I may not have had the best attitude at first towards finding a space for our wedding. For some reason I was not excited to venue shop. It might have been because it was the first wedding thing I did or my worries about finances or that I was planning a wedding without living in a home but sooner than later venue hopping became really fun. I have discovered that the overwhelming feeling a bride may feel is natural but not necessary. So I made a choice not to feel overwhelmed by finances, and scheduling and budgeting. Of course, a supportive fiance helps… A LOT.
Matt and I wanted a quirky kind of wedding. No regular hall with regular food, no dirty Italian rugs. Long Island makes it kind of hard compared to other countries in the US. The Knot features cute backyard weddings, swanky rooftop ceremonials- things that are unrealistic for us. Matt and I looked into preserved gardens, museums, even nice libraries-all kind of a dead end route, at least for us. So, we did our research and went on a venue hunt, complete with a good package. After awhile venue shopping got FUN. Here is our venue track record in brief words.
Planting Fields: Beautiful gardens, not wedding material unless you want to bring x amount of vendors in. Not in our budget and pshh we ain’t got no time for that.
Fox Hollow: First venue we really liked. Loved the brick, old inn feel, loved the new room, loved the cocktail room, loved that complimentary hotel suite ;) They gave us a free stuffed fox but commitment is a tough thing for me so we ventured on.
Crest Hollow: Really nice, multiple wedding at a time, spacious, sweet outdoors, but no fuzzy feelings. Having cocktail hour outside near a pool didn’t feel romantic to me. Moving on. They did give us free drinks and dessert though.
New Hyde Park Inn: Really beautiful, killer outside ceremony and cocktail hour (both indoor and outdoor). Expensive and little availability. Definitely moving on.
Jericho Terrace: Badda Bing, Batta Boom! That was the guy who helped us. Although he totally rubbed me the wrong way, he grew on me a tad at the end. Legit party rooms, all refurnished. The dome room was sick, great uplighting potential. Yummy appetizers- they actually really fed us so that was fun! Instead of a folder with information they give you the Holy Grail of Jericho Terrace (a huge binder). We liked Jericho but it wasn’t our style.
Westbury Manor: We loved Westbury Manor and besides the Fox Hollow they offered us a ridiculous price that was almost hard to pass up. The reception room was nice, the outdoor ceremony was very pretty, and the cocktail hour would have been sick. I would have had roaming peacocks at my cocktail hour! The only thing that made us nervous was- rain. If it rained we would be stuck in a small cocktail room, blehhh.
We are getting married at the Fox Hollow!
Matt and I went back to view it again after work and we really just loved it. We would look back and forth at each other and smile as Bruce went on showing us the rooms. We sat down with Bruce (gotta love the name), we searched for the perfect date and decided on a pretty, romantic day wedding.
So some things I learned along the way:
1. Don’t feel overwhelmed. Plan your budget, get a round-a-bout guest list and stick with it. It helps and you feel more prepared when negotiating.
2. Ceremony and Venue. Decide whether you want to get married in a church and head to a venue for the reception or find ceremony/reception options in the same location.
3. Everything is Negotiable. So, I’m not good at this. I almost feel bad negotiating so that is where my other half kicks in. Dusting off those mortgaging skills, he talked his way through different possibilities. Don’t give up easy but don’t tick them off! I mean, in the end, they do want your business.
4. Read your Contract and Venue Policy. Don’t gaze through it. Find out the do’s and dont’s. Do I have to use their vendors, can I bring in my own? Any hidden fees? How much do you tip your maitre d’ and bridal attendant? Cake cutting fees?
5. Parking. Is my location accessible for parking. Do you get your own valet?
6. Plan B’s. What if mother nature decides to rain on your parade? Even if you’re indoors you want to make sure that your guests don’t get drenched from their car to the door.
7. Help Included. Does the venue come with a facility director and what is their role? Or do you have to hire from outside. Yayyy, I get one!
8. Like The People. Make sure you get along with the person you will be touching base with. Because you will be working with them a lot. The Jericho Terrace guy way too much Uncle Vinny for me.
9. Cut your Costs. Wherever you can cut your costs and adjust, it’s a beautiful thing. We’re not having an open bar which left us wiggle room for a decreased price or replacements.
10. Trust your instincts. But really.
Well, that covers location. What’s next?