Everyone knows the first thing you have to book when planning a wedding is the church and the hall. Everyone but me. I didn't know that. But it's okay, because all the wedding books told me what to do, along with helpful family & friends who are much more wedding-savvy than I.
When booking a hall, you have to do some serious research. First of all, you need to know how many people you're going to have to stuff in a room. We had no idea how many people we'd be inviting, so we just sorta went for it, and figured we'd shave/add guests off/on the list depending on what our hall size ended up being. No biggie.
Then we started looking. Now, when you're doing online research and gazing at photos of beautiful reception dinner setups, this is what you tend to see:
Because everyone has access to a lawn near an impossibly picturesque river.
Not to mention some ancient brick-pillared walkway in their backyard. Totally an option.
But when you're actually looking at halls that are available within your sad little recent-university-grad budget which is so far away from Will and Kate's budget as far as budgets go on the budget spectrum, this is usually what the options look like:
Option#1: The room above the local curling rink.
Option #2: Community Centre with colour-coordinated chairs and curtains that smell like 1978... and fire retardant.
And then most halls have a whole lot of stipulations. Like -- you have to use our caterer. You have to use our plates. No, of course the plates aren't included in the rental fee. No, you cannot bring in a herd of barbecues to grill shishkabos. No, you cannot stick things on the wall. Yes, this day will cost about as much as your firstborn. Maybe more.
But after much endurance, we figured out where to throw the party -- the basement of a big church nearby. The same place my older sister and bro-in-law had their reception. Probably should have just started with that, would have saved ourselves a lot of pain and frustration. But it's all part of the amazingly fun wedding-planning process, right!???!!
...What makes you think my teeth are clenched?
Anyway. Point is, we booked a hall. Fantastic. Expensive. Fantastically expensive. But something to check off of that exhaustively long to-do list. And that was something worth celebrating.