Second Weddings

Decoration WWYD?

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  The snowflakes have come down but have been replaced by foiled paper butterflies (one can only assume they will be replaced with red white and blue stars sometime in May).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. 

Re: Decoration WWYD?

  • Sue-n-KevinSue-n-Kevin member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    Wow. That's a lot to digest.

    Before paying $2K for a tent, why not see if you can hire a DOC? (day of wedding coordinator). Go on your local knot board and ask for recommendations. It's pretty late, ie close to your wedding, but if it matters to you that much, for roughly 5 hrs of their time you may be able to get someone inexpensively. Heck, ask the firefighters to recommend one of their wives or girlfriends to do it, and pay them.

    Good luck. I'm sure others will have additional advice.
  • mybooboosmybooboos member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    You're already frustrated and disappointed, 2 months before the wedding.  I don't see it getting any better, unless your expectation totally changes (and why should it?).  I'd try to have a heart-to-heart with the coordinator of the hall (if you haven't already), and explain your situation regarding the decorations - the level of detail needed to get set up, based on their previous verbal agreement.  Plead with there sense of kindness to ensuring that you have a memorable wedding day.

    If that doesn't work, look for someplace else - I know you've already done the invitations, but guests can be quickly redirected, since you have 2 months. Give yourself the wedding you want, considering your financial and time constraints.

    Good luck!
    Presentation is everything!! Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • edited December 2011
    I'm trying to get in contact with the director of the dance school.  The coordinator for the firehouse is the one causing the strife, and every time I talk to her it gets worse, so my desire to involve her any more than I have to is zilch.

    She's nice, but she's afraid of the dance school guy.  So, I'm going to try appealing directly to him which may backfire horrifically.  I might try paying to go to his Zumba class once or twice to see if I can butter him up...or at least see if I can get a sense for if us decorating during the class would really be distracting since the dance floor and dinner area are almost completely separated.
  • edited December 2011
    I think hiring some help to decorate the day of is the best bet...and probably more affordable than you think. 

    My SIL had the ceremony at the exact same spot as the reception, with the same chairs.  After the ceremony, the guests grabbed drinks while she did pictures, and about five of us arranged the round folding tables and chairs, threw on the cloths and centerpieces, and all was fine....
    I was very skeptical -- but it worked out great, and no one even noticed that cereomony site was transforming to dining area.  MIL had hired two servers for the evening (about $100 each) to help set up the buffet and help clean up...
    it went off without a hitch!
  • edited December 2011
    What about just hiring some recent college grads or high school kids to set up & break down (& rehang the butterflies?) for you? It'd take the pressure off you, give you extra hands and would really free you to enjoy your day & cost less than a tent. Seriously, when my ex husband and I were newlyweds and he was in college, we used to do all kinds of jobs like that, and it was really the only thing that got us through...Seriously $100 bucks would go a long way into getting you some enthusiastic help.
  • edited December 2011
    Sue-n-Kevin, thank you for the DOW coordinator idea!  We hired one, and I'm already 100 times less stressed.  She's not concerned at all about the decorating. Phew.  And since she'll stay after I need to leave, I know things will get done.  

    I had never heard of that before, but it was so affordable.  
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