Do you like the second choice or do you hate it? By The Way, the first choice is not perfect, because it’s $$$$! But, if it really is perfect, then you already know your answer 🙂
We had to choose between venues. Site A exceeded my budget (groom was blown away and wanted to expand the budget) and Site B was within the budget. Site A had dramatic bay views, beautiful space, no added decor needed etc. Part of unique but corporate hotel, service was going to be above and beyond. Required florist contract, but shuttles and cake contracting available, easy one stop shopping. Site B was a vineyard boutique hotel, more intimate and cozy, less capacity, known for food and wine. But ballroom really needed decor! I wanted B, Groom wanted A. We went with B and we’re both so glad we did. Site A was the “over the top” wedding option, so it might have been perceived as slightly pretentious or embarrassing. Site B was beautiful but it was more discreet, it had personality and I don’t think the guests would wonder how much it cost, it could go either way. We were all Out of Town, and as it turned out, our guest count was much smaller than anticipated (we would have been too small for Site A ballroom) and it was foggy that day (no view for all that money at Site A!!! Huge risk for this venue!). Truth be told, my compromise with groom was we’d have the rehearsal dinner at one of Site A’s smaller restaurants, so we’d have both venues somehow. We added a lot of extra vendors and upgraded “stuff” in the last few months of planning, and I’m not sure if we could have done them (funfun!) if we had already shot ourselves in the foot with the more expensive Site A. My experience is, there’s a lot of fun in embellishing. And there’s a good chance we would have gone overbudget anyway. If you’re going to go over budget, you may get more with your money if you start with your second $$$ venue than the most $$$$ venue. If you’re like me and might not always be as disciplined as you intend, you may decide that you don’t need a certain vendor today, but 2 months from the wedding you may decide that it would be a good idea to throw it back in. If we had picked Site A, it would have been very elegant, but it would have included a lot fewer details, and might have been less fun for me to plan because I would have had to skimp. Site B, I probably did overcompensate for not picking Site A, went overboard on embellishing Site B, but it included more personal details and choices that I spent too much time on, and it was fun. Skimping on Site A or embellishing Site B MIGHT have ended up costing about the same. But personally, I probably would have blown the budget at either venue, so it is better to exceed with the less expensive venue than to exceed the venue that already costs too much…
Not knowing your site, I don’t know how close of a choice you’re making. I really liked my Site B alternative and had a list of pro’s and con’s. Site A was more impressive and I had decision remorse after we signed the contract. In the end, our wedding was perfect! We both loved our Site B wedding, great party, no remorse, couldn’t leave, must go back for 1st anniversary. I really think you will be happy with your wedding no matter what, I think a bride can make any venue work.
here’s a tip: negotiate contracts with both venues, see how far down they’ll go with their site fees and the cake. maybe you can get one venue to throw the cake in for free or waive cake cutting fees so you have the option to find a separate baker.