I am going to be honest and admit something that I know most brides do not want to admit. The reception venue we chose was not my dream venue. Don't get me wrong. I love our reception venue , but I had originally had my heart set on a different location.
When we started looking, I began stalking weddingwire.com searching for venues.
I cannot praise this website enough. It has been such a huge help in all of the wedding planning. Brides can go here and find vendors for everything. My favorite part is you can read reviews written by fellow brides to learn what vendors are good and which ones you should avoid. It is the best website for preliminary research I can think of, and I have now used it for every aspect of planning.
We found several locations we both absolutely loved. Dresser Mansion was gorgeous, but we had both been to weddings there and we were a bit worried about the layout. We wanted to have the wedding in a large room so guests weren't having to go to different places in the mansion for each big event (dinner, first dance, cake cutting, etc). Plus, it was a bit out of our budget. We had to scratch it off of our potential venue list.
Next, we found what I considered my dream venue... Five Oaks Lodge.
I loved the rustic feeling of the venue. It had beautiful lighting, was spacious and I loved the lodge look. I also loved that it sat out on a small lake/pond, so guests could enjoy time out on the patio if they wanted to.
When I closed my eyes, I could see our wedding held there. Our first dance, cutting the cake, dancing with all of our friends. It was perfect and everything I thought I wanted in a venue. There was just one small problem. Five Oaks is located in the Jenks/Glenpool area. Mike and I are getting married at a church downtown, about 15 miles away. We weren't sure if we wanted to make our guests drive that far. We decided to make a test drive to see how far it was. It look over 20 minutes to drive from the church to the lodge. Not that long, but longer than we really wanted. With so many great venues downtown that wouldn't require our guests so much travel time, we started to think it may not be the ideal venue for our wedding.
I wasn't quite ready to give up hope we could make the venue work. I decided to request information from the lodge to find out what their rules were for catering and what the price was to use their venue. I submitted the request through their website and never heard back from the coordinator. I then emailed them directly and still didn't hear back. I called once, but no one answered. After multiple times of trying to contact them with no response, I decided to take it as a sign it wasn't the right place. Too far away and unresponsive. Scratch it off the list too.
After even more research and information requests from several venues, we narrowed it down to two. It was time to actually vist the venues and make a decision.