Hello Lovely Knotties. I am a FI (male version) and have recently proposed to my DF the beginning of February. I have absolutely awesome timing since she's in the middle of her last semester of her Master's degree and currently working two jobs. Let's throw in a wedding to plan. (sarcasm alert!) Needless to say, she's got a bit on her plate and I'd like to try to help out as much as I can.. at least as much as my already-restricted gender genes will allow me. Here are some details of our future wedding:
Guest list: 250
(Asian-family.. our parents' guests total 100 already -_-) Not very negotiable as it's the culture for the parents to be able to show off their kids to their friends..
Bridal party: 24
(She has 12 BM
that she practically grew up with.. which means I have 12 GM
) I had to reach out to my buddies all over the states for that one (I was in the Marines for 5 years so I've only really been here in Dallas for the last 2.. not too many close friends around the area)
(with an extra 10k in reserves) Her family really wants a traditional Asian reception which is traditionally held at a cheap Asian restaurant that serves between 6-8 courses and is BYOB. She said she'd prefer not to have one of the happiest moments in her life be at a cheap asian restaurant where she wouldn't be able to eat at (She has celiacs) so we'll be funding most of the wedding ourselves. Her mother (who owns a liquor store) has graciously donated everything we need for an open bar.
Ambience: We'd like the shin dig to be described as elegant and classy with a splash of modern. I'm having my buddies from my old unit come in and do the Arc of Sabers for us at our ceremony
. The Problem: The Reception Venue
After lurking on these boards and extensive googling we've gone to see 7 venues
already (Our Saturdays have been packed with Sunday reserved as our day of rest.. even though we still fit in a photographer or DJ interview in sometimes). We'd prefer it to be BYOB since her mother is providing all of the alcohol, but if it falls within our budget and specs, I'm not going to complain. We'd also prefer a place that had its own site for a ceremony just for the convenience of things. Here's a quick low-down of the places we've checked out already (There are plenty of positives for each, but I'll list what we didn't like about it... maybe we're being too picky or maybe there's a quick fix to these problems?):
1) The Old Red Museum: Didn't really liked the exposed stone. Reception area seemed a bit divided.. columns were a little big.
2) Addison Event Center: Didn't like the side entrance.. looked a little small. No room for a ceremony.
3) Addison Convention and Theatre Center: Had more of a conference feel to it. Where to do the ceremony?
4) Dallas Scottish Rite Cathedral: Loved everything about it! Exclusive caterer caused us to go over budget though as they weren't very flexible with us on the alcohol.
5) Bella at II Creeks in Richardson: Possible for reception.. a lot of extra fees for our own caterer and alcohol. The ceremony room had exposed brick and stained concrete that we weren't a fan of.
6) The Room on Main: This place looked great
for a reception but DF was worried that if we had a ceremony and people went to the side for cocktail hour while they flipped the area into a reception, all our guests would see the flipping and moving and it wouldn't seem as elegant. We'd have a better chance to get a wow effect if they saw it reception-style for the first time when they walked through the doors. The foyer was also a bit small so I can see a bit of a bottle neck there when people came to check in/sign the guestbook. So the only big negative on this is finding a nice ceremony site nearby? We're also kind of scared of how all of the things we want there will add up. (exclusive uplighting.. parking..etc)
7) The Museum of Biblical Art: Nice venue! We didn't like the art paintings in our reception hall though. Scared of the coordinator, she had bad reviews.. She also didn't come out to greet us or anything.. her assistant did all the talking. Also, there will be children at our wedding and we definitely don't want to be held liable for anything getting damaged there.
Phew.. That was rough. If you've made it this far then you really care! We plan to check out the Heard and Perot museum as well and possibly City Place (but we don't like how the dance floor on the 42nd is separate from the dining area).. Finally
.. Small problems biting at our ankles:
A really good friend from my high school years has started her own wedding planning business. She's certified and has been mentored by a wedding planner who's been voted the best of Dallas (The name escapes me ATM) She's been doing all of this since last September. I really want to support her. Her rates start off at about $1k for day of (month of) planning. Is this a fair rate? I haven't had the time to do the market research into the wedding planning business but maybe a few knotties could give me a shot from the hip and tell me if this is an alright deal? I do trust her work ethic, management skills and her eye for details though. My main goal out of hiring a planner is that my DF and I can enjoy our wedding (and maybe even eat)
DJ - We've got some quotes to test the going rate. I feel like I've negotiated an awesome deal with one particular DJ where he'll include a dance lighting set, 3 pin spots, uplighting the room, 2 LCD tvs, a Spot light and a gobo.. oh and he'll mix the music for us too :P. What would be considered a good deal for you knotties on this? The only caveat.. He's got a strong Latin accent. This means I'd rather err on the side of caution and have a separate MC. Thoughts? Should I hire a DJ who can be my MC as well? Get an outgoing GM to do it and get this DJ? Or actually hire a separate MC?
Sorry.. If you've gotten this far.. you've just spent a good 10-15 minutes you'll never get back. So don't let those minutes be in vain! Reply and help an exasperated FI out!