Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Where to Wed? That is the Question.

It makes sense that the item on our Wedding-To-Do-List currently causing us the biggest headache is, physically, the biggest thing. That's right: the venue.

We could go the easy route and rent a banquet hall, reserve a church, or call up the closest country club and be done with it. But Nathan and I are not most people. We are determined to get hitched in a place that is different. Unique. Personal. Unfortunately we've decided to get married on Long Island, which is probably the least unique (and most expensive!) place on the planet. Still, there are some interesting venues to be found. I did some preliminary searching while I was home for the holidays and ended up visiting three places - two of which we decided against, one of which is a definite maybe.

Venue #1: The Long Island Museum

PROS: The Long Island Museum has a great exhibit of carriages, which is strange enough to spark interesting small talk, but not so bizarre that our families will disown us. I liked the dark wood paneling in the carriage museum and the strangeness of the carriages themselves. Also, the site fee was right within our budget. CONS: The best place to hold the ceremony was outdoors, which just won't do for a November wedding. The alternate room we could use instead looked like a school cafeteria. And the largest room, which we could use for the reception, was not big enough for dinner and a dance floor, and I must have dancing at my wedding. VERDICT: If we were having a smaller, summertime wedding, it would be a strong contender. But we're not, so it isn't.

Venue #2: The Barn

PROS: I love the idea of getting married in a barn - if that's not Nathan and Chrissy, then I don't know what is. The area where it's located is beautiful, there are cows in a nearby field, and the barn itself has a lovely rustic charm. CONS: The barn isn't heated, so we'd have to figure that out. The barn is also kind of small, so we'd have to rent a tent and tables and chairs for dinner. Which would be okay, except the site fee (for what is essentially an unheated, bare bones barn) is $4,000. I don't care how cute your barn is - that is just way too high. Also the bathrooms are located in a trailer outside (it's actually a really nice trailer, but still) and there's no where for me to hang out with the bridal party prior to the actual marriage. VERDICT: If the site fee were cheaper, I would find a way to make it work. As it is, they are charging too much for too little. Bye, bye barn. 

Venue #3: The Science Museum of Long Island

PROS: The "museum" is actually a science activity center that offers educational workshops for children, and it's located inside a gorgeous old house on a nature preserve with a beautiful view of the bay. The site fee is pricey but not ridiculous ($2,000) and there are a few different spots for dinner, dancing, drinking, and - if the weather is nice - wandering around the beautiful grounds. There is a full kitchen for the caterers, a room upstairs where I could get ready before the ceremony, an old-timey staircase for photos, and multiple bathrooms. CONS: We'd still have to rent a tent, in which we would have the ceremony and then, after dinner, the dancing. If it's a cold or rainy day (which is a strong possibility in November) a lot of the things I love about this place wouldn't be so lovely (the grounds and the big front porch, mostly). I would prefer the dining and dancing were in the same room, so that people who don't want to dance could at least watch the young people making fools of themselves, but I guess we could put some chairs in the tent. VERDICT: We're keeping this one on the maybe list, unless we find something better. The house is unique while still being functional, the price is right, and there's a lot of room for creativity. It could definitely work.

I'm planning to visit Long Island again in March for a few days during spring break, and by then I hope to have a few more options to look at. My goal is to have a venue secured before I come back to North Carolina. Wish me luck! (And if you know of any cool, weird, and awesome places on Long Island that I've overlooked, please share!)


  1. I'm not sure hopw big your wedding will be....but my partner and i are getting married in june and we doing it in a friends backyard.  at the unbelievable price of $0....obviously we will be giving them a very nice thank you gift!  maybe there is somewhere like that where you are?  if it's cold you could rent a tent and that would still be cheaper than renting a wole venue.... just iideas :)

  2. Thanks for the idea Meaghan! We considered a backyard wedding but it will be November on Long Island, and the weather is pretty unpredictable. But if we're looking into a tent anyway... it's definitely an idea to look into! Now I just need to find someone who has a yard that can host 150 people. :)

  3. Our venue was 2800. It was expensive but beautiful and actually on the low end price-wise of our list of venues since my home is considered a 'destination.' We had trouble finding awesome places that had interior spaces we were happy with just in case the weather decided to be non-cooperative. For all it's worth, my vote is for the science museum.

  4. I confess I am not familiar with Long Island, so this may not be helpful BUT, my husband and I got married at an art museum on the University of Georgia campus.  Perhaps if there is an educational institution, they might have some buildings on campus.  Because it was a state institution the price was low ($1500, if I recall correctly) and it accommodated 100 people.

  5. too bad the barn is out, i'm partial to them. my in-laws acted like our barn rental was really expensive ($900 to have it all day plus clean-up time the next morning), but i always thought it was reasonable. that ended up being the main expense of our wedding (total cost was around $1600 including outfits & everything) & it was definitely worth it to me. i kind of wish we had had the entire reception there too, though it being over 100 degrees that day made going back to the in-laws for the pool really appealing.
    i think there are certain things that you'll look back on & not really care about, but the venue is really important. i think it's definitely worth cutting corners elsewhere to get somewhere that gives the right feeling to the event. plus afterwards you'll only have memories & photos, so you'll want the photos to be awesome.

  6. I agree with you 100%! No one will remember the food or the flowers (I probably won't even have flowers!) but the venue is definitely important. I am going keep looking until I find the perfect place!

  7. I can't even imagine having to plan all of this, but you've found some super neat locations.  Love all the museums!

  8. Wow! I am going through the exact same dilemma! Although I am still in the internet searching phase, I have found some interesting places. Next week my fiance and I are going to the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City. I am also going to look into surrounding colleges for interesting venues.
    Also, where is that barn located? I found one online and I'm wondering if it's the same. If so I might have to count it out as well!

    1. The barn was on Long Island, out East. I really can't remember the name of it now - it was so long ago that we looked at it! We actually ended up getting married in North Carolina, which saved us a ton of money. Good luck with your venue hunt!

    2. Maria,

      Where did you end up looking and/or choosing? I'm doing all of the same legwork now