For me, finding a dress was easy, but finding the venue has been hard. You have to identify your collective personality through decor, theme, colors, vibe, and ultimately the location! I have found this experience time consuming and overwhelming. This is a very important day, after-all. I think I'm not alone when I say, I went from first feeling like I could get married anywhere and it wouldn't matter, to all of a sudden getting sucked into wedding planning madness and feeling pressure that it has to be perfect. I feel pressure to find a beautiful venue that feels like us, is how I envision it and fits into our small budget. (Small on average standards.) Did you know the average American wedding costs over $25,0000?????? That's craziness!
We are so grateful that we already own our beautiful home. With $25K I could use that money on MANY different things around here, but when it comes down to it I do want our wedding day to be special. I want to find a wedding venue that I love, but doesn't feel like I'm settling. We will cut corners where we can and save money throughout the year. And we are counting our lucky stars that our families are generous enough to pitch in. We all know that no matter where we get hitched it will be unforgettable. Here's the game-plan: Do not get caught up in unnecessary details. Be creative and have fun.
Ok, back to the venue. I want it to be amazing, but modest, and most of all I want it to be personal and feel like "us." When Vinnie and I first started discussing where our dream wedding (which was the night he proposed), we didn't give ourselves any boundaries, or budgets for that matter. We let our imaginations run wild, and dreamed of our ideal location. The location that first popped into my mind was Palm Springs. Why you might ask? Well, a number of reasons. We love to take little get-away vacations there. It's only 2 1/2 hours away from LA. I fell in love with the desert when I hosted a travel show there a few years ago. The weather is warm year round, and you truly feel like you've escaped LA. Another reason we love it there is because of its history. Back when the Rat Pack was around they used to take trips to the desert to relax and play. The charm of Old Hollywood is still there in its simplistic beauty.
On that note, we LOVE music from that era! Whenever we cook dinner together its become instinctual to cue our Pandora Radio to the Dean Martin station. Vinnie is Italian, and hearing Dino sing "Return To Me," as Vinnie lip syncs along, while we prepare a delicious meal is just about the most romantic thing ever. OK, back to our "vibe." We are old souls. I love mid-century design and fashion, and music of the 1950s and 60s, so when it came to our wedding venue search I was immediately drawn to venues that transported you to another time and place. Here are a few that we previewed in Palm Springs.
After a long day of searching over 6 venues, we fell in LOVE with the Colony Palms. The hotel recently had a $10 million dollar renovation. It was originally built back in the 1920s. It was owned by an alleged mobster who used it as a speakeasy, gambling house and brothel. It was later owned by the owners of the famous racing horse, Sea Biscuit, who used it as a boutique hotel. Today it has the old charm and character of both worlds, but it's brand new! The Spanish Revival-style structure, and cool bar with olive leather couches and purple lamp shades brings you back to a different era. (Think Boardwalk Empire!) What made it even cooler is that Vinnie's family used to own the property behind the hotel. His family used to vacation there every year over 50 years ago!
Where does the bummer come in? Oh, you guessed it. The price. They require that you book out 100% of the rooms (there are approx 56), which can be extremely pricey. In addition to that, there is a $26,000 food/beverage minimum. For someone like me on a tight budget, this was just not realistic. Even if we had the money to do the wedding there, I would feel awful asking our guests to pay the room premiums when there are plenty of other nice hotels around for a much cheaper price. Anyway, this is where we can do our vow renewal 10 years from now. (sigh) I feel better now. Feast your eyes on the coolness of the colony palms above and below.
The one thing I learned from this day trip out to Palm Springs is that not only do I love old Hollywood Charm, but I also love Spanish Revival Architecture. I love an outdoor venue that has history and character. I want something different and unique. The question remains, is it possible find these special nuances at another venue? Does my dream venue exisit outside of Palm Springs? Perhaps it's not about the location. Maybe it's about discovering your own unique style, then searching for a city that has it all and is more convenient and affordable. What are your thoughts?
By the way, I'd like to thank my friend Mrs. Jessica Haro who inspired me to keep searching for the perfect venue and not give up hopes on a desert wedding. Jessica quit her job as a successful PR consultant to become a wedding planner. (BTW her Sonoma wedding was off the hook and I'm not surprised that she found her destiny.) Thanks again to her for getting me involved with this blog. I'm having a blast and I'm so grateful you are all following me along on this creative journey.
I leave you with photos of two of my favorite Hollywood ladies of the 1950s who inspire me :)