Deep breaths<br><a href= target=_blank>Alina McGinty</a>

I’m not a woman who began dreaming about her wedding day as a little girl. But I have been envisioning my walk down the aisle since Nick and I got engaged on Valentine’s Day 2011. Thanks to some recent snags in our planning process, I’m realizing that a year is plenty of time to get your heart set on how the big day will unfold.

Let’s take, for one, the most important moment of the day – the cake ceremony.  We settled on a beach in Portland’s East End as the site for our I Dos, picturing an ocean blue backdrop and our toes in the sand. The beach was also close to the spot where Nick got down on one knee, so it had sentimental significance going for it. Sounds great, right?

Wellllll, turns out we underestimated the “public” in “public beach.” We visited the spot again recently, and couldn’t help noticing all those … people … and their dogs. I can roll with a stray passerby or two during the vows, even those of the puppy variety, but this was looking to be too much. Our guests would have to navigate past all the beachgoers to get to the ceremony site. And could we really trust all those dog owners to, err, leave no trace?

We were going for “awwwww” not “ewwwww.”

In another fantasy-meets-reality moment, the quaint little passenger train we’d hopped on for our ride to the beach wasn’t all we imagined either. We’d planned to reserve the train to transport guests between the ceremony and reception sites,  mostly because it happened to run right between them. Maybe it was the cloudy weather and still-bare trees we spied out the windows, but we were a little underwhelmed by the whole riding the rails experience. (The teenaged train attendant, with his little uniform and walkie-talkie, however, was an unexpected treat. How does a 16-year-old kid wind up with that job??)

We also realized that incorporating a locomotive into your wedding itinerary makes a statement, whether you want it to or not. We liked the convenience of the train, and, sure, the charm, but how was it going to read to our guests? Check out our TRAIN wedding everyone!! All aboard!!

Sure, than can work if you’re into trains. Or if you have warm memories of your teenage years spent working on them. But for Nick and I, not so much.

Here’s where we landed after all this course-changing. We scoped out a new ceremony site right near the beach, a little knoll by the water set off by some trees. It’s still public, but tucked away enough that we don’t foresee any human or dog-related snafus.

The train is still in the picture, but definitely not as a backup ceremony site in case of rain. We’ll have to come up with a Plan C for bad weather. By the time October 6 rolls around, those bare trees will be decked out in fall foliage and the grass will be lush and green. That should make for a much more pleasurable ride than the one we took in the dead of winter, we hope.

All in all, we’re feeling great about the unexpected changes. (Those aren’t the only ones, either. I went and chose a white bridesmaids’ dress for my gown, a totally unanticipated move. More on that later).

What we haven’t strayed from is the atmosphere we want to set on our wedding day. There’s just no room for compromise when it comes to gathering our closest loved ones together in a spirit of celebration. As long as the day feels like “us,” I’ll be a happy bride.

Read the previous posts in Jackie’s wedding planning series:

The proposal

Will you be my maid?

Dress shopping

Engagement portraits

Torn between virtual planning tools

The food

Posted in Inside Peek

(4) COMMENTS Leave A Comment share the love

  1. Love and Lobster
    19/04/2012 at 11:56 am Permalink

    I think the train sounds fun! Your bridal party should wear conductor hats (kidding…)

    We had to switch gears on our ceremony locale just a couple days before, when we realized the outdoor spot we wanted was tick-infested. Not cool. So we moved it indoors, and it was lovely. Being flexible is an important trait for a bride-to-be!

    Can’t wait to see the dress!


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