Wedding Wednesday; finding the right wedding location 

WeddingWednesdays

Finding a wedding location you love is a stressful task, especially if you have to vet locations and sites by yourself. This is what happened for our wedding. In December last year I flew to Spain with my mother to meet with wedding planners and also find the perfect location to get married. For me a location determines the mood of the wedding {is it Beachy, Outdoors, Hotel style,…}, but as we wanted to have a destination wedding travel time was also very important. Besides that it would have to be an amazing place, that would also fit within our budget. And at the end of the wedding weekend, we wanted people to think that our guests would say “This is so them!”.

The wedding location would need to fit in with all the other activities we wanted to organise, and obviously the overall vibe we wanted to create. For us it was important to find a location that was intimate, outdoors for the biggest part of the day, and we did not want to be at the beach or in a hotel. Owh and it should have availability in June or September – to avoid holiday season, meaning high prices for hotels and air tickets for our family and friends. This was the list of things I took with me, hoping to find the best location I could find. I was scarred and hoping to be coming back with some great options to discuss with Ruben… Luckily we had been in contact with a few wedding planners and they had a couple of location shortlisted already. I arrived prepared with our list and my photo camera, so that I could go back home and show Ruben all the different locations and make a final decision. This is what I looked at when scouting each location.

Space

For our wedding we wanted to have everything on one location – the ceremony, reception, dinner and party. Reason being that we had a destination wedding and most of the people would not be familiar with the area. We did not want them to drive around and waste time, so each location we went to had to have enough different areas to host the entire day. We were aiming to have a maximum of 80 people on the wedding. With this in the back of my mind I went to walk around each site. From my work experience I know that a space looks huge when it’s empty, but once the tables, chairs, band, DJ, bar and all the other things that are important for a wedding are set up, the space can become cramped. At each location I asked myself the following questions: 1. What is the maximum number of people that can comfortably fit this location? 2. Are there enough different areas at the location, to accommodate a ceremony, reception, dinner and party. 3. What restrictions are there on the use of the space? After answering the above questions, a couple of locations were already taken from our list, as they were too small, or just way too big to make it intimate, or there were not enough options for each part of the wedding to take place at that location.

Privacy

Another important part of our wedding location would be that we wanted to create an intimate affair. For this it’s important that the size is not too big, but also that the location would be closed off for our wedding and we would not have any people snooping around once we say ‘I do’. We wanted a location that could offer us a private event; and so another couple of locations where taken from our list of options…

Setting

The setting can make or break the mood and space of a location. Our wishes were set to have everything up to and including the dinner outside. We were in a lovely warm country and wanted to make use of this for our wedding. You never know what will happen in Holland during summer time – even in the peak of summer you’ll experience rainy days, but not in Spain where the weather in summer time is always good. The heat could pose a problem, as sitting in the blazing hot sun would not be comfortable. Our wedding planner assured us that if we would move our wedding to start around 4:30pm the heat would slowly start taking down and would not pose too big of a problem. However during the ceremony there should be some shade, or it would need to be created with umbrellas. And then off course our wish of having an intimate wedding was popping around the corner again. How would we be able to make the wedding to be intimate? One of the locations proved to answer many of our questions, with a lovely small garden surrounded by big trees that would offer shade. Enough space for a dinner up to 80 people, and it could be decorated with loads of small lovely lights for the dinner under the moonlight. Another location had an amazing garden that could be used for our ceremony, with a beautiful old tree that would cover all of our guests with shade. It started becoming more difficult to make a decision as some locations competed with each other but were so different in many ways…

Party time

Our perfect evening would end with a band playing the night away, switched with a DJ that could play some different tunes during their breaks. For this we wanted a location that could host us until the late hours… It was also important that the party area would have good acoustics, as if the place would be too echoey it could be bad for the band, but also make it difficult for people to talk with each other. Another important point on our checklist that needed to be checked off, and immediately some of the locations where taken off the list as they did not have a license to play music after 12midnight. One of the locations seemed to have it all until we went inside and looked at the party area – it was a kind of a dungeon tucked away from the entire evening, and it became clear that this would not be an option for our wedding.

Hotel

With a destination wedding, all of the guests would need to find a place to sleep. We already chose a city with many options for hotels, but it would be even better if the location would have some rooms to stay overnight. Especially as both my brothers have little ones, so it would not be a hassle to bring them back and forth to hotel. For this reason it would be preferred to find a location with rooms, or at least that it would be in the vicinity of some hotels.

Surroundings

As said we made a couple of notes for the wedding, no hotel, not at the beach, and loads of outside area. Based on the first couple of notes we were able to cut down a lot of locations immediately. The next would be the surrounding areas. Obviously we wanted it all; a large lovely garden filled with trees and lovely greenery, a beautiful view and easy to reach. Two locations stood out for me – the first one was a lovely old inn. This location had the beautiful garden, an amazing view over the mountains with in the back the sea, and several areas around the property that could host our events for that day, and there were 20 rooms to stay for guests. However it was located next to a highway and every now and then a train would be passing by… Can you imagine that you want to say ‘I do’ and a train comes rattling and choochoo’ing past your ceremony? Another location was set at a lovely winery, with loads of space around the property, a lovely garden where we could have the dinner and we would be surrounded by barrels filled with delicious wines. The location however was a bit remote, and they did not offer any facilities for staying overnight…

Decision time

When I came back home, the first thing I did was to make a list with pro’s and con’s of each location. Then I started to make files for each location and put the photos inside, so that when I would go through each location with Ruben, it would be easy to find them. Ruben obviously had his own opinions of each location, but he had not seen any of them, so the final decision would be based on my visit. So once we cut the list down to two locations, I asked myself how I felt at each location when I first walked in. This feeling would hopefully be similar for Ruben and for our guests, so I better had to have a real good feeling about the location I would chose. So in the end I made a decision based on my gut feeling. I could not explain to Ruben why I was leaning to that location, except for the fact that it felt better. Luckily Ruben agreed to go to this location and so we made our decision – we would get married at Bodegas Mendoza in Alfaz del Pi. WeddingLocation_BodegasMendoza

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