I'm sure most people go through a fuss about their wedding venue; finding a place that is big enough, within the budget, and in accordance with their tastes. With our ceremony and party taking place at The Milton Schoolhouse, naturally, it takes off a lot of the pressure of choice.
However, and entirely new element is introduced into the picture. While Milton is certainly big enough to accommodate, preparing the appropriate space for such a party means a lot of dust, sweat, and a bit of cash. Well, we did want to be DIY after all- I'm not sure how much more doing it yourself you can get.
Joel and I have decided on five primary areas for this wedding madness- two of which will require very little work. We'd like to throw an afternoon, invite all the neighbors, kid friendly hurrah on Saturday- which will likely take place in the parking lot. I suggested renting a tent. That parking lot can get deadly hot in the summer and you never know where the weather will fall at the end of September.
In his audacious and enthusiastic spirit of independence, Joel immediately declared that he would build a tent for this occasion. That idea was immediately suppressed for its lunacy, after which he suggested buying a large tent for future purposes. No? Ok, then he agreed that renting a tent would be a lovely no stress, low cost alternative to either of his former ideas.
Why not use the gymnasium? Well, the gymnasium will likely be occupied by a bunch of tents. Although I don't believe I have met many of them, Joel has many dear ol' friends from the music scene around the state whom he believes would be much happier "camping" in the gymnasium during the wee hours of Sunday morning when our party winds down. This, I believe, is probably a good idea. If he has a lot of young(er) friends who like to throw down as much as he and his brothers can on a skiing trip, I would feel much better if everyone who intended enjoying themselves liberally had sleeping quarters they could walk to.
The only place we will need to fix up for that area would be the restrooms under the gym- which are frightening, but could be made less so with a good scrub, some new plumbing, and a few gallons of paint. I'd say, 4-7 days of work between the four of us, depending upon how pretty we decide to make them.
The next tiny little bit would be the shower downstairs. This scary shower under the main portion of the building has seen some improvement since we arrived, it was our primary bathing area for several months. But, in my deep spirit of southern hospitality, it needs a little TLC before it can be offered up to our guests: tile, ceiling work, a new door, and a larger hot water heater. I estimate this to be 2-3 days of "boy" work (ceiling, mostly...I'm too short to really help on that), and 2-3 days of "me" work (I'll be doing the tile and probably painting.
And now for the areas of primary importance: the courtyard, and the east/west main rooms in the center of the building.
I imagine a beautiful, small ceremony in the sundoused seclusion of our courtyard- surrounded by family. And chickens. Well, not "surrounded" by chickens certainly, as that could be very messy. So, the plans are in the works for a new chicken area and a move of the current coop to the far west end of the courtyard. The chicken area will have a lovely see-through netting that will allow our guests to be amused by our feathered friends without stepping in anything rude. The chickens will also be very joyous for the occasion as the area will be built with a proper grassy area for them to...run around in and do their chicken thing.
Other than that, a good power wash, some colorful Chinese lanterns, a few chairs (maybe a couple sunsails?) and we're good to go for the ceremony bit. Intimate and lovely- what could be more awesome than getting married in your own home....which you built together with your beloved?
On Saturday night, the courtyard will be transformed into the awesome outdoor hang out that we have come to love so much here at Milton. Fire pit, BBQ, and late nights spent happily basking in the glow of friendly conversation. We plan on opening up the hallway from the two primary rooms all the way down to the gym and locking everything else off.
The two primary rooms are going to rock- but they'll take the most work. Right now, they are a mess. Andy has already begun to exposed the incredible brick hidden beneath the building's old plaster- but we hope to finish the brick in both rooms, run new electrical, insulate and drywall the ceiling, and build a simple bar area before the big party. We're going to have music and dancing (and drinking) in these rooms- so you can either be in the middle of the action, or converse with others in the courtyard while listening to the band through the open windows. Plus, if it rains- the band wont get wet.
So, instead of dropping a ton on renting a venue- we'll be dropping a ton on renovating.
That's really not much different than what we've done in the last two years here- and I do think the two, beautifully sunny rooms inside will be easy to rent in the spring. Yoga studio, anyone? Perhaps a chai tea lounge?
Dreams of dreams to come.