Thursday, November 20, 2008

Somewhere on a desert highway

Maupin is a very small town. So small that I had to call every hotel/lodge to reserve every single room that I could. 3 were already booked for next summer and I was worried that there might not be enough for our guests and then FH reminded me that there is a lot of camping and, well, not everyone is going to come even though it's going to be the best wedding ever.

Maupin has a total of 45 rooms for hire each night plus probably another 50 tent sites and a dozen RV hook-ups (charming) and I have them all held until we decide where we are getting hitched.

Besides the 4 hotels/lodges there are about 5 restaurants/places to eat. 2 Fly shops. 1 coffee shop. 1 church. 1 school. A fish hatchery. And a lot of rafting companies.

And we love it. We have embarked on some of our most fun fishing and rafting adventures from Maupin. It's in a river canyon but on the high desert, so it's very dry. It's kind of a ranch town or used to be long ago.

The Imperial River Company and Lodge is where we would have our wedding. They do pretty much everything (food, liquor, tables, chairs, etc.) so it's a big commitment once we choose them. The only package that we have even considered. And no, it's not cheap, although I am sure it's worth it. They raise their own cows and sheep for meat on their nearby ranch and the lodge was recently redone. They have been great to work with so far and they say they can accomodate my menu wishes and special wine order, which was making this decision easier until we started wavering over the money. It's a recession for god's sake. Who can afford a wedding?

Back to the vision: riverside wedding, bails of hay to sit on, old time piano music

The First 2 Locations We Checked Out

I am having second thoughts again. Camp Westwind is really neat. I have now been in touch with a couple that was married there and they have answered all of the other questions, that I was afraid to ask the site person. Two weeks ago we were sure that this summer camp was the right place. It's only accesible by boat and it's totally green (us) and besides the fact that it would be like being on Gilligan's island for a couple of days, and it costs $3,000 per night, we were about to commit. But then, I had a vision, which is what I have to have for me to get in to something. I had a vision that Maupin, Oregon in the high desert might be more are thing and a lot less stressful as in, our guests could stay anywhere they want and we don't have to pay for it (not so at the camp).

Can I bake my cake and eat it too?

I am a pretty good baker. I just read the wedding cake how-to in The Joy of Cooking and it doesn't really seem that difficult. Plus I have a year to practice. My friends will love me at first--all that tasting, and then they will hate me--all that tasting. I won't pretend to think that I can decorate it to look like this. Lord knows I don't have a steady hand, good penmanship, or the patience for that kind of detail but I could decorate it simply with plain frosting and then add fresh flowers to it and my family's tradition of the cake topper that came from Grandma's wedding cake.

Just think of all the money I will save. I am just not sure about cupcakes. I thought cupcakes were a way to save money, but they still cost $2-$3 a piece. If I am going cupcake then I am going to do them myself. So why not try the cake?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Once Wed Dress

I am not supersititious about this stuff. I mean, who can afford a $3,000 wedding dress anyhow? Not me. I can't afford one at all and my sister had the good fortune or brains of using my grandma's dress. She is also a size 0 and I am not so even if I wanted to, it wouldn't work. Plus I am about 4 inches taller than her and I don't think we could lengthen it. So I found this great website ( and there are plenty of others that help women sell their designer dresses. I found this Nicole Miller number like the day after saying "I will" and have been hoping to find it at a shop so I could try it on but no such luck. To see the dress, which has now been sold, go here.

Oregon Coast Take 2 - Sons of Norway

Well because I couldn't sleep until I knew whether or not this coastal possibility was actually cool or not, my friend N., who lives at the Oregon Coast drove up yesterday to take a look and snap some photos. The view is great and it would be just a short drive to my aunt's house where we could have the ceremony. This is a Sons of Norway Hall in Gearhart, Oregon for all those other Oregon brides who are wondering if the Sand Trap is the only event facility in Gearhart.

After much detective work we figured out that it's a really good deal and there is a good view but they have next to no provisions and so we would have to rent a ton of stuff (tables, linens, chairs, cutlery, dishes, glasses, a tent). Not exactly dreamy since Portland is 67 miles away and I couldn't find any caterers that I was interested in at the beach today, and you know I need instant gratification. The other thing that didn't make this place ideal was that even though we coud have the ceremony at my aunt's, right on the estuary, we wouldn't have been able to have a bicycle processional or wedding parade over to the location without going all the way (1 mile) out to the highway, which made the whole thing lose some appeal. I was imagining cycling, in my dress, next to FH, followed by guests on bikes to the reception.

This is still a great spot and if I had a caterer in the family, would be more inclined. Thanks again to said friend for the help. I am going to link to the one and only wedding photos that I found that took place here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

$10,000 Wedding

They say the average cost of a wedding in 2008 in the US was $29,000. I don't have that. I don't even have the ten grand that the seasoned brides that I know say is the very minimum you can spend for a wedding that is catered for 100-150 people and that is doing a lot of stuff yourself. I suppose if your family owned a place on a river with a barn, a farm, a winery, your dad played in a band, and your BF was a baker and a seamstress, it would be doable, but I don't have that exactly, to work with. But wouldn't that be great. Oh, and you would still need someone to officiate and someone to take photos.

I am going to get a bit of help from my folks and FH and I have approx. 8 months to save. If we could save $8000, I would be amazed.

Truth is, I don't really want to spend more than that or even that. I would love to save my money for a house, a honeymoon, and well, to have some savings.

What I want:
  • Oregon wedding
  • a used or vintage dress
  • handmade favors
  • not a lot of flowers
  • a wedding weekend, so our tribes can get to know each other, not just meet at the wedding
  • A unique setting (or a pre-wedding event that is in a unique setting)
  • a band that people will dance to
  • not to create a lot of waste, i.e., green wedding but still with printed invitations
  • local, season food
  • it to be Oregon with a little bit of the South (FH is from Georgia) and a little bit of Europe (German, and Polish)
  • not a sit-down dinner
  • kids at the reception
What I do have on my side:
  • two family vacation homes in Oregon (central coast and north coast)
  • family property in Central Oregon, very primitive (camping, no electricity and only outhouses)
  • access to two private clubs in Portland that are quite nice (old school)
  • a friend who is a wedding photographer (if I buy him a plane ticket and put him up, maybe he will help)
  • Oregon is near Washington, where liquor is cheaper
  • very crafty friends and set designing mother
  • enviro self and FH
  • a big family
  • very supportive and offbeat parents
What might be difficult:
  • I live in Washington, DC 3,000 miles from wedding location, will only get back once or twice before wedding
  • haven't found a place yet, but have lots of ideas
  • don't know how many people will make the trip from outside of Oregon
  • I have a big family (easily 30 without going to great aunts and second cousins)
  • We don't want our alcohol budget to be as much as our food budget
So here it goes......

First inspiration, I was at a bachelorette party recently in Sonoma, CA and saw this bouquet on the counter of the restaurant I went to.