71 responses

  1. Janna
    February 3, 2012

    Check out dubsdread. I cannot say enough good things about it. It has a rustic feel to it. My number one choice was the farmers market too but size restrictions made me change my mind. Dubsdread is gorgeous and the prices were good. Food has to be done by them but it was very good food and they worked with what we wanted. Cathie was amazing to work with too- I have some of the pictures on my blog too.
    Janna recently posted..Valentine’s Day

    • Jessica
      February 3, 2012

      She just attended my wedding there two weeks ago, so she probably at least considered it – but who knows. Dubsdread is tough, because if you want more than 100 people, it’s hard to keep the people that don’t fit in the main room from feeling disconnected. That being said, we had about 98 people attend our wedding and I have nothing but AMAZING things to say about working with Dubsdread so if it’s in their budget, they should definitely still consider it.
      Jessica recently posted..We’re Married!

    • Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers
      February 3, 2012

      yes! i went to a work party there once and it was gorgeous!
      Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers recently posted..Healthy Broccoli Cheese Soup

    • Meghann
      February 6, 2012

      I recently went to a wedding there (Jessica’s who commented below -> http://mealsandmiles.com/2012/01/15/jessica-and-ryan-say-i-do/) and I agree that it is a gorgeous site, but it’s too small for our wedding size. Jessica’s wedding was 98 people and it was perfect, but my sister attended a wedding there that had 150 and she said she felt very squished – after attending a wedding there with 98, I’m amazed they could fit anything above 100 in there.

  2. Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups
    February 3, 2012

    Cypress Grove Estate was my #2! I actually spent about a week and half going back and forth and back and forth. Finally, I felt like the venue I decided to go with would be more fun for our guests, and the “completely outdoors-ness” of Cypress Grove made me nevous since we’re getting married in December.
    Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups recently posted..Sea Thai

  3. Krystina
    February 3, 2012

    I love the farmer’s market venue location. I’ve actually considered it for my own wedding; my boyfriend and I go there almost every Saturday and our favorite restaurant, Bosphorous, is on Park Ave.

    Harry P. Leu gardens would make for a gorgeous wedding venue!

    • Meghann
      February 6, 2012

      I toured Leu Gardens when my sister was considering it for her wedding. It was gorgeous, but not really the look or feel I’m going for. πŸ™‚

  4. Megan
    February 3, 2012

    Casa Feliz in Winter Park, Leu Gardens, or what about contacting a local wedding planner to see about private houses (sounds odd but they can be perfect and the price usually isn’t bad). Good luck!

  5. Katie
    February 3, 2012

    Ok, so I have no idea if you’ve thought about this before, but I’ll bring it up anyway! Have you considered a date that isn’t on a Saturday? We got married on a Sunday and it actually worked out fabulously. The venue was significantly cheaper, and I wasn’t fighting for vendors against other brides who have the same Saturday. And…when it came to people taking off work to come to the wedding from out of town, it really wasn’t a problem: instead of them taking Friday off to come to a Saturday wedding, they just took Monday off instead. I know it isn’t for everyone, but I just thought I’d throw it out there because I know it can work (and did for us)!
    Katie recently posted..Zoya polish: Gilda

    • Karen
      February 3, 2012

      I was going to say the same thing. I got married on a Friday and we were able to great better deals on flowers, photographer, hair/makeup and the venue because we chose an off day. Most people who attended our wedding were from out of town so they were already taking the time off…those who were from in town liked that they could still have the whole weekend to enjoy after the wedding. It ended up being great all around! Good luck with the planning!!

    • Meghann
      February 6, 2012

      Yes! I’ve thought about a Friday and would have gone with January 4th for the Farmer’s Market if I thought it could fit all of our guests. Unfortunately for Cross Creek Ranch, Friday is the same price as Saturday so there’s no saving money there.

  6. Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life
    February 3, 2012

    The hidden costs are definitely what get you! I mean $1 per piece cake cutting fee! It cost us almost $200 just for our cake to be cut, not counting the actual cost of the cake! Crazy for sure!

    • Amy
      February 3, 2012

      Are you serious?! I have never heard of anything like that before.

      • Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life
        February 3, 2012

        I know, it was crazy! Just make sure and read the fine print to avoid all surprises.. πŸ™‚
        Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life recently posted..Go Lean

  7. Kristi
    February 3, 2012

    A friend of a friend just had their reception inside the Dade City Women’s Club, and the wedding was outside at a park. Here is a link to the pictures.


    If the link doesn’t work, check out Melissa Dunstan Photography on FB, Florida wedding Molly and John is the name of the album.

    Hope this helps!

    • Meghann
      February 6, 2012

      Thanks Kristi!

  8. Lynda @ Hit The Road Jane
    February 3, 2012

    Thanks for posting what you and your sis learned. I will definitely heed to this advice in the future πŸ˜€
    Lynda @ Hit The Road Jane recently posted..Friday Running Cartoon 02/03/2012

  9. Cait’s Plate
    February 3, 2012

    Holy cow I never have ANY idea about all of those hidden costs and fees! A cake cutting fee!?! That is NUTS!
    Cait’s Plate recently posted..What Actually Happened

  10. Samantha
    February 3, 2012

    Don’t stress. I know you will find the perfect spot. I really like both the places you are still looking at.

    And Thanks for your sisters advice. I think venue booking will be the first thing on my list (when he officially proposes, as apposed to just constantly talking about it like he is now. LOL).

    Makes me feel somewhat happy that we are getting married in a super small town.

    Good Luck!
    Samantha recently posted..Winter is Staying….

  11. Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers
    February 3, 2012

    have you checked the lake mary events center? it’s gorgeous! i’ve also known a few people who got married at the veranda bed and breakfast in thornton park (across from wildside and dexter’s) and the courtyard at lake lucerne. ryan and i actually visited the courtyard at lake lucerne and it was really pretty – we were just worried about having enough space.
    Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers recently posted..Healthy Broccoli Cheese Soup

    • Meghann
      February 6, 2012

      The Veranda Bed & Breakfast was one of the first places I thought of, but I’ve filled out the contact form twice on the website and left three voicemails with no replies. I thought about Lake Lucerne too, but when my sister priced it out it was too much for her, so I’m assuming it’s too high for me.

  12. Mary @ food and fun on the run
    February 3, 2012

    Casa Feliz is gorgeous.

    My friend is getting married at Leu Gardens in October, and the grounds are very pretty!

    Not sure the cost, but Barrington Hills is very rustic looking and amazing! http://www.barringtonhillfarm.com/weddingeventvenuerental.htm

    I’ll try to think of more!!
    Mary @ food and fun on the run recently posted..Get Some Support

    • Meghann
      February 6, 2012

      I emailed Barrington Hills but never got a reply. I forgot about them. I toured Leu Gardens with my sister and it’s beautiful, just not our style.

      • Mary @ food and fun on the run
        February 6, 2012

        Ya, Leu Garden is definitely not for everyone (me included).

        We got married on a Sunday, and it really worked out well, because the whole weekend was a party with everyone we loved and wanted to be there. I highly recommend it. πŸ™‚

  13. Kim
    February 3, 2012

    When I got married last year I did not want to go through the stress and spend all the money=debt on a wedding because I would rather have a nice cushion in the bank. My husband and I went to Hawaii and were married, and spent the week there as a honeymoon. Once we got back to Chicago we had a “rolling reception” for our families. It was ideal! The morning of our wedding I went surfing/ snorkeling then spent a couple hours getting ready for a sunset wedding. It was stress free and glorious!! I recommend Maui Weddings as a planner, the ceremony, flowers video and photography $1800!! We were able to have a wedding, spend a week there as honeymoon all within a 5,000 budget. Then when your home to celebrate there is no pressure, more of a party!! And the gifts $ can actually go towards your future and not to pay debt for the wedding. I can’t recommend this enough πŸ™‚

  14. Heather
    February 3, 2012

    Leu Gardens is really pretty. My sister-in-law got married there. Also, there are a number of pretty parks in Winter park that can be used for weddings. The Kraft Azalea garden is really pretty.

    Heather recently posted..Heels…My Love-Hate Relationship

  15. Michelle
    February 3, 2012

    My reception was at the Rosen Centre – there are TONS of hotels in Orlando that offer great wedding packages. I didn’t want to be outdoors though!

    The church I got married in (Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church – in Maitland) now has a reception site that ANYONE can rent. You don’t have to get married there, be a Christian, Greek Orthodox, etc. I’ve heard good things!
    Michelle recently posted..Five for Friday: Obsessed

  16. Poptartyogini
    February 3, 2012

    It can be stressful but I’m sure you’ll find your balance between dream location and price. Sometimes it is hard to remember that the wedding is about love and not about the perfect day. the right one will hit you soon. Happy planning!

  17. Liz
    February 3, 2012

    I have a question: how involved is Derek in this whole process? You seem to be saying a lot of “I want” “I don’t like” etc and I’m curious what Derek’s voice is in all this. I’m not asking this to be a bitchy “she doesn’t take her fiance into account” kind of comment, but I’m honestly curious. I’ve had friends whose husbands were totally involved in the process and wanted to know every little detail and others who said they didn’t care about anything except the woman walking down the isle. Where does Derek fall on this spectrum?
    Liz recently posted..Trucking along

    • Meghann
      February 6, 2012

      I’ve tried to include Derek in the process but he has little interest in the venue besides making sure we don’t go out of our budget. He’s happy to get married anywhere.

  18. CaitlinHTP
    February 3, 2012

    Metrowest golf club! http://www.metrowestgolf.com/ We got married there and it was awesome and affordable(ish). I would highly recommend it to anyone in Central Florida.
    CaitlinHTP recently posted..My Secret for Decluttering

  19. Kate
    February 3, 2012

    We also looked at the Farmers Market (didn’t like the time restrictions) and Dubsdread (lovely, but unavailable on any of the dates that worked with our church), and ended up having our reception at the Summerlin House in Thornton Park. It worked out really well; our out-of-town guests stayed at the Embassy Suites, which was in walking distance, and the place was really lovely and fit our needs perfectly. (The woman who runs it is a little nuts, but definitely does know what she’s doing and was great at providing day-of coordination services, too.) Plus, with the bed and breakfast right there, it’s super easy to coordinate everyone getting ready and taking pictures and all of that extra stuff.

    • Meghann
      February 6, 2012

      I LOVE the Summerlin House, but I couldn’t get a hold of anywhere there. I filled out the contact form, left three voicemails, and even googled around for an email address and got nothin. I’m still afraid they’re out of our budget though. πŸ™

  20. Caitlin @ Chasing A Mile
    February 3, 2012

    No venues to suggest but just wanted to say good luck! I remember venue selection being one of the hardest parts of wedding planning. You will find some where!
    Caitlin @ Chasing A Mile recently posted..Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

  21. Jessica
    February 3, 2012

    I’m planning a wedding right now, too (our date is Oct. 6, 2012), and let me just say – it is ALL very, very, very (very very very…) expensive. It just is. My fiance and I got around some of the costs by choosing a venue with pretty affordable “packages” — meaning we pay them a certain amount and get ceremony and reception space (different places on the property but same location), catering, cake, tables/chairs, etc. I don’t know if there are venues like this in FL or if you would be interested in something similar, but I think it’s a pretty good deal. Anyway, good luck!

    • Meghann
      February 6, 2012

      Our dream venue was like that, but when it came down to it, it was still too much money.

  22. Brittany
    February 3, 2012

    I know exactly what you’re talking about! My fiance and I got engaged in December and are planning an October 2012 wedding, so we have less than a year to get it all together! Finding a reception venue that we love was very important to us from the first day of planning, so we searched high and low to find the “right” place. There aren’t many places in Hampton Roads, VA, especially when you have to limit yourself based on budget and catering/alcohol restrictions! My fiance’s mother owns her own catering company, so we absolutely want her company to cater, since the price is SO much better. That meant that a lot of the venues we were looking at were not going to work with the restrictions that they have for catering. We FINALLY found the perfect venue…which was a place that we hadn’t even thought of originally! The price was a little higher than we wanted to pay, but for this area, it was still reasonable (things seem $$$ here now that we’re planning a wedding!). I hope you’ll choose that “perfect” venue – and then you’ll feel a sense of relief πŸ™‚

  23. Talia @ Bite Size Wellness
    February 3, 2012

    You have no idea how jealous I am of your wedding planning. I had so much fun planning mine! It wasn’t make or break for me, but liquor prices are one of the biggest wedding expenses so if you have a place you can bring your own it is a HUGE money saver. I am sure you will pick the place that is best for you…or will turn into the best with your special touches.
    P.S. I tagged you on my recent post so check it out on what to do next!
    Talia @ Bite Size Wellness recently posted..Virtual Tag: Get to Know Me!

  24. jena
    February 3, 2012

    Not sure if you want to stay in Orlando, or if you are willing to travel outside of Orlando. River Ranch on 60 in Lake Wales has a wedding site. http://wgriverranch.com/westgate-riverranch-groups-events-weddings/westgate-riverranch-weddings/

    Also, the FFA building/camp in Haines City offers a wedding site. http://www.flaltc.org/weddings.htm – I went to the FFA camp when I was in highschool… and I used to live in Haines City – Its kind of out of the way, and it’s not in Orlando, but it’s a rustic location.
    jena recently posted..reading comprehension fail

    • Meghann
      February 6, 2012

      Thank you Jena!

  25. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats
    February 3, 2012

    My brother and sister in law knew the church they were getting married at (my parents and grandparents were married there!) but they had a hard time finding a venue they wanted that was available on the same day they could get the church, especially since they were planning to be married in June! Luckily it worked out and the reception was in a modern museum in Kansas City called the Kemper. It was gorgeous and perfect for their small wedding!
    Katie @ Peace Love & Oats recently posted..Incline Workout & Big News

  26. LindsayH
    February 3, 2012

    Only 75-80% of your guest list will be able to actually come to your wedding for one reason or another. You could technically invite 165-180 people for the Farmers Market location and be within the limit.

    • Sarah
      February 3, 2012

      This is true, mine was even less. I invited 150 for a venue that could only really hold 120 but even better (and a lot cheaper) if closer to 100. My wedding was on a Friday late afternoon (430) and also on the Friday before New Years Eve. I had 90 for final count and only 83 showed up.

    • Meghann
      February 6, 2012

      Trust me – we are counting on those numbers. I think our invite list will be 180ish The reviews I read online regarding the Farmer’s Market were from people who attended weddings of 135+ and felt pretty tight in the space. I think 100 is the ideal number for the space, but they try to squeeze in more to make couples happy. I would rather go with a space that is comfortable to have 150 since most of our guests are local anyways.

  27. Cm @ Lazy Healthy
    February 3, 2012

    Do you NEED to decide right away or would you just feel better if it were locked down?
    Cm @ Lazy Healthy recently posted..5 Lazy Healthy Grocery Store Picks

    • Meghann
      February 6, 2012

      Considering the Cross Creek Ranch I was considering just booked up on the date I wanted, it’s definitely a decision that needs to be made ASAP. Dates go fast!

  28. Madeline – Greens and Jeans
    February 3, 2012

    This has been by far the biggest stress of our wedding planning so far! I’m getting married in Kansas, so I have no great advice for you, but I will say getting our venue booked (a super amazing ranch!) lifted a HUGE load off of my shoulders, so you have that awesome feeling to look forward to!
    Madeline – Greens and Jeans recently posted..rings and things

  29. Emily
    February 3, 2012

    I think your sister gave you GREAT advice!
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  30. Laura H.
    February 3, 2012

    I only have one to add!



    The website doesn’t offer much information so I added a blog entry that I found about it. It’s in Rockledge, FL.

    • Meghann
      February 6, 2012

      Thanks Laura. πŸ™‚

    • Jodi C
      April 22, 2013

      I cannot get in touch with anyone at Wadsworth. I tried through the website (got an error) and a phone number that I found online which is disconnected. I am looking for a rustic facility preferably indoor with air/heat (December 2014 Wedding) however I would have considered Wadsworth as is closer to my home in Titusville. If anyone knows how to get a hold of Wadsworth please let me know. Thanks!

  31. em
    February 3, 2012

    i got married at the lake mary events center. AMAZING venue, but they book up really fast too. i had to book 18 months out. http://www.lakemaryeventscenter.com/

  32. Lisa
    February 3, 2012

    My husband and I got married at Dubsdread Golf and Country Club in College Park. It had a rustic feel that I was looking for with huge hanging oak trees everywhere. It was a great venue and i recommend it to everyone!

    • Meghann
      February 6, 2012

      I recently went to a wedding there and it was gorgeous, but the space was too small for our list of guests.

  33. Melissa @TryingtoHeal
    February 3, 2012

    Oh boy…they’re all so nice! I really liked the one near your parents the best…but that’s just me. I’ll come to whichever one you decide to have it at πŸ™‚ hehe
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  34. jana
    February 4, 2012

    Casa feliz is the best venue in CFL but I wouldn’t go over 100 in guest list and it wasn’t cheap, Arthurs is the only caterer used and they are expensive but the best in Orlando hands down. Totally, 100 percent the most gorgeous though. They say 125 can fit but its tight.

    Whatever you do, don’t take the advice of inviting more than your venue will hold. You never know and you should always plan for your entire number. Inviting more and hoping many can’t show is a recipe for disaster, there are many brides I know that could attest to this.

  35. Jessica
    February 4, 2012

    Did you look at the Women’s Club or Garden Club place on Davis Islands in FL? Or A La Carte Pavilion? Not sure if St Pete is too far west but my friend got married in a pretty gallery/art museum there. The restaurants on rt 60 (chart house, etc) will also do weddings. Also, not sure of you would consider inside, but the spaces in ybor (Italian club, some restaurants) are really pretty.

  36. Meghan
    February 4, 2012

    We looked at Maison and Jardin too, not our style either, but it is right by our new house. We ended up with a ballroom in a hotel because my irish catholic family likes to drink! Finding a saturday for next January is going to be hard but you can do it! I’d love to help you if you ever need it, I’ve actually been tossing around the idea of starting a wedding planning business. Have you looked at Paradise Cove in Orlando, we had friends get married there and it was gorgeous!
    Meghan recently posted..The growing bump

  37. Sara
    February 4, 2012

    We got married at the Courtyard at Lake Lucerne in October and it was amazing. There are pros and cons to every wedding space and without knowing your budget, it’s hard to give you great advice, but in my opinion Case Feliz would be way too small for you. I really loved Cypress Grove but couldn’t afford it, if that gives you an idea of why we went with the Courtyard.

  38. Jess@atasteofconfidence
    February 4, 2012

    I’m secretly obsessed with looking at wedding venues in my area but I have a far way to go until I get married (like, years). Those look like beautiful locations!
    Jess@atasteofconfidence recently posted..wanting to help

  39. Haley
    February 4, 2012

    Wedding planning is so fun and so stressful! I got married at Mission Inn Golf Resort, not rustic though! My sister got married at a little place in Orlando, near Leu Gardens. For the life of me I can’t remember the name! While looking for the name I stumbled upon a little place called Oak-K Farms in Lakeland. The photos looked rustic to me. Might want to check that out.

    Oh wait…never mind, it says 100 guests max. Boo.

  40. Krissy @ Shiawase Life
    February 6, 2012

    I know you already made your choice, but wanted to share for any other CFL brides…

    We were married at the Community Center of Lake Nona Villagewalk – the gated community where we lived back when we lived in Orlando πŸ™‚ It is a gorgeous building, fantastic manicured lawns, great proximity to the attractions and the airport (one exit from MCO on the 417) and SUCH a great price.


    You have to live there, or have a resident that lives there sign the contract for you if you want to utilize the space, but it was definitely a wonderful venue – and since it is not a traditional space, you have the freedom to use whatever vendors you want.
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  41. Cat Melnyk
    February 8, 2012

    A lot of people have put the Lake Mary events center on there which is beautiful but definitely not rustic.
    There’s Bella Collina a ways out but that’s more tuscan rustic than barn rustic I think. Wadsworth is ok, I’ve gone to talk to them but it’s mostly a tent.. not really a farm. Casa Feliz is old and photographs beautifully but again rustic does not equal farm even though you can make it look like one: http://www.stylemepretty.com/gallery/picture/445199.
    I have heard of this place but haven’t seen it in person… Birdsong Barn

  42. Vanessa
    March 7, 2012

    This is like Im reading my own opinions and thoughts reading your blogs. I’ve looked at all the same places and have had very similar thoughts about them… i.e. too much money or not exactly my style etc. What I’m trying to say is I think were wedding twins! lol I am a teacher and I live in brandon, my parents live in lake mary(orlando area) , the rest of my family will be fying from Philly, my fiance’s parents live in Brooksville(NW of tampa), and most of our friends live in tampa. So my dilemma is how far is too far to ask people to drive to your wedding? If I choose Birdsong I can afford to invite everyone I’d like, but will they show up or not bc of distance? I dont know if this will sound wierd, but if you live close and woudl liek to get together and talk or do wedding stuff I would love to have someone to do that with. My fiance is leaving for haiti soon so I’ll be needing to keep myself busy with weding stuff. Here is my email dancevanessa318@yahoo.com!

  43. Vanessa
    March 8, 2012

    Heve you checked out the oak k farm in lakeland, the pictures on the site make it seem a bit dated but Im going to see it tues.

  44. Kelly
    March 13, 2012

    Okay, so I am a wedding triplet to both Meghan and Vanessa. I am looking for March 2013 and am looking for the exact same type of venue…I have looked at Cross Creek, Laurel Wood Gardens, Lange Farm, even Keel and Curley Winery in Plant City…I have researched countless others (Wadsworth, Oak-K, Birdsong). I am going to look at Barrington Hills tomorrow and I am really hoping that this is the one. I am not sure how pricey it is yet overall (but the venue fee is quite a bit less than Cross Creek, especially if you plan on having more than 100 people). Also, I am going to look at Head and Heel Farm and Annwyn Equestrian Center in the next couple of days. So, if you havent looked at Barrington, Annwyn, or Head and Heel, give them a look. I know how you feel! Booking a venue is tough, especially when it goes outside the normal beach or country club Fl setting. I wish the best of luck to both of you guys and hope that these suggestions help. I have tried to expand my search to include outdoor venues like the winery and Mixon’s in the Grove (all the way in Bradenton), but it is tough to find a lot of practical options. I have done a lot of research on barrington if you have any questions. Wish me luck!

    Best Wishes!!

  45. Stephanie
    May 31, 2012

    Thanks so much for posting this! It’s been difficult to live out of Orlando and scour the internet for decent venues (and I’ve got until October 2013). It sounds like I had very similar criteria as you, so your blog post and the comments have been helpful in finding a few other places I hadn’t heard of that are off the ‘main’ wedding websites.

    We’re having right around 100, so the Farmers Market is definitely a strong option. I like the idea of the rustic barn idea, but I also tend to lean towards the dark woods and stone of Dubsdread — just don’t know if it’ll be affordable or not.

    Did you end up choosing one of the ranches you mentioned at the beginning of your post?

  46. leanne
    June 13, 2012

    Try Barrington Hill Farm. Right near Lange Farm, less restrictions, laid back, and not so expensive!

  47. Amanda
    July 12, 2013

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!! I am so overwhelmed and you have no idea how helpful this was!!!!

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