(here's a really terrible picture of C&Me from my camera phone inside the Melting Pot--YUM--we didn't manage to have an actual digital camera with us. Such a shame!)
First, we have a reception location, and I don't think I'll change my mind anymore! I've known that we'll be having the reception at the church from the beginning. It's cheaper (only one site fee, which is low since C works at the church), it's greener (no gas to get between the two places) and it just generally makes sense to us. Our first though on where to have the reception was a combined space--the gorgeous narthex and courtyard outside of the sanctuary we'll be married in. Here are some pictures from Laura's wedding of that space. (all photos by me!)
While the location is beautiful, I had several major concerns after sleeping on this idea for a while. First, this space is RIGHT OUTSIDE of the sanctuary and the bride's room. That means when the wedding is over, the guests essentially go no where. The traffic jams I'm imagining with my large guest list in this space made me really nervous. Plus, we'd need to get back into the sanctuary for some post-ceremony pics. Can you imagine trying to work your way back into the sanctuary with all of your loving guests hovering near by? It wouldn't be pretty. Space was my other major concern. How were we going to fit 14 cocktail tables, a buffet line, a DJ and a dance floor all in this space? And what if it rained? We could move to another room, but it wouldn't have the flow or the aesthetic we'd get in the Narthex and Courtyard. So, while this space is unique and gorgeous, I really just wasn't comfortable having the reception here.
We had other options, of course, one of which is the "Old Sanctuary," more commonly referred to as "The Castle." It's called the Castle because of it's decor...I don't have any pictures of the space, but it's a large room with a stage about 3 steps up from the main floor level. There are, in fact, suits of armor (at least one) and the walls have a treatment to make it look like stone. Stone that is lavender, yellow, and light green, I might add. The space is great--plenty of room and beautiful stained-glass windows. But I just can't stomach the color scheme...
Another option is Epworth Hall, or the gym. I attend a large church (3,000 or so members last I checked), and we have a building across the street from our Main campus called the Cokesbury Center. The Center is the home of our contemporary worship services, which take place in a carpeted gym with a large stage. This space is used for everything imaginable. Unfortunately, it's not "technically" an available space for our reception. However, we were willing to at least ask about using the space. But as I thought about it, I realized that maybe it was a bit TOO big. Yes, there will be lots and lots of people at the wedding, but I still wanted it to feel a little intimate. Yes, I realize I'm asking for the impossible, but still, Epworth just didn't feel quite right.
Which leads us to our final option and the one we've officially chosen: The Youth Suite! The Suite is also located a Cokesbury Center, right across the street from the main campus where the ceremony will take place. We'll probably get a crossing guard to help our guest cross the busy street in between the two. We'll also try to find some fun transportation for the bridal party across--a golf cart or something of the sort.
The main room of the Youth Suite is not big enough to hold everyone, especially with a buffet line. But we don't plan on cramming everyone in the one room all at once. We'll set up the buffet outside the Suite, directly across the hall from the main doors. The wall there is sort of shaped like a Bay window (you know, the top 3/8 of an octagon) so I think it will look neat to have our buffet tables there. We'll put the dance floor (we're going to rent) smack in the middle of the main room, with our cocktail tables scattered throughout. The Suite is also home to a rockin' game room complete with Foosball, Dance Dance Revolution and more video games than I can count. We'll have this room open for all the game lovers in attendance! We'll set up our photobooth in another side room.
As for where to put a DJ, that's the other decision we made this weekend. We're not having one. I'll be honest, iPod weddings sort of make me nervous. But, as Love told me today, all you need is a good sound system, a great playlist, and an MC to announce all of the major moments. We've got the sound system covered--the Youth Suite is high-tech like that. MC--we've got several people we could ask. And as for a playlist, we've got 6 and half months to perfect it. That's where you come in--what are the must-plays for my reception? Any and all ideas are welcome!
Here's a shot of the main room in the Youth Suite. Obviously it won't look like this for the reception, but check out how freakin' cool it is!
So, start the song ideas comin'!