Our first visit was to the Grand Atrium in Tysons Corner. Since they have their pricing online, I don't mind telling you that this place was downright cheap compared to a lot of the other venues I'd gotten pricing from - especially wineries. Still, we could tell from the photos online that the hall colors probably weren't going to be to our liking or fit in with our wedding colors. This was confirmed almost immediately, as the entire place is decorated in hunter green and burghandy. Not bad colors in and of themselves, but at this venue they were very overbearing and made the whole hall look dated.
|A view of the bar and cocktail lounge, from website|
Next up was Hidden Creek County Club in Reston, only a few minutes away from our house. The nice part about this venue is that it is very close to the Reston Town Center, which has a ton of hotel and dining options. It would have been so convenient to have our friends and family stay in a hotel just a few blocks away and be able to shuttle to the wedding/reception site. Not to mention, going out for drinks or dancing after the reception would be a cinch. Price-wise, they have several wedding packages and they were very flexible about working with us to make sure we stayed in budget. The coordinator we had was super friendly and a delight to talk to. No problems there.
|Carting around to take pictures!|
Then we'd move into an inside reception area connected to the patio for dinner and and dancing. It was all very nice, but... In the end the place just didn't have the right "feel". The reception room felt a little too crowded, the dance floor was oddly positioned, and again, there were hunter green accents everywhere (what's with these places and hunter green??). We checked it off as a "....maybe" and moved on.
The third place was our best bet out of the three. Fairfax Country Club was a little pricier than Hidden Creek, but we were hoping we could get a deal, because not only is M's granddad a member - he used to be president! Honestly, when that name got dropped, I saw our coordinators eyebrows raise sky high. I felt like I was marrying a Kennedy!
|M - Is that you?|
We also found out that M's parents had their reception here, which made it a place of Great Interest to us. Despite the fact that it wasn't our ideal location, we were optimistic! M had been to the club before, but they had recently remodeled the ballroom, so it was new to both of us. It was lovely looking, and done in a very neutral palette with gold accents. Happily, with purple and gold as our wedding colors, we'd only have to add in some purple to make it match completely. The ballroom was spacious, the dance floor was huge and well positioned (not splitting the room in two, nor tucked away so people can't see it). The coordinator was very nice to work with, the catering was reasonable, and there was a small patio outside that our guests could access.
Overall, it was a great location, and with a generous discount from being sponsored by M's granddad, totally within our budget. So why wasn't I in love with it? Maybe I still have my heart set on that vintage winery wedding, or maybe it all felt a little too stuffy (let's just say no one in my family is even a member of a country club!). Either way, something felt off. Thankfully M agreed with me, so we decided to continue the search. It's nice to know the Fairfax Club is still there if we can't find anything better, but also nice to know we still have plenty of time and don't have to settle.
This weekend I'll be checking out a few more locations, and I have a list of probably eleventy-hundred more if those don't work out. We're still getting a good head start so I'm not worried about a place not being available for our (very flexible) summer 2012 dates. At this point it's just about scoping things out and figuring out what works for us and our guests.