A converted barn, a venue offering three differently sized rooms or a traditional fire hall are some of the options available to Butler County bridal parties.
Sherry Lynn is the owner of The Atrium, 1031 New Castle Road, Prospect, and Pine Hall, 100 Eisler Lane, Butler, a barn converted into a wedding venue three years ago,
“The Atrium was our old greenhouse and garden center that we converted into a reception hall. It took off immediately,” Lynn said. “Pine Hall was a barn on our nursery that we converted into a wedding venue. It's 150 years old. It's a really, really cool old barn.”
At The Atrium, she said, “The majority of the events we do are weddings and receptions.”
Brides and bridegrooms looking to book a venue need to plan well ahead, she advised.
“Right now, we are booking for 2020 at both venues,” Lynn said, adding all Saturdays at Pine Hall are booked for 2019 and there are only a few Friday and Saturday dates available during Pine Hall's time of operation from May through October.
She added there are only a few open dates for 2019 at The Atrium.
The second thing to consider, she said, is what is included in the venue rental.
The Atrium rental, she said, “includes everything. We do the decorations, the centerpieces. We set the tables, tray the cookies, cater the meal, provide wait staff and bartenders and mixers.”
The Atrium doesn't have a liquor license, so the wedding party has to supply its own alcohol as well as a disc jockey and photographer.
If the wedding is also being held at The Atrium, she said, there is “a specific bridal room for the bride to get ready.”
The Atrium also has outdoor gardens that provide popular picture backdrops.
“It's very popular having outdoor spaces for photographs,” Lynn said.
The venue has just been repainted and is climate controlled and handicapped accessible.
“This is the peak time of year for engagements: Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day. In this two-month period, a lot of people will get engaged,” she said.
Charles Roche, manager of the Tanglewood Center, 10 Austin Ave., Lyndora, agreed with Lynn, that a good rule of thumb for renting a venue is to plan a year ahead.
“But with two or three weeks' notice so we can set up the tables, we can do it as long as we have room available,” Roche said.
The Tanglewood has three rooms, the largest of which can seat 300, he said. The other two can hold 100 and 175.
“The food, decoration and music is up to them. We do have in-house catering as an option,” Roche said.
“Typically for a wedding reception, they have the room from 8 a.m. to midnight,” he said.
He noted that dates for 2019 are filling up fast.
Diane Baird, in charge of booking for the North Washington Social Hall, 739 Fairview Road, North Washington, said of prospective wedding rentals, “First of all they have to know how many people they are inviting to the wedding. They need to ask if tables are available, if the restrooms are adequate.
“We have a minibar available if they are going to serve alcohol at the reception,” Baird said.
“The kitchen is separate from the social hall. If they want meals, the North Washington Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary does catering,” Baird said. “It's extra to have a meal catered. The auxiliary has a menu to pick from or they can bring in their own caterer.”
Baird said rentals run from 2 p.m. the day before the reception to a preferred closing hour of 1 a.m.
Baird added, “Basically I started getting 2019 reservations in the fall. If they want to know whether that date is available or not, they need to get a hold of me right away.
Photographs of the social hall are available on the group's website.
Not every bride wants to call and visit before choosing a wedding reception location, Lynn said.
“Social media is changing the way brides are planning their weddings,” she said.
“Brides now need their information instantly. They are planning their whole wedding on their phones,” Lynn said. “When they contact you, you need to be able to answer immediately.”