Danny and I (mainly Danny) have been emailing venues for about two weeks and it is getting crazy how full our in-boxes are now. Picking out a venue is a very overwhelming process. We know it needs to be done soon because we are discovering that there are people that are already booking for next fall just like we plan to do. We have been emailing places locally and we have looked into all kinds of other options too (i.e. Louisville, destination weddings, etc.).
When we started our search we had a list of about 10 places in Cleveland. After getting a good idea on rates and the different venue sizes we were able to narrow it down to about three of four places. Holden Arboretum is one of our top local venues and it is located in Kirtland, Ohio.
Danny has been emailing the coordinator at Holden Arboretum back and forth for what seems like forever. Sadly, they are so busy on the weekends with weddings that they were unable to book weekend tours until November. So Danny really couldn't go on a tour until that point because of work.
Since I am in worry mode about not finding a venue I decided that maybe mom and I could go and look at this place ASAP. Thankfully I was able to set up kind of a last minute appointment with the coordinator, who is wonderful. She is so helpful and she responds quickly to emails.
Wednesday morning I woke up early and I was slightly antsy about getting there and getting there on time. When we finally got off the exit after our hour drive to the east side we instantly were surrounded by trees, little white fences that reminded me of something you would usually see in Kentucky, little barns, beautiful homes, and we even found hills! There are no hills in Ohio, it is super flat. It was gorgeous! When we pulled up to the entrance we drove up to the visitor center (after passing it once and having to turn around) and checked in and let the coordinator know we were there.
We toured the Butterfly Garden first. It is beautiful. There are flowers everywhere. There is a pond that has lily pads and a fountain in it. The little bridge over the pond is so cute and there are benches all around the pond. I took pictures like crazy. This was the place I wanted to look at the most after looking at the website a billion times. We looked at the garden, the visitor center, the tent lawn, and the building next to the garden that could be the back up place in case of rain or the place where the bridal party gets dressed before the ceremony.
The pond with the visitor center in the background
The bridal walk way
Love the little benches and all the bright flowers
A view from the building next door
We then moved on to the Lantern Court area which was down the road from the Butterfly Garden. It was completely different from the outdoor garden area. The Lantern Court venue has a few different options for people to choose from. What we would do probably is rent out the whole area so we could have access to the terrace area, the arcade and courtyard, and the house. There is no comparison to the garden so deciding between the two will be difficult if this is our future wedding site. Lantern Court is my mom's favorite of the two and I am still deciding which one I like more.
Arcade courtyard/ reception site
Back of the house
Back of the house
Back garden behind the house with paths that the guest can walk around
Front of the house.
The coordinator was so great she told us we could come back any time. We are even able to come back when they are setting up for a wedding so we can get a better idea of what it will look like. Hopefully soon we can go back over there soon with Danny and his family. We still have more places to tour but this one is for sure in the running.
Check out the venues website. Here is the link to the photo gallery on the website. The fall pictures are so pretty. http://www.holdenarb.org/photogallery/
How did you decide on your venue? How long did it take you to find the right place? How far in advanced did you book your venue? What are some things that people should know when deciding on their venue?