Today Evan and I celebrate NINE years of marriage! In some ways it feels like yesterday, and in some ways it feels like we were babies at the time! One thing is for sure, through all of the ups and downs, challenges and opportunities, there is still no one else I'd rather have by side! We're certainly not perfect but we do love each other and our family immensely and what more could you really ask for?! (Sorry, getting all sentimental here! Blame the third trimester pregnancy hormones!)
PLANNING THE WEDDING
We got engaged in June of 2007. We booked our venue the WEEK we got engaged, which was about 15 months before our wedding. The site was a beautiful golf club near where we lived, had a bright beautiful ballroom with dozens of windows overlooking a beautiful golf course, was brand new, and absolutely our taste. We had numerous meetings with the venue and every detail was planned well in advance of our wedding day. (I am super Type-A and made SURE of all of that!)
THE PHONE CALL & THE PROBLEM
SO, imagine my surprise when ONE MONTH before our wedding, I'm sitting at a conference for work and have 5-missed calls and multiple voicemails from the wedding planner at our venue requesting that I call her immediately. I call her back, and she tells me that we have a little problem, and that they accidentally double booked our wedding day. Say what???
More specifically, she told me that our contract had the correct date, but that there was another couple who had a contract for August 2nd who apparently THOUGHT their date was August 16th, and had everything else booked and planned for that date.
At first, she started off thoughtfully telling us the situation and inquiring if we'd be interested in moving to August 2nd (Which was a firm no, considering 95% of our guests were coming from out of town and it was weeks away at this point!) I basically told her that while I was really sorry about the situation, as long as our contract was not the one in question, I really didn't see what else we could do!
WELL FRIENDS, this is where it got ugly. The phone calls kept coming and it went from the "thoughtful" inquisition to really pushing us hard to try to change our date or venue. Apparently the other bride told the venue she was completely unwilling to budge on anything. To this day, I still don't quite understand how she got away with that considering her contract was the one that was wrong? You never know.
We consulted a lawyer at this point and he basically told us that it doesn't necessarily matter that our contract was right . We can't FORCE the venue to host our event that day, we can only sue them for damages if they break our contract. I certainly did not like THAT answer considering we had planning and dreaming about this day for over a year (heck, for my whole life!), and like I mentioned, all of our family and friends (over 300 people!) were coming into town for the day. This news and this entire situation was NOT fun. My stress level was off-the-freaking-charts.
After a week of intense phone calls and in person meetings with the venue, it became obvious the problem wasn't going away and we were going to have to do something. We also decided we didn't want the negative energy around our wedding for a minute longer. At the end of it all, this day is about our marriage, saying our vows before God, and celebrating with people that we love, and we didn't want anything - ANYTHING - to cast a dark shadow over that! At our core, we are both optimistic people and problem solvers so we decided to try our best to evaluate our options and see what we could potentially work out so EVERYONE could be happy.
WORKING TOWARDS A SOLUTION
We knew changing the date wasn't an option, so that idea came off the table immediately. We also looked at a few other venues that were open that day, but in the middle of August all the beautiful places we would have seriously considered were already booked. We tried REALLY hard to consider some available venues with an open mind, but they just didn't feel like us at all and truthfully would have felt like a huge let down had we had to change to one of those sites. At this point, we felt really defeated!
Then, during a round table meeting between my family and the venue, someone had the idea to actually host BOTH weddings at the golf club! They only have one ballroom, which was our original plan, and what the other bride INSISTED she still have. However, they also had a back patio with a restaurant and bar area. Once we started talking, we brainstormed that they could close the entire club for the day, give the other couple the side entrance to the club and give us the main entrance, lobby, and outdoor area for our wedding. On top of that, they would bring in three tents to shelter the area from the weather (my main concern!)
We started getting excited and getting creative! The patio overlooks a beautiful golf course, so we decided to make that the backdrop of the head table. The patio also had the most gorgeous hanging baskets ever, so we redid our centerpieces and florals to work with what they already had on site. The baskets were insanely beautiful and it literally saved us thousands of dollars! And then my dad, the ultimate business man, also negotiated a very nice discount on the overall cost of our wedding due to the ordeal they put us through. (We may have come up with an agreeable solution at the end of the day, but it was a truly painful process that I wouldn't wish on anyone!) Let's just say between the flowers and the discount, we were able to divert a lot of our wedding budget to paying off our student loans - another amazing thing that came out of this ordeal!
THE WEDDING DAY
Come August 16th, we ended up with the most beautiful day EVER! The temperature was in the mid-70s, and the day was sunny and perfect. The tents looked absolutely amazing and the setting was 100000x more beautiful than the wedding I originally envisioned! Not to mention, most of our guests didn't even notice there was another wedding going on at the golf club - we never saw them! (As opposed to them looking out the ballroom windows and seeing our tents and our party!)
It all worked out so well. The day was beautiful, the site was beautiful, and we made beautiful memories! It seriously ended up being everything I could have ever dreamed of, and more.
It just goes to show you that sometimes the bumps in the road can actually bring you closer and bring you to something better than you could have planned for yourself. Just be open minded, be creative, be nice, and I think good things will ultimately come your way!
That's our story and we all lived happily ever after ;)