Thursday, October 14, 2010

How I Decided Where to Get Married

I never really had big visions of my wedding as a little girl (or a not so little girl for that matter).    So when it came time to actually having to think about it and quickly move into decision mode (due to my amazing success at procrastination), I had a lot of catching up to do.  

I am also not what I would call a traditional bride, so holding a large wedding in my hometown or anything like that is not me and was not going to happen.   I do not expect anyone to understand that, just to trust that there are certain things in life that are important to me and this is not one of them.

My rapidly changing visions had me walking down the aisle somewhere a little more my style.

Put it this way, when I was in Italy, I had picked out venues in Rome, Tuscany and along the coast.   I spent my mornings drinking coffee and dreaming of my grand, and yet intimate, Italian wedding.   It would be very me, a little modern, a little traditional, very italian (ok, so I'm not actually italian), a little regal and a lot small.  If I had one inkling of a vision when I was younger, it would have to be this.   I even picked out my italian designer dress (which truth be told looks nothing like what I eventually picked, but I was SO in love with it at the time).

And then I went to Paris.   Where I spent my afternoons drinking tea with lots of milk and cute little brown sugar cubes, dreaming of a romantic Parisian wedding, filled with lace and gold and lots of pink.   My little French Fairy Tale.

And then, well,  I came home and reality sort of sunk in.   Visions of sugar plum fairies dancing in my head were replaced with the stark reality that I had only a couple of months to plan this little fairy tale of mine, and realistically, running away to Europe probably wasn't in the cards.   Sigh.  Sigh again.    It was a sad time.

I threw myself wholeheartedly into internet research.    We had a permanent date for quite some time.    Over the course of several weeks, we traveled to California, Maine, Nantucket, South Carolina, Arizona finally ending up with a swing through the North Carolina coast.   I could do that.   Water is good.   Close to home, but not too close.   Done.   For about a week we were getting married at the coast.    Beach houses were scrutinized, finalists prepared for site visits.  I envisioned our families bonding on the sand under large umbrellas, taking naps in the afternoon and grilling fun beach food in the evenings.     I even considered (briefly) going barefoot.

Another reality check when I really started thinking about everyone staying together under one roof for a week.   Good in theory.   Not so sure it would be great in practice, especially given my stress level during situations like that.    Back to the drawing board.

That's when it hit me.   Fall Wedding.   Why not the mountains?   Asheville?    The Biltmore?   Where John and I had our very first weekend getaway.   Perfect.

From this point on, it was actually quite easy.   We were visiting the Biltmore the following weekend, touring the various sites.   We saw the Butterfly Garden and Conservatory and looked at each other and knew we were done.    It was like the vision I never quite had.    

(Here's a few teasers...)

And that is "How I Decided Where to Get Married".    It took me awhile, but I think we ended up at the right spot, for us.     And now... the real fun begins...

I would love to hear your stories!   How did you pick your wedding location?   Was it like love at first site or something a little more practical?  


  1. It looks like such an amazing spot! And it totally makes sense since you two have a history there!
    Seeing that we got married back in 1990 when I was still in college, our wedding was pretty typical in that it wasn't in any exotic location - just my small hometown at our tiny family church filled with mostly in-law relatives and my parents' friends (oh, yeah and maybe a couple friends of ours!). I wanted small - like 40 people max and thanks to my mother's growing list it ballooned to 98. The only thing about it that I loved was that it was on a Friday night (unheard of at that time) and instead of a dance after the dinner, our wedding party went out dancing at the restaurant/bar the two of us had worked our first jobs at 17. Now THAT part was fun!

  2. Lisa - I LOVE your story! That is so great. I can totally relate to the growing guest list... like most brides I'm sure. Started with immediate family only and then began creeping :) 98 isn't too bad! And I love a Friday night wedding... especially with a fun night out after... I can imagine that part was definitely a blast. Thanks for sharing this :)

  3. oh wow! this is so perfect. i just got engaged last saturday and have been searching for a place since. we are going to start viewing places this weekend. i have always wanted a wedding in an old barn in the country. i think we found it!

  4. Panda - CONGRATULATIONS! This is such an exciting time for you and you are just at the start. How fun! I can totally picture a gorgeous wedding in a country barn. I found one we liked too but it was too big for our party. Have a great time this weekend checking out different spots... this really is a fun part and I think you'll know it when you see it :)

  5. Oh, the teasers look lovely!

    We did have a {somewhat big} church wedding. We got married in the chapel of our church, which is also the church I grew up in. I was baptized and confirmed in the very same spot. We also met at a church function, so it was perfect.

    As for the reception, we were in the process of renting a barn for our reception when it hit us that my husband's parents had a beautiful barn of their own, on a lovely little farm with a great big turn of the century house. We asked, and they agreed. We spent the next 6 months preparing the barn for guests. It was simple, but absolutely magical. I love that we had a truly unique reception, and that we get to visit that place whenever we like.

    The little special things {like that your first getaway together was there} will make it oh-so-special!

  6. I've been to that exact location!! I LOVE the Biltmore - good choice :)

  7. Ah! your venue is stunning stunning stunning!!!

    I also love the dress that is pictured. It's so different than the usual lace you see on wedding dresses

  8. your wedding is going to be just stunning! this location is amazing.

    we picked our venues (one for ceremony, one for reception) because they were outdoors, pretty and in or near my hometown. that's about as conventional as it comes. :P i'm still very happy with those decisions, but originally we had wanted to get married at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. there is this teeeny tiny chapel in the village, and i was/am just in love with it. however. However. they were very inflexible with the scheduling, and since my then fiance was in iraq, and i could not guarantee we wouldn't need to switch dates at some point, we had to find another place.
    c'est la vie! it would have been lovely, but i'm happy with what we ended up with. sometimes life (and the united states military) has a way of making the choices for you. ;)


Thanks so much for your comments! I love hearing from you and read each and every one!