Outdoor Weddings

Help! Which venue would you choose?

Hello, first time posting, just recently engaged and looking into venues at the moment. We are torn between 2 venues, and I need some opinions. Here are the pros and cons of both! 
Both have outside areas, Fri-Sun rental, ceremony and reception space, BYO everything, and will sort of be a "wedding weekend" -which is the way we want it. 
There are no other venues in question. 

VENUE 1 (lodge)
Pros
-gorgeous lodge on a private lake with about 8 cabins to sleep 20. Think summer camp. 
-tons of outside (wooded and open) area to roam (a few acres at least)
-room for 20+ guests to stay the night
-secluded
-secluded parking
-everything (really, this venue is basically perfect)

Cons
-The price. It's on the high end of our budget. We can afford it, but didn't want to unless we had to. It's DOUBLE the price of venue 2. 
-Distance (It's 90 min away for half of the guests, and only 30 minutes for the other half)

VENUE 2 (barn)
Pros
-price (see above con)
-distance (it's 45 minutes for all guests)
-smaller, similar set up. Won't have to worry about as much
-chairs and tables included in price

Cons
-Holds max 200, but recommended is 150. There are 220 on our guest list right now, but I know the actual amount coming will be under 200. Depending on the amount of guests that come, it could be a very tight squeeze. 
-Right at the intersection of 2 fairly busy main roads, the outside area is not super private. Will have road noise
-Parking is visible from outside area
-No good picture taking areas, will have to go elsewhere for pictures. 
-Just not as aesthetically pleasing. The barn itself is beautiful, but the grounds and location are not. 
-Small outside area 

I know it sounds like there is not much going for venue #2, but we do actually like the barn! The main selling point is the PRICE! It's HALF the price! That is a lot of money! Our main worry is the space. We don't want it to be crowded. Venue #1 is a dream venue!

WWYD? Which venue would you choose? We are seriously torn and may just draw a venue out of a hat if we can't make up our minds soon!

Re: Help! Which venue would you choose?

  • Find another venue that will accommodate all your guests and not your "vision". If your venue cannot accommodate EVERYONE, keep looking. Also, you get ONE day for your wedding. 
    [Deleted User]
  • Like mentioned, there are no other venues. We're in a small area. Our other choice got shut down. 

    Also, the whole weekend wedding plan is for us and whoever wants to join. Nobody is REQUIRED to take more than one day for our wedding. It's going to be more like camping anyways. If they want to stay, great. If not, no biggie. 
  • kaos16kaos16 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    Hello, first time posting, just recently engaged and looking into venues at the moment. We are torn between 2 venues, and I need some opinions. Here are the pros and cons of both! 
    Both have outside areas, Fri-Sun rental, ceremony and reception space, BYO everything, as in you and your fiance will be bringing in food and drinks?  It is completely improper to have guests bring in food or drinks for your reception.  It's your thank you to them for attending your wedding ceremony. and will sort of be a "wedding weekend" -which is the way we want it. 
    There are no other venues in question. 

    VENUE 1 (lodge)
    Pros
    -gorgeous lodge on a private lake with about 8 cabins to sleep 20. Think summer camp. 
    -tons of outside (wooded and open) area to roam (a few acres at least)
    -room for 20+ guests to stay the night how is it being determined who will stay?  are you making guests pay to stay in these rooms to offset your venue cost?  What about the rest of the 22 invited guests?  Where will they stay?  What is the bathroom situation?
    -secluded
    -secluded parking
    -everything (really, this venue is basically perfect)

    Cons
    -The price. It's on the high end of our budget. We can afford it, but didn't want to unless we had to. It's DOUBLE the price of venue 2. 
    -Distance (It's 90 min away for half of the guests, and only 30 minutes for the other half)

    VENUE 2 (barn)
    Pros
    -price (see above con)
    -distance (it's 45 minutes for all guests)
    -smaller, similar set up. Won't have to worry about as much
    -chairs and tables included in price

    Cons
    -Holds max 200, but recommended is 150. There are 220 on our guest list right now, but I know the actual amount coming will be under 200. Depending on the amount of guests that come, it could be a very tight squeeze. You should always plan for everyone you invite to show up.  If 22o people get invitations you MUST be prepared for 220 to show up at your event.  Prepared with food, drinks and seating for all.
    -Right at the intersection of 2 fairly busy main roads, the outside area is not super private. Will have road noise
    -Parking is visible from outside area
    -No good picture taking areas, will have to go elsewhere for pictures. 
    -Just not as aesthetically pleasing. The barn itself is beautiful, but the grounds and location are not. 
    -Small outside area 

    I know it sounds like there is not much going for venue #2, but we do actually like the barn! The main selling point is the PRICE! It's HALF the price! That is a lot of money! Our main worry is the space. We don't want it to be crowded. Venue #1 is a dream venue!

    WWYD? Which venue would you choose? We are seriously torn and may just draw a venue out of a hat if we can't make up our minds soon!

    Both of these venues sound like they present a lot of problems.  I'm more concerned with whether you are going to properly host your guests.  There are a number of red flags in your post that make me feel that way.  I'd like more details about what this "wedding weekend" entails.
    [Deleted User]
  • How many people can venue 1 hold?  If Venue 2 can only hold 200 people, you can only invite 200 people, not 220, not 201, actually, not even 200 because you need to include yourself and your FI, your photographer, dj, waitstaff, etc in your count.

    you cannot charge people to stay at venue 1 because that would be them subsidizing your wedding, which is just wrong.  Also, you may want to reconsider the whole BYO thing because if you're doing everything a la carte, it may actually cost a lot more individually to rent chairs, tables, hire a caterer, hire a bartender.  Sure you'll save money buying your own booze, but that might be the only savings.

    Another poster asked about bathrooms.  Are there sufficient bathrooms at both locations?

    You know you don't HAVE to get married at one of these two locations, right?  While it may be farther away for people, it might be easier to go to the nearest big city (how far?  3 hours?) and book a place there; VFW hall, hotel banquet room, community center, park, zoo.  Then your guests will get their pick of hotel, or decide to not stay nearby and make the drive home.  Their choice.
  • So 220 on the guest list. So 222 with you and groom. More with photographers, videographers, DOCs, caterers, officiant, anyone who is working the wedding. Venue 1 is your only option unless you cut your guest list by at least 25-30 people, because you need to plan for 100% attendance and leave room for yourselves and anyone working the wedding. 
    [Deleted User]
  • You need enough space for all your guests, so that's #1. Everyone needs a chair and you need a big enough space for ALL guests to go in case of bad weather.

    Also, there needs to be a place for all guests to stay he night if it's too far to drive. So in other words, if there's no hotel within 20-30 minutes of your venue, you need to scrap these two venues...no matter how pretty they are.

    People may stay the weekend, they may not. If I lived 30-90 minutes from a wedding, I would attend the ceremony/reception and that's it (unless it were my sister or something).
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    [Deleted User]
  • Well, unless you have plans to cut your guest list, your only option is #1.  You should always plan for 100% attendance and never pick a venue that can't hold your guest list.  So, #2 isn't even an option.  You shouldn't be looking at any venue that can't accommodate 220+ people.

    A year ago, you posted on the Michigan-Detroit board about liking a certain photographer.  Are you no longer in the Michigan area?  Did you recently move to the Canadian tundra or Australian outback?  Because I find it hard to believe that in the continental United States you literally only have two options for a venue.  Have you tried posting to your local board?  Maybe someone knows of a place that just doesn't advertise in places like The Knot or has a friend of a friend or what have you because honestly neither of these venues sounds like the one.
    [Deleted User]
  • My vote is for venue #1 because of size. I learned my lesson almost the hard way that don't worry, you'll 30% of my guests won't come. Guess what, only 2% declined so I ended up with about 30 more people that we expected. Luckily we were good financially and space wise. And like a PP said, don't forget about your DJ, photographer, etc when doing a head count.

    Are there any other lodging options in the area of venue #1 for the guests that have to drive further? I would probably keep the cabins on site for parents and/or bridal party members. I know as a guest, I wouldn't want to share a cabin with another couple or family I didn't know well. If you limit the use of the cabins to the parents and if it will fit the bridal party members, then you aren't playing favorites or matching people up with people they don't know.

    But if you can reduce your guest list to the recommended 150, then I would do venue #2 because it will be less work for you. No one cares about parking & what it looks like as long as you aren't looking at all the cars during the ceremony or just past the dance floor.

    Like another PP said, I would see if you can find something that is a happy compromise of both venues.

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