Anyway, we had a great day. Without telling you guys exactly where it is (I don't want to jinx it - if you really want to play Carmen San Diego I'm sure you can figure out where the place is), I'll tell you about the place.
So, the venue is about 3-4 hours north of Los Angeles. It's a drive, but it's actually a really cool drive. We passed the hills that the Santa Barbara fires destroyed. It was pretty devastating.
We finally got to the small beach town and were happy to see that it has so much charm. It feels like what I'd imagine Hermosa Beach or Manhattan Beach used to be like back in the day. Don't get me wrong, it's not dated and old, it's just a little more laid back and less "scene-y".
The venue is directly on the main and only street that runs through the town and pretty much directly across the street from the pier/beach. The gardens at the venue were gorgeous, and would probably allow us to save a lot of money because we wouldn't need flowers. However, my first concern is if we get married where the venue usually has the ceremony (in the front yard) the main street of the town will be right behind us. Before we call that a deal breaker - remember that the town is super small and "traffic" may be 4 cars passing by per hour.
(that is a picture of the venue...it's from a low angle so you can't see the street - I think with proper photography composition, you could frame the street out of the pictures and it wouldn't be an issue)
The people at the venue are completely laid back. Every answer for every question we have is the same: "We can really do whatever you guys want!". Seriously, they have a 5 star restaurant at the venue, and when we asked for their wedding menu they said "Oh, we just have our chef make a menu based on everything you like or request." It's great, but we're totally new at this and it would be great if they presented us with options! The woman that gave us the tour said that a recent reception asked for goat, so the venue went to a local goat farm in the morning got a goat, and that night they had a delicious goat dish. I happen to love that. While we most likely won't have goat at our reception, I love restaurants that have fresh, local, inspired cuisine.
So, the venue only has a license for beer/wine/champagne. We can't have liquor at the reception. Not a huge issue, but it's something to think about. Anyone ever had a wedding at a venue that couldn't have liquor? Are there any rules about bringing your own? Anyone gotten around that? Maybe our wedding gift could be flasks w/ certain alcohols in them! Kidding. Maybe.
Our major concern with the venue is getting to/from it. The town is small and the closest airport isn't exactly a hub like LAX or O'Hare. It does, however, have several flights that get to/from it. Flights aren't that expensive, just not the most convenient time wise. Leaving the area is much more difficult than getting to it . There are basically 3 flights that every one of our out of town guests will have to get on. It'll just be important to get on one of them, or you're stuck leaving at 6:30am the morning after the reception. I know if we book this venue, they will come... I just don't want to be labeled a jerk (too late, right?) because I have the most difficult wedding to get to.
All of that being said, anyone that comes to this wedding would have a blast of a weekend. There's the beach, there's wine tastings/vineyard tours, there's the Hearst Castle. The majority of our East coast family and friends will most likely be going through nasty fall weather and would love lounging out at the beach. There are FIRE PITS on the beach for bbqs! There are great little bars/restaurants. We ate lunch outside and could DRINK BEERS outside even though the restaurant didn't have us sit inside an enclosed patio. A freedom not experienced since I lived in Vegas! (it's the little things that make us happy, right?)
Also a major notch in the pro column of this place is that there are plenty of options for where our guests would stay. The most exciting option, to me, is Vacation-Rental-By-Owner beach houses. We looked online, our friends (who love vrbos) could rent a beach house that sleeps 8 for $250/night. It'd be a great affordable option for everyone.
Anyway - it was just a great day, if nothing else. We walked Ernie for the first time! He loved the beach. Ran right up and took a big gulp out of the Pacific. Rolled in the wet sand, then ran down the pier... he just LOVED it.
Well, leave a comment, and help me with this decision!! Wage in! What do you think?!