Wedding Wednesday: Venue Shopping

After two months of venue shopping, my thoughts of what I want for this wedding may have changed. Joe and I began the search for the right wedding venue about 2 months ago. I know I don’t want a cookie cutter wedding, however finding a unique place that feels like us has shown some challenges.

As of today, we’ve visited a few places that have their good and not so good qualities.

Fairy Tale Manor

When I was in college, I would drive by this wedding venue a few times a week. Even before meeting Joe, I knew I wanted to check it out one day when I got engaged. So of course this was the first place we checked out. The name was intriguing. I mean who wouldn’t want to get married at a place called Fairy Tale Manor?

A cute little house situated off a main road in Frisco, Fairy Tale Manor gives us the option to have an inside or outside ceremony. The feel is like a backyard wedding with all the necessary amenities for a detail and expensive wedding. This place is the all inclusive type. You can simply pick and choose preferred vendors and let the Fairy Tale staff do the work or bring in your own vendors. The flexibility is nice, but I found their pricing to be a little high for our budget. After walking through the place, we sat down to create a detailed spreadsheet of all the “extras” needed like catering, photography, cake, etc. These are all things that are necessary for a wedding, right? At the end of putting all the details together, we got an estimate of how much it would cost. I won’t give you the specific number, but it didn’t really surprise me.

Pros: flexibility, all-inclusive aspect, small enough to feel intimate with plenty of room for entertaining, not very centrally located for Joe’s relatives (not a deal breaker)

Cons: Still a bit cookie cutter for me, pricey, not nearly as pretty/romantic as I originally thought

Chapel at Ana Villa

Chapel at Ana Villa is a Walters Wedding Estate property that is currently being built. They’ve started taking reservations for weddings as early as June 1, 2013. With Spanish architecture, the property serves the duel ceremony/reception event just like Fairy Tale Manor. I learned that it was ideal to have it this way so guests won’t have to drive to another location for the reception. Luckily, they’ve done a fantastic job with mockup videos and photos that any bride can get a really detailed feel of what the property will look like. We met with representatives to discuss our vision and ask any necessary questions. These reps were by far the nicest people I’ve talked to regarding the wedding so far. They were very engaged and very interested in making sure our wedding was perfect for us. They cared about specific details we liked and were very open to working with us regarding Joe’s food restrictions.

Pros: Would be great to work with these reps, duel ceremony/reception site, church feel (not required), better within our budget but still not ideal

Cons: Construction underway, still a bit cookie cutter for me (I found a pattern…)

Stone Creek Terrace

Stone Creek Terrace is your quintessential backyard wedding. They place a cap of 60 guests total with plenty of foliage for the right ambiance. This place I was most excited about to check out. The price was absolutely perfect here. We could even splurge on a Saturday wedding instead of a Sunday wedding like we are looking into. They are very DIY friendly. They have a few preferred vendors, but they really leave it up to you to create whatever you envision for your day. I liked that they had multiple areas for entertainment. After the ceremony, guests can be lead to a cocktail hour and then moved to the reception location around the corner. The property has a really nice flow.

We met with the owner last Sunday. She seemed nice, but preoccupied. She rushed through the meeting fairly quickly and left us alone to discuss things. I just wasn’t that impressed with her. It felt a bit cold and she really didn’t do a very good job selling the place. Another concern I thought of was the cheap look of a few things. Chairs and tents looked very cheap and I really wasn’t that impressed about the only ceremony option set up. A fountain would basically divide the guests from the wedding party at the ceremony. It was just weird. I think the price ended up being too good to be true.

Pros: Budget friendly, the perfect, romantic, intimate feel we are looking for, lots of lush foliage so other decor would be minimal, DIY

Cons: Some areas look and feel cheap, not the best customer service, DIY (yes, it’s a pro and con), located in an unattractive location

Conclusion: I kept hunting for that place that felt like us and had sentimental value. I want people to walk away from our wedding saying the wedding celebration was us. I felt like I was trying to find a needle in a haystack. A backyard wedding feel at the right budget with DIY accents and personal touches. That’s what I’ve been looking for. Ideally, I want to get married under a big oak tree with a great dinner party afterward. I just wasn’t finding what I was looking for and finally made the realization that this place does exist and it’s been staring at me right in the face. I’m exhausted with the venue hunt and we’ve decided that Joe’s parents lake house is the perfect location for our wedding. The sentimental value is there considering it’s where Joe proposed and where we spend our summers. It has the backyard feel at our perfect budget price. We’ll have to do a lot of DIY, but I think it will all come together beautifully.

Here’s to a lake home wedding. Pray for my sanity. Happy Wednesday everyone!

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