Archive for the ‘Venue’ Category

Megan and Kevin's wedding photoMegan and Kevin's wedding books on the reception tablejunebug weddings blogged about our friends’ Megan and Kevin’s wedding in  the Seattle Library.

Saying your vows in front of your closest friends and favorite books? Wow. What a great idea!

Read the blog for more photos and details on their colorful and literary wedding.

PS: Yes, yes, Carrie Bradshaw got married in a city library. Megan and Kevin’s wedding was much more personal and beautiful.

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I am in love with my fiancé, poetry, good food, and autumn. Probably in that order. (I also like Italy, but that’s for another post.)


As you might have guessed, good food at our wedding is *very* important to me. I simply like eating and cooking.


I love to cook. My fiancé jokes that most people go to a restaurant, enjoy the food and then decide to return. I go to a restaurant and feel inspired to reverse engineer the food. When we went to Chicago and I had deep dish pizza for the first time, I promptly bought the proper pan and prepared it at home.


Sometimes I’ll ask for a “cooking challenge” from my fiancé. For his birthday, it was a few Creole dishes (how else can we prepare for a trip early next year?) A few weeks ago, it was homemade spanakopita and I was tickled that my fiancé mentioned it on his Facebook status. My Uncle Bruno’s favorite dish is bucatini all’amatriciana and this summer he was dismayed to find out that I hadn’t made it yet. That dish in particular became a challenge in trying to find the ingredients locally.


Bucatini all'amatriciana

When I was growing up, it wasn’t just a priority to eat breakfast and dinner together, it was simply expected. It was the time when we talked about our day, laughed and sometimes even went over lists of things to talk about. This has carried through to my adult relationship.


I don’t want our wedding to be much different. I’d like to taste everything that we’ve chosen for the menu and be able to remember it.



Recent brides and friends tell me that I won’t get to eat at my wedding.


Not eat? That’s ridiculous. I’m determined to eat and enjoy the food, the company and the day.


A fiction writing friend is the first person to tell me that she did eat at her wedding (a green, local-food wedding in San Francisco) and she still salivates thinking about the dishes served there. That’s the way to go.


We want to try out the food at venues before making a decision. I expected that there would be more tastings, but most of my contacts at venues have told me that the tastings occur after you sign the contract. I can’t fathom choosing a location without tasting the food.


We’ve made reservations at a number of venues that are restaurants that hold weddings (as opposed to catering halls) in order to test the food. While dinner for four is not necessarily representative of how a restaurant is capable of serving a large room of guests, it is some indication of the quality and service.


It has become an expensive venture. One or two places offered discounts, but generally we have been on our own. I found this surprising. With a few exceptions, most of the catering halls would not offer tastings at all. One lovely hall offered us a tasting for a price that would go towards our deposit. That seemed more than fair.


Each chef or contact person has told me that they are flexible with the menu. While we haven’t chosen a venue yet, I believe them. Be firm in deciding what you want to have served. Write down options, go through the menus they give you and choose your favorite dishes.


However, don’t make a kitchen do something they aren’t used to doing. You don’t want to be their test case.


The food doesn’t have to be fancy or traditional. The wedding we went to in Richmond had a selection of appetizers and then a delicious cake. Everyone’s favorite appetizer was a tiny waffle with fried chicken topped with a tangy sauce.


Final word: Do what you want, not what other people tell you want.


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It is uncouth to discuss money in the United States. This is inconvenient. 


If we were more open about money, we’d know how much people paid for things (i.e.: did we pay too much?), how much people make (i.e. why don’t I make a more appropriate salary?) and ideas about how to save better (i.e. why don’t I have any money left?) I found that Italians I met in Florence, Italy were quite blunt about money. They asked how much things cost, how I paid for them, etc. At first I was a bit flustered by such questions, but now I see how useful they can be.


I wish couples would be more upfront about what they paid and how they figured out how to pay for it.


When you are searching for a wedding venue, as we are right now, you have to know what questions to ask since some costs aren’t immediately disclosed.


Here are a few things I’ve discovered you should ask about:


Ceremony fee: If you are getting married onsite, there may be a per person or one-time fee to hold the ceremony there. This pays for the set-up, staff, etc.


Alcohol: You may receive a per-person price for the food, but check to make sure it includes the alcohol (for the reception, dinner and after dinner drinks.) Sometimes you can bring in your own alcohol, which lowers the final price tag considerably (depending on whether or not there’s a corking fee.)


Tents: Especially if you are renting a space and hiring an outside caterer to come in, you may need to pay for tents. This is not a small fee.


Insurance: Some smaller venues that do not regularly hold weddings may ask you to buy insurance.


Staff: Sometimes you are asked to pay for extra bartenders, waiters, etc.


Valet parking: Is this an extra charge at your venue? It is a particularly important question at a more urban site.


Gratuity and Tax: Some venues include these numbers in their per-person totals, some don’t.


Holidays/off-season dates/afternoons: Weddings cost different amounts depending on the day and time of day. It can be shocking how much they vary. Ask about holiday rates, afternoon and off-season weddings. Off-season dates might also make it a less expensive trip for your guests (airfare, hotels, etc.)



It can be an English major’s nightmare to plan a wedding according to a budget. Each website, attachment, etc. tallies numbers differently. Be patient. Ask a lot of questions and work to come up with a final number for each venue so that you can better compare and contrast prices. Remember, you are buying a product/service and have the right to understand what you are purchasing.

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