I know I had intented to write daily on what I am working on and what has happened. But as usual, life gets in the way. Since I last wrote, I have been continuing my search for a reception venue. We were a year and 4 months before our wedding date, so I knew I had plenty of time. Or so I thought…
After visiting numerous venues and asking about dates, it seemed that everyone else also had the idea to book weddings for June 18th. I had my heart set on an outdoor reception. I have pictured it for years. Big white tents, candles galore, and a warm, breeze to cool us off from dancing the night away. I had found a few more places – Phipps, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and the Mansion at Maple Heights. I made some appointments and Joey and I went on the search.
Our first stop was Phipps. They have a lovely outdoor garden which is used for weddings. It was covered in snow, of course, so it was hard to picture what it would be like when it was summer and in full bloom. I mean, it is Phipps. I am pretty sure it will be beautiful. One downfall is that the space where the tents would be set up is kind of long and narrow. So if we were having our first dance, the guests who were stuck at the tables on the ends would have a hard time seeing. Not the end of the world, but still a downfall. It was a beautiful space in general.
The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts did not require an appointment, so I decided we could just stop there following our next appoinment at the Mansion at Maple Heights. After reviewing the online pricing, I was unsure about if we could even afford this place. After coming up to the front door, I just had to see this place. We were super early and were offered the Library to sit in while we waited. We hung out and You Tubed a few videos on our new phones (yep, we broke down and bought the Droid. We are loving it!). I was of course you tubing potential first dance songs, while Joey looked up It’s Always Sunny clips. Gotta love kitten mittens.
Our appointment was at 1:00. In walked a very large man, who shook our hands and said, “Hi, I’m Chuck.” We introduced ourselves and I stood there slightly shocked. I was so surprised that a man had walked in. As we were sitting there giving him some info about what we wanted for a wedding, I noticed a large ring on his hand. Slowly, I realized it was a Superbowl ring. Yes, ladies and gentleman, we were sitting there with former NFL football center, Chukky Okobi. You know how they said brides have a certain glow about them? Well, the glow was coming from the groom this time.
That aside, we proceeded to go through the whole tour and I continued to be impressed. He really knew what he was talking about – from votives to sashes and so on. He had really done his research and impressed the fact that he wanted us to be happy with our wedding and it was “your wedding, your way.” The mansion is absolutely beautiful. The bridal suite was almost the size of our house. The closet in the bridal suite was bigger than my master bedroom. It was amazing. They have a large lawn in the back and side where tents can be placed for outdoor events. However, the nice part is that the entire venue is rented, so there are no worries of other people wandering around and we can use every room in the mansion.
Chukky told us to go ahead and roam around and take a few minutes to talk about it. We walked out of the room and the first thing that I said to Joey was, “I want it!” It was perfect. It had the outdoor space like I wanted plus clean bathrooms and lots of indoor space to allow people to come inside in case the night air was too chilly. We thought of a few more questions and told him we’d let him know. We left and I had a sad feeling in my stomach. I still didn’t know if we could afford it.
Needless to say, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts was no longer a thought in our minds. I would love to still see this place, because I think it would be a beautiful venue. There was no getting our minds off of the Mansion though. We decided to stop at his parent’s house to work out pricing and see what we were looking at. On the way there, we decided that we wanted it and were willing to do whatever we had to do in order to make it work. After all, it was only slightly above our budget. Once we were at his parents and told them about the place, we called Chukky back and asked if we could come and sign the contract. We signed for June 25th.
I had spoken with Father Fronk at St. Bernard’s earlier in the week, who told me that the 25th was indeed still open. So I was hopeful it was still open. Shortly after getting home from signing, my bestest friend for the last 15 years (holy crap, I can’t believe it has been that long) told me she was unable to come on the 25th. There is no way I could picture getting married without her being there. I mean, a 15 year friendship is a pretty long one, especially for someone who is only 27. And the anxiety sets in…
Finally, after 3 days of going back and forth and trying to find a date that coordinated with Jen’s schedule, the church and the mansion, we set our new and final date of July 16th, 2011. A month later than we started with, but what is another month when you have everything you want for your wedding?