We are now ONE WEEK AWAY from the wedding. The wedding is next week. In SEVEN DAYS! WHOA.

Tonight, Bryan and I are doing it up big with bachelor and bachelorette parties and then we’re on to a week of that will be a wedding whirlwind, I’m sure. Who’s pumped?

Now, for those who haven’t realized, there’s a pretty significant gap between the ceremony and the reception. For us, that’s a great opportunity to sign the license and take some pictures. For everyone else, it’s a bit of a drag.

The people who live here in town might stop at home, grab a snack and check the score of whatever miscellaneous game is being played at the time.

The BEANS sign - a Saginaw landmark

But you out-of-towners are probably thinking, “WTF am I supposed to do with an extra three hours?” And, um, what are you supposed to do the rest of the weekend? Well, bryanandwhitney.com is here to help!

These are some friendly suggestions of things to do, see, eat and drink in the area if you’re looking to kill some time. Saginaw isn’t, shall we say, a town of diverse interests. There’s a lot of eating and drinking to be done here but not much in the way of entertainment if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

My goal with the wedding was to support as many locally-owned or small businesses as possible. That’s my goal with this list – all the things listed below are small and local. Support small business owners! Alright, I’m stepping off my soapbox now. Let’s get on with the list.

Disclaimer: Bryan would like me to mention here that he doesn’t want anyone to eat before the reception. I agree. Don’t have a huge meal or anything but if you need a snack or a drink, do your thang.

If you’re looking for something to do between the ceremony and reception:

Stop at Patty Flemming’s Bar and Grill, 6540 State St., for an appetizer and a drink. It’s conveniently located on the way to the reception site.

The Saginaw Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square, 1730 S. Washington Ave., is cheap and fun. You can ride a carousel or feed a goat – all while dressed up and ready to party. Wouldn’t you love to take a glamorous picture with the penguins in your favorite dress or suit? I know I would!

Vice President Joe Biden visits Fuzzy’s in Saginaw

Vice President Joe Biden meets with area business leaders, from left: Saginaw Future Inc. President Joann Crary, Citizen's Bank Loan Officer Tom Zernick and Saginaw City Manager Darnell Earley during a lunch at Fuzzy's Diner on Court Street in Saginaw. Michael Randolf/The Bay City Times

Woody’s/JB Meinberg’s, 116 S. Hamilton in Old Town Saginaw, is our go-to bar. If they’re open after the ceremony, we’d recommend the Texas Tea or the Blue Motherfucker (that’s really what it’s called – I’m not trying to be obscene!). Our best man Matt is a bartender there!

If you don’t mind brooding teenagers with artfully colored hair, stop by The Red Eye, 205 N. Hamilton in Old Town Saginaw, for a coffee. I spent a lot of time down there in my teens, attending poetry slams with a certain best friend and, yes, it’s kind of silly but it’s Saginaw’s only locally owned coffee shop that I’m aware of. Plus, you’re gonna need the caffeine for this reception!

Screaming for some ice cream? Go to Fuzzy’s, 1924 Court St., for monster scoops of ice cream. Vice President Joe Biden was there in February and he said it was a big effing deal. Convinced yet?

If you’ve got more than three hours at some point next weekend…

Members of the St. Demetrios 'Parea' Dance Group perform Friday afternoon at the 31st annual Saginaw Greek Festival 2009 at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. The Greek Festival, featuring food, dancing and music continues Saturday, from noon to 11 pm and Sunday, noon to 7 pm.

Greek Fest is one of Bryan and my favorite things in Saginaw every summer and all the reasons for that are food-related. Gyros, honey puffs, dolmades, baklava, spanikopita and beer — there ain’t nothing wrong with any of that. My guess is we won’t be going this year (but ya never know!). It takes place June 18, 19 and 20 at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 4970 Mackinaw Road. If there’s one thing in Saginaw you don’t wanna miss, this is it and how lucky you’re during THIS weekend! GO TO GREEK FEST and bring me back a plate of food, OK?

Downtown Bay City is fun and you could definitely head over there between the ceremony and reception but you’ll probably want to go for longer. Shopping, eating, drinking and lounging in one of many parks on the edge of the Saginaw River – there’s not much better than that. Some of you might even want to stay at the Doubletree, since I’ve been told Saginaw hotels are pretty booked for the June 18-20 weekend. I know at least one wedding guest who is staying there!

If you’re not leaving until Monday, I have a sneaking suspicion that Lawnchair Film Fest kicks off in Old Town Saginaw on the Sunday following the wedding. Bring a chair or a blanket downtown when the sun sets and see a movie projected on the side of a building for free. By this time, you might be on your way out of town, but this is a good thing to know about in general. [UPDATE: The film fest site is updated. This weekend’s movie is Whip It!]

And like I said here before, I don’t think you should leave Saginaw without going to Tony’s. The steak sandwich is what they’re famous for, but they’ve been featured on the Travel Channel for their full-pound-of-bacon BLT and sitting down with a pile of fries and gravy is a piece of heaven. It’s not a restaurant for the calorie-conscious among us, but it’s a Saginaw institution.

So there you have it! Places to hangout, eat, drink and kill time.

Just remember: Our reception is going to better than all this stuff so don’t forget about it! Dancing, dining, drinking and love – a combination that can’t be beaten. Looking forward to seeing you all in our hometown and at our party!

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