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The Tale of Two Venues

by Meghann on February 6, 2012

Are you tired of hearing about venue shopping yet? This is the last one. Pinky promise.

Derek and I picked a venue over the weekend. After meeting with the people at Cross Creek on Wednesday, it was really the only thing we could talk about this weekend. There was a lot of going back and forth, a lot of last minute emailing and chatting with other venues, and a lot of talk about finances and our future. It’s crazy how planning a wedding really makes you and your fiance step back and talk about the important things like your future, especially when you’re putting up a good chunk of change out of your own pocket for it.

Cross Creek is gorgeous, there is no doubt about that, and it would be nice to have everything wrapped up in a neat little package where you basically show up on your wedding day and just enjoy it, but the more we thought about that, the more we realized that wasn’t for us.

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It was more than just the money. If we got our guest list under 125, went with the cheapest food option, and cut back on the dress, invitations, favors, etc. the wedding total would only be $1500-ish over our original budget and still well under what ‘the norm’ is for weddings out there. BUT – now this is a big but – there were other things to consider.

We didn’t like that it was their contracted vendors or nothing. I really have this dream of my grandmother making her famous red velvet cake for our wedding and filling the rest of the table with an array of homemade desserts like chocolate chip cookies, whoopie pies, cupcakes, brownies, etc. That wouldn’t be possible at Cross Creek. We would have to get our cake (or any other dessert) through them and pay a premium for it.

I didn’t think food was important to me, but it is. Going with the cheapest catering option just wasn’t something I wanted to do. If Derek had pushed the venue I would have been all for it, but that was a big reason why I wasn’t pushing for it on my end.

Alright, maybe it does have a little bit to do with money. Spending $1500 over our intended budget would mean cutting back on our honeymoon. With the other venue we’re able to include our honeymoon in our original budget (and not as an addition) and go on a really kick ass one.

And I know people asked about saving at Cross Creek, but everything is set at a locked price. We were given an off-season discount and there is no difference in price between a Saturday and a Friday wedding. Trust us. We tried.

So, where does that leave us? Oh, yes. Birdsong Barn.

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It’s not official until Derek sees it next week, but I’ve already spoke with Luanne to lock down our date. (p.s. Cross Creek already booked up on January 5th – which was my sign that it wasn’t for us and proof that wedding dates book up FAST).

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What it comes down to with Birdsong is the FREEDOM we have to do everything we want to. Yes, it’s a little extra work, but saving over $6000 (!!) when all is said and done (yes, I’ve already contacted vendors for price quotes and added in wiggle room just in case) is worth it. I’ve spoken to a highly recommended caterer who is flexible with the menu and handles table set-up the day of, the contact at Birdsong will help with decorations and has given me free reign to everything she already has on hand, and I have no problems with hiring a coordinator to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible the day of.

The total venue fee includes the space for 24hrs, chairs and table, access to all the decorations on site (actually that’s an additional $50), onsite parking, onsite bathroom (with running water – some people asked), fire pits with sticks, and linens (china place settings can be rented for $2 per head, but I struck a deal with the caterer to have them added-on on her end for no charge).

We just need:

  • caterer (I have one, just not officially booked yet)
  • photographer (my cousin is doing Kelly’s wedding and I would love to book her for my own)
  • chairs for the ceremony (contacted the rental company already)
  • officiant (Derek and I need to discuss this)
  • DJ
  • Cake (Grandma?)
  • Bar Tender + Alcohol (I can get a licensed bartender through my caterer and alcohol for cheap from BJs)
  • my dress (we’re shopping in March)
  • invitations and save the dates
  • favors
  • heaters
  • flowers
  • bridal party gifts
  • hair and make-up
  • tux rental for Derek

What am I missing?

We also have a larger space so that 150 people shouldn’t be a problem (the space can hold 185, but I’m sticking with 150 – sorry Mom!). Weather is still at the top of my mind, but my Dad is already coming up with ways to close the barn in if weather is an issue. This means I get to spend 335 days crossing my fingers for warmth, but we’ll cross that boat when it gets here.

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I never thought I would like the idea of getting married in my hometown, but the more I think about waking up in my childhood room the morning of my wedding and going on a quick 5k run with my bridesmaids before we start to get ready, the more I like it.

Derek and I are really excited about our decision and can’t wait to dive into the little details.

Let the nitty gritty planning begin!

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