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    How Do You Really Find the One? (Meaning the Perfect Venue)

    MelissaJohnsonBy Melissa Johnson

    Planning a wedding is an amazing time for you and your fiancé. Like most couples, you probably have a vision for what you want your day to look and feel like. So, how can you completely stress yourself out? The easiest way is not to pick the perfect venue! (Or the wrong partner, but that is a completely different topic.) Finding the perfect venue involves multiple factors. Here are the top 3 to consider:



    While this might seem like I am being shallow, this is the #1 factor to consider. Why? There is nothing like having a vision of The Great Gatsby-themed wedding in a venue that screams rustic. Or wanting a modern minimalist wedding in an ornate ballroom f lanked with crystal chandlers. Fighting the venue’s aesthetic, while trying to create your vision, will cause nothing but stress and frustration, and will lead to you blowing your décor budget. Pick a venue that truly has the aesthetics that compliment your vision. The decision will save money and time.


    This may seem like an odd item to consider, but think of this: The sales team & staff will be in your life throughout the process. If you feel as if they don’t understand your expectations, or you aren’t comfortable with them from the beginning, the entire planning process will be stressful. The worst thing to feel is that any vendor isn’t on the same page with you regarding your wedding’s vision. These people are an integral part in your planning and daily communication. If you aren’t comfortable with them, or if there is any friction, it will wear on you and your partner and overshadow the planning process.


    Every venue has different restrictions and day-of-timing allowances. If you know you will have a lot of décor, or you are wanting multiple ceremonies or activities, make sure your venue can accommodate.



    Before you book, ask about pre and post wedding timing along with other allowances. Most venues are not flexible on these restrictions, and some restrictions are out of their hands due to city ordinances. Some venues will allow flexibility, but it usually comes with a price. No matter how much you love a venue, if the timing and restrictions don’t allow you to complete your day’s vision, you either need to change your vision or find another venue.

    The Club at Ruby Hill, located in Pleasanton, has been awarded a number of awards, including The Knot’s Best Venue for Northern California (Top 11 venues in California) and The Most Glamorous Venue in the East Bay by Diablo Magazine, just to name a few. These accolades are based on service, ambiance and cuisine as noted by wedding couples and vendors. Ensuring your venue is accredited with awards, based on previous couples’ feedback, will also help to put your mind at ease.

    The bottom line is that while you might fall in love with a venue at first sight, you need to take time to consider the technical aspects of how the venue can accommodate your wedding, and if your overall vision is an easy fit for the location’s aesthetics. Once you truly find “The One” in a wedding venue, your stress will reduce, and all other aspects will easily come together to create a wonderful planning experience.

    Melisa Johnson is the Director of Catering and Special Events at The Club at Ruby Hill in Pleasanton. For more information:

    1-PHOTO Fred and Jaime (1)Frederick Sullivan and Jaime Botello, who oversee the Weddings & Occasions page for the San Francisco Bay Times, are the talented wizards behind Sullivan-Botello Events ( and SnB Party Rentals (650 -877 – 0840 , Both are Certified Wedding Planners with extensive experience in creating memorable, personalized events for special occasions. Their rental service is incredible, offering everything from beautiful gold Chiavari chairs to LED dance floors, and all at competitive prices. They are the creators of the Gay Vanity Wedding Show and are longstanding members of the Golden Gate Business Association, which is the nation’s first LGBT Chamber of Commerce.