, Kelli. She was so down to earth and worked out the details with us seamlessly. We were sold and have not regretted out choice for one moment.
Kelli welcomes us each time we have questions or want to show our families where we are getting married. We have now had the opportunity to see the venue during the day, at sunset, and under the stars. It is gorgeous! There is a bridal suite where the ladies can get ready and an epic man cave for the guys. There is even a 50 seat movie theatre right off the reception room! The last time we went out Kelli showed me their stash of ceremony and reception decor. There are shelves full of lanterns, hurricane vases, mirrors, chalk boards, and more. We are welcome to use anything we like. I am no long feeling like I could get married in a parking lot on any day of the year. I am now excited to get married at our venue on October 11. The details definitely worked out in the end.