So we’ve talked about some very important parts of the wedding industry, like wedding planners and DJs. Now let’s talk about venues…starting with Annesdale Mansion! Now you may be thinking that this place looks familiar! That’s because we shot our last Click Magazine issue there, which was the bridal issue! You can see those photos right here!
Let me start by saying, if you haven’t been to Annesdale, oh my gosh, it’s breathtaking! It is a beautiful historic MANSION! It’s in the center of town, so you don’t have to travel to Timbuktu to get there. And honestly, I don’t think there is another place quite like it.
*The thing about venues is every venue has a personality.*
This personality can be “flexible,” as in you can add different tables and floors and chandeliers and any other rental you want to order, but the bones of the venue really should fit with you and your fiancé’s personality as a couple. Of course, the venue’s personality is totally subjective. 😀
Annesdale, for me, reminds me of “Longbourn” from Pride and Prejudice. You know, back when houses were so stately, you had to name them. Annesdale would have been where I married my Mr. Darcy. <3 *swoon*
Anyhoo, I got to sit down and chat with Valerie, “Val”, the event manager extraordinaire at Annesdale Mansion to get the scoop on all the fabulous things Annesdale offers. So here we go with the interview!
Maddie: So Valerie, who is the perfect bride for Annesdale? (ie-someone who is a bit vintage and classic? It reminds me of a house in Pride and Prejudice! Oh Mr. Darcy…)
Val: There is no perfect bride for Annesdale…Annesdale transforms into the perfect venue for that bride. It can be classic and sophisticated, romantic and vintage, intimate and welcoming… From the intricate details of the hand painted ceilings to the majestic beauty of the historic trees and greenery.
Maddie: Obviously you know, Annesdale has a lot of character. From the walls, courtyards, to all the rooms that are so completely different, etc. Can you describe it a bit? (I included some images of just a FEW of the settings Annesdale has to offer! Notice the walls, chandeliers, windows, and the grounds! Ahhh. Beautiful!)
Val: There is something so romantic about the fact that Annesdale was originally given as a wedding present to Annie Overton Brinkley from her father. It was made for weddings! People always tell me that they never knew it was here, or they always knew it was here, but never had the opportunity to see it up close.
Annesdale is very versatile. The options for brides are endless. They can set up the entire mansion as they please. There are rooms for the bride and bridesmaid to get dressed as well as separate rooms for the groom and groomsmen. Downstairs provides a catering kitchen, ballroom, library, dining room, sun room, breakfast room and state room. All of which flow beautifully together for crowds of people. We just put in a gorgeous limestone patio/dance floor off of the back porch. Bands can play on the porch, guests can dance on the limestone or sit next to the ceremony garden or in the side yards. Everything about Annesdale is beautiful.
When guests pull through the gates, they are greeted by over 7 acres of historic grounds and trees. The property is tucked away and fenced completely around. It’s a hidden jewel.
The ceremony garden provides a breathtaking backdrop for any ceremony size. The interior of the mansion presents a definite wow factor. Original aubasson wall coverings, hand painted ceilings, crystal chandeliers. Annesdale takes you back in time. You can’t help but feel the warmth and history of the home.
Maddie: I know Annesdale is a hot venue right now. How soon in advance should brides be booking for their wedding day?
Val: Brides should be booking their venue 9 months to a year and a half away. I have already had calls for 2018!
Maddie: Is there a rain back-up plan? I know that the Annesdale grounds are absolutely beautiful during the spring-fall, but to ease brides’ fears, how’s the “Plan B” for the rain situation? Especially if it’s a large group.
Val: Brides can prepare for a rain plan by reserving a tent. There are 4 places on the property that tents have been used. Over the dance floor/patio, the ceremony garden and two side yards. Our west side yard can allow for a 60′ by 90′ double pole tent that can accommodate a few hundred people. Brides can also get married in our ballroom or front porch.
Maddie: Do you have any tips or recommendations for girls looking for a venue? This is a really vague question, but mainly what is the most common question every bride asks you…other than price?
Val: Brides need to fall in love with the venue they choose. Make as many visits as possible to ensure it is the perfect place for their wedding or reception. Look at pictures of actual weddings at the venue. I tell potential brides to stop in the morning of an event to see the venue decorated with tables, chairs, decorations, etc. Make sure you have a point of contact at the facility that you can contact with questions or concerns.
Ask about any extra costs other than the rental fee. READ the contract before you sign it.
Maddie: Ok, ladies. Listen to Val here. She’s speaking truth right here! When she says “Extra costs”…this is where you will get KILLED in your budget. The hidden things that creep up on you like that midterm tomorrow morning you totally forgot was happening.
For example: TAXES. SERVICE CHARGES. DELIVERY FEES. CAKE CUTTING FEES. RENTAL FEES. Ahhhhhhhhhh!
Make sure you AND the check writer (love ya, mom & dad) KNOW what these are so you aren’t stuck at the reception having to write checks you weren’t expecting. I honestly cannot stress that enough. We are talking thousands of dollars that are unplanned, which can kinda hurt depending on your budget. And it may be a bit embarrassing if you really weren’t budgeting for that extra bit.
So now, let’s keep this uplifting budget discussion going with the rental fees. (yay……..)
Maddie: Ok, Val. Let’s talk price…Are their different tiers or is it a flat rate?
Val: We have a flat fee. The main thing with our rental fee is what it all includes. Tables, chairs, valet parking, security, event coordination, pre and post clean, access for bridal portraits and event insurance. We allow our brides to choose their own vendors. This often saves brides a ton of money by picking your own caterer, photographer, etc. You may also bring in your own alcohol. There is no corkage fee or cake cutting fee.
The only time there may be an extra charge to our flat fee is when the wedding party exceeds 250 guests. In that case, we need to bring in another security guard and a few more valet attendants to assure all guests’ needs are met.
Maddie: And then to all of your brides who have already booked. How involved with the venue should they be up till the wedding? Is it a “they book, and I talk to them 2 weeks before the big day kind of thing” or more of a “we have several meetings to plan/discuss other vendor choices and where to put things” kind of relationship?
Val: The owner and myself agree on the importance of being as flexible as possible for our brides. It is “their” day and whatever we can do to make it easier and less stressful on them, we’ll do.
During the planning process, my brides have an “open door policy” at Annesdale. If I am here, they can pop in anytime they need to. There have been countless occasions that a bride wants to show the home to a friend or come by with a vendor. They are welcome! Most call and text me with questions and/or advice. I am happy to share the experiences I had with other weddings and vendors and I am open to new ones.
Our event coordinators are in touch with all vendors to schedule deliveries and set up. We have someone at the venue from open to close on the day of a wedding to assist with anything the bride needs.
Maddie: If you are getting married there, can you have engagement pictures shot there as well? Is there a fee or is that part of the package? And do you allow other couples who are not getting married to take pictures there?
Val: Being an Annesdale bride means you have have full picture access. Brides can come for engagement pictures, save the date pics, bridal portraits, etc. No charge.
We do schedule photo sessions for a small fee for anyone else wanting to take pictures. We ask that no bridal portraits be taken unless you are a contracted Annesdale bride.
Maddie: That’s definitely a plus if you are a bride. You know that only a few girls will have bridal portraits there, which makes it waaaaay more exclusive!
Ok, so there you have it! You got all this fabulous info from the Vendor Scoop on Maddie Moree’s blog! For your next event, be sure to remember Annesdale Mansion!
Stay tuned for more vendor scoopage on other venues as well as other wedding vendors!