Primrose Cottage

Primrose Cottage

Sep 05
Primrose Cottage

The first venue we visited was Primrose Cottage, pictured to the left. From our early research online, Primrose was also our initial frontrunner. It’s located in Roswell only a couple miles away from the church we’re looking at. Initially our only concern about the place had been seating: from the pictures online, it appeared that the place sat people in a series of small rooms throughout the cottage rather than in one big dining room, but we soon found that to be incorrect.

A little about the place, first of all — it’s the oldest building in Roswell, built by the guy that they named the city after, Roswell King. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places, and… alright, that’s about all I can think of that’s relevant about the place.

When we first walked in, the first thing I noticed was that it reminded me of a funeral home. Then I realized that was only because it was the typical “cottage” layout, meaning four rooms on the bottom floor in four corners with a hallway running in between, and the only other time I’ve been in a cottage house was for my grandmother’s funeral. So, no one else would make that connection.

The house is old and feels old, but in a pleasant way. It doesn’t feel like it’s falling apart, but it also has the more quaint signs of wear and tear: slightly uneven creaky floor boards, minor signs of paint pealing in certain areas, old-fashioned ornate fireplace mantles, etc. For someone who likes old, historical houses, this place is a dream come true. I, however, have never been one for that style — I don’t dislike it, but it doesn’t tickle my fancy. If that’s what you’re into, though, it’s gorgeous.

We met with the director who showed us around the house. Upstairs is a bridal suite where, for on-site weddings, the bride prepares with her bridal party. No word on where the groom prepares. I guess we get a coat closet or something. There was a bright red old-fashioned bathtub in the bathroom of the bridal suite that was either the most adorable or the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen — I still haven’t decided on which.

Back on the middle floor, the director showed us around the four rooms where photographs of us, our families, our courtship, puppies, baby seals, etc. could be placed. There wasn’t a whole lot of room in that side of the house for guests to mix and mingle; it was great for passing through and browsing, but it wasn’t an area I’d want to stick people in for an extended period of time. Fortunately, that wouldn’t end up being an issue.

From there we went downstairs to the basement, which felt a little dank, but again, in a bit of a quaint way rather than a dingy way. We saw the old schoolroom where the house’s owners’ kids were taught, as well as the kitchen (which has since been converted to the actual kitchen for use during receptions). In one of these rooms was a big-screen TV, perfect for showing the NASCAR race the Georgia Tech game a photo or video slideshow. Up from there, we went to the back balcony, which overlooks a gorgeous garden area.

Up until this point, our major concern with the place was intact: it was beautiful, quaint, historical, charming, but also rather small. We couldn’t imagine asking 150 people to all browse this house at once, find places to eat, talk, etc. It just wouldn’t work. Then the director led us out back to the giant ballroom and dining room, and suddenly it all made sense. Effectively, the historical house is something of a “foyer” for the rest of the venue; it’s a great place to set up photos, browse, mingle, etc. while waiting for the bridal party to arrive, but once they’re there, the festivities move out back to the ballroom. That set up is actually perfect; people aren’t forced to awkwardly find ways to sit in the house, but the house still gets seen and used for exhibiting the aforementioned baby seal family photographs.

The ballroom is exquisite; gorgeously decorated and perfectly lit (I’ve always been a sucker for that kind of lighting), and a great size. The best part about it might be that it resides right up alongside the trees out back, and for a November wedding, that would give a gorgeous background of fall colors outside the window (although if I want to preserve this blog’s mantra of being from a “male” perspective, I should probably stop using the words ‘gorgeous’ and ‘adorable’). There’s plenty of room for the food to be set up and for the cake to be placed in a prominent place.

The gardens outside connect to the ballroom, giving a great place for guests to wander around outside if inside gets too stuffy or if anyone has a bizarre and unexplainable affinity for nature (an affinity completely foreign to Caitlin and I). Great place for pictures as well.

From there, we finally sat down and talked about the specifics of things: price, food, etc. That’s when we first came to the stunning realization: receptions are expensive. Yikes. Caitlin has a few allergies that are concerns for us in planning the food, so among the first questions is always whether or not the caterers can work around those, but the answer has always been a yes. We were presented with different meal packages (hors d’oeuvres, buffet-style, sit-down dinner) with the different choices within each. We were also given some information on the various different amenities that were offered, all for a fee.

We left Primrose in love with the place, though it wasn’t entirely without its drawbacks. The layout of the building was absolutely perfect; the cottage in front is notable without necessarily having to be where everything happens, and the ballroom out back is the perfect size. The services provided, though, left a bit to be desired; we didn’t have quite as much freedom with things as we might have liked, and more importantly, every new thing seemed to have an extra fee associated with it. If we had a separate baker bring our cake, for example, there was still a Primrose Cottage fee associated with displaying it. Admittedly, that might be standard procedure, but it did strike us as odd.

Another friend of ours from middle school has her reception there as well, and we asked for her opinion; she told us that on the day of the reception, everything — to her eyes — was magnificent. To her, it went off without a hitch. However, she found out after the fact that her mother ended up having to do a lot of work to keep things together, and that the available wedding director seemed to leave a lot undone. For example, not enough tables were set up in the ballroom, and it was the mother that had to go alert the staff that more tables were needed. Additionally, our friend commented on what I alluded to above: everything had a fee associated with it, and they felt very nickle-and-dimed throughout the process.

Verdict

Despite those complaints, however, we still left Primrose absolutely loving the place. Our friend’s complaints about her mom’s responsibilities could easily have been freak occurrences, and the “nickle-and-diming” is significantly less of an issue when it’s expected in advance. The layout of the building and grounds was perfect and everything we’d hoped for, providing both a beautiful backdrop and a functional room to work within. Our discussions about the amenities and service provided within the house left a bit to be desired, but certainly nothing game-breaking.

For anyone else, I would still highly recommend looking at Primrose Cottage if these things sound like the types of things you’re interested in having as well.

(Image credit Primrose Cottage / Flint Hill.)

1 comment

  1. Dad

    Yikes! Tou two are tough customers – and awesome reviewers! Glad you don’t the reception here! We’d have to remodel! Good job. Your next target would do well to read your observations first! BTW, the house, at least as pictured, is almost identical to my mother’s ” old someplace” in N.C. – four corners, four rooms (but no ballroom). Can’t wait to hear about what’s next on the list!

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