Monday, October 24, 2011

Venue #1

I loved it.  Crap.  This place had 90% of everything we're looking for and it's fairly reasonably priced compared to the other places I've checked out.  It's a converted factory that is now a hotel/restaurant/event space and it's gorgeous.  Tons of exposed brick and wood beams.  It's beautifully designed and the lighting throughout is thoughtfully done in that warm, dim light which makes everything feel elegant yet cozy and makes everybody look really good.  They were setting up for another wedding when we visited so we got to see the ceremony space with all the chairs set up.  I imagine it with the aisle lined with candles and the fireplace lit.  It already feels cozy and elegant without having to add much (I see saving major money on flowers), which is the vibe I want to permeate throughout our day.  And I LOVE the black chiavari chairs.  (A secret: I hate chair covers.)  This space would be flipped during the cocktail hour for the reception.

The cocktail area was set up for that bride's buffet style dinner.  My preference is a plated dinner but it was still nice to see how the space could be utilized.  You can't tell from the photos but those linens are a beautiful cream color with just a bit of texture, almost like an ever so slight bouclé.  And they're included.  As are the tables, and the chairs, and candles and 20 beautiful black candelabras, and all the table settings.  Score.

If the weather is nice, we can expand the cocktail hour onto the adjoining patio space and enjoy the weather.  If it's not nice, they can enclose those open windows with plexiglass and heat the space if necessary so we can still use it.

After the tour, we had lunch at the restaurant to get an idea of the food quality.  The restaurant was gorgeously decorated.  We just had soup, sandwiches and fries, and it was delicious.  Everything was so good and beautifully presented.  We could easily have our rehearsal dinner and maybe even a brunch the morning after at the hotel's restaurant.  If friends and family want to keep the party going after hours, they could hit up the hotel bar.  Our guests could stay, dine, and attend the wedding all in one fantastic building.  It would all be very easy and convenient.  More importantly, I could see us there.  I could imagine the day.  I liked it.

Now the cons: 

I don't know why, but the vision I have in my head is for everyone to sit down to dinner at a really long, family-style table.  My family is down South and Joe's is scattered around New England and I'm very aware that this is going to be the only time in our lives that all these people are in the same room.  I just love the idea of us all sitting down to dinner together at the same table (or as few tables as possible).  We could do that here, but we'd have to separately rent the tables and linens, which would be a silly extra expense.  They only have rounds. 

This place is extremely popular.  They do up to three weddings in a single weekend.  I have no reason to think they don't execute everything beautifully, but it does have a way of making you feel a little less special.  Their popularity also means they're stingy with discounts because there's no reason why they should hand them out.  Even if we were willing to have the wedding on a Friday or Sunday or during an off-peak season, we'd still pay full price.

Wedding has to be over by 11:00 pm.  Boo. 

The hotel is gorgeous, but the surrounding scenery is urban and is not.  The hotel is surrounded by parking lot and other brick buildings.  Not a lot of opportunity for photo ops outside.  But the flip side of that is I'll have no reason to stress over weather. 

No Saturday availability until December 2012.  They've been booking up 18 months in advance.  But they do still happen to have October 7, 2012 available, which is the Sunday of Columbus Day weekend.  I don't like the idea of a Friday or Sunday wedding, even though it typically means discounts, because I don't want to ask people to take off work or have them want to leave early because they have work the next day.  Doing it on a Sunday during a long weekend would hopefully be more convenient and okay with everyone.

That's venue #1 and so far the only one we're checking out in Pennsylvania.  Next weekend, we're checking out 5 in New York. 

I'm open to thoughts and suggestions, people.  Bring it on.


Kelsey said...

I LOVE this place! Very cool looking, and I definitely get the cozy feeling, too. I'm a huge fan of holding the ceremony and reception in one location; so convenient for guests. (That's what Russell and I did, too.) I also love venues that have a lot of stuff included like tables, chairs, linens, catering... it makes your life that much easier. As for your cons. Having your wedding on a 3 day weekend would be fabulous, it would allow your guests more time to travel both to and from your wedding. I think ending at 11 would be just fine, actually. Like you said, anybody who wants to continue partying can easily do so at the hotel bar, or around town, but ending at 11 would allow those guests who don't want to party until the wee hours of the morning a chance to gracefully bow out. As for having everybody sitting at a long table, that is a lovely idea. It would be great if you could make it work at this venue, but if you can't, is that a deal breaker? Everyone is going to have PLENTY of opportunity to mingle after the ceremony while you're taking pictures, and during the reception. Maybe you can do the intimate long table dinner for your rehearsal dinner? Photo ops outside could still happen if you and Joe are willing to travel to a location away from the hotel. Russell and I broke with tradition and met up before the ceremony in our wedding finery to take pictures on the beach in La Jolla. It was very low stress, because no guests were waiting on us to get back to start the reception. We could take as long as we wanted, and I liked that. We took pictures at the ceremony/reception location, but only for an hour or so. Since we had taken so many pictures that morning, it didn't feel like we had to cram in a million pictures right after the ceremony. Maybe there's a park or something near the hotel you guys could do photos before the ceremony, or even in between the ceremony/reception? Anyway, loved this place. Good luck looking at venues in NY, can't wait to hear about those!

Christina said...

Thanks Kelsey! You make some very good points and I so appreciate the advice! The long table thing isn't a deal breaker. I'm trying very hard to prioritize by putting things in separate "likely to regret" and "probably won't matter in 5 years" piles in my head. Right now, long tables are not a deal breaker, but if we find a place we love that offers it included, could be a tie breaker.

Kelsey said...

Is it possible to reserve Oct 7 at this place without putting down a deposit? It would be a shame to decide that you love it after you see the other venues in NY, and the date has been taken.

Christina said...

I believe a non-refundable deposit is required to hold the date (another inconvenient consequence of extreme popularity), but I will double check. I'm nervous about losing it too.