The Chevy Chases find a venue: Part I
Since I'm already well into my wedding planning, I thought I'd recap how Mr. Chevy Chase and I chose our venue.
First, I will let you all in on a little secret ... we started planning long before actually getting engaged. I kept telling friends and close family members about our plans, but my fiance kept it quiet, even from his parents, for a few months. It all started back in September '08 when I casually, prematurely even, asked my mother about family rings. Somehow I thought that bringing the issue up during an IM conversation would make it less of a big deal. Yeah, not so much. Quickly, it all progressed to us planning a DC wedding in peak wedding season. Mr. Chevy Chase will graduate from medical school in early May 2010, and will start residency in mid June, so we really only had a 4-week window to get married if we wanted to be able to take a honeymoon. Given our limited flexibility, we were worried about vendors, particularly venues, booking up 18-24 months out. So even though we weren't engaged, we started compiling a list of possible venues, and my mom and sister, who were in the DC area, made the rounds.
We opted for a DC area wedding because my family is mostly in DC, my fiance has some family in the Baltimore area, a lot of people on the guest list are in DC, and the rest of the guest list is mostly from the Northeast or North Carolina, so DC is a central location. I had always wanted an outdoor wedding ceremony, but for some reason we decided we didn't want to deal with a tent, and didn't even consider any venues that necessitated one.
At the end of September, my parents visited the women's museum. The rental fee was more that we wanted to pay, so my parents were just stopping by to check it out, but once they saw the grand hall, they decided it was worth the money, especially since the majority of the fee is tax deductible, so we penciled in a date and more or less stopped looking at other venues. In November, I saw the museum, and over the winter holidays, my fiance and I went together to see the hall. The first time, I was disappointed, although I couldn't exactly explain why. The second time I saw it, I liked it more, but it still wasn't perfect. For one, we didn't know where to have the ceremony - I didn't want to have it in the museum, didn't want to have it in a church (reasons to come later), and didn't want guests to have to drive from the ceremony to the reception and to deal with DC parking twice. The museum has many many albums of wedding photos that show off the site, and the pictures of museum ceremonies were actually very nice, so I resigned myself to having the ceremony at the museum and giving up on an outdoor wedding. And for a few months, that was the plan. Then, once we were actually engaged and could officially start wedding planning, the Chevy Chases had a sudden change of heart ...
Stay tuned for the next episode of “The Chevy Chases find a venue”