Here are the wedding venue ideas I went in with:
1. Indoor ceremony
2. Outdoor reception
And here’s what we ended up with:
1. Outdoor ceremony
2. Indoor reception
We actually chose our venue in early January. As you should, because it’s the very first thing to check off your to do list!
January is a weird and stressful time to look at venues, because you’re subtly competing against the mob of other couples who got engaged over the holidays for the last remaining dates of the upcoming year. (And in my case, there was a once-in-five-years ice storm.) I think the real trick is to look in November, before Thanksgiving. So right now.
Here are the qualities I looked at, and the venues that got voted out at each stage.
I would have love, love, loved to get married at my home church. I know they are becoming less popular amongst millennial Christians, but personally, I’m a fan of church weddings! It makes all the readings and vows feel more serious and reverent, and my home church holds a special place in my heart.
However, it seats 110 and our family alone fills 75 spots. Add in the wedding party and their families, and you’re already at capacity. We weren’t willing to invite everyone else to the reception only, so sadly it was out. The silver lining: My pastor is still going to officiate our wedding off church grounds.
If you want a super expensive wedding, there is no need to leave the State of Texas. Austin alone has plenty of high-price options including the ridiculously pretty Via Antonia.
I didn’t end up going to this one in person, though it was on my list. I blamed it on the ice storm (well, it is on a windy road) but mostly I didn’t want to go because I didn’t want to fall in love with it. So it was out. Silver lining: All that saved money can go toward a honeymoon or house – something that lasts longer than one day!
We visited one venue that just straight up had no parking. Zero. It was a very pretty, quaint house on San Antonio St, and I don’t want to bash it because it really is so darling.
But, parking. While it had the option to rent a nearby lot, it still wouldn’t have been enough spots, leaving the later guests the option to pay for parking elsewhere or attempt to street park on the steep hills of downtown Austin. It was out. Silver lining: Probably saved a lot of people a lot of parallel parking stress.
I’m kind of in love with the Lady Bird Wildflower Center. Really kind of obsessed. Y’all, if you even like pretty things a little bit you need to go follow their Pinterest board right now. They’re not paying me to tell you that; I just think you need to do it.
This gorgeous garden almost won out, until my mom pointed out a very valid point. It had everything I wanted: a pretty indoor ceremony space with giant windows, an outdoor reception space with string lights, INFINITE FLOWERS. But it was huge. You have access to the whole garden when you book a wedding, which is cool but also could be disastrous to ever get everyone in the same place. We could do our exit and people could be lost a mile away in the garden paths. Silver lining: No one will get lost at our wedding.
5. What felt right
I wrote about our almost wedding day in September. But in the end, that venue didn’t feel right to us. In addition, it had a very short window of getting ready times, and September in Texas has the potential to be 100 degrees, easily. So here are a couple photos of the place we ended up with:
Not only did it feel right, it had all of the things we needed: capacity for 150+, a reasonable price, plenty of on-site parking, and enough room to have lawn games and separate spaces without sending people miles away. Somehow I had never seen this place in my life, but it’s less than 5 minutes from my parents’ house.
The only sacrifice was the date (yay, 500 days of obnoxiously long engagement) and, of course, an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception.
What was important in your search? (Or, what’s in mind for your future search?)