Choosing a Wedding Venue – Work in Progress

Yep, I’ve reached my saturation point with wedding planning. If I was a stay at home fiancee, I would probably love this. But, I work full time as a Project Manager, and this is just another project. So, now it’s like I’m working 60 hours a week, but I’m only getting paid for 40. And the other 20 are costing me like $20K. (Seriously, weddings are fucking expensive! I’ve never thought that I’d look at something for the price of $10K and think, damn, that’s cheap. I don’t have $10K! How is that cheap?!)

I’m not someone who’s been planning their wedding since I was a kid.  I never thought I would get married.  And now, for someone who is usually very strongly opinionated, I find myself filled with ennui as I look through everything.  Okay, so I just wanted to use the word ennui in a sentence (and then furiously Google to see if I’m using it right).

The FH and I are paying for the wedding ourselves.  Therefore, I cast a wide search on,, and Yelp! and Google for wedding venues in the $-$$ range out of $$$$.  From there I started a spreadsheet of all the places that looked okay.  Given my lack of vision, this ranged from restaurants, to country clubs, to barns, to museums.  Every space lists different sets of prices.  Most have a 20% administrative fee tacked on in the fine print.  Sometimes that covers the tip, sometimes it doesn’t.  Some you have to contact to have any idea.  One of my favorite places fell into that category and ended up quoting me $36K for an off-season, basic wedding.  UGH.

FH and I sat down to review the spreadsheet, which has exactly 30 venues on it.  We thought they all looked fine – story of our lives.  Narrowed down by location, removing everything north of us (my parents live a little north, his a lot south, so we want it at least a little bit in between).  Then we tried to guesstimate a total package price, even if they only provided prices for pieces of it (how’s that for alliteration – I’m on an AP English roll, today).

THEN, we prioritized which ones we would visit based on price, proximity to us (easy to visit vs. requires a whole day) and general appeal.  FH prefers restaurants to catering halls.  The decor and vibe is built in and it’s much more ‘us’.  I totally agree.  It’s also a little more work and very limited on day and time (usually can’t hold a night wedding at a restaurant).  I’m realizing that I prefer the full service places, even if they are a little generic.  And they’ll definitely be generic since we don’t have the money for a florist or cool garden lights.  We’re see-sawing between these two camps right now.  Here are the current places under consideration:

  • Zuka’s Hilltop Barn – pretty enough, estimated at 14K for November or December includes food, open bar, bridal suite, hair and makeup, ceremony
  • Saphire Estate – better food options than above, estimated at 13K for December, does not include hair and makeup (so these are about the same price)
  • Abby Park – really cool restaurant, can only do 12pm – 5pm, can’t do ceremony on site so that would be at 11AM, but full 10K package includes cupcakes and floral arrangements

And that’s where we are.  Everything is okay, but it all has it’s drawbacks.  Which, for a very indecisive Libra, makes making a decision nearly impossible.  That’s what FH is for…


3 thoughts on “Choosing a Wedding Venue – Work in Progress

  1. I like Sapphire Estates, looks pretty. Also I love new words and was googling it as soon as I read it, now I have to find a way to use it in a sentence.

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