My Plein Wedding: The Lowdown + Choosing a Venue

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Many of you know that I’m currently in the process of planning my wedding. Actually, by now there are only 2 months till the big day! There have been a lot of requests for me to write about different aspects of my wedding planning but to be honest, I’ve been a bit hesitant to write these types of personal posts. 

As a green beauty blogger, eco-fashion/design reporter, and advocate for clean, conscious living, I have been struggling to balance my personal beliefs and preferences for a more eco-conscious, minimal wedding along with the expectations and all-encompassing presence of conventional weddings. It’s hard to escape the wedding industry, I soon realized everything you need (or everything that you don’t really need) for your wedding day is linked to doing more. Spending more money, buying more things, being more extravagant, creating more waste- the list goes on and on.

The truth is, I am not having a fully eco-friendly or “green” wedding. The simple reason is because unless you are okay with a completely bare-bones or extremely simplistic wedding, it is still very, very difficult to do everything conventional in a totally “green” way for many locations in the world. Not to mention, doing an alternative wedding in a way that would also satisfy your guests, your family, and you and your fiance.

For a while I thought failing to have a fully eco-wedding might reflect being untrue to the principles I write about here, but at the end of the day, there is still a lot of change that needs to come to the wedding and events industry, changes that can’t happen overnight or for one wedding. So, I’m just going to be happy with what I’ve planned and make it work.  At the end of the day, the most important fact is that a wedding is just a celebration for marrying someone you love for the rest of your life, all the preparation and planning for one silly day doesn’t have much effect on the long-term goal.

I feel better about sharing the personal process of my wedding planning with you: what I’ve learned, what I’m doing, and perhaps eco-conscious alternatives for wedding planning from a minimalistic approach. Do you want to read more? Let me know if this topic interests you and what specifics you’d like to see! 🙂

For this post, I wanted to briefly talk about the wedding planning starting point. You’re engaged, now what? My first tip is: set a date and start venue-hunting!

Choosing a venue
Many wedding venues get booked up quickly especially if you are planning your big date during a popular season like spring or summer. In my case, I found that for spring weddings, venues near New York City were even booked up to a year or 2 years in advance! It is smart to set your date and book a venue as soon as possible. It can be beneficial in cost and availability to be flexible with your date, you might save some money on an off-season date while still getting the venue of your dreams.

Picking a venue can be quite a personal thing, and not every venue is going to have all the bells and whistles you imagined. When I was searching for wedding venues, I laid down some basic things I knew both my fiance and I wanted. This included location, environment, and ambiance.  We both liked the idea of a venue that incorporated the outdoors in some aspect, had some sort of history, and felt a bit personal. Since he is from Pennsylvania and I’m from New Jersey, we decided to look at venues in both areas. We visited some places that were more metropolitan or too “country-club”, and knew it didn’t feel right. I was also hoping for a venue that was in some way more environmentally-friendly, either by their policies or ideologies.

My venue
After only a few weeks of venue-searching, we actually chose the first venue we ever visited, Hotel Du Village in New Hope, PA. Choosing this venue was a bit of a risk as our first visit was actually a hard-hat tour because the venue was still under renovation! Located right near my fiance’s childhood home, the historical Hotel Du Village is a restored French estate complete with a small inn, corn fields, and a stream. The estate is located minutes away from the charming downtown area of New Hope which is filled with fun cafes, antique stores, and eclectic art galleries.  I fell in love with the French farm atmosphere of Hotel Du Village and the classical architecture of the main building, which was once a beloved, local restaurant. It feels very Downton Abbey meets Gatsby, which I absolutely love! Our wedding will incorporate the beautiful outdoors setting while also utilizing the historical buildings on the estate. It also meant a lot to have our wedding at a place so close to where my fiance grew up and to be supporting the local town. Not only does this venue have a lot of history and character, the venue provides a farm-to-table selection of food, coordinating with local farms and restaurants for seasonal ingredients.

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Our wedding will incorporate the beautiful outdoors setting while also utilizing the historical buildings on the estate. It also meant a lot to have our wedding at a place so close to where my fiance grew up and to be supporting the local town. Not only does this venue have a lot of history and character, the venue provides a farm-to-table selection of food, coordinating with local farms for seasonal, responsibly-handled ingredients.

The bottom line
While you can’t have everything when it comes to a venue, you should still be clear about the things you do want. It can be helpful to ask friends or family about venues or to do some in-depth research online.

Even if the venue is not as “green” as you’d like, think about other ways you can incorporate more eco-friendly, conscious aspects during your big day. Sometimes these can be really simple and already included at your venue. For me, the farm-to-table food and historical setting are great aspects of the venue I chose.Hotel-Du-Village-night

Don’t forget that the decisions you make are for your wedding, not anyone else’s.

Some wedding websites I’ve been using for planning help: 
The Knot: I love/hate this popular publication (there’s too much info, lots of unnecessary ads, and repetitive articles!) The physical magazine is better than their website. However, their site does have many planning resources and helpful articles about wedding etiquette that are worthwhile. Plus, the forums are actually great for reading about other brides’ experiences and for expert advice.

Real Simple: I’ve always loved Real Simple magazine for their visually pleasing pages, succinct articles and their well, simple attitude. Their wedding guides are quite helpful and this wedding planning checklist seriously helped me breathe a little bit easier.

Martha Stewart Weddings: Say what you will about Martha, but she does know a thing or two about wedding planning. Lots of helpful planning and organization articles to read up on.

WeddingWire: This site’s search engines are extremely helpful in starting your search for venues, photographers, entertainment, and other vendors especially with hundreds of customer reviews to compare. I used WeddingWire in my own search specifically for venues and photographers, and it was a really helpful tool to get the ball rolling.

~Follow me on Bloglovin’ to see other wedding websites and blogs I’ve been reading for inspiration and planning help!

 

Header photo: Green Wedding Shoes, Venue photos: Hotel Du Village.

2 Comments

  1. ropeball April 7, 2016

    Congratulations!!

    I can understand how hard to combine ideals and ideas, but you should do what comes naturally for you and something that actually makes you happy, even if they don’t match.

    When I plan mine 6 years ago, I was also thankful for Real Simple magazine. It allows me to plan for the absolute must and the optional, and re-prioritize what is important.

    Have fun in the last 2 months of being ‘single’!!

    Reply
    • Kasey April 8, 2016

      Thank you! Yes, it’s all about what feels right and what makes you the happiest. Thanks for reading! 🙂

      Reply

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