Sunday, November 7, 2010

Venue searching

We've started the wedding planning process.

Now, please excuse me while I go bang my head against a wall. Repeatedly.

We're venue hunting. Oh my ever-loving freaking God. We've seen 3, and have another 3 meetings lined up this week, and I'm waiting to hear back from another 5 to see if they have the date available/set up meetings. So yes, I might have gone a little crazy, because that's 11 in total.

The reason we have so many is because we aren't firm on if we want ceremony + reception together, or just a reception space. I'm still deciding if the added stress and money needed to have a ceremony site separate from reception space is worth it. We also have very different tastes when it comes to wedding venues; Keith wants golf club-type of feel, and I want classy rustic. We both don't want it to look cheap or tacky (aka no Legion halls, thanks), but I'm more laid-back as to what classifies as acceptable, whereas Keith? Not so much.

So we're looking. We've looked at The Ark, Stanley's Maple Lane Farms, and Camp Fortune so far.

The Ark is completely out. It's 50 minutes from Ottawa on the Quebec side and it was just horrible. When we went for our meeting the guy was rude to me and the actual space looks like somebody's basement. Not to mention the price: 2,000$ for ceremony + reception + officiant. Catering is done by an outside party, decor is extra, bar is byob.

Maple Lanes is by far our favourite so far, but we can't agree on a specific venue within the farm. I like the Stonehouse, Keith likes their main lodge. Both are completely beautiful, just different. It's about 20 minutes outside of Ottawa on the Ontario side, in Metcalfe. The price gives me heart palpitations, but its a very comprehensive package that I'm sure can be tweaked. Plus he quoted me on 100 guests, and we won't have that many. Still, for just over 11.5k we get ceremony + reception + audio system + officiant + reception decor + linen's/chairs/tables + catering + cocktail hour + serving staff, plus a bridal attendant for the whole day. If we went with the Stonehouse, it's about 2,000$ less. The stuff I don't like is the guy we dealt with was kind of an asshole, and I'm sure I can get the reception decor for less than the price we've been quoted, but they don't allow outside vendors. Deposits are 1,000$ to reserve the space, 1,000$ both 6 and 3 months before, 65% of the remaining balance due 3 weeks before and the remaining 1 week before the wedding.

Camp Fortune is squarely in the middle. It's a gorgeous lovely ski lodge on the Quebec side, about 20 minutes from downtown Ottawa. We would get the entire lodge (2 huge spaces) for ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and dancing. They have an exclusive in-house caterer, and we'd have to bring in our own decor. The deposit system is amazing; 500$ to reserve the space with 50% of the catering bill due 3 weeks before and the other 50% due within 30 days after the wedding. Plus I just liked dealing with the event coordinator; very friendly, easy to talk to, down to earth, informative, etc.

This week we're going to see 3 reception sites: Cartier Place Suite Hotel on Tuesday, Capone's Catering on Thursday, and St. Elias Centre on Friday. The biggest disadvantage to these ones is that I would probably have to find a separate ceremony site, and to be honest, I'm not sure I'm up for the added cost and stress. We'll see though.

And yes, in case you're wondering, I have made Keith promise that we'll power through the remaining venue meetings, and make our decision by the end of November.

1 comment:

Britt said...

I found venue searching very stressful. I did most of it pre-engagment and showed T all the ones I really liked. We vetoed so many. I really like the last two venues you saw. If it were me, I'd go with the one who I liked working with the best. It will make your life infinitely easier when you start dealing with them on a regular basis.