New to the knot - looking for outdoor / offbeat wedding

Hi ladies, I've new to the knot and don't have a bio because I have nothing to put in it yet! I'v been enjoying engagement  and am just starting to get down to thinking about wedding plans. (everyone thinks I'm nuts for waiting nearly 5 mos!) Those who know me best have always called me the anti-bride.. don't get me wrong, love other people's fairy tale weddings and such but the it's just not my style. I've been doing lots of googling of venues, even driving by some to get a look at the area... I'm hoping maybe one of you will have a suggestion about an outdoor 'offbeat' (aka somewhere that doesn't bill itself as a 'wedding venue') place. 

Details: live in Beaver Co., not picky about location if the place is a good fit, want a pretty laid back wedding, want to be outdoors - would REALLY like to have a bonfire and our small dog there, prefer ceremony/reception at same place but not set on it, approx 100-130 people.

I've seen a few farms - lindgrow and some other one that might fit the bill, but I couldn't down the sticker shock for what I heard they charge. I also checked out park pavilions but would have to forgo bonfire/dog/alcohol for most and many wanted you out and cleaned up by 10pm which is probably unrealistic for my group. FI relative's yard is an option but would have to figure out generators/pottys. Succop in Butler is the only other place I've found and didn't automatically rule out. Any thoughts would be much appreciated - even if it's sadly a reality check that my perfect venue does not exist!

Re: New to the knot - looking for outdoor / offbeat wedding

  • Welcome and congrats!

    I was looking for a similar type of venue as you are and actually booked Succop for next year! I am in love with it!!! And I also had to pick my jaw up off the floor regarding the price for Lingrow. Springwood in Verona is gorgeous but just as expensive unfortunately. Greystone Fields in Gibsonia is lovely, expensive but not as bad as the other two. Have you looked into Stonebridge Farm Nursery in Ambridge? It's basically an open space surrounded by trees and has some water features. Jan, one of the owners was very sweet. Dogs are allowed. Dogs are also allowed at The Atrium in Prospect. It has both and indoor and outdoor area and very very reasonably priced. Kristen was also great to work with. Chapel Valley Estates in Ellwood City was on our list but we didn't get a chance to tour it. The White Barn in Prospect, Pa is a newer venue and a photographer I spoke with did a wedding there and said it was beautiful (Kelsey Kradel Photography).

    Hope this helps!
    Good luck and keep us posted!
  • Hello and welcome! I know how tough it is to find a non cookie cutter type place for a good price. I ended up going with Lingrow myself on a Friday to help reduce cost. I think futurkehrs laid out some great options for you but another potential space I thought of is the banquet room in Schenley Park skating rink. I checked it out for a work function. Very reasonable! My FI is not a city guy or else I would have considered it for us. Good luck with planning. Let us know what you find out!
  • edited September 2012
    My fiance and I just booked Mitchell Ponds B&B in Knox, PA.  throw that in Google and see what you think.  It's a great venue at half the price of some of the other places I saw mentioned.
  • Thanks, all! I may go tour Succop and see how I feel about it. A few people have mentioned it's really far away from hotels and such for guests. I can deal with that if it's what I want. I have looked into Stonebridge - I think because my FI runs a landscaping company and has gone there for supplies, it just doesn't strike me as where I want to be married even though it's really pretty. We're not city people either (actually we live pretty far out in the country!) so Schenley Park rink isn't our style either. I just googled Mitchell Ponds - I'd never heard of it! The scenery looks goergous and I like that the bridal party could probably stay on site. Will hve to check into the dog/fire aspect. Are you willing to share a potential price range for it and do you happen to know how many guest rooms they have? It's not on their website. Either way, thanks again! 
  • Room for 16 people to stay at the B&B.  There are rooms in the main house, the out building and a little loft in the pool house.  The cost is 1900 for lodging for the weekend plus a 12% gratuity, 22 per person for the venue which includes all the chairs plus flushable port-a-johns.  The owner said she would have people there to help with parking as well. So figure just under 5K for the venue which includes the entire place from Friday afternoon until Sunday.  You can definitely find a caterer for well under 20 bucks a person up around there too.  We are talking to a few now and will let you know on that if we find a good one.  There is a barn that's over a hundred years old there for the reception. You can decorate it however you want as well.  She doesn't care about tacks or nails or tape or whatever.  We are DIY'ing the center pieces and Save the Dates and invitations which saves us money so we can put a little more toward the venue.  We walked around the grounds up there and it is absolutely beautiful...No worries on being interrupted or having complaints from anyone as this place is out in its own little world.  
  • Oh yeah, she's allowing us to bring our little dog to stay with us all weekend and there is a fire ring there. 
  • Have you checked out the white barn in prospect, pa? I looked into lingrow and armstrong, both were nice but not exactly what I was looking for. My fiance and fell in love with the white barn; we are having our wedding and reception there this June; not sure they allow dogs, but it's somthing to possibly check out.
  • The B&B sounds soo fun! I have 5 maids, he has 5 guys and all of them are married/living with sig others so I have nooo idea how we'd figure out which 16 get to stay on-site! We are going to tour Fernstone Retreat in Ohiopyle this Sat. If we don't love it, I'm calling that B&B on Sunday! 

    I did look at the White Barn's website. I liked the place, wasn't in love with having to have an exclusive caterer simply beacuse we are paying for everything and prefer to be able to shop around for what fits our budget. (I've heard good things about Medures though!)
  • I'm having the same problem you are.  All I want is booze, fire and a place to crash!  I really didn't think it would be that hard to find a place like this but I'm still without a venue!  We were looking at campgrounds (particularly with cabins) but they all seem to have strict rules about day guests (that need to be registered, paid for and out by 10), alcohol (no kegs, "drinking parties" or no alcohol at all) and quiet hours.  One even said that being loud could have you removed from the grounds without refund, which I understand, but not something I want hanging over my head at my own wedding.

    We did find a large house near Moraine on that seemed pretty private where everyone could stay on site... but the rates for a wedding are different than what's on the website.  Something like $750 for the weekend stay plus $20 per person for cleaning/lawn maintenance which, to me, seems ridiculous considering you'll still need to rent a tent, tables, etc. But it might work for you so it was worth mentioning.

    Also, we looked at boy scout/girl scout camps since you can rent the entire camp for super cheap and the application doesn't say anything about alcohol.  However, buried deep in text in the brochure for Camp Redwing (closest for us) it says alcohol is prohibited. Just so you know, so you don't get all excited like me :)

    Anyway, good luck and I look forward to seeing what you find!
  • What you described is exactly what I'm looking for too! Laid back, booze, fire, hang out with good friends. Period. I had my heart set on Fernstone Retreat in Ohiopyle. 35 people can stay on-site, they have a pavilion with grills and a large field to actually get married in, a bunkhouse and a small white house with guest room, a game room and lodge area, firepits galore and they don't require a specific caterer or rentals from anywhere particular -- it was rustic and perfect... UNTIL they gave me pricing before I toured it and a different set of pricing and regulations after I toured and wanted to book it! So I ruled them out too! I haven't found anything else yet. We are campers too and looked at campgrounds in the area, but most have rules about parties and no drinking is an issue in most parks around here. Sure, we have a few beers when we camp, but I wouldn't want to spend the entire wedding evening worrying about it.I looked at rental homes in Ligioner and near 7 Springs, but they tack on thousands when you say the word wedding, even if that only means like 40 people, not 100.  Let me know if you find anything! At this point, we're thinking of just eloping ourselves and having a picnic at our house after... I'd rather do that than pay for an overpriced venue that isn't what I wanted anyway! 
  • Any updates on places you have looked at/found? I'm right there with you in the bonfire/dog/rustic venue thing.

  • I haven't found anything yet. Right now I'm just waiting to hit the Powerball so I can buy my own venue : The only place I haven't totally ruled out is Cooper's Lake in Slippery Rock. They have a nice big barn and tons of acreage for an outdoor after party where you won't bother other guests. The big problem is still lodging though, since some of our guests aren't going to want to stay in tents. They don't have cabins or anything else so we looked into renting a couple RVs, but I just don't know if I want to bother with all that.
  • Hey ladies, here's my 2 cents after spending much time looking for a venue. Coopers Lake is nice - I hear you about the tents though.

    If distance isn't an issue, check out Fernstone Retreat in Ohiopyle. It's a rustic, but beautiful, old hunting lodge/complex with a main lodge, bunk house, small guest house acreage, pond, pavilion and game room. I think about 30 can  - shared rooms with double beds + some single beds on a sleeping porch - and there are campgrounds/lodges/cabins/bed n breakfasts nearby for any other family members. Fires and dogs are allowed. No catering/alcohol limitations. The price (1500 nite) stopped me but I would have definitely booked if it were more in my budget. 

    I liked Succop but it still had more of a 'wedding' feel than a laid back, camping type thing that I was looking for. I loved several state parks in PA, but I do enjoy a good beer so they were ruled out because of alcohol limitation. I found several 'group camp' areas or group cabin type things but most were associated with a religious entity and I was not a member of any of them - plus, alcohol was again an issue. I also liked Penn Scenic, it's a great lodge in the Laurel Highlands area with cabins on the property that can also be rented but price won that battle too. 

    I ended up going with a camp area in West Virginia. It's very basic but there are flushing bathrooms, fire pit, dog permitted, alcohol permit and an indoor area incase the weather doesn't cooperate. The campground is down the road so anyone with a tent or RV (and who will be drinking/not driving) can camp and others can go home if that isn't their style. Good luck in your search! 

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