How we lost our venue… and found our wedding again

19 May

Somewhere in San Francisco we lost our wedding venue.

We had a soft date booked for a barn in May 2011.

We were pretty excited about it.

And then the owner sent us an email trying to pressurise us into making a decision. Like now. Amazing how a bit of pressure makes you examine what you really want.

The stickler for us became the chairs.

The venue wanted to charge individually for each chair we used (and each set of cutlery, glass, plate and so on). Which prompted us jokingly to have discussions like ‘well, my Papa needs a seat’, ‘well, fine but he can’t have a knife’.

Now maybe this is standard but it didn’t feel ‘us’. We want somewhere relaxed and informal. Casual and fun. Paying individually for chairs is none of those things. So we backed out – sent them a polite we’re letting it go email – and then went to a lovely wee coffee shop in the Mission.

All fine and good. Except we now had no venue.

So at the weekend we put a lot of time into some venue searching – and even went to visit some. But it was more depressing than exciting. Everywhere seemed to want a lot of money for places that weren’t quite right.

And then we realised something. We were doing this all wrong.

We are not conventional wedding people.

So we should stop looking at conventional wedding places.

(By that, I mean places that ‘do’ weddings. As a barn is probably not most people’s idea of a conventional wedding place!)

Seems obvious now but it hadn’t occurred to us.

So we’re back on track – we have a plan and we’re super-excited. (Honestly, it’s all I can do to stop myself from telling everyone what our plan is!)

It’s nice to feel like we’re in charge of our wedding again, instead of it being in charge of us.

P.S. For anyone else thinking ‘eeek!’ when it comes to wedding planning, check out Mademoiselle Robot‘s My Wedding on Budget. Great advice I think.

Image via Once Wed

14 Responses to “How we lost our venue… and found our wedding again”

  1. Lisa-Marie 19/05/2010 at 9:44 AM #

    Charging per fork and chair is NOT NORMAL! I’m glad you’ve worked out what you want, and I look forward to hearing what your super secret plan is when it’s not so secret!

  2. Ray B 19/05/2010 at 9:46 AM #

    I love this – every time the boyfriend and I have felt stressed out by wedding planning we have taken a step back and asked ourselves ‘should this be stressful? is there a more enjoyable way to get this done?’ and so far it has made the whole process SO much easier!! Love the Mademoiselle Robot post too!

  3. Anne Marie Carroll 19/05/2010 at 11:14 AM #

    I’m not alright with this! I need to know – you could just tell me! I won’t tell anyone or steal your idea. I hate the not knowing!

  4. mysparethoughts 19/05/2010 at 11:38 AM #

    I loved the idea of you getting married in a barn but charging per chair and fork is not normal. Sounds like one of our conversations, well so and so will share their cutlery, but t’other one is very particular about their seat. I’m glad you stepped back if this is how they are reacting before they have your firm booking I’m not sure you would have the smoothest of relationships. Eeek can’t wait to hear the new plan – go on tell us, you know you want to!

  5. Gaynor 19/05/2010 at 1:00 PM #

    Yeah i agree, charging per chair or per fork isnt normal; per person for food & drink is.

    Everything does cost a lot and has to be totally right for you.

    Cant wait to hear all about it!

  6. Tonia 19/05/2010 at 1:32 PM #

    Ours didn’t charge per chair, fork etc, but then he didn’t have big enough table cloths, decorations for the room, any organisational skills whatsoever. Last time I get married in a pub – even if it is a National Trust one!

  7. babyandwool 19/05/2010 at 2:07 PM #

    Ah Zoe, I’m really pleased for you. I totally don’t see you as a pay-per-chair person, in fact I can’t believe that venues actually pay per chair. People must make so, so much money out of this business by just putting the word ‘wedding’ in front of an object and charging through the roof for it. I agree, weddings should not be stressful to plan, if they are then something is going wrong along the way. I can not wait to see what your plan is!

  8. Laura 19/05/2010 at 5:38 PM #

    That’s really sweet!

    I’m so pleased you reflected on it and now back on track.

    Can’t wait to see what you have got up your sleeve!

  9. Wellies 19/05/2010 at 6:00 PM #

    oh how exciting – new plan! woop woop!

    I think your spot on with the wedding not being in charge of you.. so easy to get carried away with tradition and what your meant to have/do.

    can’t wait to hear what your new venues going to be.. woop woop very exciting x

  10. Blue Penguin 20/05/2010 at 2:38 PM #

    This sounds *so* familiar – we went through the exact same thing, and everything was frighteningly expensive, utterly ghastly, and very “bridal”. Then we ditched the function places and found a really great bistro. Of course, wedding karma bit us on the behind when it changed chefs, menu and got some very scary decor… finding *two* wedding places (we love our new one) makes you feel almost anything is possible. Good luck finding somewhere much more you!

  11. Rhianne 20/05/2010 at 3:45 PM #

    Ohhh, I’m so intrigued! I cant wait to hear what you’re doing. Charging for cutlery sounds crazy to me!

  12. Chocolate Lover 20/05/2010 at 6:24 PM #

    I think all things happen for a reason, so good riddance to this greedy site! Cant wait to see what you pick!

  13. Mrs T 25/05/2010 at 4:19 AM #

    Charging per fork – come on people!

    Our venue was somewhere completely outside of wedding norms. Way cheaper too! It pays to think outside the square. Halls, library rooms, old buildings, the choices are endless.

    Good luck with the hunt!

  14. Conversation Pieces 26/05/2010 at 8:03 PM #

    So glad you all agree with us! I was fearing that everyone would say ‘nope, that’s totally the done thing’!

    As for our plan… it’s only secret while we work out if we can do it! Sorry @Anne Marie Carroll!

    @Ray B – think we are going to have to keep repeating that to ourselves too!

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