Mission: Finding THE Venue Part I

For me, finding different reception venues was painless. It was finding THE reception venue that felt like a long and drawn out process. It actually wasn't that bad. We were engage March 1. We booked a venue May 10.

It took me a couple of weeks to weed out which places were potentials. I had emailed and submitted RFPs up the wazoo that I was knee deep in choices. This is probably the quickest road to frustration. I had some choices between hotels and golf courses. Then I had to take into consideration our guest list. What started at about 100 guests, quickly ballooned into 170+ after our parents chimed in with their guest lists. Actually, creating a guest list helped eliminate some of the reception sites right off the bat.

It was like magic. As soon as I had provided my phone number over the Internet to perfect strangers at different locations as well as my email, I had people contacting me. In general, I'm a shy person and prefer email to phone interaction. I started avoiding phone calls if I didn't recognize the number altogether. Basically I told the event managers my general specs: an estimated guest count and it was to be a Saturday evening reception. Luckily, at the time that I was speaking to potential vendors, I did not have date nailed down. At the time I didn't think it was so lucky, but I think now it worked out to my advantage. Event managers couldn't rope me in because I didn't have a set date in mind. It frustrated me because I didn't want to just say, "well maybe this date" but it also gave me an out.

At the same time, receptions sites hit me with their minimums. Followed by a big gulp on my part, I was able to pare down more reception sites based on their fees. One location asked for a $12,000 site fee! No joke. And for me, where $12,000 is about half my budget, that location was definitely no dice. That didn't include catering or alcohol. Simply the space and tables and chairs. By my standards, I'd rather invest in something else.

Finally, I had to decide which places I wanted to visit and tour. I wasn't even sure of all the questions I should be asking, but luckily there are a ton of resources on the Web from the Knot to WeddingBee to bride blogs that it wasn't too hard to come up with some basic questions. After discussions with my fiance and parents, we narrowed it down to about five locations...

To be continued...

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