Wednesday, January 13, 2016
This is a boring wedding planning blog post. Unless you enjoy photos of exotic birds and pretty Pennsylvania countryside.
For the winter holidays, we went back to Pennsylvania and stuffed in some wedding venue shopping time. We visited two places, completely and totally different from each other: the National Aviary and a farm.
The constraints we were working with were not insane: (1) Pittsburgh-area, (2) ceremony/reception not need copious extra decorations, (3) not a banquet hall, (4) venue does weddings regularly, and (5) in a particular price range [which is difficult to articulate because every venue does a different pricing approach for the necessities]. This nonsense gets tricky when you live 2,600 miles away!
The National Aviary
Weddings at the Aviary happen after hours, giving you private access to most of the exhibits. You can even have a penguin or other bird stop by during the reception. They have an outdoor rose garden, and numerous indoor spaces available. The space next to the penguins smells a little birdy, but the main reception area in the atrium does not. One million weddings appear to take place at the Aviary (, , , , , , , , ), which means that at the very least the staff probably knows what they're doing. The reviews seem to support this. The Aviary is a pretty nifty idea at a reasonable-ish price, although, with weddings, everyone's 'reasonable price' seems to be different. It's a bit tricky to deal with. Everything's a bit tricky.
Horizon View FarmsWe loved Horizon View Farms out in the Laurel Highlands, too. We'd been out near there before, for our first backpacking experience or frequently camping in Ohiopyle. It really is a lovely area, and this particular farm had all kinds of options: a pond, a hill with an overlook, a pine forest, an arena barn, and a cozy rustic barn with built-in dance floor. All of which photograph fantastically.
However, once we looked into the cost of renting and transporting tables/chairs/whatever, we realized the actual price for this venue was about triple what they posted. I mean, $1,700 for a very necessary toilet trailer + transporting other necessities into the middle of nowhere. It adds up fast.
But just look how pretty! Even in the middle of December!