It is definitely not the most fun, but we knew this was one of the first important decisions after making the decision to get married. We waited until we had been engaged for almost 5 months before we seriously started looking at venues (partially because we were busy with major holidays and soon after we moved closer to our families and were busy looking for new jobs and a house). Of course, I looked into a lot of options before we were ever engaged and narrowed out a lot that were too small or too expensive. Some of my options were narrowed out based on lack of availability.
You want to find the right place that has the formality that you were hoping for with the offerings you’re looking for and the price you want to pay.
We considered many venues and actually toured a few. I did the math on about 9 different locations and the best bang for our buck was definitely Tom’s Country Place, which we ultimately chose as our venue.
We only toured three locations and one was never on our list, but topped the list after we saw it.
On a Saturday morning we had an appointment to visit the Pine Ridge Country Club (part of Pine Ridge Golf Course) to see about possibly holding our wedding there. We found out that the main ballroom would be a tight squeeze for the amount of guests we were ultimately looking at and we would have to seat some guests in adjoining rooms. That didn’t particularly interest me. I had always pictured one big room with all of the dining tables and the dance floor in one space. The facility was nice and the ballroom was very pretty but we pretty much had to have our ceremony somewhere else if we wanted to get married outdoors. This meant fees for booking another location as well as likely renting seating for the outdoor ceremony. If we wanted to get married on-site the only option was in the ballroom which carried a hefty fee for them to change it over for the reception.
The woman I had been emailing with about Pine Ridge gave us the tour and actually informed us about another property of theirs that would be available for weddings in summer of 2016, The Manakiki Golf Club. The Manakiki Golf Course was right down the road, so we headed to Bob Evans which was in between the two and stopped for breakfast. Of course during breakfast I was busy googling pictures of Manakiki Golf Club weddings because it had not come up in previous searches of mine.
After breakfast, we drove up the long driveway to the Manakiki Golf Club. The building was a pretty, classic white plantation-style house; the best part however was the outdoor ceremony space. Down what seemed like way too many stairs, was the prettiest wedding-in-the-woods [without actually feeling “woodsy”] spot I had ever seen. She had told us the ballroom was being renovated, and we were surprised to see someone there replacing the wood floor when we peeked into the window. He invited us inside to see the space and it really was very pretty, but again, seemed small for our group.
Ultimately, about a week later, when we visited Tom’s Country Place we knew it was bumped to the top of the list. The catering was less expensive, we had the opportunity to bring our own alcohol in (saving us some major $ and letting us choose our favorites) and it was nice and big! We could fit all of our guests into one room with a dance floor, unlike to two places mentioned above. I loved the large gold chandeliers in the ballroom and the neutral wallpaper in there as well. I had seen older photos and it was not a “country place” anymore despite that being part of its name. We both loved the outdoor ceremony space where guest seating was the only cost involved. Every review we had read was so pleased with this venue and almost every one mentioned how good the food is! The only thing holding us back from making the deposit right then was that it was in Avon, about an hour from where we live. Since we knew guests were coming from all over Ohio and most are hailing from the Cleveland/Akron area, this might make it far enough that more guests would have to consider an overnight hotel stay. Since our wedding is on a Friday night, we decided many guests may get a hotel anyways since the wedding is a later event and we went ahead and booked with Tom’s Country Place.
Our setup will likely be quite a bit different from this (we are planning a sweetheart table!) so I look forward to you seeing the final result on our wedding day!!