Venue Selection [wedding]

28 Jan

I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but Iowa isn’t exactly a hub for gorgeous event venues.  Of course we’ve got a couple nice hotels nearby – two Marriott’s and a Hyatt. There’s also a few stand-alone venues that specialize in the all-inclusive wedding or two.  However, these options simply don’t appeal to me.  Whether due to price or lack of character in the space, there’s no way I can get married in any of these places. Thus, the hunt began early for the perfect wedding venue (ceremony to be held outdoors, reception nearby under cover of some sort)…

Before we dive right in, let’s back up a little.

Shortly after I turned 21, my parents and I visited the Fireside Winery in Marengo, IA. It’s about 35 minutes from home and it was absolutely breathtaking. I knew then and there that I wanted to marry the love of my life in that space…some day. So, when my main man popped the question (finally) on 11/11/11, I immediately went to the winery’s website, downloaded their rental agreement, and contacted the events manager to schedule a visit.

It wasn’t until later that evening, while reading through the rental agreement, that I really started to re-think my decision.  I saw so many restrictions and downfalls – no sparklers, no hard liquor, no rice throwing, maximum capacity of 120 people, and to top it all off the manager called back to inform me that they would not be holding weddings on Saturdays any longer.  I was crushed.

I’m sure we could have worked around all of the restrictions the way most people would, but I have a certain vision for my wedding. This is something I’m only planning to do once in my life and I want to make sure that there are no regrets when it’s all said and done. SO, the search continued.

The more time I spent on Pinterest, the more I realized EXACTLY what kind of wedding I want to have – something vintage, with plenty of romanticism and elegance – a vintage barn wedding… which is apparently all the rage these days.  Here’s a couple examples of the direction we’re headed here:

Martha Stewart Weddings

Martha Stewart Weddings

Barn Wedding

thebecker.com

These are obviously only two of hundreds of inspiration photos I have pinned so far, but they speak the most to the luxe aesthetic I’m aiming for.

My mother and I contacted the manager of the barn to set up a time to visit and put down a deposit, if we chose. Well, to make an incredibly long story short: we visited, I gushed, I signed, mom paid, and I HAVE A WEDDING DATE! haha. I’m not excited at all, can you tell?

Here’s a few pictures of the barn’s great bones that I pulled from their sharepoint:

Exterior

Facing toward Stage area (the village mural isn’t normally there)

Facing towards the main entrance

Since I’m in a photo-happy mood, here are a couple I found in my Google image search – so you can imagine it with decorations:

Festhalle Barn Wedding

Style Me Pretty

Sb Photography

What do you think? Those decorations could turn out to be way too far out of our budget, but luckily I read DIY blogs like my life depends on it – so, in the words of Tim Gunn, I’ll have to make it work!

I’d love to hear any feedback on barn weddings, wedding planning, Iowa weddings… life… you know, whatever! I’m so new at all of this I’ll take all the pointers I can get!

X’s

Christa

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3 Responses to “Venue Selection [wedding]”

  1. Mark January 30, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    I ran across a link to your blog post on twitter today and thought that I might suggest adding uplights to your reception. This will help add great atmosphere and let you have good fill-light for the dinner and dancing time as well.

    Google Image search had some good uplighting pictures. Here is an album from a wedding in TN that did a good job uplighting in a barn as well.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/rick1ryan/20110430NicoleBrianBowlingGreenKY#

    Good luck with your wedding plans!

    • Christa Mae January 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

      Thanks for the tip and the link! I completely agree – lighting absolutely sets the atmosphere in any venue. I’ve already come to terms with the fact that the lighting line item is the most important – and un-cuttable – line in my decorations budget. I’ll probably be back in a few months with a post about lighting design, once I’ve got it more finalized – right now it’s mostly conceptual and completely idealized :).

      Oh, ps. thanks for being my first comment!

      • Mark January 30, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

        You’re welcome! I’ll be excited to come across that post too!

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