My friend John got engaged earlier this year to his beloved Hannah. It has been a delight to hear about their plans for a lovely, “grass roots” wedding ceremony at our church with the reception to follow immediately in the fellowship hall. Everyone from the church is invited, and we will all help celebrate together and then help clean up the hall at the end of the night. This kind of celebration suits John and Hannah perfectly since John is a Youth Minister and Hannah is a 4th-year medical student studying family medicine. Inviting 300 people to a black tie affair at the country club is not their style! (Although John did fall head over heels for a certain elegant, historic mansion for the rehearsal dinner, so he gets to have some fancy time too!)
Once you have that ring on your finger, the where and when of your wedding becomes the number one question you are asked! And many brides are ready for it before the ring is over the first knuckle! Others stare off in the distant at the daunting task ahead: choosing your wedding venue.
There is a long list of questions and considerations for you, your fiancé and perhaps your family to familiarize yourself when it comes time to shop for venues. Things like budget, the number of guests, alcohol limitations, etc. And there are numerous places to find helpful checklists online. Here are few that seem particularly helpful:
- Visit ForsythWomanEngaged.com and search “Questions to Ask Before Booking Your Venue”
- Visit HereComesTheGuide.com and search “Valuable Tips for Selecting a Wedding Location”
- Visit BridalGuide.com and search “Wedding Venues”
However, beyond all the practical considerations, there is the challenge of selecting a venue that suits your personality too! One that truly reflects what you and your fiancé are all about and who you are as people. With all the options in front of you, it can become difficult to stay true to yourself.
If you have always dreamed of wearing a Princess-like gown and arriving at your ceremony by horse-drawn carriage where your Groom awaits in his top hat and tails, then you can scratch the rustic barn venues right off your list! If, on the other hand, you want to wear your Mother’s floral print hippie dress from her 60s wedding to your Dad, a barn as backdrop might be just the ticket! The important thing is to create a sort of “mission statement” for yourself BEFORE you begin scheduling site visits to the venues in your area. Having this in place will help you stay focused and true to what you and your fiancé are hoping for on your big day!
Our Venue Selection Mission Statement
The overall personality of our wedding day should be:
- Laid back & simple
- Highly detailed
We want guests to feel like they are attending a reception that feels like:
- A lively party
- A formal affair
- A family reunion
- A circus
When it comes to the visual aspect of the day, we want to see:
- Bare minimal décor, let the day speak for itself and the location be the scenery
- Carefully chosen pieces that compliment our style and the look of the venue
- Bling and sparkle everywhere!
- A photo booth, family photos, a scrapbooking station, S’mores pit, etc… You only get one big wedding right?!
Time for food and drink! We want our guests to:
- Enjoy light appetizers, lemonade and our delicious wedding cake
- A full bar serving all their favorite cocktails, wine and beer along with a plated dinner consisting of a dual plate entrée of tenderloin and stuffed chicken breasts
- Wine, Beer, cheese and crackers before sitting down to a lovely interpretation of Grandma’s homemade lasagna
- Food trucks!!! Guests will love walking outside to choose between tacos, cheeseburgers, and Italian Ice!
At the end of the celebration, we want to be sent off:
- In a vintage Mustang convertible
- In a white, stretch limousine
- In the bed of a classic, 1950’s pickup truck
- With love and hugs and waves and then we will get into our own car and drive home!
Have fun answering these questions with your fiancé and remember that this day truly is about the two of you! Create your “mission statement.” When you look back at your wedding photos 20 years from now, you don’t want to cringe at the choices you made because you felt pressured by trends, family or friends. You want to see a day that captured your taste and personalities. You want to remember the start of your journey as a married couple as a day that you would gladly do all over again!