On Sunday, Mr. T, the MOH, and I went to view our third venue. This one is also a National Registered Landmark, also in a hotel, and designed by an "associate" of Julia Morgan.
So, here's the breakdown (sorry the pix are so dark):
- Charming Craftsman architecture/furnishings.
- We adored the coordinator. She was full of enthusiasm and ideas...she was telling me about another bride in a red dress who'd gotten a bouquet with Black Magic roses and black feathers from a local florist (who's supposed to be very affordable, so he would be an option). She told us some really funny wedding disaster stories, too.
- The food sounded like it would be good, possibly better than Venue #1. The coordinator had some great food ideas when I mentioned I wanted some vegan options, and she also was enthused about the variety of foods we could do in the Fall. She told us she insisted on having people do tastings before they booked, too (unlike the other venue, where we either need to pay for dinner or put a deposit down in order to get our tasting). While we were there, we also saw some other folks who had just done a tasting, and they were raving about the food.
- It's less expensive than Venue #1. The site fee is less, the gratuity is less, and the food sounded less expensive as well. Even the votive candles are provided by the venue, so that would be one fewer expense. There was no extra expense to have fires in the fireplaces (the other venue charged $40 each). I asked the coordinator how much extra the bride's changing area would be to rent, and she said she usually "forgets" to charge for it.
- It also had a library, although not in the ceremony area. I took a photo of one of the books that made me laugh (guess which one):
- Lots of flexibility; the coordinator seemed really easy-going and although we can't attach anything to the walls, seemed open to the idea of us using Blue-tac or whatever that stuff is called. Just no tape!
- Booze is BYO, at least for now (she said this may change by 10/31/09...but she didn't think it would). This would mean we could pick our own wines and get them for a lower price. We could also potentially do a few signature mixed cocktails.
- It's also attached to a hotel, as noted, so our out of town guests could stay in the same building. We didn't get to see a guest room so I couldn't tell if the amenities were more modern than Venue #1's.
- Not quite as charming as Venue #1. Close, but not quite.
- Everything would be in one large room, not two separate rooms, but, on the other hand, the room is separated into three sections (the middle section is a little lower than the sides), so you could do the ceremony in one section, then move to the other section for dining, and the dance floor is at the other end. The coordinator assured us that they did this kind of thing all the time and that the chair breakdown after the ceremony would be quick and painless...and best yet, we wouldn't have to deal with it; they would do it all!
- Linens are not included; they are $20 per table. It's still cheaper, however, even with that fee.
- It has the exact same issue as Venue #1, in that it's close to the University, so if there's a football game, we're screwed. Parking for the space is a pay lot across the street that would be completely full (and overpriced) on a game day. Other days it's only $8 per car, unless you're a hotel guest, in which case you can park in the hotel lot.
- No outdoor space, so fewer opportunities for those kinds of photos. There's one ivy-covered fence right outside the hotel doors, and the hotel also owns a restaurant a couple doors down that we could use for photos (the restaurant is closed to the public between 3-5 pm). The restaurant has a small garden in front, or we could use the Craftsman interior:
That's the back of the coordinator's head in the photo. You can't tell, but the glass doors on the right were really gorgeous too.
So, afterwards we went next door and had white chocolate mochas (or, at least the MOH and I did) and discussed. Mr. T thinks he might like this place a little better because even though the one-room thing is not ideal, he liked the flow of all being in the same area. Also the cost savings would be nice. I'm not sure what I think yet. Logically, this place is a slightly better fit, but I got a bit attached to the first one, so I need some time to adjust my thinking. I also really wish we had a space that would not be affected by college football, just in case! But I haven't found anything else we like yet. Well, I suppose there's time!
Here's a few more photos from the venue:
I loved this lamp with the writing on the shade.
Another piece of beautiful furniture.
The fireplace in what would be the ceremony area.
A beautiful screen in the dance floor area, and a wrought-iron candelabra.