Texas-Dallas and Ft. Worth
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Small Venue Suggestions

Hi, everyone.  I've found lurking on this board extremely helpful during my planning process so far and wondered if you all could help me with my current dilemma.

I'm getting married in August and am planning to have a Sunday brunch wedding with about 50 guests.  I had my heart set on Avanti Fountain Place, which is one of the few venues I've found in the DFW area that's designed for a smaller event.  However, after about three months of waiting, Avanti still refuses to allow me to sign a contract because there's a possibility that they'll be doing intermittant construction around my wedding date.  So, I've accepted that I have to move on.

My question is:  Have any of you come across a venue that would be appropriate for a 50-person event?  I have scoured the vendor list, Google, etc., but all of the venues either are too large or don't fit my vision/budget for my wedding.  My budget for the venue/catering/rentals is no more than $6,000.  Here's my wish list for venue features:

- Able to accommodate an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception (although I would settle for an indoor ceremony if the venue has lots of natural light)
- Windows in the reception area
- I'll have many out of town guests, so I'd like the venue to be close to hotels (preferably within walking distance)
- More of a modern feel

My current hope is that Stonegate Mansion in Ft. Worth will work because it is broken up into smaller rooms.  However, I also feel like there may be hotels that would work for me, but it's been hard for me to get a sense of which hotels would be best via the Internet because so few of them put photos on their websites. I live on the East Coast and have been sending my mom to look at venues, so I'm trying to narrow it down as much as possible.

Thanks so much for your help!

Re: Small Venue Suggestions

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    fallbride1109fallbride1109 member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    edited January 2013
    You may not want to hear this but since your profile says SC I will assume you aren't aware--but it will be 200 degrees here in August.  An outdoor ceremony would be brutal, even in the evening hours.

    My boss had a wedding of around 75 guests and he got married at the Stoneleigh Hotel which is modern and beautiful--not sure if you can get the F&B minimum that low but possibly.  Boutique hotels would probably be the way to go over a chain like Hyatt, Hilton, etc.  I also got married at a boutique hotel The Melrose and it does have a 2nd story outdoor terrace where we had our ceremony.  It's not modern however, it is a historic hotel.

    That's too bad about Avanti, it would be perfect.  We have had a few Knotties get married at restaurants such as Maggiano's, El Fenix, and Ferrari Italian Villa.  If you are looking at Ft. Worth, a popular option is using the Marty Leonard chapel for the ceremony and the reception at Joe T. Garcia's.  Restaurants probably wouldn't give you that open feel though.

    It's probably way too big but I do love Plaza on the Hill at the Sheraton.
    http://www.sheratonarlingtonhotel.com/weddings.  Another beautiful Ft. Worth venue is the museum of Modern Art ("the Modern") but it could be too pricey.
    http://themodern.org/sites/default/files/Rental%20Rates%20and%20Capacity%20and%20Minimums%20-%202012.pdf
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    Thanks for your help!  I grew up in Texas and unfortunately know exactly how hot it is in August.  That's one of the reasons we're getting married in the morning.  I figured we could get away with a short outdoor ceremony if we had it at 10:30 a.m. :)
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    I know your pain. I had a guest list of 50 and every place that was small enough didn't have the upscale feel. But, I ended up at Avanti. I am bummed out for you! How bout restaurants? I know you want an open feel but.... The Maggiano's at Northpark has a nice room upstairs. I went to a company dinner at Dragonfly at Hotel Zaza and it was a great intimate feel. (Plus, super awesome food!) I work at the dallas arboretum & we have locations for a smaller ceremony. Also, that time of year they would be willing to work with you on pricing. One of the locations for reception would give you a smaller " feel" too. ( and I promise, I never pitch the arb on here!) Whatever happens, I wish you the best of luck!
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    Hello Ladies,
    I might be of some help with choosing a Venue. You could always try Hickory Street Annex.

    Also, I want to let you know about a great new local Photobooth Business. Pretty Deer Photobooths. 
    Cheers!
    -Amanda- 
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    I think the Arboretum ceremony and brunch reception is a great idea (other than the fact that I still don't agree with an outdoor ceremony which is why I didn't recommend it in my first post.)  I still think MLC and Cafe Modern is better.  :) 
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     I am having a brunch wedding at the Melrose that stephiehall mentioned, and it is a great small venue and the F&B minimum they quoted me for a brunch would work for you.  But, it isn't modern.  Beautiful and upscale, yes, but not modern.  :(

    Maybe check out the Magnolia downtown?  I looked there, and I think she quoted me a 5,000 food and beverage minimum for a brunch.  It has a cool boutique feel, but I still wouldn't call it "modern."  They have an outdoor space, too.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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    nextrightthing I am so excited you are using the Melrose! :
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    Thanks so much for your help, everyone!  It's comforting to hear that others have struggled with finding a small venue in the DFW area.

    Hotel Zaza and the Magnolia both look great.  I had been concerned that going with a boutique hotel would be too expensive, but it sounds like it could work for me.  Although the Melrose isn't modern, it is beautiful and may work for me as well.  I also love the Arboretum, although I'm concerned about its distance from hotels.

    The Modern is a beautiful venue, and I did consider it and a few other museums.  Unfortunately, museums typically don't work for a brunch wedding because the museum is open during those hours.  All of the museums I've looked at will only schedule weddings at night.

    Thanks again for all your help!
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    Hi! I'm also having a small wedding, about 50-60 people, and we booked the McFarland House in downtown Fort Worth. For a Saturday evening for 8 hours we're paying about $1700 for the venue itself, and they allow you to use whatever caterer you'd like. The patio in the back is gorgeous and perfect for a wedding under 65 guests. If you use the interior of the house, they provide some tables and chairs, but you'd need to get rentals if you're using the outdoor/porch areas. 

    Their website (link) has some outdated-looking pictures, but I found a blog post (link) with some gorgeous wedding photos that have been taken there recently. 
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    Not sure how far you are willing to travel but I am getting married in Longview, Texas at a place called The Belgium House.  Great prices, lovely venue.  Outdoor gazebo area for ceremony.
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    Have you looked at Fairy Tale Manor in Frisco? It's really pretty and they have a neat space for an outdoor wedding.. It's very intimate and I think you could make it look modern.. i went to a wedding there a week ago for  my bosses daughter and it was beautiful. They did some sort of lighting that made the room pink! it was beautiful
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    What about Maple Manor?
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    Thanks everyone for your help!  We decided to go with the Dallas Arboretum.  I'm going to include reviews of the places that I toured (or my mom toured on my behalf) to help out future brides looking for a smaller venue.

    Avanti Fountain Place

    This place is perfect for a under-100 person wedding.  It was my first-choice venue, but they refused to allow me to sign a contract for months and were very reluctant to tell me why (the reason turned out to be the possibility of construction in the ceremony space).  They repeatedly said I could sign the contract "at the end of the week" or something similar, only to change their mind when the "end of the week" arrived.  I finally gave up.  They did eventually contact me to allow me to sign a contract, but I was so disappointed in the service that we decided to go elsewhere.

    Magnolia Hotel

    The reception options were great for a smaller wedding.  They also quoted me a very reasonable F&B minimum for a Sunday brunch wedding.  However, the only ceremony options were a conference room or a driveway (yuck), and we really wanted to have our ceremony and reception at the same place.

    Hotel ZaZa

    We were looking for a modern venue, but this place was TOO modern.  The reception location featured unusual art, which they apparently change out periodically.  They have an outdoor ceremony space near the pool, but it's only available in the winter.  The F&B minimum was very reasonable, though.

    Stonegate Mansion

    I really liked this place.  Their Terrace Room is perfect for a smaller wedding (they also have a large room for a larger event), and the staff was very helpful.  They have a beautiful outdoor ceremony space and were also willing to do the ceremony inside if it rained or was too hot.  We ultimately decided not to go with this place because it's a lot pricier than the Arboretum, which happens in part because you have to purchase alcohol through Stonegate.  Also, just FYI, the house was the site of two murders in the 80s.  This didn't bother me, but my fiance was concerned that people would be taking about the murders at our wedding, which he thought was a bit morbid.
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