1 - We currently live in New York City. Great place for a wedding...if you want to spend a fortune!
2 - We spent much of our time dating in Albany where Chris lived for the past several years. We'd been to several weddings in this area. It could work. It would still be somewhat costly, but not nearly as much as NYC.
3 - Vermont. We had been there every year together for a fun little trip. It is gorgeous in the fall. Chris had every intention of proposing there...darn snow storms! It was possible, but far fetched.
4 - Kentucky. This one was tricky. We ruled out my hometown quickly because the nearest airport is 2 hours away. Planning from afar is already complicated enough without accounting for an additional four hours of drive time on each trip back. One brother lives in Lexington and the other in Louisville. I had lived in both cities for roughly six months each. I wouldn't say I know them well, but I'm familiar enough. And they would have lots of benefits for all the out of town guests we anticipated for the big day. Oh, and the cost...it looked to be ideal. You can see where this is headed, right? :)
Ultimately, we decided we would get married in Kentucky. And for the record, Chris was SO excited about our decision. Surprisingly, much more than me. To be honest, I was overwhelmed. It was not an easy decision for me...and actually foreshadowed much of the next few months of my life. When it came to anything about our wedding, decision making simply was not my strong suite. I often wished it was someone else's wedding because then I envisioned I would have had no problem making decision after decision and coaching them through it all. For some reason I found that when it was my own, it was different. Much different than I ever imagined. However, once I started researching locations and setting appointments for our mid-February trip to KY, I felt a bit better.
We spent one day looking at venues in Lexington. We checked out Rabbit Creek Inn, The Barrel House, and the Griffin Gate Hotel. We really liked the Rabbit Creek Inn. We also knew that Keeneland would be open in October so it would allow for guests to check out some live racing over the course of our wedding weekend. We liked that idea.
|Rabbit Creek Inn would be perfect for a summer wedding!|
|Loved this staircase inside the Rabbit Creek Inn!|
|The Barrel House was a fun venue, but not the right fit for us.|
|Gorgeous property at Griffen Gate in Lexington.|
The next day, we ventured all over Louisville. Since it was a Sunday, we weren't able to get many in-person meetings like we had in Lexington, but we were able to wander around the Galt House, Kentucky Derby Museum, and West End Baptist Church on our own. I had a bit of a meltdown in the car before we headed inside our last stop of the day - the Hilton Garden Inn. I was starting to feel overwhelmed, again...but I pulled it together and by the end of the day we had decided on our top choice. Little did we know it would be less than two months before the wedding until we had an official walk through of the place under our belt. Fortunately, the website had a really cool 360 degree viewing feature! Oh how I don't miss the struggles of long distance wedding planning!
|West End Baptist Church on a snowy February 2014 day.|
So, we had set our date - 10*18*14 - and determined our location - Louisville, KY...specifically with a church wedding at West End Baptist Church followed by a reception at the Kentucky Derby Museum. Our next step was asking our bridal party...