We’ve officially booked all of the venues for our wedding weekend!
Venue hunting was a ton of fun. I thought it was going to be stressful, but Jimmy and I both really enjoyed scoping out venues and narrowing it down to our favorites. It was a little tougher for us since we live in Jacksonville and are getting married in Savannah, but after three weekends in a row to my hometown to look at venues and meet with the coordinators, we finally settled on our favorite.
The rehearsal dinner venue was the most challenging. We wanted something spacious but not too spread out, something fun, relaxed and not super formal, a place with an outdoor area for Jimmy’s cigar bar, and a space that could accommodate about 100 people. Surprisingly, we found that to be quite a challenge in downtown Savannah. There are so many fabulous venues, but most of them were either too big or too small, or just didn’t have the vibe we wanted. And, with our wedding being on a popular date (12/13/14) and around Christmas, we knew we needed to lock in a venue as quickly as possible to ensure we got what we wanted.
So off on the rehearsal dinner venue hunt we went …
The first place we looked was Dub’s, a Public House. They have a great semi-private dining area on the first floor (which is where we had our engagement party), but it was too small for our rehearsal dinner. They also have a completely private room upstairs which we loved. It’s not very “done up” or flashy, but could definitely be transformed with white lights, center pieces and a good crowd. This was our top pick for the longest time. (I unfortunately didn’t get many good pictures of the upstairs. I was too excited!)
Next, we looked at Moon River Brewing Company, which has transformed their basements into a really neat private party space. It has a lot of character and historic charm to it, which was great! It just didn’t have a convenient outdoor space (or windows, for that matter), so we had to scratch it off the list. But it does have an awesome outside beer garden! If those picnic tables moved, we would have been sold.
My brother suggested we check out Churchill’s Pub, which we really, really loved! I love their restaurant and bar, but never knew they had an upstairs banquet room. It is completely private, attached to the rooftop bar/patio, and is charming and beautiful. Unfortunately, it was a little too small for our large party. Bummer!
Whew, all of this venue shopping called for a quick cocktail for the walk.
Another close call was Kevin Barry’s Pub on River Street. They have a super fun upstairs private space with a lot of character and energy. The walls are covered in pictures of heroes (Military, police and firemen) that have made sacrifices for our country. Very cool and personal, and gives people something to look at and do. This is an excellent space for large groups and for something not very formal. Unfortunately, it didn’t have a large enough open-air balcony for Jimmy’s cigars.
Upstairs at Garibaldi was another close call. The room is absolutely GORGEOUS! It’s full of class, charm, and elegance. I love the floor-to-ceiling mirrors along the wall, the natural light, and the “Gatsby feel” of the space. Jimmy was even willing to give up on the outside space for this room .. what?! But we weren’t ready to commit quite yet. (I only got one picture of my own, the other two were pulled from another site.)
We also looked at Alligator Soul, renting out Congress Street Social Club‘s basement (which has games and would be a TON of fun), and The Pirate’s House, but I didn’t get any pictures of them. All excellent options, too, for anyone looking for a space for 60 people or less!
Finally, we decided to check out space at the Andaz Hotel, which is going to be our host hotel for the wedding weekend. I’m usually not too keen on having events at hotels … they just feel to stuffy and tend to lack any effort. But once we toured the property we fell in love. And decided the rooftop terrace would be where we will have our rehearsal dinner! We love that it’s outside, has seating without the look of sleepy round tables, and goes along with the “theme” and feel of our wedding. The bar is made up of small-batch liquors to create delicious craft cocktails, there’s plenty of room for Jimmy’s cigar bar, all of the food is fresh and local, and there’s a fire pit to keep warm (and for roasting marshmallows!)
I have a lot of plans for sprucing it up just a bit more, and for making it the perfect space to visit with our out-of-town family and wedding party in a very social setting. Not to mention no one will have a far walk back to their room after having a little too much fun!
A HUGE shout out to my friend Megan and Visit Savannah for several of the venue suggestions!
P.s. I apologize for the quality of some of these pictures. Many were taken on my iPhone.
Next up … our ceremony site and reception venue. Can’t wait to share our hunt for those with you soon! 🙂