I’ve been AFK for most of this week due to having my wisdom teeth extracted. It was surprisingly more painful than I expected, and I didn’t have the greatest reaction to the pain medication. (Vicodin caused me to throw up, even when taken on a full stomach and at half dosage. Darvocet made me moody and gave me a throbbing headache.) I had all four wisdom teeth extracted on Wednesday, the pain and swelling increased and peaked on Friday, and today, I woke up with far less pain and a more normal looking face. …which is a good thing because D., his mother, his son, and I are going to meet with the rental folks at Montpelier Mansion in Laurel, MD today.
I originally had my heart set on having the wedding at the Norris House Inn, but after my recent conversation with one of the innkeepers, I’ve been reconsidering my decision. She said you don’t want to “try to make a location work” because it’s too much trouble to manage on your wedding day. She said this in reference to holding both the wedding and the reception at the Norris House. I really wanted to have a casual, summery, reception feel. I wanted people to be outside (if the weather permitted) and having a good time. I didn’t want to have a stuffy reception or a standard dinner in a restaurant. Leesburg, unfortunately, doesn’t have a restaurant that really fits our needs. I am not expecting the wedding to be perfect. Quite the contrary, I expect something to go wrong; I’d prefer it to be something minor though. What I do want is for our wedding, ceremony and reception, to fit us. I don’t want to be pressured into someone else’s idea of how a wedding should be. (I’m willing to accept advice and heed warnings though.) I don’t want to be sitting at a table in a restaurant during our reception and feeling disappointed because it doesn’t feel like a wedding. If a vendor cannot sign on to our wedding “vision”, and at least be willing to try to make it happen, then maybe we shouldn’t go with that vendor. It’s all about being flexible and open minded, on both sides.
That being said: Montpelier Mansion has a beautiful front lawn with enough space for an outdoor wedding ceremony and reception. It also has enough space inside for both the ceremony and reception in case of rain. I plan on taking pictures today and posting a full report.


D. and I did a bunch of wedding related stuff this past weekend in Leesburg, VA, and I promise I’ll write about it and post pictures, but right now, I’m losing my poop.

I am sitting here at work, doing regular work things, and I got blindslided by stupid wedding worries. It’s really lame. There are many reasons why I’ve dubbed myself ManicBride, and this is a prime example. I’m worrying about things that are over a year away!! Stupid things like breach of contract and rain plans.

We really should elope. I know it. We will save money and my mind. But, we both want a wedding. Not a big, crazy, princess wedding. Just a fun, casual summer wedding with a picnic/BBQ reception. I don’t want to be restricted by stupid wedding rules. It’s just 40 people, by god. I don’t want to worry. I don’t even need this to be perfect. I just need it to reflect our personalities and our sentimentality.

I’m all spooked from my conversation this past weekend with Carol, from the Norris House Inn. I’m afraid that everything is going to go awry at the last minute, with limitations and additional fees and random crap falling through.

I thought D. and I were dorky because we’re going to have a choreographed bridal party dance. I have to hand over the Dork Crown to this couple performing a Star Wars lightsaber duel (is there any other kind of lightsaber duel?) at their reception.

First Lightsaber Duel

My only criticism of this couple is: if you’re going be dorks at your wedding, go all out. Embrace your dorkness. Let your dork flag fly. Their duel was kind of mediocre. They could have used some pointers from the Star Wars Kid.

D. and I have been trying to find the perfect location for the wedding. We’ve been to The Elm in Hampden Village in Baltimore. We’ve viewed the Rust Manor House in Leesburg, VA. I’ve contacted historic properties and parks and recreation departments from *five* different counties across *two* states and one district. I’ve emailed museums, botanical gardens, conservatories, and bed and breakfasts. I have spreadsheets containing row after row of location information.
So far, the only location that has come close to fitting into our budget and reflecting the feeling of our wedding has been the Norris House Inn. The innkeepers at the Norris House were not accepting reservations this far out in advance, so there was no contract discussion in the works yet.
To be safe, I contacted the Thomas Birkby House, across the street from the Norris House Inn, to see if they had a wedding scheduled at the same time as mine. The Birkby House is a location in Leesburg that churns out weddings. There is a wedding almost every weekend from May through October. Every wedding looks the same. Trust me, D. and I see the setup almost every time we are in Leesburg. (It’s really fun to watch them scramble when unexpected storm clouds show up.) Depending on the configuration, they can accomodate up to 175 – 225 guests.
I wanted to make sure there wasn’t a wedding the same weekend as mine because of the likelihood that *that* bride would book up the Norris House Inn for accomodations for her guests. The Birkby House got back to me, informing me that there *was* a wedding scheduled for Saturday, June 14th. I immediately contacted Carol at the Norris House, giving her a heads up that there was a wedding scheduled across the street, and that I wanted to lock in that weekend at the Norris House.
She responded that our wedding weekend tentative reservation was penciled in and that I should come in and talk out the details with her in a few weeks after some renovations have been completed. Okay, *big sigh of relief*, nothing to worry about, right?
Well, yesterday, I received a phone call from Carol saying that the bride-to-be from the Birkby House came over to book full house accomodations for Thurs, Fri, and Sat nights of my *bleeping* wedding weekend. Oh heeeelll no. Carol just wanted clarification regarding what nights we would be reserving. (I haven’t even figured out yet if I wanted to reserve Saturday night as well.) I expressed concern that we would be bumped. She said no, that wouldn’t happen. (Thank God.) I told her that I would come down there today to discuss the details, look over the contract, etc. I’m bringing D.’s mom for support. (D can’t be there; he has a prior engagement.)

This means war!
I’m standing my ground, you designer dress wearing, fondant cake eating, 100+ guests inviting, unlimited budget having, Birkby House bride!

D. and I have talked a lot about the “soundtrack” of our wedding. Music is very important to us. I feel like I used up most of my instrumental favorites at my first wedding. I had my maid of honor walk in to “Winter” by Vivaldi. I proceeded into my wedding to “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”, and the recessional was “Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light” performed by a string quartet.
This time around, I’m stumped for a processional. D. and I have pretty much decided on the PM’s Love Theme from the movie Love Actually. I considered the Glasgow Love Theme from Love Actually for the processional, but it is a bit short and a touch wistful and melancholy. I think I’ll figure out what the processional will be once we’ve settled on a location.
D. and I also discussed what music is verboten at the wedding. We both agreed no Chicken Dance or Hokey Pokey, but I wanted to hear the Electric Slide, and he was not for it. We agreed to a compromise though. Instead of the Electric Slide, he’ll allow You’ve Dropped a Bomb On Me by the Gap Band, and if I can find someone to mix it, a mashup of traditional Jewish hora songs which will lead into Chori Chori Gori Se from The Guru. I would love to choreograph a dance with my bridemaids to Chori Chori Gori Se. Why? Because we’re weirdos. That’s why.

You can’t have a happy ending without a choreographed dance.
Happy Ending

Other couples who’ve opted for choreographed dances at their receptions:

Wedding Thriller Dance (YouTube Video)

I Had the Time of My Life/Dirty Dancing Dance (YouTube Video)

Cabell's Mill

Today, D. and I visited Cabell’s Mill in Centerville, Virginia. It’s a historical property at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. It has ample parking, lots of space, and a nice stone patio overlooking a stream. Unfortunately, it has too much space for us. It has a bit of a lodge/Old Farmer’s Ball contra dance hall feel. Nothing inside of me screamed “OMG This is the location!!1!1!” It would be perfect for a medium-sized fall or winter wedding though.

More pictures and a floorplan of Cabell’s Mill are available here.

Rust Manor House (front)

Back in January, D. and I checked out the Audubon Naturalist Society’s Rust Manor House property in Leesburg, VA. The rental fee was out of our budgeted range for a ceremony/reception location, but the event organizer for Rust Manor House was willing to work with us.
D. and I trekked out there, and although the property was beautiful (and would be gorgeous in the summer when the gardens are in bloom), I wasn’t blown away. I didn’t feel the tingle of “this is *the* location.” Rust Manor House had been recently renovated, but it still looked unfinished.. small detail work seemed unfinished. I can’t quite describe it. When I went back to RMH with D.’s mother two weeks ago for a bridal show, she had the same comment. It seems unfinished and not in a good way.

RMH is still in the running, but far from the finish line. There are a couple things in the contract that I’m not happy with and may be deal breakers. I’m afraid that if we go with RMH, we will end up spending more money in every budgeted category across the board.

The property is still very pretty and would be great for a medium to large outdoor wedding.

More pictures of our visit to Rust Manor House are posted here.

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