And so it begins... The hunt for a wedding venue. My mother and I have been lost within the wild jungle of the internet for six days hunting our prey. The perfect wedding venue is a wild, everchanging animal and nailing one down has proved more difficult than I had anticipated.
For example, I became engaged on July 3rd. I knew I wanted my wedding to be on July 5th, 2013 because that is Logan and I's fifth anniversary. This was 367 days away, so securing my date shouldn't have been an issue. But wouldn't you know it, some maniac brides out there have already secured that day! More than 367 DAYS IN ADVANCE. Now, according to my fiance, I am already a fairly obessesive bride, but what's with these people???
Wedding venues are mutha-F-ing expensive. Especially when you live in a local called "the wine country". Apparently, if you've got a few rows of grape vines, an old house and/or barn that is falling apart, and a giant oak tree, it is totally realistic to charge $10,000 or more for a six hour use of your property. ARE THESE PEOPLE HIGH? And why the hell are so many people missing the boat on this wedding gig? I am seriously considering buying a piece of property, building a barn, and hosting weddings because there is money to be made here people! But I digress...
If they don't get you with the wedding venue, they are sure to have you by the balls when it comes to the catering. No outside caterers are allowed, some places will force you to eat their crappy food. I've seen venues estimate of anywhere from $65-$85 per person for catering, not including alcohol. I've seen service charges of 18-23%, just for the hell of it. I've seen catering MINIMUMS start at $15,000, and that was the lowest end of the spectrum!
Time and noise limits... Oh, how I loathe these. When I think of my ideal wedding, I do not envision an afternoon brunch in which family and friends soberly declare their love and happiness for Logan and I's union. HELL. NO. I'm hoping for some fantastic speeches, fueled by love, passion, and above all else, Jack Daniels. Those are speeches from the heart. Alcohol has a way of cutting the crap and getting to the core of what a person is feeling, mostly because that person may not be able to stand unassisted for much longer. Bring on the slurs, perhaps the embarrassing story that I myself am too drunk to care about. And what better time for these beautiful speeches than the classic drinking time, the Night Time. But, "wine country" venues don't particularly care for the late night crowd. Especially a late night crowd with a band. "We'd like you out by 7:00pm, 9:00pm". "We don't allow DJs, or live music, unless it is an acoustic performance or perhaps a harpist". Because lord knows, the best weddings are those in which the live music can barely be heard by my guests sitting a mere 10 feet away, and the best parties end just as the early birds are showing up to the bars.... Right.
Location, location, location. It is the foundation of your wedding, a backdrop to set the tone. I've witnessed beautiful, potential wedding locations be destroyed by the installation of hideous green carpeting; stained; yellow velour chairs provided as the only available ceremony seating; dance floors placed in the middle of rooms that could otherwise have very well been your aunt's living room or your elementary school classroom.
At the end of the day, thank god for the internet. Without it, I would've spent god knows how many weekends visiting dozens of wedding venues that in the end I would've said no to. Instead, I got to explore from the comfort of my own home and narrow down six locations worth seeing. The true hunt begins...