Venue choices

24Sep08

Even though I live in northern Virginia and the boy does as well (although not by my standards, he lives an hour south in the “real” Virginia as I call it) I am planning a wedding in Baltimore. Yes, I am from the Baltimore suburbs and have a real love of my hometown, but also because it is more budget friendly than DC. Apparently to have a wedding in the District of Columbia, you need to be a socialite or either have a high paying job or rich parents. Or, I guess just be willing to pay the minimums, which I am not.

It’s frustrating looking at venues even in Baltimore. I’ve loved places that fit our budget (such as The VanDiver Inn, only to be told that they’re pretty much booked for September ’09 (they have an outdoor pavilion, which they say is heated, but I don’t want to take chances, thus I’d push the wedding up if we had it outdoors). Then there’s The Hippodrome, which has reasonable rates, and even includes rentals of tables and chairs. I was all gung-ho to schedule a visit until I noticed that their caterer requires a $10,000 minimum for weekend events. So that’s not happening.

We are meeting with my favorite contender, AVAM next Saturday. I also recently discovered Geppi’s Entertainment Museum. Well, I knew about it, as they were building it out when I still lived in Baltimore, but I’d forgotten about it. Their coordinator, Dani, is on the ball and very nice. Unfortunately she will be out of town next Saturday, so I will be taking the train up to make a special trip to meet with her. The only downside of this venue is their space is a bit cut up, it’s not just one room. But look at that space, our guests would have a frickin’ field day there! My boss said we’d probably have to corral them back into the room for things, which is possibly true.

The last contender is a bit different from the other two. Liriodendron. It’s an old mansion, which is something I’d said that I would stay away from because it’s just not my style. Still, it’s close to where my parents live and the price is right, and the photos are lovely. The coordinator wrote me right back to tell me that they are available on our dates and have an open house every Sunday, so we’ll be able to visit the space next weekend. If we have our event here, we’d have a more traditional affair, and serve dinner. If we have our event at either of the museums, we’d likely just have cocktails and dessert because their rental fee is higher.

I’m going to see if I can find any other spaces that interest me and if so, try and schedule meetings. But I have a feeling our wedding will end up taking place at one of these three places, and I think regardless of where it takes place, it will be a wonderful, thrifty event.

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3 Responses to “Venue choices”

  1. Have you thought about the Eastern Shore of Maryland? We have a wedding coming up this week at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club and had one last year at the Kent Manor Inn. The KMI is affordable and has a great outdoor areas for cocktails and a ceremony. The actual inn itself is big and mansion-y but the reception building is rather like a rotunda with lots of windows and a dance floor in the center. I loved working there and it’s a great spot for weddings.

    In your last post you mentioned you liked Glen Echo but not the coordinator there. Emily Mah is the girl you’re after…have you tried calling her? She always got back to my emails right away but wedding season is definitely upon us and she may just be busy. Having an ‘on-the-ball’ venue person isn’t nearly as important as having an ‘on-the-ball’ catering person, so long as they don’t double-book your venue and take care of your contract/deposit in a timely manner. Other than those things, they’re really not involved in the planning process anyhow. We have a Glen Echo wedding coming up next summer and I think it’s a really awesome venue (and super reasonable price-wise).

    Hope that helps!

  2. Oh! And following with your artsy AVAM idea, have you considered the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria?

  3. 3 budgetbeautiful

    I hadn’t really considered the Eastern Shore mainly because I’m really not that familiar with the area, which is why I’m considering Baltimore as I’m from there. I will check out those venues you mentioned.

    I guess I’m just anal, I want all my vendors to be “on the ball” and responsive. I wouldn’t consider myself an event planner in the least, but I have planned parties at my job for the past few years and it just stresses me out when people are non-responsive, or if I have to ask repeatedly to get a response. I’m aware that this means wedding planning will probably drive me nuts. :p

    I had considered Torpedo, but AVAM is at the tip-top of our budget and Torpedo’s fees top theirs. I’ve looked at a couple galleries in DC but I don’t know if I’ll schedule a visit yet.

    Thanks for your input, and I will probably be in touch in a few months when it comes time to book my DOC. 🙂


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