Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Venue Hunt

There will be 650 people at our ceremony. Yes, you read that correctly--650 total guests. This guest list is the result of my future FIL knowing a huge number of people through his occupation, my fiance and I both being the oldest of all the siblings/cousins, grandmas inviting friends, etc, etc. Needless to say, this requires some careful execution and planning.

Our church comfortably accommodates everyone for the ceremony, thank goodness. Then 500 (family & parents' friends) will stay at the church for their buffet dinner reception, while our 150 friends go to a second reception site for cocktail hour. We will then join our friends for a second dinner reception, once the first one concludes. So we've set a date in early fall 2008 and I feel we will need every bit of time to plan the ceremony & two full-scale receptions!

Most of my posts will center around the second reception, since that's where most of the "traditional" planning activities will be required. The first thing on our list was to find a venue. I initially thought I'd have at least two months or so to nail this detail down, but I started panicking when two popular venues in the area (Woodend Sanctuary & Meadowlark Gardens) were already booked solid for fall 2008!

We visited the Ronald Reagan ITC Building (Pavilion Room), which was already blogged about. That venue truly is GORGEOUS. It is such a clean and eye-pleasing space; it also fits about 150 people without too much empty space, which I feel detracts from the "party" feeling. We also visited the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It's an open, elegant space with three enormous chandeliers. They can accommodate nearly anything you want in terms of event design; they even had a twelve-piece live band in there before!

Ultimately, we decided not to go with a venue in the city. The drive would be further than we like from the church; I also wasn't a fan of D.C.'s additional 10% food & beverage tax. With sales tax & service charges, we would've been paying almost 30% for nothing! I'll post on the venue we picked next time. Happy Thursday!


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