Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Selecting a Meaningful and Memorable Wedding Venue

Today is my last day in Florida. I'm here visiting my best friend in our old college town.

My mom, brother, and cousin drove over from Tampa to visit me, and we trekked to one of my favorite restaurants in the entire world: The Sugar Mill.

Yep, it's an old sugar mill in the middle of a state park that has been converted into a restaurant. Griddles are built into the tables, and the best thing to order is a pitcher of pancake batter and all the interesting sides you want: chocolate chips, blueberries, pecans, bananas--just to name a few.

Everyone sits around the table cooking their own breakfast. And the meal comes to about $5.

[Editor's Note: You can create something similar at your own house with an electric griddle and an extension cord. Seriously! I've had pancake parties, make-your own quesadilla parties, and grill your own grilled cheese sandwich parties.]

The restaurant is situated on a natural spring that is used for swimming and diving. They even have manatees swimming in the lake during the winter.

I have such fond memories of the place and I thought to myself: "Wow, this would have been an amazing place to have a wedding, even though it doesn't feel like a wedding spot at all!" It would have been so fun to have a morning ceremony and then cook breakfast and spend the rest of the day swimming, sunning, and kayaking.

It got me thinking about locations that don't seem like wedding venues on the surface but actually have a lot of meaning for the couple and would therefore make excellent locations.

Then I read about a couple who got married in a hospital because the bride had been going there since she was a baby to overcome a brain tumor. She was friends with the hospital staff and also wanted to inspire the patients: "We really wanted to give the kids here . . . an ounce of hope that their lives will come full circle like mine did."

Then a commenter on this site left a post about friends in Minneapolis who got married on top of a parking ramp overlooking the cityscape "because the couple spent a great deal of their time hanging out with homeless people around the city and wanted a locale for their wedding their homeless friends wouldn't feel intimidated by."

The commenter went on to say: "It ended up being an absolutely beautiful day, an incredibly fun and relaxed wedding, and the diversity of the guests was a testament to the love that this couple has for everyone they meet."

I am so inspired by weddings that are meaningful and memorable.

What weddings have you been to at locations that are very meaningful to the couple? I'd love to hear about them!

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Julia said...

ooooh - that would be coool! its become a bit of a tradition in our family to have a casual day-after bbq/finish off the booze at someones house - in some ways its more fun than the wedding day itself cause everyone's chillaxing and hanging out, and nothing is structured. The thought of spending a day like that makes me really glad we've chosen to have our celebrations over a spring long weekend.. two extra days to bbq, kick balls around and chill out in the sun!

Anonymous said...

We don't have too many "different' places that you can get married in the UK and while I haven't been to many weddings they have in general all been in meaningful places to them, not particularly different but meaningful. Although I did go to one which was in an ancient chapel on the edge of a cliff with no electricity, it felt like a really powerful place, it was a punk wedding and seemed to work just right for that couple.

Jennifer said...

What an interesting idea - a pancake party! I love pancakes! The next time I go down to, or pass through, Tampa I am definitely heading to the Sugar Mill!

Mrs. Andi said...

Where is that place??? I'm in FL & I want to go, even if just for the pancakes!!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Andi, you can click on the link in the post ("The Sugar Mill"). It takes you to the website that has the address. It's right near DeLand (which is in Central Florida between Daytona Beach and Orlando). Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

How funny! I'm starting to plan a low budget, self-funded, meaningful wedding and stumbled across your blog - have since been reading the archive and came across this post. I did a double take when I saw the pictures - "Is that...oh my god, I could SWEAR..." and then I saw the pancakes. "It IS the Old Spanish Sugar Mill!" I went to college at Stetson University in DeLand and the Sugar Mill was a frequent spot for my friends and I! Now I'm seriously considering it as a potential wedding venue. What a funny coincidence!

Sara E. Cotner said...

I graduated from Stetson, too! I frequented the Sugar Mill all the time. I graduated in 1999 with a degree in American Studies and minors in Gender Studies and English. Small world!

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