How To Pick A Wedding Venue

Ballrooms, Barns and Chapels, OH MY! There are a lot of things that go into choosing a venue for your wedding day. Let’s get down to the skinny of what you should consider when making this big decision. 


While we would all love to have a beautiful sunny and 75 degree wedding day that doesn’t always happen. So what happens when it starts to rain or it’s so windy that all of your decor starts falling down? You need to make sure there is an indoor option. Check with the venue staff before you sign a contract to find out what steps they will take if the weather turns sour. Also, find out how soon they will make the call to setup indoors or outdoors. Some venues will make a decision 3-4 hours before the event while others will push it right up until the start time. 


Are you having a local or destination wedding? If you’re choosing a destination wedding just know that only very close friends and family will attend something like this. Your guest count will be very small, but so will the amount of gifts you receive. Also, consider how much this will cost each of your out of town guests in food, transportation and hotels.

If you’re choosing a local wedding consider things like is the venue hard to find or in an area that is familiar to a lot of friends and family? Is there construction going on somewhere close that will make a lot of your guests late to the ceremony? Is their parking close to the event space or will your guests have to walk 2 miles in high heels on a grassy field. Ultimately it’s your day and you can choose to have your wedding wherever you want, but your guests will certainly have a better time if you consider them while planning. 


Don’t assume that a rustic wedding is going to be cheaper than a traditional ballroom setting. In our area in southern Indiana our most expensive venue in town is a rustic red barn. You may be thinking southern Indiana doesn’t offer anything other than a barn so that’s why it’s the most expensive, but that’s very untrue. We have ballrooms, country clubs, barns, fields and everything in between for our brides to choose as a setting. It just so happens with all the rustic and boho weddings being so popular our most sought after barn can charge high rental rates. Do your homework and shop around before deciding. You might be surprised at which venues are the most expensive in your area and vice versa. 

What’s Included

Have you ever heard that saying don’t judge a book by its cover? That’s so true when venue shopping. When you’re inquiring about rates always ask what that price includes. While one venue might include a full day in their rate another might only include 4 hours. You will also need to ask about the details like chairs, tables, linens, and microphones. The cheapest place to rent might actually turn out to the be the most expensive if you have to pay separately to rent all of your seating, decor, linens, tables and mic’s. Don’t forget when you rent something it’s not just $4 per chair you’re paying for. Your rental company will include Delivery, Setup and Teardown fees as well. 

Setup & Cleanup

What are you really paying for when you book a full service reception venue or a high priced catering company? A lot of brides just look at the price and think “I can feed everyone so much cheaper by doing it myself”. Before you come to a conclusion like that I would recommend counting the cost. You’re not just paying for food when you pay these companies you’re paying for far more. I’ve listed below some of things that will be included in those prices of $20-$70 per person. 

  • Organizing any vendor deliveries such as flowers, cakes, photo booth or rented decor 
  • Setting up the room with all of your tables, chairs, and decor 
  • Setting the tables with each place setting and favors
  • Tying chair covers
  • Providing linens (also the ironing, setup and teardown of the linens)
  • Providing plates, glasses and silverware
  • Washing the dirty dishes at the end of the night
  • Ordering the correct amount of food and keeping it hot until the dinner hour
  • Refilling any empty chaffing dishes if you’re serving buffet style
  • Serving each table if you’re serving plated or family style
  • Cutting your wedding cake
  • Serving the cake
  • Cleaning up each table
  • Tearing down all of the decor, tables and chairs 
  • Making sure any rentals get back to the correct company 

All in all the above mentioned work can take hours to complete. So be sure to weigh all the setup and cleanup involved in your event before making a decision. 

I’ve linked to some great wedding decor websites to help you with deciding on what to purchase and what to rent. 

To DIY or Not to DIY, That is the Question

Is it “Worth It”?

You find this neat idea for the guest book table. You’re totally stoked and you know you can DIY it. The question you need to stop and ask yourself is; “Is this really worth it?” Your guestbook generally makes it into less than 5 of your photographs and IF all of your guests actually sign in they will spend less than a minute at that table. If your project is going to take 10 hours of work I would chalk that up to “not worth it” and get a cheap book and pen. If your project is simple maybe 2 hours or less than go for it girl! Pinterest that table up! 

How about invitations? This is a big one where everyone says you can save a buck. How many hours are you going to spend trying to align that wording on a 5×7 card? How many ink cartridges are you going to go through? Weigh the risks before jumping in on that DIY and save yourself some headaches. 

Renting an empty room where you have to DIY everything, including linens. Do you know how many hours it’s going to take to iron all of those tablecloths? I helped a DIY bride recently with a project like this. It took three people ironing approximately 4 hours to complete 21 tablecloths. That breaks down to 34 minutes per tablecloth. Yes, it really takes that long to steam all the creases and wrinkles out with an everyday iron. 

It’s important when you’re planning something to consider if your time and money are well spent. If you’re thinking of DIYing an arrangement for the ceremony; this would fall into the “worth it” category. Something like this will make it into at least 1/3 of your photos and your guests will remember it. I mean they’ll be staring at it during your entire ceremony. 

Can you really do it?

Yes, you can DIY just about anything you set your mind to. Just be reasonable about how long it will take and how many people you’re going to need to help you. Do as many projects in advance as possible and I mean weeks beforehand, not days. The last thing you want to happen is to plan a really cool project, purchase all the materials and then it falls through the cracks and never gets done.

Consider fresh flowers. Those corsages and boutonnieres are going to need to be wired and taped within 24 hours of the ceremony. Would you really want to be making corsages after your rehearsal? How about trying to keep those fresh flowers alive and healthy looking until the big event. Ideas like that just create stress for everyone involved. 

Also, don’t plan DIY projects the day before or day of your wedding unless someone else is doing it. There are too many last minute details like getting your marriage license, rehearsal, and that last minute run to the reception hall to drop off the cake knife. Be smart, get your projects done in advance and you’ll be a happy, stress free bride. 

Here are some links to a few cool DIY websites


DIY Network 


Tips for Creating your Wedding Budget

The excitement of just being engaged is wearing off and you’re starting to realize how much work is ahead of you. You’re in the process of planning the biggest event you will ever plan and some of you may have never planned a party or event before. I put together a few tips to get you going in this big process of planning your wedding. 

I personally planned my own wedding without an event planner and I mean the whole deal. From a Custom Gown to a Plated Reception; I did it all. Are you ready for a few tips I learned along the way? Keep reading…

I. Get Prices

Now you may be thinking, duh Heather that’s what this is about. Trying to find out what a wedding really costs. That’s not what I’m getting at… I want you to price EVERYTHING. That ice sculpture for your reception you think you can’t afford. Centerpieces from your florist that you just know are out of your price range. Even that horse drawn carriage you think will never fit the budget. Email or reach out to ALL of these vendors. All of the dreams and inspirations that you have and get a price tag. 

Imagine if you go on assuming you can’t afford anything only to find out years down the road you could have had some of those dreams on your big day. Sit down and make a list of all the things you would love to have and then get googling, emailing and calling! I promise you will be surprised that some of your dreams are actually realistic. 

II. Prioritize

You’ve gotten back all those emails and quotes and you’re now overwhelmed with dollar signs. The next step is prioritize. This is where all those magazines that tell you what to spend on which line items goes out the window.

If your gown means more to you than your reception then go to a boutique and spoil yourself knowing you’ll have to cut down reception costs by catering food from a local restaurant instead of a fancy catering company. Maybe you really want some over the top decor so you cut out the limo service altogether. Or you have always dreamed of a Hummer limo on fleek coming to whisk you away to your reception so you cut that fancy dessert table down to some cupcakes. I hope you’re beginning to see that you DO have options and a choice on what you spend a lot of money on and what you don’t. 

III. Crunch Those Numbers

You’ve started to prioritize all those line items. Maybe you’ve even thrown away a few ideas and quotes that feel too far out of your ball park. Now it’s time to really figure out how many luxuries you can afford. Take those 1-3 items that are super important and set those aside totaling how much those are going to cost. Then look at what’s left and what you can afford. Cut the items that don’t mean as much and take a look at what is left. 

Another helpful exercise in this process is to attach images to those quotes that you’re pushing all over the table or the couch or wherever you’re doing this. Get a visual for what’s left after you start cutting things out. Once you’re satisfied with not only the numbers, but the visual concept of what is left you can move on. 

IV. Stick To The Budget

Forget those magazine articles about 10% on your wedding gown and 60% on your reception. You’ve just created your own personalized budget! Give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it after all that paperwork. Now it’s time to implement those ideas. Start putting deposits down on those vendors that you want to work with as dates will book up faster than you think. Book consultations and get to signing those contracts. Remember as your wedding date approaches don’t whip out that credit card and start buying all the things you cancelled out in the beginning. You got rid of those ideas for a reason, stick to it. Keep in mind this is all for one day so don’t blow the budget apart or you’ll regret it later. Good luck on your big day!

I’ve also linked to some great blogs that have free budget printable’s that you can use to write what you’re going to spend.