I never spent much time dreaming about my wedding, not even as a little girl. That changed once Mr. Puffer and I fell in love. I saw the two of us standing in a park in the fall, under a huge maple tree with leaves a brilliant red, surrounded only by a handful of loved ones.
Unfortunately, while Mr. P loves me, he did not love my desired wedding locale.
So my first goal in planning our wedding was picking a venue. After all, you can’t buy decorations, choose food, or do any of the other fun stuff until you know exactly where it’s going to be.
Before we set off to tour local wedding spots, I spent a lot of time (or at least 15 minutes) making a list of must-have attributes for our venue.
Must-have #1: Indoor space for the ceremony and reception
I was raised Baptist. Puff considers himself culturally Jewish. While we have similar beliefs and values, we do not practice a formal religion. We were not interested in getting married at a church or synagogue, and the idea of having to pick up and travel to a separate reception space wasn’t appealing to me. I made the decision that we’d tour only venues that could host both the ceremony and reception.
Oh yeah, and both have to be indoors with air-conditioning. I’m a sweater.
Image via Fan Pop
Must-have #2: All-inclusive packages
Confession: Wedding planning terrifies the beejezus out of me. I’ve planned parties before, but nothing of this magnitude. The wedding-planning book I bought went on for many chapters about venue rentals and caterer selections and lighting specialists…I was quickly overwhelmed until I discovered that many venues offer packages that include all this stuff, with some even offering on-site caterers. Venues with all-inclusive packages shot to the top of my tour list.
Must-have #3: Affordability
If you have ever planned a wedding, #3 probably had you laughing. Hey, I laughed when I wrote it. “Affordable” and “wedding” are two words that just don’t go together. But Mr. Puffer and I both agreed that what comes after is far more important than the wedding day itself. The average cost of a Baltimore wedding in 2014 was over $34,000. We definitely wanted to come in far, far under that average.
Armed with my three must-haves, I turned to Google and researched which Baltimore-area venues hit the mark.
Up next: We go on tour—wedding venue tours, that is.