- 6 years ago
- Wedding: September 2013
I’m posting this in hopes that it might help some of you guys out. We’ve had a long, stressful venue search.
Gingerwoods– I went into this place with such high hopes despite the fact that I found them hard to contact and not very forthright with information. All of the pictures I’ve seen of the place are stunning and it was in our budget(though on the very edge of it)
My fiance, mother and I made the trip out there and were less the thrilled. We met with a lady who really couldn’t have care less about us or any of the questions we wanted to ask. When we got there she handed us a small packet of information and said, “Show yourself around” then walked into the office and shut the door. She didn’t introduce herself and didn’t actually give us a tour of the place or allow us to ask questions. We looked around and the growns weren’t kept very well. This may be due to it being early Spring (we visited in late March/early April) or due to the fact that it rained earlier in the week but it just had a look of neglect. After looking around for 15 minutes we knocked on the office door so we could ask some question but she was on the phone and didn’t give us any indicator she’d be off soon so we just left. I was so angry and disappointed that I wanted to quit right then and there. I just felt for the amount of money they were asking they should instill some confidence in us and make us want to have our wedding there.
Blackacre Nature Preserve– This was an interesting little place and the owner is exceptionally friendly, though a little scatterbrained. Overall it was a decent place but for the price there just wasn’t enough bang for your buck. We’d have to bring in a LOT of outside vendors and help and overall it would have cost us so much money despite the seemingly reasonable $950 we were quoted to rent for the day. The barn was less than ideal. Instead of being the typical cute rustic barn seen in most of today’s wedding porn, it was exactly as most barns are, unattractive and full of dirt, poop, and animals. It did not a great area for a wedding should it rain because the ground was very difficult to walk on and there were puddles everywhere.
Millanova Winery– We showed up and the woman who was supposed to meet us for the tour called in and had neglected to tell us. We couldn’t really get any help or answers from the other people in the facility but they did let us walk around and check the place out. It wss nice enough and if you are willing to put in the time to decorate I’m sure it would look quite nice especially for a fall wedding. But it was a mediocre place for us. My fiance was especially displeased with the pavillion they use for weddings. It was COVERED in bird poop and had this odd, unremovable black tarp-like thing that seemed to close the place in. He’s a little wary of confined spaces and this just made him feel uncomfortable. I completely understand as well because the black tarp did give me a very unsettling feeling. The area for receptions was decent and quite large but it looked like an industrial sized garage and seemed to be the place they stored stuff. When asked no one could actually tell us what they do with the stuff when events are happening.
All three of these places we fairly to extremely specific about which vendors we could use which I know is often a big gripe from many brides. So this is something to think about if you are looking into any of the above three. It was also frustrating because we planned on at least 30 minutes to tour the place and ask questions. But our “tours” took no more than 15-20 minutes and we were less than satisfied.
After the above three tours we became a little disheartened. Our experiences were mediocre at best and it really put a damper on our spirit. Because of this we decided to take a break for a few weeks so we cancelled our tours with Gardencourt, Farmington, and Mellwood Arts Center.
Shuck’s Farm– This is a family farm in Shelbyville. Everything is all word of mouth. They don’t advertise(but I’m going to give them a plug here) and only hold a few weddings a year. They basically rent out their property because they have been through the whole wedding planning process with their daughters and know how stressful it is. They are hoping to make things a little easier for couples in the future. It was a heck of a drive for us but when we got there everything was so gorgeous. They had a beautiful set up for weddings and the pavillion for receptions was just wonderful. There was a nice little lake and they even offered up their lake house for people to stay in the night before and after the wedding. They had an open caterer/vendor policy and no real restrictions on decoration or time spent. You also got the whole weekend(Friday afternoon-through Sunday evening) for set up, wedding ceremony, reception, and tear down) which made it extremely affordable and convenient. We were really impressed with this place except for the extremely hilly grounds which were difficult to walk and drive over AND the long drive there. It just wasn’t a drive we were willing to ask our guests to make.
University of Louisville Shelby Campus– This place is actually a little gem. Not many people would immediately think to use it but it’s the place we were set on going with until we found the perfect venue for us. Anita Sturgill is the main contact person and she was awesome from the get go. She was very informative, polite, professional, and friendly. We scheduled a tour with her assistant. When we showed up we were a little miffed because no one seeme to be in the building but we came by security guard who told us the assistant had a little dilemma. The security guard excorted us upstairs and the assistant apolgized. From there on out things went great. He showed us around the facility and we got to see what it looks like when it’s set up for an event. The area where they hold receptions is very large with high ceilings and an open floor plann. He gave us a huge packet of information that includes their rental rates(students, staff and alumni get a discount) as well as rental prices for decorations(although you can bring in your own or use an outside vendor) He showed us a variety of ways we could set up the room for a reception and answered every conceivable question we could come up with. He was very friendly and really took the time to make us feel confident.
They prefer that you use Ladyfingers catering but they do provide several options for you if you choose not to. They are open to any vendor. Any decoration is fine as long as it can be removed and doesn’t harm the integrity of the room/building. On the main paperwork it says the rental period is until 12am at the latest but it’s not a rule they strictly enforce as long as things are kept respectful and under control.
Overall they were one of the most lenient places we looked at and it’s definitely a place to look into because you can have a nice wedding at an affordable price.
Despite all of that there was something about the grounds/facility itself that just didn’t scream “Get married here!” It was a wonderful place but it wasn’t us.
So we sat around and though for a bit. We weren’t sure if we were going to find a place that really suited us since our hearts were set on Yew Dell Gardens but it was WAY out of our budget.
Then one day I came by an article about country club weddings. It said most budget brides stay away from country clubs because they immediately think it’ll cost them so much money(which is often true) but many country clubs end up being a little cheaper because they don’t hold weddings often and they offer you so much. After reading that article I started researching local country clubs and found a few that seemed nice.
After several emails we finally set some appointments with a few.
Big Springs Country Club-I emailed the club manager several times before our tour and he always responded within an extremely reasonable amount of time. Through his emails I got the sense that he was an extremely friendly guy.
I was a little more excited about this tour after our promising visit with the Shelby Campus people but still anxious because we’d had such bad luck so far. Upon turning on the driveway and crossing through I gates my gloomy mood changed and I immediately knew this was the place for us. The short quarter mile trek down the driveway was absolutely STUNNING. Lots of beautiful trees, gorgeous flowers just blooming, lush golfing greens lay off in the distance. This we came up to this quiant clubhouse which looked rather small on the outside. But oh were we so wrong. Once we got through the doors we had entered into a large, lush seating area that was lit by a gorgeous chandelier. We met with the club manager, Rick Thurston, and he instantly put me at ease. He was calm, friendly, and super pumped to tell us everything he could about the place. While he was talking we could really tell he loved everything there and he wasn’t just some salesman trying to get us to spend our money. He walked us through every part of the club from the main dining area with the most spectacular panoramic window to the insanely huge, fully stocked bride and groom ready rooms to the bathrooms that our guests will use. We toured the outside area by the pool and the grounds as well. After spending at least an hour showing us around, telling us the history of the place, and answering our questions he let us sit down and talk for a few while he got some papers together. We were all so impressed.
Through them we get the facility for our wedding/reception, we get tables, linens, chiavari chairs, our choice of any color napkin, dinnerware, people to do set up and take down, a D.O.C, and so much more than I can’t even think of it all at the moment. You do have to use their onsite kitchen staff but the chef is a local chef who spent many years working at Captain’s Quarters and other well-known local restaurants. They are very reasonable and competitive with their catering rates and we determined (with the discount they give for children) they wouldn’t be anymore expensive to use for our wedding of 175 than if we used Ladyfingers, which is one of the cheaper caterers. Not only was this place so breathtakingly beautiful but the staff really made us feel confident in them. We are really looking forward to working with them over this next year and honestly at this moment I can’t recommend them enough because we’ll be able to have the fun, beautiful wedding we want while still staying within our budget.