Kevin and I are currently driving through the middle of nowhere Missouri/Iowa on our way back to Des Moines. We traveled to St. Louis this weekend to look at wedding venues…we’d say it went “okay.”
We made three appointments and I’d say I had high hopes that two of the three would be great venues. But now that we’re driving back, we could find things wrong with each venue. They just didn’t seem to be “the one.” I don’t even know if there’s supposed to be “the one” when it comes to a venue…I just assumed there would be.
The first place we looked at was near downtown St. Louis, a few blocks away from SLU’s campus in St. Louis’ “midtown” district (I didn’t even know STL had a ‘midtown’ until now). It was easy to get to off the highway and there were quite a few hotels nearby (important for our many out-of-town guests).
The inside was absolutely beautiful.
This loft venue was by far my favorite. The brick walls, old cement floors and 360 (including the bathrooms!) views of downtown St. Louis were spectacular. I can only imagine what it looks like at night, all set up with tables, chairs and the dimmed lights/uplighting that is included.
While I love the look and feel (when I walked in, I kept saying, “wow!”), the bar expense (which must be contracted through them) is rather expensive and a lot more than we were wanting to pay (and having an open bar is important to Kevin and I). The good thing is that we have a large variety of caterers to choose from and we’re confident we’d find one we like.
After checking out the first option, we headed over to Broadway Oyster Bar near Busch Stadium! Ahhhh this made me happy to be home. 🙂
Kevin and I had never been to Broadway Oyster Bar, but my parents and grandparents (who went with us) had. We were excited to try it!
Everyone ordered something different (except for my mom and I) off their seafood-with-a-cajun-flair menu. Mom and I got the fish tacos that came with red beans and rice. The rice was spicy but so good and the tacos were fantastic, but huge! I could only eat one. It didn’t help that I stole bites of Kevin’s “BBQ shrimp,” which is actually not traditional BBQ shrimp. The shrimp were cooked in a cajun “bbq” broth that is thickened and almost soup-like. I think I’d get that next time if we went back.
I also had a Purple Haze brew from the Abita Brewing Co. in Louisiana. Very fitting!
After stuffing ourselves (what else is new?), we went to the next venue. The second venue option was in Spanish Lake, MO (I know, I know, not the very best of neighborhoods) but it was right by the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. I thought I was going to absolutely love it, but when we started adding up all the costs (tent, chairs, tables, dance floor, lights, bathrooms (yes, bathrooms!), side tent for catering (because there’s no kitchen), etc., etc.) it just didn’t seem like it would work.
The location is absolutely beautiful (though it would be difficult for our guests to get to – it’s a ways away from the highway), but it just wouldn’t work logistically, though I always imagined getting married or having our reception near water….
The estate also had a farm side (separate venues) which is where they kept the barn, which was awesome and very Pinteresty.
But this was the upstairs and the only way up was through a small set of old, not-reliable stairs. Many of our older guests would not be able to get up there and would be stuck downstairs (and the downstairs is where the kept the horses, which means my friend Kristina would basically die from allergies.;) (I had to throw that in there, T.) 😉
Also, this was a legit working farm. Kevin and I are definitely outdoorsy people, but I’m not so sure we’d consider ourselves country by any means. We would be dodging chickens, horses, baby goats (which were adorable), cats and pigs all night. Although Kev did make friends with ‘Babe’ the pig while we were there!
In the end, it was beautiful and wonderful, but we just don’t think it would work out for us.
The last venue we saw was in St. Charles on Main Street, which would be a fantastic location for out-of-town guests (and wedding pictures because it’s right by the river!).
The venue was nice, but I just didn’t think it was anything special. It was a long and narrow room, which I think is a little awkward. There was a stage, but since the room is long and narrow, I’d feel bad for the people in the very back. What would we put on the stage? The wedding party? The DJ? Would it look stupid to leave the stage empty? All those questions ran in my head while we were there and I just couldn’t picture it very well.
Oh, but after we were done viewing, we THEN decided to ask if they have any Saturdays available in Sept. or Oct. Assuming they’d have a couple, we were shocked to find out they were ALL BOOKED UP. I swear, some people must like long engagements, or they’re crazy and book the day after they get engaged. (I’m a little bitter about this one, sorry guys.) But they’ll call us “should anything open up.” Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Overall, we felt like it wasn’t a success. I’m not sure if we both assumed we’d be signing contracts and writing down payments, but we are driving back feeling a little lost and confused.
We’re also a little frustrated because we do not believe our wedding budget is small (it’s definitely under the ‘national average,’ but I still think it’s a lot of money…though anything is a lot of money to this recent college grad) yet we’re still running into the problem of things being out of our budget (for instance, the alcohol alone in the first venue!). I mean, I could use this wedding money and towards a new car or towards a down payment on a house…it makes me sick how much the wedding industry makes! And it’s hard for brides and grooms to find something reasonable because these venues, caterers, photographers, etc. know they can get away with ridiculous prices. Hmph…need to just get over that one, I guess, huh?
At this point, we’re going to do some more research and see if we can find any other options and then send my parents on a mad hunt to tour them before they’re all booked!
Even though we didn’t lock down a venue or a date, this weekend wasn’t a total loss! After all, I got to spend a whole 24 hours with my awesome parents!
🙂 Totally worth it.
Now this week will be spent preparing for Katie and Jake’s big day in Boston! I can’t believe they’re getting married a week from today! I’m so excited for both of them and incredibly honored to be a part of it all. Kevin and I leave on Thursday to spend Friday in Boston with friends before the festivities begin Saturday!
I can’t wait for Katie to see some of the things I made! I made ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ signs for the back of their chairs at the reception and I think they’re going to turn out great once they’re all done. On Friday night, my dear friend Jess came over and helped me with the big craft of making a ‘just married’ sign for their getaway car. I honestly could not have done it without Jess’ help (thank you again!) and I can’t wait to show a step-by-step tutorial (we took pictures, naturally), but I want it to be a surprise for Katie and Jake so I’ll only be able to share a sneak peek picture for now!
That’s all for now! I better get back to paying attention to the roads…we’re driving through some storms (and you know Kevin’s excited). 🙂
*Update: we made it home safely just in case you were wondering!*