Here’s how the story goes.

One day, as my girlfriends and I were unamusedly browsing the consumer-bereft Sandusky Mall for a wedding-appropriate dress for my upcoming ceremony, one of my best gals, Annessia, suggested a venue. She’d attended a friend’s wedding at a place called Vermilion on the Lake. I had never heard of such a wildly-hyphenated locale, but after her eloquent and vivid description, I fell in love.

“I want this place,”I told her. “I want it now!”

We pulled up pictures on a cell phone and gawked at the gorgeousness. It seemed perfect. Almost too perfect. Like, this is exactly what I’ve been dreaming of and didn’t know it actually existed perfect.

Vermilion-on-the-Lake, OH.

Vermilion-on-the-Lake, OH.

And then I pulled up the calendar of available dates. My original pair of dates, either of the middle weekends of November, were already booked. And with no surprise! Who can call only five months prior to a reception date to reserve a locale that is one of the most desired locations in the region for weddings and gatherings?

Apparently, it turns out I can. By a stroke of luck, the first weekend in December was open, only two weeks after my originally-planned reception date. And the next day by noon, I had that sucker reserved.

“You sure scooted in at the last minute,” the raspy-voiced volunteer told me on the phone that day. “It’s only July, and we’re already accepting reservations for through 2016!”

Damn straight.

Before Jorge and I got married, one thing was certain. We wanted a big ass party on both ends of the world, and both parties would feature live music, awesome food, and red wine.

Those were basically the only stipulations. But then other factors entered in, like money. Our venue alone rings in at the cheaper end of the scale (or so I’m told) at over $1,200. Throwing a big ass party anywhere involves a hefty chunk of change. And if you want to avoid hefty chunks of change, you need to either have immaculate planning capabilities, extremely wealthy investors, and/or best friends/family members involved in all the businesses you plan to hire.

Of course, Jorge and I don’t have immaculate planning capabilities, nor do we have any wealthy investors (BUT IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE TO APPLY FOR THE POSITION…), or even family members that work in any related industries. The deeper I delved into planning the reception, the more I realized there exists a  sharply inverted relationship between low cost  and level of involvement in planning.

As in, for someone like me who doesn’t really like to get messy in the details of planning an event of this size, saving money means that I’d have to oversee every detail myself. Instead of relying on hired companies to connect the dots for me, I’d have to bring my own pen and coloring book and fill in all the spaces on my own. 

But things have been working out spectacularly well. And it has a lot to do with the amazing friends and family in my life.

Painting Planes and Taking Names

Planes…planes…and more planes.

My best friend Becky and her husband have become my wedding reception planners, helping me with all manner of details from centerpieces to even cooking for the event. Other friends have stepped up with decoration help, especially in the detail-focused areas that pain me most (*cough cough* painting those damn airplanes). My best friend Jamie is arming my bridal party (yes, I needed to outsource that), my mother has offered to take on the role of in-flight captain announcements (more on that later),  and my friends from within the community have cut me quite a deal for their super-talented performance at the party.

Other details swirl in the background; my dad’s recommendation to make the invitation a boarding pass, and the miraculous discovery of such a design online weeks later; another friend’s recommendation to stop by a graphics place in town to have a project dream realized, which may save me $400.

I could go on and on.

It turns out, I have a lot more help and creative input than I originally imagined. I am not doing this on my own. Not by a long shot. And between all of my friends, family, and community at large, we are arming one helluva party that will be, at the very least, a fun and  tasty time.

When asked how things are going and I answer with an honest, “Oh, a little stressful”, a couple people have responded with the following:

I wish I could tell you not to stress about it, but you will anyway! So just know that it’s gonna be fine.

I love that response. It’s true, it’s real, and it’s a direct nod to the feelings that are very inevitable and wrapped up in this whole experience.

It’s been stressful to plan the thing in the first place, and more stressful to oversee so many details that I wish I actually did have the money to just outsource. But at the end of it, I know it’s gonna be great, and worth all the stress.

And then…we’ll have a second one to plan. Except that time, Jorge’s gonna be the one behind the wheel. Just as most of the planning duties fall on my shoulders here since I’m the native gal in this region, he’s the one who will know how to navigate the system down yonder. And that means I can just relax and enjoy the February summer in Argentina…sipping red wine and wearing all my dresses for their second go-around.