Bride-to-be Blogger Alyse: Choosing Our Venue

The pond at Peche in Radnor.

My preppy side and my earthy side have been in a serious fight since I got engaged. The visions that I have had for my wedding have included everything from a rustic barn with bales of hay for seats to a classic ballroom with the men in bowties. While my wardrobe can handle this mix of style, I thought my wedding, which is only one day, after all, should to lean one way or the other. After listening to both sides equally, I knew that there was only one way to decide: Pick a venue.

I was eager to get at least one full weekend of venue shopping in before Memorial Day weekend and the summer really began. I was so eager that, since Kevin was studying for a test anyway, I told him he didn’t have to come on the first trip. He could just come see the favorites of the first trip in a few weeks and then we could decide together. He totally bought that.

So I set up a full weekend of venue shopping with my parents, aunt and sister. The schedule included a wide range of venues—from barns to ballrooms to a retreat-style hotel in Lancaster. My earthy side was dealt its first blow when I realized that some of the more rustic venues were so rustic that there wasn’t adequate air conditioning for a mid-July wedding. Of course, there were also some slightly less-practical reasons for excluding some others such as “the ceilings are too low,” “I don’t like the carpet pattern in the dining room,” and “the dance floor is too small—there needs to be room for me to do the worm.”

I felt a little defeated after two full days of driving around southeastern PA. Clearly there would actually be another day of venue shopping and I didn’t just tell Kevin that so that I could pick myself. My family and I went to one last place on Sunday afternoon. Only there was a catch: It wasn’t finished yet. It was a new venue slated to open this winter. The venue is Peche Radnor Racquet, the second venue from the catering company Peachtree and Ward. Even though it was under construction, I loved the space and plans.

A few weeks later, Kevin and I went to see two more venues (more low ceilings and miniature dance floors), and Peche. I had been weighing the risks of choosing a new venue and my excitement about the space. Thankfully, Kevin loved it just as much, and we decided that it was the place! The only problem is that Peche is a mix of styles with an outdoor cocktail-hour space by a pond, and a large, modern dining room. So I cannot declare a winner between my preppy side and my earthy side just yet. I am hoping that my dress choice will help me decide, but I am starting to think that I will have to combine the two.

How did you pick your venue? Were there certain deal breakers about venues you saw?


Getting married? Start and end your wedding planning journey with Philadelphia Weddings' guide to the best wedding vendors in the city.