The Boy and I saw our first venue the other day. W-Day (we’re not talking military here people) planning has officially begun.
I have been on a bit of a roller coaster the last week (my planning book told me I would be) between being excited about it all, panicking that we’re not going to find a place (apparently 11 months is a short engagement) and feeling relaxed and like we have LOTS of time before the true insanity begins. A lot of that roller coaster has had to do with venue. I’ve been emailing places all over Toronto and area, some are booked, some are not, some have given me panic attack inducing quotes, others have not. But Monday it officially began… we had our first appointment to see a venue.
Venue #1 – Holland Marsh Winery
Don’t bother looking for a website for this one – they don’t have one. Don’t bother looking up a phone number online – it’s not the right one. Don’t bother driving by to see what it looks like – it’s not finished yet. Doesn’t sound like a great contender right?
We met with the owner (Rolland) of this new winery who is currently building a 2500 sq ft event space at the back of the winery. We had a slight miss-communication over the phone – he thought I was a wedding planner looking for a job. When I showed up fiance (hehe) in tow – he got the idea.
When the Boy and I drove around the back and saw the space we both immediately thought it wouldn’t be big enough. But Rolland assured us he has made it big enough to seat 200 people. While I would find that hard to believe that it would comfortably seat 200 – we’re looking at around 150 so I’ll give it to him. Pro – it should fit our numbers.
We walked the grounds, which are still in progress – but include a lovely pond (coy fish TBA) an old shack (he was planning on taking it down but a real wedding planner told him ABSOLUTELY NOT!) and of course A LOT of grapes. It may look all wintery and Novemberish now – but let me tell you – it’s going to be beautiful. Pro – we want somewhere that is naturally beautiful that we can take pictures and not have to add a lot of extra fuss.
We went inside and tasted the wine. The Boy, a self-declared beer-guy actually liked their #4 Red. Pro – no decisions to be made about what wine to have with dinner, and the Boy actually likes it.
We went upstairs to look at the 3D images of what the space will look like. It’s going to be beautiful. It has huge windows and a patio out the back that all look over the vineyard. We listened as Rolland told us all of his plans and how he wants it to look. He explained where the bar would be, that there wouldn’t be a full kitchen (CON) but that their would be a separate kitchen prep area. There will be a bridal room, and there is extra space on balconies upstairs for extra seating if needed (this is in addition to the 2500 sq ft on the main level). Pro – when the space is finished it should be lovely
Rolland told us that we could use any caterer we wanted, we could also get a special permit for alcohol and manage those costs ourselves (way cheaper than doing it through the venue). When we asked about costs, he didn’t really have an answer for us – he really hasn’t gotten that far since we are literally the first to inquire about having a wedding there, but he did assure us that he would be sure to take care of his first couple. Pro – we have the potential at a really great deal
But it’s not all roses and sunshine. There are some serious things to consider. Mainly, THE SPACE IS NOT FINISHED! While it is supposed to be completed this winter (February or March) and since we’re looking for the fall it should be lots of time, we would have to commit to a space basically site unseen. CON – That’s a bit stressful no?
While Rolland said he would not want us to fully commit to it until it is at least closed in and we can get a better sense of what it will look like (January) my feeling from speaking with finished venues – we need to make a decision before then. And while we would be sure to work with an experienced caterer – the actual venue is not experienced, his ability to handle all of the what ifs, I’m not so sure – we’re all first-timers with this one. Con – lack of experience
Rolland is currently looking for an experienced event coordinator – so by the time October comes we should have someone who knows what they’re doing and has at least some of that what if experience. – Pro and Con – we’ll likely have someone to work with, we won’t know them going in.
So that was it – our first venue. We had a good feeling coming out, the pros do out-weigh the cons. We’re going to be sure to ask other venues we see what their square footage in order to compare. And the Boy and I have a history of sticking it out with our first choice, and it seems to have worked out well so far – our apartment and each other are but a few examples!