A quick guide to venue and vendor shopping.
Congratulations- You're engaged!... Or at least thinking about getting engaged ;) What an exciting time it can be planning and executing one of the most memorable days of your life. Can it be overwhelming? Yes. But, with the proper guidance, you will be on your way to celebrating your wedding day with all your loved ones in no time!
When planning your wedding you need to start by establishing a budget. This may be an absolute maximum amount or there may be a little wiggle room, but until you have a general idea you won't know where to start. Your guest list, vendor choices and design choices are all going to depend on your budget.
While price shopping venues and vendors is always a wise decision, make sure you really consider what all is included in your package. Often there is a lot of hidden value in a slightly more expensive option. More on this below.
After establishing your budget, finding a venue should be top priority. You can't even "save the date" until you've chosen a venue! The remainder of your big decisions will be based off of the venue you choose; it's location, what's included and any policies they may have.
There are many aspects of your venue that will effect your budget and there are SO MANY different types of venues. If you're looking at a venue where everything is "in house" you will have a pretty good idea of what everything is going to cost or how much they charge per a person.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, when looking at a "blank slate" type of venue (like our Colorado mountain ranch) you will have a large range of choices as to how you can allocate your budget. No doubt that you can save thousands on beverages and food when you choose a venue such as our own but also the decisions you make in regards to rentals will vary your cost widely.
You can keep things very basic and "cheap" or you can plan a 3 course catered meal under a fully furnished tent with top of the line everything. This is why "do it yourself" or "design it yourself" is not necessarily cheaper, but is more personalized to you, your style, your budget and the decisions YOU make.
When deciding on a venue, make sure you think hard about your wedding day, or in our case-your wedding weekend, and how you envision spending your time. Pay close attention to the details of your venue (time restrictions, rules, etc), and make sure those things align with your vision.
Do you want your venue to serve as a base camp where there is little run around and you get to enjoy extra time with friends and family? Then Phantom Lake Ranch would be ideal location.
Do you want to just roll up to your wedding, ready to go, quick in and out? You can find a venue for that as well! That is one of the most exciting things about planning a wedding, especially in our great state of Colorado, the options are endless and you get to pick what's best for you!
The vendors you choose are EXTREMELY important. This is the team of people that can make or break your wedding day. You need to start by deciding what is important to you. Creating a Pinterest board or "inspiration" board on the knot can helpful in deciphering this. If you find that it quickly fills up with dreamy bouquets and floral filled tablescapes... than a florist might be where you'd like to spend a little extra.
Or maybe it's the breathtaking photography of these weddings you fall in love with and you realize how important documenting the day is to you. After all, the day does fly by and there is so much going on around you that you might miss (I don't think I need to tell you what vendor I allocated extra funds towards for our wedding! That's us👇🏻)
Or maybe you've decided you simply lack the time, skills, patience or desire to plan all the details of your wedding... than a wedding planner is where it's at! While hiring a planner may seem counter intuitive if you're on a tight budget, they can actually be an extremely helpful tool in managing your budget and helping you find vendors that fit within that budget. Plus, having someone else do the run around for you on your wedding day is worth it's weight in gold!
No matter where you decide to divvy out your funds, make sure you do your research and find people that you not only trust but that you genuinely mesh well with and respect your vision for the day!
When all your planning is said and done, and your wedding day rolls around, the most important decisions are yet to be made. You get to make the decision of saying "I do" to your best friend. You get to decide to be present in that moment, no matter what went "wrong" that morning or how the rest of your day unfolds, you get to decide to say YES to your one and only... and THAT is what's important!