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Weddings at The Mansion

Nicki Ann's Wedding Blog

In her blog, Nikki Ann shares with you her insights, thoughts, and feelings on all things women, wedding, marriage, and event-related.


I’m getting married!!

February 22nd, 2010

It is official! I am getting married! Well, I was getting married before, but we were able to set our date with the church! As you might remember from my last blog, that process was quite in depth and long. The big day is June 18, 2011 at 3pm. Now, if only I could find the perfect reception site…

We have visited a few places so far. The Pittsburgh Airport Marriott, The Hilton Garden Inn at Southpointe and the Southpointe Golf Club. All of them beautiful and all of them have their own perks. None of them have the outside venue like I wanted. So the search continues. Not that any of them are ruled out completely, but they are definitely put on the back burner for now. I had originally ruled out Phipps Conservatory, but I have decided to revisit that idea. One con is that the max number of people is 175. Our guest list is at 204, which would mean that we would be hoping people do are not able to come to our wedding. I don’t think we should be hoping for people not to come, otherwise we should just not invite them. I do think it is worth revisiting so see if there is any flexibility. Having it there would allow me to have the entire reception outdoors, which is what I really want.

I have also started researching photographers, since the only one I know and love is going to be busy that day pampering me and enjoying the day as my bridesmaid :) I have been looking through a number of blogs and websites that were of course suggested by Jen McKen herself. You’d think since one of my bestests is a photographer, I’d know much more about it than I do. I usually just leave that part to her and trust what she says. I have a few emails out to get more info, so I will update with that once I have gotten it.

I can’t let Jen get away scott free, so I have enlisted her as our photographer for our engagement photos. We had orginally set the day for March 20th, but with all the snow and cold weather, we decided to move it back to May 8th. That also happens to be the weekend between our birthdays, so we will be doing a little more than a photo shoot while she is in town! As I told her, I am so excited for her to experiment with us. And as she told me, that sounds pretty dirty.

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Sorry! I’ve been snowed in!

February 16th, 2010

You’d think that would mean that I would have all the time in the world to blog, blog, blog. However, after being stuck in the house for almost a week the last thing I wanted to do was sit in front of a computer. Also, two of the appointments I had scheduled were cancelled because there was no power in the area. I guess that was a good enough reason to have to cancel! Besides, we were not able to get out of the 2 feet of snow packed in around our house until Monday morning anyway. Today, they were both rescheduled for this coming weekend. At least that part is back on track.

So what else have I been trying to do while I have been snowed in? Well, I have been trying to get an appointment with the priest of the church where we hope to get married. This has been quite the process because we were not members at any particular church prior to this. So what is so difficult about this? Well let me tell you. I am Methodist. Joe is Catholic. The church ceremony is very important to Joe. While I wanted an outside ceremony, I know this is something that means a lot to him. We started going to churches in the area and found one close to our house that we both love. I called to find out how to register Joe as a member. We also found out that Catholic churches will not accept you as a member unless you are within their parish limits unless permission is obtained from the parish whose limits you do live within.

After learning that, we contacted the church closest to us to get permission. He had to speak directly to the priest of that parish and explain why he wanted to join another church. They then would send a letter to the church we wish to join. Once that and the registration form was received by the church we wanted to marry in, we had to call to give some basic info to the coordinator who would then forward our info to one of the priests. We are waiting for the priest to get back to us now. As if that wasn’t enough to go through, I found out that the church was a very popular church for weddings, making me nervous that there may not be any available dates. Believe me, I have had numerous headaches and sleepless nights stressing about this. I know we are in the final steps, but I just have no idea if or when we can get married in that church.

Again, I feel like I should offer tips when choosing a church and how to avoid this type of situation.

1. If you think you might someday want to get married in a church, make sure that you join as soon as you can. I know it may seem presumptuous to join a church solely for the potential of a wedding, but you will not have to wait 3 weeks just to get the proper paper work through in order to speak to someone about a date. If you decide to wait, be prepared to have all your other planning held up until you can set a date at the church.
2. Do your research. If your church isn’t one that is always booked up for weddings, you may have a little more leeway. You might be able to consider looking for your reception site first.
3. If you want to get married at a church you do not usually attend, make sure you go to a few masses. Try to go to them at different times too. You will notice that the music can be different at each services. I know I have seen a regular organist, a full band, a children’s choir, and an adult choir. Unless you already plan on getting an outside musician, you will want to hear all of the options before choosing. This is also a good idea if the church has multiple priests. You will want to try to see mass with each of the priests before choosing who will do your service or if you really do like the church enough to book your wedding there.
4. Be persistent! It took numerous phone calls to actually get to this point. If you have to do all of these things before you can meet with the priest, they are not going to call you to see if they can help.

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All under one roof

February 2nd, 2010

So this past weekend, I went to the Cavanaugh Bridal show with my future mother-in-law. Our first reaction was “Holy crap!” There were more people in one room than we could handle. People walking all over the place and trying to get free samples of cake. Now, don’t get me wrong. When we saw the woman from the Gateway Clipper with the cocktail shrimp, we made a beeline straight to her. However, I was just amazed by the people flocking to the bakery tables. Oh and the chocolate fountain… I don’t think I really need to say more. Once we got out of that first room and were able to breathe again, we moved to the larger room. Again, more people than we could imagine, but at least it was in a larger room and people seemed to be a little thinner than the first room.

I was slightly skeptical about how much information I could actually get from this huge show. I had been to bridal shows before and they were much smaller and did not mearly have as many vendor options. I was pleasantly surprised. I actually found a florist who had the exact centerpiece I had envisioned. And to top it off, they were only $35! I will not name said florist quite yet because I do plan on looking around for the best pricing. But honestly, that is one of the biggest things that sticks in my mind. I just couldn’t believe that I had found the exact centerpieces I wanted!

Not only that, but three of the reception sites I had on my list were there and 2 of them had their appointment books. I was able to schedule appointments on the spot! That was wonderful because we were able to chat about what they had to offer in person before I even booked the appointment.

So what didn’t I like about the show? Of course you had your pushy vendors who ran out in to the aisle to grab you and force a card in your hand. But really, can you blame them? They have to pay to be in the show so I’d want to get my money’s worth too! I didn’t like how many people were crammed in there, but who can really help that?

So if I can offer any tips from my experience this past weekend:

1. Attend at least one of these shows before planning any wedding. You can get a ton of ideas and can learn about a ton of vendors you might not have otherwise known about.
2. Pre-print your name, address, and email on address labels. You can also include your phone, but they do tend to call you numerous times saying that you and your fiance won a cruise… you just have to attend this talk and then buy into whatever it is they are selling.
3. Print and highlight the list of vendors so you can hit the vendors you are most interested in and do not miss them by accident. You can avoid the grocery shopping method of going up and down every aisle this way. I was there for much longer than I wanted because I forgot my highlighted list.
4. Taste the cake. And anything else they are offering. It is worth it. It’s an easy way to see if it is even good enough for you to make an appointment. Just make sure you have enough time between the show and the wedding to burn it all off.

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