Friday, September 24, 2010

On Choosing a Wedding Venue (and Finding Patience)

I've been on a lovely little wedding planning sabbatical, which means that I haven't had any pressing business left in my September to-do list other than finding a crinoline for my dress, which my mom is working on for me! I've just been enjoying wandering thoughts about the day, a here and there idea or spark of inspiration that is making me really enjoy this phase.

This is also because the big stuff is sorted—like the venue, which is my topic for today. We decided to have the wedding here in Des Moines since it's smack in the middle of my family in NJ and Josh's family in MT. Plus, since most of our family members haven't been here, or seen where we live, we figured this could share our real lives with everyone too. Hooray for that!

But while settling on that was easy, the actual venue-finding bit was not—it was complicated. You know those Midwestern floods you often see on the news? We are often hit with them, which means the lovely state park with an early 1900s limestone lodge which we both thought was perfect made us Very nervous due to its proximity to a river. In fact, I believe that the park actually flooded this summer during the monsoons in July.

So I started asking friends for ideas, I took a few acquaintances who know the city better than I do out for meals, and I tried very hard to be patient as this sorted itself out.

It was tough. I am apparently very picky.

Part of the difficulty was knowing that I didn't want to deal with too many rules—we want to bring in our own alcohol (from a local brewery and a friend who's a winemaker); we want to have access to the place on Friday so that we have time to decorate; we want to be able to decorate how we like without worrying that someone will tell us we aren't allowed. And most of all, I did not want to pay a fee that felt like we were being ripped off. Tall order, indeed.

Until I finally found a place that fits all of those criteria AND will let us stay as long as we want to the night of the wedding. It's in the side of town that I wanted (there are bars, boutiques, and copious amounts of charm that I really wanted our guests to see) and it's within walking distance to the hotel where we plan to put everyone.

And it's big enough for dancing. Even for square dancing. I know!

I love that the building is old and was at one time used as a dance hall during one of the wars (that might be urban legend, but I am choosing to believe). And that it has enough character on it's own that we won't have to decorate the heck out of the place.

Sign Us Up.

Next week, I'll tell you about where we are planning to have the ceremony, because this post has gotten out-of-control-long already!

***LINK LOVE: a few things from around the interweb that I rather enjoyed this week.

Meg's post about money and self-worth over on A Practical Wedding, where she also knocked it out of the posting park with her post about wedding budgets. As of right now 488 people posted their wedding budget anonymously, which is So Amazing because it gives you perspective on this whole paying for a wedding business like nothing I have ever read before.

The pureed gazpacho on Lottie + Doof, which even though it comes at the tail end of tomato season here in the Midwest is how I plan to make gazpacho from here on out. No more eating salsa soup with a spoon!

You still have three days to enter the No-Makeup Challenge via the ladies at No More Dirty Looks!

Have you ever tried mead? Home brewing's renaissance-fair-esque cousin? Click here to find out why you should from me over at


  1. Walking distance to the hotel - that's key! It saves you a bundle on renting shuttle vans too.

  2. Congratulations on finding the perfect place! My fiance and I are just starting to think about looking and it's actually pretty tough because we want our wedding to be super untraditional. Fingers crossed! :)