In the Queue

Always last in line.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mix and Match

Manly and I have similar tastes. We're both professionals, but also a little artsy. We both love living in the village, but hanging out with friends in Brooklyn. We actually agree on many aspects of a wedding, for example, we both want a Saturday night black tie affair, we both don't have much of an interest in fine china, we both want the least religious Jewish ceremony possible. That's why I just assumed that we'd be on the same page when it came to picking a location for a wedding.

But no, Manly always dreamed of a Great Gatsby wedding in a mansion upstate, while I pictured my wedding in an industrial loft. Although Manly acquiesed to some of the lofts and Peter White Studio is still in the running, we actually managed to find two locations that perfectly combined his vision of grandeur with my urban fantasy.

Prince George Ballroom




















Prince George has a couple of really cool attributes:
1. The Ballroom where the ceremony and reception would be is totally Manly's thing, but a funky, less staid version of it, while the gallery where the cocktail hour will be is very much my taste.
2. There's a lot of history to the building and they've won some big preservation awards for the work they've done restoring the space.
3. It's run by a non-profit and the site fee goes to combatting homelessness.

There are a few challenges - the cocktail area might be too small to have food stations and we'll definitely need to spend money on draping for the ceremony and lighting for the reception - but we'll still be within our budget.

Altman Building















The Altman Building has the least expensive site fee of the places we're looking at. It also has very strategically placed columns that wont block anyone's views of the ceremony or dance floor. The ceiling is painted gold. The curtans and the lighting are already there and wont be an extra fee. There's a separate room downstairs that can be turned into a lounge for the cocktail hour. It also has historic signifigance of being the carriage house for the original B. Altman department store. It pretty much has everything we want, but is less interesting and colorful than Prince George.

For me, the key deciding between the two spaces will be how creative I can get with decor and still stay within my budget. That's what the rest of this week is about - comparing our three options and coming up with our favorite.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Love at First Sight

We first looked at rings in April. We went to Tiffany's and Harry Winston and I was both overwhelmed and underwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the glitz and glamour, but underwhelmed by the selection. I didn't want just a plain solitaire, but my hands are really too small for sidestones.

We eventually saw something we liked at Fred Leighton, but Manly insisted that I have no input other than a general idea of what shape I liked. I figured he's pick something in the ballpark of the one ring that I really liked, but I never imagined how amazing the end result would be.

Manly designed the ring along with a jeweler who helped him select designs from old Sotheby's and Christie's catalouges. The result is amazing. It's exactly what I would have picked out, but Manly got to design it himself. Seriously, I could sit and stare at it all day. Sometimes I do.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Manic Panic

Manly and I looked at two event spaces that were savings banks in their prior lives: Capitale and Gotham Hall. Both rooms were breathtaking and the photos that we looked at were stunning. Although Capitale has the cool dichotomy of being this serene space located on a particularly crowded street in Chinatown, it was also the most expensive place per head that we called (except for Cipriani whose spaces were too big for our party of approx. 180-200 guests, except for the 23rd Street location, which was really not our taste). Capitale was also already booked for every Saturday in Fall 2007.

Gotham Hall quoted us a price that was $25/pp cheaper (although that did not include a wedding cake, while Capitale did), but it was still on the high end of our range. Since it's an old bank, it also does not have the best acoustics and we'd definitely need to spend extra money on extra sound. But the room was gorgeous and it was where the finale of the Bachelorette took place, which certainly endeared it to me. So we decided to hold a date.

Manly was psyched. He loved it. I, on the other hand, tried to love it, but my heart wasn't in it. First of all, I had always dreamed of getting married in a sleek white loft, so that was a serious adjustment. Second of all, it was so grand that I was afraid I'd be overwhelmed. And third, it was so expensive, that we'd have no budget left to be creative with the decor and add on all of the incidentals that would make our wedding unique to who we are. I wouldn't get to do funky DIY projects that I've lusted after on Weddingbee and the Knot. So I panicked. I knew that I needed to get married in a room that was less costly so that we could spend money being creative with the space. Gotham Hall is a beautiful room, it's just not the right room for me.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I Love Freebies

In the crazed venue search, where, in one week, we've looked at 15 locations (14 of with were in Manhattan) and called at least 10 others, only two have given/ sent us goodies. Unfortunately one of these places we negged due to price and the other Manly negged due to liking a few other venues much more, I do want to note their generosity...

Splashlight Studios was one of the all white epoxy loft that we called. Their catering is all done by Creative Edge Parties, who called me after being given my name by the kind folks at Splashlight. Creative Edge took down my work address and said that they'd send me a brochure about their services. Later in the day a package arrived with a brochure and a box of 8 mini cheesecake brownies, which were delicicious.

Today we went to check out Bridgewaters at the South Street Seaport. It was the same routine as every other place, but in the end we were given big cookies shaped like wedding cakes. That was my lunch. It was definitely in the top 5 cookies I've ever eaten.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lofty Ambitions

Whenever I have fantasized about my wedding over the past five years or so (since I've started having friends get married), I pictured my wedding to be very urban and very sleek. White walls, white floors, open windows with view of the city. I turned up my nose at every wedding that I went to at a catering hall, hotel or club. I wanted a Manhattan loft weddings. I wanted it to be minimalist. No towering centerpieces or floral pillars. I even dreamed of Japanese rock gardens.

As Manly and I start to look at venues, I'd like to note some lofts that caught my eye:

Peter White Studios














Splashlight Studios











Boylan Studios

Monday, August 14, 2006

We're Engaged!

My new fiancee (sheesh - I hate that word - I think I'll stick with live-in-lover) took the liberties of typing out a full description of our engagement, so I've decided to be lazy and simply cut and paste:

Just want to let you know that Half Pint and I got engaged on Friday.
: )
Here's the story..
I told Half Pint that I'd been invited to sit in on one of the days of an offsite meeting for a group I'm interested in working for at my company on Friday -- and that the meeting was being held in Wilmington, DE.
Then -- so that she'd meet me in Wilmington and also ask the partner she works for if she could leave work early that day -- I told Half Pint that my friend, Nils, was going to be called out onto the field at the first preseason game of the Baltimore Ravens to present a check for a donation that Merrill Lynch was making to the United Way.
(She bought the first part.. but didn't really buy the second part.)
(Also, I'd packed a bag for the weekend -- telling Half Pint that after the Ravens game, she and I were going to spend the weekend at the house of the parents of Nils' wife, Harriett, in Annapolis.)
I'd already Half Pint's boss about her being able to leave early on Friday -- because, until Tuesday, there was a good chance that she might have needed to be in Tennessee on Friday for a closing.
But Half Pint was able to stay in New York after all -- and the boss said she could leave early on Friday (which Half Pint thought was suspicious).
I went down to Wilmington first thing on Friday and "got things ready" -- and, when Half Pint got to Wilmington around 4 p.m., she got picked up at the train station by a car that was supposed to "take her to the conference center where my meeting was being held" -- so that we could rent a car down the street and make our way to meet Nils and Harriett for dinner before the Ravens game.
The car picked Half Pint up and took her -- not to a conference center -- but to the Nemours Mansion and Gardens.
It's a really beautiful place -- which is actually closed through the end of this year while a preservation team works on the Mansion -- and the Director of Nemours let me use the Gardens for the proposing -- so it was great, Half Pint and I were the only ones on the 300 acre property..
A car met Half Pint's car at the gate and led it into the property.
They stopped at a pre-determined point and Half Pint was told to walk down a certain path on the grounds.
I'd put a card at the front of the path that told her to follow the trail of roses I'd laid along the path.. and she was led to the center of the property -- where there was another card telling her to look all around, so that she could take everything in, and then come around the pond and find me. Here are some of the views (Nemours has what's considered the premier French formal garden in the US):
http://www.nemours.org/internet?url=no/vtours/mansion/mg2178.html
http://www.nemours.org/internet?url=no/vtours/mansion/mg2166.html
http://www.nemours.org/internet?url=no/vtours/mansion/mg2169.html
http://www.nemours.org/internet?url=no/vtours/mansion/mg2171.html
http://www.nemours.org/internet?url=no/vtours/mansion/mg2167.html
And then Half Pint walked through http://www.nemours.org/internet?url=no/vtours/mansion/mg2172.html and met me on a bridge over the pond (there's a photo of the bridge and the pond that come up as one of the pictures here: http://www.nemours.org/internet?url=no/mansion/index2.html).
Then she and I walked to http://www.nemours.org/internet?url=no/vtours/mansion/mg2173.html where I proposed.. and she said yes.
We had champagne and chocolate covered strawberries and sat.. and walked around.. and called our immediate families.
And then we went to the Philadelphia airport -- where Half Pint's best friend, Mary, met us for a little bit -- and then Half Pint and I flew down to Miami for the weekend to decompress at the Standard Miami http://www.standardhotel.com/ -- which is really great -- and hang-out at the pool and do a couple of spa things, etc.
And now we're back at home in New York.
Just want to let you know..
: )
Talk to you soon, Manly

Friday, August 11, 2006

Bellyache

I've been so sick for the past few days. Stomach ache, constipation, gas, you name it and I have it. Complete and utter discomfort. I wonder how much of it is due to nerves?