Thursday, August 18, 2011

Holden Arboretum Tour

Wedding planning has finally started to get real.  I went on my first venue tour!  

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.  

 Terrace/ceremony area

 Arcade courtyard/ reception site
 Arcade/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.

Question time!
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?
Please comment!!!


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  2. Some friends were starting to rent their house/grounds out for weddings and receptions and they offered my family half off the usual price so $1000 became $500 for our venue. It was outdoors, like I wanted, in Georgia, like I wanted, we knew the people and it was a good price. Kinda couldn't pass it up.

    I will give you advice. If you can, get married close-ish to where you are actually living. It takes stress off the planning. I got married in Georgia - its where I grew up, so it was home, and it was a central location for friends and family from out of town. At the time tho - I was living in Florida (I don't really like Florida a whole bunch so I wasn't too keen on getting married there). Well, its stressful and a little disappointing to have to make so many wedding decisions just based off of phone conversations and pictures/communication over the internet. I had to trust my parents descriptions/photos and had some very frustrating phone conversations with my mom (one of the worst was over describing what kind of photographer I wanted -- couldn't get it across too well over the phone -- and in the end didn't get exactly the results of what I had in mind). Its easier to just be able to hop in the car and go visit and make the decisions you need to make when you are physically near where you are getting married. But ultimately - I was still happy about getting married in Georgia, the process of an out of town wedding just had its drawbacks.

  3. the venue was the worst part for me. When march came around, i still had no clue where i was getting married. i knew it was charlotte/concord and i needed a lot of space, but i was broke and couldnt find anything i liked. i was so stressed that i had completely given up and was begging other people to plan my wedding for me. i had shut down. so finally i looked at a church in our area, loved it and it was FREE!!!! yeah baby!!! It was going to be the low key wedding i wanted, and i kind of didnt' have a choice. it had to be there so i wasnt broke going into my marriage. it turned out fine and im glad we didnt spend billions on our wedding, but i still long for that farmhouse wedding in the evening with hay bales and lanterns, dancing into the night. that being said, have the wedding you have always dreamed about, but if money is an issue, and it usually is, be smart about some things and be firm on the things that mean the most to you.