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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Our Wedding, Honeymoon, and the Long Road Ahead

On Saturday October 1, 2016, Steph and I celebrated our wedding with 54 guests at a very intimate location called the Children's Peace Theatre in Toronto. It was a real gem of a find that Steph discovered after many months of calling potential venues and being told of the outrageously high prices to rent a simple space for a reception. Most of you who have been through a wedding will know what I am talking about:

  • Several thousand dollars just for use of the space, because it is a wedding.
  • Stipulations and restrictions that effectively prevent you from buying and serving your own alcohol.
  • Stipulations that require you to use the caterer recommended by the venue.
In the end, the effect of these stipulations is that even the simplest of wedding receptions for a modest number of guests wind up costing over $10,000-$15,000. 

The Children's Peace Theatre is a 1920's Arts and Crafts style mansion that used to be owned by the famous Massey family. When Raymond Massey died, it was willed to the city to be used as the city saw fit. After many years of sitting empty, it eventually became the Children's Peace Theatre and is used to run dance and arts programs for local youth. 

I don't have my wedding pictures yet, but here are some generic pictures of the venue:

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The back of the theatre as seen from the outside ampitheatre. It was raining the day of our ceremony, so we did ours inside, but our original plan was to get married in the ampitheatre outside. 

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A view of the main hall in use for a different gathering. In ours, we arranged 9 tables lengthwise facing the other direction and were able to seat 54 guests comfortably. 

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Another view of the main hall, where we held the reception and the dinner. What the pictures don't show is that immediately adjacent to this hall, there is a large room where we put the buffet, the bar and the dance floor. Off of this second room was a lounge where people could get a few moments of peace and quiet, and a full kitchen, where the catering staff could do what they do best.

The best part of this venue? The price and complete lack of unreasonable restrictions. The price of $950 included a refundable $200 deposit that we got back after we had cleaned the space at the end of the night. We got to set up the day before, and we had the use of the space all day Saturday until 1:00 am. We were permitted to use our own caterer, and to serve our own alcohol, provided that we obtain a special occasion permit from the LCBO, which cost only $30. 

All in, we (or I should say Steph) were able do a complete wedding for 54 guests for about $8,000. I'll post pictures when I can, so you can see for yourself, but the guests had a great time, everyone had enough food and drink and I think it was a marvelous success. 

For our honeymoon, we opted to drive down to New York City, which is about an 8-10 hour drive from Toronto. We stayed at an Air B&B in Bed-Sty, which is a suburb of Brooklyn, about 40 minutes from Manhattan. Given that we are somewhat broke, while we scrape up everything that we have to put towards our new house, we decided to do a cheap vacation in New York. Sound impossible? It's not. The secret to NYC we found is avoiding the tourist traps and staying outside Manhattan. The subway system there is so extensive and amazing that being 40 minutes from Manhattan is really no big deal at all and it goes by quickly. Plus it affords plenty of opportunities to people watch and stop at coffee shops and other interesting places along the way. Another advantage to staying outside Manhattan is that you can sometimes get free parking. Our place had street parking out front that was completely, 100% free the entire time we were there. 

We reserved most of our budget for eating out, which we were able to do for around $100 a day, and have some very excellent lunches and dinners. Our place had a full kitchen, so we opted to buy a week's worth of breakfast groceries and just have breakfast in our room. This was a great idea, as we saved a bundle and ate food that was just as good as what we would get in  restaurant. For activities, we did do a harbour cruise, which was the only touristy thing we did. But most of the time we simply walked and explored. On our first day we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, and up to 51st street, which took about 3 hours or so and at the end of it our feet were tired and sore. We got to see some of the sights - not all, but enough to make us feel that we want to go back. We had a chance to relax and enjoy our surroundings, which was the most important thing. The cost of this trip including food, accommodation and gas was about $2,800, which is not at all bad for a week in NYC for two. 

Now back to reality....

We have approximately 6 weeks to come up with about $15,000, which is what we will need to close the purchase of the house and move to New Brunswick. Both our investors have indicated that they likely won't be able to move forward with their investments by November 30, so we have had to come up with an alternate plan. After much discussion, we have decided that it would be best to liquidate the inventory that we have that is either too labour intensive to list individually, or too far outside our area of expertise to list in our store as part of our regular inventory. We will see what we can get for that first and then I can do some controlled buying and selling of Commonwealth material. I went through the E-bay listings last night for a few countries and noted a very small number of instances where stamps were misidentified and could be picked up for a very small percentage of their true value. However, this is very tricky because I have to buy with a view to sell immediately at auction, which means that I cannot afford to pay anywhere near what I normally would where I am comfortable taking my time to find the right buyer. I can see that it will be a lot of work to go through the listings, but will be worth it if I find that we are still $5,000-$6,000 short after selling the other material. 

Wish us luck - we have our work cut out for us. By the way, sales for this month are off to a good start, but our focus has to be on coming up with the down-payment. 

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations!! I wish you a happy life, full of good things and good deals , also..!