The Wedding Chronicles: Picking a Venue

After the proposal I knew I had to get on picking a date.  Not only for my own sanity, but because every time someone congratulated us on the engagement the next thing out of their mouths was, “So did you pick a date.”  Maybe I was going about this totally opposite than normal bride-to-bes.  I feel like the norm in the wedding planning world is to just pick a date then find a venue based on the date you chose.  I on the other hand wanted to find a venue I loved and go off of whatever dates they had available.

 I have always wanted a late spring/early summer wedding. 
Wade and I knew this coming spring would be way too soon to pull all the planning together as well as find funds. We decided we wanted to wait a little bit longer than the usual engagement so we were able to have fun with planning and save up enough money to have the type of wedding we want. We decided to look for venues in hopes of having a May 2014 wedding date.
Since Wade and I are old school and wanted to have the wedding ceremony in a church, we had a lot on our plate when it came to figuring out a date.  Not only dealing with a date that is appealing to us, but availability  at the church and reception venue of our choice, was quite a chore.
Trinity Lutheran Church- Hagerstown, MD
I have a church at home in Frederick (Jefferson- St. Lukes Lutheran Church) but I have always dreamed of getting married at my Grandparents church in Hagerstown, MD.  I remember when I was a little girl and spending the weekend with my Grandparents, going to church at Trinity.  I remembered the church being so big a beautiful like out of a movie.
On top of my childhood memories;  my parents were married at Trinity and I was baptized there.  Pop Pop had been going to this church from when he was a little boy.  Grandma and Pop Pop were also very involved at Trinity Lutheran.  Pop Pop was an usher and Grandma was on altar guild.  
So needless to say my family and myself have plenty of history with Trinity. 
I had called Trinity literally days after we got engaged enquiringly about available dates.  Pastor Dave (the interim Pastor) told me to come into church that Sunday to meet him and walk around.
So we did.  And the church was as beautiful as when I remembered.   We loved Pastor Dave. He was pretty sure nothing was booked yet ceremony wise for 2014 but told me to contact the Church’s Parish administrator in a week (she was on vacation) to make sure. 
We wondered around the church for a bit after the service and I could totally imagine us getting married here. We were sold.
 It  is a shame by the time we get married he will more than likely not be the Pastor, but I am sure his replacement will be an amazing Pastor as well.
Springfield Farm Barn- Williamsport, MD
We had chosen to check out the Springfield Farm Barn because of its location; only 7 miles from Trinity.
As we drove up we realized how deceiving photography can make things.  This barn was smack dab in the middle of things. Schools houses and play grounds were all around us.  Definitely did not look like the barn was in the middle of nowhere like the pictures depicted.
Nonetheless, the barn was beautiful and big and in our price range.
We walked in and we loved it.  The inside space that you are allowed to use is about half the size of the barn.  Which still would hold 300 guests.  {way too many people for us but good to know we would have a lot of space.  for $1900 we would get the barn Friday and Saturday until midnight.  This scared us because we would need time to tear down everything by midnight.
 {From the Springfield Farm Facebook Page}
 {From the Springfield Farm Facebook Page}
Mathwig Estate Event Barn- Thurmont, MD
We were pretty set on the Springfield farm barn but when I went that following Thursday to Downtown Frederick’s Girls Night Out’ I met this lady of Relish Decor, Hallie Burrier who suggested a barn out in Thurmont.  She could not remember the name but gave me her card and told me to email her and she would find the name.
When she got back to me I googled the Mathwig Estate Barn and fell in love.  It was smaller than the Springfield barn, but had character and kind of resembled an old country house with the windows but still looked like a barn.
We made an appointment to go visit the barn the same day.  Even when it was cloudy and dreary outside we still thought this barn was beautiful.  It was actual on a piece of open land with beautiful views.
Taylor, the daughter showed us around.  We really liked her. She was young, laid back but still professional and answered all of our questions and concerns.
Wade loved that their was a fire pit in the back of the barn.  They will even supply the wood!
Stone walkways and patios we put in the front, back and basement of the barn last winter and looked very elegant.  This winter they plan on adding more stalls and extending the bathroom.  Right now there is only one toilet, which could prove to be a problem. 
What really won our hearts was the freedom and flexibility of the barn.  For $1500 we would have the barn Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until noon AND with no hourly restrictions.  This means we could have our reception last as long as we wanted. We were sold!
{Wade standing by the bathroom}
 {C&I Photography}
Ostertag Vistas- Myersville, MD
Even though we were pretty set on the Mathwig Event Barn, we decided to keep our tour appointment with that we previously had made with Ostertag Vistas.  From the pictures it looked beautiful and we had to check it out.  We had the prices before we went and knew it was out of our price range at $3,200, which would get us 2 hours of set up time, 4 hours of reception time and 1 hour of clean up time.  
We knew going in this place would have to blow our socks off for us to spend that kind of money and to move ahead of the Mathwig Barn.
When we drove up we were very impressed.  There were beautiful weeping willow trees, creeks, meadows and fields all around us. Not to mention the cutest lake with lily pads!  
We met with Wanda who was our tour guide to show us around.  Another bride joined us.  From the begining we felt that there was just a lot going on around us.  People were setting up for a wedding later that day, people were coming in for rehersal for a wedding the next day, etc.  The tour was very formalized; we were lead around room by room which was nice because there was a lot to see. A lot of the family history was also explained.  The main room was the part of the barn that looked the most like a barn.  With the wooden beams, open spaces, loft and very nice wooden floors.  There were plenty of modern bathrooms, full kitchen, cocktail area, changing rooms, etc that looked like you were in the inside of a hotel not a barn. Those ares also had A/C.
There was a deck with a huge back patio.  There was also this little garage that opened up to a bar room which we thought was awesome.
Beautiful old historic houses were all along the property.
When all was said and done we decided to pass.  1) the cost 2)the hourly restrictions 3) we were not allowed to tear down any of the decorations- there were fake flowers and decor EVERYWHERE! I repeat EVERYWHERE! We could put more decorations up if we wanted but there were so many; adding anything else to go with our wedding colors would make it look worse. 4) lack of customer intimacy- we did not feel as if we would get the attention we needed, as i said before we felt like there was a lot going on and from observations felt that the staff would get distracted going from wedding group to wedding group. (too much on their plates)
After seeing three places we decided to go with the Mathwig Barn.  They had free range on dates so we were free to choose one that worked best for us and the church.  Before we signed the contract we brought both sets of our parents by to check it out, they really seemed to like it.  Another thing we loved about the barn was that we could stop by anytime we wanted as long as we cleared it with Taylor. {making sure a wedding wasn’t there} We did not need to be led around and could show our families privately.  
After we showed our parents we knew we had to take the drive.  The last thing holding us back was the distance between the church and the barn. When we map-quested the distance it said 20 miles and 35 mins.  You have to take MD 77 almost the whole way between the church and barn, so we wanted to make sure that it really was a 35 min drive.
We took the journey through the mountains to the church and low and behold it was 35 mins (well 36 mins) Our back up plan was to switch to my home church in Frederick if it was too far to Trinity.  From my home church to the barn was 33 mins, so 36 mins to Trinity wasn’t much of a deal breaker. 
Next Wade and I decided on a date; blog post pending {which went back and forth and Taylor was completely understanding and flexible} We signed the contract and now we have a venue! 

This was very stressful but very fun.  I cannot wait to get married at Trinity Lutheran and have our reception at the Mathwig Estate Barn!!!

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  • ashleyyyyy Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    i like the church pics

  • Andréa Friday, October 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    yay tara! When i saw the instagram pics i knew you were already plotting. you are so on top of it!

  • Unknown Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 4:26 am

    Congratulations on your venue! I am so happy Mathwig was what you were looking for, it is a gorgeous venue.

    -Hallie (Relish Decor)

  • Anonymous Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Same , Mathwig is beautiful and Taylor is the sweetest. Do you have a photographer yet? I am the owner of the photography company that shot the night shot of the barn in your post. Let me know if you guys are in need or a photographer for your big day! We would love to work with you.


  • girl Y Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Thank you so much for your post! I am having the exact same problem! I want ostertag specifically for the cocktail hour area but I hate the idea of being restricted by hours. ugh… what to do what to do.

  • Jannah Delfin Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I appreciate all of the information that you have shared. Thank you for the hard work!

    wedding venue springfield

  • Unknown Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks for all of the information – I'm in the earliest stages of shopping venues (two of my potential venues are on this page!), so this was a huge help!

  • Nathan Toles Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Nice and simple venue, I really like that kind of place because it was peaceful. And if you need some business or any event venue, you can also try to visit this Peppers blue on blue magnetic island because you will surely enjoy this place.