So my mother seems to be in good spirits based on her most recent FB messages.
Nic had suggested that we go, all three of us, in a car, for an extended period of time, while we visit some wineries and venues in the Yarra Valley, and try and suss out if she's contibuting anything, and if my grandparents are, and to give her the idea that we don't want a BBQ wedding in our backyard.
In a way, I'm still reeling over the expense of the venues- and they're not even that bad! I've seen places FROM $160 p/p. Imagine if you had 150 people. That's $24000, just on food/venue. THEN you probably have to add booze, dress, invites, suits etc etc etc etc... blah blah... I just... Nic found a figure online the other day, that the average cost of a wedding in Australia is $40k.
In the US, the story is a little different with most people apparently spending between $14,000 and $25,000... not including engagement ring and honeymoon. So... that's VAGUELY better... But it's just insane here.
Eg: wedding dresses. I've seen people on US websites picking up nice-looking dresses for $250, or $450 from David's Bridal. I think you'd be lucky to find a dress here for under $800. Really lucky. It makes me want to order a whole bunch of styles from some Chinese wholesalers, put them in a shop, order them from China for people, sell them for cheap (and make a profit along with it)... Surely there are brides in Aus... in Melbourne who want dresses on a budget. Who want to TRY those dresses on before they buy them. I'm all for buying online but I think wedding dress shopping is a) fun, and b) important to know what looks good, and c) a great way to bond with girlfriends and family in the lead up to the wedding. Maybe I just haven't looked in the right places, but I can't think of any stores that are anything like DB's in the US, where you can get 'standard' dresses in different styles for like, $450. I think we need that.
But that wasn't the point of this post. I've gone off topic. So in order to get friendly with my mother again, we're going venue shopping, and maybe she'll realise the actual cost of this thing. And we can talk with her about other important stuff, such as fixing my car, and my not being on her health insurance any more, and so on and so forth. Luckily the Yarra Valley isn't too far from home so if she becomes unbearable we can just go back and she can leave.
But! I have a very long list of wineries, and barns, and reception centers (tending to be more expensive) and camps! School camps. With bunks and fire pits and canoes and ropes courses. And I think, if we found a good one, that this could be such a kickass option. All our cool friends could stay the night, we could adventure all day, party all night, have a campfire, wake up late, go canoing, or walking, or exploring, or whatever. Just a matter of finding one that will let us- and a lot of them do corperate retreats so I wouldn't imagine it would be too different- and that we like, that's pretty, and has the appropriate 'scenery'. The look & feel of the place is so important to us...
But...! Lots of exploring to be done! Through Yarra Valley, Macedon, Daylesford and the Mornington Peninsula. Good times ahead.