Last week when I wrote about why we chose Charleston, SC, I wanted to follow that up with why we chose Magnolia Plantation as our venue. It definitely wasn't an easy task! I began with some research online to narrow down the prospects.
First, we looked into having it at the inn that we stayed at over New Years, because really, it was so lovely and quaint. It is part of a much larger plantation, and has beautifully landscaped grounds.
(Image from www.middletonplace.org)
I truly truly loved the idea of having our ceremony and reception at the Middleton Place, and the rental of the space seemed a little high, but not unreasonable. Unfortunately, we just couldn't justify the $100/per person food and beverage minimum. That's basically our entire wedding budget! Another reason why we solidly crossed this one off our list is because of the fact that we're also a little more casual than this venue seems. It would be perfect for black tie, but that's not us, so we picked up, and moved on to our next location.
Boone Hall Plantation
Next, we looked into Boone Hall Plantation. This was featured as Allie's family summer home in the Notebook, and was gorgeous! (I actually tried to find the white house with the blue shutters that Noah restored for Allie in the movie, but it's actually a private house. I thought it would be so romantic, but alas!)
(Image from the CharlestonCVB.com)
There were a variety of rental options to choose from here, pretty reasonably priced, but you do have to bring in all of your rentals, which of course, brings up the cost from there. While doing some figuring, we realized that we'd probably have to cut back on other things we were considering spending on (the photographer, the dress) in order to make it work, but it was doable. We kept looking around though, just in case something caught our eye before the final decision.
We rode by the Magnolia Plantation on our way to the Inn at Middleton Place, but it was dark when we went by, and then on our way out, we noticed a few cute things we could see from the road, like the winding drive, and glimpses through the trees of buildings.
As we were looking online, we were thrilled to realize that it fit perfectly in our budget, and scheduled a meeting with Jessica, the events planner there. At the end of January (yes, before we got engaged!) we went down to meet her. We were most interested in the tropical feel of the Conservatory, with it's massive deck but lush inside decor. Saturdays were completely full for 2012 already, and since we want to get married before the world ends (kidding!) we really needed to decide on either a Friday or a Sunday.
As I wandered through the space, it just really cemented it's place in my heart. Pictures do not do it justice, but here are some just so you get an idea. (All photos courtesy of MagnoliaPlantation.com, unless otherwise noted)
Do you see those absolutely to die for tables and chairs? Those are included for 75 people! The bar and the music/dancing will be out on the deck. All food and tables will be in the actual building.
I'll admit that the main draw of Magnolia isn't the conservatory though. It's the gardens. The oh so wonderful, something to rave about gardens. When you walk along the garden paths, they're not "perfectly manicured". Something about it seems wild, carefree and untamable. It's some place where nature and the raw beauty of the earth has been allowed to grow. It's especially important for us to have our ceremony outside so that we can be a part of this raw beauty as well.
So, in the end, we didn't need to see Boone Hall, even though I'd love to visit while we are down there sometime. Magnolia fit us perfectly, and we signed a contract with them a week later. Did any of you "know" your venue before you got engaged, or did it take you awhile to find the perfect spot?