You may remember the struggles to find a date for our wedding, which resulted in discovering National Superhero Day and being completely unable to even consider getting married any other day.
The next task was finding Wayne Manor. Before we were even engaged, I had shown Ashley (my sister-in-law and event producer guru of Red Door Event and Design) Pierce House as my dream location. I had seen photographs of a wedding there, and it just seemed truly perfect–except for one little problem: indoor only seats 60-80 people, and adding a tent only got us to 175 guests on the property. Our original guest list had almost 300 people; 75 of those were children.
I began a search for the perfect location that would accommodate that many people, and not only were they all out of our budget, but they all required that we use approved vendors, which was one of the aspects with which we really wanted some flexibility. Also, none of looked even remotely close to something that might pass for Wayne Manor. Ashley and I had numerous conversations about this, and 99.9% of the time, they came back to the guest list.
Hard decisions had to be made, and I’m not sure that I want to go into our full thought process here. I’m sure that every couple (and their families) reaches the point where they have to compromise and make hard decisions to make their vision match their guest list, their budget, or both. We were no different. Trimming the guest list was, by far, the most gut-wrenching part of the wedding-planning for me. In the end, I know it was the right decision, because I was able to speak to everyone at our wedding. And knowing how brief some of those conversations were, I can’t really imagine having 300 people. Well, actually, I can imagine it: I wouldn’t have spoken to everyone, and that would have been incredibly difficult for me after the wedding.
Once we whittled down the guest list, I called Pierce House. They were already booked, but they recommended that I call Lyman Estate. Somewhere down this path of calling every mansion, museum, library, and other historical location in New England, I realized that the venue sites often had lists of recommended caterers, and the caterers had sites of venues with whom they had worked. I landed on Pepper’s Fine Catering. I actually really liked the look of their site and options (my email to Ashley says, “I’m intrigued by Peppers, who seems to do a lot of concept-kind of events), so I sent them inquiry email. Also, I made some calls from their Venue list. I almost fell over when the director of Asa Waters Mansion, Catherine, gave me the news: Asa Waters Mansion was available on our date!
I made an appointment to go see Asa Waters Mansion (one of only two venues I toured…I was apparently not the typical bride in this aspect. I like to do my footwork in email and phone calls, and actually meet with as few vendors as possible. I met with only one caterer and only one photographer. That doesn’t mean I only talked to one of each; it just means that by the time I got to that point, I was pretty sure I was going to hire them, and this was more of a confirmation meeting than an “interview.”). Before that appointment, I heard back from Liz at Peppers, who seemed intrigued by our event. After hanging up the phone with her, I knew I wanted Peppers to cater our wedding. Liz was so excited about the concept and was filled with ideas–even within our budget. She also offered to meet me at Asa Waters Mansion for my first appointment, since she works with them often.
I knew the moment I walked into the mansion and saw all of the chandeliers that I had found our spot. I mean, who wouldn’t want stunning photographs on the spiral staircase next to this incredible chandelier?
Oops! I meant this next one! Silly John had to go and “ruin” that stunning photo above… (We didn’t have any fun at our wedding, can’t you see?) Below is an “actual” stunning photo. This is me, just before I threw my bouquet to all the “single ladies.” Don’t you love my Aunt Marlene poking around the corner and the hand of one of my nieces all posed to catch in the corner?
***Photo credit: all photographs in this post were taken by our wedding photographer, Margaret Belanger Photography.