I went out to Irvine the week before the wedding and fell into a conversation with the event manager there about the kind of people who get married at a place like Irvine. She said she really loved how the couples she works with are so nice, and care so much about the local community. I told her that a big part of that is that people who don't care about the local community don't tend to seek out places like Irvine to get married at. I have nothing against big hotel weddings, especially for people who don't have the kind of time we had to put into a wedding. But at the same time, a driving factor in our venue search was this idea that we wanted to support the right kind of place with our money, and whenever we went out to Irvine, we were overjoyed with knowing what our venue fees were going to support. I wrote this post back when we first started planning, but it still rings true.
So one thing I believe we have established here already is that Weddings Are Expensive.
I like to support small local businesses. When I bought my bicycle, one of the reasons I bought it from Wheaton Cycles was because it was a small, local business with a wonderful owner who was very friendly and personal. I like to support nice people who are trying to make a living.
In the summer, we hit the farmer's market to support local farmers so they don't have to ship their products across the country. Some of it is organic, some isn't, and I care more that it is local than it being organic. I don't really like to shop at Whole Foods because so much of their produce is imported from California.
I try to buy local Maryland wines - they tend to be sweeter, which I prefer anyway, but it is one thing that is much easier to just buy a local wine because its so much better environmentally. It also supports local businesses, which puts dollars in your local community.
My point here though, is that for a wedding, which will cost about 60x what my bike cost, we want that money to go, for lack of a better word, to a good cause. All this means for me at the moment is this - no hotels.
Bed and breakfast or small inns (like the venue we checked out yesterday, which I will let Mark write about) are acceptable. But the local Hyatt or Sheraton (which would be very convenient, and the Inner Harbor one is quite nice) is not going to put money into the local Baltimore community (something it desperately needs), in addition to the fact that the money does not "go to" anything but the hotel's profits.
So where does this put us? Most of the historical homes in the area are non-profits, run by historical societies or the counties they are in. Some of them are privately owned, but if they are historical buildings I would rather support them. Some of the places we are looking at are owned by the state park system or the department of natural resources. I'm not ruling out my church - which is a nonprofit and a place I like to support. The aquarium and Science Center gouge a little bit, but they are membership based organizations that are also funded by grants and fund nonprofit programs. The EPA building is run by a non-profit. These are the people who I want to receive the 2-4k we are putting down for the cost of the venue. It's not just about the place being cool, unique, or original - its about where the cost of the wedding ultimately goes, and its about who I want profiting off of our wedding - I'm fine with the vendors and services costing money - but I want to feel comfortable with where that money goes. The catering company that I've already emailed a week ago that has not responded at all? (Who has also not responded to my cousin who is wedding planning also.) I don't think I want them to get our money.