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BRIDAL GUIDE: Determining where to say ‘I do’

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MANSFIELD, Ga. — There is no shortage of suggestions available online or on TV about what should be offered in wedding ceremony and reception venues.

One website, wedding-spot.com, says the venue at the minimum should have an area for the ceremony, an audience space, and two separate lounge spaces for both sides of the wedding party to get ready. 

Other suggestions include a venue offering a photographer, caterer and other vendors as part of a package.

The owners of Vintage on 1st in downtown Mansfield believe they’ve checked almost all of the boxes and are available to host the area’s best weddings.

Co-owner Nyasha Bennett said she believes those planning weddings also are looking for good customer service and a venue that can provide everything wanted by those renting the space with “no hassle” for them.

She said wedding parties are typically seeking a “certain look” in their wedding and reception locations. 

Vintage on 1st’s rustic look is a feature modern wedding parties often search for, Bennett said.

The venue seats 100 comfortably with enough room for a buffet, special seating, extra decor and more.

Bennett said the owners try to offer the 2,700-square-foot venue at a variety of price points. 

Co-owner Tracy Betts said it also can be a “one-stop shop” for guests because it can offer a photographer, DJ, caterer (Spice Catering) and custom decor as part of renting Vintage on 1st.

However, Bennett said they also gives customers the option of simply renting the building and hiring their own vendors — which is different from most venues that may require using their vendors exclusively.

“We are here to make what you want happen,” Bennett said. “Leave it up to us. We’re that talented.”

The owners — all of whom had worked in event planning for at least 15 years apiece — knew they wanted to be in Newton County when they searched for a location for their jointly operated venue, Bennett said.

They found one in downtown Mansfield just off Georgia Hwy. 11 near Mansfield’s post office and Beaver Manufacturing Co. 

Owners Bennett, Nicole Isaacs and Betts worked for months to take a century-old space that had not been used in years and turned it into a venue with rustic charm.

Bennett said she believed Vintage on 1st is a “hidden gem in Newton County.”

“We are not as big as some of the bigger, farm-type rustic venues that are around here,” she said.

Betts said customers also “don’t have to go so far to get what we’re offering here.”

“We’re able to incorporate surrounding counties on this side of Newton County where you don’t have to go all the way to Covington, Conyers, Jackson and Monroe,” Isaacs said. 

“We didn’t want to be in the mix of everything,” Bennett said. “We wanted to be unique, wanted to be different and wanted to serve a community that is possibly underserved.”

The Mansfield location offers more parking, less traffic and easier access than spaces in other parts of Newton County, they said.

Isaacs recalled the months of work to convert the building. It included clearing out such things as an old stage-like structure, redoing the floors, painting, installing the kitchen appliances and plumbing, sealing the brickwork and more. 

It transformed the space from a long-unused, empty space to its current look featuring lots of exposed brick.

“To see what it was like is just amazing,” Isaacs said.

The venue now features everything from a modern kitchen to separate bride and groom suites, in addition to a large, open main room that can be decorated to the renter’s taste or left as is, the owners said.

It also can be used for any number of events, from private dinner parties and birthday parties to photo/film shoots, corporate events, popup events, private dinners, seminars/workshops, product launches and more.

Vintage on 1st is located at 31 W. 1st Ave. in Mansfield. For more information, visit vintageon1st.com or call 678-902-6622.

WEDDING VENUE SUGGESTIONS

Wedding-spot.com and Zola online wedding registry offered the following tips for selecting wedding and reception venues:

• Get an accurate quote that factors in the venue’s full breakdown of costs. 

• Know your full venue budget, including decoration costs. On average, couples designate between 10% to 15% of their wedding budget for the venue

• The venue should have an area for the ceremony, an audience space, and two separate lounge spaces for both sides of the wedding party to get ready in. 

Ideally, the venue would also include convenient valet service, catering and even reception options.

• Does the reception venue reflect the style of the wedding?

• What lighting options are available and are they included in the rental? And are flame candles allowed or are you limited to battery-powered ones? 

• Know how many guests will be invited and the hall’s capacity (to remain in compliance with fire codes), as well as space limitations and other amenities such as availability of elevators if more than one story.

• Check for activities prohibited by law or by the owner, such as fireworks, use of animals, alcoholic beverages, smoking. 

Is there a curfew on the venue, such as those prohibited in city noise ordinances?

• Check to see if the venue limits your choices of vendors (photographer, florist, DJ, etc.) or requires you to only book from a list of vendors the venue pre-approved.

• Check the quality of bathrooms and the number of bathrooms needed to serve the number of guests.