Being engaged was the bomb dot com. My proposal was all I could ask for and more. It may not have been at a fancy restaurant with a view of the Eiffel Tower against a setting sun, but it was a surprise, and that’s all I really wanted.
After the actual engagement, events flew by in a joyous blur. Jake and I both called our parents. I called all my closest friends. (One of whom burst into tears and it was the most endearing thing I think I will ever experience in my life.) And, of course, we carefully crafted a Facebook announcement. Not to mention the dozens of people in the weeks to follow who all wanted to A: touch my hand, B: look at my ring, and C: ask me how it happened for. Needless to say, I got very good at telling that story.
However, once all the initial celebrating was done, all of a sudden things switched from ‘congratulations!’ to ‘did you pick a date yet?’ The answer to which was hell no! I was finishing up my last semester of college and I didn’t even know where I was going to be living in a year. Even now, Jake is still talking of moving out of state around February and I’m still waiting to hear back about whether or not I’m admitted into grad school. How the hell is anyone supposed to plan a wedding when their day to day life is in such flux?
Well, the day came. I’d procrastinated for seven months, but now it was time to start planning. Part of me thought it would be fun. I can’t tell you how many hours I have logged carefully curating my Pinterest wedding board. And when else do you have an excuse to throw a huge, fancy party for all your friends and family? This should be amazing, and delightful, and fun experience.
Wedding planning is already one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done and I’ve only just started. I think I would rather write a ten page essay, about a topic I know nothing about, worth 90% of my grade, within the span of a single night, than plan my own wedding.
Not to say it was all bad. After two hours of searching though ‘rustic’ barns, tacky hotels, and run down convention centers, Jake and I finally found a suitable venue. The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art hosts weddings people!!!!!!! This would be an insanely perfect location.
All during high school I loved going there. I looked forward to the art club field trip every year. Whenever I was in Madison, I would find some excuse to go there. Actually, on Jake and I’s one year anniversary, we were in Madison to see a musical, and I tried to walk to the museum from the parking garage, in heels, through near blinding snow. Turned out I had no idea where we were, and I ended up leading us in the opposite direction of the museum, but the point is, this is a place that I love to pieces. I have so many fond memories of going there with friends to view beautiful art together. The chance to use the MMOCA as the venue for my wedding was an extraordinary opportunity. Not to mention the fact that our photos would be unspeakably stunning. (see above)
And get this: The venue was under budget by $250. I literally started screaming when I saw the price. Most venues are $2,000-$4,000 for a wedding. The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is only $1,750 for both ceremony and reception. I was elated.
However, my palms started to sweat when I noticed the asterisk in the corner that read, “MMoCA has an exclusive catering contract with Fresco, the rooftop restaurant.” This didn’t necessarily surprise me, I mean when you have a caterer on site it’s almost rude to have an event there and not use them. But, I knew how expensive their food was, and I was terrified to see how much it would cost to cater an entire event.
I held my breath as I pulled up the pricing for the caterer. Was the dream of a rooftop, sculpture garden wedding right in the middle of downtown Madison, already over?
The catering is… pricey to say the least. At $60 dollars a head, I would be paying for everyone at my wedding to eat a VERY nice meal. Yet, it wasn’t unobtainable. Jake and I were planning on having a very small wedding and for a guest list of about 80 (including possible plus ones) the whole of the catering would cost $4800. Not cheap, but we could swing it if we really wanted too. (Mind you this price would not include booze, cake, or most tables and chairs.)
And just when I thought this whole thing was within grasp, that’s when I saw it. The pin in my ballon. The fly in my soup. The wine stain on my brand new white shirt.
“Minimum Cost: Friday-Saturday, $10,000-$12,000”
That’s right. In order to have them cater my wedding on a Friday or a Saturday, (really the only two acceptable days to host a wedding, especially with out of state guests) I would have to pay them at least $10,000. The food itself only cost $4,800! What am I supposed to spend an extra $5,000 on? Jake and I were hoping for a total wedding budget of $13,000-$15,000. That isn’t going to happen if we spent $10,000 on just food and drink.
Just as quickly as the dream of getting married on the roof of museum started, it ended. Dead in the water like a raccoon that underestimated the distance across a lake.
Hopefully this is just a way for the universe to say, “Hold on, we have a better wedding venue in store for you, Just wait and see!”
Kinda doubt it universe, but whatever. I guess I’ll trust you.
Jake and I will keep researching until we find a truly perfect venue. (Both aesthetically and fiscally) Until then, enjoy this inspiration picture from Pinterest. I love it so much. It gives me hope that no matter where Jake and I get married, it will be gorgeous.
Photo Credit: April Look and Chloe Moore