Mr. T and the MOH and I went to tour our first potential venue this weekend. It's a beautiful old building not too far from where Mr. T and I live. Unfortunately my camera died within the first 5 minutes (dumb uncharged battery!), so you'll have to take my word on its charms. [NOTE: Edited to add some photos I grabbed off the internet.] Here's the breakdown.
- Built by Julia Morgan at the same time Hearst Castle was built, so it's called "Julia's Little Castle." Has charm coming out of its proverbial ears. Gorgeous architecture and furnishings, very suited to a Halloween wedding.
- Lots of good photo ops, both indoors and out (see bullet #1).
- Multiple choices for ceremony sites, including a library. I think I squealed when I saw it, but Mr T would need to confirm that, b/c I don't remember.
- It's attached to a hotel, so it would be super easy for out of town guests, and they'd get a discount rate. I love that the out of town guests would get to stay in a building that is so very representative of our area. It has nice local flavor.
- The coordinator was very nice and had helpful suggestions about how we could arrange the wedding. She took us on a tour of the whole building, including showing us two of the hotel rooms.
- Not as much DIY as some of the sites we're considering. They do all the setup and breakdown for you. I can't tell you how appealing that sounds.
- We can drop things (decorations, for example) off early, instead of needing to do everything in our rented block of time, like some of the sites require.
- It's in our price range.
- People could take BART if they wanted to--it's walkable from a BART station, and our reception would have to end by 11, so guests could easily make the last train.
- They do have black and orange table linens, provided at no extra cost, so we could totally do up the Halloween theme.
- We're not sure how good the food is going to be, and the only option is using in-house catering. We can do a free tasting only after we've put a deposit down, or we can come for dinner one night in the dining hall and pay for dinner. I think we'll do the latter (the deposit is nonrefundable).
- Out of town guests, depending on how high maintenance they are, might not find the hotel as charming as we do...some of the carpets do need cleaning, and there are no TVs in any of the rooms. It's definitely an old building.
- This is the big problem. It's right by campus, and Fall is football season. If there's a home game that day, there will be NO parking for our guests around the site. I'm not sure when the game schedules come out, either, so we could potentially need to book the site before we knew, leaving us scrambling either for another venue or for parking options (reserving a lot further away and shuttling guests in, for example. $$$$).