Monday, September 28, 2009

Venue Crashing: Normandy Farm

We're back again for another edition of Venue Crashing!

This past Saturday we headed to Blue Bell, PA to look at Normandy Farm.

The original property dates back to 1730 when there was a tavern on the main road (202) from Doylestown to Norristown. Let me tell you, I could use a tavern on my 3+ trips a week between the two towns now! But anyway, in 1913 the property was bought by a prominent businessman and renamed after Normandy, France where he honeymooned with his wife. The owner, Ralph Strassberger, nearly doubled the size of the property to raise his thoroughbred horses, and some fancy cattle (Aryshire? I don't know.. a cow is a cow to me.)

Ok, back to me. The ceremony takes place on the grounds in a cozy little garden

a wide view
There are tons of photographic opportunities on the grounds. One of my favorites was by the old barn that flanked the side of the ceremony area

Say hello to my 'Must Have Photo Moment':

While JEGs and I are snapping fancy pictures like the one above, our guest will be ushered across the parking lot to the cocktail area, complete with open bar and fun appetizers

Oh wait, was that some interesting detail? Let's take a second look...

Loves it.
During the cocktail hour guests can meander out on the terrace that has comfy seating areas

The seating areas are enclosed by stucco walls

I'm not sure why it looks like my mother is standing in a hole...

There are two ballrooms at Normandy Farms- the Grand Ballroom and the Silo Ballroom. Since we will have a smaller party, we looked at the Silo Ballroom, which was still lovely. When we snapped these pictures on Saturday, they were already setting up for a wedding

See those chairs? Not folding chairs! BONUS!
Now, you may be wondering to yourself, why do they call it the Silo Ballroom? Well my friend, that's because there are three huge silos attached to this room

from the outside, by the terrace

Looking straight up from the inside

The best part is, they have integrated the silos into the ballroom. The first one can be used for a number of options: a children's table (if you have many children attending), a photobooth, a place to put the presents, or what this couple did- display family wedding photos

The second silo is the perfect spot to display the cake during the reception

.. and the third silo is used for storage, so you can't really access it. Hey, two out of three ain't half bad.

There were a lot of other fun perks to Normandy Farms. There is a hotel and restaurant attached to the reception area, so after the reception ends, we can crash the bar in the restaurant and then guests who want to can stumble upstairs and stay the night. Also, it is directly across from the Blue Bell Country club, so the groomsmen could putt a couple rounds before they sass themselves up for the wedding.

Things we liked about Normandy Farm:
  • Location- we couldn't beat it. Twenty minutes from our apartment and about exactly half way for each family
  • Character- TOOOONS OF IT! It had that barn feeling, but a little more sophisticated. And less hay.
  • Total Package- this place has it all; included in the cost is the caterer, cake, open bar and bridal hotel room for two nights. PLUS, JEGs and I got a $100 gift certificate to their restaurant. Sweet.
  • Chairs- not folding chairs at no extra cost ( I really have this aversion to folding chairs)
  • Menu- the options were interesting, without being too crazy. Like pot stickers, or mini chicken fajitas for appetizers. Yumski.
  • Dates- there was one available date in June, and plenty in July.
  • Discounts- if we signed a contract by the end of September, we would receive 9% off the catering bill.
Things we didn't like about Normandy Farms
  • Ceremony Fee- $6.85 per person to set up chairs. That is killing the budget a little
  • Parking lot- although there is a crap-ton of parking, our entire area is surrounded by parking lots or driveways. It didn't really have that secluded feeling like Pen Ryn.
...I have a confession to make. Saturday was actually our second trip to Normandy Farms. JEGs and I had gone to see it the following Sunday and knew right away this is were we wanted to get married. That shazam feeling was there, and we went to my parents house and gushed about it. We had already planned a dinner with both sets of parents for the 26th, so my dad said 'Give them a call and have them show us around. I'll bring the checkbook.'
So we met up with the director of sales, Alecia, again and showed the 'rents. They loved it, and Daddy-O signed a contract.

Mark your calendars- July 17, 2010.
Let's get crackin'.

Always & Forever,


Erin Schularick said...

Very exciting! Looks like a beautiful spot for a beautiful bride:)

bethany said...

Oh, HOORAY! From the looks of it...this was definitely my favorite of all of the places you've featured!

And...your date sounds adorable. :)

G+D said...

What a gorgeous place--perfect for the big day!

Shannon said...

woot!!! congrats on picking a place, this one is perfect! Oh and nice date too, it's my BFF's b-day!

Erin Schularick said...

I just realized where this place is. It's literally right around the corner from Dustin's families house. It's beautiful!