About the reception venue.
As you know, I am not the girl who spent any time whatsoever dreaming of weddings when I grew up. The closest any planning for future weddings went was joking about it with a friend as to who would get to wear the floral chiffon.
And as you may also know, V and I are laid back - as in almost horizontal - and so the concept of any tizz to the celebration is just like too much and likely to force us to bolt from the field.
However, we have found the greatest spot in the world to get married. It is within walking distance of our house, has parking available, not too public for nosy spectators, not so private it won't be found, the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop but with a bit of a windbreak in case November gets blustery.
I (oh, and V to a lesser degree) have family and friends travelling from far afield the concept of having a party afterwards was always on the cards - I mean, no way I am getting my nearest and dearest on the plane to travel 2000km and then say "well, see ya" after the splice.
We needed somewhere:
- we could use as an alternative in case of nasty weather;
- with toilets;
- with parking;
- within our budget; and
- child friendly.
Ideally, it would also:
- be near enough to our ceremony spot to allow for the carless;
- have food on hand to save on sourcing a caterer;
- have drinks on hand to save on licensing issues;
- be able to hold an expanding list rather than a shrinking one;
- have outlets for music; and
- be a relaxing spot.
Plan A was so lovely. The local surf club has a spectacular view, a bar, a fair sized upstairs area and a kids playground outside. Of course, there were no food facilities so would have to get it brought in - and the space upstairs would ensure we would have to work out who we really wanted at the wedding as opposed to who we would just like at the wedding.
It is also run by the local surf lifesaving association - a volunteer run organisation that is fairly dormant April - October but saving lives and fundraising the rest of the year.
Of course, when I wanted to organise, they were in their sleeping phase so didn't answer the phone or emails until I got to tear my hair out harassment phase on Monday.
Unfortunately when they did return my call, it was to inform me that their major fundraiser was throughout November and therefore no can do... (The good news is that it wouldn't have been available even if I had been organised many moons ago!!)
My tendency towards the lackaday hides a great panic mechanism, and its threshhold was tested as I went down the list of possibilities.
The golf club - swank (not us), other end of the town and a separate kids room but have a view and catering available - laughed a lot when they thought I said this November - and then laughed even harder when they found out I was serious. I took that as a no.
Tourist town so plenty of restaurants - who don't do events or functions, thank you very much.
Resort town who do not have any function rooms in their resorts...
Okay, it was almost permissable to panic at this stage.
Then a breakthrough - a restaurant at a resort may be able to help us - they had a conference room near the pool and they could put something together for a small crowd.
So we went to check - by "near" the pool, they meant overlooking and possibly no access. The room and drinks would come to $1000 before food - and their food was a set price of $35 per head but we could only be there for two hours maximum. Eek - no way we wanted to spend so much on so little if you know what I mean. It was waaaay at the other end of town so walking out and I could just taste the stress with kicking everyone out just after they got there.
On the way home, a brainstorm attacked - around the corner from our house is an old-fashioned bowls club - you know the sort - Australian Chinese restaurant at one end, bar at the other, a few pokies, windows overlooking the greens.
I asked and the guy in charge said to call in the morning, but yeah, couldn't see too many problems so long as we hired a green.
So - long story short - we get to have a few games of bowls, an area reserved for however many we want, the lady from the restaurant will make it look nice for us - put flowers on the tables and such - our guests get drinks at club prices (and we are talking extremely low priced drinks) and an all you can eat Chinese banquet. When do we need to be out? - heck, Saturday is their slow night, probably be the only ones in the place but we can party on until midnight if we chose. Do we want music? We could bring a band in if we wanted, and they have the name of a few good cheap musicians. However many people we want, kids are no problems, nothing too much hassle. And for less than 1/2 of what the previous guy was talking! Oh - and no problem using it as an alternative venue if the heavens opened - that would mean the whole club was ours as people don't bowl on rainy days!
So - woo hoo, next hurdle is invitations this weekend...