Monday, April 12, 2010

What to do?

We narrowed it down to two venues:  Glen Echo and The Carnegie Institute (click on links for posts detailing the facilities).
Like apples and oranges, they couldn't be more different.  One's an old amusement park with charm and fun in every detail.  The other is a national headquarters for a wealthy, uh, actually I have no clue what they do there...something about science, but the building is elegant.
Here's the nitty-gritty for each:

Glen Echo:  $3,500 rental, need to rent shuttle buses ($1000 to $1500), 20 min drive from downtown DC, no hard liquor (saves money and prevents our friends/family from making fools of us/themselves), no food restrictions, somewhat exposed to the elements (have to walk from Pavilion through the outdoors 15 yds to get to an restroom), use of carousel ($200/hr, plus the cost of a ticket [$1.25/ride]), easy to personalize, price allows freedom for spending on other expenses, can hold up to 200 guests, unique and comparable to our personalities

Carnegie:  $5,200 rental, in the heart of DC, hotels close by (walking distance or very short cab ride), no food or drink restrictions, can bring in your own booze, all indoors, price does not allow for extra expenses, ballroom (seated dinner location) does not allow clear viewing of dance floor (rotunda where ceremony took place) for all tables (only some can see dance floor), only 170 guests seated, table rental included, need to rent chairs (their chairs only seat 120 and are UGLY), not available Memorial Day weekend (2011), more formal feeling

We put a hold on Glen Echo for Memorial Day weekend, 2011, that expires Wednesday if we don't put down a deposit.  However, a canceled deposit is fully refunded minus a $200 processing fee.
Even though I claimed outside assistance (thoughts from you, the reader) was no longer necessary, Mike and I have hit a roadblock.  Here's where you come in:  comment on which place you favor and any reasons why.  In the end we might just go where our hearts lead us, but your input is appreciated.
So, go on - COMMENT!
(and then "follow" my blog, if you'd be so kind!)


  1. I pick Glen Echo - it seems more "you" than the other venue. Cheaper is always a bonus, because after the wedding, guaranteed, you'll find/think of/get hit with at least one thing that makes you think that extra money would have been so nice to have or to have used responsibly somewhere.

    Carnegie is gorgeous, but afterwards, it won't be what your venue looked like that you remember: it'll be the wonderful experiences you had with your friends and family (and the stories told later by your friends and family) that will be what you recall about the day. And Glen Echo just seems like the perfect place for lifelong memories that you couldn't have experienced anywhere else.

  2. I vote Glen Echo, big time. Main reasons: You get the date you want. You can have more people. You can make it personal. You and all your guests will remember a personalized wedding in a great location. Hotel weddings blend together, but no one will forget a place like that. Plus Eleanor likes carousels. The lack of hard liquor to me is a non-issue. Beer, wine, champaign is all you need. Can you really imagine someone thinking: "Dang, that wedding could have been fun if I had been able to get a vodka tonic - stupid wine doesn't get me drunk quite the same." - If someone really feels that way, they need their head examined. In my mind, the ONLY reason to get the Carnegie is because it's near hotels. On that, my thought is: People will take cabs, or heck you can get a bus from the "main" hotel if you get a room block. Although I wasn't on it, I heard that the group transportation Marlo and I did was really really fun. I think we have a picture of your dad playing the accordian on the bus, everyone having a great time.
    So Glen Echo is a little less convenient, but you can work around that. Thinking about our wedding, the "do it yourself" kind of place was more work, but way worth it. You can have a "decorating" party for local friends the day of the wedding so they can do it up right.

    And did I mention that Eleanor likes carousels?

  3. Man oh man! Like you said, apples an oranges. I wouldn't focus on saving a few thousand dollars, rather focus on the style of wedding you and Mike want. Either way, both are unique in their own way. I can't wait to see what you guys decide!!! (I certainly wouln't complain if it were carnegie based soley on the amazing location!!)

  4. I like Glen Echo, but having a birthday on your prospective wedding date (which would be awesome =) I can assure you that the weather could be unpredictable since I have very specific memories of that exact time of year. It can be 85 degrees at night and certainly will be humid in DC, which is a concern for somewhere that is exposed to the elements. Something to think about since a sweaty, sticky bride and groom before the dancing starts is not going to be fun for you guys. I also love the bus idea since I have been on like 5 of them at venues of varying expense from beautiful, posh golf courses to on the beach weddings, and they have all been tons of fun. You guys will make the right decision no matter what!

  5. Well, indoors vs. outdoors is a non-issue because of the date. Weather should be great memorial day weekend, in fact if anything it would lean MORE toward outdoors (baring, of course, that the last 18 memorial days in DC didn't pour cats and dogs)....

    Also, I agree with Matthew that liquor vs. non-liquor is a non-issue. No liquor might make for better everything - nobody's wasted, everyone stays appropriate, the bar-tab isn't ridic. etc.

    And personalization - Vicks! If there is one thing about you that I know, it's that you can transform something ordinary with your vision and make it extraordinary. If Glen Echo has that much character already, and then YOU get your hands on it,.... it would be seriously the most amazing event I've ever attended. :)

    But to be fair - Carnegie is super grown-up and fancy, and that does have a certain type of appeal,... it's such classic beauty,... I can totally see where you're torn... So maybe that's where you can do a milestone wedding anniversary. ;)

    I'm voting Glen Echo. And count me in for a group-transportation party. :)


  6. I say go with Glen Echo. When you first posted the pictures online, I thought it was fantastic. Something that will definitely be memorable for you and the family. It's very unique, and cost wise is a great option as well

  7. Also, after you add in the bus, it will be the same price. You can fit more people at Glen Echo, but once you factor in price per head for food and shuttle it might end up being much more in the end then the other place. I am thinking too much about your wedding =P


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