I apologize in advance for how long this is. :S
We wanted to have our wedding and reception in our yard, but that turned out to be absurdly expensive in comparison to having our ceremony in our church and our reception in the dance hall of the firehouse next door to our home. Both places are on our street within .1 of a mile of one another, so it's not much different and it saves us a boatload of money (and worrying about elderly grandparents out in the June heat).
The firehouse is turning out to be a huge pain in the butt, though. Our contract with them is very simple (and I have yet to sign it, despite our wedding being June 11), so there's no contractual argument for our situation. We live in a small town, and we're neighbors, so not having the contract in place hasn't been a big deal.
A dance school rents the firehouse dance hall every friday night and saturday morning, we have always known this. When we first talked with them about renting the hall, they told us we could decorate the weekend or the week before, and that would be fine, so it wasn't a huge concern that we couldn't get into the hall before our 1:00 on the day of our wedding. There were snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, but they assured me they would come down at the end of winter. When she said we could decorate the weekend before, I anticipated setting up tables and putting on chair covers, hanging chinese lanters from the ceiling, carrying up all of the centerpieces and favors, etc. Basically, we'd walk in on the wedding day, throw tablecloths on the tables, put out centerpieces, favors, and napkins, and do a little bit of other set up, and it would be no big deal.
Fast forward months later, I have invitations printed and addressed, I've hired caterers, blah, blah, blah. The firehouse is now "refining" what they said. The Friday night dance serves cake and punch, so I can't do the chair covers before then. The snowflakes have come down but have been replaced by foiled paper butterflies (one can only assume they will be replaced with red white and blue stars sometime in May). They're not sure we can take down the decorations. Basically, I can't do much of anything the week before. Maybe set up the tables so we'll only ahve to fix them a bit the day of the wedding.
So, now I'm left with 1pm-4pm to set-up and decorate. If I can't do the chinese lanterns the week before, I can't do them at all.
I have no idea what to do. Am I going to be able to put chair covers on in that short amount of time? I ordered samples to see how elaborate they are. What kind of decorating can I do to this very plain and pretty unattractive hall that I can do quickly? We should have a fair amount of help from our siblings and parents, so it's not jsut the two of us, but it's still a limited time. If I can't do the chair covers, I have these horribly ugly folding chairs and I don't even feel like it's worth buying linen tablecloths. :X
I'm almost at the point of throwing my hands in the air and saying "whatever is there is there and that's that." It's so hard, though, to say that my wedding to this amazing man isn't worth every ounce of effort I can put into making it perfect. I've seriously considered paying the $2K extra it would cost to have a tent in our yard, but then there's our granparents and who knows what the weather will be like on June 11? It could be gorgeous and perfect, but it could be 90 with 80% humidity and miserable. Although, the tent would probably mean sacrificing the honeymoon trip we're planning to Europe in August.