About Rachel&Sam

Saturday, June 20, 2009

El Budget

So one of the factors that may really put a damper on planning a DC wedding is our budget. According to www.costofwedding.com, the average cost of a wedding in our area is between $27,284 and $45,641. EEK! After picking up our jaws off the floor, we thought realistically about that price range. Sam and I consider that amount to be a really good down payment on a house and definitely not appropriate for a one day party, albeit a fabulous party. So without giving you too many details about the finances, we do not intend to pay ANYWHERE near that much.

One of the good things about starting our wedding planning now is that it gives us an opportunity to shop around and look for good deals. My sister is getting married in October of this year and she has graciously gifted me with her copy of Bridal Bargains, which I have been scouring for ways to save money on our big day. I also picked up a copy of The DIY Wedding, which has given me a lot of ideas on how to save money, while also adding some personal and environment-friendly touches to our big day.

I am also a firm believer is researching what other brides have done to save money. So I have been checking out wedding blogs for inspiration. Some of the best ones I have found are Style Me Pretty, A Practical Wedding, Snippet & Ink, and Etsy Wedding. What I like about these blogs is that they provide ideas of how a couple can create a wedding that is meaningful and personal without giving in to the hype of the bridal industry. That's the goal - a wedding weekend that is meaningful, personalized and budget-friendly.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Potential Venues

Now I can imagine you are saying to yourself, Sam and Rachel booked a photographer.  Does that mean they set the date?  On the solid side of tentative, we are planning on September 17, 2010.  We should be finalizing the date in the next few weeks as we review quotes from potential venues.  Right now we are looking at Top of the Town in the Rosslyn neighborhood and the Arts Club of Washington in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood.  Both venues are reasonably priced and both capture a unique side of a DC wedding.  The most difficult part is deciding what kind of DC wedding do we want?

1.  There is the "DC Wow" wedding, which we would get from the Top of the Town.  It is located on the top of a condo and has a great view of the skyline of DC.  I wish I could be more articulate describing the view besides saying you can see EVERYTHING!  The view is stunning and we wouldn't have to worry about a contingency plan in the off chance it rains because it is an indoor space.  However, one thing that makes me wary is that Sam doesn't enjoy heights and the glass elevator made even me a little nervous.  I am going to have Sam check it out next Saturday morning to see if he will be comfortable and hope for the best. Images from cityvoter.com

 2.  We can also plan an intimate affair at The Arts Club of Washington.  The Arts Club contains a piece of DC history without being overtly DC.  It's a non-profit art gallery that is located in President James Monroe's federal-era mansion.  The courtyard in the back is lovely and can accomodate up to 130 guests for dinner and dancing.  If it rains, then our guests would be moved into the mansion and I can make the rain call very close to the reception to move it inside.  This is a nice option to have, but the mansion is comprised of several salons on several floors.  If we were to move everything inside, then our guests may find themselves on two different floors during dinner.  That part makes me a little nervous.  We plan on inviting around 140 people, but the ballroom can only accomodate around 95 people.  Brennan, the very kind catering manager, stated that on the upside, the overflow would be able to be seated upstairs, where they would have access to their own bar.  A nice perk, but I am not sure if it is nice enough.  Of course, this all depends on if it rains.  It has only rained once in the past ten years in DC on September 17th.  Images from cityvoter.com and artsclubofwashington.org.

At this point I am kind of leaning toward the Arts Club.  I love the courtyard and it is definitely what I envisioned for our wedding reception.  Plus Brennan is incredibly accomodating.   Is the risk of rain and bringing it inside too high, though?  Let me know what you think.  :-)

Booked our first vendor!

We booked our photographer!!  YAY!!  We booked Stacey Vaeth of Stacey Vaeth Photography.  Stacey has been in the photography industry since an early age.  She grew up in Rochester, NY where her father worked for Kodak.  I learned about Stacey from Yelp.com where she has been rated by users with five stars.  I checked out her website and reviewed her galleries and fell for how she captured the sweetest moments between couples and their families.  I love the composition of her photographs.  She has a great photojournalistic eye!  Stacey books weddings, engagement shoots, and families.  If you get a chance, check out her galleries on her website - www.staceyvaeth.com

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Let's review. . .

I wanted to give you a few wedding day details that Sam and I have settled on since we got engaged at the end of April.

1.  September 2010 - We had a few reasons for selecting September. First, to give ourselves time to save to pay for a wedding.  Second, to give my parents time to relax after my sister's October 2009 nuptuals.  And last, it won't be too hot.  (See reason #2)

2.  A DC Wedding! 
-  Sam and I decided our wedding would be in DC because this is our home and this is where we fell in love.  It would certainly be less expensive if we plan our wedding in the North Country, but there are only so many venues and vendors in the North Country and I didn't want to be a copycat to my sister's wedding.  Plus, there is so much to see and do in DC!  Since moving here in 2005, I have found it to be completely surreal to live in a place steeped in culture and history.  There are monuments, museums, historical homes, the National Zoo (One of our personal favorites!), and fabulous restaurants.  The best part - a lot of these places are free!  I love vacations where I don't have to pay to see the sites! :-)

3.  Friday night - We decided to have our ceremony and reception on a Friday night because it is less expensive and with our financial goals of home-buying and paying off our student loans, we need to be able to cut excess costs.  Rule # 1 of keeping your wedding costs low - Booking a reception site on a Friday night instead of the more expensive and more sought after Saturday night.  We  understand that this may make it difficult for some of our guests to attend, but we are hoping that the wedding and the charm of DC will encourage our guests to take a long weekend to see the sights and enjoy all that DC has to offer.

That's it for now.  More to come soon!

And so it starts. . .

I have been planning this blog for a while.  I actually messed around with the templates and colors weeks ago, but I never got around to posting anything.  I call the delay detox from final exams. But I am going to try the wedding blog out and hope for the best.  This blog will detail Sam's and my planning for our wedding next fall.  Also, we have big plans beyond our wedding, including moving to Virginia, saving for a home, and paying off student loans as we start our careers in DC.  YAY!! . . . and realistically YIKES!  I have no misconceptions that this next year and a half will be easy, but it will be good prep for the rest of our lives.

I started a wedding website a few weeks ago, which I will continue to update as our planning becomes finalized.  Here is the link: 

If you have any questions or ideas, please feel free to leave a comment or email me.  I would love the help or inspiration.