29 January 2009

Decision #1: the venues and the date

I am a coastal girl at heart that was born, raised, and still lives in the Midwest. Not sure how that happened, but I've always been so attracted to anything related to California or NYC, and I've felt so at home whenever I've visited either. When I graduated college, I said that I wanted to go somewhere larger or warmer than what Ohio offers, but my laziness and dislike of change combined with a city containing my boyfriend, family, future in-laws, friends, a job I like, and low cost of living has led me to remain in my hometown longer than I anticipated. When it came to starting the venue search, I didn't have a lot of hope searching in such a city. All I wanted was a clean and modern space, such as The Viceroy in California or The Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC. Or a place with a beach and no threat of rain in May, such as Club 19 at the St. Regis in Southern California. Is that too much to ask? Well, naturally yes, since I was looking at locations in the center of the country. I searched for months to find something that reflected my style, and I said over and over no hotels or country clubs. The thought of drop ceiling panels in every photo makes me cringe.

When I came across the Venue at Smith Brothers early in my search, I thought I could stop looking because I had found a fun modern space! Yet of course I knew deep down it would be a long shot because Nathan is strongly against exposed brick, which I've always thought lended a loft-like feel. The Venue wasn't the first place I visited, but eventually I did rule it out since I don't think our estimated party of 180 would fit. And a flickr photo album I came across showing how dark it could look in photos. My mom and I visited many many places in Columbus, the Vault (not kept up as well as I'd like), the Museum (while beautiful, not enough "elbow room" for our group according to my mom), the Conservatory (my obsession until I saw the caterer's estimate), the Athenaeum (would have been the most reasonable cost-wise downtown), Corazon (beautiful exterior, but the room was a bit too red, too small, and thank God I didn't book there since it has since closed!).

I had been so set on having a wedding downtown so that the hotel, church, reception, and after-hours fun would all be walkable or with taxis available. I still wish our locations, chosen in the suburbs, were closer together since I dislike moving all over town at other weddings, but I am so happy with our locations that proximity had to be sacrificed. My "no country club" rule was reconsidered once I went to a college roommate's wedding and I saw how lovely it was without being too cookie cutter. While I'm attracted to places with a bit more personality and that are more industrial, guests don't necessarily see them the same way, and I finally came to terms with that and moved the search out of downtown. My mom and I visited a couple country clubs close to where we live, and I found that I was really drawn to the high ceilings and chandeliers at the Country Club at Muirfield Village. After drawing out the process as long as I could, we finally put a deposit on it. This happened around the same time we had been meeting with a deacon at the Catholic church Nathan's parents belong to, and May 9, 2009 was available at both spots. After about three months of engagement, hours of researching online, driving around Columbus, indecisiveness, and many questions of "Have you set the date yet?", two big decisions were made! It's a bit more preppy than I originally envisioned, and not at all industrial, but it's lovely, and now that I've had a menu tasting there (more on that later), I'm even more thrilled with our choice.

I forgot to take my camera when we stopped by the first time (when a lovely wedding of about 250 was being set up), but I snuck out to take a few photos after work one day so that I'd be able to reference the main part of the room when planning. I took a couple photos, and layered the windows in to show the great view of the golf course outside.

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