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Plan Your Dream Wedding on a Budget
By: Amy Kristin Sanders | Posted: 10/02/2013
Two weekends ago, my now-husband and I packed what seemed like a million suitcases (no, seriously, we exhausted our ample supply of luggage) and headed to South Lake Tahoe for our wedding.
We arrived safely at the airport, checked four gargantuan bags weighing 49.5 pounds each and headed to security with two carry-on roller bags, a very poofy wedding dress, and Pokey the rhino in tow. I should have known after deftly maneuvering through TSA’s screenings that things were going far too smoothly.
Our lovely Delta flight crew found a place in the first class closet for my dress (whew!) even though we’d be flying Coach, and three hours later we landed in Sacramento to find a gorgeous, sunny California day.
We picked up our silver minivan (who needs black car service when you can rent a Toyota Sienna?) and headed to purchase groceries and alcohol—three carts full, to be exact. Fully loaded, Kevin and I meandered through the El Dorado National Forest in our Sienna on our way to the nine-bedroom ski chateau we rented for the festivities. The drive was nothing short of serene, and the chateau was just as breathtaking and expansive as I remembered (it had secret stairways like the ones in Clue).
And then, the wheels came off the bus, as they say. Guests wound up stranded overnight in San Francisco and Phoenix due to missed connections. Early Thursday morning we were visited by a bear—an actual, living, breathing, eat-you-for-dinner bear—who strolled across the very front porch where we’d planned to have the ceremony. High winds moved in late Friday, closing the gondola we’d planned to take up to the Heavenly Ski Resort for group photos.
We woke up Saturday morning to a downpour in a destination that barely averages a half-inch of rain the entire month of September. My photographer—a dear friend from here in Minneapolis—gingerly asked about my contingency plan. What contingency plan? It never rains in South Lake Tahoe! I had no contingency plan. Kevin and I had spent hours scouring historic weather data, climate reports and the like to make sure we didn’t need a contingency plan.
Yet, everything turned out fabulously. Our friends and family were rock stars. My parents, who could pass as event-planning professionals, rushed to my rescue. Under their expert guidance, everyone pitched in to turn the living room of our chateau into a gorgeous ceremony space, with the two-story stone fireplace serving as the altar. My maid of honor and photographer outdid themselves on my hair and makeup, transforming a girl whose daily routine consists of Chapstick and a spritz of hairspray into a princess. And, my dad stepped in admirably with a pair of pliers after we broke the zipper pull off my dress while getting ready before the ceremony.
Carly is manager, Social Media and Audience Engagement at MSP-C. See her engagement story.
Vanessa is creative director and co-founder at Bow & Arrow Magazine. See her engagement story.
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