The Venue Wishlist

Wow. Picking a venue is no small task.

Where I come from, which is the lovely and remote area of the world called Michigan’s “Up North,” wedding receptions come in three flavors: Holiday Inn weddings, community center weddings or Knights of Columbus Hall weddings. The questions to consider when choosing one over the other include:

  • Do we want our reception in the same place I had breakfast with Santa?
  • Do I want a basketball hoop at my reception?

It is for these reasons, among a few others, that we’ve decided to hold our wedding in the land known to my people as “Down State,” or “the City.” The exact definition for both of these terms is “anywhere south of Bay City.”

That leaves a lot of venues to comb through. We’ve done some browsing, and the conclusion we’ve come to thus far is that there are a lot of stinking venues Down State. We live in Howell, Mike’s family is from Metro Detroit, we love Ann Arbor, and I spend a lot of time in Lansing. So that narrows is down to…well, let’s be honest. That doesn’t narrow it down at all.

I do know one thing. While The Knot, which everyone who’s ever so much as attended a wedding knows as the guru of all wedding planning sites, is good for many things; but maybe not picking a venue. The Knot is located in Redding, California. Or at least their fax number can be traced there. Though big, well-known wedding venues can put themselves on The Knot, we’re interested in finding more. We want to know about less obvious, possibly surprising, delightfully perfect-for-us venues that might not be nationally recognized.

Michigan Bride Magazine had tons of great info! And then I had to go get my hair trimmed.

A recent visit to my hair salon’s waiting room has informed me that Metro Detroit Bride magazine is what I need to seek out for better, truly local wedding venue info. It had pages and pages of venues. And food and flowers and more. Unfortunately, I could only stay in the waiting room so long, and eventually had to leave the magazine behind. But I will find one. And we will will read it.* And then, we will be getting somewhere.

Any other suggestions for local wedding venue resources?

Until we have the proper research tools, we’re beginning by making our venue wish list. Here’s what we have so far:

  • We’d like it to be a historic building. Mike in particular has a thing for exposed brick interiors. I have a thing for whatever Mike likes.
  • We prefer an urban setting. I love downtowns; Mike is a city guy. No offense to trees and grass and lakes, but we love the hustle and vibrance of a city setting.
  • Live music must work there.
  • It’s going to need to hold about 300 guests. I know. It’s ridiculous, but it’s true.
  • We’d like the ceremony to be close to the reception, which will be close to the hotel. No silly commutes between locations.
  • If the reception hall does its own catering and bar, we need them to be accommodating to our Michigan-made enthusiasm.
  • It has to be “it.” We may not have the right words to describe it yet, but we’re looking for the right blend of elegance and originality, of funkiness and class. We need all the help we can get with suggestions, but only we will know it when we see it.

So…venue suggestions? Venue research tools, books, magazines?

We are guessing that The Fillmore in Detroit might be outside of our budget. But it sure fits everything on our wish list! (Commence with grinning and drooling over photo.)

* This sentence is asterisked in accordance with Mike’s proofreading edits, during which he highlighted the “we” of the sentence in red. Apparently “I” will be reading Metro Detroit Bride magazine. 
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6 Responses to The Venue Wishlist

  1. Rebecca says:

    Actually, I do like the idea of a combination pancake breakfast-reception…. 🙂

  2. Alisa says:

    Haha.. love this one.

  3. Erica Brehmer says:

    What about the Royal Oak Music Theatre? It’s funky and classy and urban. I just saw their website, and I thought of you guys. 🙂 Here is the pdf website thingy… http://www.royaloakmusictheatre.com/rentals/docs/Wedding.pdf

  4. Tina says:

    Have you considered the Grand Ledge Opera House? No brick interiors, but very historic, with a beautiful garden/river view outside. It’s… at least in a historic downtown? OK, not very urban. But beautiful anyway. They don’t do their own catering/alcohol, so you can bring in whatever you like (as long as the vendors agree to be careful with the wood floors!). Ditto live music.

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