Ah, wedding venues.
I have been thinking a lot about Edmonton (and area) wedding venue possibilities.
What venue should we choose for the wedding ceremony? What venue should we choose for the wedding reception? Should we choose a venue where we can have both ceremony and reception at the same place for convenience (and would this also be a money saver)? If we choose a venue for the reception, should we look for one where we have the option of providing our own caterer (would that be cheaper?) Does the reception venue allow for an open bar where we can provide the alcohol and don’t have to purchase it through the venue (because that would be way more expensive). Should we choose a reception venue where we do have the ability to provide our own caterer and open bar but then we also will have to provide chairs and tables and all those other miscellaneous “rentals” that would start adding up (ie. if we chose a hall). If we choose an outdoor ceremony venue – what if the weather is bad that day? What will our backup be? How far away should the ceremony venue be from the reception venue? If we choose a venue that’s outside of Edmonton, is that making it too hard for certain guests to get to and from? Do my parents like or approve of the venue? How much of my parents’ opinion am I to take into account?! (That’s a whole other blog post in itself though, really). Those are the kind of thoughts that have been processing through my brain!
Did reading through it make your head hurt too? lol.
These are a couple options we’ve narrowed it down to, though this first one is pretty much not happening though I still wanted to include it in the list:
I think this is a gorgeous venue for a ceremony and subsequent Wedding Day photos location. The rental cost for both ceremony and reception being held here is pretty reasonable I would say ($1,600). Whereas ceremony alone is a little ridiculous ($1,800). Plus you can only have your ceremony from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. if you just choose to do the ceremony there. That wouldn’t work for us given that we’re going to be having a Vietnamese wedding tea ceremony the morning of our wedding. So ideally if we chose this location we would do both ceremony and reception here which I am fine with, their food selection + price is reasonable, I think. Under $40 a person? Remember this is all new to me so I’m only starting to get an idea on how cheap or how expensive things can get.
However (and unfortunately) there are downsides to Eagle Rock (pouty face). Those downsides include: it’s 45 minutes from Edmonton. It’s literally out in the country, away from anything else, so there would be no nearby hotels for people to stay in. Since it’s so far out, if people are drinking at our wedding (which I would assume the majority are) then it would be an extremely expensive cab ride back home and/or everyone would need to make designated driver plans. My parent’s don’t like the venue at all because of all those reasons. Eagle Rock also only allow you to have an open bar if you buy from them so that ups the alcohol costs up by a lot. And I’m sure there would be other costs that would arise if/when Mike and I went to meet with them and check out the site. We are basing all of this current information from their online wedding information booklet.
So Eagle Rock was originally my #1 preferred location for both ceremony and reception but I’m all iffy on it because of the downsides and my parents are completely not okay with it being so far out in the country, which brings us to option two (and the one that we will most likely end up choosing):
I really do want an outdoor wedding but we really like the Mayfield Inn option for an outdoor-feeling/looking wedding, but held in indoors. If we book the Mayfield for both ceremony and reception then the ceremony rental of the Mayfield Garden Courtyard with Thai Pagoda is only $500. I am still checking with Mayfield to see how much renting the reception ballroom space would be, but I’m assuming it would equal out to about the same as – if not cheaper than – Eagle Rock. There are a bunch of benefits that go with booking at the Mayfield including the fact that we’d get cheaper rates for our out-of-town guests, we’d get a complimentary suite to stay in, inclusion of microphone and sound system equipment, we’re able to provide our own alcohol/open bar, and the food pricing is not to bad (under $50 a person, which is what we were expecting to pay had we decided to go with a reception at a Chinese restaurant). Plus it’s within the city – which would appease the parentals.
The reception ballroom is also huge and gorgeous – and they have various sizes that could accommodate however many guests we end up having. That’s important because a lot of venues aren’t available to us because we expect to have quite a big wedding (200-250 people). We are meeting with someone with the Mayfield Inn later this month to check out everything in person and hopefully answer any other questions that we have so we’ll have a better idea towards the end of the month whether or not this is where we’d like our wedding to take place, but so far it’s looking like the top option at this point. Then there’s the next option:
Did you know you can get married at Snow Valley? When I first saw this option during my Internet searches, I was a bit skeptical because the first thing I think of when I hear Snow Valley is – obviously – snow, snowboarding, skiing – not exactly the kind of weather I want for my wedding. But when I checked out the site I saw that it looks to be a really cute venue for having both ceremony and reception! (Or just ceremony, which would cost about $450 to rent for three hours). Their food selection and prices look decent as well (about $35-$45 a person, depending). Some possible downsides is that the reception area can only hold 225 people, which should in theory be enough if we invite 250 people there’s a good chance 25 of them will RSVP that they can’t come. But that’s something to think about in the event that everyone we invite actually does want to come. I’m also not too sure what their policy is on open bar/us providing the alcohol is, but I have been in touch with them and am awaiting a reply on those answers and hopefully a chance to check out the site in person as well.
But the lodge reception area itself (based on pictures) looks great, and the outside ceremony looks really cute too. Again we will need to meet with Snow Valley to see if this is where we’d like to have either ceremony or reception or both. At this point it is in second place, after the Mayfield.
I’ve got a few emails in with independent caterers who have given me pretty decent quotes for catering if we were to hold the wedding reception at a hall (hall to be determined). Mike and I are also considering the Edmonton Police Association’s “Blue Meadows” hall/site. It apparently is only rentable through an EPS member (and Mike’s grandpa is a former cop and his cousin is a current cop so this would work). I just don’t know much about it/can’t find much information about it online (there’s only a teeny blurb about it on the police website) so that’s also tentative. But it looks like it would be so beautiful…
It may be too out-of-the-city for my parents though. Sigh. I didn’t realize this was going to be such a problem for my parents but it apparently is :(
I checked out some City of Edmonton park spaces where the ceremony could be held but a lot of places either don’t have enough capacity, can’t be closed to the public, or is too expensive if we did want it closed to the public. There’s a few other hotel wedding booklets I’ve downloaded as well but am not extremely attached or in love with any of them (and some of them are expensive, wow!) The Devonian Botanical Garden is also a beautiful, beautiful setting for a wedding ceremony – but forget about it as soon as you look at how much it costs. I was looking at Shalom Park as well, which is kind of like Eagle Rock-esque, so it’s probably a no-go. If we go Chinese restaurant for the reception then it will likely be at Cha for Tea Palace.
The above-listed venues aside, I really wouldn’t mind having just a lovely backyard wedding. I just really don’t know what backyard could house 200-250 people. :( Sad face. (If you know of a backyard that big that could be given to me for several hours on my wedding day, feel free to let me know!)
But anyway, these are some of the options and some of the thoughts that are rolling around in my mind that I wanted to jot down for this engagement adventure. Our budget is hopefully going to be around $20,000 because we’ve come to terms with the fact that food alone is likely going to be $10,000. There’s a lot of Do-it-Yourself stuff that I plan or hope to do (invitations, centre pieces, etc. That will be another blog post, lol), but wedding ceremony and reception venue-wise, I would like to choose somewhere that requires little labour on our end – so places like hotels are ideal for that. Also ideal for being in the city.
This will probably be one of the longest wedding blog posts I do because this is a big back and forth thinker. What are your thoughts? What do you think looks or sounds good? Have you been to any wedding ceremonies or receptions at any of the above mentioned places? And how much should I be taking my parent’s preferences into consideration? HM.
I think the next blog post will be far more light-hearted.
I’m thinking another wedding playlist post, lol.