The Minks Go Shopping for a Venue

When Mr. Mink and I started talking about getting married, we thought we wanted a vineyard wedding. Our area of Virginia is home to many wonderful vineyards, some owned by some well known celebrities. We started visiting a different vineyard each Sunday for a tasting and a cheese plate as an informal way to assess the options. A few felt like possible matches, and when we went to a wedding at one of our favorites, we were almost certain it was the right place for us.

Once we were engaged, we revisited some of those vineyards, exploring a few other options and collecting fee schedules and menus in hopes of making a decision before those who got engaged over the holidays started their planning. Nothing like the prospect of a little competition to get you out of your newly engaged haze!

Here is, roughly, what we considered…

1. The Inn

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Image via The Clifton Inn

The Inn was the closest venue to downtown Charlottesville, and it was beautiful. It had a very “old Virginia” feel to it, and our small-ish wedding wouldn’t be dwarfed by the spaces on the property. The inn is known for its fantastic food, so we knew our guests would be fed well. The rental fee was higher than any other venue we visited, but it included exclusive use of the grounds for the weekend. The catch: we also had to rent all 17 guest rooms for two nights. That was not included in the rental fee.

2. The Established Vineyard

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Staff members at the established vineyard / Photo by Miss Mink

The established vineyard was one we had visited many times for tastings. The site was stunning, the food was fantastic, and the vineyard owned draping that would be used in the ballroom at no extra charge. Much of what was needed (tables, chairs, barware) was included in the rental fee. The drawbacks: it was the farthest venue from town on the list, staffing/labor was not included in any of the fees, and the rental fee increased each year, so while we were planning to book early, we’d pay more because our wedding is in 2012.

3. The Newcomers

There were a few new players in the vineyard wedding scene in the area. One had only had a couple events when we visited them, but it was a beautiful location. The rental fee was high, but it included a lot of extras (table, chairs, exclusive use). That venue did not have a kitchen on site, so a caterer would need us to rent a catering tent for their use. The owners at that venue were having some difficulties with a neighbor over noise issues, but they had made a substantial investment in an elaborate sound system that would keep the peace. Bonus: someone thought to tuck a swing set around the back of the facility for children to play on. Brilliant!

Another venue we considered was just in the planning stages. The renderings were beautiful. We had a connection to the site being used, and Mr. Mink knew the chef involved with the project through his work. The rental fee was discounted in light of where they were in their building process.

What would you do with the options above? Would you pick the inn, the established vineyard, or one of the new vineyards?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Mink

Location:
Charlottesville, Virginia
Wedding Date:
June 2012

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  1. Member
    Mrs. Honey 1684 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:04 pm

    Those doggy’s would have me signing on the dotted line :)

  2. Member
    Mrs. Dalmatian 592 posts, Busy bee @ 4:17 pm

    Haha, I was thinking the same thing is Miss Honey – such cute pups!

  3. Member
    Mrs. Mink 3151 posts, Sugar bee @ 6:00 pm

    @Miss Honey: You need to come visit us in Cville…most of the vineyards have dogs!

    @Miss Dalmatian: Perhaps I’ll do a “wine dogs of Virginia” montage for you two. :)

  4. Guest
    Rose_Dust, Guest @ 6:31 pm

    Just my 2 cents but I attended a wedding at the Clifton Inn (and stayed in one of the guest rooms). It was a perfect venue and the bride seemed to be thrilled with her decision to select the Clifton Inn. The Inn’s beauty can not be met, the rooms are wonderfully appointed, and the food was excellent. Only tip I would give is if you’re going to have a dance floor/tent outside, be sure that you get a solid floor under the tent as rain can make a mess of the grass. I can not speak to the other 2 locations but I vote for the Clifton!

  5. Member
    Mrs. Mink 3151 posts, Sugar bee @ 6:35 pm

    @Rose_Dust: It’s definitely a beautiful venue! You’ll have to come back tomorrow to see which one we picked!

  6. Member
    Mrs. Funnel Cake 1171 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:00 am

    The Inn looks stunning at night! I’m so curious what you chose.

  7. Member
    MrsKeAloha 1044 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:40 am

    I love vineyard weddings and puppies – but I’m a sucker for the column entry ways and even more so if it has a historical background. I chose my venue because of its untouched history and it still had peep holes from the prohibition years construction and use.

  8. Member
    Mrs. Mink 3151 posts, Sugar bee @ 8:18 am

    @Mrs. Funnel Cake: It’s beautiful! I forgot the mention that we also know the chef at the inn, so that made our decision harder. Mr. Mink’s profession has him visiting most of the venues that were on our list, so there were times when we felt like we were picking favorites among friends.

    @Miss Ke Aloha: Oh my gosh! I’m going to go back through your posts and find this venue! It sounds amazing!

  9. Member
    Mrs. Parasol 2955 posts, Sugar bee @ 8:41 am

    All of these venues look and sound amazing! You two have great taste. :)

  10. Guest
    annebc, Guest @ 12:12 pm

    All wonderful choices in a wonderful city! We got married this fall at “The Established Vineyard” and the staff was wonderful (humans and the dogs!). Glad to follow someone planning a Charlottesville Wedding!

  11. Member
    TinyTina 3312 posts, Sugar bee @ 4:10 am

    They all sound like wonderful choices, but oh man those puppies are melting my heart… So cute!

  12. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:44 pm

    They all look great! And I love VA wine country. We used to take “field trips” to the wineries near Blacksburg.

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