Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wedding Planning: The Hunt For The Perfect Venue

Wow, the past few months have been pretty busy!  I'm finally getting around to writing this post, and I'm happy to say I think we have finally settled on a wedding venue!  Finding a venue that was within our budget and that met our needs turned out to be a lot harder than I thought.  It took us about a good two months of researching and visiting several sites to finally decide.  Here are some of the things we were looking for:
- Allows outside catering
Since my father-in-law offered to cater our wedding as their gift to us, this was at the top of our list.  This actually ruled out a lot of venues in town, namely hotels, that didn't allow outside caterers.  We found a couple sites that we liked (Laniakea YWCA), that we couldn't use because of this condition, so we just had to keep looking.
- Outdoor venue 
We really wanted to have our wedding outdoors.  This is Hawaii after all, and finding an outdoor venue wasn't too difficult, however I would have preferred to have a "plan-B" (aka an indoor space) in case of rain.  A lot of the venues we went to see had a nice big outdoor space as well as an indoor or covered area. 
Well, quite frankly we don't have a firm budget.  We have a rough estimate at about $10,000, but nothing really set in stone.  I think the cheaper the better, but finding a cheap venue in Hawaii wasn't easy!  The sites we visited ranged anywhere from $800 to $3000 for anywhere from 5 hours to a full day rental. We were hoping to find something under $2000, but again, the cheaper the better!
- Parking
We would have preferred free parking (or parking fee that was included in the rental fee) and something that wouldn't be a hassle for our guests.  Most of the places did offer free parking, but some would leave guests needing to find street or public parking, which would be really difficult.
- LGBT friendly
To be honest, this was the most nerve-wracking part of the whole process, for me at least.  We were fortunate to find that people were very accommodating and didn't get any negative reactions for anyone.  For most of the venues they had never had a same-sex couple married there before, so they were equally excited.

Now on to the list of places we were considering
  • Sunset Ranch
  • Kualoa Ranch
  • Hawaii State Art Museum
  • Queen Emma Summer Palace
  • Bishop Museum
  • Waikiki Aquarium
I will do a separate blog about each venue with pros and cons, and you'll see the one we ended up choosing.  If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask!

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