Let me forewarn you that we are not stressing at all about our wedding and we aren’t planning on spending a lot of dough. Since we nailed down a date for our upcoming nuptials, we had to decide on a location. It wasn’t hard. I know some people stress over location and go on lots of “interviews”, but not us. Here are my steps to “no frills” location planning:
1. Choose whether you want an indoor/outdoor location (for ceremony and reception).
2. Consider the time of year you will be married and whether you want a daytime or evening event. (We are getting married mid September and are going with a late afternoon/evening timeframe. Because of that, we have already planned on tent walls to keep the heat in and making sure our guests know to dress for late afternoon weather. If it rains, we can still sit comfortable under the tent and enjoy the reception. If it rains during the ceremony, we will deal.)
3. Google away. (Remember that some websites post gorgeous photos of their location to suck you in. Don’t be fooled. Photoshop does wonderful things. Go check it out to make sure it meets your expectations).
4. Read reviews (this would be my #1 rule, but some people like to find places first and read reviews last).
5. Schedule a tour and bring someone who is knowledgeable in weddings/event planning. (Manfriend didn’t come with me; I brought one of my friends who does catering and knows a lot about weddings/receptions. You need someone who will “keep it real” while you are floating around imagining how your wedding will look. Trust me, my friend asked things I would have never thought.)
5. Go with your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. If the owner/tour guide gives you a weird vibe you are by no means required to select the location.
We knew we wanted an outdoor wedding, and I am partial to garden settings. The location we chose came up as one of the top results in our area. We chose Jardin del Sol in Snohomish, WA. It is in a great location for all our friends and family and I fell in love with the natural Northwest garden feel of this place. It isn’t overly groomed and I could picture it as someone’s backyard.
Jardin del Sol is a small business and the owner is unbelievably helpful and friendly (she even came outside and greeted us at the car and waited for me to feed, change and wrangle Caleb into his Ergo). The location is pet friendly too! Can you actually believe that? The dogs can partake in the wedding ceremony and the staff will watch your dog(s) during the reception. (We haven’t actually decided if The Girls will be in attendance yet). After being reassured by my friend that I was getting a great location and a great deal I reserved the venue.