Over the course of my search for the perfect venue, I have actually looked into over 50 different locations. Is that normal? I wanted a place that was
a: affordable (this proved one of the most challenging criteria, not surprisingly)
b: historic (I wanted it to at least feel historic)
c: unique to Richmond (see b)
d: fairly close to the chapel and to hotels, and that had it's own off-street parking.
e: I wanted it to have a dance floor. I am really excited about our first dance, so a place where it couldn't happen, or where people couldn't see it just wouldn't do!
f: Also it had to be able to accommodate 150 people, seated. (We did end up cutting the guest list considerably, when I realized that feeding 150 people directly conflicted with (a) on this list.)g: And it had to be available on our date.
Here are the places that didn't make the cut:
Ash Lawn Highland
Bear and Bull
Berry Hill Estate (although, seriously, this place is beautiful!!!)
BlackFinnBoathouse/Gardens at Sunday Park
Carillon at Byrd Park
Carnegie Institution (DC)
Celebrations at the Reservoir
Country Club of Va
Hermitage Country Club
Historic Long Branch
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Linden Row Inn
Meadowbrook Country Club
Old Original Bookbinders
Richmond Country Club
Science Museum of Virginia
Stonehenge Country Club
The Armour House and Gardens at Meadowview Park
The Manor House
The Place at Innsbrook
The Women's Club
Tuckahoe Woman's Club
VCU Scott House
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
White Hall Manor
White House of the Confederacy
Woodrow Wilson House
Yes, I considered adding pictures, but... really?!
I'm really excited about the venue that we finally decided on! Not only did it meet all of the above criteria, but it also is owed/run by a caterer who is very well-known locally for doing an amazing job. And even more than that, I really liked her! I felt like she understood what I was going for, and really had the expertise to make it happen (and to make it better than I would have been able to come up with on my own). I am soooooo excited about our menu!
However, like any good thing, there is one little detail that I would change if I could. The set-up is such that the guests will eat upstairs (on the main level), which is absolutely beautiful. It's a restored row house, so there are separate rooms, but they are all pretty open to each other, and I think that there is still a good flow between the rooms and the patio. So that's great! BUT, after people eat, everyone will move downstairs to the ballroom, where the dance floor is and where the band will be. It's more open (and there is another bar downstairs), and this is where the 'stuff' will happen - first dance, cake cutting, assorted tosses, etc. Which is fine. But it is very plain. It's everything I was trying to avoid. The walls are bare. The ceiling is a drop ceiling. The dance floor is just kinda there, and there are (currently) some columns draped in fabric and Christmas lights that I totally hate. HATE.
So what do I do with this space to make it tolerable?