The venue is the first big piece of any wedding planning puzzle. When I think of the venue Anthony and I selected, I can’t help but think it is perfect. We started talking about where we wanted to get married and we came up with two absolute criteria: the first is that we wanted to get married in Fort Worth, where I, and both of our parents live, the second criterion was that I didn’t want to spend more than a certain amount on our venue. Anthony narrowed down the options even further by saying he didn’t want to stray too far from downtown.
Another deciding factor in our venue hunt was date. We played hopscotch on the calendar, avoiding family birthdays, holidays, and the Texas heat until we came up with our options: April or October. We didn’t want the average 14 month engagement, so we settled on April and started our search. I added one more thought to the list of ideals, but tried to remain flexible: I wanted to have the ceremony and reception in the same place.
I did my research, and lots of it. I began online by looking photos and compared pricing. Then I sent e-mails and made phone calls. Ultimately, I narrowed it down to two venues: YWCA and Bell Tower Chapel. I set up an appointment for Anthony and I at Bell Tower via e-mail, then called YWCA to set up an appointment and found out they were booked each weekend in April. If Bell Tower didn’t work out, the search would continue.
Let me back up a bit. When I first saw Bell Tower Chapel, it stood out to me. It was the only venue that grabbed me. It might have even been love at first sight (if you can fall in love with a venue). I had never seen it, nor heard of it. I didn’t know anyone who had gotten married there, but the photos, which don’t do the venue justice, spoke to me.
We met with coordinators of Bell Tower, and signed a contract. That’s it. One venue is all we visited. But it gets better. As silly or insignificant as they may seem the chairs that come with the venue are, well, perfect. My colours are metallics. The chiavari chairs for the reception area are gold. Additionally, what venue called Bell Tower would be complete without a bell? Anthony and I are looking forward to ringing the bell after we walk back down the aisle together. Wedding bells will be ringing, literally.
There are a couple of other details that add to the feeling of delightful perfection. The Chapel was built in 1958 and designed by architect Donald Nelson. That may mean nothing to you, but it holds significance to us. One of Donald Nelson’s most notable works was Fair Park, in Dallas, Texas, where we met! Furthermore, the chapel was donated in 2008 to ACH Child and Family Services. They had no programmatic use for the chapel and gardens so they use it as a wedding venue and all proceeds support the mission of the organization.
Location. Budget. Timing. Significance. Support.