Hey fellow Knotties!
Boy am I in such a demise about our wedding venues. My fiance and I really wanted to have a wedding with a historic charm so we decided to have the wedding in the historic city of St. Augustine, Florida. The streets are filled with shabby boutiques, spooky tours, both bizarre and gorgeous museums, and the wonderful nightlife. This city is very picturesque - perfect for the out of town folks (which most of the guests will be from out of state AND from a different country) plus the city is also located near the beaches. It is like an all-in-one vacation spot including the wedding. Which is why we think it would be the most superb place to have the wedding. Most of our guests will be taking a week off to fully experience the wedding, to be with the family, and of course they would have a chance to enjoy the city. However, with plenty of history comes with a price. There are plenty of venues but almost every single one of them want you to rent out everything from dishware to the tent itself - god forbid it rains. Then you have to find a wedding coordinator and the list goes on - as one venue owner told me - "you're on your own". Then if you visit a venue that does come with chairs, tables, dishes - they expect you to pay 100 per guest plus another 4,000 dollars just for the spot (and we have 100 guests coming). The reality of having a wedding in St. Augustine grows slim. Also the fact that we live in Tampa doesn't help because we have to take a weekend to drive up three hours to check things out then we have conflicting work schedules. Plus all the hotel accommodations - we'll be broke!
And so the adventure continues, recently my mother heard my distress and began her own search (god bless her). But not in St. Augustine - somewhere really close in a little quaint city of Brooksville. Also historic but not as much tourist attraction because everything there is residential - most houses there were built from the 1800s and that was where I almost purchased my own little piece of history. And that little piece of history happened to be purchased by the highest bidder who had turned it into a wedding venue (who would have thought??) The Saxon Manor is being gorgeously brought back to life with the help of brides and grooms. I was very skeptical about having the wedding in Brooksville but when I drove up to the property - my heart melted. It was as if I had stepped back in time. When I first saw the house it was in horrid condition which was why no one had bought it because it needed lots of renovation (needed new electric wiring and plumbing - no bathrooms) but when I visited the property yesterday it was as if the house had been given a new chance. It has been repainted, given new windows and doors, and the wild garden that once was was now a beautiful sacred garden. I instantly fell back in love.
The owner gladly allowed me to explore the house knowing that I once was there and then she asked when was my wedding. Then she guided me to this additional building that wasn't there before and boy was it jaw dropping - the ceilings were draped with light white fabric, chandeliers were floating throughout the room, there were twinkling lights in between - just perfect!! We had sat down and she showed me the colors that she had available plus all the decor - then the packages that she had available - in which included virtually everything from tables to the on site catering / wedding planner and coordinator - it is as if she knew the troubles I was going through with the St. Augustine venues. She knew what most brides were looking for. She quoted me for $2,600 because my wedding date is in the middle of the week and that by then I have cut back on my wedding guests (to 60 guests) due to St. Augustine's pricing. We are scheduled to come back this weekend to see how she would set the venue up (they had a wedding the night before and were stripping the floors so tables and chairs were gone) and to see if my fiance would like the area.
So now I am at the crossroads. I love St. Augustine but it seems it weighs a heavy burden on our wallet especially when I want the wedding venue to look impressive since my family grew up with customs such as no plastic plates on your wedding day. The drive would be horrid since we are about 3 hours away and have conflicting work schedules to even be there to see how it is all set up. However, the location is amazing and the guests could go exploring around town.
Then there is the Saxon Manor where I feel right at home and everything is covered. You can totally set it up the way you want and have designers on hand to help get you started. They also have all the supplies plus decor (especially in the style we were looking for)! They even add the historic touch like St. Augustine - Bride arrives on a horse drawn carriage. Everything can be customized to your liking and it is not too far of a drive. And we can still have money for our honeymoon cruise. But the major con here is: rural Florida, my fiance is worried that guests will have nothing to do (even though I mentioned that fact that the guests would returning to their hotel in Tampa). My fiance also brings up the fact that he doesn't want a marriage license from a country bumpkin of a place- hmm.
Now that if you were in my situation what would you do? What would you pick? Does location really matter?
Here are the two venues that are going head to head:
(first 2 pictures)Llambias House, St. Augustine FL - $3,800 | $800 deposit | Then you have to cover for your own caterer/rentals/wedding planner/coordinator
(3 pictures starting with the chandelier venue)Saxon Manor, Brooksville FL - $2,600 | $300 deposit | Comes with everything