Oh the venue search.
Possibly the most exhausting part about wedding planning. When you first get engaged, exploring the many beautiful venues seems like a fun way to spend a weekend.
But then you get hit with reality. And reality is all about logistics. No bathrooms on site? Noise restriction curfews? No parking available? Shuttle service required? $20,000 site fee?!
I’m not going to lie, it started to drive me bonkers having to juggle so many different needs and wants versus financial and logistical restraints. It also made me really really sad and stressed out, which has been such an incredibly unfortunate byproduct of planning a wedding. A wedding is such a happy culmination of everything wonderful and lovely in a person’s life. The planning for me, not so much.
We looked at the gorgeous ranches, wineries, estates and historical sites available in Northern California. And I fell in love with so many of them.
Durham Ranch, Annadel Estate, Carneros Inn, Black Swan Lake, Diablo Ranch, Headlands Center for the Arts, and on and on. EVERY SINGLE ONE of these venues is stunning and amazing and I would love to get married there. But ultimately we decided that Northern California would be such a logistical challenge for my family, nearly all of whom are in Los Angeles where I was born and raised. I said goodbye to these venues with a bit of reluctance. But onward!
So. Maybe Central California? We looked into the amazing Holman Ranch, the super unique and rustic Los Laureles Lodge and still we kept shifting further south. Ok. Santa Barbara then! Close enough to LA without being IN LA which for several reasons, we wanted to avoid. Helloooo land of stunning private estates and gigantic price tags. Right, so Los Angeles it is.
And here I went into hyperdrive. I feel confident in saying that I have pretty much looked at every non-hotel venue in the Los Angeles area. From Simi Valley to Palm Springs, I’ve researched them all. So you would think the decision would then become easy, right? But the sheer number of venues was overwhelming and there was always *something* wrong. Several venues were 100% booked for 2012. Some venues had crazy restrictions. Some venues had impossible parking situations. And others just had a terrible failure of communication. But to be honest, it was my bizarre issue with finding the PERFECT place that was such a stressful force and the real reason it’s taken so long to find a venue.
Because I really 100% believed that there was this venue out there that was perfect, beautiful, spacious, super affordable, conveniently located, allowed me to bring my dogs, and was operated by kind people. I thought, if I just look hard enough, I WILL FIND IT.
We had a couple of false starts, contracts nearly signed when something happened to derail the whole thing. Thousands of dollars in hidden fees unannounced til the last minute, finding out that bugs swarm the property during the day, only specific caterer and DJ allowed (no thanks!). And the budget, always the budget to consider. Maddeningly numbers floating in my head at all hours of the day.
As months went by and more and more people kept asking me WHERE?? WHEN?? I started to have these wild ideas pop into my head. What if we found a tree tunnel and got married there? Lake Como, we have to get married at Lake Como! Maybe George Clooney will lend us his villa? I think I was loosing it.
Nothing is ever perfect. And my Mom told me, “No one cares where you get married, they just want to be there to see you get married” and that was so true.
Yes, logistics matter. It matters that your guests don’t have to walk half a mile from the ceremony site to the reception site and that they don’t have to use porta potties. It does matter. But not nearly so much as you might think. Or how much *I* thought. So I took a deep breath, I took a step back. And I thought, “Where can I imagine myself getting married?” And I kept seeing one place, over and over. So I think we’ve found our place.