Monday, April 29, 2013

Finding a Ceremony Venue

Before looking for any venues, I thought that once I found the reception venue, finding a ceremony venue would be easy....wrong! After visiting a couple of nearby reception venues, I found the one and had no doubts about it. I've searched for a ceremony venue for a couple months now, and the process has been frustrating to say the least!

Mifflin Presbyterian Church
Although my reception venue (Winding Hollow Golf Club) offers a nice ceremony space on their golf course, my dad requested that we get married indoors in air conditioning so he "wouldn't sweat through the ceremony and look like he had jumped in a swimming pool for the pictures." I couldn't really argue with his logic, especially since he's shelling out a lot of money to make my day perfect! With a late May wedding in Ohio, you never know what weather will be like. It could be 90 degrees, or there could be a monsoon! I didn't want to add anymore stress to the wedding day by trying predict the weather, being wrong and then having to make a lot of adjustments to the ceremony. 

Not only did we have to find a ceremony space indoors, we had the added complication of finding a place that would allow my pastor to officiate the ceremony. Not every church allows another minister to come into the church to conduct the ceremony, so I looked at Presbyterian churches within a short drive of Winding Hollow. I found one that I really, really liked and I thought it would be a done deal...and then they told me they only allowed members of the church to get married there. So the search continued. 

I guess at this point I should back track a little and say why I couldn't use my home church. Although my church is very nice, and I'm sure the price would have been very affordable, it doesn't have a center aisle and it's a small church and isn't big enough to accommodate all of our guests. But back to the search....

Next I checked out another local Presbyterian church. It was convenient because the pastor there was friends with my pastor, so there was no issue about him conducting the ceremony. It was also very affordable. Once again, I learned that even if we had our guests sit in the balcony, it still wouldn't be big enough for all of our guests.

After doing some more research, sending more emails and making more phone calls, I found a performing arts center that was right down the street from Winding Hollow. When Matt and I toured the space, we were impressed. The ornate details and lighting were just as beautiful as the pictures showed online. It was also convenient that since it was a stage, their were dressing rooms to get ready in downstairs with plenty of mirror space. If you're a girl who has ever lived with a bunch of girls or gotten ready with a group of girls, you know how valuable mirror space is! We'd have to create some sort of arch or arbor as a backdrop on the stage, but that wouldn't hinder us from choosing the space. The only problem with the space, was the price. Beauty comes at a price! We decided to look at a couple more spaces before making the down payment.

Matt and I called and emailed five more different churches. Some only allowed members to get married there, others weren't large enough and others still haven't gotten back to us! We did find one more Presbyterian church that was less than 15 miles away from Winding Hollow. Mifflin Presbyterian in Gahanna would allow my pastor to conduct the ceremony and the sanctuary could hold over 300 people. They didn't have any pictures online, so I was hoping for the best. 

My mom and I were impressed with the space. There were stained glass windows and a large center aisle. I thought it was going to end up being the winner.  The only thing I didn't know was the price. I guess at that point in the wedding planning process I shouldn't have been surprised how pricey things were, but when I got the price to rent the church I was! I figured since it was a church and I was a member of the same denomination, it would be as affordable as the other church I had looked at. It wasn't. It was only slightly cheaper than the performing arts center. Because of the price, we didn't want to make an immediate decision.

After doing a little more research on different potential venues, I reached a point where I couldn't look at any more churches or make any more phone calls! We would be getting married at either the performing arts center or the church. Deciding between the two was difficult, especially since I was the only one who had seen both venues. My mom had gone with me to look at the church, and my dad and Matt had gone with me to look at the performing arts center. I showed my dad and Matt pictures and that's all they had to go by.

I was leaning more toward the performing arts center, but I knew I'd be happy with either. My mom and dad both thought the church had more character, and Matt liked the church more because of the slightly cheaper price. So after the extremely long process, we decided to go with the church! 

It has definitely been the most stressful part of the planning process thus far, although I'm sure throughout my following posts that's all subject to change!

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