Before planning even really got started for me, I almost shut the whole wedding thing down. Why? Because finding a venue is a NIGHTMARE. If you don't already know a lot about weddings (cost, location, food, etc.), looking for a venue can make you want to crawl in bed and never leave. For me, I was shocked how many of the venues were already booked. I'm certain that women are booking venues before they're engaged. I would like to take this time to say...that is psychotic and if your boyfriend knew you did that, he would've never proposed. The second smack in the face came when I saw the price per plate. I started seeing my friends with dollar signs over their heads. When I actually found an affordable venue, I realized that didn't include a tent rental, or alcohol, or chairs...or anything really. I called my mom and cousin almost in tears to tell them this whole wedding thing was a mistake and it was time to cancel everything. They both reminded me it's not about having the fanciest food and the BEST location, it's about celebrating our love for one another with family and friends and the right place would come along. Essentially "what will be will be." I can get with that.
The venue we finally settled on was Liberty Mountain Resort. Andy and I live in Baltimore but sometimes when we need to get away from the city and remind our dog (Titan) that it's OK to pee in the grass, we take him to Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania to visit family. We love our weekend trips to the countryside. There are actually stars in the sky at night out there. Andy and I have been skiing at Liberty Mountain and the area feels like a home away from home for us. He likes to snowboard and our very first trip together was a ski trip to Jamestown, New York. I'm pretty sure we fell in love on that trip. He said things like "get whatever bottle of wine you want" (Ooohh la la...I'll take this $9 bottle) and pushed me around the hotel on a luggage cart at 1 AM. We have also taken a trip out to Steamboat Springs, Colorado and I skied a blue trail in my big girl pants. Haven't been skiing since though because I was so sore I couldn't move.
Back to the resort tour, I printed a million questions to ask the wedding coordinator. She however had her shit together and I basically tossed my list to the wind. Either way, I knew there were a few things that were very important to me when picking a venue.
- Could I afford it? I have plans. I wanted to buy a house one day and I don't want my wedding to put me into debt.
- Was the location reflective of Andy and I as a couple? To me, there is nothing worse than seeing a bride have a farm wedding when the most rustic thing about her is her Frye Boots. C'mon.
- How many of my family and friends can I fit in here? The venue may dictate your guest list if you're not careful!
- Were there any other weddings on site that day, or would I have the place to myself?
- What is included in the package?
- What is the backup plan if it rains?
- Can my guests stay on site? Transportation costs extra!
My tip to you is to ASK FOR THINGS. I asked for them to throw in a hotel room for Andy and I and they did! Be your own advocate. If you want something, ask for it. What are they going to say...no? I also had to really envision what the space would look like on the day of our reception. We saw Liberty during the beginning of ski season, so, it was all set up with cubbies, cafeteria tables and ugly signage. Those kinds of things may be removed for your wedding day. Have an open mind. It's all about the vision.