Tuesday, September 20, 2011

wedding advice - location.

My wedding was awesome. Seriously the best day ever. Perfect. 

I have a lot of girls ask me questions about their upcoming weddings or future weddings or dream weddings or whatever. Such as, "Who was that photobooth company you used?" and "Should I really get engagement pictures? Are they necessary?" and "What in the world am I supposed to do about this family that says they're bringing 8 people to my wedding when all I did was invite the parents?" These are all excellent questions. 

Yes, you can go to The Knot or read magazines and such for answers to these questions, but sometimes it helps just to talk to someone else you know who just went through it. I don't know how we would have done it all if a few of my best friends hadn't just gotten married. It helped me so much to to talk to them and to have gone through their wedding planning times with them. 

Therefore, I'm starting a series called Wedding Advice

Each time I write about it, I will cover a different aspect of weddings. I'll talk about what vendor we chose and why. (I say we because I didn't do anything related to the wedding without my mom's help!) I'll discuss what went wrong and what weird things to expect. And believe me...weird things happen. People are weird. I know this because I am weird. Anyway.

Then I will be compiling the different topics into a location that you can access at the top menu bar. Sound good? Good.

This post will be about Location!

Location is a stressful part of wedding planning. It's basically the first big thing you have to do, and it even dictates what date you choose. When you choose your location you have to know how many people are going to be there, what kind of atmosphere you want your wedding to have, and if you want it to be inside or outside. If your reception is going to be at a separate place, it has to be convenient for guests to get there. There are just so many things that go into picking a location. 

If you're getting married in a church and you already have that decided, well that's just swell. I had no idea where I wanted to get married, I only knew that there were going to be a lot of people there and I wanted it to be beautiful and have dancing afterward. You'd think that those are simple desires - but no. 

If I was going to get married at my former church Colonial Baptist, I would have to pick a location for the reception, which we tried to do. We researched EVERYWHERE in Cary and Raleigh. Most places had a cap of 150 or 200 people so they were instantly crossed off the list. It needed to be inside because I knew I couldn't handle the stress of an outside wedding and also March is a very inconsistent month with weather. It needed to actually be available since it was considered short notice.

Yes, 7 months is short notice, people. The average engagement these days is over a year, so that's why we looked for a wedding location literally the week after I got engaged. Places we kept calling and going to were booked. Don't wait to find your location! Do this immediately! People are booking things two years in advance!

After driving around and calling hotels and checking all over, I was a stressed mess. Don't do this. Don't sit in the passenger seat of your mom's car with your head on the dash whining about how you are never going to find a place to get married. It will happen. I promise. 

What happened that day was that Mom said out of the blue, Hey, why don't we go look at the place were Blake had Junior/Senior a few months ago? It's pretty new and it's close by.

At that point, I would have gone to look at a Bingo hall had my mom suggested it. I was down to look anywhere.

When we walked into the Grand Marquise Ballroom, I fell in love. It was gorgeous. It was big. I could see myself in a white dress with my man up on that landing. The big question....was it available? When I told them what day we were looking at - March 19th - she asked me if I was talking about 2012. Ha. When I told her 2011 she gave me a look that told me I probably was never going to walk into that ballroom again. I knew it would be booked. She said that they were booked up all the way through 2011....but then there it was. On her calendar. Gleaming with nothing but white space under the number 19. It was literally the only Saturday they had left. And it was mine. 

It was like God shone a light from heaven onto that calendar. Mom and I looked at each other and knew that this was the right place. When we brought Dad and Jordan the next day, they completely agreed. I went from stressed to extremely thankful very quickly. See how these things can happen? Why did I worry? :)

So anyway, I'll tell you about the Grand Marquise which is located in Garner, NC. Garner isn't exactly known for its extravagant ballrooms, I think maybe the only thing it's known for now is Scotty McCreery, so it is kind of an unlikely location. I'll give you a list of things that I loved about the Grand Marquise, and what ultimately convinced us (besides the light from heaven) that this was the perfect place for the wedding.

1. Meredith. - The person in charge of events there really knows what she's doing. She's a beautiful, friendly, young woman who was about to get married herself. She takes the time to meet with you as much as you want, meets with your other vendors, communicates wonderfully, and can answer any question you have. 

2. Bride and groom's rooms. - Everyone LOVED these rooms! They were extravagantly decorated and looked marvelous in pictures. In the girls' room there is a lot of mirror space including a 3-way! In the guys' room there is a flat screen TV on the wall, haha. It was so nice getting ready at the place; it definitely made it a lot less stressful that morning.

3. Versatility. - One of the main reasons I loved the Grand Marquise is because we could have the ceremony and reception in the same location. Actually, it was the same room! They are used to transforming the magical ceremony into a rockin' reception. I was a little nervous about this at first, but the Grand Marquise staff combined with all of my other vendors worked it out flawlessly. I am so glad we had the ceremony and reception in one place.

4. Beautiful details. - Let me just throw this out there: in the women's restroom there is a mini chandelier in every stall. Talk about details. EVERYTHING there is gorgeous. From the cherubs painted on the ceiling to the lighting that can change to any color, they did not miss a beat when designing this place. They even make you a monogram that they can shine onto the dance floor during the reception. I could go on and on!

5. Space. - Probably the #1 reason we were drawn to this place: it can hold a lot of people! We invited over 300 people and it worked out perfectly. The size of the dance floor was just right too, although you can make it bigger or smaller depending on what you want.

So that pretty much sums up The Grand Marquise Ballroom! You can visit their website here and find out more about them. I may come back to this and add some more locations with pictures from my friends' weddings. For now I'll just leave it at that.

More location questions? There are definitely no dumb questions when it comes to weddings...I was CLUELESS about everything. I'd be happy to help. 

Be sure to come back and read my other Wedding Advice posts in the future! :)


  1. Call me crazy....or weird, like you:), but I LOVE reading wedding posts! This was GREAT! P.S. Are you going to show the video of the dance you guys made up????

  2. Dear Ashley,
    I have a funny request for a blog post (you can take it or leave it). I would love for you to do an apartment tour for us much like Whitney and Aaron did. Please?! :) I would love to see your apartment.

    And your wedding was absolutely gorgeous. How are Romans 8:31-39 coming for you?

  3. I'll be photographing a wedding at the Grand Marquise in June. It really is neat. I couldn't get over the place when I saw it. lol :)

  4. I seriously miss all the planning and excitement of your wedding day. When you shared with me that it was everything you ever wanted or hoped it would be I knew it was worth every penny! happy that you want to encourage others with all their excitement. ours was unforgettable!!

  5. I AM BEYOND HAPPY that I found your blog today! I am newly engaged and taking things one step at a time as my fiance and I plan our dream wedding! It will be wonderful to have your blog as my personal consultant! Thanks for your wonderful posts and I look forward to reading more!

    Be sure to check my blog out.. I'm hosting my first giveaway right now!



  6. Nonny - I definitely want to post that video! I just haven't gotten around to going through the footage from the wedding yet, haha.

    Carrie - I would love to do an apartment tour when it is clean. :) Haha...so maybe soon! Thanks for asking!

    Mrs. Fowler - I'm sure you'll take amazing pictures there! But you would take amazing pictures in a portapotty.

    Mom - Agreed. Love you.

    Ashley - Thanks for reading! I'm definitely checking your blog out. :)



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