Welcome to spring! This is my absolute favorite time of year. Something about sunshine, flowers, pastels, and warm weather is just so inspiring to me.
Which is lucky for me, because – oops – I’ve got a wedding to plan.
Spring marks the beginning of wedding season, and I just love to see photos of the different weddings that people go to. Normally I just enjoy the photos because they’re examples of really good photography. But now, I’m dissecting them all to get ideas for my own. What flowers did they use? What kind of shots did they pick for photos? How well did their colors work together??
Those are just some of the many, many questions that you have to ask yourself when you’re planning a wedding. It can be really hard to envision it all coming together, especially for me. One thing that I absolutely needed to start planning everything else was an idea of what the venue was going to be. After all, the venue sets the tone of the whole wedding. It makes it feel cheap or expensive, rustic or modern, country or urban. Trust me, decorations can go a long way, but nothing can beat having a space with good foundations to build on.
Venues are also so important because they’re the first things to get booked. Every wedding checklist you find on Pinterest suggests you book your venue about a year before your actual date, because the chance of getting the day you want lessens with every passing day (even more so if you’re vying for a Saturday!). So checking off the venue on my list was vital to me, for securing the date AND for giving me peace of mind.
So where to start? My fiancé is a big fan of The Knot. This website is your virtual wedding planner best friend. You can do so many things on it, from making a guest list to finding vendors in your area that you might want to work with. He led the charge on the venue search, and became a huge fan of the vendor search tool to find good venues near us. I took a little more low-tech approach, and tried to think about beautiful spaces I loved that could double as wedding venues. I also got a few suggestions from friends, clients, and family members. Because of our two-fold approach, we ended up with a great list of venue selections!
Being a gay couple, the very first question we asked any venue was if they worked with same-sex couples. It was the best way for us to avoid discrimination. We like to take a cynical and detached approach to the possibility of discrimination – basically, if you’re too bigoted to work with us, we don’t want to deal with you anyways and we sleep just fine at night. Fortunately, most of the vendors were very accommodating, expected the question, and were happy to host us! We did lose out on our first dream venue because it was part of a local seminary, but it was also restrictive on a lot of things (like catering and rentals), so it really wasn’t worth getting mad about.
After that big question, our next most important criteria were geographic location, price, and services offered (this includes how accommodating they were to outside caterers and rental companies). We had a short list of locations that we toured, and we finally got one selected and ready to go! Before that, though, I’ll summarize our list so you can get your own ideas if you plan on having your special day in the Bluegrass state.
The Speed Art Museum
The newly renovated Speed Art Museum in downtown Louisville is a beautiful modern space, with lots of light coming in from huge glass windows. They offer ceremony and reception spaces, which was a plus. However, I was kind of weirded out by the fact that the floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows meant that anyone walking down the street could stare in at my ceremony.
The Louisville Water Tower
I had this space suggested to me by a friend whose sister has an event planning company, and it’s an idea that I hadn’t ever considered before! I really love the historic feel of the building, and the location right on the river was gorgeous. But the backup plan for an indoor space wasn’t very clear, and we can’t risk it if we plan on getting married in spring.
Getting married at an airport? Bowman does you one better: you can get married in a hanger. With planes in the background. How cool is that? We loved the idea, but the hanger is really industrial (you know, how hangers are), and the tin roof means that loud rain could disrupt the festivities.
An event planner suggested this space in Frankfort to me, and I didn’t know if I would like the rustic feel of the place but I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was! They also had a very lax policy on rentals and caterers. However, distilleries smell like…well…distilling corn. It’s odd, and it could potentially overpower your important day.
My fiancé’s brother-in-law offered us his family farm as a location, which was unexpected and incredibly kind. This is the best option for our budget, because it’s in the family. But hidden costs could arise when it comes to running electricity out to a barn, which is something we would have to consider.
Every place had its pros and cons. So, which one did we end up going with?
Y’all didn’t think I’d let you know this early, did you? I can’t let my guests find out the location via a blog post instead of an invitation! Stay tuned for my next wedding post – hopefully by then the guests will know what’s going on and I can share a little bit more information. Until next time!