No surprise to those who know me, I’ve kept a mental log of potential wedding venues for years, so when it came time to start looking, I had a decent idea of where to start. Shortly after we got engaged, I began contacting those venues, scouring their websites for any information on pricing, and creating a spreadsheet of realistic options.
We were quickly able to narrow down our search to Charlottesville and the surrounding areas. Charlottesville has always seemed like a natural choice for me, and luckily Adam has come to love the city as much as I do (okay, maybe not AS much as I do, but enough). It doesn’t hurt that Charlottesville has become such a popular wedding destination that venues and vendors there are now super easy to come by.
WHAT WE WANTED
As we looked at the options, it became clear that what we wanted was a venue that could not only hold the ceremony and reception, but also house all 16 members of our family on the property. With such a small wedding, the idea of having to arrange multiple venues seemed silly. We also didn’t want to deal with finding a caterer, so a venue with the ability to do a multi-course, delicious dinner was essential.
WHERE WE LOOKED
After lots of research, we decided to look at two venues. The first was Clifton Inn, a historic inn close to Charlottesville. We absolutely loved it – it could fit all our guests on the property, has a beautifully furnished living room perfect for cocktails and after dinner drinks, a wine cellar for an intimate, cozy dinner, and gorgeous grounds for a ceremony and pictures. We were ready to book until we went back for dinner that evening. The food was lukewarm and underwhelming, and after we went through the Yelp reviews it seems that we’re not the only ones feeling this way. Given that our wedding is a dinner party, no band or dancing, the food needs to be on point. Plus, a pile of mouse droppings next to our table at dinner wasn’t exactly appetizing (it’s an old farmhouse, it happens, but…still). We just couldn’t commit to chancing it.
The second venue we looked at was the Farmhouse at Veritas. Veritas Winery is a dream destination for me, but I assumed they could only accommodate larger weddings. Then, a friend who is getting married there this month, reached out to me asking if I’d looked at the Farmhouse. I had never even heard of it! I reached out immediately, and Adam and I visited two days later. We absolutely fell in love with the property – it’s perfect for housing 16 people, a ceremony at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and a glowy dinner inside a glass enclosure behind the Farmhouse. While we haven’t tried the food, I’m trusting all of the stellar reviews I’ve read online, and we’re thrilled that we’ll get to visit before the wedding to sit with the chef as he cooks and develops a menu perfectly suited for us. Here’s a wedding from Style Me Pretty at the Farmhouse to give you a peek at the space.
WEDDING PLANNING FRUSTRATIONS
To be completely frank, I found the process of getting quotes from wedding venues to be an absolute bear. I know that we got engaged right before the height of fall wedding season and I know it’s a small wedding, but there were many venues I never heard back from, and many others that took days and weeks to respond. In some case, even if they did respond, they were incredibly rude. One vineyard outside Charlottesville, which I was so excited to contact, said to me, as soon as I told them I had in mind a small Sunday evening dinner party wedding, “If you don’t meet the $15k food and beverage minimum, then it’s just a dinner party and you will not be allowed to wear a wedding dress or have a photographer on our property.” Seriously. Exact words. Couldn’t she have just said, “We have a $15K food and beverage minimum for weddings” and left it at that?
Now that we have our venue and our photographer booked, and we’re still 13 months out, I’m feeling pretty on top of things. Of course, there are still many things to do, and I will certainly be covering all of those on the blog.
Two questions for the readers: Are there any topics that you all specifically want to see covered as I go through the wedding process? And, if any of you were married in Charlottesville, do you have recommendations for florists, hair stylists, makeup artists, and anything else I might need?