Friday, July 10, 2009

On the hunt for the perfect venue

After setting the date and getting a general idea of what we wanted in our day, we began the Internet search. I feel for the brides of yesteryear who had to comparison shop without the wonderful web! Mama Elephant (my partner in crime when it comes to the wedding planning) and I decided to begin with the venue. The venue is the biggest cost with the reception food and alcohol and for me would be a one stop shop. Even though Mama E originally wanted me to get married in the church that my family has been members of since we moved to Texas, she saw the benefits of holding the ceremony and reception in the same facility.

After looking and emailing several venues for pricing information, we narrowed the list down to 4 sites to actually visit. We were eager to set up appointments to walk through the venues, but remembered that we had our big family reunion trip coming up so all visits would actually have to wait a couple of weeks. After an amazing trip to Disneyworld and a relaxing 7 day Caribbean cruise, we were ready to hit the pavement.

Yay DisneyWorld

Getting ready for Muster Drill

First up was the Westin Stonebriar, the only hotel on our list. Mama Elephant and I met with the event coordinator and walked through the area while seeing where the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception would be held. There were pros and cons that we mentally noted, such as the nice terrace area for cocktails but the lack of windows in the ballroom, and agreed to come back with Mr. E when it was set up for a wedding to get a better idea of the space. When we returned with Mr. E we were able to visualize it with wedding d├ęcor, and knew that it was not the place for us.

The Westin (Source)

Next up was the Las Colinas Country Club, which was my favorite on paper! I loved the separate room for the ceremony and the elevated entrance for the reception ballroom. Setting up a meeting with the coordinator was easier said then done. After the quick response for pricing information it took 3 emails over a 3 week period and a call to get a response on setting up a date. While that wasn’t fun, it also wasn’t a deal breaker. The club was older than I expected, but I thought that could just add character to our wedding. Mama Elephant and I did our usual pros and cons list on the ride home and I was really feeling this place! With 2 places left to visit, I thought I had already found my dream venue… boy was I wrong.

Las Colinas Country Club (Source)

Our next stop was to the Hackberry Creek Country Club, and while the place was nice and the coordinator was as sweet as can be, I just wasn’t excited about it (maybe that had something to do with my fondness for Las Colinas).

Hackberry Creek (Source)

The fourth and final stop on our venue search was The Tribute Golf Club. Mama E and I headed out on a drizzly Saturday, down a long and winding road (ok maybe not that winding but it was a long road), to meet with the event coordinator, Erin. We had scheduled the meeting the day of a wedding to see the beginning set up process. We got a tour of the guest rooms that would be reserved for the wedding party to get ready, the bar, the ballroom and a quick from a distance view of the outside gazebo. I loved all of it! Unfortunately due to the weather the evening’s outdoor wedding was being moved inside to take place in front of the gorgeous black fireplace, which will be a great plan B if the weathermen aren't on our side for our wedding day.

I couldn’t help but smile when we walked out of this place, The Place. I knew it was the one! I could picture our wedding day there and knew by the numbers that it was in our budget. If I could have put down the deposit that day I probably would have, but clear thinking Mama E knew that we needed to sleep on it, weigh out the pros and cons of each place and of course have Mr. E see it before we made any final decision.

Fast forward a couple weeks and the whole gang (and I do mean whole gang: Mama Elephant, Dad Elephant, Elephant Bro, Mr. E, me, Mr. E’s parents and my cousins Geri and Zo) went to see the Tribute. Erin was great to take some time between 2 weddings on the same day (it was the middle of wedding season) to show us all around with the exception of the ballroom which was currently in use. Everyone agreed that the venue was perfect for our day, so we signed on the dotted line and turned in our deposit.

That’s one big check off the wedding list and I can’t wait to say my vows to Mr. E at this venue!

The Tribute (Source)
How many venue visits did you conduct before finding the one?

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