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Well, this is it.  This weekend – I have made an appointment with my family (can you believe that, an appointment with my family!! They’re just too busy these days!!!)  I’ve done all the research, printed out all the information sheets and created a spreadsheet of all the choices – there are 5 wedding venues and 5 accommodations to choose from.  I’m not letting them out of this meeting until we’ve made a decision.  We’ve sifted through nearly 30 venues and finally narrowed it down to these five.  Personally – I’d be happy with any of them and I know Neil would be thrilled with one in particular.  I know Wendy is interested to see what we choose…and of course Emily is just sitting on the edge of her seat!!!!

Of course, I’m such a stickler for superstition that I won’t spill the beans until we’ve made a payment, but at least I’ll know what we’ve chosen and Wendy and I can start to move forward.  There are so many other things that need to be decided…even if we are still 17 months out.

So just hang in there…I promise the decision will be coming soon…

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No, we haven’t chosen a venue…yet…but I did receive a special present in the mail on Friday!!  Maxine, from House of Tartan, was kind enough to send Neil and I a couple swatches from the Robertson line of tartans.  For those of you who do not know, Neil has traced his family heritage to the Robertson Clan in Scotland.  Each family in Scotland is linked to a specific clan and each clan has their own tartan, which is the plaid material in the kilt ensemble.  Neil plans to have Maxine and the staff at House of Tartan to make a kilt specifically for him…he figures if he’s getting married in Scotland, might as well go all out!!

I asked Maxine for the samples so we could try to coordinate Amy’s bridesmaid dress with his kilt.  There are so many kilts to choose from and some of them are vastly different from one another, but I am confident that we can find the right tartan to go with the right dress.

Receiving a touch of Scotland in the mail was just what I needed right now.  We’ve been at such a stand-still for quite some time that I was worried we weren’t going to make any progress, but I finally see that we’re eventually going to get somewhere.

I’ve also solicited the help of Ellen to get some address together to send out the announcements.  Announcements aren’t exactly a traditional item in the wedding planning, but there’s really nothing traditional about our wedding!!  Basically, we’re trying to figure out how many people will be joining us in Scotland.  I’ve ordered some samples and hope to get the announcements printed in the coming days.  Finally, it’s all starting to come together – I really just cannot wait to nail down a venue…and trust me, when I know, you’ll be the next to know!!!

And P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!!!  I love you so much…you’re the best Daddy anyone could ever ask for!!!

I know it’s been a few days since my last post, but I’ve been patiently awaiting an answer from Wendy.  She was in the process of contacting the owner of a specific location to see if there was a minimum number of people who had to stay at this mystery location.  Of course, I was banking on not having a minimum number because it’s very expensive – but of course, if we’re staying at this location and marrying there, we have to take all the rooms.  Not just a couple – all of them, regardless of how many people stay.  Let’s just say that yesterday morning was the first morning when it wasn’t Christmas in my inbox!! 😦

All other plans have been at a standstill, of course, we can’t exactly do a whole lot until we know our venue,  but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been searching around.  I’ve found a couple of photographers that I really like as well as some videographers.  Neil is sort of against the whole videographer idea, but I definitely think it’s a must as so many people won’t be able to attend our wedding.  I’ve also looked into pipers (yes, pipers) and well as other musicians for the ceremony.

I’ve subscribed to several wedding magazines and have been searching through each of them for ideas on flowers, hair, dresses, and everything else.

Speaking of dresses…good news!!!  On Saturday, May 9th and Sunday, May 10th, me, Amy, my mom, Ellen, and the rest of my posse will be heading to the north side to check out dresses.  I know it’s a bit early to be looking at dresses, but it’s the only opportunity to get my sister in Indiana before Thanksgiving!!!  I’m so looking forward to it and absolutely cannot wait!!!!

So just a quick update, but an exciting one nonetheless…WE MADE THE FIRST PAYMENT ON OUR WEDDING!!!

After about an hour of arguing with PayPal, I finally did it!!  Wonderful Miss Wendy has been paid her deposit which only means one thing…WE’RE GETTING MARRIED IN SCOTLAND!!!  Not like everyone didn’t already know that, but now it’s set in stone!! 🙂  It feels so much more real now.  It took me a minute, but all of the sudden, a feeling of excitement surged through my veins as I turned around and yelled in exclamation to Joe, “I’VE MADE A PAYMENT ON MY WEDDING!!!”  He laughed…his response: “feels like it’s already over now, huh?”  You’re out of your mind, Joe!!!  It’ll never be over!!!

We finally have the ball rolling and now it’s decision making time.  I’m still waiting for Wendy to come back with some information on this infamous venue that we are highly interested in, but in the meantime, she’s provided me information on making our nuptials legal…yeah, that’s kind of important!!!  I thought I only had two decisions, but yet again today, she came back with a few more options!!  Who knew getting married abroad was such an ordeal!!!  (Well, I’m sure my sister did!!!)

So, yay!!! It’s official, and like Mary said, “there’s no backing out now!!!”

Anyone who knows anything about Scotland will tell you there is definitely no shortage of wedding venues there.  From elaborate churches to impressive golf courses, not to mention your pick of the five-century old castle or the more recently updated castle, and oh! – you can’t forget the plethora of hotels, Scotland’s got it all…which doesn’t exactly make our decision any easier!!  When my sister and Paul got married in Rome, they pretty much knew what they wanted – a wedding overlooking the Colosseum.  Let me tell you, it made for some great photographs, and I’m sure that anything we choose in Scotland will be just the same, but let me enlighten you as to what I’ve run into thus far:

  • Price.  Holy cow!!!  Have  you seen the exchange rates lately!!  They’re absolutely unpredictable!!  The Great Britain Pound has always been stronger than the Euro, and of course, the Euro is stronger than the United States Dollar.  This has proved to be quite tricky!!  I remember when my sister, mom, and I were in Europe last June.  We were checking the exchange rates and 1 GBP was equal to 1.80 USD.  Now, 1 GBP equals 1.45 USD…which is down quite considerably…but honestly, if you check it tomorrow, it’ll be completely different!!!  Needless to say, “The World’s Favorite Currency and Foreign Exchange Site” has become my favorite site!!!  Anyway, things are so much more expensive over there – and because I want to make it as affordable as possible for people to attend our wedding, I’ve tried to find ways around things.  For instance, there’s one certain place I have in mind that my entire family is in love with (in love might be a little strong for everyone, but I’m in love…and that’s all that counts) but the price is quite high…and when I say quite high, I mean $200 per person, per night.  I have found some nice B&B’s in the surrounding area which have pretty reasonably prices, but we’ll have to wait and see what gets decided in the end.
  • Location.  So many conflicting ideas here!!!  The boys want to be close enough to play St. Andrews, but we want to find a venue that is equally appealing to all of us “non-golfers“.  Neil and I loved this beautiful 6th century castle that was surrounded by mountains and lochs, but unfortunately, it’s about 4 1/2 hours from ANYWHERE.  Then, there was another place we really liked, but it might as well have been in Norway.  Either way, I think we at least have a couple narrowed down that are near St. Andrews or Edinburgh or even Glasgow.
  • Lack of Pictures.  Pictures are honestly worth 1,000 words…so my question: why can’t websites understand this concept and post more pictures rather than try to explain how beautiful their venue is for weddings.  Let me see the real thing!!  Fortunately, Wendy has been an absolute LIFE SAVER and has provided me with some great photographs from previous weddings she has coordinated, but there could never be enough.  I expect to go to a website and be flooded with photo albums of beautiful pictures of previous weddings.  One site in particular was boasting on how romantic their weddings were…and there was ONE stinkin’ picture!!!!

I honestly am hoping that by next week my family will have made a decision and I can disclose this mystery place I’ve been discussing.  Me, being my superstitious self, doesn’t want to announce to the world our plans until their (semi) set in stone!!!