July 2013 Weddings

Back from Vacation!

Sadly we had to come home today, back to real life tomorrow.  Saturday we hit up a Cardinals game (home team won!) and spent the night in a hotel.  Sunday we headed down and ended up doing a short float.  Monday it rained so we had a fairly lazy day.  Tuesday we went canoeing/kayaking.  I had never kayaked before and it was a lot of fun (+ good exercise).  Wednesday FI & I snuck off to the lodge I'd previously posted about while the kids went and played at one of F-ILs neighbors.  Thursday we went snorkeling and FSS found an iPhone in the river (still works).  We also tried an awesome BBQ place.  Friday we had a girls day.  Saturday snorkeling again.  Today driving =(  Lots of fun and lots of sun.

BUT!  The part you really care about :)

Tuesday we floated past the VRBO I'd found on-line, which I promptly pointed out to FI.  We hadn't talked to FMIL about the VRBO yet and she informed us that it was a rental about 5 minutes after our conversation about it, lol.  

The Lodge was super cute like I remembered.  I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the inside because people came and sat down and I didn't wan to be a creeper.  It's nothing special, but has a cute country-diner type feel.  Here was the view from our window:

The food was good.  Not to-die-for, but not bad.  My grilled chicken was a bit bland, but then again it was just grilled chicken with some pepper on it.  FI ordered steak.  His only complaint is that there was still fat on one side.  Otherwise good steak cooked to order.  The baked potato, salad, and steamed vegetables were good.  The rolls were fabulous and reminded me of my grandma's homemade donuts.  Soft drinks were served in drinking jars (again, a very "us" detail.")  We counted 56 chairs between the main dining room and the porch (porch was 20 comfortably, 28 if you squeeze in.)  Had chicken, beef, fish, and vegetarian options.  I priced out a basic meal for around $14 (5 oz Grilled chicken, salad, roll, baked potato, steamed vegetables, fruit tray, drink) and a more lavish meal for around $30 (12 oz ribeye steak with grilled onions + mushrooms, 4 shrimp, salad, roll, baked potato, steamed vegetables, fruit tray, and beverage) so quite a few options.  Doesn't serve alcohol but allows BYOB at $2pp. (which is a plus in my book).  

Exterior atmosphere: A
Interior atmosphere: B
Food variety: A
Food quality: B

Exterior of the lodge:

Since we were there anyways, I suggested we headed over to the Spring.  The lodge is located next to wear the spring and river meet and is at the entrance to the park.

Some stairs next to the lodge that would make for a good photo op:

View from the parking lot:

Where FI thinks we should have the ceremony.  We can always decorate those benches and move the picnic tables.  Will need to wear wedges or flats since I'll be standing/walking on dirt/grass:

Alternative ceremony site.  Between bench (from last photo) and ugly trash can.  However, we'd be standing on sidewalk instead of mud if the ground happens to be moist that day.  Trees block part of the view of the spring, but not a terrible plan B in case of soft ground:

Picnic shelter.  This is located on one side of the parking lot that I was standing in when I took the first picture.  I'll be renting this too to make sure there's no family reunion or anything going on *right there* while we're getting married.  That, and it gives us a place with a roof to hang out in out of the hot July sun.

So Thursday we went to a BBQ place.  The beef brisket was AMAZING.    They also let you purchase pulled pork & beef brisket by the lb, and sides by the qt.  They have a "party room" that holds up to 48.  About the same price as the cheaper menu option at the lodge for brisket, baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, salad & a drink.  Downsides include paper/plastic/styrafoam table settings as well as serve-yourself fountain pop and salad bar.  No vegetarian options (besides the salad bar).

Exterior atmosphere: C
Interior atmosphere: C
Food variety: B
Food quality: A

Not a fan of the building itself. It is what it is: a local partial-serve BBQ joint.  On the plus side we could have it catered somewhere else.  On the downside one of the reasons I was looking into a restaurant for the reception was so we wouldn't have to rent a venue + tables + chairs + decorate a ton.

Also, on the way back we stopped for gas and lunch.  FSD made the mistake of telling her brother he could pick and he picked McDonalds.  I refused to eat McD on vacation so FSD and I walked next door to St. Louis Bread Company (Panera) where I at the most delicious cupcake EVER.  Unfortunately they're like $2.75 a piece and that's more than I want to spend, lol.
At the BBQ place they had an advertisement for a local Day Spa & Salon.  They do hair, waxing, nails, cosmetics, facials, and massage.  I was thinking about testing them out when we go back for our epics in August.  Maybe a shampoo + style (for that fresh from the salon look), a french mani-pedi, and make-up.  If I like them I can book a spa morning for FSD & I the day-of.

As another aside, FMIL had some large decorative hair clips she didn't want anymore.  I was considering taking the barrette off of one and adding a comb and using it as part of my day-of hairstyle.  I thought she might get a kick out of that :)  One of them is a large butterfly, the other one is a filigree type design, so either way very me.
Formerly known as flutterbride2b

Re: Back from Vacation!

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    That place looks soo pretty!! I love the view of the water behind your spot, but the two flanked trees are pretty too!  Will the water view be too noisy or is it just a stream? (can't really tell from the picture)
    Glad you had a great time on your vacation!!  That lodge looks gorgeous! =)

    We went to a wedding on saturday and the wedding party plus other friends did a group honeymoon to Cancun. They flew out the following morning. We were quasi invited to go but had to decline due to budget and saving for next year. I hate thinking how everyones at the beach right now and I'm sitting at home canceled from work. bleh.
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    It's essentially the same distance. Noise shouldn't be too big of a deal though because we're only inviting a small crowd. I think when we go back I'll order either the alfredo or grilled onions and mushrooms on my chicken to see if it improves my opinion of the food. And shrimp, because I love me some shrimp.
    Formerly known as flutterbride2b
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    That place is gorgeous! I think you'll be good whichever ceremony site you use! Glad you had a great vacation :)
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    The more I think of it - the more I think I just want to do the lodge for the reception.  The location is conveniently in the same park as the ceremony, the "porch" could be converted into a small chapel for the ceremony in case of rain.  They have more variety to their food & vegetarian options available.  I also did the math and even if everyone were to order the more expensive meal option I priced out (+30% for tax & gratuity), it would still be around the same price as renting the VRBO and doing all of the work myself, except we wouldn't be stuck doing dishes afterwards! 

    We can always do the BBQ joint as RD food if his parents don't volunteer the use of their house & kitchen.  (I was planning on FI's favorite casserole - which can be prepared ahead of time and then thrown in the oven whenever).

    Also, I feel really retarded for never considering this, but I can use river rocks to put around candles for non-floral centerpieces for next to nothing.  Collecting rocks is one of our mandatory "let's do this!" activities while we're down there every year anyways (looking for "necklace rocks", quartz, worry stones, and special shapes/designs like eyes & hearts).

    Oh a bonus note, I think I've decided on a boudoir & bridal shoot photographer.  I have a friend whose worked with her before.  I'm just hoping I can get her to come *here*.  I'd love to do the boudoir in our bedroom & our backyard and the bridal portraits at a local historic chapel and maybe a covered bridge.

    Formerly known as flutterbride2b
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