Wedding Reception Forum

First Ever Post Here - Need Advice on Venue vs. Venue, thoughts, etc. Thanks!

Hey Everyone! I'm a noobie in terms of wedding forums, and I've finally broken down and really need some advice.
I'm in Utah, my family is in Vermont, Mass, Maryland, up and down east coast etc. So I'm planning my wedding in Vermont
for Aug. of 2014 so it is convenient for my family and me - and more people are able to come.

Anyways, my family has a tight budget (the less the better really - i'd say under 8k or so max for parents, although I can make it 10/11 k if hubby
and me pitch in some more). Anyways, we only go home like 2 times per year, and had just 1 day to look at venues this summer. We chose
an EXTREMELY modest venue (The Saint John's Club) in Burlington, VT. It is the most amazing location, right on the lake with a great back lawn
with tables, chairs, swimming, beach etc. The outdoor part is to die for. The indoor part is kind of an old neighborhood club (drinking beers, watching 
games, etc). Small dance floor - quite cozy but not FANTASTIC or anything. HOWEVER, it is only $350 to book - which we did. They have food and booze
onsite, so all we have to do is bring in entertainment, photographer, and decorations basically. It is literally the epitomy of convenience. Which is awesome.

Pros of this tiny cute venue we chose: $350 site fee, food/booze onsite. Close to hotel (less than 5 minute drive), walking distance to ceremony, walking
distance to first look photos, etc. Very convenient central location. Even close to rehearsal dinner location and hotels.

ANYWAYS, the reason i post is this. It rains a lot in Vermont. I mean Vermont has the most confused weather patterns on the earth. If it rains, and we have to have the entire celebration of 80-100 folks inside, it will be VERY....INTIMATE. haha to say the least since its quite small and not on the very glamorous side. My bridesmaid/friend from 6th grade says we can pinterest the shit out of the inside though and make it look great. We could also afford a band and good photographer if we chose this tiny venue. Other bridesmaid (which I LOVE as well) is recommending we opt into a more beautiful venue. But that would put us at $8500 without entertainment or photography...and it would likely mean everyone rents cars and has to drive 30-40 minutes to get to the wedding day of. Beautiful venue alternative, but would require I switch dates, spend more money, and guests need to drive a bit further.

Basically my question is this. Stay with cute tiny not very glamorous looking interior of a venue and stay lower budget, or try to shift stuff around to have a more dramatic/beautiful venue for all of our guests and us (which 80%+ are from out of town at least 3-10 hour drives and air plane rides away). What do you guys think?

Ps. I apologize for being a brat if this is coming off bratty...just having a bit of stress over deciding on staying with venue/date or changing it. Changing it gives me anxiety. But I'm just self conscious for some stupid reason on size/casualness of inside of venue. Please be nice when replying. Thanks!

Re: First Ever Post Here - Need Advice on Venue vs. Venue, thoughts, etc. Thanks!

  • Sorry for that being so long. Thought I'd add some photos of venue that we booked - they are of someone else's beautiful intimate wedding (St. John's Club). I can only hope that we get such beautiful weather. But I guess no matter what the weather - you'll have fun right?

  • More photos of venue. Hard to find too many photos anyways. But you can see what i mean about outside being AWESOME, right?

  • Alternative venue (can be squeezed within budget, but will require more planning and driving for us and guests. Very beautiful and Vermonty): The Old Lantern

  • Will you have enough chairs and tables inside for everyone, and does your guest list fall within capacity for the venue?

    If so, stick with the "modest" venue. It looks fine.
  • Given the huge price difference, the budget, and the convenience, I agree with the first venue, and "pintrest the shit out of it." (That cracked me up.) With the money you save, it will be easy to make it pretty.
  • Personally, I like the St. John's venue better anyway - it's prettier and the inside isn't anything that some linens and centerpieces can't fix! It's a blank canvas which I think you could have a lot of fun with. :)

    Even for the most budget conscious bride, there are unexpected costs and things that will end up costing more than you anticipate. I would NOT recommend going over budget for a venue right off the bat. 

    However, if you go with the St. John's venue, I think you need to seriously consider the size. It sounds like the inside may not be large enough for the number of people you want to invite. You absolutely must plan on 100% attendance (anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something). There are horror stories all the time about brides who plan on 20% decline, it doesn't happen and they're over budget/without enough space/moving tables to make a dance floor/other crappy stuff. I would either cut your guest list, or find another venue if the inside can't accommodate your guest list.

  • I'd stick with the first venue (assuming you're not over capacity for the inside). I also cracked up at Pinteresting the shit out of it! Too funny. 
  • Stick with your budget, you'll be happier in the end. You're not going to think back about the interior decor as much as the outdoor photos. And the debt you are paying off could be a daily regret. I'd stay with the first can make it look awesome and same several $Ks
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! Your responses are so kind - and very helpful. Very much appreciated. The inside of St. John's club can accomodate 100% attendance even if it rains. We're inviting about 130 folks (80% out of town). I think anywhere from 50-130 will show. So no matter how many people come from our list will be able to fit comfortably inside I think. 

    I think it would be safe to assume that we'll be sticking with our venue, as things really do tend to add up quickly. That way we could afford dj OR band, good photographer, and open bar. All within our budget. 

    I just wanted to make sure everyone thought it was nice, and if you came from out of town you'd like it if you were a guest. NIce thing is also they let you party from like 3 PM to 12:00. You can have the venue as long as you want on that day they said. 

    Anyone have any photos of ways they've decorated with fabric, lights, etc? Creative decorating tips on covering walls and ceilings for a small space to glam it up? Your input is HUGELY appreciated. 

    :) xoxo
  • Do you have a particular style ( I shy away from theme, because that can go horribly wrong) that you love? Does the venue have decorating restrictions? Most of them say: no thumbtacks, blue painters tape only, which can be limiting, but there are workarounds. Also, keep in mind that when you look at a venue, it usually looks worse than it is, because all you see are the walls and floors, so that's where your eye is drawn. When your own pretty things are in there, that's where the guest's vision will be directed.
  • as long as you stay within the capacity of the venue no matter what you'll be fine. i say stick with the venue you chose and just hope for the great weather.

    as for decorating it-beware of bm insistining on pinteresting everything. while cute online it becomes overdone and common very very quickly. certainly incorporate your style into your decor but keep it minimum . when you put your linens and flowers and guests in there really no one is going to notice if a wall is plain. i promise you. sometimes too much makes it look smaller rather than nicer. be careful with how much you do.




  • You could look into a lighting package--most DJs do them. Some good lighting can drastically change the look of a space more than anything else. For example, "uplighting" on the walls can make any space look fancier. That's when the use lights to essentially just put a splash of color over each of the walls. 
  • As long as the venue fits everyone for the ceremony and reception, stick with your original venue.

    While I do think the second venue is beautiful, don't go over budget trying to get a "look", particularly when you are already over budget before choosing other vendors. The BM can suggest all she wants (though I am sure her intentions were to be helpful), but she won't be paying for it at the end of the day ;).

    As for your current venue (yes, the outside is gorgeous), keep your decor simple. By the time you get your tables in with linens and centerpieces it'll look different. I agree that a lighting package could do a lot. 

    You *might* consider some draping for the ceiling/walls but I'm thinking that will be a) expensive and b) the ceiling height doesn't look very tall in the pictures so draping might overwhelm the room. 

    Does the room have lots of windows? You could set up some candles in the window sills that will give a more intimate ambiance as you dim the lights for dinner/reception. 

    Other than your usual basics (linens, centerpieces, a bit of lighting) I really wouldn't do much else. At the end of the day, although there are many things you could do that are beautiful, your guests don't really care what is on the walls. They care most that there was enough food (which is warm and good) and drink to have and good music. 
  • "Pinterest the shit out of the inside"  LOL.  Can you cut your guest list? 
  • I like your first venue.  But if you can't fit all your invited guests inside it, then you need to choose a larger venue rather than "pinteresting the shit out of the inside."
  • Venue booked. Keeping guest list trim. Hard to forecast # of guests since 90% would need to drive 3-10 hours or buy plane tickets. eek! Pinterest and small venue + intimate guest list it is! 

    Anyone know how many to invite and how many to anticipate typically?
  • ajakiki said:
    Venue booked. Keeping guest list trim. Hard to forecast # of guests since 90% would need to drive 3-10 hours or buy plane tickets. eek! Pinterest and small venue + intimate guest list it is! 

    Anyone know how many to invite and how many to anticipate typically?
    Congratulations! Your venue is beautiful! 

    Ask the venue what their cap is and how to lay out the room to maximize space. Find out how many tables/chairs you can fit inside and that's your max number. If the venue doesn't know, there's a website that can help you figure out how many tables will fit in your space.... @itzMS, you've pointed brides in the right direction here, but I can't recall what the website is called....

    You should always expect 100% - even though people are traveling. Brides come on here all the time saying "oh shit, I thought people would decline because it's a DW and now there's not enough room/I don't have the money to host everyone..." It's like "sorry sweetie, good luck!"

    You'll do fine, OP. Your venue is lovely and you'll get to exercise some creative genius. Good luck!

  • Thank you so much! : ) That would really stink to have too many folks at that venue - especially at if it rained! 

    How many of you trimmed the guest list by not inviting extended relatives? I feel kind of bad doing that, but just feels weird having family i haven't seen in 10000 years come by. XOXO
  • Thank you for saying that about the venue - that means a lot to me. Very sweet of all of you. :)
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