So, yesterday's venue: Beautiful. Just...beautiful. I call this one "The View," and even though it was too foggy during our visit to actually see the view, the grounds were beautiful. It cost...well, about as much as any other similar place around here, but the estimated cost includes food, drinks, all of the tables and chairs we'd need plus setup and tear-down, AND--this is the kicker--a wedding coordinator. She gave us a tour yesterday, and as soon as she started describing how she meets with the couple throughout the year to do a floor plan, settle on the menu, make sure all of the details are covered, etc. I was pretty much sold. And there were lots of great-sounding details, too, like she strongly recommends holding the rehearsal dinner at least two nights before the wedding so everyone has a day in between to relax, and there's a whole choreographed procession from the dressing room to the entryway where the mom sees the bride for the first time, out to the lawn where her dad (or, in my case, probably the fiance) sees her for the first time, and the whole thing sounds very emotional and of course is all captured on film. I'm sure she uses this detail to get the bride all misty and imagining her own wedding day in that very location, and it totally worked.
Anyway, The Boy and I are big fans of the all-in-one package, especially since there's a person whose entire job it is to keep track of our planning and help us make decisions. We can handle all of this stuff on our own--I have wedding magazines and offers of help coming out my ears, and I'm so grateful for that--but man does a coordinator sound awesome. And now that I'm getting more comfortable with the magnitude of wedding costs, I'm even willing to go along with his philosophy that it's okay to pay a bit more for peace of mind. Regardless of whether this place works out, though, I think yesterday's visit gave us a really good idea of what we want in a wedding venue. If we don't get this place, we'll at least have something to aim for in subsequent visits. Fingers crossed for a decision soon!