Location, Location, Location :: Venue Search

You've heard it before - 'location, location, location' - and while it usually refers to real estate properties, I think it's also applicable to wedding venues. In searching for where we want to have our wedding, we were quickly faced with thinking not only about where the actual ceremony and reception would take place, but also where our guests would be spending a weekend. As I mentioned before, Chris and I have many friends in Oregon and my family is there, but we have lived in San Francisco for the past five years and his family is in California, so we have a community here too. Over our wedding weekend some of these people will be meeting for the first time, so it's really important to us that everyone get to know each other and have plenty of opportunities to hang out. As we come together in this union of marriage, we want our friends and family to come together as well (sounds corny, but it's true!). When thinking about this, we realized that if people just came from their house to our wedding and then went back home, it wouldn't have the effect we wanted. So, we decided, what better way for everyone to get to know each other than to be thrown into a small town over the course of a couple days?! Hence, our decision to narrow our search. We think the perfect place for what we have in mind is the Gorge/Hood River/Mount Hood area because it will be a 'destination' for almost everyone. At the same time, it's only an hour drive from the Portland and PDX airport, so it's not crazy remote for anyone either.

After we made the decision on this general location, the search has gotten easier and I'm beginning to actually picture what everything will look like. The main things we want in a venue are for it to be outdoor (although an indoor backup plan in case of rain would be a huge plus), some views would be nice, for it to fit our style - outdoor chic/whimsical - and to have a great dance area! Here are some of the images inspiring me and that I hope to find parts of this weekend on our visit. I know part of it will be being able to envision what we could turn a space into with some creativity.

Bridal Veil Lakes, sources: left, top right, bottom right

Mt. Hood Organic Farms, sources: Top, bottom left, bottom right

Mt. Hood B&B, sources: top, bottom

Gorge Crest Vineyards, source: all

I'm loving each of these venues for different reasons. I can't wait to see them in-person in a couple days. And it doesn't hurt that the forecast is showing 81 and sunny on Saturday so it will feel like summer!

Bear with me on one more real estate comparison...blame it on me living in several 'for sale' houses growing up (and countless HGTV shows in the past few years). If you remember last week when I talked about the difficulty seeing a venue through their website, I mentioned that I was sick of seeing countless close-up images of people's weddings - from their centerpieces to their rings on a grape vine, etc. I'm not trying to sound insensitive, it's just that that's not what us brides are looking for we search online for a venue (we want to see that when we are looking for a photographer or for DIY projects). The principle already applies in real estate - when you are trying to sell your house, you want to stage it in a way that other people can picture themselves living there, but at the same time, don't picture your family living there. So, you take down personal touches - family pictures, your moisturizer and toothbrushes from the bathroom counter and so on and you 'stage' it so that they think 'oh that little side room would make the perfect library/office!' I think wedding venue websites would benefit from a similar mindset. Instead of treating their sites like wedding blogs with pictures of all the details, they could find a way to balance couples being able to let their imaginations run wild with the space (staging), while removing the personalized elements of other weddings (family pictures on the wall). Any out-of-state brides out there? What do you think - are you running into this issue?


Follow up to my first week: If you were patient enough to read through this post, below is a picture of my finished ring!!! My first post two weeks ago was about the ring my fiance proposed to me with (his grandmother's beautiful ring) and how we went to design the 'engagement' ring that day together. Well, he got down on his knee again last night with the ring we designed in-hand (actually in-pocket) for me to see for the first time and it seriously exceeded all my expectations. For some reason I'm not super comfortable posting pictures of my ring for all to see, which is why I hid it all the way down here. Perhaps it's because I don't want to come across as superficial or giving the impression that the loveliness of a ring has anything to do with what truly matters about a couple, because it doesn't...but I do truly love this ring and the guy who gave it to me and I'm not ashamed of either of those things.  ;-)

props to our amazing jeweler!