After a month of scouring VRBO and other vacation home sites, plus the local wedding sites, we had thoughts going two directions.
- Rent a big house for the week and host a multi-day party
- Find a more traditional wedding venue
We started out with our list; thinking this was a three-day affair. One day on the Eastside looking at big homes and the Robinswood House. Another driving around Whidbey Island, checking out a few options. And finally, an afternoon in Woodinville looking and tasting at two wineries.
The final decision: a Woodinville winery.
Before we signed the official contract, we started shopping their catering list. Bill was happy to see a friend on the list, and he had enjoyed many feasts prepared by their company before. I choked on the quotes. Yes, the frustration ran high when the first quote topped $185 a person (and the menu was lack-luster).
Time for a deep-dive on catering. He circled back with them. I reached out to a few other options, choosing the closest caterer and the cheapest for quotes. The cheapest was in our price range. The closest…well, let’s say I got sidetracked on their website. They also host weddings on site. So, we decided to both quote another location and also the on site option. It took just one review of the options to set up a visit to Willows Lodge.
An afternoon at Willows Lodge. A visit where 90% of the conversation was about the on site options.
We met with Erin, the catering manager, for a tour and review of the options. The important questions were covered – could we fit everyone outside at one long table? Was a five course sit down menu in our budget? Can we bring our own champagne?
We sat in the Fireside lounge, enjoying truffle fries and a flight of red wine as we looked through photo books for inspiration and talked about the kids playing bocce ball when they were tired of being little adults at the dining table. Our conversation digressed to kids that swim and what to give up for lent. Hopefully, it signaled the beginning of a solid working relationship. Since Erin has no clue what she signed up from with this groom. We walked away with a contract. And the numbers needed to plug into the budget one late time (I hope).
All of this fun was quickly forgotten as we started our evening at the Herb Farm. Then enjoyed an impromptu overnight stay at Willows. The bonus: our room overlooked the garden where we may decide to get married. I enjoyed peering out the window in the morning at what may become our location. And then completing the moment with the walk of shame.
Of course, we found time that next day to pencil out the options. And, by the end of the weekend the venue was settled. Willows Lodge. Now the only thing that could make us regret the decision was the Chateau St. Michelle concert schedule (as Erin warned that the area does get crazy on concert nights).