“Where are you getting married?” After “When” is asked, people are quick to inquire about the venue you selected. As I began the venue hunting process, I had two rules: 1.) I wanted to get married in a church that looks like a church, and, 2.) I didn't want to have my reception outside (although I love outdoor receptions, the possibility of bad weather would stress me and my family out).
My mode of operation for finding a venue was scouring the Internet. I considered everything from a barn to a museum to a library to an old church gym. Nothing was out of the question. But it seemed like every place I considered was missing something I wanted our venue to have. The museum only seated 100 people. The catering was out of our price range at the library. The barn was 50-ish minutes away from my house, and over an hour away from most of our guests. The 1920's church gym would have taken A LOT of work to coordinate with multiple vendors.
Discouraged by the prospects, I wasn't sure what Mr. M and I would do. Then, my parents threw out an unconventional option– a nearby college. I had been to the campus previously, and thought it was beautiful. BUT, they didn't have a website for event rental, so I ruled it out. My parents, however, called some folks and learned the cost and when the venue was available. We found out that there was a date that worked, and the cost was less than all the other options. The week after the engagement, I went to visit and was sold.
At the college, is a chapel with old stained glass windows and a beautiful stage. The reception will be in the student union, and the catering company works at the college and will provide all of the linens, tables, and chairs for the reception. Moreover, the college campus is a quick walk to my MOH's house, so I'll be able to get ready there. The other perk? I love guests will be able to walk from the chapel to the reception.
Like my dress, looking for a venue reminded me the value of making phone calls, asking questions and visiting places. You never know what good deals you might find abandoning the internet.