We have begun the very fun task of finding a place to have our wedding. Lindsey wants an outdoor wedding. I think she has the whole thing pictured in her head, so when we go to places, if it does not fit her mental image, I can usually tell in the first two minutes.
The first place we looked at was the Greendance Winery, which is located near Mt. Pleasant (near Pittsburgh). This place was pretty amazing. Lindsey and I both liked it, mainly because it would be very unique and quite beautiful. Unfortunately, it will all depend on the catering company they use and how much they charge. Plus the major negative to the place is that there are no hotels in the area. The lady said there is a Bed & Breakfast nearby, but that will not work for the majority of our families.
This is where the actual ceremony would take place. The steps leading down are pretty scary. If we get married here, no one should wear heals.
These are how the dining tables would be set up. Instead of long banquet tables, the dinner would be more spread out.
The next place we visited was Diamond Lane Farm in Roaring Spring. I could tell right away that Lindsey was not crazy about the place. Do not get me wrong, we both thought it was very beautiful and would be great for a wedding, if you were more of a country girl.
The guy who runs the place was pretty cool. He explained how he got into the business and he even joked that at first he knew nothing about what was “cute.” Now he keeps adding to the place in order to make it more cute, like next year he wants to put in a waterfall.
I also love that he owned everything and the price you pay includes the majority of the stuff. There were no chair fees (the winery charges $3 per chair for the ceremony), or table renting, tent renting, etc. The price you pay for the venue, includes all of that. I have told Lindsey before that if we ever buy land and start a wedding venue (we have discussed this a few times) that this is how I would want to do it. One stop shopping. Make it easy on the people.
Also, the man was quite honest about how he thinks it is wrong that places raise the prices for weddings and basically price-gouge couples. So that would be the other advantage of this place, it would be cheaper than the others.
Inside the tent, the ground was gravel, which I think would be quite weird. If I were him, I would think about making a concrete floor, but what do I know. There was also a cool feature on his tent: gutters. He said that he learned over the years that when it rains, the water runs off the tent and as you walk between the tent and pavilion, you get a little wet. The gutters stop that.
The picnic tables are basically where the smokers can congregate (at the other place, smokers have to leave and go out to the parking lot). There was also a swing set for kids to play. The area also includes a fire pit and horseshoes so you can have some different activities going on during the reception. We both like that idea.
The third place we looked at was Blue Knob Resort. I was golfing there with Imler a few weeks ago and decided to ask about weddings there. They gave me a card of the wedding specialist, which I gave to Lindsey. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures because I am an idiot. I apologize. You will just have to try and stare at the picture I took from their website.
We both liked the resort. There were many advantages to the place: it was not super expensive, it was a one-stop packaging and catering, plenty of hotel space (the rooms for guests are like $80 per night and can sleep six people). Lindsey and I also get our own place after the wedding (I think the girl told us she could probably give us each a place the night before too, but I was not sure). You can also rent some of the bigger houses if you want a large family (or huge group of people to stay together).
Another thing I really liked about the resort was that if it rains, they will move everything into the banquet. Plus, since the weather is about ten degrees cooler up on the mountain, we could possibly have the wedding in the middle of summer and it would not be too hot.
The major negative of Blue Knob might be their liquor prices. Although, the money we save on the food and actual venue may make up the difference. I guess the other negative is that if anyone is drinking, there is almost no way they could not stay there (whoa, weird double negative, but I think it works, it drives home the emphasis, right?). Have you ever been up to Blue Knob? Try driving that road after a few beers! Okay, that is not a challenge, I do not condone drinking and driving.
Personally, I feel like Blue Knob might be our best bet. Granted, we still have a bunch of places to look at. I have a feeling that Lindsey will be crossing farms off her list and sticking with more wineries.
If anyone has any ideas for outdoor venues that we should check out, please let me know. Also, can someone please explain why the wedding industry considers Harrisburg/Lancaster to be central Pennsylvania? Do I need to have another rant about this? Maybe some other time…