A little more than two months have passed since I got engaged and Genuine and I *still* haven’t found a place!
In our defense, we only recently started aggressively looking.
We immediately ruled out a destination wedding because we both want a lot of people to be able to come. (This also ruled out my only-half-joking $25 courthouse chapel wedding idea).
My first thought was to get married at our church. It’s gorgeous, easy to find, I grew up there and we met there. Done! Genuine (always the pragmatist) commented on how many empty seats would be in the 5,200 seat sanctuary and how weird that may look in pictures…and in person. Plus, I got a price quote and it is *expensive* and probably not available for our Sunday wedding.
So the obvious option – getting married at our church – was out and there we began at square 1.
Before getting engaged, I hadn’t put much thought into what I want my wedding to be like, but I do insist that our ceremony and reception be in two different rooms if not two different venues. It’s fine for some people but I don’t want to have my wedding and then “behind this curtain is the reception!” I think that’s weird. After discussing this with Genuine, we decided that if we did do the ceremony and reception in two different places than the ceremony should be in a church or else it doesn’t make sense to go from one venue to another. Also, a winter wedding doesnt allow for an outdoor ceremony or reception so a venue must be nice indoors.
We both decided we weren’t going to go broke for a party that only lasts a few hours, but we also know that we have our entire lives to make money so a raggedy wedding we can’t be proud of isn’t an option.
So we have our criteria: Nice wedding, not too expensive, reception and ceremony venue in two different rooms (or places), big enough for about 150 people but not as big as our home church.
One sunny Saturday afternoon we drove around looking at the (millions!) of churches around a small part of town. We made a few phone calls and realized that getting married in a church other than our own may not be easy. Many churches have both morning and evening services and therefore don’t allow for Sunday weddings. Many only allow members to rent the facility. Others have rules that require their minister to marry us.
Brick wall. Brick wall. Brick wall.
We decided that we dont have to get married in a church since we are both Christians and are getting married by a Christian minister so “church” is wherever we get married. Still getting married in a beautiful church with pews and a steeple would be really, really nice.
We looked at a *bunch* of places both in person and online. I appreciate being able to find all of the information I need online. I hate when I have to talk to someone or come in for a tour in order to get the prices. Let’s not waste each other’s time! I know some people hire a wedding planner to do this kind of research and actually Genuine’s co-worker graciously offered to help us plan our wedding. So she did some research and I did some research as well. Here’s the shortlist of places in Columbus that Genuine and I have looked at for ceremony and/or reception:
Columbus Atheneum: This place looks like a box on the outside, but inside it is unbelievable! There is a reason why they win all those wedding website and magazine awards. I loved the different rooms and the ceremony space is like nothing I’ve ever seen outside of an actual church. Perfect for a winter wedding! It is certainly a wedding factory though and if you don’t mind sharing your wedding venue with six other weddings, go for it! Plus the parking isn’t free or convenient and my gawd is this place expensive. Darn. I loved it.
Wagnalls Memorial: Beautiful. Inexpensive. Available. Let’s you bring your own caterer. But the reception area was in what looked like a dungeon to me and not big enough for our wedding reception. Plus, this venue is located outside of the city so I don’t know what the roads will look like in the winter.
Broad Street Presbyterian Church: Beautiful. Almost TOO big. Expensive. I walked around the facility on a random Friday and fell in love. The staff was really nice too. That place is awesome and if we can find a reception spot nearby, it’s still on the table.
Franklin Park Conservatory: I loved this venue. It’s different and very beautiful. The Palm House has a grand staircase and looks like you’re outdoors. It is a great choice for an indoor ceremony or reception…but not both since I want mine in two different rooms. It’s pricey also. And I couldn’t find a good spot indoors to have the reception other than the Palm House or the lobby area which isn’t available during the day on Sundays.
Columbus Museum of Art: Katie, who I talked to at CMA, was so nice and helpful. This is a beautiful, but again, expensive venue. I liked the reception area A LOT but not the ceremony spot since it was so close. I wanted to get married in the Cardinal Health Room since my dad worked at Cardinal Health, but when I went to see it, it didn’t look “ceremony” enough for me.
Jeffrey Mansion: My mom’s friend had a beautiful wedding reception here a few years ago, so I had to look at it for ours. The venue is pretty small for our number and it doesn’t look like there is room for a dance floor and a dj. My mom’s friend didn’t have any of that. The outdoor area would be beautiful for a ceremony. Alas, not a winter ceremony!
Olde Gahanna Sanctuary: When I found this place on Craigslist, a woman was trying to pawn off her date since her and her fiancee canceled their wedding (awww!). I didn’t even know something this awesome existed. It’s a church turned community center and perfect for two lovebirds wanting to get married in a church on a Sunday! The place is great for receptions and ceremonies (albeit it does have that “behind this curtain!” look). We were totally sold on this place for our wedding. I emailed Christy and asked about her date. She said it was available. We toured it for our ceremony and found a great reception spot nearby. Perfect! I was ready to put down the deposit until, she said “We don’t do Sunday weddings.” Apparently three different churches rent the facility on Sunday and have Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening services. So….when she responded to my initial email saying they were available that day she didn’t actually LOOK at the day? I’m still a little upset about that.
Creekside Conference and Event Center: My friend recommended this place to me so I looked it up online and was not impressed. THEN I went and looked at in person. This place is awesome! It is so beautiful, great for photos and in a cute little part of town. There is a park behind it with a creek (hence the word Creekside), a bridge, benches. AND it is right next to Coldstone Creamery – we got engaged in front of a Coldstone in Pickerington. Plus it is within walking distance of Olde Gahanna Sanctuary. And there is a free parking garage. As far as venues, it doesn’t get much better than this. It is pricey but for our off-day, off-season wedding the price is deeply discounted. The best thing is that you get to rent the entire floor so there is nothing else going on up there except your wedding. I’m not sold on size of the ceremony space, but this is definitely at the top of our list for reception and maybe even ceremony too.
New Albany Country Club: I. Loved. This. Place. This venue lacks nothing. Everyone is so nice. I experienced the best customer service of my life as a walk-in dealing with the concierge! She should teach a class, seriously! The venue is beautiful inside and out. I felt like a princess just walking around in there. They are certainly in the wedding business for a good reason. It is sort of expensive, but you get what you pay for. Again, the ceremony space is a little small but I am ready to let people sit on laps so I can have it here haha. There are some churches nearby I am looking at for a ceremony.
Hilton at Easton: I’ve never stayed here, but the outside of this hotel is the most beautiful in all of Columbus. I had to look into it for a wedding ceremony and reception. It’s near the airport, it’s AT Easton, guests can stay there or another nearby hotel. Unfortunately the guy I spoke to on the phone, Adam, was sooooo condescending and rude for NO reason! I was shocked. I sent an email to their sales department and the sales manager, Tim, called me back. He was really nice – the way you would expect someone to be when you’re talking to them about renting their facility. However, the damage was done. Hilton at Easton was nice but not THAT nice for that sort of rudeness. I don’t think so!
We looked at some other places in Columbus not worth mentioning and we are STILL looking. We are especially looking for nice churches nearby our top reception venue choices. Granted, we’ve narrowed down our reception spot choices, but anything could happen. This is me we’re dealing with. We might find a completely new place tomorrow! We still have a bit of time, but I want to get our venue spot locked down so we can work on the guest list, the food tastings (cant wait for that), the florist (ehhh), the colors, the theme and of course finding our photographer! I can’t wait to take engagement photos!