Saturday, December 23, 2006

Tying the Knot in a Museum

Some peeps get married in churches. Some peeps get married in hotels. Some peeps get married at country clubs. We tied the knot in a museum.

Why a museum? I'm a modernist. I like my design free of the overly ornate and frou-frou. And, yet, I wanted a place that still had built-in visual interest.

Or maybe I just read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler too many times as a child.

In any event, it couldn't be just any museum. It had to be a place that didn't make me feel like I had to speak in hushed tones. It had to be a place that embodied the contemporary. It had to be a place that emanated vibrancy.

I (yes, I -- the hubs didn't care where the heck we got married) narrowed down the choices to the following venues:

Possible Venue 1: The Aquarium of the Pacific
The hubs and I love animals. Every trip we take is to a land filled with wildlife -- Kenya, Tanzania, the Galapagos Islands, and our honeymoon to Australia. In fact, I even toyed briefly with the idea with trekking down to get married at the world-famous San Diego Zoo!

Thinking slightly more locally, I turned to The Aquarium of the Pacific. What could be better than getting married amidst cool live sea creatures? And imagine dining under a gigantic replica of a blue whale!

In the end, we decided the catering packages didn't suit us, but the Aquarium coordinators were very friendly and responsive, so I'm sure that it would be a lovely place to get married. If you are interested in the Aquarium for your wedding, you can check out the info here.

Possible Venue 2: The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County was appealing to me for a number of reasons. It was centrally located, spacious, and steeped with awesome photo-ops alongside elephants and dinosaurs.

Sadly, the Natural History Museum never became a real option. I sent multiple e-mails and left even more voicemails to no avail. It was not until nearly a month later after my barrage of communications that I finally got a call back. By that time, I had already been in touch with and visited other possible venues, and the excessively delayed response time concerned me enough to rule out the Natural History Museum altogether.

If the events coordinator took a month to return a simple e-mail or phone call, what kind of experience would I have had with her while planning our wedding? Too risky! Nevertheless, it would've been cool if she had her act together. Click here for the 411 if you're the gambling type.

Possible Venue 3: Long Beach Museum of Art
While the hubs would far rather trek through a rainforest than stroll through the Louvre (a big reason why we've taken the adventure-filled vacations we have together, as opposed to any European extravaganzas that I must convince the hubs to take in the future), I am a big fan of the arts.

It would've been a total dream to have our wedding at the gorgeous Walt Disney Concert Hall, but it was $200 per person for just food -- drinks not included! (Instead, we did part of our engagement shoot there, so at least I have some sweet photos of us at one of my dream venues.) With our extensive guest list and our non-celebrity budget, my beloved Walt Disney Concert Hall was not a possibility.

Then I found the Long Beach Museum of Art. It was a far cry from the Walt Disney Concert Hall. In fact, it was nothing like the Walt Disney Concert Hall at all. However, it did satisfy my dream of a venue that paid tribute to my love of fine art, and it was budget-friendly.

Because of our growing guest list, the Long Beach Museum of Art eventually became an unviable option. We enjoyed our visit there. It has gorgeous oceanfront views and beautiful set-up potential. The facilities manager was also very helpful, informative, and prompt in responding to my inquiries.

I'm sure getting married there would be a wonderful experience. If you're interested, check this out. Also, take a look at the bios of misscarriefacey and oct142006bride, who both got married there in 2006 (albeit not to each other).

Possible Venue 4: The Autry National Center
During my quest to find the perfect museum venue, I came across The Autry National Center. At first, it didn't strike me as a place that fit us. After all, neither of us is a big western buff. Cowboys and guns and saloons and tumbleweeds do nothing for me. The Autry National Center almost didn't even make my list of sites to contact and visit! Thank God I was so intent on checking out all museum possibilities.

I loved The Autry! As I walked through the Plaza, Lobby, and Heritage Court, I could picture getting married there. Even the hubs had a positive reaction, which spoke volumes, as he was indifferent to every other place we visited. He especially liked Heritage Court, which spans two stories. I knew this would be an impressive room for the ceremony. Further, both the events supervisor and in-house caterer were phenomenal, which gave me instant peace of mind. An added bonus included a spacious free parking lot and a central, easily accessible location for our guests.

The Autry was modern but warm -- simultaneously contemporary and inviting.

Going once. Going twice. Sold.

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