Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fiancé suggests a venue

In an attempt at efficiency, we booked two venue appointments back to back on a bitterly cold Saturday in January. The third and final choice from our original list was Brandywine River Museum. Since it was Mr. P's pick and the two previous appointments gave us practice, I let him take the lead. I did come prepared with a list of basic questions, just in case.

The interior architecture is the main draw for this venue. While the exterior is mostly weathered brick reminiscent of nearby farmhouses, the modern interior is clad in white stucco. It features a centrally located atrium that winds up several stories with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Brandywine River. What a cool event space, right?

Some things I noticed pretty quickly:
1. Entry courtyard is deeply cobbled. Appears treacherous for a clumsy girl in heels.

2. Outdoor space was rustic and dingy. Stables and such, not the country chic kind.

3. Interior is a cacophony of voices. A reception for 100 guests plus music... I don't even want to think about the noise.

Ceremonies are held in the courtyard (above image). Rental flooring (to even out the cobblestones) is not permitted. I had visions of our guests tripping and abandoned stilettos sticking out of the cracks. Eeee.

Only in the event of inclement weather would a ceremony be moved inside to the lobby. However, the serpentine lobby space would give half of the guests little or no view. Cocktails would be fine as guests mingle and wander the three levels. But dinner would split them up again: four tables of 10 guests per floor. I thought the idea of a wedding was to bring people together. And I was already hoping for rain so we could have it in the better (interior) location.

Don't despair. There's a third room... in the basement.

Okay, despair away.

But it opens to the river - through a pair of emergency exit style doors. It was dark, dingy and sad. I felt a little panicked and saddened at the thought of having a dinner or bridal shower here for the low, low price of $150/person. Cake not included. The site fee started with a six followed by some zeros. No, just no.

We were really hoping the Brandywine River Museum (emphasis on River) would offer spaces to take advantage of the river views and scenery. A quick walk around the building confirmed there wasn't enough space anyway. So our options were doin' it Colonial Williamsburg-style, hope for rain and half our guests get a view or sad basement room. Silver lining: relief at knowing there were two possible venues out of the original three.

(All personal photos unless otherwise noted.)

In what ways did your fiance help out during your venue search?

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