Sunday, September 26, 2010

Searching for our piece of "I do" turf: Part Two

After we said goodbye to  the dream of a Biltmore wedding, I had to sit down and re-evaluate our lists of wants versus the hard realities of our budget and, equally important, picking a place that we knew would reflect our personalities. There were just so many options out there on the Internet, it was almost overwhelming!

As a couple we would discuss the issue, think about it for a few days, then sit down and discuss it some more. I am one of those people who loves to sit down and solve all of the world's problems in one sitting. Nate is not one of those people. He needs to hear an idea, then let it simmer and marinate in his mind for a few days (hmm I wonder if I am hungry). If I give him that time (which really took some getting used to) then our discussions and brainstorming sessions are MUCH more productive. Talk about a major lesson in patience.

One of the ideas that we had was to choose a venue that was a lot closer to home; a Georgia wedding! That way we could visit the venue often and be a big part of the process. We also thought it would be easier on out of town guests as we knew the area well, could help them find reasonable accommodations and would have lots of great ideas for things to do while they were in town (other than attend the wedding of course!) Also, it would make it so easy for me to visit with local vendors rather than having to make decisions solely based off of pictures on their website. I mean, it's hard to know if what you see is what you get sometimes

O.k. so if a Georgia wedding was what we wanted, we needed to narrow it down. City venues weren't for us, although the nighttime skyline of Atlanta is something to see! No, what we wanted was a beautiful outdoor reception with a garden feel and lots of southern charm. So I took my google searching north of the city in search of a beautiful venue with an amazing outdoor ceremony site. I don't want anyone falling asleep on me, so let's just get to the major contenders shall we?

First up: Chateau Elan
This place is the hidden gem of  Georgia. A world class spa, golf course, and winery make Chateau Elan a HUGE wedding destination. I'm telling you, these people have weddings down to an art. The grounds are beautiful and the whole concept of Elan is that you never have to leave the resort area; so we could be rest assured that people would have plenty to do. The cons: unless people want to do a lot of driving, there are no alternate lodging options except to stay at the resort, which could really be a problem for some of our guests who don't want to spend an arm and a leg for a room.

Also, the chateau is beautiful, but it's also out in the country somewhat in the middle of nowhere. If we wanted people to really experience something new and make a big fun weekend out of our wedding, would this really be the best choice? Unless they really had a hankering to stare at cows, there would be a lack of places to go outside of the resort. Lastly for the negatives, PRICE. Yep, once again I fell in love with a venue that would put me in debt until I'm 90. Crap. . .

Next possibility: Barnsley Gardens (or as Nate mistakenly continues to call it, Beardsley Gardens)
The main manor house was built in the mid 1860's and was the center of a beautiful but tragic love story of Godfrey Barnsley and his wife Julia. Today, the manor house ruins are surrounded by a resort, expansive gardens that feature hundreds of varieties of roses, and beautiful vistas of the North Georgia foothills. Ya'll it is a gorgeous place and combined with it's romantic history; what a hauntingly beautiful setting to hold a wedding. I seem to be establishing a pattern with my cons for venues so you can probably guess what I'm about to tell you: it was just too dang expensive for the kind of wedding that we wanted, it was really out in the middle of nowhere, and along with that, no lodging options for our guests!! Arghh the frustration!

Clearly I wasn't searching in the right places, I needed to switch gears yet again to find something that fit everything that we wanted. What did I learn from this searching?

Well first I needed to find a venue that wasn't all inclusive; we want out guests to have control over how much they spend on our wedding weekend.

I also learned that, although we loved the feel of the historic manor houses set out in the country, we weren't willing to sacrifice the amenities that come with having a wedding in a city.

Third, I needed to find a place that fit my champagne taste on a beer budget!

O.k. so we have historic, don't like the modern city, but not crazy about the rustic country, and really needed to stay on the cheap side for the venue price. I was beginning to think our piece of "I do" turf was just a figment of my imagination . . .


  1. Haha what is it with guys and the name Barnsley Gardens? I swear, it was May when Miguel realized it wasn't called "Barns and Gardens" =) I love your blog! You're going to make a beautiful bride! Lexi told me some of your wedding ideas MONTHS ago and they seemed really great! Good luck with everything!

  2. Thanks Laura! I've been keeping up with your blog as well. . under is best :) Hope you guys are loving Savannah!