On My Way Down the Aisle: Location, Location, Location

Now that Matt and I had a rough idea of the style of our wedding, the next big step for us was to find a location where we would say “I do!” The location of your wedding dictates the theme, date/time and overall atmosphere of your big day. I have always dreamed of getting married outdoors and near water. Originally, my dad came up with the idea of renting out an estate somewhere in Maryland. We would host the rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony, and reception in the same place; easy and affordable! However, it was very difficult finding a place that allowed events over 15-25 people. I wanted to keep our wedding small, but not tiny! Also, my dad is an incredible chef and I always envisioned him cooking for my wedding; no one could do it better!

We had a couple places on our list, but only one of them fit the criteria (within budget, allowed events over 50 people, and didn’t restrict us on what vendors we used) that we were looking for! It was this beautiful outdoor lighthouse museum that they had converted into this event space. The lighthouse was by the water and from the pictures, it looked perfect! So Matt and I decided to take both of our parents to look at the property. I was so excited and so sure that Matt and I were going to get married at this gorgeous setting. As we pull up to the property, my mom says “Oh Jessica! Heck no! What is that? Is that a barbed-wired fence?” I tried to stay positive and told her maybe it was worth looking past the barded-wired fenced gate!? The property manager met us at the gate and let us in. She took us for a tour and there was barded-wired surrounding the entire property. Not happening!

My heart was crushed and I felt so defeated. My dad told me to stay positive and start looking up places that we could look at on our drive home. I found this one venue that seemed a little out of our budget and they also had their own catering company. My dad insisted that we go take a look because of how beautiful the setting was. I called the Event Office and let them know that we were coming. Once we pull up, my mom (who is sitting in the passenger’s seat) turns her head back at me with these round eyes and big smile. It was STUNNING! There was water, sailboats, green grass, flowers, sand, and one happy couple. Even though I was so excited, I couldn’t get my hopes up because we had a budget to stick to!

We walk into the reception space where the Event office was located and I am literally designing the reception space in my head as we walk around. Dark hardwood floors, light that filtered into these large windows that framed this beautiful picture of the water and sailboats outside, light white pieces of fabric…Picture perfect! We walk up the stairs to the second level of the reception and balcony area and meet the event coordinator, Michael.

Matt, our family, Michael, and I sat down and discussed our vision and budget. There was one downside. Michael said that we would have to use their catering company but assured us that they would do an excellent job. He had his chef serve us food and dessert, which was a nice treat. Matt and I weren’t set on having a traditional plated dinner at our wedding. My dad suggested that instead of doing a platted dinner, we do h’ordeuvres and carving station.  This cut down the price tremendously and would add to the laid back vibe we were looking for. In order for my dad to enjoy the wedding, we compromised on my dad cooking for our rehearsal dinner! Everybody wins. What also cut down the expenses was having our wedding on a Sunday. Since most weddings are held on a Saturday, venues have Sunday’s open on their calendars! Matt and his entire family are teachers in the county school system. So in order to party all night and not have to wake up early for work next Monday, we chose a Sunday that fell right before a holiday that schools normally had off! Problem solved!

After a lot of discussion, budgeting, and compromising, Matt and I decided to get married in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland at Herrington on the Bay! We couldn’t be more excited…Check out the pictures below!

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