Wedding venue disaster dilemma

I like to think I’m a pretty chill bride-to-be.

We’re nine months out from our wedding day and we’ve been planning at a pretty leisurely pace.

The only thing that I felt strongly about, the only thing that I felt was important to nail down early, was the venue.

So I had been feeling pretty smug when we had settled on a venue just three months after getting engaged. A beautiful, historic house on protected parklands called The Ranche.

Ranche original

Then, last month, disaster struck.

Not a real disaster — I haven’t lost all perspective just yet — but as far as wedding planning goes, we definitely hit a bump in the road.

The lease holder of our venue is moving.

This means we no longer have a contract to get married at the beautiful, historic house that we had fallen in love with — instead, we have a choice:

We can follow the old lease holder to their new location, or we can sign a contract with the new operator, and pray that the quality of service and food remains the same under the new management.

So, we’re torn between two potentially beautiful venues:

Here’s more images from the original venue:

Ranche final

And The Ranche’s new location — the interiors have not been completed, but they sound pretty great. Here’s the description we were sent:

Our renovations are coming along nicely, and we are still targeting for a January 2014 opening. The new windows have been delivered and are slated for installation next week. The stone for the fireplace is now exposed and a plan for the refinishing has been established. A stained concrete hearth and mantle are in the works along with our friend the buffalo finding a new home perched above the roaring fire… We are currently working on the bar at an offsite facility. Antique mirrors, reclaimed wood and old airplane hangar windows are just some of the materials being used to create this unique showpiece bar.

Bonavista final

It sounds great, but the location isn’t ideal: it’s next to a man-made lake at the centre of a suburban neighbourhood. I don’t like the suburbs and I’m still not sure about the new building.

And I have some reservations about the original venue, too. It’s being taken over by a big catering company and I have no idea how good their food is. They’re also renovating the building and I won’t get a chance to see the interior finished before we will have to commit to a contract in order to save our date.

There’s definitely no chapter about this sort of thing in The Knot guidebook.

We’re pretty torn.  Hopefully we’ll have a better idea after we get a chance to sample the new operator’s food, and after we do a walk-through of the other venue next week.

Wish me luck!

– Elle 

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