Thursday, September 1, 2016

Wedding Planning

Barnegat Lighthouse
Its all done and dusted, but there was plenty going on to make that smooth and seamless wedding that we had. Luckily for us, that meant getting a good bunch of little preparatory holidays in advance. Long Beach Island was our home for multiple weekends. We made day trips, spent full weekends at the Fornaciari house and even one weekend where we went camping too.

The first preliminary winter trip occurred in January for just a day trip with the future in-laws Diane and Ted. The mission was to lock in the venue mostly, and secondly sort out some rental houses. We had an idea of a few venue locations, but Aunt Margaret Fornaciari had recommended the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences, so after a look online, and a talk on the phone about prices, we were pretty certain that this was our place. We walked around the venue, we loved the view and the flexibility they offered. That they are a non-profit foundation was a plus too, rather than just money grubbing wedding scammers. We found houses and had time for a quick lunch and a minute walk in the sand on the mild but cool winter day.

February was the visit where Amy made appointments to meet with a caterer, a bakery, photographer, florist and tent rental company. She had put good effort into sussing these different vendors out throughout the previous month, so she knew basically the ones we wanted to use. We had an incredible dinner tasting 10 different items at our food tasting, and locked everyone in. Making a good weekend of it, I brought the water sport equipment, however it was a tad cold. Thankfully there were no waves, as I probably would have gone in, and likely frozen solid. We were also celebrating our 6 year anniversary that weekend, so we popped open a bottle of champagne that we were gifted at our engagement party back in 2014, and made some fondue.

In April, Amy and the ladies made a day trip down to LBI for a Wedding Roadshow. Although most things were all booked in by then, it was good for them to walk around and check out all the other vendors on offer, and to talk again with the ones we had booked in, trying the free food and drinks and enter some contests. They looked at the reception site again, and talked over set-up and on the way home learned Amy had won a basket which came with homemade blueberry thyme simple syrup which we used for our mimosas at the wedding.

During this time, Amy spent almost every weekend wedding dress shopping with her sisters and mom. It seemed like a never ending process, which was becoming more stressful by the day. She looked at almost every shop possible in Connecticut, and even a few in NYC, but was unimpressed with the prices, although her mother was willing to pay. She also became frustrated with how ornate some of these dresses were, and how even after the crazy price tag, you were expected to pay more in alterations. Finally, she tried on a dress in the wedding dress line of the casual/preppy store of J.CREW, and fell in love. She ended up ordering 5 different versions online, and returning them to the store in Connecticut, just to get the perfect fit.

With a few months following with no trips, it was nice to see warmer weather arriving and a long weekend in June was a good time. We booked this trip in to have our cake tasting, but also because we were invited as VIPs to the Long Beach Island Foundation's summer kick-off cocktail party. We planned to meet with our caterers again to go over tiny details and hand over more money, and to talk to the photographer. On our first morning, I caused us to be late for an appointment, as I was out surfing and getting some good waves. Luckily, Amy managed to reschedule for later in the day. And hey this is why we sorta like this place, they couldn't blame me, its the beach remember! We had our cake tasting that day, choosing from the four pages of options we did eventually narrow it down. We then left a bottle of Two Roads' Unorthodox Russian Imperial Stout for them to make us a dozen cupcakes to take back to work, which we were completely blown away with. That night was a big fundraising event for the LBI Foundation. Lots of wealthy sorts giving big bucks after being schmoozed with liquor and food, good plan! It was good to see the space we were going to use all set up and it looked good.

We decided to head down the last weekend in July to finalize all the last details. Unfortunately, the Fornaciari house was unavailable, but we found a campground just about 20 minutes away on the mainland. We baked in our little tent, however it was interesting staying off the Island where we could explore the surrounding area a bit more. We were happy to enjoy some local beers from the Pinelands Brewery in Little Egg Harbor Township. Their dirty hazy Pale Ales were not my thing, however they made a dank ass Brown Ale and Oyster Stout. The downside to being off the island was having to get onto it across the causeway. We ended up being 45 minutes late for our first appointment, because everyone arrives to the island on Saturday in the peak season and we were with them. At the foundation we were shocked to see construction machinery all over the beach where we were planning on having our ceremony. We talked to the project manager who said they weren't going to be gone anytime soon. A bit freaked out, but knew we would work something out. After several location changes, we settled last minute for a beach just north of the original location, which worked perfectly. 

Sunset from the LBI Foundation

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