Venue Search and Our Final Decision

Tom and I have spent the past two weekends searching for our wedding venue. It’s been so fun checking out all of the beautiful locations and I’m thrilled that we found a place that feels perfect for us. I began my search by using The Knot to narrow down venues by location and size (we need a reception venue that can hold over 200 people). I had five venues on my list that I wanted to check out but one wound up not getting back to me and I kind of had a gut feeling it wouldn’t be the one we went with anyway so we decided on visiting four venues for tours.

Two weekends ago we saw The Ryland Inn and the Ashford Estate.

The Ryland Inn was really unique. “Built in 1796, the Ryland Inn is a former country home and stagecoach stop. Newly redesigned with exposed wood beams and elegant chandeliers, the hospitable setting is perfect for a casual dinner, special occasion, or private party.”They had a great outdoor patio where you can hold cocktail hour and they also suggested it would be a great place for lawn games and other activities to keep guests entertained. The patio is available throughout the reception so it’s nice guests have a place to retreat to outside. We were also told they have s’mores available for guests to make after the reception in the back patio’s fire pits which I thought was awesome and such a nice touch.IMG_5724 IMG_5725The ballroom was beautiful and I loved the huge fireplace behind the sweetheart table. The entire floor was wood (as opposed to to the carpeted floor of most venues) and the whole look was very clean and elegant.

ballroomWhile we both agreed the Ryland Inn was beautiful, Tom and I both felt it was a little small for our wedding. We both have large families and want to make sure there is plenty of room to dance without tables being too close together and it just seemed things would be a little tight.

Our next stop was the Ashford Estate which was about an hour’s drive from the Ryland Inn and is actually close to Tom’s parents’ house.

I knew before we even got to the Ashford that it would be at the top of my list but seeing it in person really exceeded all my expectations. Once we pulled through the gate and drove down the long, tree-lined driveway to pull up to the Estate we were both already in awe of it’s beauty. The entire estate was stunning.ashford estate

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IMG_5764Unfortunately, they only had July dates available and we were concerned about the heat/humidity. We had already had our hearts set on a May or June Wedding but we loved the venue so much we decided to hold a date in July while we looked at some other venues.

This past weekend we saw The Tides and The Park Savoy. The Tides’ ballroom was stunning with high ceilings, plenty of space, and the flow from the ballroom to the bar and cocktail area was great. While we both liked the venue a lot, we wound up being stuck between The Ashford Estate and The Park Savoy.

I immediately liked the look of the Park Savoy when we pulled up. It’s an old mansion that used to be a farm and everything was elegant while not being too modern. As we walked through the venue I could just see our wedding reception there. They had a cocktail hour area that expanded out to the back patio with a huge bar overlooking a garden, a huge ballroom that was just stunning with chandeliers and big tables that can seat 8,10, or 12 people which is really nice since our wedding will be pretty large. After viewing the venue, Tom, my mom, my sister, her boyfriend and I went out to lunch to discuss our options. We went back and forth between the Ashford and The Park Savoy but ultimately I found myself talking up the positive points of the Park Savoy a lot more than the Ashford Estate which Tom pointed out should tell us something about where my heart was set on. Tom agreed he loved the Park Savoy and that the date was a big factor (they had a date in June available). IMG_5881 IMG_5935 IMG_5937Last night, my mom, dad, sister and I attended the vendor showcase event and while we were there we signed a contract and put in our deposit! I’m so excited and feel our decision was the right one. I think The Park Savoy is the perfect location for our wedding and I cannot wait for the day we get to experience it. Also, my dad was sold the second they told him there’s a cigar bar in the basement. He said, “This is where I’ll be” and as someone who’s always wandering around places and trying chasing quiet I believe him. At least we’ll know where to find him!

The vendor event was great, we got to try some food, spoke to a bunch of vendors including photographers, transportation companies, hotels and florists. They also had two bands play which ironically turned out to be the two companies Tom and I were choosing between. Unfortunately, the one company, Hank Lane Music, didn’t have the band we’re interested in playing but we have a meeting with them next Thursday so hopefully that will be the next decision we nail down. In the meantime, we’re reveling in the excitement of having our venue decision checked off our list!