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Wedding Wednesday: We Picked a Venue!

In New York you only have 3 months of good weather a year, 4 if you're really lucky, so things book up FAST.  We knew getting engaged over New Years that we would have to book a venue right away!
We were right.
My dream venue that was completely open 3 weeks ago when I called?  Yeah, almost completely booked for summer 2015, and already booking into the fall.  You can imagine the mini-stroke I had during the tour!  Still, picking a venue was so much fun.  With each place I got to picture what my wedding would look like, and it was so fun introducing myself as the bride!

We went to Lake George for the weekend to look at venues there and in Saratoga.  We went with that area since it's the midway point for most of my guests in Syracuse, and most of Dom's on Long Island.

First we looked at the Inn at Erlowest!
Basically a castle right on the lake.  Swooooon.   It's funny, this was the one I was least excited about but we were so pleasantly surprised!  There are huge decks and balconies for the cocktail hour with incredible views of the lake.  Inside was a huge ballroom with massive windows so you don't miss the view!
I might be slightly obsessed with those chairs.  Anyways, we loved everything about it but had many more to look at!

The next one we toured was the Lake George Club.  Totally gorgeous, but too small and just not right for our wedding.

So, that left...The Sagamore Resort.
This was a no brainer for us.  Once we decided on having the wedding in the Lake George area we didn't even feel the need to look anywhere else.  It is so stunning we knew nothing would ever compare.
To keep up with the fancy shmanciness we went in for our appointment and chatted by the fire with our fancy drinks and the lady told us all about the fabulous weddings there.
We had to stop at the ice bar! :)

Weddings at the Sagamore are on the Shelving Rock Terrace, which is a completely open deck with a permanent tent over it, so 3 sides have complete lake views.  It is taken down for the winter but we got to walk out where it would be.  Then Erin continued to tell us about all the fabulousness that could happen, and show us a million pictures of how it could be decorated.  

But then we asked how big the dance floor was.  She didn't have that answer.  We asked what kind of draping the tent had as a baseline, and what was purchased separately.  She got super vague.  We asked what kind of suite the bride and groom got that night and she tip toed around that answer too.  It was the strangest vibe.  

There was a definitely snob factor right when you go in, but that's to be expected at the Sagamore.  It just made us feel fancy!  But it became very clear as the meeting went on that our questions weren't important because there were a million other brides who would die to get married there.  If it wasn't Dom and me, it would be another couple who would happily spend thousands draping the tent however they pleased.  It was sad to have that kind of experience at my dream venue, but we left, planning on emailing her a list of questions and seeing where we could go from there. 

The next day after my first bridal appointment (!!!) we had time to kill so we picked a few venues in Saratoga to just peek into.  Both Dom and his mom had heard good things about Saratoga National Golf Club, so we figured we would take a look!
We didn't know if we'd be able to get in since we aren't members and didn't have an appointment, but the city of Saratoga was having a "Chowderfest" that the Club was a part of, so we just pretended we were getting chowder and went on in!

 We went up to the lady towards the front and explained that we didn't have an appointment but hoped we could get some literature on weddings there.  Dom and I had our hearts set on getting married by the water, so we were just looking as a back up plan.  The lady told us to hold on a minute and came back with the wedding coordinator for the club!  She was right in the middle of setting up the wedding for that night, but still went and got us a ton of information, showed us around a little and introduced us to her assistant who stopped what she was doing to give us a full tour!  It was so sweet of them to do, and the grounds blew us away.

It was dark and rainy, so I stalked the internet for better pictures!
 The cocktail hour is held on that upper balcony (and one of the rooms inside in case of rain) and the reception is in the huge ballroom with massive windows, as you can see, that look over the grounds.  It was so beautiful!  The vibe was a complete 180 from the Sagamore.  They were so welcoming and friendly, and as she went over all of the packages she kept saying how anything could be changed to fit Dom and my vision.  She even sneaked us in to see the reception being set up.

My favorite part is the bridal attendant who is appointed to you on your day.  She is there to bring you water, champagne, sew your dress, anything you need on the day, plus keep you on schedule!  She also brings the bride, groom, and photographer out on the golf course in a golf cart so you can take pictures at the hidden beautiful spots on the course! Everything seemed so great.

Then, on the way out my mom and I were chatting and a lady overheard us talking.  She asked me if I was considering getting married there, and proceeded to tell me that her daughter had her wedding there last spring and they had the most wonderful experience.  The staff could not do enough for them, and really made her daughter feel like a princess the whole day!  Sounds pretty good to me. :)

 It took sleeping on it a few nights and talking it over with my parents and friends to realize that it is okay to fall in love with something else.  Still, it was hard to walk away from the image I'd always had of my wedding at the Sagamore.  But, what if I had to work with Erin through my whole planning process at the Sag?  It would take so much of the fun away!  Once I got back to my parents' house I called Dom and gave him the play by play of each venue.  I still didn't think he'd go for anywhere away from the water, but he looked up Saratoga National and was sold immediately! 

I felt a huge sense of peace with our decision.  No, it's not on Lake George, but we can easily go and take our pictures up there, or do a cruise for the rehearsal dinner.  Being by water was really important to us, but having the time of our lives at a venue that really cares about making our big day special is way more important.

So after a long and emotional weekend we chose Saratoga National!
image source

...and Erin can go jump in the lake. ;)

Love Always, Nancy J

Linking up for Wedding Wednesday!


  1. I am from Saratoga Springs, and I used to work at Saratoga National. I saw tons of weddings and they were all so beautiful! I think you made the right choice!! If you need any pointers for hotels/after party/rehearsal dinner spots I'd be more than happy to help :)

  2. Wedding planning is so stressful- you definitely made the right choice going with a place that will do whatever they can to make your day happen flawlessly :)

  3. I am SO THRILLED how everything worked out-- but I wish the meany didn't have to be named ERIN!! LOL, you are so right though about not wanting to have someone sucking the fun out of the day just to have the 'dream venue'...especially when you found the AMAZING one you did!! :)

  4. That looks like an amazing place to be married!

  5. What a beautiful location and venue!
    wishing you all the best in your preparations and the big day

    The Alfred Crescent

  6. Saratoga National looks STUNNING!!! It's funny how things work out and you don't even expect to!! Looks like everything fit into place!! :)

  7. Congrats on picking your venue, I wouldn't be excited to work with Erin either. Planning can be a stressful process and no sense in having someone who doesn't know the basic answers now make you miserable later

  8. Love stumbling upon your blog from the linkup. I can't wait to start following you on GFC! Ahh..I think the venue you picked is beautiful! Seriously...who wants to deal with a constant snob-fest throughout the wedding planning fun?! Congrats, doll!! Xx.

  9. Congratulations!!! This looks soo beautiful!!! I actually traveled to Lake George yearssss ago and the beauty of that part of the country totally stuck with me. Your wedding is going to be GORGEOUS!! Woohoo! I love that we can all follow along with your wedding planning process!!

  10. This place is BEAUTIFUL! I can't imagine the price tag on a place like that - it's magical! Congrats - that was the hardest part for me.

  11. I cannot even wrap my mind around how gorgeous this place is!!!! I can't wait to see what you do with it!

  12. Ugh. What a B! It's so crazy to me how rude peopel can be when you're considering spending THAT much money on their venue. But you're right, they know there are other couples. So rude.

    The place you chose looks gorgeousssss. When's the big day?!

    Also, are you aware that first place was on Real Housewives of NJ???

  13. I'm so glad everything worked out even though it wasn't how you imagined! This place sounds like it will give an amazing experience - which you two totally deserve!! :) I love following along with your wedding planning!

  14. Dying. YOU JUST PICKED A VENUE FOR YOUR WEDDING!!!!!! How exciting!! That place is beyond GORGEOUS and I am SO thrilled for y'all!!!! I hate that the lady at your dream venue was rude but she can go jump in the lake, ha!

  15. looks and sounds absolutely beautiful! We had our reception at a golf club and it was the best decision ever!

  16. SO EXCITING!! I'm so happy for you! It looks and sounds like an amazing place and I think you made the right decision! You are going to be so much happier overall if you have pleasant people to work with! Your wedding is going to be perfect and I'm so excited for you! xoxo

  17. Hi there!

    I just went through a very similar experience booking my wedding venue. I went to my DREAM venue with a deposit check in hand, ready to book that day. My family and I got a very standoffish vibe from the venue and, just like your experience, we could tell that they didn't care. We ultimately decided on another venue where we are more than just another check, and we couldn't be happier. Best of luck to you and Dom. You made the right decision!


  18. I live in the Albany area, and I go to Saratoga whenever I can because it's so beautiful! You picked a great venue :) My fiance and I are getting married in Vermont because our families are there, but if not, I would have definitely chosen Saratoga!

  19. yay yay congrats!! the venue picking is the BEST. it makes it even moooore real! we picked a beauty too and i drive by it atleast once a week. and to be quite honest, will prob drive by it during the summer months on saturdays around 5:30 to sneak peak at the weddings ;) hehe. we are getting married sept 27th but in atlanta, so we still are good on warmth!! congrats congrats!!

  20. Eeeek! It looks beautiful! Congrats!

  21. Congrats on finally picking a place!
    It will be a beautiful wedding sweet girl...
    I love the choice you decided on but If I am being honest I think all of the choices was just as cute! I am sure it was a hard decision for you all to make!
    PS I have never been to an ice bar however that sounds like so much fun!

  22. It seems like you made the perfect choice! It is SO important to feel valued and special on your wedding day, it will alleviate so much unnecessary stress!

  23. You made the right choice! Congrats on choosing a venue. We're also getting married at a golf club (but down in the DC area) and there are lots of pluses! Looks gorgeous!

  24. This is absolutely gorgeous! there is nothing like this close to where we live so you are so lucky to have such decisions. We did have to deal with a nasty lady at our venue and I do not recommend having to deal with something like that. It is truly the last thing you need on your wedding day. I cannot wait to see more about your wedding!

  25. Congrats! That's a big thing to cross of the planning checklist! It's a beautiful venue!

  26. They are all so beautiful!

    I have a serious case of indecisiveness. It took me 2 months just to decide if I wanted in indoor or outdoor wedding;)

  27. What a BEAUTIFUL venue! I think you definitely made the right choice :)

  28. The venue you chose is so pretty! Can't wait to read more :)

  29. The venue is STUNNING! Can't wait to see how the rest of your engagement (and your wedding!) turn out!


  30. HOLY CRAP BALLS that place is STUNNING!!! I am so darn excited for you!!! Once you pick a place, and get your dress, and pick colors, EVERYTHING starts falling into place. This is so exciting!

    That Erin can go suck it ;)

  31. Oh my gosh it is simply stunning friend. I am so happy for you. I hate that they treated you that way but it is their loss because I have no doubt y'alls wedding will be the party of the year. Silly people. But what a blessing in disguise since y'all found this beautiful place. woohoo!

  32. so so so so so SOOO gorgeous! I love your choice!

  33. Hi Robin,

    I am new to following your blog. First off, congrats on your engagement!!!!!! Such an exciting time for you guys - have fun wedding planning :) Saratoga is such a beautiful place - my hubs and I live in Rochester and one of his sisters and her family live in Saratoga and we just LOVE going to visit them!! I totally want to move there someday :)
    Anyways, I just wanted to stop by and say HI!
    Have a great week!

  34. Beautiful!!! Wonderful news on the venue choice, now you have a backdrop on which to paint the rest of your wedding!!! Happy planning!

  35. Reading this makes me so happy! Yay for checking things off your Bridal to-do list! Venue is a huge check off!!
    And this venue is GORGEOUS!
    You definitely do not want a coordinator who is not very fun or nice. The person who did that at my venue was really rushy a lot of the time. She was just trying to keep us on schedule- so that I understand, but at times she was just annoying.

  36. I would also like to suggest that you contact to the temple house as they are providing event venues and I had a great experience dealing with them.
    Miami Beach's Most Preferred Event Venue

  37. I used to vacation at Lake George every summer. The Sagamore is right near where we stayed. I always wanted to go to a fancy event there.

  38. SO exciting!! I can't imagine how hard it would be to have your mind set on one place and then have that crushed- it sounds like you definitely made the right decision!!


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