Wedding Reception Forum

With every "perfect" venue comes a slew of downfalls...

Just looking for some simple advice. 
I have two venues I'm eyeing. Basically, the price for either is perfect when it comes to actually renting the location. I will describe them below with pros/cons.

Venue #1 is on a mountain. They built a new lodge in 2006, and it's very beautiful, and something a lot of people haven't seen yet. There's a terrace to have the ceremony, and a banquet hall that can be separated into three banquet rooms, for rehearsal dinner and reception. Plenty of rooms for guests that want to stay the night before and for the BP to get ready in. Lovely little cabins for FI and I to get away to afterwards. Cooler up there. My only problems... I don't want a location where we HAVE to use their catering service. I heard the food wasn't good, plus it can get pretty expensive. Also, we have to use their bar. I really wanted to have beer/wine and bride & groom's "signature drinks", but you can not have any use of hard liquor. The catering/alcohol is not going to be the deciding factor but the pricing really turns us off. Also, no sparklers. I really really wanted sparklers as our send off.

Venue #2 is a visitor's center on the lake at one of our state parks. It's very pretty out there, as well. We can have our own private caterer as well as hard liquor (which will be in the form of mixed drinks if we decide we really want to do sig. drinks) as long as we aren't getting drunk and running around like idiots. And we can have sparklers, yay. You can have the ceremony right next to the building in front of the lake and then go inside to a conference room with beautiful tall windows overlooking the lake connected to a patio with an outdoor fireplace for the rehearsal dinner/reception. There's a hallway right outside that's perfect for a buffet table, guestbook table, etc. And here's the problems with this one: We would like to get married before I start going back to classes in late August so we can have enough time to have a destination honeymoon. So we were thinking early August. One, it's going to be hot as hades here in Arkansas at that time, even in the evening. But maybe by the lake it will be cooler? Who knows. Two, the visitors center stays open to the public until 8pm. No thank you. I don't want them to be touching our buffet and peeking in on our reception. BUT - by September 1st they start closing at 5pm which would be perfect. We were originally looking at September 20th until the honeymoon thing recently came up in conversation... we will consider that still and wait until I'm out of class in December to go somewhere. But by then it almost seems like such a waste.

So.. basically let me sum that up for you. 
Venue #1 that's absolutely stunning, has the added bonus of it being nice and cool if we chose to do it in August, but has the large fees of using their own catering/bar? Or Venue #2 that let's us use our own caterer/alcohol, has my sparklers, but might be at risk of having the general public touching/looking at our reception stuff?

This is difficult stuff.

Re: With every "perfect" venue comes a slew of downfalls...

  • I would do venue #2 in September and postpone your honeymoon.

    Venue #1 sounds amazing and beautiful, but bad food is a dealbreaker for me.  I wouldn't want to serve my guests food I didn't consider delicious.  Also, think about how annoying it will feel as you are planning to know that you are overpaying for bad food.  I would definitely have a tasting before you sign a contract.  Our venue required us to use their caterer, but we knew we loved the food before we signed.  No hard liquor probably would not be a dealbreaker for me (although we had a full open bar), but you know your crowd--maybe it is more of an issue for you.  

    I would be worried about the heat and the open to the public issue with having a wedding at venue #2 in the summer.  It sounds like there really isn't a separate public area from the wedding area, right?  A lot of people postpone their honeymoons.  The days before the wedding can be pretty stressful, and I was glad not to have to pack to go on a trip right afterwards.  We also were able to spend more time with our out-of-town guests and just relax together.  
    harper0813
  • Venue 2.  Bad food is a deal-breaker, and having to pay high prices for it is a real turnoff.  Postpone your honeymoon until after class.
    JoanE2012
  • dont choose the venue with food that isn't great. nothing NOTHING makes up for bad food.

    and if you're just going to a cabin on the property why would you have a send off anyway? stay until the end with your guests.

     

  • and in the august heat ? no thanks. being next to a lake wont make enough of a difference for me to not want to strangle you for making me sit there all dressed up in the hot sun in the dead of summer. inside. PLEASE please please inside.

    if you want to do something outside you can set up tables for those who like that kind of weather for the coctail hour.

     

  • Guests remember the food and the alcohol.  Go with venue 2.
    [Deleted User]
  • When you said the food was not that good at #1, I immediately chose #2.
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited June 2013
    Jen4948 said:
    Venue 2.  Bad food is a deal-breaker, and having to pay high prices for it is a real turnoff.  Postpone your honeymoon until after class.
    This!  People don't remember much from weddings, but they will remember if you had bad food.
    NYCMercedes
  • Venue #1 would be out because good food is the single most important thing for me.

    Venue #2 in August is out because I wouldn't want visitors to think the food is for everyone and hang around. 

    I'd wait until September and use Venue #2.
  • Venue #2 in September! It sounds like you can have more of what you want at this venue. Also what PP said about postponing HM...it would be a nice vacation after classes wear you out
  • Venue #2 later.
  • I have to go with Venue #2 in September. Like other PPs have said, bad food should be an automatic deal breaker. Hot as Hades is one too so. For me the only reasonable answer is the later honeymoon, IMO it's not a huge deal.  
  • As everyone else has said, venue #2 in September.   Maybe you could do a "mini-moon" for a day or two after the wedding just to have some time to relax, and then take your full-on honeymoon in December?
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