Wedding Wednesday: The Where and the When

Well, folks, we’re under two months to go, and I honestly have no idea how that happened. (53 days as of this writing!) We’re definitely in go-go-go mode right now, and we’re really trying to get a little bit done every day, even if it’s something seemingly small like spending an hour on etsy browsing wedding program ideas and printable options and just … pondering them. (That totally counts.) After a trip to a local jewelry store last night to look at wedding bands, Dan and I ended up at a local brewery drinking beer samplers, and it got both of us thinking about how we ended up with the wedding we’re going to have.

Triumph bokeh

We’ve been to a whole lot of weddings by now, and a lot of different types of weddings. But getting engaged has a way of forcing you to really, REALLY think about what you can picture for yourself (or in our case, what you can’t). My parents had toured a lot of wedding venues when my sister and her now-husband were looking, and my mom had set a few aside in her head “for me”, or perhaps better: she knew I’d really love them and intended to take us there. That was a surprising comfort, because I was honestly feeling at the time that we’d never find a place that felt like “us”. Neither Dan nor I could picture us having a big ballroom wedding, no matter how hard we tried. I would have loved a beachy setting, but I never wanted to get married in the summer, plus, my sister reeeeeeeally wanted a beachy wedding, so I wanted her to have that (especially since I wasn’t, well, married to the idea anyway). We loved the historic inn where a few friends got married, but that was uniquely their place, so that was out, too. And then we started down the road of whether we’d get married near where my parents live/where I grew up, near where Dan and I live now, or near his parents.

All of these mental paths just made us both shake our heads and joke about eloping. It’s not that we expected it to be easy, or we didn’t know that we had to visit a bunch of places… it was just hard for both of us to imagine having to tour a bunch of ballrooms in search of some unique, off-beat type place that would feel like us (when we knew it had a high possibility of turning into a Quest). We didn’t want a Quest.

Amid all of this, though, picking a time of year was a lot easier than we expected. We got engaged at the end of January 2012, about a month after my sister got engaged. (The common refrain: “Both of you?! Your poor parents!!”) They decided very quickly that they were going to get married that summer. Dan’s sister’s wedding was already planned for November. We knew two things:

  1. We didn’t want to wait more than a year or so to get married; we were 30 and 36 when we got engaged as it was.
  2. We didn’t want to squeeze our wedding in among the weddings of people we loved. We didn’t want to take away from their time in the spotlight (or stress them and us out with prep and related events) BUT we didn’t want to give up our time to be special, either.

So with those factors in mind, the summer was out, fall was pretty much out, December was out because of the holidays (although: Christmas wedding? twinkle lights? hard to resist), and February was out because I wasn’t going to have a Valentine’s Day wedding, no way, no how. And so January it was. That part was really pretty damn easy.

Meanwhile, we were putting my parents off on scheduling any venue visits (we were all busy planning my sister’s wedding, remember? It was very easy to just be all “oh, well, we’re thinking about it…”). At home, when it was just the two of us, we kept coming back to this idea that seemed WAY too crazy to even tell anyone about.

See, an idea got planted in my head without my intention way back in 2009 when I was writing my 28 Things to Do Before I Turn 28 list. I had heard of Triumph Brewing Company in Princeton, and the first time I googled it, Google helpfully suggested I might be searching for “triumph brewery wedding”. I clicked the pictures at the time and thought it was pretty cool except who actually gets married at a brewery? Come on now.

Since that first visit in January 2010 (I just checked – late January. Figures, right?), Dan and I have slowly become totally obsessed with Triumph, and not just because I find beer samplers to be one of the happier things on earth.

Samplers all around

So back to trying to come up with ideas for the wedding. I couldn’t escape that little voice in my head that kept saying “What about the brewery?” and once I said it out loud to Dan, I really couldn’t let it go. He felt the same way – it was the only possibility we’d considered at all that felt anything remotely close to right.

And that’s when all of the worries about doing “normal” wedding things show up. And how will we convince either set of our (fairly traditional) parents that this was a good idea? I was afraid to mention it, especially once I realized how much my heart was completely set on it, how much I couldn’t picture our wedding happening anywhere else. Yes, it’s our wedding, but that doesn’t mean that what people like our parents think goes right out the window. So we finally told them, after quite a long time of talking about it together. When I confessed that I was afraid to tell her, my mom finally said the equivalent of “dude, don’t be crazy. As if we’d prevent you from having your wedding somewhere you’re both so totally in love with.”

We were still afraid that the cost would be preventative (I mean, somewhere as cool as Triumph has to be so expensive it goes right off the table, right?), or that our parents would finally see it (it’s incredibly hard to describe if you haven’t been there) and hate it, or that we wouldn’t be able to accomodate guests who can’t do stairs, or or or.

We took both sets of parents there, and they were impressed with the vibe, and the food, and could see how excited we were. (Fun fact: when we took Dan’s parents there, I spilled a full beer on myself, down my jeans, into my chucks. Smooth move! Are you nervous or something? Also, way to waste something so very tasty.) When we first met with the event coordinator, it started to feel like it was TOO easy. He had great ideas, and thoughtful answers about all of our concerns. He suggested things for our placecards and favors that we were totally jazzed about. And the food. I mean. The food there is amazing, and that’s not even factoring in the beer. It really felt too good to be true. Except it wasn’t. It was real and we signed on the dotted line and it was pretty damn awesome.

It’s still off the beaten path, and we do sometimes get strange looks when we explain to people that our reception will be at a brewery (Yes, they’re closing the whole place down for us! Don’t worry, they have other drinks, too!). Some of the details have been tricky to figure out (where would the cake go, and is the area that will become the dance floor big enough, and what about coats?), which is where a more traditional, well-oiled wedding machine venue might have been easier… but we seem to be working things out pretty well. And the bonus is that every time I stop myself from getting bogged down in the silly details and remember “Hey we’re going to drink Triumph beer at our wedding!” I’m overcome with excitement.

So I’m pretty sure this is the only way it could have gone. And it’s gonna be pretty awesome.

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