Venue Reviews: Talon Winery, Red Mile, Keeneland
After visiting the first few wedding venues as mentioned in my previous blog post, our journey to find a wedding venue that was perfect for us continued…. (Click here if you missed that post: http://www.kentuckybridemagazine.com/2014/06/18/how-to-chose-a-wedding-venue/) After realizing I couldn’t have our wedding at Buffalo Trace because of our number of guests, I really got attached to Talon Winery in Lexington. The photos of other people’s weddings there were just breathtaking! After Zac and I visited it in person, I wanted to have it there even more!
Talon Winery is a local winery located past the twists and turns of Tates Creek road, away from the hustle and bustle of the city but only minutes to local hotels and restaurants. It is truly an ideal setting on gorgeous, wide open area of Kentucky’s rolling hills. There is already an alter made on top of the hill, or you can opt for the ceremony area by the lake (both are included within the rental price! Yay!) The winery has its own barn for wedding receptions, which was exactly the type of building that we wanted! The rustic wooden walls, attached kitchen area, and the darling “twinkle lights” really put the barn over the top. It has the perfect combination of Kentucky-chic, yet rustic, yet classy ambiance. I could really imagine spending precious moments with my bridesmaids in the magenta painted “Bridal suite” in the old historic house on site (but warning - these rooms do cost extra). Even better, the barn even has air conditioning! This really eased my worry about having an outdoor wedding in the heat of June. However, I will note that my DJ the super sweet coordinator at Talon warned me that the air conditioning isn’t very strong due to it being in a barn – which means non insulated walls. So this may or may not be a bonus, depending on how hot it is that day.
As time went on, the more I thought about our wedding at Talon Winery, the more nervous I got about stuffing all of our guests in the barn. I could never get an exact number of how many people the barn can hold from anyone, which made me even more nervous. However, the confusion of an exact number is because there is a patio area which can fit more people than just the barn alone, so it is customizable depending on if you utilize that area or not. A very trustworthy wedding planner later told me that she personally wouldn’t put more than 150 people in the barn, which I trust is true due to her expertise. If we were to need the patio area as well, that would possibly require a tent rental to cover it in case of rain. This meant adding around $1000 to the cost of having a wedding here. Even worse, that also meant a “tent fee” from Talon Winery themselves.
Although the barn seemed to be exactly what I wanted, I just felt that even if it did work out, that our guests would be absolutely stuffed and we would probably lose the room for the dance floor. Additionally, understandably due to what all talon has to offer and their awesome views, the cost is more expensive than mostly all of the venues I visited. When considering the cost at Talon Winery, you should also consider the fact that they require brides to buy their locally made wine and beer and liquor is not allowed. It is a very cool thought to drink the wine that is made on the same ground you stand on, but just check out their prices first, which do seem pretty fair. With the limited size, rental cost, and additional costs, I didn’t feel it would be a good decision to spend out of my budget for any venue regardless of how beautiful it was if was just too small So I sadly had to break my attachment from Talon and look elsewhere. Nonetheless, I HIGHLY recommend everyone check out this venue because it is truly breathtaking. This is true ESPECIALLY if you’re getting married in the off seasons when their rental rate is significantly cheaper.
Red Mile Round Barn
We next checked out the Round Barn at Red Mile in Lexington. This place was really neat! It was right by the Red Mile horse racetrack which I thought could be really interesting for our out of state guests. I addition to the Round Barn, there is a separate club house type of room which is also available at the Red Mile which has windows that overlook the racetrack. The barn is actually somewhat sentimental to me because it is where I had my very first modeling job ever when I was in high school. :) But besides that reason.... the barn is just very cool! The event coordinator was so hospitable and sweet! She is also the required caterer (Bayou Bluegrass Catering) for weddings there. As I stated before, having to book an onsite caterer can be extremely handy for brides that want an “all in one deal,” but having to use their caterer really raised the overall cost significantly for us compared to our other cater which we wanted. So that wasn’t ideal for us.
Click her to check out The Red Mile's website: http://www.theredmile.com/redmile/our-track/host-an-event
Keeneland's combined "Entertainment Center & Keene Barn" was one of the very first places I dreamed our wedding could be held. There are many, many places on Keeneland’s grounds, such as their clubhouse, where a wedding reception could be held although we only viewed the Entertainment Center due to its rustic vibe. It has a wooden interior, air conditioning, carpet, beautiful surrounding landscaped grounds, and an attached (but optional) cocktail area (Keene Barn) that is like a very large patio made of stone. Unfortunately, weddings can't solely be held in this patio area- we asked! You couldn't ask for a more Kentucky themed venue.
Keeneland requires that you must use their on-site caterer, which I hear is extremely tasty! Their food prices are right in the middle of the line compared to others, although they do offer very high class options as well. Again, a mandated/included cater would be ideal for many brides, but since I had my heart set on using our friends at Lucky Dog BBQ, any place that required use of their cater made our prices go up significantly. Initially, I was quickly discouraged by their mandatory ‘minimal’ food cost which differs depending on the room you book. However, as I did the math, I realized that once everything was added together, Keeneland actually ended up being cheaper than a couple other venues because a few other costs were either included (such as tables/chairs for reception – not ceremony). However, it’s important to consider their hidden, yet mandatory, fees. For instance, they require that you MUST rent a dance floor, I suppose to protect their carpet, which is understandable since the large barn is kept in tip top shape! You can rent this through them for $500 extra dollars or you can rent one yourself from a separate company for somewhere around that same cost. You also must pay a separate fee for having a ceremony on their land.
Click this link for more info on weddings at Keeneland: http://www.keeneland.com/events/weddings
Check out my post next time for details on several other rustic, central KY venues. And don’t forget to comment on this post with your email address if you have any additional questions about these venues!