February 14, 2010

Finding the Venue, Part II

Posted in Personalizing Your Wedding, Wedding Design tagged , , , , at 9:00 am by Elizabeth Nixon

I told you the final choice of our venue here, but gosh darn it, it took a whole year to decide to have it there! That’s because Professor Paisley and I have had a very long engagement, since Sept. 2008, because we needed time to save up for the wedding. And, we would have chosen the family lake house from the get-go, but at first the family wasn’t sure if we were going to sell it or not. Thankfully, for us, the answer is not.

What were the other contenders? Well, we were picky. We wanted someplace that would allow us to party late (think 2 a.m.) and loud (live band). That’s hard to find! Honestly, hells wedding bells, why must most venues shut down at 9 or 10 p.m.?!?!

We also wanted someplace of significance to us. The main contenders were:

Nestldown, in Los Gatos.


Really close to my grandma’s house on my dad’s side, this place was so gorgeous when we went for a site visit, but too expensive, and shut down too early. If we had it there, we would have had an after party until 2 a.m. at the nearby Toll House Hotel.

The Ebell Club of Long Beach.


This beautiful, historic woman’s philanthropic club was too pricey, and didn’t hold much significance for us. Although I liked it so much I did try an unsuccessful attempt to conjure up significance by tying the fact that it is a historic women’s club to my desire to support feminist causes. Um, yeah….Pretty sure I’d be supporting the wedding industrial complex not feminism, with the prices Ebell is charging.

MacCallum House in Mendocino.


Situated in the beautiful seaside village of Mendocino an hour and a half from my hometown, this is a favorite spot of ours to visit. My grandparents would take me here every year on my birthday as a kiddo, and give me $50 to spend in the shell shop. Can I just say, you can get a s-load of shells with that kinda dough! Anyway, the MacCallum House allows music outdoors until 10 p.m. in their wedding tent, but guests can mingle in the hotel and bar until 2 a.m. with music indoors. Only downside is it’s so far from any major airport, which is why we didn’t end up choosing it.

The Green Room in San Francisco.


You can rent this affordable gem in the city of San Francisco into the wee hours of the morn, there are no time restrictions! We were so, so close to booking it, but we wanted an outdoor ceremony in an affordable location prior to partying it up Green Room-style. We checked out lighthouses…

Point Montara Lighthouse


…and parks for an outdoor ceremony:

Marin Headlands


But ultimately, we found the S.F. summer fog to be too unpredictable and the lighthouses too windy, and we just couldn’t warm to the idea of an indoor ceremony.

Those are just a few of the dozens of venues we researched up and down the great state of CA. We checked out places in our residence-of-two-years Orange County, but also Big Sur, San Diego and Santa Cruz (where we met), as well as the north coast (where I grew up).

We’re so happy our wedding will be a lakeside-under-a-willow-tree ceremony performed by an old friend. At grandma’s house, to boot. When I picture what it will be like, I picture this:

OK, not digging the paper wedding bells, but the rest looks splendid to me!

Now I know what y’all are thinking. You’re thinking, really, Miss Paisley? A frog and a mouse? C’mon, be realistic here! 😉

We may not be mouse and frog, but we’re definitely loving the at-home, laid back country style from this favorite children’s book, A Frog Went A-Courting, adapted and illustrated by Nina Barbaresi. Yeah, I can’t help but find wedding inspiration EVERYwhere. Plus it doesn’t hurt my mom is a children’s librarian. I blame her.

Anyhoo, how is the venue search going for you? Was it/is it a struggle to find a venue with a later-than-typical curfew? Wouldn’t it be nice for us late-night-party brides if there was a website dedicated to such venues? It would eliminate hours of research!


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