A Warm Reception

We’re engaged.  I can’t really even believe I’m saying those words.  But with this new status comes a tidal wave of fresh emotions and responsibility.  I’m part of a “we” now.  “’We’ would like to do this,” and “’We’ would like to do that…”

However this new manifestation of “we” thoughts has quickly turned towards wedding planning. “No, ‘we’ would not like to release live doves at our wedding.”  People have started to suggest crazy things and I’m not sure how long “we” are going to last before running off to Barbados and eloping. Ha, “we” are just kidding.

I’m officially having my New Orleans wedding and I’m going to make it the best party anyone has ever seen.  Ladies and gentleman, let me make this announcement official – I am in love with party planning.  Social events of any kind send me into an unimaginable frenzy of excitement.  But now I’m thinking that this is the biggest party I will ever plan and am beginning to wonder how I’ll be able to see that all the details will be carried out to my exact specifications.  How am I going to stay organized, continue with my two full time jobs and make sure my relationship doesn’t fall apart?  Hmmm…this sounds rather daunting.
My first step will be to start getting organized, pronto!  I bought my 2009 planner before getting engaged and thought it would be nice for all those little wedding details (I told you, the pre-engagement Jessica was wedding-obsessed).  I wanted to make sure we had the reception hall and church booked immediately in order to begin planning around a certain date and to secure the perfect vendors.  We knew the wedding would take place in 2010 due to my fiancé’s graduation from The University of New Orleans. Now it was time to get down to brass tacks.
Brandon and I sat down to discuss the basics, as in, when and where this extravaganza will take place. We began dating on October 1, 2003 and October 1, 2010 is a Friday. I thought, “perfect!” I argued that the sentiment surrounding that date would make for such a great story (and keeping the same anniversary wouldn’t be so bad either), but Brandon put his foot down. He is a “Saturday man” and a wedding on any other day just wouldn’t be right.  So much for my sentimental story, huh?  Oh well, it looks like October 2, 2010 will be the date. Finally, we were making headway. Our next task: reception hall.

In New Orleans, you can either book your event in a hotel or have a private hall do everything for you, and there are many options if you go either route. Though the hotel seems like a nice idea, when many of your guests are local, there are definite parking issues. Aside from that, we would be competing with hotel guests, in-house restaurants and various other factors that made us immediately rule out this option. So, it looked like it would be one of those “one stop shop” wedding halls. Though my fiancé seemed satisfied, I was a little skeptical. How would I be able to create the unique reception of my dreams in a place that wouldn’t let me run the show? 

I knew this needed further investigation.  After making a guest list rough draft, I knew we would need our venue to hold at least 300-400 people (Yikes!).  Brandon and I agreed we wanted a place that was beautiful, had great food and had lots of space for all of our guests.  I began to gather information from what seemed like 10 million vendors.  I had no idea there were so many places to get married in this city.

Right away, price knocked out some options. With 400 guests, I certainly can’t pay $100 per head for the reception hall. I researched for two days and came up with a short list of three possibilities, putting one on hold for a backup, just in case. I based my decision on each venue’s reputation, menu and the professionalism of their Web site. Think about it. If a venue has an ugly, unorganized Web site, what does that say about their attention to detail? Next, I began what became an endless round of phone calls and site tours that could boggle the mind of any wedding aficionado. 

So, I bet you’re wondering what venues I toured. I made the appointments in order of who called back first – which is a really great story, if I do say so myself. Sorry, but I can’t spill the beans just yet. I can officially say that I DO know where (and when) Brandon and I will tie the knot, but you will have to wait until my next blog to find out!

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