16 April 2012

tables, chairs, and a golf cart ride

Talking with my married girlfriends (and reading just a few blogs), I know that picking the venue for the wedding is really the first step on the wedding to-do list.  That and actually knowing how many of your friends and family you can host for said wedding.  While the families compile their lists (hopefully keeping it to 100 or under), the beau and I began the venue search.  Before we committed to site visits, we discussed what was important to each of us.  For him, it was having a ceremony that was a real ceremony (with a minister and all) and serious (in a good way).  For me, it was having the ceremony and reception at a place that actually had meaning to us as a couple (i.e., no venue we'd never ever been to together).  I am also drawn to an outdoor element, but realize that outdoors can be risky in Virginia during hurricane season (September/October).  Our ideal was the Carillon, where we first met and were engaged, but no dice.  They book one year in advance and we didn't want to wait that long.

So let the venue tours begin!  I contacted about six different sites and researched a bunch of others (thank goodness for the internet) and we settled on visiting three: 
Maymont - a city park in Richmond that has an amazing Japanese garden with waterfall and pond filled with colorful koi carp (the inspiration for a vintage necklace the beau gave me after our first visit last fall)
The Valentine - a small history museum with a Federal period house and enclosed garden
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts - large art museum with outdoor sculpture garden (and it is also a spot we went to on our first date)

Two of the three have been visited and assessed.  We met with coordinators and discussed timing and costs.  We saw the tables and chairs and changing rooms.  We even got a golf cart ride at Maymont (fun).  We have one more site to see (VMFA) on Friday.  But we may put a hold on Maymont in the meantime.  It's a little stressful, this venue hunt.  You want to make the right decision for you as a couple (and your family/guests), yet you know that time is of the essence.  Fingers crossed it all works out and we get married.  Oh, right, that will happen regardless!  And that's really what I'm trying to keep in mind as we go through this planning process...

Words of advice are always welcome.  And if you want to see what I'm currently thinking (dreaming) about, you can find my Big Day board on pinterest and leave all sorts of comments.


Cathy said...

I've heard some negative feedback about Maymont. I'm trying to remember what, though. Possibly that they just do so many weddings that they are very cookie cutter and restrictive.

Have you talked to the Poe House folks? The "Secret Garden" would be perfect, beautiful and help keep your head count within limits because I think they top out at 150 people.

Also the Garden Club of VA has a house on Franklin (blanking the name) that would be nice for an indoor-outdoor event (or for a reception if you can find the perfect ceremony spot elsewhere nearby). Not sure how many people they can fit.

Will put on my thinking cap and report back when I see you!

Cathy said...

Just realized none of my suggestions are places you've been. You should seriously consider Poe, though. It is gorgeous and reasonable and they do lots of weddings so they have their act together but not so many that it is cookie cutter. And you've been to the bottom many times, I'm sure!