Confession: there were no visits on my part to any reception venues until we put down the deposit.

One of the challenges in planning a wedding long-distance is the fact that I cannot visit every single vendor when we need to make the decision about choosing them or not.  When it came to where we were going to have the reception, I had to charge my parents with doing the visiting for me–I had to sit down with the wedding issue of Main Line Today on Christmas and look at the the nice chart they provide that breaks down criteria such as price/head, basic amenities provided, the style of the location (traditional, modern, rustic, etc.) as well as the location itself.

When it came to picking a venue, I did have some criteria:

  • Since Center City was out as an option (too far from the church), the reception had to be somewhere with local tourist attractions and a few options for people to stay in if they wished to
  • Had to have good word-of-mouth
  • Had to be reasonably priced
  • Couldn’t be cheesy or too theme-y–no lame country motif

With this in mind, I drew up a shortlist of places for my parents to visit in my stead come January:

  • The Inn at Mendenhall:  one of the highest-recommended locations in the area, and known for years as one of the best places to have a reception.  Located in the heart of Southern Chester County, it has easy access to local attractions and provides a nice guest experience
  • The Concordville Inn:  Sister property to the Mendenhall, and located on US-202, it was a little more conference-oriented, and less scenic
  • The People’s Light and Theater Company:  The site for many a field trip growing up, it boasted the closest distance to the church but I knew little of its reputation for food and service.

So off they went, going first to the Concordville and then to the Mendenhall.  The day of their expedition found the FI and I at BJ’s buying our bulk groceries (we go through an impressive amount of olive oil in our house!) and my mom called me, clearly excited and gushing when it came to talk about the Mendenhall.  Yes, it was one of the more expensive options, but listening to the litnay of amenities that were included such as the honeymoon suite and the cake, I was definetely swayed to agree with her.  The deal-maker?  The famously persnickety neighbor down the street had her only daughter’s wedding there, and she was completely satisfied with the whole experience.

The only caveat?  We had to make a decision that day because the larger of the two ballrooms on the property had already been reserved for the date–keep in mind that this was JANUARY OF 2007.  Any reservations about starting out so early quickly washed away, and after conferencing with the FI, about a half hour later a call went into the sales office and the smaller Gold Ballroom was ours.

So far I’m not regretting making such an impulsive decision, but has anyone else out there rued the day they did?

Coming up:  photographs of the site, plus a rundown on the tasting we had this past October…

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1 Comment »

  1. […] buy my dress, I then had to go and pick it out.  The same weekend I made my initial visit to the reception site, I also started browsing on J.Crew’s website and paging through one of the five catalogs that […]

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