Post # 1
down to 2 choices for reception venues.
forest creek country club: 5k more: paying for more reception space and a pretty good size balcony that backs to a creek and lots of trees
bella notte: everything is inclusive, spacing is not as nice
Post # 3
besides the space and backdrop differences, how do you feel about what each reception venue is offering? if bella notte offers great food and drink, i might be inclined to vote for the latter, since good quality stuff can be pricey and having it be all inclusive is a great deal. 5K is also a pretty significant amount of $ towards making the space more comfortable for your guests. but if the space issue translates into a possibly uncomfortable experience for your guests (will they feel like packed sardines?) then that might be more important and worth paying the extra $.
Post # 4
For the second venue – is there anything you can do to dress the venue up and make it nicer? Draping, cool lighting effects, flowers?