Hello again! Let’s talk venue selection, shall we? Picking the venue was one of the very first things we tackled. We knew what date we wanted to get married on and didn’t want to have to compromise that, so we started the hunt for the perfect venue as soon as possible. I originally just started searching online for “wedding venues in Charleston, SC.” Well everything that came up was around $5,000 and you had to use their vendors for catering and alcohol. Needless to say, we were in total shock! Apparently Charleston is one of the top 3 places to get married in the United States, so EVERYTHING is more expensive. I had no Idea about this when we picked Charleston. I was just thinking it would be more convenient to plan since we lived here. After having a minor melt down, we decided that we definitely did not want to spend half of our budget on the venue and I knew I would be able to find better deals on catering and alcohol than the pre-selected vendors would give me. So we had to get creative in searching for a great “hidden gem” venue. Our first stop was The Wedding Row. This is a website that showcases local Charleston weddings. They also have sister websites that show weddings in other towns as well. We searched for a couple of hours, looking through all the weddings to see where the venues were. Finally, we came across one I hadn’t heard of called Old Wide Awake Plantation. I feel in love with the name immediately. I found their website online and lo and behold, it was affordable! Well, not affordable….nothing involving weddings is reasonable, but it was half the cost of what we had previously found. I think this is because it’s located in Hollywood, SC. That’s about 15 minutes outside of Charleston. So you don’t get the Charleston address on your invites, but that is A-OK with me!
We scheduled a visit and went out the house the next week. IT WAS PERFECT! Not only was the house and property gorgeous, the owners were amazingly laid back. They said we can use whatever vendors we want and were incredibly flexible about most everything we asked about. This is exactly what we wanted. As an added bonus, the owners informed us that Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe got married there in the 90’s. How great is that?! Yeah, maybe they did get divorced, but it’s still super cool to tell our guests that. And as a general rule of thumb for my life, if it’s good enough for celebrities, then it’s good enough for me 😉
Other things the sealed the deal for us on Old Wide Awake: I loved the idea of having the ceremony and reception at the same location, just to keep things simpler and so we won’t have to waste time traveling. Also, I loved the idea of having it at an old plantation house because it fit perfectly with the southern fairy-tale theme we were going for and because the house was symbolic to Matt and I. A big part of this wedding for us is the joining of two families and the creation of our own little family and what better way to symbolize that than a huge home as the back drop for the occasion. Another great thing about this venue is I think it will save us money in the decorating department. We really won’t have to do too much decorating at all. The landscape and house are almost decoration enough. My plan is to put white twinkle lights everywhere that I can and let Old Wide Awake be the main focus.
There are so many pros about the venue, but there are also a few cons. Choosing a wedding venue that is non-traditional like a plantation house poses a problem of logistics. Right now we are in the process of trying to decide where the ceremony will take place, where the reception will be, where the cars will be parked, where we will go to take pictures are the ceremony…you get the idea. So there is definitely a lot to think about, but despite the logistical issues, I couldn’t be happier with the venue.
Suggestions from me on finding a venue:
- Try and find other weddings online that took place in the area you want to get married and check out their venues.
- Talk to your vendors if you’ve selected them. They always know hidden gem locations. (I found this out after we had selected the venue and were talking to our vendors about it. They knew a whole slew of affordable locations.)
- Look for non-traditional locations. You can have a wedding just about anywhere!
- Make sure the owners of the space are flexible when it comes to vendors, the times you can be there and how loud the music can be.