So, C and I did a walk-through of a church last night. It was the first church, but we both fell in love with it, and when he saw the pictures, my fiance did as well! It fits nicely within our budget, and it's not exactly what I was looking for - which concept I am trying to embrace (more on that later).
The sanctuary itself is huge - really! It seats 1200 at maximum capacity, and we'll have less than 10% of that number for guests. Although the space is gigantic, it is also warm - warm-colored wood, warmer colors of stone on the walls, red pew cushions. An inviting space. It also allows us to use the back half of the aisle for a sabre-arch, as we will not be exiting the church between service and reception, and for a receiving line.
The reception space is not what I had dreamed: a big room with space for buffets, seating, and dancing. Instead, it's a parlor that can easily hold 100 standing, but not seated, and a narthex outside the sanctuary. Two very distinct spaces. But this is where it gets interesting, and we can start to do some real brainstorming.
We were already planning not to do a sit-down dinner, and now we really don't have the space to do so at all. So any pretensions of doing that are out, unless we want both spaces set up for dinner, and then have the tables moved. It's an option, but another is to have desserts and dancing in one room, and food and gifts table in another, allowing people to dance, mingle, eat, and rest as they wish (while my fiance and I drift this way and that, trying to say hello to everyone).
Exactly what I was looking for? No. Insurmountable problem? Also no. (Although we may want to move from soup-and-salad to pasta-and-salad or sandwiches-and-salad, so people can bring their food with them as they drift about.) I think part of what I'm really enjoying is that, when I'm open to what comes along, a lot of decisions get made FOR me. For those of you planning weddings, you probably know just why that would be helpful. For those who are not planning yet, simply let me say that a lot of decisions need to get made, and it can drive a person bonkers.
So, I encourage you - instead of looking for a space that's exactly what you imagined, be open to find a space that really speaks to you. It may cause some shuffling in your plans, but it will also spark creativity and a decision-making ease: in itself, it shows you that many different choices can be equally good, rewarding, and fun! C and I are now doodling furiously on drawings of the two rooms, trying to figure out how to arrange drapes, lights, lanterns, flowers ... and it's really, REALLY fun.
(Like everything else I'm writing about, pictures are absent at the moment. More will appear closer to the wedding, and yet more will appear after.)
Thoughts? Objections? Comments? Stories? Leave a comment!