Thursday, March 13, 2008

The first venue visit.

So on Saturday morning - this saturday morning, the one coming up in two days - we're going to tour the venue that we're 80% sure we want to use. It's a beautiful building, a refurbished metal foundry in long island city, just a few blocks away from my studio. Not only is it an interesting space that meshes well with our personalities, and one that would allow us to have the ceremony and reception at one site (a mandatory qualification in our eyes), but it's also super-convenient for us. It's just 5 stops from our apartment and 4 blocks from my studio. The studio will, no doubt, become craft central when I get going on the guest book, the invitations, the favors, the wedding party gifts, the various table decor, and whatever else I decide to hand-make. (I say will, but who am I kidding? There are already boxes of ribbon, a few magazines, and the beginnings of my wedding planning binder cluttering up my worktable. Oh, and the, um, placecard holders that I, um, already bought. Ahem.) It will work out well to have a staging area where we can gather all of the decorations and necessities just a few blocks from the event.

While not the most glamorous neighborhood, it's one that we know well and enjoy. It also provides some striking views of the 59th street bridge... and a lot of rooftop watertowers. It's a place we're comfortable in, and Jonathan and I are both strongly attracted to it. I've been envisioning my wedding in this place for months; basically ever since I first heard of it. I'm not sure how I'll react to actually seeing it in person and not just in pictures. Will it be bigger? Smaller? Brighter? Darker? Disappointing or twice as enticing? Jonathan actually has seen it in person, by virtue of the fact that his line of work has brought him to pretty much every event space in the New York metropolitan area. But that was two or so years ago, and he didn't have much on his mind then other than delivering the necessary gear and taking off.

Of course, I know what you're thinking. It's slightly on the bizarre side of things for us to be visiting a venue when we're not even officially engaged yet. I actually got so freaked about that that we almost canceled the appointment. But due to some conversing that was done over the weekend, I feel solid enough in our pre-engaged-to-be-engaged state that I'm fine with going. It seems that the official popping will happen sometime in the next two and a half months; I don't know anything past that and I actually don't want to. From here on out I want it to be a surprise. (That may sound funny, even ludicrous, to some who know me well and have watched this unfold. But the point was always that I wanted to know that it was happening, not exactly when or how. Just that it would, sometime before I turned 40.)

The whole point of visiting the venue now instead of waiting is that we want to see it at the same time of year that our wedding will be. The building itself is all exposed brick, and it becomes covered in climbing vines in warmer months; we're interested to see if it's all dead still or if it's coming back, and that sort of thing. Of course each year will be different, but this is as good as it's going to get without waiting until a week before the actual date. And I'm pretty sure we'll have to pick a venue before then. The more I look around lately, the more I know that this is the perfect time of year for us to be getting married. The trees are all just barely starting to bud and leaf out, the days are growing steadily warmer, and it's finally light out after 5pm. It's nice to watch the world come back to life and start to grow again. The vernal equinox, when all things are equal... I'll stop now before I really get good and gushy. Ooffgh. Shake that off. Anyway.

The Foundry is a "raw space", meaning that absolutely nothing comes with it. Not tables, not chairs, not plants, not lights, not anything. This, in turn, means that using it would / will require me becoming my own wedding coordinator. That's pretty much what I've been planning on all along, so it's not such a big deal. But when I start listing out all of the pieces, it is daunting. (At this point my checklist is 4 pages long, and I'm sure there are huge gaps. That doesn't include the breakout lists, of course.) I'm a details freak, and I don't like other people making decisions for me; I don't think I'd get on well with a wedding planner, even if I was willing to pay one. It could be pretty damn entertaining to watch though...

I need to know things about the space, like what this one funny door on the floor plans is. Where the heck does that door go? It's not the kitchen, it's not the courtyard, it's not the bathrooms. I can't figure it out. I need to ask approximately ten thousand questions about tent rental for the courtyard; tent rental isn't included in the rental price for the space but they have an exclusive tent vendor. I don't know who that vendor is though; that part they haven't mentioned. So I have no idea how much it will cost for the tenting that I want to do, or whether any lighting or heating will be included... I have pored over the floor plans, and all of the photographs I can get of the inside and out, both decorated and naked. But it's hard to get a concept of actual size... like, will I be able to set up five rows of chairs there? Or is it way too narrow for that? And even if it will technically fit, will it feel cramped? Will it interrupt the flow of Qi? (Kidding. Sort of.) Hard to say. I have a hundred ideas floating around in my skull, but I need facts.

Does anyone have any good tips on dealing with venue owners? On what questions to ask? On what I should look for, what I can't live without, and what doesn't really matter? Any advice would be appreciated; I don't want to find myself an hour after finishing the tour thinking, "if only I'd asked about such and such, and I wish I'd checked for x, y, and z... damnit, we have to go back!"

Ides of March, beware of us. We're coming for a tour, and I've got a checklist.

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