Once we decided that we wanted to get married in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I put my supreme Googling skills to work. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to visit any venues for several months, but I wanted to have a good idea of what was available. Plus, we knew that when we visited, we would only have a day or two at the most to visit places. So we wanted to have it narrowed down to our favorites.
As I mentioned before, our first priority was having a ceremony with a beautiful view, like this:
Image by Tall + Small Photography
We kind of figured that if we’re going to have a destination wedding, it needs to have something that neither of our home towns could offer. I started doing Google image searches on “Blue Ridge Mountain Weddings.” And wow, there are so many jaw-droppingly gorgeous venues in the mountains.
We absolutely fell in love with one particular venue:
Image by Lindley’s Photography
I present to you, Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa. The ceremony location overlooks the mountains, and this particular spot is called the Sunset Terrace, because…well, you’ve probably guessed it. You can see spectacular sunsets. The reception location is just behind the ceremony location in the open-air Sunset Pavillion, where you can still see the wonderful sunset. It’s completely amazing. We knew with absolute certainty that we could see ourselves getting married here. Both of us felt like we had found exactly what we had been looking for.
And then we looked at the price…
Even with the discounts for a Sunday or Friday wedding, once we accounted for taxes and service charges, we would be looking at almost $10,000 to have our 100-person wedding there. That may seem affordable to some, but $10,000 is basically our entire budget! We should have said right then that we couldn’t do it. But we loved this place so much. For a long time, we kept telling ourselves that it could work. I called the venue. They were willing to work on a menu with us. We considered cutting back on other aspects of the wedding. But ultimately, no matter what we did, this venue would have eaten most of our budget. It broke our hearts, but we knew we had to move on and find something more affordable.
And so, with sad hearts, we nixed our favorite venue. I tried not to let it get me down as I renewed the search. But I kept running into unexpected issues with each venue.
One of the biggest issues that came up was something that we just hadn’t anticipated at all. We knew that we would have an open bar at our reception. Not only that, Mr. Whale was dead set on having liquor in addition to beer and wine. We assumed that this would be no big deal. Well, we should have known that getting married in the south would mean dealing with stricter policies with regards to alcohol.
Map of wet and dry counties. There’s no data for Georgia, but you get the idea. (Image from BBC News)
With the exception of the fancy venues, most places don’t allow liquor to be served! Aaargh! The first few times we ran into this issue, we decided to take the venue off of our list. But at some point I realized that we were basically running out of venues.
The funny thing about wedding planning is that you hear all these crazy stories about bridezillas and crazy mother-in-laws (mothers-in-law?) and you think, “This will not happen to me.” But wedding planning seriously brings out the crazy in everyone.
You think it can’t be you, but just you wait. (Image from BRIDALWAVE)
I hate to admit it, but the open bar issue led to a big argument between my fiance and me.
He argued that his friends would not have a good time at the wedding unless they could drink liquor. I argued that if we were paying for their food and drinks, then they would happily drink whatever we put in front of them. You’ve heard of maternal instinct? Well, there must be some sort of bridezilla instinct too, because I could feel a scary out-of-control person trying to emerge from my body. I tried to contain her, but eventually I lost it and yelled something to the effect of, “I don’t care what makes your friends happy! I am the bride, so I want what makes me happy!”
So…yeah, I pride myself on my ability to maintain composure and all that. But…I pulled out the bride card. And I did it quite loudly (sorry, neighbors). It was definitely not one of my proudest moments. And afterward, I was embarrassed. (But I still kind of felt like what I said was true.) Like I said, wedding planning brings out the crazy…
So how did we get past this supposed deal-breaker? We didn’t have the money to afford a venue where we could serve liquor. We were already doing a destination wedding because we didn’t like the venues in our hometowns. What else could we do? And then, I had a brilliant idea…an AFTER PARTY!! We can’t stay at the reception past midnight, and I know my fiance won’t want to stop partying so early. So we’re throwing an after party for all those people who want to keep having fun with us. And of course, we can have whatever drinks we want in the privacy of our own (rented) home.
Have any other brides or couples faced issues that you had no idea would come up when you started wedding planning? Had any bridezilla moments yet?