April 8

Sharing Our Wedding Weekend with Pride, Part 2

Picking dates is hard to do. Rooster and I picked October 11th for no reason at all, after weeks of desperation waiting for the delayed SEC fall football schedule. It (of course) came out a week after we signed our contract. C’est la vie. We considered for a second switching the date, but it seemed silly to move our wedding for a football game. If there was something that was going to make us move our wedding date, it would have to be a huge festival or something. The kind that takes over the city and makes hotel rooms for our guests really hard to come by.

Oh, you mean like The Atlanta Pride Festival?

Yeah, like that. When is that again? Oh, October 11th? Bugger.

calendarbusyGeorgia Southern

After we set our date and signed our contract, something compelled me to Google around for an events calendar in Atlanta. You know, just to discover if any big events would be going on that weekend that might put a wrench in our plans, or maybe even offer our out-of-town guests something fun to do during the wedding weekend. I was quickly reminded that Pride happens in Atlanta every Columbus Day weekend and connected the dots. We were going to be getting married in Atlanta in the middle of Pride weekend.

pride_slide_paradeAtlanta Pride

As an ally, I love Pride weekend. It’s a ton of fun and brings a lot of people to Atlanta from all over the Southeast to explore our fair city and celebrate LGBTQ culture and demonstrate for the cause. I’ve seen firsthand how many people come out for Atlanta Pride. A lot of people. Good for Pride and the Georgia tourism industry, bad for anyone trying to find an affordable hotel room. You see, Pride is centered around the Midtown neighborhood, which is also home to the hotels closest to our wedding venue.

Rooster and I realized that it would be ideal to, you know, not host 90 out-of-town guests on the same weekend as Pride, so we reached out to our venue to see if we could move our date. But you know what? No dice. Monday Night Brewing was booked all October. We had to stick to our date.

Having a wedding the same weekend as a big event in Atlanta has lead us to do things a little differently in planning. Namely the hotel blocks. We wanted to get them reserved early, and in huge numbers. And it turns out it was a really good idea to start early. In the two weeks between when a hotel representative quoted us a block room rate and when we went in to book, he informed us that the rates went up by a lot. Apparently he caught wind of Pride before we signed the contract. Thankfully, we were able to negotiate a rate in the middle that’s more reasonable. We actually have more rooms than we need between two hotels because we just didn’t want any of our guests to be left high and dry paying hundreds for a basic hotel room.

Having a wedding the weekend of Pride also leaves me in a precarious position of if, when and how to tell our guests. I want to warn guests about the events happening in our ‘hood during the wedding weekend (like the parade on Sunday morning) since it will surely impact their travel and traffic in the city, but I don’t want to come off as if I’m warning them about the mere presence of the gays. Rooster and I are allies, and many of our friends and family are either LGBTQ or allies themselves. But there’s people coming to the wedding with whom we’ve never breached that topic. I hope all our loved ones are on the same side of the debate, but I don’t want to start that conversation, you know?

As of right now, we’ve told some friends and family that it’s Pride weekend and to please book your rooms soon! And there’s a warning on the Accommodations page of our wedding website that warns the bash is “during a busy weekend in Atlanta” and encourages them to book sooner rather than later.

Should I be doing more to inform our guests? I don’t know.

There’s just one lesson to take away from this: Google first, book later.

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