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food or ambiance?

Hi everyone! New to the board!

Engaged for 3 1/2 weeks and trying to find a venue for reception in Feb 2011. Having around 300 guests for family style dinner and cocktails. 
There are 2 venues that I am stuck between. One is BEAUTIFUL on the inside - high ceilings, gorgeous chandeliers, big open space with more than enough room. However, I have never had the food and they don't do tastings. I have heard from people who have been there that the food is average. Also, they don't have much variety to choose from on the menu. This place is also very close to where we live and our church. 

The second place does not appeal to me aesthetically. The decor is cheezy, in my opinion - murals on the wall of vineyards, little cherubs painted everywhere you look, and the ceiling is short and painted blue with sparkly lights. Not my style. But I have been there before and the food is DELICIOUS. They have a plethora of great items to choose from on the menu. The also offer 2 tastings for up to 6 people. But it is about 25 minutes away in an ugly residential neighborhood. 

The total cost at each place is about the same.  So which is more important? The food or the ambiance? Not that the food at the first place would be terrible, or the ambiance at the second place would be disgusting. Just preferable over one another. And both places are giving is GREAT deals on food and bar. 

Opinions please! 

Re: food or ambiance?

  • emarston1emarston1 member
    5000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Honestly, I would go with the first place.  To me it has more "pros" than the other place.  If it's close to your church, then the drive won't be bad for guests.  25 minutes is kind of pushing it for a drive.  Plus it has nice decor so you may not have to spend the $$ to make it look nicer.

    The other place seems to only have the good food going for it.

  • edited December 2011
    What are the names of these places? When you described the first place, I immediately thought of my venue in Plymouth (but I heard their food is awesome) and when you mentioned the second place, I thought of a venue in Farmington Hills.

    If I were in your position, I would definitely go for venue 1. The food is very important, but you also want to be satisfied with the area surrounding. I think you should definitely choose ambiance over food, especially if venue 2 is not appealing to you at all.
  • edited December 2011
    I'm betting my wedding budget the 2nd place you mentioned is Arnaldo's in Riverview.  I've been to a ton of weddings there and the food is wonderful.  You seem very put off by the decor, so I would go for the 1st place you mentioned. 

    I don't know what the 1 st place is, but do a little more research on the food. check reviews and if the food is good, I would go with that place. You really cannot hide tha mural, so if you think looking at it would ruin the ambiance or your mood, then skip it.
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  • GwenwhyfareGwenwhyfare member
    Sixth Anniversary 1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Agree with PP. If you're not satisfied with the food completely, ask them if you can change it up. We've been working with our venue on this because we want to offer our guests something other than "traditional" wedding food. No harm in asking.

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  • emily1004emily1004 member
    edited December 2011
    What is place #1? Maybe someone on the board has had their wedding there or been there for a wedding, and can tell you what the food is like.

    IMO: My DH and I picked food over the look of the ballroom, BUT I knew it was a place that I could decorate, and that would be pleasing to me. If place #2 is not what you envisioned for your wedding day, don't have it there. There are TONS of venues in the Metro Detroit area for you to pick from. Good Luck!!!
  • queenfm85queenfm85 member
    edited December 2011

    I would say the first sounds the best. Honestly... people will be paying more attention to the decor and be drinking which may hinder their taste buds anyways ;)

    I won't remember the food as much as the time I had or the way the place looked, but that's just me!

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  • Melgor78Melgor78 member
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Congrats and welcome.

    Honestly I would want both.  You should look around for reviews of food for the first place.  Look at the stick post above and see if any one here has used them.  You have to decide what's more important to you.  I would really like to taste the food before serving it to my guest though so that would definitely make me think twice about first venue.  GL
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  • edited December 2011

    I vote for number two.  You can change the decor by covering things with fabric, flowers, etc. to a point, but you can't do anythig about the food.  What concerns me most is that they don't offer tastings.  Would they let you crash another wedding long enough to try the food?  I would never sign a contract with someplace where they won't let me taste--what are they trying to hide?

  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_michigan-detroit_food-ambiance?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local Wedding BoardsForum:88Discussion:153aff81-2814-4371-9fe2-ba52f0a76873Post:35507958-d74e-4111-b2cb-6763afaef6ac">Re: food or ambiance?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I vote for number two.  You can change the decor by covering things with fabric, flowers, etc. to a point, but you can't do anythig about the food.  What concerns me most is that they don't offer tastings.  Would they let you crash another wedding long enough to try the food?  I would never sign a contract with someplace where they won't let me taste--what are they trying to hide?
    Posted by LeahDVM2003[/QUOTE]

    It seems like it wouldn't even be worth the money if you were going to spend money on fabric to cover the murals. What's the point? You can spend that money somewhere else. Anyway, I chose my venue without doing a tasting. And it didn't bother me one bit. They have offered us appetizer tastings every time I go there to see them. The reason why they don't offer tastings is because they are really that confident that the food is amazing. I have heard nothing but great things about the food at our venue and I'm not at all concerned because we didn't get a tasting. They're not trying to hide anything. Plus they offer alot of unique things that they don't want random people coming in and stealing their ideas. And I get that. Plus it costs money to do tastings.
  • edited December 2011
    I agree with PP. In all the weddings I've been to, I've never thought to myself ,"WOW, this is the best food ever...." Its wedding food, its good but nothing to write home about. If the food is still good at the first place, I would go there since it works better as a location and you like the decor better. Good luck and welcome :~)
  • emily1004emily1004 member
    edited December 2011
    Some brides on the board don't care as much if the food is just okay. I'm the opposite, having good food at my wedding was VERY important to me and my DH. I had a lot of people tell me it was the best food they ever had at a wedding, and this made me very happy.
    No one cared about the decor, because it was my style, not theirs. I look at it this way (i know some will disagree with me) but, the reception should be what you and your DH want, but it's mostly for your wedding guests. 

    I DO remember good food at a wedding, and I also remember bad food. But that's just me. You need to ask yourself: "What's more important to me and my FI"?
    I bet if you look a little more, you will be able to find a place with a beautiful venue and good food. 
  • edited December 2011
    The 2nd place sounds like Arnaldo's in Riverview to me too...I'm partial to that place because that's where my reception is.  However, if you're going for the look over the food as a big priority, go with #1 or somewhere that suits your tastes.  To FI and me, good food and booze were the biggest priorities, so we chose somewhere we knew would provide a good meal.
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  • edited December 2011

    First of all WELCOME!

    We would be able to help you better if you gave us the names of each place. A bride may be able to give you better info regarding food, etc.

    It all depends on what is MOST important to you. To me, everything was important. ESPECIALLY the FOOD! Why have a wedding at a beautiul place with nasty food? That's a waste of money in my opinion.

  • edited December 2011

    Like Corinne, I also thought you were talking about a place in Plymouth with #1.  And, if it's the place Corinne and I thought of, it has AMAZING food.  I still have guests telling me it's the best food they've ever had at a wedding. 

    IMO:  I'd keep looking.  I'd look for a place that has BOTH things you want -- good food, and a beautiful location.  There are SO many wonderful places in Metro.  But, if you have you mind set on picking one of the two places, personally, I'd go with #1.  I would be terribly unhappy having my wedding in a location I thought was ugly.  And, it would be a huge waste of money to cover the walls.  I'd see if you can talk to venue #1.  Tell them you are concerned because you've heard negative things about their food, and see if they will do something for you to ease your mind (i.e. special tasting).  Also, see if they are able to make any special food.  My venue was able to -- they accomodated all of my guests special food requests.

    You should really come back and tell us the names of the places, and I'm sure some of the girls can give you reviews.

  • edited December 2011
    I'd go with place #1, hands down. 

    She never said the food was BAD at #1, just that it was average.  I'd say most wedding food is average... I don't go to a wedding expecting fantastic food ever, really.

    It sounds like a ton of work to cover up all the things you don't like at #2.  And, I think the decor/ambiance makes a much bigger impact on your wedding.  The food lasts for maybe an hour, max.  The look of the place is there the whole night long.
  • edited December 2011
    I'd say the name of the places and hope for reviews.

    Like PPs have said..if it's Crystal Gardens and Arnaldos...I can tell you Crystal Gardens has MEH food, three ballrooms that I heard guests kinda go in and out as they please...but it is REALLLLLLLY pretty.
  • edited December 2011
    Congrats and welcome!  This board is a great source!

    It sounds like you're leaning towards the first place yourself and I'd say follow your gut.

    If it were me, I'd probably go with the 1st place – assuming that the food is average and not revolting.  I don’t think that people will really remember the dinner (as long as it’s palatable) and most people aren’t going in expecting a gourmet meal. Good luck and enjoy the planning process!
  • leeshab1982leeshab1982 member
    edited December 2011
    Our venue didn't set up private tastings either.  They did, however, invite us to come in on the night of another wedding to taste the food they were having.  They just sat us in their restaurant area and served us all of the courses that were being served in the banquet room for the wedding.  We didn't get to pick what we were tasting, but we got a general idea of the quality of the food.  It was great!  Maybe venue #1 would allow you to do something like that.  It doesn't hurt to ask!

    Just a story from another perspective...
    My cousins had their wedding at a beautiful country club.  The grounds were really amazing and the view was fabulous.  However, when dinner was served, everyone was extremely disappointed.  It was honestly so bad that people didn't eat.  Think overcooked, dry chicken and beef...undercooked vegetables and very blah flavors.  Now whenever anyone brings up their wedding, it's the yucky food that is talked about and not so much the beautiful view. 

    My personal opinion is that I prefer a delicious meal over a trendy atmosphere.  It really just depends on what you guys prefer and what will make you more happy.  From your post, it sounds like #1 is your better bet. 
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  • edited December 2011
    I agree with the one other who voiced a third option,  Look at some more venues. 

    A balance of both would be best, but if you have your heart set on it being one of those two and nothing else I would pick beauty over superb food taste. BUT I'm a picky eater and I dont like fancy foods at all. Im super plain.

    On the flipside, no one will remember if your decor wasn't top notch but they will remember your wedding as the one they went home early from because they were hungry. Not saying they will, but just something to concider.
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