Dan and I spent our day off today doing our very first venue visit! Rutgers Gardens has been the only one on my list to visit so far for reasons that are threefold (I just like the word constructions of '# + -fold,' even if I may not be using it correctly):
- They had the rental prices posted on their website a few months ago and it was under $2000 to have a ceremony and reception area for 10 hours
- Beautiful gardens backdrops for photos (see here, here, here, here, here and here--these are all the photos I could find in the first few pages of results for a Google search on 'rutgers gardens wedding')
- They'd have the combo of experience and casualness that would fit. Pretentious this place is most certainly not.
Dan is concerned about logistics like parking and chairs and all that, so I'll call up their office this week and scope out what their responses are. Internet research thus far suggests that it's pretty no-frills, advised to get there early in the day for cleaning and setup, though it also looks like they've inserted a required caterer now (testimonials here), so maybe they've got a tighter grip on running things. It's one of the questions to ask.
It's probably a good idea to do a little bit more research (leads to be collected from here and here), so we'll visit a few more next weekend once I do some initial contacting this week. Dan wants to get some quotes on more conventional hotel venues. I'm leaving him to do the work on those since my preliminary research was that the cheap end of those sorts of places ran $85-$130/person, which means $10,000 easily hit with our guest list coming to around 90 people.
I'm leaning towards late May/early June for a date right now, though Dan is concerned about bees (allergic). The problem is that times of the year when you are guaranteed not to have bees about is also when everything is dormant or dead so...that's a difficulty.
We expect that most of our fights in this wedding planning process will revolve around some problem where Dan's lower threshold of hassle acceptance has been exceeded because I want something more interesting (sign #286 that we've been together a long time: we can predict where our conflicts will be and we know ourselves well enough that we know we can't really change to avoid it anyway).
The more cheerful part of our discussions today was that perhaps our theme should just be 'pie,' as I am attracted to the idea of make-your-own pizzas for food. We'd be able to accommodate both those who prefer more traditional pizza styles but also go more gourmet if you'd like. There could be a buffet of other sides and appetizers set up to tide you over while you wait for your pizza order. Anyway, with a pie theme, we could also have chicken pot pie (one of Dan's top 5 favorite foods of all time), shepherd's pie (eh), quiches (Dan's mom make good a mean quiche), and of course, wedding pies.