The search for a venue was fun, but also extremely stressful at the same time. One of the most important characteristic we were looking for in a venue was that Mikey and I were looking for a venue that would let us serve our own alcohol. We'd be willing to pay for a bartender, but we wanted to be able to serve our own- partially because we've thrown quite a few parties over time, and it is so much cheaper to purchase your own alcohol in bulk- but more importantly, for our wedding we're doing a mead toast instead of a champagne toast. You might remember from this blog here that the first night Mikey and I met, he attempted to seduce me with some homemade mead. It was delicious! Mikey has a talent (and all the equipment) for making mead, and one of our 100% completely fixed plans for the wedding (we're flexible people, things get changed all the time) is the idea that we're going to provide a mead toast rather than a champagne toast, and the mead we serve is going to be our own, homemade mead.
As you might imagine, this eliminated a LOT of possibilities.
Which brings me to this little place on the lake front:
A beautiful view of Lake Michigan (he and I both love water), flowers blooming everywhere, and an amazing vintage school gym to celebrate in after. The price was right, we were ok with their caterers (we were originally planning on doing a picnic kind of dinner, but the caterer had mini soups- and I LOVE anything mini) and we really liked the owner of the building.
Unfortunately (you knew it was coming, didn't you?) they were very fixed on their alcohol policy. They had to provide all of the alcohol. And although renting the place was a super great deal, it was easy to see how they were doing it- their liquor prices were insane. Don't get me wrong, if we had over thirty thousand to spend on this wedding, we would have rented this place out in a second and payed the *ridiculous* amount for their alcohol.
For a while, we were sure we could make it work. We brainstormed over a variety of options:
-We just do open bar for one hour, and cash bar for the rest! (We vetoed this, because I really want to treat everyone who comes to our wedding, and that includes getting them as drunk as their pretty little hearts desire!)
-We could have a dry wedding (HA! No way in hell.)
-We could have an earlier reception there, and head to a different venue later on, for adult drinks (So much work...)
-And finally, the very ridiculous-- but considered at length-- solution: We have a pre-wedding picnic at a forest preserve nearby, and then have a one-hour open bar at the wedding. This seemed to work for a bit- we just do the desserts, dancing, and one-hour of free drinking at the venue, and we all eat together ahead of time.
We *really* loved this venue.
However, as time wore on, and we thought about how we would get people to the venue (we didn't want people driving drunk, but they couldn't leave their cars at the forest preserve), the little bit of ridiculousness of having a pre-wedding picnic just to have a certain venue that wouldn't give us everything we wanted, and the stress of having to prepare two different receptions. We sadly tabled the idea of our venue, and dove back into research.
After a few weeks of exasperation, surrounded by pamphlets of beautiful buildings and lake-front properties that all said "No Mead Allowed" (or any oustide alcohol, for that matter). One day, we were sitting in our own disappointing snowfall of pamphlets, when Mikey looked at me and said, "Why don't we just get married here?"
I looked at him, looked around us, and said, lifting up a bunch of pamphlets and letting them fall to the floor, "Right here?"
"Not in the living room, but here, in the backyard- at the house."
At first, I thought he was nuts. I was envisioning people crowding our driveways, abusing our bathrooms, heels digging up our tulips (ok, we don't have tulips, but it's the principal of the thing!), trashing the house, all of those horrible things that happen in a party movie where the parents leave town and the teenagers throw a party.
For a while, I said, "No way, that'd be horrible."
Then it turned into, "No way."
Then it turned into, "But really, isn't that a bit unrealistic?"
After a while though, we (mostly I- he was on board with that idea from the beginning) imagined some of the good parts: getting married in one of the last places that Mikey's mother was alive- plus, his mother has a little memorial on the property, as well, that we'd like to involve in the ceremony. We'd be able to control exactly what the venue looks like- no surprise wallpapering a week before our ceremony, or any construction we can't anticipate-- we can do whatever decorations we'd like. We have the next 8 months to prepare the site, instead of having to rush in the night before, and we don't have to limit our partying to certain hours. No-one else will be getting married on the same day at our venue (at least, I hope not!) and although there is still the possibility that someone could crash the wedding, there are about 12 people in our town, so we could afford to feed them. People can stay the night if they drink too much- or just want to keep the party going- so we can have a big camping, tent-pitching after party, with our friends right there in the morning to eat breakfast with and then send us off on our honeymoon.
And, best of all, we get to serve our homemade mead. :)
It's going to be hectic, and a little crazy, but I've come to love the idea. So yes- we're getting married right in our backyard. And I couldn't be happier about it.
Here are a few pics of the yard where the magic will be happening:
Where are you tying the knot? Is there anything keeping you from going with your dream venue?