This post is a continuation of the wedding planning mini series I've been rolling out over the last few posts. While I'm by no means a wedding planner, over the last couple of years planning my own wedding and working with Krista to open Make Merry, I have certainly learned a few things about the process.
Choosing a venue
I searched long and hard to find a wedding venue— ok, not that hard, in these sense that I only physically visited one place— but I did spend a lot of time trolling the internet pouring over venue websites, looking at their pictures, size specifications, catering and alcohol options, and proximity to accomodatons,
At the end of it all Shane and I chose Lowden House Farm, a beautiful, historic farm in Habitant, Nova Scotia. At Lowden the farmhouse, property, and historic barn were all part of a weeklong rental. The rustic character of the house make a great backdrop for getting ready pictures. The barn is attractive and bright, and the property has a great back deck and garden.
When you find a beautiful venue that suits your style, you don’t have to work as hard to decorate. Now, this may sound like a contrary statement coming from a decorating-type, but it is true! It takes a lot more time, expense, and headache to transform a space than it does to play up its natural features, so it's worth it to find and invest in a place that you already love.
When it comes to venues, you should you choose a space and landscape that suits your decor plans, will foster the sort of atmosphere you want to create, and is approriate for the style of your ceremony and reception.
If you are having a difficult time determining how you want things to look and feel, I would recommend reflecting on who you are both as individuals and as a couple, and to think about what sort of environment would suit your friends and family. Is there a partiuclar town or region in Nova Scotia that is dear to your heart? Check out what venues there are in the area. Are you city people, woods people, or ocean people? Explore what hotels, lodges, and marinas have to offer. Are your friends and family the sort of people who prefer dinner in a fine restaraunt, or a picnic in the park? These are the sorts of questions you need to ask yourself when choosing a venue.
For Shane and I, Lowden was the perfect venue, as we are both drawn to nature, and to things and places with history. We wanted to be married in the Annapolis Valley, as Jillian has a family cottage and family in the area, and so the valley held many geat summer memories for us both .We wanted to be married outdoors instead of in a church or more formal setting, as nature is central to our lives indvidually and as a couple, and we wanted no other setting to distract from the beauty of the simple gathering of our loved ones gathered around us.
Our friends can be a fairly rowdy bunch, and we had some babies and school-age children in the group, so we wanted to find a place where childrens and adults could both run free. Shane and I are fairly informal people; I rarely wear heels, and Shane rarely dons a suit for long, so it was fitting that I walked down the aisle (between two garden beds) wearing flat, casual sandals, and that after the ceremony Shane ripped his pants playing soccer with his nephews.This sort of thing isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it was perfect for us!
When considering venues, Shane and I knew we wanted our wedding day to include time and space for family and friends to interact, as well as to have a sit-down dinner with speeches and all the rest, and so we needed to find a place that allowed for both. We also knew that for food we wanted to do a mix of DIY and catering, and that for booze we wanted to do it all, and so a spot with requisite onsite catering and wine service was not an option. With these specifications, an ourdoor wedding with a barn for the reception (and as our rain plan) made sense for us.
If a casual, outdoor wedding and barn reception like what I have you described here appeals to you, then besides Lowden (which may no longer be renting) I would recommend you check out the Hubbards Barn (Hubbards), Shobac (near Lunenburg) The Heritage Barn at The Old Orchard Inn (near Wolfville), Paradise Farms (near Windsor), Orchard View Weddings (near Berwick), Crystal Cliffs (Antigonish), Healy Farm (Kentville), or The Music Barn (Sackville, New Brunswick).