(Lots of Details Ahead!)
I need some help with pros and cons to pick a wedding location. There are two places that I absolutely love and everyone I've talked to has different opinions on it. My fiancé is also of no help, whatever I like he wants to go with. I can be terrible with decision making, any help is greatly welcomed!
The spaces are both modern, but one is a free standing event space and the other is at a hotel. Both have manageable prices, will serve as an all-in-one location for the entire day, and there will be no other events or celebrations going on the day we are using it after we sign the contract. They also provide a day of coordinator to help with all the little details through the day. Both spaces also have enough room so that all tables have a good view of the dance floor and our sweetheart table.
The Event Space (à la carte)
The event space allows us to have the property from Noon till Midnight, 12 full hours of fun to do with whatever I want. There are two large rooms that I can use and a little outdoor space typically used for the cocktail hour, though it did feel rather tight for a guest list of 75. The large rooms have the ability to accommodate up to 300 seated guests comfortably but may make my small guest list feel sparse and all the areas of the room disconnected. Majority of everything will have to be outsourced from other venders since they are mostly only providing the space, some furniture, atmosphere lighting and basic decorations. The hotel associated with the event space is a 15 min drive without traffic, so I feel I need to provide the transportation for the hotel guests to the space. The rooms are also on the more reasonable side at $99 a night. The coordinator for this location is very tentative and contacts me back quickly whenever I needed a question answered.
The Hotel Space (All In One)
The hotel space is whenever I want but only for roughly 5-6 hours. The bar is included but for only 4 hours which breaks down to 1 hour for cocktail and 3 hours for reception with an hour of reception being dry. If I wanted to add bar time it costs roughly 800 an hour and I can not provide my own alcohol or bartenders. All events rooms can be used and are beautifully maintained, but feels a little tight with all the tables set in the reception space. The hotel does provide basic furniture and dimmable lighting, but it's only in a soft white/yellow. Food and cake is included in the price as well as a room for the night before and of the wedding. For guests, transportation is not needed since everything is in the building they are staying, but the prices are more expensive at $149 a night. The coordinator here can take a few days to a week and a half to contact me back.
Things we want at the wedding:
One thing my fiancé and I really want is to have a comedy club perform during the reception. They will take roughly 45 min to an hour of our time and because they are an interactive improv group, performing during the meal isn't really an option. The best time is right after the meal and before cake cutting. I thought the cocktail hour before, but their manager said they prefer to do it with the Bride and Groom there because we are used as props and it's our day and they like to showcase us and our relationship. This was a make or break for finding a location and both places are able to accommodate them. Yay! BUT, that's almost an hour of time eaten up at the reception.
Like most weddings we want a photo booth to double with the guest book, allowing us to always remember who the guests are. Plus it's a lot of fun and if needed we were going to have the picture double as the favors. This can take 15 mins of dancing time depending on the line and how many people are using it.
Of course we want dancing. I really want to see the dance floor filled with happy, smiling faces, enjoying themselves. There's nothing worse than going to a wedding and you really want to dance but they don't dance. I've left feeling like I missed something with non dancing weddings.
We want an early ceremony to beat rush hour traffic in the evening making it easier for our guests to arrive. This doesn't change anything at the event space, but that means the whole wedding will end between 8:00 and 9:00 at the hotel.
I was hoping for spiral seating for the ceremony but I believe only the Event space has enough room to do it. The hotel has a more narrow ceremony room that I can still have some fun with but it won't be the spiral I wanted.
My Problem with Choosing a Space:
I want to make sure that my guests have the best time possible without feeling rushed at the hotel, nor do I wish to feel like I have little time to enjoy myself on my day. But at the hotel I don't have to worry about my guests not using the open bar because they don't want to have issues going home and my fiancé and I can sneak away into our room when we're done having fun.
The last wedding I went to felt very rushed and impersonal, we hardly got a chance to see the Bride and Groom, let alone take pictures with them or have a conversation. Another wedding I went to didn't seem to have time restraints allowing more social and dancing time but there were moments that felt like empty time slots and we got bored quickly.
So, am I just over thinking this? Do you have any input from your experiences as a bride, groom and guest that can help me debunk which site is better? Are you facing a similar problem? I can't continue the wedding planning until I pick the site. Please help!