Stage 1 of the wedding planning began in April, believe it or not. I knew where I wanted to get married since we had started talking about it last year. Alms Park Pavillion in Cincinnati, OH.
It is a historic park with a two-story stone pavilion complete with wonderful arches and open air areas that overlooks the Ohio River. I had catered there with my aunt a few times in college and always thought it was a great solution for someone who wanted to get married outside.
Our wedding is planned for the Saturday of Memorial Day next year, May 29th 2010. In order to be the first to reserve Alms Park, we had to use their voicemail system and be the first to request the park as of midnight May 1st. We stayed up all night, and when the clock struck midnight I had recruited several people to frantically dial in and leave the coveted “first message”. I dialed and re-dialed for over 32 minutes and could not reach a line. The City Boy tried for a good 20 minutes without success. My mother was working at the hospital that night and promised that she would give it a try. When I had finally given up, I called her very distraught.
“Well, I guess we probably won’t get our date.” I said
“Don’t be so sure”, she giggled. “My friend Linda had the night off work tonight, and she and her husband were calling in for you too. They finally got through at 14 minutes after midnight and placed our request for the 29th.”
I was so excited. We got our place. And I finally drifted off to sleep with thoughts of illuminating paper lanterns, dancing and laughter that was sure to fill our wedding night.
The next morning I mailed in our $500 deposit, completed the contract and crossed “Wedding & Ceremony Venue” off my wedding planning spreadsheet.
The next weekend, my mother, sister and little brother paid us a week long visit. It was a great time complete with two visits to Universal Studios, days at the pool and even decorating my blank walls in the condo we were living in. During one of our late night girl talks, we began talking about wedding planning.
“Your Aunt Donna has told me about some of the costs associated with having a wedding at Alms Park. Did you know that you have to pay an additional 15% historic preservation fee on the total paid for the rental, caterer and bar tender? Plus, what are you going to do if it rains? There really isn’t any place to go for a Plan B.”
Unfortunately, that got me thinking. What if it rained? How much is their preferred vendor (our only option) going to cost us? What will our total PLUS the 15% fee actually cost us once it’s all said and done? Plus, according to the contract, we had to have everything taken down and cleaned up before leaving the night of the party. Did I really want to subject my family to stay after the festivities and clean up everything before going home that night? It hardly seemed fair.
I slept on it a few nights and decided that Alms Park probably wasn’t the best solution. How depressed I was.
Two months later, I attended my sister’s baby shower in Kentucky. While there, my mother and I drove to Batavia, Ohio to visit another venue, Norlyn Manor. It was perfect!