I knew for sometime before it actually happened that I was going to get engaged. Troy told me to go ahead and start planning the wedding but I refused to for several reasons 1) I was sure that if I went ahead and started planning before I got the ring, that I might not actually get the ring 2) I didn't want to do anything without my mom.
So how do you start planning a wedding keeping it low key? The venue. I spent countless hours researching area venues on the internet. I started a spreadsheet that listed the venue, website, location, phone number, e-mail, capacity, price (if it was actually listed on the website), the distance it was from my home, and any other notes. I know it seems kind of crazy but this ended up being a lifesaver.
After we became engaged we put together a quick guest list (yes it has grown some since then) to get an idea of how many people we planned on entertaining for the evening. In addition to the number of people attending there also had to be a place for a ceremony, either on-site or nearby. My list was quickly narrowed down to 5 places.
Within days of my engagement my mom, sister (MOH) and I took a road trip to view all the final choices for location. The Lawton Heritage Community Center (LHCC) was the second place on my list. I fell in love and nothing else seemed to compare.
The view from the outside does this place no justice. Here is the Hall Director's description:
"Nestled in the heart of grape country is Michiganʼs oldest Winery, renovated to become one of the areas most unique places for your wedding and reception. The Lawton Community Center is built entirely of cobblestone both inside and out, accented with a variety of wine colors and decorations. Entertain your guests between the wedding and reception with a tour of our museum, highlighting the history of wine country. Our museum offers an ideal setting to offer your guests hors dʼ oeuvres and wine tasting as the introduction to the evenings fabulous festivities."
The LHCC offers two ceremony options. First is outside in the front lawn (shown on the picture above). Troy and I were planning on having an outdoor ceremony but I wasn't too thrilled about this location. There is an Amtrack route that runs along the facility and the director said that I can almost bet on a train inturrupting my ceremony. She assured that it would only last about 15 seconds though, if I decided to go that route. The other option is the great room. A two story cobblestone room. My entrance will be from a set of french doors in the reception room that opens to the second story of the great room and down a flight of stairs. When the lady was describing the grand entrance I was almost in tears. That's when I knew this was the place.
The reception and bar areas are beautiful too. Not much decoration, if any is needed. And set up, clean up and the Hall Director are all included in the rental fee. It was too perfect and I was completely sold.
I need to go back again, take some better pictures and get measurements of some things for other vendors. But I am so excited to have selected LHCC as my venue.