I want my ceremony to be at the same site as the reception, and I wanted the ocean as my backdrop, but there had to be grass, not sand. Sounds crazy, but that’s literally just about the only “vision” I had for my wedding, so I wanted that to happen. I didn’t care if the reception was then held in a mansion or a tent! This was something I was not willing to compromise on.
From there, I wanted to use a specific caterer, but if the venue did not allow outside caterers, it was no big deal. Ultimately, it came down to two places. One had the reception “feel” I wanted more, but you had two ceremony options, and while the venue was set by the ocean and I could be on the grass, for whatever reason they wouldn’t let me get married where I wanted. It had to be in one of two places and neither were what I wanted.
The venue we chose has the grass and ocean I pictured. Everything else didn’t so much matter. I was willing to compromise on almost anything else. BUT… there was a place I liked as an almost frontrunner, but the problem was cost. So I guess that means I put cost first. So in this order:
1. Cost (though I did pay more than I planned, but the location was unfounded elsewhere for cheaper).
2. Ocean with grass ceremony
3. Good rain plan
I also really didn’t want a “wedding factory” or ballroom type of place. But it was difficult to find something like that on the ocean anyway, so I didn’t really have to compromise there.
@Lovemelovemyhorses: To address your question specifically, it depends how “cramped” the ceremony space is and how long the ceremony will be. If cramped means 200 guests standing shoulder to shoulder for a 45 minute ceremony, I think that’d be enough for me to say no. If it means some people sitting, some standing for a 15 minute ceremony, I personally don’t think it’s that bad and not quite a deal breaker.
For the privacy at the ceremony, this personally wouldn’t bother me. I mean if you see that there’s a good chance random people are going to without a doubt end up in your pictures, maybe it’s something to reconsider. By without a doubt I mean getting married on a beach that’s open to everyone at the resort so they’ll have umbrellas and people swimming at the beach in the background. But if people may wander by and watch, that personally wouldn’t bother me.
Ultimately, we did make sacrifices. I suggest making a list of what’s important to both of you and the things you really do not want to compromise on. That helped us overlook things that were a bit iffy about our venue, and we looked at how to solve those problems. Once we did that, we knew the right venue for us 🙂