The Venue, Part 1

The hunt for the “where” of our wedding has begun. We have a list of options ranging from rustic to elegant to downright offbeat. Matt set up the first round of tours for us today, which included Olbrich Botanical Gardens, the Lussier Family Heritage Center and the Aldo Leopold Nature Center.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens
The iconic ceremony

Things we liked:
Picture-perfect ceremony space
Lots of scenic areas for guests to wander
Indoor ceremony backup
Located very close to Sandy’s apartment
Easy destination for hotel shuttles

Things we didn’t:
Dated reception space (it’s pretty bad)
Multiple weddings happening during the day
Have to personally coordinate chair rental with other wedding groups
Can’t decorate the reception space

Lussier Family Heritage Center
The pragmatic party place

Things we liked:
Super flexible in terms of catering and alcohol
Only event happening on site during rental
Plenty of time for pre-event setup and cleanup the next day
Prairie setting is very pretty in the fall
Easy parking

Things we didn’t:
RV campsite right next door
Disappointing ceremony spaces
Probably a bit far for hotel shuttles
Didn’t strike Sandy as a super exciting place

Aldo Leopold Nature Center (Monona)
Outdoorsy meets wacky

Things we liked:
“This is perfect.” — Matt
Ceremony site in prairie clearing, next to pond and maple forest
Funky museum/educational setting
Gentle trails for guests to wander around the grounds
Can customize the multimedia exhibits with our own pictures and preferences
Only event happening on site during rental period
Feels very private overall
Should be easily accessible from Madison hotels

Things we didn’t:
Main reception area might be a little tight (but we can easily spread out on the deck and in the lobby, as well as throughout the museum and surrounding property)
Dead animals on the walls

The clear winner of the day was the Aldo Leopold Center, which uniquely blends the features we liked best about the other two venues without some of their more negative aspects. It appears that we like nature, with a twist.

Next up: Orpheum Theater, The Madison Children’s Museum (trust us, this could be awesome), and a barn or two.


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