Red Pattern

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Search for a Venue: Our Style

From the beginning (I’m talking 6 yrs old, playing dress-up, beginning) I’ve had a general idea of what my dream wedding would look like. And I know I’m not the only one who started cutting out pictures and bookmarking inspiration long before that ring was on my finger ;) I have always loved a classic wedding. Nothing too formal - just romantic and elegant. Those were the words I wanted to think and feel when I saw our wedding venue.

When we started the process of looking for a venue, I knew that we would have to decide on a “look” before we started seeing places in person. We knew we wanted to get married in the DFW area, and there are absolutely just too many places to visit if you don’t have a good starting idea of what you want and don't want. From my experience looking at venues online and going to weddings in the past, most wedding venues fall into one of these five groups: 

There are the country club or hotel weddings;
Castle Hills Country Club Ceremony via The Lake at Castle Hills
Outdoor Reception via Westin Stonebriar
the outdoor, rustic and barnlike venues;
Stone Oak Ranch via Brandi Burkett Photography

the garden-like outdoor event;
Marie Gabrielle Wedding via Life as Art Photography
Marie Gabrielle Wedding via Kristin Greenlee Photography
the very non-traditional location, like a loft or museum;

Hickory Street Annex Ceremony via Tru Identity Designs
Image via Edison's
and finally, the wedding chapel.

Ashton Gardens via Treva Tribit
Belltower Chapel Wedding, Fort Worth via Bella Bee Photography
Of course there are always exceptions and variations, but when I started searching that covered the majority of what I found. (Let me say right away that I think all of these options are wonderful. I love any and all weddings! Although there are reasons why some of them weren’t the best for us, each of the types has beautiful and unique qualities that make them special.)

I knew almost immediately that a hotel or country club was not the right style for us. Similarly, anything outdoors was just not an option for this weather-worrier, so that ruled out a very large number of garden/outdoor venues. There are many beautiful hotel ballrooms and I have seen gorgeous country club weddings but they just didn’t quite fit the style what I wanted. Venues that allow much more creative freedom, like spacious lofts, have become very popular in the Dallas area for weddings. As much as I liked the idea of a blank slate to turn into our perfect venue, I felt like the urban-ness just really didn't fit us and our families. 

Next up were the country and casual venues. If I had to choose, I'd say these locations probably came in second place to our eventual decision for a traditional chapel. They describe to a “t” the atmosphere that I grew up in. I am a Texas girl, I drive a truck, and my house sits about a mile from our closest “neighbor.” My cousins will more than likely show up to my elegant wedding in cowboy boots (given, they will undoubtedly be their nice boots) and I am 100% okay with that. However, I decided I didn’t want my wedding to just be a reflection of the small East Texas town where I’m from.

Why? Well there are a few reasons. First, I may be from East Texas and I may drive a truck, but even though I like big pastures and cows (okay, I don’t really like them but I’m used to them) I also love sushi, cocktails, and the “city life”. Secondly, rustic and casual is just so. darn. popular. right now when it comes to weddings.
Image via Ruffled 
Honestly, if mason jars and wildflowers hadn’t taken over Pinterest, I might have considered many of the venues near my hometown that fit that mold. But, I wanted classic, not current.

So, we chose the wedding chapel.

Every location that we decided to visit and look at had a traditional chapel (or at least a ceremony room) with a long center aisle. I know this style is not for everyone. There are so many options today to make your wedding feel like “you” and for many people that means not having it in a church, chapel, or even indoors. I definitely get it - I am a sucker for wedding photos of beautiful outdoor affairs & rustic barnyard get-togethers, but the indoor chapel seemed like the best fit for us, and for my longtime “vision”. So, we had it narrowed down to an overall style and we just had to find that perfect place!

Has anyone had trouble deciding what "type" of venue you wanted, or have you known since the beginning what your dream wedding would look like?

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