Venue hunting.

As you may have read in my previous post, Stallion and I had to start our venue hunt from scratch. What were our requirements?

  • Located in Cape May, New Jersey
  • Could comfortably accommodate 200 guests
  • Would look nice in pictures
  • Had a private space for our event (or at least provided some semblance of privacy)

Living in Boston, Stallion and I planned a weekend to head down to Cape May and check out possible venues. My very enthusiastic parents, who spend nearly every weekend in Cape May, beat us to the punch and went all around town to check out the contenders. After hearing their scouting report, I was dismayed to hear that their favorite venue was the place I was the least excited to check out: a hotel. So bland, so cookie-cutter – how did a hotel reflect Stallion and my personalities? I thought this was my SPESHUL DAY, and thus I required a SPESHUL VENUE that showed how UNIQUE I was.

Here’s the thing. Getting married at a hotel isn’t special at all. The hotel staff see weddings every weekend. They’ve got the wedding thing down to an exact science. They anticipate everything that could possibly go wrong, and they know how to deal with it. It may not be a “special snowflake” venue, but there is something to be said for working with experts. There’s a reason so many people choose hotel weddings – because at the end of the day, it just plain works!

But I had not yet come to that realization, so bear with me.

We start checking out venues around town. The biggest hurdle is our guest list. One can technically accommodate a large guest list, but only if we tent the grounds and have some tables indoors and some outdoors. One has some tables upstairs and some downstairs. Nothing really felt right, and I was ready to go home and rethink our plans.

And then, we check out the basic, boring, non-unique hotel, and I eat a big slice of humble pie.

Picture this, if you will: we take the elevator to the top floor of the hotel. The elevator doors open to reveal an elegant, tastefully decorated ballroom with panoramic windows looking out over the beach. The ballroom is the only thing on that floor – hence, the name “penthouse ballroom” – and so we’d have plenty of privacy. The room was massive; it had more than enough room for our proposed guest list. My mind was blown.

Wait! It gets better! The ceremony would be held on an outdoor sundeck overlooking the beach, and in case of rain, there are plenty of indoor spaces which can comfortably accommodate our guests.

The best part? Almost everything is included in the per-head price, from the food to the bar to the linens to the chairs. The hotel has a full-time wedding planner who would also serve as our day-of coordinator. If we went with this venue, we wouldn’t have to lift another finger. This lazy girl liked the sound of that.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that come next April, there will be one rocking party at the Grand Hotel.

Was it what I had imagined I’d choose? Nope. But did it meet our needs and then some? Absolutely.

Did you surprise yourself when making any planning decisions?


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