Wedding Planning Phase 2: It's a Marathon, not a Sprint.

So, after calling way too many vendors, talking to a few of my former brides and annoying my mom, stepmom, and sisters with texts; I feel like Jim and I have passed through the overall stress of Phase 1……sorting through the overwhelming sea of places, people, ideas, and things to figure out what, where, and when we want; as well as how we’re going to pay for it.

We also decided on our wedding #:


Ultimately, we know our wedding is going to go one of two ways:
(1) A HUGE Blowout in Austin with well over 100 guests.
(2) An Intimate Destination wedding in a unique location with only close friends and family.

The obvious Pro to (A) is that it’s Local. If there is something that needs to be discussed, I’m available to do it in person. I have a live look of what my day will look like, I will be able to be with my planner, my caterer, my florist and my photographer through the whole process. They’re vendors I know, vendors I trust, vendors I’ve worked with, and vendors I respect.

The Cons are literally the exact same as the pros. It’s local (I feel obligated to have alot of guests). I know what my day will look like (because I’ve worked with all of these vendors before and their work is STUNNING). They’re vendors I know, vendors I trust, and vendors I’ve worked with…..they’re also vendors I would like to continue to know, trust, and work with.

The Pro to (B) is it’s further away and outside of our norm… what’s normal and casual to them is brand new to us. We would be able to offer our guests a different wedding experience; not the same country dancing, BBQ and Fajitas that we love at Texas weddings.

The only Con we can see with (B) is that we won’t be able to invite ABSOLUTELY Everyone we want to. But, we would be able to invite folks who are super near and dear to us and have a large reception when we get home.

and then have our country music dancing, Fajitas or BBQ reception!

Now on to Phase 2: Location Location Location!!!

Naturally, being a sucker for planning that I am (I AM a wedding photographer who gets booked a year plus out….I know the importance of getting this DONE); I DOVE into the venue search faster than Michael Phelps into the Olympic Pool.

It really wasn’t easy; Jim and I have visited so many beautiful places; Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Boston are among favorites. Plus, I had such a wonderful experience working with Kiana Lodge in Washington State and the team at Crested Butte Events over this last year…. I ended up talking to:
-4 Venues in Seattle
-4 Venues in Portland
-3 in San Francisco
-2 in Boston
-3 Venues, 2 Florists, and a stellar planner in Austin

Vintage Villas

Vintage Villas


Ultimately, we did end up deciding on having our wedding in one of two cities: Austin or San Francisco.

I’ve always said to Jim if we host our wedding in Austin, there is literally one place that I would absolutely LOVE to do it: Vintage Villas Hotel and Events.

Overlooking Lake Travis from the hills of Lakeway, Vintage Villas offers a unique and beautiful Austin event experience. Every. Single. Room offers a view of the lake….both of their event facilities have HUGE picture windows and gorgeous ceremony sites that are a photographers dream.

Their planning and coordination team has won “Best of” awards time and time and time again, their food is some of the absolute best wedding food I’ve had, and it offers alot of what Jim and I are looking for in a venue for a HUGE wedding.

San Francisco City Hall

San Francisco City Hall

….but why San Francisco? The answer is pretty simple…..

San Francisco City Hall:
We walked past it while we were in SF in December…..but we didn’t go in…there was ALOT going on that day. We were, however, overwhelmed by the opulence and grandeur of the whole place….and it totally was Jims idea to do more research on the location.

Designed by the same architect that envisioned the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, Temple Emanuel, and Coit Tower; Arthur Brown Jr. After the destruction, the new building was made in a neo-classical design as part of the Civic Center complex. Construction of the modern version of City Hall began in 1913 and finished in 1915. This was to coincide with the World’s Fair (Panama-Pacific International Exposition). The new building encompasses over 500,000 square feet. It also became one of the best examples of French Renaissance architecture in the United States.

This amazing icon gets booked over a year out….while researching potential dates, I emailed the poor planner at least 1/2 a dozen times requesting she find different date and time slots to fit Jims and my vision.

Plus, an Upscale City Hall Wedding would totally be something Jim and I would do……

Afterward would be dim sum or a cocktail and dinner reception at one of San Francisco’s amazing restaurants….and I keep thinking “man, it’s hard to narrow down a date at city hall that isn’t TOTALLY booked….what about the reception hall….the rehearsal dinner….what about florists and DJs….omg, what if I can’t find a DJ….all we’ll hear at our reception is people chewing….AH!”

As I’m thinking about all of this….even as I’m typing this….I’m remembering back to a piece of advice one of my favorite brides gave me:

”Wedding planning is a marathon and not a sprint. Don't get burned out early on and lose steam at the end. The closer you get to the wedding date, the more decisions you'll need to make, so try to set yourself up for success by pacing yourself with all the to dos :)”

Stephanie literally had no fears with regard to her wedding planning. She and her husband, Chris, knew they wanted to get married in Austin, because it’s where they share their life……they also loved that their venue, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, is an educational facility.

Plus, they do an annual hike there on their anniversary. How precious is that?!

She primarily wanted to ensure her guests would be well fed at her gorgeous venue. So she focused hard on finding a caterer who could provide them with some of the yummiest Filipino food in town….I’m still getting drool thinking about her food.

She also pounced on the opportunity to work with a bubbly, energetic photographer about 9 months before she and Chris said “I Do” Wink.

Stephanie is absolutely right. In this frenzy of putting together overall estimates for the #Nutz4SlutzWedding I have been feeling the anxiety of “what if they’re already booked?” or “what if they’re not available by the time I book them?”

”BREATHE, COLVARD!” I keep reminding myself.

And, If I understand anything….it’s marathon running. Y’all know I used to be a marathoner, right? I’m a third generation marathoner….I’ve run 7 marathon races in the Austin and DFW areas. I LOVED running….until my right hip didn’t. It’s something I absolutely want to get back to doing….and I’m SO thankful I have SpikeTheBike to help me get back to it.


Pacing myself was among the biggest lessons I picked up from marathon racing. . It’s all about pacing myself and figuring out whats right for Jim’s and my wedding….not just booking what’s available because I’m scared of losing it.

The other thing Stephanie said that really resonated with me was I should take time to enjoy the process…..I’ve encountered alot of brides who are just DONE with wedding planning by the time the day comes…..and I really don’t want to be one of them. Again, Stephanie is right; if I sprint through this process and these decisions….I won’t have taken the time to really enjoy being engaged.

Jim and I have alot of decisions to make…..but we do have a year long engagement and family in four different cities eager to celebrate this with us.

For now, we’re happy knowing we’re securing our date and venue very soon!!!

Up next….Gown Shopping!!!!

Caity ColvardComment