The past few weekends, we have visited 5 venues and attended one wedding show/event thing (the Not So Big Wedding Boutique at Rockwood Manor).
We really, really fell in love with one venue this weekend, Glen Echo Park. However, we don’t want to get our hopes up until we get catering estimates in, since they have a list of only six approved caterers. In addition to Glen Echo Park, I think all the venues have pros and cons for what we’re looking for:
- Pros: Inexpensive venue rental, available for rent for the FULL day (and even night before), good parking situation, nearby hotels, outdoor ceremony option, and a covered pavilion with roll-down sides for staying warm. Tables and chairs included.
- Cons: The pavilion was right off a golf course, and all the trees were way off in the distance. One caterer allowed (Blue Heron). No outside alcohol permitted (and it’s expensive).
Cabell’s Mill – We stopped here without an appointment (I’ve had iffy luck getting people to call me back from Cabell’s Mill), so there was no one there to talk to.
- Pros: It seemed lovely, and from photos on their website, has an outdoor terrace that can be tented. Although it’s unclear if those tents have roll down sides
- Cons: The indoor part, although we only viewed it through the window, seemed small and had low ceilings. The building is right on a busy road.
Turkey Run Park – I must say, I really like this venue, and until we saw Glen Echo Park, it was my top choice. My old company used to hold their annual picnic here, and it was lovely.
- Pros: Very inexpensive ($650 for the shelter). Inexpensive in-house catering. Unique options for rent, including moon bounces and rock climbing walls. The pavilion/shelter has roll down sides for climate control, and it is in a wooded setting, perfect for a fall wedding. There’s fireplaces in two of the shelters, which are perfect for the s’mores I want to serve.
- Cons: The restrooms were up a slight hill, which might prove difficult for our older or mobility-challenged guests. Photos from weddings that Turkey Run sent us showed guests sitting at picnic tables (including for the ceremonies). Although this isn’t a huge deal, picnic tables can get quite uncomfortable after a while. The buffet-style food is served out of a separate pavilion, meaning guests would have to leave the climate-controlled pavilion to get their food. If it’s a cold day, that would not be fun.
Seneca Creek Lodge – Definitely not in the running
- Pros: Inexpensive venue. Outside alcohol permitted, saving us a boatload of money. Fireplace inside the lodge. Huge lawn with a wooded backdrop, and they allow tenting.
- Cons: Way too rustic for my tastes. The lodge itself seemed very small. The woman who was there to answer questions, did not know the answers to very basic stuff, like how much the security deposit was, and what months are considered “off peak” season.
Rockwood Manor – No longer in the running
- Pros: You can rent out guestrooms for a nominal extra cost, allowing close family to stay at the venue for the weekend. Beautiful location, ample parking. Several options for ceremony and reception locations on site.
- Cons: Out of our budget. We originally liked the idea of having guestrooms available onsite, but this would just be too expensive. Also, it really wasn’t THAT nice for the cost. Although, in full disclosure, we combined our visit with the “Not So Big Wedding Boutique” that was being held there, so it may have been difficult to visualize.
Glen Echo Park Bumper Car Pavilion – Loved SO much about this venue
- Pros: Relatively inexpensive to rent, especially in the off season. Able to hold the ceremony and reception at the park. Unique setting and gorgeous art-deco style buildings. The events manager was extremely helpful and knowledgeable. Plastic roll down sides are attached to the Bumper Car Pavilion for climate control.
- Cons: Only six approved caterers, many of which are high-end. Tables and chairs are not included and would be an added expense from the caterer or a party rental company. Decorating may require some creativity, because no tacks, tape, or nails are permitted.