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Our Goal is to Deliver an Effortless Elegant Event, Seamlessly Executed, in a Welcoming and Unpretentious Setting!
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Wedding FAQ's, Advice & Tips

Priorities are a must. Before starting your search for your perfect wedding venue make a list of your priorities. Understanding your priorities up front will help you narrow your search early and save you time and wasted effort. Consider the following when thinking about what is important to you:

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The cost of a wedding is usually a consideration for most couples. Understanding this going into the process of planning a wedding will allow you to feel good about your decisions after the event has occurred. Do not forget to look at the total cost for the event. If a venue has a site fee then make sure you consider that in the calculation as well as the catering and ceremony cost.

A budget can be managed in a couple of different ways. You can approach it from a price per person basis or an overall basis. If you are looking at the overall expenditure then this can easily determine how many guests you can afford to invite to your wedding event. Your budget will go further at a less expensive venue and will permit you more guests. If a nicer event with better quality food and alcohol is important to you then possibly consider reducing your headcount and have a smaller more intimate event to meet your budget objectives. The quality of the event is not determined solely by the number of guests in attendance.

If budget is a primary consideration then consider a non-Saturday date. Saturday weddings are the prime commodity in the wedding business and there are only 30 or so of them in prime wedding season each year. With such a limited quantity, they will always sell at a premium. Most venues offer some sort of incentive for using a non-Saturday date. Typically wedding site fees and catering minimums are lower and if you really want to save some money consider having the event during off-season. All wedding venues will negotiate on their pricing during the winter. This is also true of photographers, musicians, bakers and florists. Your wedding dollars go a lot further in cold weather.

Wedding Reception Pricing


Are you able to understand the pricing model for the venue and is it easy to figure out how much your event will cost? Are there any hidden fees that would result in you spending more than you anticipate? Planning around a budget will not do you any good if you can not plan for your total catering expenditures. Any reputable venue should provide you a detailed estimate of exactly what your event will cost based on the options you select before you sign any contracts. This should include any costs that may not be transparent like cake cutting fees, chair setup fees, change room fees, cleaning fees, linen fees, etc. If they are not willing to do this then this should be a red flag and you should keep looking.

Additional Wedding Ceremony


What type of wedding ceremony are you looking for? If an outdoor ceremony is a priority for you then look at venues that have the type of outdoor locations that fits with your vision of your perfect wedding ceremony. Some venues have highly manicured gardens and landscaping that is suited to more formal events while other venues cultivate a more natural setting which in turn lends itself to a more casual and relaxed event. Both formal and informal venues can be elegant and like a simple black dress, a good venue can be dressed up or down to suit your particular taste. Many couples like to have water near their ceremony site so that criteria may help narrow your search as well. Just be sure that the venue is not along a major creek or river that floods. If an outdoor wedding ceremony is a priority for you then look for a venue with a good backup option. The single most stressful aspect of planning an outdoor event a year in advance is worrying about what the weather is going to be like on your wedding day. Having that backup option identified at the outset of your planning will eliminate a lot of stress and anxiety. Make sure to note whether the back-up ceremony option will add to the cost of your wedding. Some venues require you to decide days before the wedding whether you will use the back-up option. It is ideal when a wedding venue allows you to make a decision about your wedding ceremony site the same day as the wedding. Choosing a location that has beautiful outdoor and indoor locations enables you to order flexible flower arrangements that will work well in either space since the spaces have already been identified in advance. Most groups like the convenience of hosting the ceremony at the same location as the wedding reception. It simplifies the wedding day for you and your guests.

If a church wedding is a priority then you need not limit your search to venues in close proximity to your particular church. If you have found the perfect venue it is possible to find a church nearby that will perform your wedding ceremony. Most churches are open to performing wedding ceremonies for non-members.

Wedding Reception Area


Check out the reception area where you will be hosting the event. Make sure it is large enough to handle a group your size. There should be adequate area for dancing as well as guest tables. If you are not sure whether a space is suitable, ask to see a floor plan that illustrates how the space can accommodate your size group along with a dance floor and anything else you will need. Make sure there is adequate heating and cooling for the room. The lighting should adjust for photographs and the various portions of the event. The restrooms should be large enough and clean with large mirrors in the ladies room. There should be adequate parking for a group your size; most guests arrive as a couple so you will need about half as many parking spaces as invited guests. There should be a changing space for the bride and groomsmen to get ready. Be sure to ask how long you have the room, how early you can arrive to decorate and if there are any decorating restrictions.

Wedding Photography


Is having a spectacular wedding photo album and wonderful pictures to document your day a priority? If so then select a venue that lends itself to and focuses on great photography locations. A good venue will have a nice selection of both outdoor and indoor sites for photos (just in case it rains). A good venue will also allow you early enough access to the property that you could accomplish pre-ceremony photography (prior to guest arrival). There are urban locations that offer no outdoor wedding photography at all. Most photographers will provide venues with sample photo albums to showcase their work and the venues photography locations. This is a great way to see what the property looks like during a particular season. It also provides you with a sample of what your album might resemble. Ask if albums are available. This can also help you find a photographer whose style you like. Any venue that you would want to work with will have a preferred vendor list to help you find a photographer, musicians, a baker, a florist and a ceremony officiator. It is in their interest to assist you to build the perfect team to execute your event.

Wedding Meals


Are you or your family foodies? If so, then food quality is most likely at the top of your list. Some wedding venues have restaurants which you can check out the meal preparation and most venues offer some sort of menu tasting. If there is something in particular that you are looking for then do not be afraid to ask. Most venues will jump at the chance to work with you to customize your menu. After all, you are spending a lot of money at the venue and they should bend a bit to give you what you want. Ask about bar packages and have the wedding venue make recommendations regarding identifying the appropriate bar service for your particular group.

Wedding Destination Lodging


Are you looking for a destination wedding? Keep in mind you and some of your guests may be coming from out of town. Most venues have some sort of lodging option available. If the venue does not offer lodging then ask about hotels close by that can accommodate your guests. If the hotels is not close by then consider a shuttle service for your guests. This is the safe and smart thing to do and shows your guests that you have taken their safety and comfort into consideration.

McKinley Room # 11

First Floor - King Canopy Bed and Fireplace

Green Drawing Room # 12

First Floor, King Bed and Fireplace

U. S. Grant Room # 14

First Floor - King Bed with Fireplace

Mary Cameron Room # 20

Second Floor - King Canopy Bed and Fireplace

Harvet Room # 21

Second Floor - King Bed with Fireplace

James Cameron # 22

Second Floor - King Bed with Fireplace

Dutch Country Room # 23

Second Floor - King Bed

Hideaway Room # 24

Second Floor - King Bed

Simon Cameron Room # 25

Second Floor - King Bed with Fireplace

Lincoln Room # 26

Second Floor - King Bed with Fireplace

The Loft Room # 27

Third Floor Floor - Queen Bed

Creek View Room # 30

Third Floor Floor - Queen Bed

Garden View Room # 31

Third Floor Floor - Two Queen Beds

Cameo Room # 32

Third Floor Floor - King Bed

The Haven Room # 33

Third Floor Floor - Queen Bed

Dormer Room # 34

Third Floor Floor - Queen Bed

Four Seasons Room # 35

Third Floor Floor - Queen Bed

Donegal Garrett Room # 37

Third Floor Floor - Queen Bed

McKinley Room # 11

First Floor - King Canopy Bed and Fireplace

Green Drawing Room # 12

First Floor, King Bed and Fireplace

U. S. Grant Room # 14

First Floor - King Bed with Fireplace

Mary Cameron Room # 20

Second Floor - King Canopy Bed and Fireplace

Harvet Room # 21

Second Floor - King Bed with Fireplace

James Cameron # 22

Second Floor - King Bed with Fireplace

Dutch Country Room # 23

Second Floor - King Bed

Hideaway Room # 24

Second Floor - King Bed

Simon Cameron Room # 25

Second Floor - King Bed with Fireplace

Lincoln Room # 26

Second Floor - King Bed with Fireplace

The Loft Room # 27

Third Floor Floor - Queen Bed

Creek View Room # 30

Third Floor Floor - Queen Bed

Garden View Room # 31

Third Floor Floor - Two Queen Beds

Cameo Room # 32

Third Floor Floor - King Bed

The Haven Room # 33

Third Floor Floor - Queen Bed

Dormer Room # 34

Third Floor Floor - Queen Bed

Four Seasons Room # 35

Third Floor Floor - Queen Bed

Donegal Garrett Room # 37

Third Floor Floor - Queen Bed

Property Access Time


Some venues have very restrictive policies when it comes to property access for decorating. Oftentimes, bridal parties cannot access the reception space until two hours prior to the ceremony, at which point most groups are finishing up hair and make-up or taking pre-ceremony photography. Look for a venue that allows early access to decorate, prior to when hair and makeup is scheduled, so that your day does not feel rushed.

Wedding Reviews


Make sure you look at wedding venue websites to check out a wedding venue's reviews. In our area there are two primary sites that brides rely on for information. These are theknot.com and weddingwire.com

Both have been around for a long time and have a catalog of reviews for most wedding venues in the Lancaster area. Try to find out how long a wedding venue has been operating and then check them out online. Be skeptical of any venue with perfect reviews. Reviews are not necessarily indicative of what your experience will be with a venue. Some clients are difficult and lets face it; we have all met people that are just impossible to please. Many times negative reviews say more about the person creating the review than the venue. That said, a lot of negative reviews should be a flag to watch out for.

Wedding Planning


Are you feeling overwhelmed by the mere thought of planning a wedding? This is where you should really focus on venues that assist you with this process. Most brides go through this process once or twice in a lifetime. Most wedding venues do this several times a week. A good venue will have a planning process that you can just step into and make your own. Planning an event is a lot of detailed work and there are many checklists for the various aspects of the event. A good venue that plans successful events should have a planning process that you can use so you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Ask to see their planning process and ask questions about how extensive the planning process is. Again, you are spending a lot of money at the venue and they should be there to help you. If the planning process at your chosen venue does not seem thorough enough to you, then you may want to budget for a day-of coordinator also.

Attitude


We are starting our sixteenth year and host a hundred or so weddings each year. As a wedding venue we have dealt with a lot of brides and this has given us the unique vantage point of observing a lot of brides and their reactions to things that happen. This can be something as simple as a rain storm coming through at the last minute to the best man realizing five minutes before the ceremony that he has forgotten the rings. The thing that is clear to us is that the bride usually determines what kind of day she is going to have before she ever steps foot on our property. If the bride is anxious and worried about every little detail and looking for things to go wrong then she will surely find them. Unfortunately, everything is not under the brides direct control and something is bound to not go as planned. As a venue, we evaluate our success by how happy the bride is at the end of the day. We have found that if she approaches the day with a positive and realistic attitude then she will be happy at the conclusion of the event. Things can and will not go as planned but it is how she reacts under pressure that determines the final outcome. The happiest brides are relaxed and take what comes. They do not let the small things throw them or deter them from having a fun day rather than a perfect day. If the bride is laid back and recognizes this at the outset of the planning process then she is well on her way to achieving her perfect day.

To Recap



We hope you have found these tips helpful. As a venue we have taken most of these things into consideration when developing our property and packages. We welcome the opportunity to walk you through our process and discuss your specific needs and how we might assist you in fulfilling them.

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