Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sense of Self

My father started posting pictures of me from my childhood on facebook before the wedding. While I'm ordinarily not wild about this practice, some of them are cute.
And it makes me think of the montage scene in Father of the Bride as he thinks about his daughter.  And when I looked in the mirror heading up to the wedding, I found a stranger staring back at me.  Where did the long hair come from? The lines? The circles under the eyes?  

Something about being in your twenties, your face starts to change a lot.  I feel like whenever I look at pictures of myself from six months or a year ago, I look so different.  I'm not sure why this is.  But be prepared that on your wedding day, you may feel the least like yourself that you ever have.  

You don't necessarily look like yourself, and when you look at pictures, you might not smile like yourself.  Because your face will be tired from all the posed smiling and your eyes will be grumpy.  Also, I've had friends say that they felt nothing like themselves on their wedding days, thanks to pro makeup and hair, months of pre-wedding dieting, and other craziness.  I've seen people I know get married and I felt like I didn't recognize them.  

I'm not really sure how to correct these things, other than hire a hair/makeup artist you trust.  Does anyone have tips on how to perfect the art of smiling so you aren't sneering in the wedding photo your inlaws frame and hang above the couch?  

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Marriage Matters: Home

There's a lot of pressure on newlyweds to buy a house.  I don't really know where it comes from, except that once society is done telling you that you must have floral centerpieces, they are telling you that you must have a house.  Like weddings, home-buying is a touchy subject.  Once this post goes up, a number of people will comment with, "we bought a house but it made sense for us because of XYZ."  Ff you bought a house, I really hope it made sense for you!  You do not need to validate yourself to me, even to my judgmental badger face.  Like weddings, there's a lot of people out there who tell you what to do, because that's the choice they made and they're defensive.

House envy hit us hard when all of Mark's friends bought houses while I was in law school.  Occasionally he would come home and say, "man, I'm the only one who doesn't have a house."  I would remind him that he was the only one who had a landlord that shoveled his sidewalk (although we don't have that anymore) or how nice it was to have somebody to call us a plumber or stop by to fix the dishwasher (or oven, as ours broke last night).  Nonetheless, house envy can be an ugly thing.  It can make you feel inadequate for not being at a place in your life where you can afford a house, or it can make your future wife feel like a drain on the family for going to law school.  Not to mention that people who buy houses often go around putting down people who weren't "smart enough" to buy right now and acting defensive because well, spending $200-500,000 on a big risk can make you feel kind of vulnerable.

We looked at houses briefly last year, especially with the tax credit, but we like city life and the schools aren't great, but the property taxes are insane.  We also talked about it and decided that since we'd quickly pay back in property taxes what the tax credit saved us, it didn't make a lot of sense, and the tax cost of homeownership annually would only be a little more than we spend renting now.  The market also makes me very nervous, as does the idea of having a mortgage when I didn't know if I would have a job.  So instead we found a truly awesome apartment, with a whole lotta space, that we plan on staying in until our family outgrows it.  We're not even aggressively saving "for a house" right now the way many of our peers are.  Once I get a (permanent, long-term, salaried) job and our incomes are more even, we will save money, but I don't really want a house yet.  I want to go to Australia and South America and go on fantastic dive vacations and run for public office.  Being not stupid, we're not going to spend our money on trips at the expense of our savings, but if living the way we want to now means we have to wait a little longer for a house, that's a decision I think I'm okay with.  (I know a lot of people who are taking the same approach to having kids, so I don't really see how it's that different.)

I've also watched a lot of people get screwed over by mortgages, even from reputable companies, and the idea of taking on that.much.debt scares the living daylights out of me.  I mean, we're talking about something where you put down a 10-20% down payment, and then spend forever paying it off.  That scares me.  I kind of approve of Jenna and her husband, who are waiting to pay for a house in cash.  I'm sure that there are a million reasons why wanting to buy a house outright is a dumb policy, but for now, while we still have a lease and a lot of good reasons for renting, I'm not interested in them.  They are something I will learn more about when we are actually thinking about buying a house.  We're also not in a high enough income position to need a house and mortgage for a tax break, like some people I know, so we don't have to worry about that (or learn how it works).

Another thing about city living and home ownership is this:  Houses in the city are often small, especially ones in our price range that don't need a lot of work.  They are narrow and they often only have one bathroom and no closet space or parking or real backyard.  We could get a much nicer place by renting, a place we actually like to live in and want to come home to, and not spend all our spare time on home improvement, than we could have if we bought a place in the city.  I also don't want a starter house, because the people I know who have had to sell houses after a few years get put through the wringer over it.  Oh yeah, and our marriage could fail, so I'd rather wait it out a couple of years and not set ourselves up for a miserable property settlement.  So I didn't want to buy a house with the assumption that we'll be selling it in 3 years or 5 years or when my shoes overtake the closet (6 months).  A lot of city homes need a lot of updating as well, and we are simply not at a place in our lives where we want to devote every.single.weekend to home improvement projects and installing a new dishwasher/water heater/backsplash.  I like projects and home improvement, but see above - I want to travel and generally enjoy being married.  (If home improvement is part of you enjoying being married, then go forth and enjoy it!)

So there you have it.  For now, we rent, and we live vicariously through our sisters, who are both in the process now of homebuying.  Are you renting?  Did you buy?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pretty.

I was telling Melissa recently that when I don't have much to write about, I like to just throw up some pretty pictures and inspiration.

My friend Jen is getting married in May/June 2012 and she was going for a red and white color scheme (go Terps!) I'm hunting up inspiration for her, so far this is what I have.





I'm trying to talk SOMEBODY into having a cake buffet.

I am also considering talking her into a candy buffet.  Because a red and white candy buffet?  Awesome!  Or y'know, a regular candy buffet.  Also awesome.  

What suggestions do you have for Jen?  Any black/white/red inspiration boards you can point me to that aren't all goth-princess-halloweeny?  (There's an awful lot of them....)  I'm looking for bright, light, and fun!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy

Look.  I know a lot of people make necessary phone calls right after they get engaged.  But seriously?  Can I put in another plug for telling people in person?

Because I was looking through our "getting engaged" album recently:
I don't think I looked that happy and glowy in our wedding pictures.  And look at my mother in law.  There is nothing that has compared to how I felt the moment we announced our engagement and families lit up with giant smiles.  I felt loved and welcomed and like my heart was going to explode.  So if you aren't engaged yet, seriously consider going the extra mile to tell your families in person, if it's at all possible.  Or at the very least, over Skype.

Oh, and see that smiling, handsome man?  Today is his birthday!  Happy birthday sweetie!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Marriage Matters: Adventure

My friends, Mike and Stacy, are going on a cross country bike trip this summer to raise money for an organization that helps teachers.  I'm really excited for them, and I'm also really jealous.  I've now been yenning (is that a word? it's the active tense of "have a yen for") for an adventure myself, or more specifically, ourselves.  Getting married is an adventure.  Life after getting married has been really quiet.  Sometimes, it's a little boring.
Marriage is like flower pictures.  Safe and (sometimes) easy and really nice. Mark took this. I was impressed.  

I will speak to this: the biggest advantage of a late-fall wedding is that life quiets down afterwards. Halloween,  Thanksgiving, Christmas weekends were a little busy, but mostly, things were quiet.  We are quiet.  Our weekends are spent doing yoga, chores, hockey, rock climbing, chores, and errands.  If we're together, we're watching TV (we watched all of BSG and just started netflixing the Wire), or cleaning, or fighting about cleaning.  We see friends and family, but there is a distinct lack of a goal or a deadline, which we've always had in some way or another.  Oh, and I don't have homework anymore.  That totally rocks.

I now understand why so many people get married and then get a dog.  It's like, "the wedding is done.  We have TIME!!!"  We have a no-pets apartment, and dogs are expensive (I did almost steal a beagle that I saw wandering the street yesterday with his leash dragging behind him, but his owner was just a few steps away).
This little guy was in his backyard, but was really excited to see me.  

I also understand why people get married and buy a house.  We're not buying a house for awhile (read next week's Marriage Matters for more!), so we need something else.  We can't run together, so we're not going to be training for a marathon together.  We both like having our own separate things that we do, since we value having space, so we're not really looking to crowd each other's separate activities.  We can't take time off work to do a cross-country bike ride, I hate backpacking, and most of the other stuff that we could get into together is expensive.  (See the part where I finally started working again after five months of unemployment.)

Now that spring is here, we've planned a camping trip and signed up for Warrior Dash.  My hope is that since it is more like the scavenger hunt we did last year than a race, we'll be able to stay together.  We've also booked tickets to England for the summer and are planning a possible cycle or hiking trip while we are there. The big dry-erase map is up on the wall and we keep circling places we might like to go.  It gives the whole thing a feeling of Adventure.  But for now, it's a matter of trying to put everyday adventure back into our lives to keep things from feeling slow.  We need to actively make weekend plans without making so many plans that we feel overwhelmed.

Over the weekend, I think we accomplished this pretty well.  On Saturday, we rode our bikes up the Jones Falls Trail to Hampden, which was only a 8ish mile trek, but it was still something new and different.  On Sunday, since we had nothing else to do, we went for a mile-and-a-half walk while I took pictures for a photography project I've been working on.  It's springtime and it no longer makes me cranky to be outside, so hopefully we can embrace the change of the seasons to put a little adventure back in our lives.

The view from the Hill where we got engaged.  

Does anyone have any suggestions for adventures to work towards?  Anyone else experience the same sense of ennui?  What is your next big adventure?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Really Great Moments

In my head, I keep making a list of Really Great Moments that I'm Sorry We Didn't Get Pictures Of.  They were simply moments that happened during the weekend where nobody had a camera.

My favorite was the point where I had my bridesmaids bustle my dress.  We were waiting in the tent for the guests to be seated so we could be announced, and the seamstress told me to hold the skirt of the dress all the way above my head so the maids could tie the ties.  I stood there, train draped over my neck, looking ridiculous and the best man looked at me and said, "you look like that creature from Jurassic Park...I'm afraid you are about to spit acid at me."  The rest of the groomsmen all burst out laughing as well.

Another favorite moment of comic relief was when we were setting up the benches at the rehearsal.  One bench didn't seem to be too solid, so I sat down on it to test it out.  Turns out the reason it wasn't solid was the broken leg, and I wound up flipping over and landing on the ground.  As I brushed stinkbugs and woodchips out of my hair, we decided that it would be best to not use that bench.

Before the ceremony, my sister brought my six year old cousin in to say hello to me.  She gave me a big hug, being careful not to crinkle my dress, and even though I was totally stressed out, it helped me relax and chill the eff out and remember that everybody out there loved me even if the ceremony was late and we didn't enough have time for the DJ to play all our songs.

There are others, but I wanted to share these because I think it's important to know that there are some wonderful things that will happen, and you will be sad that they aren't on film.  But if you think about it, most of your life happens without being captured on camera, so I'm learning to be okay with it.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Great Expectations

My next door neighbor growing up writes a hilarious wedding blog called The Skeptic Bride.  Yes, it's as good as it sounds.  Go check her out.

I especially loved this guest post by a groom planning a wedding.  My heart breaks for this poor guy who isn't being allowed to serve homebrew at his wedding.  The wedding he wants to throw sounds really really fun.  His future in-laws sound like losers.  But maybe I'm judging them too harshly.  I know a few guys in this situation, where they feel like they have no control, no opinion, and further, no right to have any control or opinion.  Were your in-laws like this?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Marriage For Two: Marriage is Hard

Welcome to our new series about being married.

One of my friends asked recently, how married life was, and I said, "better."  She was said something like, "huh?"  To which I began to explain.

"For awhile there, we fought a lot.  I think mostly because I'm unemployed, and I really can't leave, and I felt trapped, my reaction to feeling trapped was to fight and test the limits of our marriage.  So I picked a lot of stupid fights, just to fight."*

Ever since I realized what I was doing, I've calmed down.  I started doing what I needed to do to nurture myself in our marriage, including leaving the house to volunteer, which finally turned into a job, because I couldn't be a housewife.  I'm really, really bad at it.  If you are in a situation that is having an adverse affect on your marriage, fix the situation to the best of your abilities.  If you hate your job, and you can't quit it, find something that you LIKE to do, and do that some of the time.  It's okay if it doesn't involve spending a lot of time with your spouse, as long as it makes you a better partner.  If you are feeling out of shape or overweight (hello, newlywed 10), it's okay to prioritize going to the gym or eating healthy.  Again, if you are happy, you will be a better partner.

It's also easy to get resentful if you are in a homemaker/domestic partner type of situation.  I would spend a day trying to get things done around the house, and then my husband would come home and focus on everything I didn't get done instead of what I did.  It was like getting some kind of awful daily performance review, by the person I loved the most.  From my husband's POV though, I was at home all day, making messes and not cleaning them up.  Which is, uh, true.

Since I've started leaving the house daily, and am trying to make my career happen, instead of waiting for something to happen, things have been better.  We don't fight so much.  So yeah, if you're fighting just to fight, figure out why, and then figure out how to fix it.  Without blaming your spouse, because if you're doing what I was doing, the problem is you.

*The other sad truth is that fighting makes you feel something, and the job search made me feel numb and sad, so I fought just to feel something.  Unemployment is the pits, my friends.  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Green Wedding Showcase: Staccato Stationary

Invites are totally why you go to bridal showcases.  They are so pretty, and the companies are so creative, and they let you touch everything and tell you about everything and they don't expect you to book them today.  I loved loved loved this company, Staccato Stationary, and couldn't believe we hadn't heard of them or used them.  They do plantable paper invites and really affordable eco-friendly invites.
Copyright by Staccato

That invite, the Verla, is only $1 per invite!  They also do gorgeous pocketfolds and other invites, and the ladies from the shop were unbelievably nice to us.  I'm a sucker for good customer service.  They also let me touch everything and didn't get mad when I knocked over a display.  So please, please, please, go check them out!  

Green Wedding Showcase: Green Bride Guide

I'd never heard of Green Bride Guide until I was perusing the MyWedding.com free websites and saw some themes inspired by them.  They were at the showcase and I got a chance to talk to Stephanie for a bit.  She and I talked about a few of their newer features, including their registry for green homegoods.  She also mentioned that they feature Real Green Weddings (including one from the Philip Merrill Center), so I'm planning to send in ours.*

I really like that they have a section on Green Honeymoons, because I was very concerned with honeymooning in a relatively socially conscious way.  (Were we successful? Probably not really, but we walked a lot, used public transit, and ate locally.)

One of the absolutely coolest things though, is their "Recycle and Donate" section.  A lot of us struggle to figure out what to do with stuff after the wedding.  I gave a lot to other friends who are getting married, and we donated a ton to our venue itself for the kids to use for art projects, but not everyone has that option.  They talk about different organizations to give wedding and bridesmaids dresses to, and touch on some other stuff that is really creative - like listing three different organizations you can donate your hair to if you grow it out for the wedding.

*I worry about "overexposing" our wedding, but I really want couples planning weddings to know about Irvine and Bon Appetit.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Green Wedding Showcase: Samuel Riggs Alumni Center

When I was on campus, they built the Samuel Riggs Alumni Center.  I had walked through the garden a lot, but never been inside.  The showcase was actually at Riggs, so we got to check it out.  Since my friend and her fiance met at Maryland, it might be really cute if they got married there.  Riggs is built to be a totally functional event space - their main ballroom is a pretty "typical" ballroom, with partitions.
It has a pretty "corporate" feel to it, although as this couple did, you can totally personalize it with lighting and table decor.  Alumni association members also get a discount (although I think it's only 5% unless you are a lifetime member, and then it's 15%.)
You can have an outdoor ceremony in the gardens or on the terrace, and you can pose for awesome pictures with Testudo, but since you're on campus, you could also have the ceremony in Memorial Chapel.  The indoor space for the ceremony is one of the partitions of the room, which is pretty nice for a ballroom.
Overall, I felt like Riggs was a little bit lacking in charm, but is a great blank canvas space if you want to have beautiful tablescapes or a really modern clean feeling to your reception.  They give you a list of caterers to choose from, which helps narrow down your choices.  The rates are pretty standard for the area (around $3500 for the ballroom, with minor ceremony site fees.)  A few pluses include plenty of easy, free parking in Lot 1, and relatively close proximity to 95/495.

The only problem I see with this is...you're still getting married in College Park.  Campus is fun, but do you really want to have all your guests go after-party at the Fe?  Wait, the Fe isn't even there anymore, is it?  Also, hotel options are limited - there is the Marriott on campus, and a few other hotels around, but not great.  If you're considering this location, also think about doing the wedding when school isn't in session - parking will be way easier, the hotels will probably be less full, and the campus won't be full of undergrads.

Images all from the Riggs Alumni Center Website.  

Green Wedding Showcase: ThorpeWood

When I saw the table for ThorpeWood, I got really excited.  They are exactly the kind of venue I love.  Woodsy? Check. Affordable? Check. Don't have to find your own caterer? Check.  Runs a program for at-risk youth? Check.  Giant stone fireplace?  Check.

Don't worry, you can have an outdoor ceremony too.


ThorpeWood was a little smaller and pretty far out of the way for us, since we wanted something that was along 95 for our guests who just came for the day.
But if you're looking to have a rustic, nature-centered wedding, it's a great place for it.  Go check out the pictures on their gallery if you want to see more.


At the event, they had the rate sheet for ThorpeWood.  Their prices fall into the "high but reasonable" category, around $4000 for a Saturday and $3000 for a Sunday.  The facility is also not air conditioned, so if you are having a summer wedding, I would go check it out in the summertime and see whether it's really bearable.  

All images from the ThorpeWood website.  

Green Wedding Showcase: Herrington on the Bay

We visited Herrington on the Bay when my sister got married - it wasn't quite the right place for them, but it had a lot of things going for it, although the handicapped access in the main building is next to nothing.  Mark and I weren't terribly interested in having a waterfront wedding, so we didn't really look at it.  Whenever I see it in pictures though, I get excited, because I love their Polynesian Bridal Lawn, although for their other sites, the marina was a little bit too prominent for my taste.

I was really surprised to see them at the Green Wedding Showcase, because when we visited, they felt kind of like your average all-in-one venue that doesn't care that much about the environment.  So I said something like, "I don't remember hearing about this three years ago - that's really cool" and their representative told me everything they were doing to make their practices greener.  My favorite?  They just bought a farm so they can grow their own produce for their catering company!  They're also going to start composting soon, which is pretty cool.  Some of their other "eco friendly" practices can be viewed here.  I liked that their list includes things like buying recycled printer cartridges from a local manufacturer and using green cleaning products in the facilities and hotels.  I think it's great that all-in-one venues are starting to green their practices more, since most of the all-in-ones we looked at weren't talking about sustainability when we looked at them.

There are some other cool things I didn't remember or Herrington has added recently, like on-side accommodations.
After the wedding we went to on Cape Cod where our hotel room was an easy walk from the ceremony, I'm a much bigger fan of hotel weddings, or weddings that are really close to the hotel.  Herrington also has a 2-mile "eco trail" for your guests to enjoy.  We would love that if we were staying somewhere for a wedding.

I think Herrington is a great option for people looking for an eco-friendly facility and the convenience of an all-in-one venue with the posh feeling of a waterfront wedding.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Green Wedding Showcase: Bario Neal

I've seen the Bario Neal jewelry pop up everywhere on the blogs, but I'd kinda blown them off.  Because usually other bloggers showcased designs of their's I didn't really care for.  So when I saw them at the showcase, and I saw some of their rings, my jaw dropped.

They had a bunch similar to this, and I love this style.  I have no idea what it's called, but it's more about the ring than about the rock, and I love that.  They also have a few lab-glove friendly rings, which are important to my scientist friends.  

The women at the booth were totally, ridiculously nice, complimented my ring, and let me play with all of their jewelry even though it was obvious I had already gotten married.  They even let me take two of these bad boys and put them around my ring as "anniversary bands".  And yeah, my downer of a husband said I can't have them just because they are sparklier than my wedding band.
I also would have liked to know that somebody out there did in fact make a 1mm wide band that would have gone with my ring.  

Have you found any rings after the fact that you wish you had seen before the wedding?

Green Wedding Showcase: Isadora

I never imagined I would like a bubble skirt, but I loved this bridesmaid dress by Isadora.
I really like convertible dresses, by the way.  I wish I had known that I could get them on Etsy.  They are, to me, the perfect solution to wanting bridesmaids in non-matching dresses but not actually making them pick their own dresses.
I also loved loved loved this wedding dress.  It's a short dress that doesn't quite look like a cupcake.  

These are all similar to the Two Birds style convertible dresses, but can be made from bamboo/cotton organic jersey and are actually much more reasonably priced (although they cost around $200, I think the Two Birds ones are $300 for a long dress.)
Oh, and I really like this long wedding dress.  Which is less than $300.
And you could totally shorten it and wear it again.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Green Wedding Showcase: Punk Rock Bride

This was one of my favorite dress lines that they showcased at the fashion show at the showcase.  Punk Rock Bride is based in DC and if you want an alternative dress that still feels like a wedding dress, you should check them out.
I loved this one - it looked a little like a wedding dress hoodie, in a fancy, comfortable, flowy way.
We're always clamoring for more sleeves on our dresses.


Oh, you don't live in DC?  Don't worry - their Emma collection is online, and these were some of my favorites.  


The Emma collection, being more affordable, is around $900.  Which is a lot.  But these are really pretty and really different, if that's what you're going for.  

Mid-Atlantic Green Wedding Showcase

Last Sunday, I went with my newly engaged friend Jen to the Mid-Atlantic Green Weddings Showcase, an event I desperately wish I had gone to last year when we were planning.  If you get the chance, you should totally hit this up because:
1.) Green wedding vendors are really really nice.  They're just insanely nice people.  They're not pushy, they really love their jobs, and they really love people that want to have green weddings.
2.) It's a small showcase - it's not crazy overwhelming, so you get to actually talk to the vendors, you get to play with all their samples and talk to them about what really matters to you.
3.) Free chocolate, delicious catering samples, and free cake.  Yum.
4.) A bridal fashion show of awesome, untraditional, eco-friendly, offbeat wedding dresses.

This week, I'm going to showcase some of the vendors that I met at the event - they're not sponsoring this at all, I just thought a bunch of them were really cool and want you guys to know about them.

Friday, March 4, 2011

siiiiiiiiiiigh

I know.  I talk a lot about princess dresses.  But for today, f*ck it.  Because if I was getting married tomorrow, or ever again, I would have dropped everything and ordered this bad boy from Ann Taylor.  
And yes, I would have gotten it in the lavender cream.

Seriously.  I'm in love.  This is probably the only dress I've seen, post-wedding, that makes my heart ache with "why can't I have another wedding????"

Please, somebody, buy it.  If you buy two other full priced items, it'll be 40% off.  Can I wear this to my sister-in-law's wedding?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What's Next?

So the recaps of our wedding are pretty much done, but for now, I've decided to stick around.  I won't be writing as much - I'm either going to drop to 3 posts a week, or maybe even down to 1 post a week.  A couple of my friends have recently gotten engaged, so I'll probably be dropping a lot of "from the other side" type of advice that I think could be generally beneficial.  I'll be sharing pretty ideas and a few, "wish we had done that" things.  I'll hopefully get to feature a few more real local weddings and maybe even some real local vendors.  I'm going to add a page about our vendors, because I really want this site to be a resource for Baltimore couples who are planning weddings (but the rest of you are still totally welcome!)

Ultimately, I want to keep writing because I genuinely feel like I have something to contribute to this community - because I think the more feminist wedding blogs are out there, the better; but I also think the more honest blogs are out there, the better.  I dreamed about my wedding since I was a little girl, I wanted to feel like a princess, and I wore tevas and got married in the woods.  At the end of the day, we are what we are and our weddings reflect all of it.  There is no wrong way to have a wedding, and I think that anybody planning a wedding needs as many reminders of that as possible.  So I'm sticking around.

I'm thinking of having a regular day of the week where I talk about marriage and relationships and life after the wedding.  Partly so that you know that it's hard, so you aren't surprised when it's hard, but also partly so that you know that it's really really nice to spend a weekend going to yoga, and going to brunch, and having parties with friends, rather than planning a damn wedding.

Does that sound okay to you?  What wedding topics have I not covered that you would like to hear about my experience with?  Is there any aftermath or fallout that you have questions about?  What topics do you wish more bloggers would talk about?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Flooring

So, our reception was in the parking lot.  We moved over to The Big Tent, which was in the parking lot.  I was concerned about the asphalt being too hard on people's feet, or worse, not being considered "nice" enough.  We were trying to have a very nice wedding, to assuage some fears about our wedding not being nice.  We needed the space, and we were relieved to have it.
But also, nobody noticed we were in the parking lot.  Nobody's feet hurt from dancing on asphalt, nobody tripped and fell and skinned their knees.  Nobody's shoes wore down because they had to walk around on asphalt.  I know that there is somebody out there thinking, "well, the tent will be in the parking lot...will anyone notice? care?"  The answer is no.