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North Carolina-Raleigh-Durham

***LizO2010***

Hi! I haven't been on the boards much lately, but I just remembered I was supposed to tell you about my visit to The Umstead and the tasting. I'm not sure if you're still looking for a venue or still considering it, but here is an update on my experience so far. I recently visited and had a tasting, and I'm getting lots accomplished so I have more to say about what it's like working with the venue.

I can't sing their praises enough! First off, the food was absolutely PHENOMENAL! The care that went into the tasting makes me realize how out of this world the actual wedding meal will be. The venue is so beautiful and the outdoor ceremony site in front of the lake just can't be beat. I can't remember if you had visited or not yet? It's really cool because your bridal suite looks on to the ceremony site, which is also really convenient. Also, after the ceremony, guests walk along this pretty pathway on the lake and then up these stairs and they're at the terrace for the cocktail hour. The view from the terrace is so pretty too. I think it's all so great! I remember that you were wondering about working with the venue. Ami (who you probably met if you visited) is amazing and extremely on top of EVERYTHING. She is extremely responsive to my e-mails--seriously, it's impressive. She coordinates with the vendors you choose (arrival times, setup info, etc.), which is such a treat because I know it's not that common for people from the venue to also do all that. For example, the photographer I chose hasn't photographed there before and she just said she'd reach out to him and give him the lay of the land, to make sure things will be all set and perfect on the day. So she really makes it so much easier on you! Honestly I can't tell you enough how on top of her game she is and how much I recommend you have your wedding there. I think it's the perfect mix of everything--the convenience of a hotel, the beauty of an art gallery (um, oh yeah--the art is so pretty!! All the furniture and other decor too!), the unique and natural outdoor ceremony setting, etc. etc. Plus the venue is the best to work with. I know a lot more at this point, so please let me know if you have any questions because I'll be more likely to be able to help you now : )

Re: ***LizO2010***

  • LizO2010LizO2010 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thanks.  We have met with Ami yet since we are looking at other venues too, but thank you for all of the advice.  Food is a huge factor for us (my brother is a chef) and it's comforting to know your tasting went so well.  The only thing is we are cutting our guest list due to budget, so we will only have about 120 people.  Do you know if they have reception spaces for such a small group? (I know their ball room has a 150 minumum). We liked the convenience of the hotel too since most of our guests are coming from out of town. Thanks again for sharing:)
  • el_sundropel_sundrop member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011

    Yes, the food was amazing. The chef, server, and other staff went through a lot of effort for my tasting--and it was just me there, so I was especially impressed. The chef came out at the end to answer any questions I had. I guess once in awhile people will request little swaps (like swap out one of the veggies for their favorite or something), but I didn't have any questions or special requests, because it was all perfect. By the way, they also have a vegetarian option and options for kid meals if you're having any there (it isn't listed with the menu in the wedding package pdf, but they do have those options--I found out at the tasting).

    We are only having 25 guests at our wedding, so yes you will be all set!  In addition to the ballroom, they also have the Salon room, which we are using. The Salon is kind of a huge room for us, but we love it! We are doing a very long rectangular table towards the center of the room (and having a 12'x12' dance floor, our cake table, and a music table), so the space will fill up nicely for us and won't look empty or anything. I think it can hold up to 150 for a reception though, so it's plenty big! I finally went down to NC and saw the spaces in person recently--I actually prefer the look of the Salon room over the ballroom : ) But they're both gorgeous!

    They also have the Sycamore, Cedar, and Boardroom, but those rooms would definitely be much too small for your group--but you could use one of them for another wedding-related event, like a bridesmaids luncheon, etc. We're having a farewell breakfast in the Cedar room the morning after.

    We had considered using the Sycamore room or Cedar room for our reception, but in the end we decided to go with the Salon room-- the high ceilings and chandelier are beautiful, and the terrace is amazing!! We love that the terrace is right there and it's big and the view is great (the lake and greenery!!). We're going to have the bar on the terrace for the whole time (cocktail hour and reception). The terrace runs along the ballroom, salon room, and pre-function (cocktail hour) areas, so all have direct access with the terrace right there. The Salon room is right next to the ballroom actually. You should definitely talk to Ami--she can tell you all your options, so you can decide if the venue will work well for you or not. If the whole ballroom is too big for you guys, they can split it in half (I think it would still look nice and just like its own room). Or you could maybe use the Salon room! : ) I have a chart that says it holds 200 for theater style seating and up to 150 for reception, but you'll have to confirm that...once they add the dance floor, the count might go down--I'm not sure. I think they'll have an option for a group your size that'll work out great, so you should check into these alternatives.

    Sorry this is so long...hope it helps : )
    Where else are you considering?

  • LizO2010LizO2010 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thanks.  We are also considering the Carolina Inn in chapel hill and are still in the process of looking at some other venues in the triangle and charlotte (my dad just moved there so he is asking around for me).  We really liked the umstead, but it is a bit pricey for the number of guests we will have so we want to at least check out some other places.
  • el_sundropel_sundrop member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Yeah, I think that's great to compare places. I totally understand about the price. We're having such an intimate wedding that the price wasn't really an issue, but if we were having a "regular"-sized wedding I'm not sure if we would have even been able to consider it. Good luck on making your decision : ) I'm sure whichever you pick will be amazing!
  • edited December 2011

    So I just found your conversation here on the Umstead and I couldn't help but comment. We are having our wedding reception at the Umstead and Ami is beyond amazing!!!!!!!!! She sold the Umstead to us. It is a little pricey, but it is an all inclusive package, so it is worth it vs. being "nickel & dimed" for everything at other locations (which is what we found was happening). I believe the guest minimum for the ballroom is 120-125. With that you get a full seated dinner, open bar, cake, and practically a wedding a planner. 

    As I mentioned on the other page, we are in limbo about transportation because we are having our ceremony off-site, but our guest will be staying at the Umstead. We are considering getting transportation for our guest inorder to take them to the ceremony and bring them back, but is it worth it because the cermony is about 10 miles away? 

    Thanks for adding these tips. We have not done our tasting yet, but I am certainly looking forward to it.

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