Planning an Eco-Indie Wedding

Archive for the ‘Locations’ Category

Two Sundays ago, my mother, fiance, and I went to visit our first possible venue for both our wedding ceremony and reception: The Barns at Wesleyan Hills in Middletown, Connecticut.

For the casual, Spring countryside-style wedding we are planning on, having our reception in a barn is a natural idea (no pun intended). The space itself was fantastic, with a lot of flexibility for decorating and seating set-ups.

After we visited the location, we drove over the Pavilion Catering‘s main location at Crystal Lake to visit with vendors and try selections from the company’s menu. The food was fantastic, but we quickly found out that just renting the space and feeding our guests at The Barns would be over $10,000.

Since $10,000 is our budget for the entire wedding, we had to forgo the location. We could have had our wedding at the Crystal Lake location and keep within our budget, but it is simply not the type of ambiance we are looking for.

The “Big” +” Small” barns

Inside the “Big” barn, decorated for a wedding reception.

The Wesleyan Hills, decorated for a wedding ceremony.

On the plus side, we did meet Dave Murphy, who also works with Mike Connolly DJ-ing weddings. The next day, my fiance and I both decided that we wanted to have Dave be the DJ for our wedding – he is very experienced and professional, with helpful suggestions that he openly provides without being pushy.

Also, we found out about two other possible locations for our ceremony and reception, which we are actively pursuing:

[Images courtesy of Pavilion Catering]

As mentioned, before we visited The Webb Barn, we had lunch at and toured a different location.

Nestled in historical Elizabeth Park (featuring the oldest municipally operated rose garden in the country) in West Hartford, Connecticut, we visited the Pond House Cafe.

Our lunch was great, chosen from a menu that changes seasonal (that’s very eco of them!), and the Event Coordinator we met with was very friendly and seemed genuinely interested in our event.

After lunch, we visited the Garden Room where they hold their special events. It is huge! The biggest draw is the two large walls of windows that give you a view of a small pond and lots of park greenery.

There are numerous options for choosing a menu for our guests, which also includes our wedding cake (big bonus!), designed by Cakes by Donna. They don’t provide liquor, but they often use a great company called Two Pour Guys (who we will likely go with).

Of course, no location is perfect. The date we had previously chosen (Saturday, May 15th) is already booked, but they have all other Saturdays in May 2010 open. We weren’t overtly attached to the date,  so that’s not that big of a deal. Also, the roses in Elizabeth Park (where we will be holding the ceremony) don’t bloom until June, so if we can nab the last Saturday in May, we’ll be able to get some great pictures and ambiance in the park.

Also, Elizabeth Park wedding ceremony locations are available on a first come-first serve basis and you can only book 30 days in advance. Thankfully, there are 5 different locations to choose from, so we shouldn’t be shut out completely. We’ll also make sure to nab a location exactly 30 days before our wedding so we have the pick of the litter. In case of rain, we can have the ceremony inside the Pond House Cafe, so that concern is covered too.

My fiance and I slept on it last night, and we are still very happy with the idea of having our wedding in Elizabeth Park and at the Pond House Cafe. I’ll be calling the Event Coordinator we met with, Jill, today after 9am and let her know we want to go for it! Hopefully, the DJ we already chose will have our new date open. :O

[Image courtesy of the Pond House Cafe]

Just yesterday, my mother, fiance, and I visited the wonderfully historical Webb Barn in Wethersfield, Connecticut. Another barn option, this one was even more “rustic” than the The Barns at Wesleyan Hills we had previously visited.

Unlike The Barns at Wesleyan Hills, we are wide open as far as choosing our own caterer … etc., so we could still have the country barn ambiance with a lot more freedom. They had nicely remodeled restrooms, a well-sized garden, lots of parking, and a huge kitchen for the caterer to use.

The drawbacks? It is located in downtown Old Wethersfield, which while much more quiet than you average mid-sized city, it is still a downtown area which means some unpleasant noise.

Also, my mother and my fiance were a bit worried about the barn itself. It looked sturdy from my view, but they both described it as “grungy“, which looking back, I can easily see their point. I personally love the history and rustic-style of the location, but I can understand how its age may cause some unforeseen issues along the way.

Don’t get me wrong – it is not a bad location by any means, but the location we visited right before it (more details in my next post!) offered many more options for a smaller fee – and still offered a great nature connection.