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epic wedding dress

Wedding Cardinal Sin

Disclaimer: While this blog is really dedicated to my equestrian pursuits, I thought it would be a fun change of pace to talk about some of the wedding planning I’m doing, since it’s such a big event in my life. If you’re not interested, feel free to skip over these installments — no hard feelings!

After Sam and I got engaged, we immediately started getting “so, have you set a date yet?” from everyone we talked to. Seriously — I’d been engaged for less than 24 hours before I got asked that question and it never stopped!
So after basking in the post-engagement glow for about a week, I got down to business. I knew I wanted an outdoor ceremony, and preferably both the wedding and reception would be at the same location, with no travelling needed (all the better to drink to, my dear!). I used TheKnot.comand to quickly view my options online, and my mom did her usual Google-Sleuth maneuver to come up with some ideas too.
We also discussed dates with both families and it turned out we had a narrower window than I thought: we needed sometime in May (but not the first weekend) or June (either the first weekend or the last). Which might sound like a decent number of Saturdays to choose from… except in the world of weddings.
As I attempted to make appointments to visit some of my favorite venues, it became clear that I was committing a wedding cardinal sin: planning a wedding in less than one full year. Seriously, let me paint you a picture:
I Do Wedding Heels
Me: “Hi, I’m calling to make an appointment to visit your venue for a wedding.”
Venue: “Okay great! When is your wedding?”
Me: “I’m thinking sometime in May or June.”
Venue: “May or June 2015, that’s perfect! We still have some availability left, let me just tell you your options…”
Me: “Oh no, I’m sorry; May or June of next year, 2014.”
Venue: “Did you say next year? As in, less than 12 months from now?! I’m sorry, we can’t help you. Unless you’d consider a Monday morning?”
Absolute insanity, I tell you; the wedding industry is totally out of control! So after a few of those types of calls, I girded my loins and narrowed my list. Sam and I visited three places: a botanical garden, a banquet hall and an old estate (in that order).
The botanical gardens were very pretty, but the layout options weren’t ideal; the spaces seemed kind of small (and we’re planning a fairly small wedding!) and had a decent number of stairs, which wasn’t great for our elderly grandparents.
botanical gardens
One option for ceremony space at the botanical garden [photo from interwebz]
The banquet hall was actually built specifically for weddings, so I thought it was nicer than just a typical hall. Plus it was a more “all-inclusive” type of deal, which I was very intrigued by. For the venue itself, I loved the entryway and the reception space was really nice. But the ceremony space was underwhelming. It looked pretty in the pictures, but I just couldn’t quite picture it for myself.
reception space option 2
Option #2: cool reception space [interwebz photo]
The old estate is kind of in the middle of nowhere, and not the easiest place to find. But I was sold the minute we pulled up: it has a wrought iron gate, with a long drive lined with trees. The building itself was an estate built by a very wealthly man, and features two main rooms with floor to ceiling windows that look out over a stone terrace and a beautiful river, which is where the ceremony would be held.
Darby House Driveway
Driveway of Option #3 [from their website]
The original owner was a man who made his fortune in property development building skyscrapers, and I’m sure it didn’t hurt when he married into the Firestone family (you know, Firestone Tire and Rubber). In his spare time he enjoyed sports: racing Thoroughbreds, as well as owning the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team.  Now, his old estate has display cases of old memorabilia: Kentucky Derby Trophies, Baseball World Series Trophies, etc. Sam, who is a big baseball fan, and I spent probably the first 20 minutes of our tour in awe of the history there – we literally could not have designed a better venue ourselves!
Of course, they didn’t have much availability, but we ended up making it work and our venue is booked, and our date set! But you’ll just have to wait until our Save the Dates go out to find out THAT information.


Fly On Over is an equestrian lifestyle blog devoted to connecting horse lovers around the world. By providing equestrians with practical tips and tricks related to horse ownership, discussing training techniques for horse and rider, as well as covering industry news.

18 thoughts to “Wedding Cardinal Sin”

  1. Very cool! And yes, when I got engaged everyone asked the date. Then, when we set a date about 6 months out, everyone asked if I was pregnant (I was not). It can be done, best of muck to you and congratulations!!

  2. “I” by which I mean my Mom mainly planned my wedding in about 6 months while I was about 700 miles away in college. (We got married very young.) Of course I thought it was pretty easy but my Mom might disagree. I just didn’t care so much about that kind of stuff then. I had a horse and carriage to take me from the church to the reception and that was pretty much my main request other than the dress.

    I just went to a cousin’s wedding that was held outdoors at an estate that seemed very much like the one you describe. It was one of the most beautiful and simple weddings I’ve ever attended. If I had it to do all over again I’d probably do something similar.

    Best of luck with the planning!

  3. Heh. I did my wedding in 5 months, while in school and working full time. 😉 It wasn’t super fancy, but it fit my personality and was very fun. So glad you found such a cool location!

  4. Haha my mom drug me to a wedding planning thing in february and all of the vendors basically gave us the same thing! But congrats, that’s so cool and I hope you get it all planned out 🙂 (the botanical garden looks amazing!)

  5. I just planned my wedding in 8 months, totally do-able. I found this website SUPER helpful in finding vendors and other resources if you want to go a little “less traditional.” They also post TONS of helpful stories and spreadsheets (!!) and so many other things.
    The venue is the hardest part, now comes all the fun!

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