It’s been 6 1/2 months since I’ve officially been engaged – dang, it seems like just yesterday Z popped the question and yet like I’ve been working on planning this wedding forever! I’m not complaining. I just hadn’t stopped to think about how long it had been. Nor, had I stopped and realized that I hadn’t shared our experience with the perfect venue hunt.
It was practically the first thing we did. Besides deciding on a budget and date to hopefully secure, the venue search began right outside the gate. My go-to and BFF, The Knot. I jumped on the Knot and like every other just-engaged bride-to-be dove in head-first and explored every nook and cranny.
Z and I had a the first of many Caribou Wedding dates. We huddled over our computers with our drink of choice as we generated a rough copy of our guest list and went to town on compiling a venue list. The options for venues are endless – and this is only Minnesota! We knew we wanted a ceremony at a church and a reception within 20 miles of the church. Great. That narrowed it down a tad. See, Z has this thing he calls a hobby as well as place of employment; considering our family’s passion for the game as well, we thought we’d go the golf course route.
We had three places we planned to visit. Two golf courses – both where family worked and so we’d visited numerous times already, just not for a wedding purpose. And then the third, odd one out – a banquet center just outside of the cities which came from a coworker’s recommendation. Sure, why not check it out. So off we went to the venues – cake fees, riser fees, table layout, dance floors and more. The contracts were handed over along with the information folders for vendors they worked with, recommended and rules to follow.
Little did we know we could have stopped after our first one. It was in the car ride over Nordeast that Z and I were discussing a decision. We’d just visited our neighborhood golf course and weren’t exactly pleased with over-all layout. Sorry, but I’m not sharing a bathroom with an entire restaurant, let alone the same floor. Call me a B, but it’s just my preference.
So, there it was in the back seat of the car my parents drove we did the oh-shit test; in front of the beer cases as the little Nordeast liquor store we popped into that we realized our decision was made. How did we come to this decision? Well, three little things:
1. Dance Floor. Not that I or Z are very big dancers. I mean, it takes a lot to get me out on the dance floor. For my own wedding, I’ll need a fair amount of liquid encouragement to get my toosh out on the ginormous dance floor. The non-dancers that we are, fell in love with the dance floor.
2. Fine Print. Unlike other locations who shared a wealth of fine print upcharges: a food and bev. minimum sky-high, cake cutting fee, riser fees and bartender fees; our venue was set apart. Their food and bev was below what our party size would need alone, an over-all cake cutting fee as opposed to a per person and riser and bartender fees included. Yes, we’ll take it, thank you!
3. Size, style & Appeal. The decor, the size and the over all appeal of the location left us speechless. No complaints.
Whether a venue is decided on by location or price; dance floor size or decor – when it comes down to it, it’s up to the individuals. What I like is not going to be what others like. I did not need a location in the heart of the cities, in up-scale city or with vaulted ceilings. We chose a venue that we felt comfortable in and were excited about. There were no reservations holding us back, fees putting us over budget or “we can deal with that” aspects.
Since we’ve started sharing our location choice we’ve only heard great things about it. Especially, that the food in phenomenal! Awesome. Bring on the food tasting party and re-visit to do a little further planning and imagining. And for all you guests, be practicing your dance moves and warming up your feet – you’ll be dancing the night away!