Venue indecision…need advice from brides who had to compromise

posted 2 years ago in Venue
Post # 4
42117 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

chickspartan:  I think you can have a lovely and memorable wedding on any budget. I would make the budget the first proiority. Decide what you would be confortable spending, then make the wedding happen within that budget.

Did you look on VRBO for a cabin or lodge that could accomodate your group? Do you want some place that would accomodate all your guests? What would that number be? Are you ok with some guests staying elsewhere? What area of Iowa?

Post # 6
322 posts
Helper bee

chickspartan:  I felt like you were retelling my story with this post. FI is from Iowa, so we looked for venues there. We found many lovely venues, but nothing that really felt right. We did like one traditional venue quite a bit, but it was out of our budget. We also ended up looking at vacation rentals in our current area, thinking we might have a much more intimate wedding, but by the time we added up all the costs, it was much less expensive than the traditional wedding, but way more expensive than we thought it would be, without any of the real frills. That didn’t really seem worth it. So we are back to the drawing board and looking at inns as well. I’ll be really interested to know what you end up doing! We have been so frustrated, so I really empathize with you.

Post # 7
7531 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

chickspartan:  It sounds like you’re thinking “all this, or all that”.  This is what I’d do.  First set the budget range you are comfortable with.  Determine how many people are likely to attend.  Next think of what each of your top 3 priorities are.  Determine what isn’t or is less important.  Determine from your budget what you are willing to spend in each area of your budget.  If you spend more in one area, then find a way to decrease the amount you spend in another area.  

Post # 8
858 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

My FI and I had to give up our dream venue. It was perfect; in a city that we both loved (and had our first date in), PERFECT for our Art Deco theme, and historical. In fact, the first time we saw it was the day we got engaged. Our wedding would have looked like it came out of a period movie. But then we realized that the budget would be a huge stressor, we wouldn’t be able to spend money on ANYTHING else, and that we’d have to cut our guest list considerably. The venue just isn’t the most important part of the wedding; we can go visit beautiful places anytime we like, but this is our only opportunity to celebrate with our friends and family. We found a perfectly lovely (if more typical) venue in a less expensive town, and are moving forward with planning with peace of mind and a lot less stress. It ended up being for the best, as our wedding budget got cut by about 1/3 unexpectedly after we had booked our venue. If we were stuck in our dream venue, that would have been an impossible obstacle to get through. I won’t lie, I felt like crying for about 3 months every time I thought of this venue and the wedding that “could have been”, but the truth is that it was never *really* an option, we were lying to ourselves about how we could cut corners elsewhere to make it work. We would have come in way over budget as the little odds and ends added up. As hard as it was to walk away from this venue, it would have been harder to go into debt for a wedding, to have fought with our families over the guest list, and to feel like we had to compromise on every single other wedding-related decision we made.

I think it will help if you take a step back from the “venue” part of the decision making process, and take a look at how you want your event to feel. Do you picture yourself surrounded by a big group of family? Must it be in a place with a very specific feel? You may decide that this Inn is the only place that will work, but you may come up with a solution that will be better in the long run, even if it is difficult to let go of this dream. 

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by  MadameX.
Post # 9
7531 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

chickspartan:  I think that MadameX had some wisdom to her response.  I was trying to find a way to help you, and I do have an idea or two, but I don’t know that I could help you.  I’m not trying to be mean.  In fact, I did look up a couple of options for you today, and saw all the different ideas you have had.  Ideally you would like a Sunset wedding, Inn/Mansion out of budget wedding, Carnival theme, an Upscale Family reunion wedding celebration with games, and an Elegant Woodland (Non-Rustic) Romance wedding. I’d skip thinking about a two-day outing.  I think you really have to decide what is truly “you”.   I did think of this possibility though-to combine the best of the ideas at one time:

Since, it sounds like budget and people are most important to you, and to have a Sunset Ceremony/Upscale Family Reunion/Elegant Woodland Romance Theme wedding with all family possible there.  The only way I think it could be possible, if you were to have your wedding at a low-cost indoor/outdoor venue, with a rehearsal @ 1:30pm, an afternoon Saturday Welcome Carnival @ 2:00 with lemonade, water, koolaid, popcorn and cotton candy, etc. and outdoor games,  a 4:30-5:30 pm chicken BBQ, and salad cookout dinner, with beer, wine, wine coolers, hard lemonade. You could follow this with indoor game tables at 6:00pm  then your 7:45-8:00 pm outdoor ceremony, followed with an indoor dancing cake/dessert reception until 10-10:30 for those who wanted to stay.  There are two possible places I found via internet that could possibly accomodate this.  They both charge $100/day, plus alcohol fees.  One is more plain on the outside, but is a blank slate for decorating, and seats 100 inside, the other seems a bit more fancy castle/lodge-like, but only seats 60 indoors.  You can rent a tent canopy for either place.  If you are interested, PM me for possible ideas for how to make this work.


Post # 10
3096 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

chickspartan:  Have you considered having a small, destination wedding? Maybe search for inns that have that same feel you fell in love with elsewhere. Then you can completely reign in the number of people you invite and will be able to better stick to a budget. 

I suffered with sticker shock on several venues before I fell in love with two. I was torn between a theater or a garden club. The theater was awesome, plain and simple. It was unique, it would need minimal decoration, etc. However, we could not pull the trigger due to a couple of issues. Instead, we went with a gorgeous garden club that was more expensive, but will be more condusive to a cohesive party. 

You need to hammer down exactly what you want. Because you don’t have an unlimited budget, you are always going to need to comprimise. Find an all-inclusive type of situation, if you can. 

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