Friday, October 23, 2009

Saying Cheese in Style

It took awhile before it caught onto the wedding scene in the States, but since it's started, it hasn't stopped, (there is even an inflatable photo booth these days).

Once we started talking about our wedding, we knew we would probably be no exception to the photo booth mania, seeing as how we can hardly go to Empty Bottle or Rainbo Club without sneaking in a strip or two, and why not? They're fun, they have a special way of looking cool and creating a memory that might have otherwise gone undocumented and they offer a chance to cram a whole bunch of people into a small space and take silly photos. What's not to love?

We were already planning on renting a vintage photobooth from and asking guests to rubber cement their photo strips scrapbook style and jot down a few words to us, thus operating as a much more fun and functional guest book. (I personally loathe the regular guest book, no one ever really signs more than their half-assed signature). We figured guests could also take a few strips home for themselves, eliminating the guest favor dilema, but then I did some research.

As it turns out, (and not to my complete surprise) photo booths are not cheap to rent - think $1000 rental range. Not really a cost-saving idea, so I've been thinking about other options. I've seen some very lovely photos of weddings and other parties where people have gone the DIY route and done a great job of creating their own cloth backdrops to mimic the photo booth feel, like this gorgeous backyard wedding backdrop from

And there's the adding of giant picture frames and goofy props, which has been a wedding photo mainstay for a few years now...
And there are even some enterprising couples out there who make their own booths, complete with coordinating colors to match everything else...

It's all very pretty (and in some cases, incredibly impressive) but I still saw us sticking with the real deal, until I came across this AMAZING photobooth idea:

and then saw this at OffBeat Bride:

And now I am completely obsessed with the idea of creating our own photo booth. How are we are ever going to top the amazing ingenuity and creativity of these kids? I'm still not sure, but I'm working on some ideas!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 353: "Come Out & Play"

Gotta say, yesterday's venue recon mission didn't go as badly as I thought it was going to. Park lady was really nice (considering we politely busted into her office in the middle of her work day) but the bad news is we still don't officially have a contract. Park lady won't have the new price quotes until early November, and neither her nor us want to make a deposit only to find that the venue was raised to be something ridiculous. It's not her fault, it's a sort of Chicago Parks matter all across the board, but it's still a little unsettling. She does have us in the books though, so the date is saved for us. It's really the best we can do right now.

The upside? Park lady confirmed the following:
  • We can definitely go til' midnight at the venue.
  • We can definitely bring in the caterer of our choice.
  • They have 21 round tables that can seat between 8-10 people which is exactly how many we need (we were able to whittle down the guest list to 225, and with a lot of out-of-towners, we're guessing we'll have 200 or less at the wedding).
  • We can use the concession stands as bar set-ups and coat rooms for no additional costs.
Overall, not the final result we were going for, but at least we have things in motion and an idea of what's actually going on. However, our trip to Flying Saucer turned out to be helpful in unexpected way.

After we wrapped up lunch, we talked to Danielle (one of the chefs) a bit about weddings and Humboldt Park and she said that Flying Saucer actually does catering. While we have a few places in mind at the moment (Honest Foods and Centered Chef) Flying Saucer does have the advantage of specializing in vegan/veg food and being a block away from Humboldt Park (something that is especially helpful considering the tiny, tiny kitchen in the Fieldhouse space). Not sure who we're going to go with in the end, but it's cool to know they have the capabilities.

Next up, a lot of decoration talk with Art of Imagination. They're based in Humboldt Park/Logan Square and specialize in drapery (if you've ever gone to a Stan Mansion event before, chances are you have seen their work since Deb from A-of-I has an exclusive contract with Stan Mansion). We chatted a bit and have an in person appointment next week to meet at Humboldt and go over some ideas. We're hoping we can do this on the cheap. My biggest concern is if she can help us temporarily cover this:

Nice for a community space, not so nice for a wedding.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 354: Strength in Numbers

After the few attempts I made to reach Humboldt Park, I sort of gave up last week. Unfortunately, there's this funny thing about wedding planning where just ignoring the fact that you need a venue will not actually solve the problem.

This is why I am enlisting J-Cakes (the fiance) for this very important task.

Like myself, J-Cakes is equally enthralled at the idea of spending the morning trying to hammer down the hidden details and costs for our wedding venue with the hard-to-reach lady who works in Humboldt Park. If I were being honesty with myself, the only thing really motivating us to go is the desire to get this boring part out of the way and the promise of stopping for brunch at the Flying Saucer.

My theory is, strength in numbers. The reality is, neither one of us is particularly intimidating and I have no idea how much difference it will make to have us both there. I figure even if the worst-case scenarios play out to be true...

a.) They still won't let us sign a contract
b.) The prices were raised to something ridiculous
c.) The stuff they said was cool to do at the venue turns out to be not cool (such as staying at the venue until 12:30 or bringing our own caterers with)
d.) All three least I'll be hanging out with my honey, walking through the park and getting some Metropolis coffee out of the deal.

The bad news is, even if all the best case scenarios plan out and things go smoothly (which will lead to us immediately attempting to do airborne high-fives the whole walk home), we still have to consider the completely shitty weather that was October 9th this year. Shitty weather that could very well be the same next year. In other words, the picturesque ideal of having the ceremony in the Boathouse and the reception in the Field House might not work out completely. I just imagine it would be hard to convince people to want to stand outside in the cold, close to water (albeit, not a large body of water, but water nonetheless) while we talk about how much we love each other and everyone huddles together for warmth.

So now, we need a backup plan for the outdoor ceremony if we go with Plan A, and a more flushed out idea of what Plan B looks like in case it ends up actually being our new Plan A.

Sometimes, I wonder if this really needs to be this complicated. Then I remember that a big part of that complication comes from us being poor and kind of picky.

Time to nut up or shut up?

(You'll have to forgive that last part. It's a horrible, but I just went to see Zombieland recently).

Go Team Awesome!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Venue Blues

Despite a very well-contructed email to the Regional Chicago Park District person I need to talk to, two phone calls, and a few stalker-like walks through Humboldt Park to see if someone is around to talk to, I have yet to reach someone live.

This does not look good.

Plan B?

Too soon?


Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 362

After a fairly long hiatus, I'm back on the blogging. I missed the chance to do the official "365 Days and Counting" blog post to commemorate the wedding being one year away, but official post or not, it's all happening. I've enjoyed pretending that just thinking about cute wedding and party ideas is enough, but unfortunately, not a lot of things actually happen unless you take actual physical action, so let's take a look at what I've accomplished in the mini-break:

  • I spent July 28th - September 1st logging into, where I walked almost every day and logged in everything I ate (or at least my best guess at everything I ate) and ended up losing 15 pounds. Sometime during I pulled some muscle in my leg and got a nasty knee injury, which led to not walking, then we lost the internet for about 3 weeks. By the time we got it back, 10 of the 15 pounds were back on and my enthusiasm for calorie counting has significantly waned.
  • I went on a few job interviews and sent a bunch of resumes out. I regret to state that my employment status did not change. (This relates to the planning, because we're pretty much broke).
  • I went to Renegade Craft Fair and got a crapload of business cards. If my attempt to letterpress or screenprint fails, I have a lot of lovely crafters in mind for the invites.
  • I ate a pint of Ben and Jerry's while looking at giant magazine of wedding dresses I can't fit in.
  • I had one wicked fight with the fiance (which was pretty surprising, we're usually pretty chill).
  • I watched all of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer seasons in order. (I would use "watched" loosely, since it was sort of my in the background thing, but still).
  • I did a bunch of freelance work.
  • I threw a few mini tantrums when we finally fixed the internet and then the computer crashed altogether (still in the process of dealing with this. Not having Microsoft Word or Excel is a real challenge).
  • Spent a lot of time at the Bucktown library using the computer.
I think that sums in up. You'll notice there's not a lot of wedding planning proactivity listed there and that's because I was really sort of hoping that the power of imagination might somehow will income into my bank account so we can get this stuff going. A quick log into my account at listed a bunch of little past-due notices warning me that time is already passing by. The biggest warning being about locking in our booking for the ceremony/reception spot (our pick wouldn't let us sign in until now).

Let the fun, and starvation dieting begin!