The Great Wedding Venue Search of 2010

I've been meaning to write up a recap of our adventures in wedding venue hunting with images, and I'm finally ready to get into it. I wish I had taken better pictures of some of the venues - however I found that as soon as I was shown inside and was having the details explained to me, I got completely sidetracked and simply forgot.

I should tell you, I had this visit planned out months in advance.

I had contacted my favourite reception venues and churches, booked in times to see them and with Jason's help, put together a spreadsheet of costs, inclusions, extras and all sorts of other random information I probably wouldn't need. People thought I was crazy for being so busy on my 'holiday' - but this was a business holiday, people! I knew what I wanted to do, and I had two weeks to make a decision and get this wedding sorted.

I also had an itinerary. It looked a bit like this:

If you look really closely, you'll notice that I had even scheduled in time visiting friends and family - because I honestly didn't have enough free days to just let things happen naturally. I was a one-woman machine on a mission. And it worked out pretty well, thankfully - I caught up with nearly everyone who made the effort, and made it to all the appointments I had hoped to view.

This will be a fairly long blog, so I'll be breaking it up into a few posts to make it a little easier on the eyes.

I flew into Sydney on Friday night and after visiting my Nan and eventually getting home, I fell straight asleep - only to wake up bright and early to head off to very first 10am appointment! The first was a heritage listed house in the western suburbs.

It had been restored beautifully and had lovely gardens, but the inside was fairly small. There were two rooms available; but the room that fit our numbers wasn't what I was looking for - and little things I noticed inside had me worried.

For one, the room was set up for a wedding when we arrived... and it wasn't set up well. The linens looked creased, the chair covers were really mismatched, the curtains were a garish pink shade that would have clashed with our colours, and the little details just weren't done fully - the kind of details that I would have been mortified to see on my wedding day. For lack of a better description, it just seemed a bit half-arsed. We went to see a few churches around the area and I wasn't blown away either, so that venue was ruled out fairly quickly.

As for our afternoon visit, well, you might remember a little blog I wrote having a rant and rave about our second venue in The Rocks; where we drove all the way into Sydney on a busy Saturday, paid for parking, road tolls and stress (on mum's part, anyway; she was such a trouper driving where she wasn't comfortable) only to be told we had no appointment and couldn't view the venue that day. Not impressed!

We did eventually go back and see the inside of the venue on a later day but you know, it wasn't all that special. Let's face it - the room had a spectacular view. But the staff weren't helpful, I didn't trust the co-ordinator after bungling up our original viewing, so I just wasn't sold on the venue as a whole.

But really.. what an amazing view.

A few months ago, two of my favourite people went to a bridal expo held in Sydney. I wasn't there of course (well, only in spirit) so my Mum and Kirby, my Maid of Honour extraordinaire, spent the day checking things out on my behalf - and came back with quite a few eyebrow raising ideas, let me tell you. Turns out there was a second bridal expo in Darling Harbour the weekend I arrived, and I wanted to check it out for myself.

Well. I can't say it wasn't entertaining? We got a whole lot of junk mail and brochures, entered a whole lot of competitions (which I haven't heard back from... yet) and saw a whole lot of brides. And bridal parties. Too many women in one auditorium! Aaah! We also watched a fashion show which was probably the most amusing item on the day's agenda - and since when did 'bridal couture' become slang for 'bridal gowns now with extra fug and a few too many misplaced feathers'? My goodness. They lost me at the gown that resembled a peacock. I was done for. Finished.

I'd deliberately scheduled the first Monday home to be a very busy day. I'd had a feeling from my research that these would be my top picks - and wouldn't you know, my two favourite venues happened to be from that first day. I'm going to hold off on showing you the winning venue for now - just to keep you intrigued, of course! :) It's so amazing, I can't wait to share!

One of the hardest things for me to narrow down was an appropriate Catholic church for the wedding ceremony. Neither Jase or I have ever had a specific church in mind to be married in, and one of my stipulations for the wedding was that it be in a 'pretty' church. I know that sounds horrible, but you should see some of the churches around - they don' t look like churches! Maybe it's a result of living in the UK, where the churches are older and beautifully designed, but that's what I wanted for my wedding.

In my searches, I came across an old Catholic Monastery. It was a bit off the beaten track, but it was absolutely beautiful. The building was so big that I found it difficult to capture it, and the drive was covered in trees obscuring the view. The chapel was so peaceful, it really was. It was also very dark and formal looking though, which while traditional, isn't what I was looking for.

After our visit to the Monastery, we drove in to Pyrmont in the city to view our next venue. This was the most modern of all the venues I had picked, and I loved its contemporary design that was really unique. The venue was located on an old converted pier, and had an amazing view of the Harbour Bridge.

It was an interesting loft design - the lower floor was a bar and a dance floor, with scattered furniture throughout so people could relax if they wanted to. The second floor was the dining level, set up with long oval tables. Then there was another level, stairs leading up on either side of the dining level - so there were two mini rooms at the very top which could be cordoned off to act as a bridal storage room. It was a lot of space! This was my runner up venue because it was so original, but I ended up turning towards the more traditional of venues instead. (Plus, the stairs wouldn't have been great for our older family relatives.)

It was really hard to take pictures of, since it was so spread out. Even though this wasn't the one, I can still imagine the gorgeous photographs that could have been taken here - with Jase and I twirling around the dance floor below while our guests watched on from the upper level. Le sigh.

Stay tuned for the next batch of venues!


Click here for Part II.
Click here for Part III.
And finally..
Click here for The Winner.

5 Comments • Labels:  


Jess said...

I can't wait to see the winner! So fun!

Karen said...

Ohhh great post! I was looking forward to these posts ever since you started looking at venues so I cannot wait for the next one!

Britt said...

There are so many churches that pick such ugly carpet! So unfortunate in such a beautiful space!

I'm loving reading about your different options. It's making me wish I had done a post like this too! :)

~Mum~ said...

oh i'm so glad you are dong this ....
lovely to remember our visit - and the FUN we had
love love love

Anne said...

How fun, Aly! Can't wait to read the rest. I've told you before, but every time I read something you've written I'm struck again by how well you write and express yourself. It's such a pleasure to read. The photos add so much to your stories.

Anne Green

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