Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Celebrations at the Bay Part I

I guess it's time that I shared our reception venue with you. I started out with several searches on The Knot and Brides.com for places that interested me. There were several criteria I wanted to fullfill. First, I didn't want anything with carpet, especially salmon, burgundy or dark green. I was really looking for nice hardwoods or tile.

Second, I wanted it to be open and airy with windows. I wanted to step away from the traditional ballroom that has no windows whatsoever.

Third, it had to be a clean, minimalistic room with no dominating colors like the ones I mentioned above. Plum and aubergine don't look so hot with dark green and red.

So that's when I found...drum roll...Celebrations at the Bay's Chesapeake Ballroom.

When I first saw it, I just hoped and prayed it was in our price range. Soon after, I called and spoke with Kevin McTigue, the absolute nicest and most informative person I've spoken to since my planning adventure started. Since I couldn't make it out to Celebrations to speak with him in person any time soon, he was nice enough to go through the ENTIRE package with me on the phone.

Celebrations is owned by Catering by Uptown, which was founded by Kevin's Uncle Ray. The entire operation is family-owned and run. Celebrations offers everything but the flowers, the DJ and the photographer. They have 5 (if I remember correctly) types of china to choose from, ranging from contemporary square plates to classic ivory with gold rims. The stemware is crystal. They have 25 linens to choose from. They provide hurricanes and votive holders. Cake is included in the cost of the rental, and it comes from SugarBakers, which I've heard great things about. The bar is premium and open. You also get a coordinator for the 3 months leading up to your wedding, not to mention tons of discounts from their huge network of partner vendors.

They have also built out the back deck and it now has a white, wrought iron gazebo-type structure for a ceremony and room to seat 125 guests. The outdoor chairs are white, high-quality folding chairs and for indoors you have your choice of black or gold chivari chairs.
When Mr. Shirlington and I finally had a chance to get out to the site, the day was beautiful and there were almost 30 sailboats in the bay. We fell in love instantly. We set up a tasting for the following Tuesday and chose a filet and lobster gabrielle from their super-extensive menu to try (ALL BEFORE WE EVEN BOOKED).

It was kind of a make-or-break for Mr. Shirlington and I because Celebrations was significantly out of our budget. But, because we hadn't seen anything else that even came close, we decided that if the food was amazing, we would go for it. And it was. We went for the filet knowing that if there's one tell-tale sign of bad wedding food, it's when you get a crappy filet. We were so incredibly impressed. We felt more like we were in a steakhouse than a catering showroom. We booked that night.

I hope to get out to Celebrations sometime soon to take more pictures! The only downside is that it's 34 miles from our church. We booked both places knowing it would be a hike for our guests, but because we're dealing with only close friends and family, we knew they would appreciate our choices anyway.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow that window is awesome! that is going to look beautiful. Especially if you get there before sunset and can watch the sun go down over the water. And it looks like it will be easy to string up lights or other decorations across the cieling. great find.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 6:21:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. NearlyWed said...

Love the venue. Uptown will take wonderful care of you. I am one of the few outside coordinators they actually like :) Their food is exquisite!! Most of my events there have been in the tent. You are in terrific hands.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 9:04:00 PM  
Blogger X said...

Thank you both! Mrs Nearlywed, I'm so happy you think as highly of them as I do!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 10:20:00 PM  

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