Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Secret Venue Hunting (It saves you a lot of unwanted conversation)

Venue hunting is the wedding equivalent of buying a used car. You show up at the lot and someone is there to greet you and follow you as you walk around checking things out.

If you bring a buddy and try to talk to him or her, the "someone" will pop up right behind you, like the sneaky sneaky guy from Mr. Deeds. And so, to save yourself a headache, you're forced to make conversation the entire time. And you want to be polite, you want to ask questions, but you mostly just want to do things like check out the bathroom to see if it is large enough for Grandma's wheelchair.

But you can't, exactly, lead a trio to a bathroom stall.

This is why I started going to venues unannounced, yet invited.

Love a venue but not enough to make an official visit? Figure out a way to get inside without letting a wedding coordinator know.

We have a venue in town that is the upstairs room of a local brewery. We really love the brewery, love the food, love that the beer served is local. It would be something completely different for our out of town guests to enjoy.

The brewery was at the first bridal expo we attended, and I got paperwork from them. The prices weren't bad, except when you conside that our bridal party, plus immediate family, plus attendants, comes to about fifty people. But I still wanted to check out the venue. Just not formally.

We found out the brewery was having a breat cancer benefit. Of course, we had plans to attend (we do attend each cancer benefit we hear about, in memory of my fiance's mother). Luckily for us, the benefit was going to be held upstairs in the private room -- the one we would book if we were to host our rehearsal dinner there.

We got upstairs and it was gorgeous inside. A huge beautiful chandelier hung over the staircase, there was a large private bar which would be for our guests only, and the room was spacious (enough to set up a large game of beer pong, as you can see from the signs on the walls in the photo above, but then convert to a dining area). We saw long rectangular and smaller square tables. We found out where the DJ would set up, if we decided to have a DJ. We saw where we could set up the buffet, if we decided on that. We found out where the bathrooms were. We checked out the decor, the decorations, and the drapes -- all without having to be followed around by someone trying to be helpful.

We were actual customers that day, so we figured out the flight pattern of guests. We knew how crowded it would potentially be and the ease (or lack thereof) of walking around.

I already had prices from the expo, so we didn't really need to set up an official time to meet.

And I really liked this a lot better. It was such a realxing way to see a venue.

Unfortunately, we did eliminate this off our list (mostly because I want to invite all our out of town guests to the rehearsal dinner -- and that is our entire guest list -- and this would just get too pricey for us).


If you're local to me and planning your wedding, you'll want to know that this is the Beam Room at Front Street Brewery (9 N. Front Street; Wilmington, NC). We love FSB as a place to hang out (we have taken every single one of our out of town guests to FSB; it has become a tradition, which is why we wanted to take all our wedding guests here) but it just isn't going to work for us. I'm glad we figured this out by just heading to the venue instead of wasting someone's time by having an official tour, then coming to the same conclusion.

BRIDAL BABBLE: Are there any venues that you have "unofficially" visited?

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