Monday, July 9, 2012

A Place to Party

Previously, on Our Geeky Adventure:

-This wedding will be comprised of mainly out-of-town guests.  Including us.
-So I need my mom's help to meet with vendors, like our florist
-We're having a lunch-time reception that is slightly to the casual side of the casual-formal spectrum

This whole planning-a-wedding-from-afar thing is kind of difficult sometimes, but it's those times when my wonderful mom steps up and helps me out in any way she can- most of the time, that has meant meeting with vendors, signing contracts, and putting down deposits.  Like when we were looking for a reception venue!

I think maybe my mom was even more excited when we got engaged than I was- well, almost, anyway.  The moment Mr. Geek and I presented the idea of holding the wedding in Alex City, she got straight to work, looking around for suitable reception venues- before I even asked!  She gathered the names of a few places, and I looked them up online, in addition to doing my own research.  Based on what I could pull from a few websites, Mr. Geek and I settled on three potential locations and asked her to check them out for us.  She grabbed her camera and my sisters and set off to interview these places, then reported her findings.  I compiled the following list of questions for her to ask each location:

1.  Our date is 10 Nov 2012; we're looking to do a reception from about 1pm-5pm.  Is this date/time available?
2.  Our vision is a laid-back cocktail party.  For food, we're thinking 'heavy hors d'oeuvres'...finger food that you can get full off of if you want.  Definitely no sit-down, 5 course meal.  Do you have a package like this?  Can we see a menu?
3.  We also want to provide an open bar, but not necessarily anything too expansive.  Wine, beer, champagne for toasting, and one, maybe 2 'signature cocktails.'  Do you have a package like this?
4.  We really want to take care of the decorating ourselves- basic table linens will be fine, and we'll provide everything else...if that's allowed.
5.  We envision an 'iPod reception'- that is, no formal dj or band, just our own music player hooked to a sound system.  Do you have a sound system that can be hooked up with an mp3 player or computer- one that includes a microphone?  Are these things included in your package?
6.  We're hoping for 100-200 people; how many people does your biggest room fit?  Is there room for a sizeable dance floor?
7.  Do you have an on-site baker, or do you recommend one?  We're looking to have cupcakes instead of a traditional wedding cake; if you have an on-site baker, is this a possibility?  If you have an on-site baker, is the price included in the package or is it extra?  If we choose not to use your on-site baker, is there a penalty fee for bringing in someone from the outside?
8.  Finally, I need prices for the package that would accommodate the vision I've described above.  Would this package include a "day-of coordinator" who can set things up and take things down the day of the wedding?

I didn't want her to start the conversation by announcing our budget; I preferred to hear a quote for what we were asking for and if it was out of budget, move on to the next choice.  This way I figured we would get an honest assessment of what it would take to achieve our vision without having to choose a package off a menu based solely on how much we are able to spend.

First on the list was Mom Geek's suggestion: SpringHouse.

photo by Frank Couch // image via
 SpringHouse is a restaurant described by critics as "upscale-casual" in the scenic area of Lake Martin.  It kind of looks like a large house on the outside, and the inside feels "rustic" without actually being a barn.  My initial research showed that they have experience with cocktail party receptions and that our vision probably wouldn't seem too foreign to them.

Next was CreekSide Lodge, also on Lake Martin.

image via
CreekSide Lodge is basically a bed and breakfast and is very quaint.  The website boasts an onsite caterer AND coordinator, which was definitely a plus.  Also, the option to spend the night on-site was certainly attractive!

Finally, there was Sterling Castle.

image via Panoramio
...IT'S A CASTLE, YOU GUYS.  I rest my case.

So how did the meetings go?  Which site did we pick?

One of these was already booked for our date...One of these was cute on the outside but stuffy on the inside...One of these was juuuuuuuuuuuuuuust right.

Tune in next time to find out!

Did you have to send someone else to choose a venue for you?  Would you have been able to relinquish control and allow that to happen?  What sort of questions did you have for potential venues?

Much love,
The Geeks

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