When it came time to start checking out venues, I was a bit apprehensive about the whole thing. You always hear horror stories about brides going through tons of viewings before they find the perfect location. Everything kind of needs to be put on hold until you snag a place, date and time. It’s kind of hard to plan any other details without being able to answer the four W’s (Who, What, When, Where).
So, where to start? THE INTERNET! It’s amazing the things you can find out with a Google search. Hipster moment here: I have always wanted to get married in a barn. Legit always. Where did 6-year-old Danielle have Barbie and Ken walking down the aisle? Heck yes, Ol’ MacDonald’s Farm y’all, complete with hay bales and cows. Suddenly, my wacky barn craving has caught on though, and they’re crazy expensive. One place I researched wanted $7000 … for a barn … with no food … or tables … or palm frond-wielding Cabana boys. What the crap?!
Search as I may, I couldn’t find a barn that was just right. They were all running about $2500 minimum. I had budgeted $5000 of my budget (half) for food, venue and ceremony. I wasn’t too eager to dump half of that just for a building with little or no extras. I mean, let’s be real, I’m a broke-ass bride on a serious budget. SIGH, oh well, so much for a barn wedding.
While venting my woes to one of my girls, she suggested I check out the Onondaga Parks Facilities. Her mom had just gone to a wedding at one of their places the past weekend and it was gorgeous. The zoo was also part of the park system, so I could even get married there!
I checked out their website, and lo, the heavens shined down upon my monitor and the angels sang. The prices. THE PRICES. *insert hallelujah chorus here* I could get married at the zoo or one of the three other lodges for about $750. WOOT! I jumped on the phone so fast I probably broke the sound barrier.
Pathway through Narnia to Arrowhead Lodge
I made appointments to see Arrowhead Lodge, Skyline Lodge, and the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. I happen to be skeptical about the existence of love at first sight, however, Arrowhead was the first of the Onondaga Parks venues that I saw and I fell instantly in love with it. The walkway up was much prettier on the first viewing (but I forgot to take pictures), so this picture is showing the walkway in the height of this year’s drought. It has a Narnia-esque feel with a lamp post in the middle.
Back Patio at Arrowhead Lodge
Interior of Arrowhead Lodge
For $650 I got the facility, tables, chairs, exclusive use of the park, outdoor games, uplighting and patio furniture. t’s GORGEOUS! I also love Brenda, the facility manager. f you are in the Central New York area, I would HIGHLY recommend checking out the Onondaga Parks System. I loved Skyline as well and the zoo has its unique charm. They are both around $750 and those two have in-house catering.