When last I typed we were in a quandary… and before I continue, I recognise (and love) that this opening sentence made me sound like I was writing a letter in a Jane Austin novel. But yes, the quandary: do we prioritise the big wedding or the dream house, or amend expectations and do both! Now, a quandary sounds so negative, but in actual fact it can be quite a positive position to be in:
A) At least you have options.
B) You get the joy of using the word quandary in a sentence.
Admittedly, if your quandary is a toss up between postponing your wedding for a year or cracking on with a 15-person Tier 3 wedding then neither option is ideal. What an awful year, eh?! My heart goes out to all of the couples whose plans have been interrupted by Miss Rona shouting “I object”. In the grand scheme of things, our little quandary is just a case of forward planning. (I will now stop over-using the word quandary).
So, we’ve arrived at a kind of middle ground. We’ve agreed upon the sensible choice of the house first in 2021, and then a wedding in 2022 that prioritises what we need and want in a more affordable and less unnecessarily elaborate way. God, that sentence sounded more negative than quandary. This is in no way a compromise. Deciding not to £75 per head for a 3 course meal is no compromise, more like going ahead and spending it could suggest concussion or severe head trauma. I wouldn’t spend £75 on myself for a 3 course meal at a restaurant, so why would I spend it on a every member of a large crowd of invites… I don’t care if they are our nearest and dearest.
So we’re back to planning a wedding for 2022… wedding planning in a pandemic… hereafter referred to as the Wedding Plandemic. (Do you still only have to post a letter to yourself to copyright things like that or was that just a playground lie?)
Planning so far has been slow without a confirmed venue, and I don’t know how many more blogs I can write whinging that we don’t have a venue and aren’t able to carry on with planning yet. So you will be thrilled, or possibly relieved, to know that we think we’ve got the one. The venue of dreams. We’ve pencilled a date and everything.
Let’s go back to January. (If they ever turn this blog into a film the screen will do an old-school flashback ripple here).
When we first started considering venues and decided on the warehouse theme we immediately sought out every warehouse, factory and mill space in the city that was available for hire. Liverpool’s docklands seem to be in no short supply of quirky spaces but few can house a large enough crowd for a low enough fee. We’ve visited (and documented) Hinterlands and Camp & Furnace, both huge spaces to fill presenting their own problems… Hinterlands would need a lot of “stuff” (or people!) to fill the room and make it feel less empty. Camp & Furnace would need lessons in etiquette to make them less rude and show them how to respond to emails.
Of course, we had a moment (where I left you last) when we were almost ready to book The Palm House in Sefton Park which had absolutely nothing to do with warehouses. It was literally the polar opposite to the industrial vibe. Instead of bricks and rust it had bushes and rhododendrons. Let me say here it was also beautiful and would have been a lovely day and a lovely wedding. The lovely people involved were so helpful. The price was high but was pretty standard for high end wedding venues like the Palm House. The price has also been a point of realisation for us and that is not an insult to them. Cost is relative and I’m sure if someone is in a position to splurge then they would certainly get their money’s worth. For us, and our wider future plans, we’d rather not splurge to that extent. I’m glad we went, I’m glad we tried it out, I’m glad we got the quotes. It made us realise that it’s not what we want, that it’s an unnecessary splurge, and that we definitely want the warehouse vibe.
The problem at the beginning was our guest list of 120 daytime guests which made bigger venues too big and more intimate venues too small. Intimate venues, though, came back onto the table when we put the daytime guest list on a juice cleanse and cut from 120 to 92 (two blogs ago) and now have slimmed it down even further to 80. One such intimate venue, suggested by my mum back in January, was deemed too small back then, but we thought could be the perfect fit now the guest list is closer to its target weight. And we thought right.
The venue is a hidden gem in Liverpool’s fabric district, relatively unknown and in actual fact a photography space. It can actually hold up to 200 seated guests but works beautifully with a smaller amount. It has beautifully tiled toilets with Edison lightbulbs… And it’s a warehouse, well, a former leather tannery.
To put you out of your misery… (drum roll)… the venue is called Scale. We are obsessed.
I saw it first with my mum and sister (Maid of Honour) and had a really good witch belly feeling… I could tell this would be the one. The lovely Gemma from the venue literally ticked the every box for us about a bespoke, relaxed and perfect wedding of our own devising. Once we left, she gave us an email intro to their regular caterer, Alison from Fig and the Wild, which was quickly followed up with a phone chat. Alison’s catering style is broad, eclectic, tailored to the couple and, even better, she doesn’t offer packages with fixed prices to choose from: she takes your budget and your ideal price-per-head and comes up with a bespoke menu that isn’t going to surprise or out-price you.
On Saturday, one week ago, I returned with Liam and could see the corners of his eyes wrinkle behind the mask, the 2020 symbol of the smile. He was sold. It was Liam, the careful, cautious one, and not me, the instinctive, impulsive one, who jumped in and asked Gemma to pull up the calendar.
A Saturday in Late July 2022. Pencilled.
We’re just awaiting some further conversations with catering and then we’ll turn that pencil into a pen. Food is important to me, but even more important to Liam. He’s a great cook and wants the food on our special day to be just as great. There are limited areas of the planning he has claimed as his department but the food is certainly one of them so I’m leaving him to make the decisions there. We agree that Alison’s style and setup, plus her knowledge of and affiliation with the venue should only be a major positive!
And so we’re off. We (99.9%) have a venue! Planning can commence. Pinterest isn’t gonna know what’s hit it!!!