Wedding Update: 10 Months to go!

A little less than 10 months to go! As much as I would like to write about all of the things we got done this past month, there honestly hasn’t been many changes since my last post. But with good reason…

Long Island knows how to do weddings. I mean, it’s like a wedding factory down here. And not in a bad “get in, get out, bring on the next one,” wedding-a-minute type thing. But down here, it’s so competitive that they are all ready to offer you as much as they can, all in one place, to make your wedding and life easier. I mean, who wouldn’t want that?

Some of my friends that have gotten or are getting married upstate were/are so stressed dealing with so many different vendors because each aspect of their ceremonies and receptions was being taken care of by a separate entity. Our venue is our ceremony and reception site, is our caterer, and will be taking care of linens. So it was so exciting getting to check multiple things off the to-do list just by booking our venue.

Plus, down here most venues are partnered with photographers, cake bakeries, florists, etc. whom they have worked with and trust enough to recommend. We have an appointment in a couple weeks with the photographer they recommended, so hopefully they fit our vision. Since they have worked at our venue many times, they know all the good spots for pictures. Bottom line: nothing corny. Like these.

Pricing down here makes much more sense, too; at some of the upstate venues I looked at, it was if you were casually eating out at a restaurant and had to pay for everything separately. And I mean everything. You want chicken? That’ll be $5 per person. Steak? $9. Choose your sides: you want potatoes? That’s going to be another $4 per potato-eating person. And so on, and so forth.

I realize that’s not how all places are up there, but there is nothing that complicated down here. You get a menu that lays out every single thing offered: you get to choose 8 hors d’oeuvres from a list of 20, then you get to choose 3 entrees (usually you choose chicken, beef, and fish) which all come with sides, you choose whether you want an open bar or just the beer/wine/signature drink choice, and so much more…and you get all this for one flat rate per person depending on what month you are getting married.

Note: June-October are the most expensive. Obviously. If you’re looking for a bargain, get hitched in December or January – it’s about $30 less per person! But personally I would not want to be trudging around in the cold with the possibility of snow.

So needless to say I’m extremely happy to be saved from all the stress that I’ve heard and seen others go through when planning their weddings. The biggest thing on my mind lately has been my dress, but I guess I wouldn’t say it has been really stressing me out. Of course I want to look amazing on my wedding day, but I knew I would find one that I liked. Plus, we have 10 months; I was told to find one no later than 9 months before the wedding in order to allow time for fittings, alterations, etc.

I have been scouring websites and building up my ‘Love and Marriage’ board on Pinterest with dresses for a couple weeks now. Plus, my friend and maid of honor Courtney had been planning to come down this week so that we could go dress shopping with my future mother-in-law, so I wasn’t too worried.

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And I’m happy to say that I found my dress!!!!!!!!

There’s an awesome story behind it, but I think I’ll wait awhile to tell you. It’s actually one of the dresses on my Pinterest board, so that’s fun! I thought it was pretty when I saw it online, but it’s so hardto know how a dress flows and what it feels and looks on you until it’s actually on you.

All I know is that as soon as I saw it on me, I was so overwhelmed with happiness. And there were tears. I didn’t get this way with any of the dresses the first time I tried some on, and I was kind of unsure as to whether I would have a teary reaction at all. But I know myself and if there wasn’t a tiny bit of water works, it wasn’t the dress.

And it happened. I cried. Mrs. Harrigan cried. Although she had tears for pretty much all of the dresses I had tried on previously 🙂 But that’s to be expected.

I originally wasn’t much into the idea of a veil, but when the lady at the bridal salon put one on me, it all just fit together. After awhile of ogling at myself, she asked if I wanted to try other dresses on. I was kind of unsure. I figured since we were already out, why not? But when she asked what style I wanted, I just looked at myself, still wearing the dress, and said, “This.” She smiled and said, “So is this your dress?” And I said, “Yes, I love this.” And that was it!

The biggest thing for this next month is to get the wedding website all set and looking pretty so that people can actually start using it. I’ve been putting content on there and trying to make it look nice, and Tom has to do more functionality stuff to make things work better and so that people can RSVP on it. Other than that, this month has been smooth sailing.

It’s been nice without added stress of having to take care of so many things this past month. Especially since I wasn’t with Tom (other than short Skype chats here and there) for 3 of the last 4 weeks. With work, school, my friend visiting from out of town, and Tom going to Amsterdam for a weeklong work trip, it was very hectic for both of us. But then we got to spend last weekend (and it was a long weekend for me with Columbus Day!) together, and it was wonderful. ♥

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Wedding Update: 11 months to go!

Wowee what a crazy couple of weeks. It’s insane that I’ve been engaged for almost a month now! We just went to a wedding 2 weeks ago, so it was nice to get ideas for our own. And it was fun getting to dance together…for the first time since we met almost 3 years ago!

Annnd of course I don’t have a single picture of the two of us from that night. I know the photographer got at least one, but I don’t know about getting my hands on one. If I can find one somewhere (anywhere!) I will insert it here.

In these quick 4 weeks, we’ve made progress on our own wedding! We were able to check off the most important thing: the ceremony/reception venue.

Deciding where we wanted the ceremony/reception was a big decision. No, not what building to hold them in (that was super easy for us, actually), but what part of the state. I’m from Batavia (between Buffalo and Rochester; “practically Canada” I tell most downstaters) and Tom is from Stony Brook (Long Island. And, no, that is not considered part of New York City), so it was a tough decision to make since most of our respective families live close to where we each grew up.

One of the biggest factors was my mom; if we held it in Long Island, there’s no way she would be able to make the 6+ hour trip by any mode of transportation (I realize a plane would be shorter, but then you have to think of getting there early and going through security, and then trying to get her on the plane in her motorized chair…). Plus, the stress of all that would do her in. Then, when she got down here, what would happen if she needed to use the bathroom? We would honestly need to hire a nurse or something to do all that.

Okay, so we’d have it upstate. Again, she would have to travel a distance to get to the venue since there’s nowhere in my hometown that I want to get married in. Again, stress would ensue and make matters worse. And again, bathroom situation.

We went so far as to make a pros/cons chart:

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Long story short (too late?), after Tom and I discussed it with my mom and got her input, we’ve decided to have a ceremony and reception down here in Long Island on August 16, 2014. Then, for my mom and others that can’t make it, we plan to hold a separate reception/party upstate in my hometown. This separate shindig might be soon after, depending on how hectic our schedules are; it could end up being a month or two or four after. Who knows?

Although I’m really bummed about my mom not being able to see me get married (and I know she is too), we still have time to maybe figure something out so that she could come. If not, we plan on hiring a videographer so that she can see the whole thing; maybe we can look into hooking up some live-streaming? Has anyone had any success with that?

I did try on a few dresses the other day; I liked a couple, but not enough to commit to one after my first visit. We took a picture of my favorite one on my new iPhone (as in just got it an hour before), but then we had to take it to Sprint and he reset the phone…sooo there’s no evidence at all that I was wearing a wedding dress. Bummer, but oh well.

I think that’s it for updates at this point. Until next time! Cheers.

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Tourism Revelations

How long does it take things to lose their wonder? How many times do you have to see something amazing or witness something so grand before it becomes just another part of life or a seemingly lackluster experience?

Coming from a smallish town (although, technically it’s considered a city) in western NY, I’ve often thought about this in terms of Niagara Falls. Don’t get me wrong, Niagara Falls in and of itself is amazing even though, fun fact, it is not technically on any of the ‘World Wonder’ lists. I mean, 4 million cubic feet on average go over the Falls every minute so it’s a huge source of power and (minor detail) a huge source of revenue from tourists.

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Throwback to 2002 – 7th grade class field trip to Canada (I am bottom right)

I mean, it’s crazy to me that people come from all over the world every single day to see the Falls. For me Niagara Falls is just one of those things everyone went to on school field trips, visited with their parents, or even went camping near.

For millions of other people, they view it as a once in a lifetime experience. They take pictures in front of the Falls, buy tons of souvenirs, take a ride on the Maid of the Mist, take a stroll through the Cave of the Winds, and then maybe go gamble the rest of their money at the Seneca Niagara Casino. And that’s just on the American side!

In my opinion, the view and tourism on the Canadian side is even better. They have a much more panoramic view of the Falls, Clifton Hill is packed with restaurants, shops, and other attractions that are all within walking distance. Plus, at night they shine huge beams of colored light on the Falls, so they look extra awesome.

Tom at Niagara Falls - August 2011

Tom at Niagara Falls – August 2011

I took Tom to see Niagara Falls two summers ago, and it was just so weird to me that this was a new thing for him. Everyone should experience the Falls at least once in their lives.

And I’ve seen all of them at least 20 times. I’ve only been to the Canadian side about 5 times because of the increasing restrictions on crossing the border, so there might be a bit more novelty for me there. Either way, sometimes it seems like it’s “just” Niagara Falls.

Jones Beach - July 2013

Jones Beach – July 2013

So it’s not wonder that when Tom and a couple of our friends went to a beach here in Long Island that they felt this same exact insipid feeling. It’s not that they were bored out of their mind or weren’t enjoying themselves, it had simply lost its novelty for them because they had been there before multiple times.

And then there was me, awed at the sunset, the sand, and the fact that I was so close to the Atlantic Ocean! I mean, right? It’s the ocean!

I’m also realizing that I’ve gotten this way towards certain things in New York City. I live there, so some of the touristy things just are not on my radar as exciting things to do anymore. I guess it’s a different story when you’re with friends because to me it’s more about the experience and enjoying time with friends; being someplace cool is just a bonus.

Times Square - May 2011

Times Square – May 2011

Tom and I were walking through Times Square the other day to get to the subway and it was obvious just how non-touristy we were. Some examples:

Tourists constantly have their heads cocked and locked to the sky, looking at the tall buildings. We had a destination, so we were constantly looking for quicker ways to get through the crowds.

Tourists are always slowing down or stopping right in the middle of the sidewalk to look at a store, take pictures, or look at a map. Us? We can’t stop, won’t stop. We got stuff to do.

Tourists are also the ones that never cross the street until the white hand gives them the A-OK. Call us daredevils, but we know whether we have enough time before that taxi will hit us.

FAO Schwarz - January 2012

FAO Schwarz – January 2012

I dislike the huge crowds of the super touristy attractions, but I have to remember that for many this may be their first and only chance to experience the chaotic brightness of New York City or the jaw-dropping amazement of Niagara Falls. And I can respect that.

But please please please don’t just come to a sudden halt on the sidewalk or not look where you’re going. Because that just lacks common sense. And you will get run over. Either by a car or by me. Take your pick.

Above all, though, it makes me thankful that I’ve had the privilege to experience these places that so many never have the means to partake in. So here’s to traveling the world and  being a future tourist in other peoples’ every day surroundings.