You know sometimes I use this blog to write about personal 'life' stuff. Since I don't want to bore everyone around me with wedding talk, guess what - I get to bore you guys with it every few weeks! (Funny how stereotypical that is - I, the soon-to-be-bride, talks about the wedding. Brendan, the soon-to-be-groom, is excited about it but, you know...).
I don't mean linens and napkin colors (I only recently learned that napkins do, in fact, come in more than one color) and all that crap nobody REALLY cares about, I mean that 1.) I've discovered the "Inspiration Board" and 2.) we can't find a venue to save our lives.
First, the Inspiration Boards. Being a visual sort of person, these really appeal to me. Apparently there's a whole Internet subcommunity of women who make these things for fun as they're planning their weddings. I don't intend to become one of them, but couldn't resist doing up a few:
And now we move to 2.) the venue.
We only have a few requirements of any given venue:
1.) The ceremony, at least, should be outdoors
2.) The ceremony and reception should take place at the same site - no moving around (partly for the convenience of the out-of-towners and older guests, partly because it's just annoying, and partly because we're not religious so there's no worry about having to marry in a church)
3.) The ceremony site should be affordable
4.) No "Packages". Wedding "packages" with in-house catering are how people end up with rubber chicken and a DJ who plays YMCA. Also, they're overpriced.
So how is it that we can't seem to do this? Venues we've looked at include Locust Grove, Mount Gulian, the Inn at Stone Ridge, Cole Hill Farm, West Park Winery, the Wilderstein, Clermont Estate, Boscobel Manor, Cat Rock and Norwegian Wood.
Locust Grove is our favorite, it's affordable and has indoor-outdoor space with bathrooms...but they don't do any private functions until after it closes to the public for the day - at 4 or 5pm. My grandmother regularly goes to sleep at 6. So...err...
Mount Gulian was the running favorite because time is more flexible, but mom just went down to visit it and says that there are steep hills everywhere and the bathrooms are down a steep flight of steps to the basement. With three elderly grandparents....um...no.
The Inn at Stone Ridge only does packages with in-house food for $75/pp (which is high for our budget), and their outdoor area isn't all that pretty.
Cole Hill Farm is by far *my* favorite - I am in love with the place. But it's $5,000 to rent for the day if you want use of the house (out of our budget as we'd also have to rent chairs, tent, extra bathrooms etc) and $7,000 for the weekend, which would be amazing - and we could offer free accommodation to some wedding party members - but we don't have $7,000 plus rentals - even though my parents are generously helping (well, it is generous, but they kind of have to: with a family my size, if they want a wedding for the oldest grandchild - me - to include The Whole Family, they have to help because we certainly can't afford it.)
West Park Winery only does packages - $110/plate Wedding Chicken. Ew. No. Also, out of our budget.
The Wilderstein requires that all weddings end by dusk (about 5pm) which means a ceremony at 11am - I am not a morning person so don't want to be up at 6 getting ready, then having this big fancy ceremony that we're only having to make my family happy (I'd just assume have a party and a quick vow-sayin') with baggy eyes because I don't like getting up early.
Clermont has the same restriction and is not near any hotels.
Boscobel is too expensive.
Cat Rock is too expensive ($12,500 for the venue alone! Wow. Just...wow.)
Norwegian Wood is lovely, but mom doesn't like that the floor of their pavilion is shredded tires and that we'd have to rent all bathrooms...which means very expensive Porta-Potties.
I also like Innisfree Garden but I don't think mom called them (no e-mail is given) and I don't know if they do weddings or, if they do, whether or not they can handle 100 people.
The search continues.