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!
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.
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!
...and Erin can go jump in the lake. ;)
Linking up for Wedding Wednesday!