Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Exciting Times Ahead - Coeliac Wedding Plans

We have a little news.

So myself and the other half are getting hitched. We're just in the initial stages at the minute, but we've a date in mind in 2016 so we've moved quickly into planning mode. Considering we're both planners and big into research this isn't a huge surprise!

Our first task is budget. I'm still technically a student, as I'm in the last stretch of a PhD, but I'm also working night shifts to bring in some cash to the household and my other half is working so we had to sit down and realistically work out how much we could put aside each month to work out our overall, top-end maximum. 

Our primary concern, as you've probably guessed, is the food. We are huge fans of food. We like good food and it needs to be gluten free. Our first decision was that all the food has to be gluten free. This seems like a bizarre request, but I am getting more sensitive and my other half is following suit, so the risk of cross contamination worries me on our wedding day. On the other hand, if it's done right, no one will actually miss it on the day. We've got a clever plan, we just need someone to help with the execution! 

It's all about impressions when you go anywhere with a view to booking a party. If you're greeted by a confused receptionist who has to pull out her book to double check or a painfully limp hand shake, it starts to put you off the place immediately. Along with these usual signs we were checking for their reaction to our "everything gluten free request." Did the person showing us round do a double check? Did they sympathise? Did they assume it meant one or two coeliacs only and not the inclusion of the whole party? Did they understand when we corrected them? All of these questions, and many more, showed the split second reaction that told us, yes this place is on our final list, or no, scratch it from the list. 

Due to this request, initially, we were thinking of getting a venue to rent for a few days for a party and get caterers in so we'd have some more control. However, when we priced this realistically the costs had the potential of completely spiralling beyond our reach quite fast.  

Alternative venues with working kitchens were a second option. A few were enthusiastic and understanding. Others were not so good with it.

Then, we happened upon a Wedding Fair in a hotel, which is something we had absolutely not considered. The sales manager showed us around (she didn't tell us she was the sales manager until the end of the tour!) and just blew us away. We know it's her job, but she was super clued in to why we wanted the whole thing to be gluten free from start to finish and she was very willing to accommodate us. Our impressions of her were so good, we asked to provisionally book a date and give a call in two weeks so we could think it over, work out our budgets, cool our heads, etc, before we put down a deposit. 

We originally thought this particular venue was way out of our price range, and we may still have to pull back in other areas, but when we sat down and worked out the actual figures, we were surprised at how much quality we could pack into our small budget, bringing this venue into our view.

Next on our list is cake.... 

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