Since last time, there have been a lot of developments towards Operation Tying-the-Knot. Among the more exciting were:
A- Looking for caterers and freaking out over outrageous prices (the best moment had to be when one gave us a quote that was more than our total planned budget for the entire wedding, including rings and invitations);
B- Finding out our venue was too small;
C- Frantically looking for a new venue;
D- Fighting with my parents about how, no, we did not want to re-visit the damn clubhouse (at this point I think I'm going to be banned from ever using that word; future mini-Yids will have to play in a "kiddy-shack");
E- Suffering through some heated conversations with Huldah, SF's Mom, in which she implied I was forcing my preferences and timetables on our wedding, as well as future plans about where we might live or how our kids might be raised (fun times!);
and F- Finally finding two new venues- an economy hotel for the ceremony and a restaurant for the reception.
Oof. It's been a hectic month. (Being sick for the last three weeks and having Huldah sleeping on our couch didn't make things easier.) The saving grace turned out to be SF's new employer.
Let me explain: After graduating college, SF worked in a toy store for two years. Since she had a degree and wasn't incompetent or a thief, she climbed the ranks fairly quickly and became a GM at their flagship store. Unfortunately, her boss was crazy, was constantly interfering in daily operations of the store, and made her so miserable that she spent most of her time fantasizing about poking customers' eyes out and stacking them in the antique Matryoshka dolls that no one ever bought. Clearly, this was not a recipe for long-term success. So a year ago, SF quit. Given that the economy still sucks and we live in an expensive city, this was not exactly a stress-free decision. To take her mind off the crushing anxiety of being unemployed, SF enrolled in a year-long accelerated Master's Degree program in Human Resources, as those elements of her job had been the most satisfying. And, after many months of job hunting, she secured a nice position in her new job during the summer, where she has quickly risen up the corporate ladder again, and is now their resident HR Gaon.
The upshot of all this? Well, SF's company (which, for extra-cool points, I will refer to as CIA) isn't just one store; it's a secret consortium, kind of like the mafia. In a clever attempt to confuse and attract even more tourists, they operate five or six stores in one very popular tourist area, all under different names and catering to slightly different client bases (one store focuses on middle-aged customers, another is geared towards teens, one, bizarrely enough, is vaguely nautical-themed, etc...) And it works, obscenely well. Despite the economic woes affecting everybody, CIA is making a killing. (Apparently when jeans cost $100-plus back in the UK or Germany, $60 sounds like a steal-- so why not buy some for every member of your family?) And guess what else CIA owns? Its own Italian restaurant, conveniently located, staffed by employees that have been hearing nothing but great things about their corporate wunderkind for the last seven months.
So, we decided to see what they could do for us. A lot, it turns out. Not only are they giving us a great break on the meal, they're also comping their banquet room rental and champagne for our guests. And all because, as they put it to SF and Huldah when they went to talk with her, "We like her so much." Mazel Tov, sweetie. You're a star.
Oh, and the rabbi is secure. (As are commemorative yarmulkes! Hooray for the Internet.)
Next up, finalizing wedding invitations and getting rings.