First, this is not an all-encompassing list. My planning was targeted, expedient and…awesome! I had a pretty short timeline and I wasn’t interested in endless options so with my friend Mr. Google (why male? unclear), I looked up places and started emailing. Yelp was actually a really big help. I always use yelp slightly warily because there are definitely some outliers personality-wise on there. The two in particular are the impossible-standards-folks who are closely related to the overly-sensitive-to-any-percieved-slight-by-the-service-industry types. Sometimes they are one and the same!
Anyway, SMS and I wanted to elope. That went over like a fat kid going over the high jump. My Mom said, in a slightly squeaky voice, “Why would you want to do that?” I quickly backtracked on the plan and SMS and I decided to have a wedding. We didn’t know exactly what we wanted initially, but the size was soon fairly high due to extended family being invited so we had to scrap our initial idea of hosting a reception in a smallish restaurant. We were also on a really short timeline because we really want to get married and if we didn’t do it the weekend of the 8th, I was really unsure when my parents would be available again. In addition, I’m out of here in August and we were pretty set on getting married in San Diego.
Basically, I wanted easy. I didn’t mind doing internet research, writing emails, checking out a few places and, of course, tasting cake! But, I wanted to have a place where I didn’t have to worry about the logistics of getting rental furniture, dance floors, coordinating vendors and trying to create a fantastic party from scratch. I wanted a place where this was something they did on a fairly regular basis, but wasn’t completely cookie cutter (e.g why hotel ballrooms and the military facilities were out, although don’t get me wrong, the views from the military reception sites are gorgeous and they’re inexpensive from what I hear).
Enter The Ultimate Skybox. I am in love. I found the site, looked at the pictures and immediately crossed my fingers. Most of my inquiry emails went something like this: “Hi, I know this is almost crazy to ask but do you have availability on Sat, June 8 of this year? My fiancé and I were going to elope until the Moms said no so now we’re trying to organize a wedding fairly quickly. If by chance you do have an opening, I am very interested in your location/catering/make-up appt/etc.”
Amanda wrote back right away and shockingly, they were free! Well, technically, the room had a hold but it was from another couple who had two dates reserved and took the other one. HOORAY! The next available Saturday after this one was in September 2014!
So now that the venue was set, it was on to food. The Ultimate Skybox will only work with specific vendors for food and furniture rentals. The list of approved caterers in approximately 15 and we went with Wild Thyme based on awesome Yelp reviews, excellent menus and reasonable prices. We later had a tasting at their location to finalize the menu and it was awesome! (Phew!). Jeanna has been wonderful to work with although sometimes it takes her a few days to answer emails either because of her days off (Mon and Tues) or because I think events are slightly proritized based on the timing (i.e. an event a week away is getting more attention than one several weeks away).
Speaking of answering emails, I’m shocked how quickly people answer their emails. The Ultimate Skybox staff in particular is borderline ridiculous! Pili is all over it in terms of the timeline and floor plan and that entire staff is incredible. Again, Wild Thyme is a little slower but definitely within timely range. If I were more stressed, it might bother me more but really, they’re a very busy company. And we had a great face-to-face meeting with notes at the tasting session. I do recommend the tasting/meeting in person to go over details with regards to the food! Although really, we’ve met with everyone I think face-to-face at some point in the process.
Ok, that’s enough for now! Part 2 to come…