Last night we went to a tasting put on by Atlantic Catering. Not only was the tasting fantastic, and the food was delicious, but the event itself was pretty cool. They had a number of different wedding vendors there with tables, but it wasn't at all overwhelming. I've been to a bridal showcase before, which was this massive conference room at some inner harbor hotel that was packed with vendors putting so much pressure on people to buy their products that! day! This was much lower key.
Atlantic and whoever else was in charge of arranging this tasting did a really nice job - it was a room filled with tables and chairs, and each table set up was a little different - and they also had "sample" tables set that were ridiculously elaborate, set up by the event decor company that had a table there. It gave us a chance to kind of talk through what elements of the tables we liked and didn't like, in detail, and was much better than looking at some picture in a magazine. Some of these tables were gorgeous, and of course they had everything - fancy china, chargers, nice napkins, menus, three types of water/wine/champagne glassses, all in different colors, tablecloths and overlays, elaborate centerpieces - the works. Yes, in some cases they looked busy, but in most cases they were just darn nice.
They had an invitation company - Preston's Stationery - who does absolutely beautiful work. The invites they had out were all custom work, and they had albums of their custom work. They had pocketfolds but they also had simple single page invitations - like every wedding blogger out there, I love pretty paper. I'm a stationery person, always have been. They let us play with the color swatches so I could show Mark some of the color combos I had been playing with it my head, and they were happy to talk to us without pressuring us to buy. Somehow, I was afraid to ask them about pricing. Maybe its because we're so far out and even though I told myself I wouldn't, I still want to design our own invitations. Maybe it is because I was afraid that they would laugh at me when I said, "we want to do a single page invitaiton, and have people RSVP online, and we want to do it all for about $1 an invite." I don't know if this would have been a totally unreasonable thing to ask. I don't know if it would border on insulting.
There was a videographer there, who was really nice, and managed to walk the thin line between enthusiastic and pushy. He was talking about how important videography was because it gives you something from the day to keep. I'm not sure if I buy his argument. I know that somebody will be filming our wedding and it will not be my mother, but it may be a friend. I'm just not sure if video is in the budget.
They also had a chocolate fountain and candy bar by Oh! My chocolate. They also provided an apple pie caramel apple at everyone's place - Mark doesn't like apples, so ours is all mine, although I don't know when I'll be hungry again. Their caramel apples are favors that they do, which are delicious looking, and would be nice to have at a fall wedding - I'm not sure if we would do them as favors, because not everybody likes caramel apples, but you could have a dessert buffet or candy bar and use them.
The thing is though, to have a wedding that had everything that they had at the event last night would completely break our budget. The caramel apples were nearly $4 apiece - which is an awful lot to spend on favors. For 130 people, that's $520. That's more than my dress. So although we got some good inpsiration, and some good ideas from the event, I don't think that we will be using most of the vendors there, and I don't think we will be implementing most of what we saw.
But as far as the WIC goes, I found myself wondering whether it's really so bad. As long as nobody tells us that we have to have something - and nobody told us that - is it really so bad that some people do want fancy tables with "the works" and a chocolate fountain and pocketfold invitations? As long as you are an adult and you aren't going into debt for your wedding, and you know where the WIC ends and you as a couple begin, is it really so wrong to look at a beautiful table with colored water glasses and elaborate centerpieces and say, "yes! this is what I want!"? I feel like in the indie/blogging community, we often make fun of brides that want the elaborate fairy tale wedding, but when I see a gorgeous wedding and beautiful invitations, I don't think that they are so wrong. However, when I read posts like this, I get a little freaked out by the WIC and their desire to convince brides that they can't possibly DIY their event.