Greetings from wedding planning world! It has been a while since my last blog post, but I’m back with another edition of Emin and Manifa’s journey down the aisle. A lot has happened since we got engaged and I’m so excited to be sharing it with everyone! Grab some popcorn and prepare yourself for this next blog post because things are going to get crazy!
The last time I ever planned a big event was my sweet 16… over 10 years ago! And even then, technically my mom is the one who planned it. I just chose the color scheme. I never knew how difficult it is to plan such a big event. Like any “sane” woman I have planned and re-planned my wedding in my head about a million times, but when it has actually come down to it I have JUST realized how difficult planning actually is. My issue you ask? Well it’s every brides’ worst enemy…. BUDGET! My Pintrest board is filled with countless magical wedding ideas, but if I were to sit and tally up everything I ever wanted I would probably be spending more than that Armenian 10-million-dollar wedding! Here is where reality comes to play (a.k.a. The Dream Crasher). Sure, sitting around and pinning these wonderful wedding locations is easy, but actually finding the right place is the hardest task any Bride and Groom can undertake. Our journey to booking a venue was like going to hell and coming back.
Before Emin and I could even go check out any venues we had a big discussion over what type of wedding we wanted. Simple vs. Grand? How many people we would invite? Would we have a theme? Church; no Church? We wrote down what we wanted and found a way to make everything work. The first thing we decided was that we would not be getting married in a church. This has been one of the most difficult decisions we have made. Both our parents and grandparents really want us to uphold the tradition of getting married in a church. It is extremely shocking to our family that we won’t be getting married in the “typical” Armenian way. We have gotten scolded by a few people for our choice, but Emin and I agree that we want to do something different and much more special to who we are as a couple. Emin is not very religious, which makes him feel that the vows we have to take in a church aren’t something that he can relate to. Although I am religious, I agree with Emin. I don’t feel that the promise I have to make to Emin is something someone else could describe. Being the writer that I am I want to write my own vows. Emin and I both agreed that we wanted to speak for ourselves and share our love with our family with our own words.
Deciding on going the non-traditional route, we added an extra task that would be difficult to complete. Both of us had never been to a wedding that didn’t take place in a church. We didn’t have anyone that could give us some advice. So, we had to take on that task blindly.
Before starting our search for the perfect ceremony and reception venue we sat with our mom’s and made a list of all the people we wanted to invite. By inviting just the people who we know and are actually close to, we had a list of about 300 people. Both Emin and I decided this is where we would cut off our guest list. This helped us stick to our budget and make the search for venues easier since we wouldn’t need anything too large. With that complete, we decided to search for a reception venue first since that seemed the easiest. I got onto Harsanik.com and found the contact information for the 3 venues Emin and I had really liked; Taglyan Complex, Vertigo, and Metropol Banquet. Both Emin and I had never seen these venues in person, just from pictures. I called and made appointments to see each of them.
The first venue we went to was Metropol and met with their manager, Edgar. He showed us the main ballroom since the smaller one wouldn’t fit all our guests. Since our appointment was on a Saturday we were lucky enough to see the venue being decorated and everything being prepared for that night. It was like seeing how a magic trick works! The servers were placing food on the tables, the florist was running around with his crew perfecting centerpieces and the bridal table, the rental company was setting up these beautiful tables and chairs, even the dance floor was being transformed in front of our eyes! We were shocked to see just how much goes into preparing a venue for a wedding. Edgar walked us around the main ballroom and showed us their custom tables, which fit 15 people not 10. He showed us all the cool lighting features as well as the included silverware and chairs. Once we got a tour of the space he took us upstairs and showed us the bridal room. It was beautifully set up with lavish couches, a TV that showed video of what was happening in the ballroom, and a beautiful vanity and sitting area for the bride to freshen up her make up. Edgar also mentioned that they had a ceremony room which we agreed to see even though, at this point, Emin and I knew we wanted an outdoor ceremony. The ceremony room was not being used so it was empty and being used to store extra tables and chairs. We saw how the lighting worked in that room and Edgar showed us some pictures from a past event so we can see the potential of the room. Once we got the tour of everything we went to Edgar’s office to talk price. Edgar was very sweet and such a kind man. He explained everything to us when it came to food options and payment. He understood that this was the first banquet hall we were seeing and that we hadn’t made any decisions. He didn’t pressure us in anyway or make us feel uncomfortable. All out questions were answered and when we were leaving he even let us see the main ballroom one more time.
The second time we got to walk into the ballroom was a completely different experience than the first. This time there was no one inside and everything was completely finished and ready for the bride and groom. I was at awe at how beautiful everything looked. Standing there in the middle of the dance floor with Emin I had this image of me, in a beautiful wedding dress, and Emin dancing our first dance. It was such a beautiful thought I actually teared up. At that instant, I knew I didn’t want my wedding to be anywhere but at Metropol. Emin wasn’t as sure as I was. It actually broke my heart when he said he wanted to see other venues.
Our second appointment of the day was at Vertigo with Nonee. We arrived a bit early and were able to walk around and check out the venue on our own. Vertigo is a very stylish and modern banquet hall. They had two ballrooms; the white ballroom downstairs and the black ballroom upstairs. Emin and I both really like the black ballroom. It was completely different from Metropol where everything was white. This ballroom fit our style and vision much better. Once Nonee was ready for us we went into her office and she explained about their food and pricing. The food was different compared to the usual Korovats, but everything sounded so good! Nonee walked us around the venue one more time and we left. Back in the car Emin and I agreed that Vertigo wasn’t the best choice for our wedding. Although the Black Ballroom was very chic we didn’t like that our guests would have to mingle with other people’s guests downstairs.
The next day was our appointment to see Taglyan Complex. Before our appointment we were hanging out at Emin’s house with his sister and her friend who also had recently gotten engaged. We mentioned that we were going to go see Taglyan and she told us she had just booked the Venue for her wedding! She explained that it was a very beautiful venue and that the outside was so stunning. I got very excited, and then Emin asked if she didn’t mind telling us how much they were paying per seat. I actually spit out the wine I was drinking when she told us! It was WAY over our budget! We immediately called and cancelled our appointment. I didn’t want to risk seeing a place I would love and know that it was way over our budget. Because we had a free day we decided to find some venues on Harsanik.com and see if we could go check some out the same day. Luckily for us Legacy Ballroom was able to fit us in last minute.
We met with Konstanten once we got to Legacy. He was a very funny man who made us feel like we had been friends for years. He had a very dramatic way of revealing the ballroom to us. He first showed us the cocktail area, describing how we could fully customize the seating chart visual. When he took us into the ballroom it was completely dark. We could barely see anything, then with a single touch on his iPad, Konstanten turned on all the LED panels and chandeliers. IT WAS AMAZING! Considering Emin and I are big ravers we instantly saw all the potential that came with having LED panels at our wedding! Emin was already excited about showing stage videos from some of our favorite raves. Our excitement died when I asked Konstanten what their max capacity was. 250 comfortably; 270 packed. With a guest list of 300 we couldn’t fit all our guests in the Legacy Ballroom. We walked away from the venue ready to give up.
After one full week of searching, we had no reception venue. On top of that we still had to look for a ceremony venue. Emin and I were both disheartened and I wanted to just give up. Every day Emin and I were on Harsanik.com trying to find a banquet hall we liked enough to gather the energy to go see. We saw over 20 venues until we finally made our decision, but if you want to know which venue we picked you need to watch out for my next blog where I will reveal BOTH our ceremony and reception venues! And if you're just tuning in, you can catch up on my wedding planning adventures on my blog! Until then… happy wedding planning to all!