Pro Tips Archives - The Vineyard @ 12 Corners
How To Start Wedding Planning: 4 Realistic Goals

How To Start Wedding Planning: 4 Realistic Goals

Alright friends – engagement season is almost upon us. It’s a super exciting time for couples and us wedding professionals alike and everyone always wants to jump right in and start wedding planning. We’re all for this! The earlier you start working on details for the big day, the easier the process will be for all involved. But before you go all willy-nilly into planning your dream wedding, we want to share some advice: setting realistic goals and visions for how your wedding will turn out is KEY to making it a success. This is always easier said than done so we’ve compiled a list of a few of the most important “realities” to be aware of and just what this means for your wedding.

START WEDDING PLANNING BY: SETTING A REALISTIC BUDGET

This is a big one y’all. It may not be the most pleasant or comfortable aspect of wedding planning, but it is critical that you dive into this before doing much else. Have those conversations with your partner and your family (if they will be involved in the finances) as soon as possible so you know what you’re working with. 

We think it’s beneficial to use the tools available to you online (like this one with average budget percentages) to help set realistic ideas of costs. There are a ton of articles and websites out there to help get an idea of how much a venue typically costs, how much you should expect to spend on catering, what floral arrangements will be possible, etc. But it’s also a great idea to ask around. Use friends that have been married recently or vendors you might be interested in as a reliable resource. Just remember, national averages aren’t always the most accurate depending on the area you are hoping to be married. (If you are trying to keep costs down, consider the benefits of a small town wedding to help!). 

It’s also important to realize the difference between a “Pinterest” wedding and what is realistic for you. We’re all about dreaming big using the images you see online as inspiration for your wedding but for most couples, a $50,000 floral budget is out of reach. Don’t let this dash your hopes – scaled back versions of your favorite photos are usually a possibility and can still give you the look you want for a more conservative budget. Take the photos below for example – the photo on the left is the inspiration photo which likely had a hefty price tag. But by cutting back on the number of rugs rented or purchased, the number of large pampas grass arrangements, and the smaller arch pieces,  you can achieve a similar style. Being honest with yourselves about what is doable financially will help you set more realistic goals.

START WEDDING PLANNING BY: DETERMINING LEVELS OF INVOLVEMENT

For many couples, this will be the first time you really experience planning a wedding. It’s best to start asking yourselves right away what level of commitment you have in terms of your time. We tend to think many people underestimate how much of your day-to-day will go into planning and how much brain space the details will eat up. From researching, contacting, and providing details to all your vendors to activities on the actual wedding day – you will end up investing a ton of time in this process. The first question to ask is whether hiring a wedding planner is in your budget to help (and if so, come read why our favorites are so good at what they do!). Having a planner saves you so much time and really helps keep you on track. 

If a planner isn’t within your budget or you simply want to do a lot on your own, be real about how much time you have to commit and therefore what projects to take on. If you have a demanding job, DIY’ing invitations or decor pieces probably isn’t the best use of your time. You may want to consider renting items from a local vendor who can deliver, set up, tear down, etc. to free you up. Or maybe it’s best to go with that modern, minimalist vibe to keep the wedding classy and elegant without spending too much time on procuring, transporting, and styling, a ton of decorations. Yes, your newfound love of calligraphy would be a great personal touch to escort cards but do you have the hours to devote to completing this task?

It also helps to have conversations with friends and family when you start wedding planning about their level of commitment. The last thing you want is a friend or family member reminiscing about your wedding and the only thing they remember is how much work it was! If you have willing helpers, awesome – they are a God-send, but talk with them beforehand about what exactly they are open to helping with.

START WEDDING PLANNING BY: SETTING GUEST EXPECTATIONS

This one can be a bit tricky because everyone has special dynamics for their personal circle of friends and family. But here are a few things to consider that usually apply to most. 

Your guest attendance is likely going to be different than you expect. We have been doing weddings for a long time and have been tracking predicted attendance versus actual attendance for years. Our insights show that 18% of your invite list will not be able to attend. Covid has definitely changed this over the past couple of seasons but we think it’s still a really good metric for estimation. Knowing what your final guest count will likely be helps you estimate food costs, alcohol consumption, how many centerpieces you’ll need etc. Overall it helps you fine tune your budget. We’ve also found that this percentage doesn’t seem affected by travel distance or even the day of the week you plan to have the wedding therefore making it an even more reliable tool.

Another key factor to help set realistic expectations for guests is to really take into consideration what will keep them happy. We’ve found that guests are happiest when they know what to expect. Get your Save-the-Dates out early, let guests know about the area of the wedding if it’s unfamiliar to them, give them information about the venue (is it outdoors, where is parking, etc), and if dietary accommodations can be made. Informed guests are happy guests and this shared knowledge helps prevent guests who show up angry because they had different expectations.

START WEDDING PLANNING BY: DISCUSSING YOUR “PERFECT” DAY

We learned very early on in this business that each couple’s “perfect” day is so drastically different. We really try to steer away from using this term because it sets the tone that perfection is what you should strive for and any hiccup in the process leads to an imperfect result and your day is ruined. We’ve seen enough weddings to know that all planning processes and all weddings days will have some bumps in the road – it’s unavoidable. Even if you have thought through every detail and communicated extensively with vendors and friends/family, some things will be out of your control (just look at the Covid situation – who saw that one coming?). This doesn’t mean your day will end in disaster. So maybe instead of spending your time stressing about perfection, spend some time discussing what matters the most to you. Maybe even make a list of those key factors and revisit it often. This way, when something unexpected pops up, you can put it into perspective. Does this issue affect the parts of my wedding I ultimately care the most about? If it does, brainstorm solutions or reach out for help. If not, perhaps you’ll find yourselves better able to brush some of those missteps out of the way and continue to enjoy the process and the day. In the end, you want to enjoy this time and this amazing experience with your new partner and not allow the facade of the perfect wedding to detract from that.

With all of these tips in mind, we think you’ll be ready to start wedding planning with a realistic mindset and it will make this journey so much sweeter. And once you’ve given these steps some thought, let us know and we’d be thrilled to help you put the plan in motion!

PHOTO CREDITS

(in order of appearance)

Lauren Crawford Photography

Andrea Godfrey Photography

Matt Bigelow Photography

Shane Cleminson Photography

Laurenda Marie Photography

Cassandra Eldridge Photography

Santiago Murillo Photography

Rebekah Albaugh Photography

Emma Deboef Photography

Lauren Crawford Photography

Michigan Vendor Spotlight: 1928 Planning Co.

Michigan Vendor Spotlight: 1928 Planning Co.

Our goal in doing these vendor spotlights is to highlight and give credit to some of the amazing vendors we get the pleasure of working with here in our little corner of Southwest Michigan. But truth be told, no spotlight can shine bright enough to give the amount of credit that is due to our friends at 1928 Planning Co. If you are a numbers person, their numbers speak for themselves. Seven years as a premier Michigan Wedding Planner, over 800 events to their credit, and an (almost!) embarrassing amount of awards from top wedding companies. Put simply, these ladies know what they’re doing and they do it well.

But all of these accolades aren’t what sets 1928 Planning Co. apart from the other Michigan wedding planners – it’s their heart and passion for what they do and for the couples they serve. Yes, we know that’s a bit on the sappy side but it’s the most accurate way to frame the reason for their success. Having worked alongside this company for all seven years, we can say with confidence that getting married at The Vineyard wouldn’t be the awesome experience it is without their dedication. 

From days starting before dawn steaming linens to late nights spent stoking the fire pit, 1928 Planning shows up and rocks these events every.single.time. They have seen and done so much and yet – they will still tear up if they witness a first look, they will laugh sincerely at best man speeches, and they will gladly accept the hugs from couples at the end of the night who “couldn’t have done this without them”. This is who they are – as individuals and as a company – and those are the people you want by your side for one of your most important days.

Now that our gushing is through – we thought the best way for you to get to know them like we do was to sit down for a little Q&A. Let me assure you, you’ll want to read and screenshot and save all of these answers because there are some valuable and time-tested tips here! So we present to you: 

 

Michigan Wedding Planner : 1928 Planning Co.

All answers are a combination from 1928’s Lead Planners!

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WEDDING PLANNING AS YOUR CAREER PATH?

A:  Wish I had your answer… lol. I’d say mixing creativity with organization and structure was the draw. The planning and process is the same but the product is always different, so it’s hard to get in a rut when it comes to the output of what we do. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOMENT DURING A WEDDING DAY?

A: 30 minutes before guests arrive when the venue decor sits perfectly as it should. I also love the minute before we send a bride or groom down the aisle and tell them to soak it in, live presently and enjoy it. We’re really lucky to be so close to an intimate moment like that.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WEDDING FROM A MOVIE?

A: This won’t be the lovey-dovey movie you’re probably looking for, but I love “ I Love You, Man” and “Bridesmaids” and “27 Dresses”. They are all funny takes on the dynamics of wedding planning, relationships and friendships and they poke fun at the many stereotypes and nuances of wedding planning.

 

WHAT IS A COMPLIMENT YOU’VE RECEIVED FROM A CLIENT THAT YOU’LL NEVER FORGET?

A1: I’ve been called a friend. It means a lot because of how much we invest in each other between phone calls, emails, and face to face time. We have been relationship building for 1.5+ years typically and to be called a friend, not a hired vendor, has really stuck out to me.

 

A2: Their day was perfect because of all of my hard work and they did not have to worry about a thing.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOUR OWN WEDDING, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?

A1: I’d do the color scheme and flowers differently. At the time I loved it, but I’ve evolved a lot more from a designing perspective since then and I think I could have done something way more suitable to our personalities than I knew how to back then. I encourage clients when doing our design services with them to really think about that and ask themselves “is this me?”.

A2: Invite less people and decorate more.  We had roughly 250 people and I used small round fishbowls with glass beads and floating candles that the venue owned.  I did not have time to put thought in any of it with working out of town and 2 kids. Nothing existed like this back when I got married, lol!

THIS HAS BEEN A HOTLY DEBATED SUBJECT AROUND THE OFFICE – SHOULD A COUPLE DO A FIRST LOOK OR NOT?

A:  I vote NO. Personally I didn’t have a first look and will never forget that feeling of seeing him first when I was walking down the aisle. I do agree with a lot of the pros of first look – especially when it has something to do with “having more time to be together before the wedding and enjoy our wedding today together”. But when I hear someone want to do a first look just because their photographer recommends it for timing, I say no. Find a photographer who can work diligently with a shot list post-ceremony, maybe comes with a second shooter to move things along, and by all means get as many separate bridal party photos and portraits done as possible pre-ceremony to only leave “together-shots” after the ceremony.

YOU HAVE A PRETTY EXPANSIVE RENTAL COLLECTION – WHICH ITEM IS YOUR FAVORITE?

A1: Our linens, including full cloths, runners and napkins. A wedding that steps away from white on white always grabs my eye in photos. Investing in a bold or statement linen allows clients to do less from a decor standpoint, including florals, because the transformation in the look of the linen does that! At minimum, we recommend considering a head table, or dessert table to be a different linen inspiration so it can be given the focal point it deserves.

A2: Yard games – small town Michiganders love a good game of Cornhole. We include a custom decal on the Cornhole boards to add to the customization a lot of people look for when planning their wedding vibe.

Feel free to browse their Rental Collection for inspiration ideas!

ARE YOU SEEING ANY TRENDS FOR THIS UPCOMING WEDDING SEASON?

A1: I think color is (finally) making its way back. We’ve been living in a neutral wedding world for awhile, and I’m excited to see a return of vibrant hues, particularly gem-colors.

A2: We’ve seen a shift this last year and think we’ll continue to see in 2022: less traditions! Not a lot of full bridal party announcements, head tables, cake cutting (or having a cake at all), bouquet + garter toss, traditional guest book etc.

HOW HAS COVID CHANGED THE SCENE FOR WEDDINGS?

A: I’m thinking we’ll continue to see smaller guest count weddings and a shift or restructure of their budget to be focused more on the experience. Less guests = more of everything else.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT WORKING AT THE VINEYARD?

A: The seclusion. You’re fully submerged (is that the right word?) in the vineyard and I think that really enhances the experience for guests. You don’t see the parking lot, the road, streetlights, etc. It’s just you and the outdoors.

Check out other unique features of our winery wedding venue!

PHOTO CONTEST! SHOW US YOUR FAVORITE VINEYARD PHOTO.

WHEN PLANNING A WEDDING, WHAT DO COUPLES STRESS ABOUT THAT THEY REALLY SHOULDN’T?

A1:  Perfectly curated playlists. If you’ve hired a DJ or band, give them a smidge of guidance but don’t micromanage the playlist. Let them vibe with your crowd so your dance floor stays packed.

A2: The seating chart. Steer away from assigned seats when possible, to avoid the extra work. Let guests know what table to sit at, but let them choose the seat. In the scheme of it, that close to the wedding, this is a stressor we recommend removing.

A3: Tedious decor details. DIY is fun until it isn’t. Guests remember the food, bar, venue, and music the most.

 

WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 THINGS COUPLES SHOULD CONSIDER WHEN HIRING A PLANNER?

A: 1. How much can you relinquish control and trust someone else?

2. What do you expect from a planner? A personal assistant? No planners are apples to apples.

3. Talk live with the planner and make sure you vibe well prior to signing a contract. We want to match well with you just as much as you. We want our couples to understand who we are and make sure the connection is there live before we are contracting with you.

Bonus: Is the planner flexible on services (a-la cart) or do they only have certain packages to choose from?

Browse 1928’s flexible service options!

WHAT CAN COUPLES DO THAT WILL MAKE PLANNING WITH YOU SO MUCH SMOOTHER?

A1: Be active in correspondence we share and ask us questions. No question is silly. We also want to know all the details and sometimes people think it doesn’t pertain to what we are doing as your planner, but the more we know  – the better. 

A2: Trust that we know what we’re talking about. Trust those you’ve hired that we can make this amazing for you.

And there you have it friends – some great input from the experts! If you want to learn more about this amazing Michigan Wedding Planner – 1928 Planning Co – feel free to visit their website to explore services offered, drool over their rental collection, or even reach out to get more details. You won’t be disappointed.

If you can see yourself working alongside 1928 Planning Co to perfectly execute your Vineyard Wedding, we’d love to hear from you!

Featured Photographers: (in order of photo appearance)

Brick and Pine Photography

Michelle Muliken Photography

Kathy Davies Photography

Santiago Murillo Photography

Sweet Lemon Drop Photography

430 Studios

Alyssa McElheny Photography

Rachael Osborn Photography

Kati Mallory Photography

Meg Van Kampen Photography

Michael Koch Photography

How to Plan a Classic Wedding in Michigan

How to Plan a Classic Wedding in Michigan

There is something about classic wedding photos that make us feel nostalgic and innocent, hearkening back to a simpler time. No wonder we find that engaged couples gravitate toward the elegance of a wedding style that draws on classic decor, food, dress and ambiance.

Luckily, crisp, elegant, and memorable weddings never go out of style – it’s about looking past all the fads and choosing elements that have remained truly timeless. These styling tips will help you plan a wedding that transcends time by incorporating traditional and classic touches in a fresh way that’s still very “now” in a style we at the Vineyard at 12 Corners call Classic Elegance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click to start planning your classic wedding today!

Choose An Elegant Backdrop

When it comes to choosing a venue, think elegant and simple – a subtle canvas upon which you can layer some more traditional and classic elements without it feeling over-done. At southwest Michigan wedding venue, The Vineyard at 12 Corners, we find that the combination of a classic white tent and the additional touch of a winery, perhaps with wine-themed decor, set against a view of the vineyard, create a perfect backdrop for a classically elegant wedding. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep Decor Timeless 

Classic neutrals like black, white, and grey can be blended with deeper colors like navy and emerald hues for effect, and you might incorporate metallics for an upscale, extra-elegant feeling. Light, summery colors can work, too – in this case, blending soft shades like pink, white, and natural tan can create a romantic feeling.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Floral arrangements will often center around well-known flowers like roses, dahlias, hydrangeas and peonies, often in a simple color palette and large arrangements. You can’t go wrong incorporating florals into table decor, along with small touches like chargers and flat napkin folds to add extra sophistication to tablescapes. Additional touches like personalized guest books in colors and lettering that match invitations and guest place cards can be a nice touch. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let us help you plan the classic wedding of your dreams!

Whatever you do, don’t overlook lighting: luxurious, elegant elements like large chandeliers add flair, while more delicate details like string lights and lots of candles add to the romance. When used together in the right combinations, your lighting scheme can guarantee great photos.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Traditional Experience

When it comes to the itinerary, a Classic Elegance wedding typically sticks to the tried-and-true. At the Vineyard at 12 Corners we find that most couples planning a Classically Elegant wedding choose to offer a cocktail hour with passed appetizers, a full bar with a signature cocktail or two and a traditional seated dinner. If a late-night snack is on the menu, it’s usually a caterer-created option that’s easy for guests to grab. Traditional, tiered wedding cakes are common in this style of wedding as well. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll likely lean into the most recognizable order of events, too, from the toasts and speeches to classic wedding dances. If you do choose to shake things up by changing the typical lineup or incorporating unusual activities, keep those surprises sparing to maximize impact and maintain the classic feel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Get Started

Ready to bring Classic Elegance to your wedding at the Vineyard at 12 Corners? Our beautiful, elegant winery setting offers the perfect backdrop for the timeless wedding of your dreams, with plenty of flexibility to use the space in creative ways to make your experience unforgettable. Contact us and we’ll get started!

How To Plan Your Michigan Boho Wedding

How To Plan Your Michigan Boho Wedding

What’s not to love about a boho wedding? They’re natural, laid-back, and the lack of “rules” and tradition means you can make the experience completely your own. 

From statement entrances with vines of greenery to rustic tablescapes and exotic outdoor settings, couples are looking to Mother Nature to present a bohemian new take on traditional weddings. Here are some styling tips to keep in mind as you plan your Beautifully Boho wedding. 

Down-To-Earth Decor

There aren’t many rules to follow with a bohemian wedding, so you can get as creative and unconventional as you want. From tablescapes to seating, one option is to think earthy and eclectic. Create an “I-just-put-these-together” look using reclaimed wood, bud vases, mismatched chairs, and textured flowers. Or, play with statement pieces and delicate, fresh flowers to get a chic and slightly more formal effect. 

When choosing colors, think muted, soft tones that lean toward a natural palette: soft pinks, lots of natural shades, cream, tan, and so on. More vivid hues like deep turquoise or burgundy can pair well with the softer, more subtle tones; just use them sparingly as accents to keep the natural, hippie vibe in place. If you’re aiming for a more dramatic effect, textured metal and electric colors are a great addition to natural elements. 

At Southwest Michigan wedding venue The Vineyard at 12 Corners, our couples often work macrame items into the decor. We also see more unusual uses of fabrics and textiles, like patterned rugs in outdoor areas and throw pillows as accents. Wicker and rattan are used in shades and seating for a natural, outdoorsy look. 

Click to start planning your Michigan boho wedding today!

 Fairyland Florals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s no secret that flowers and greenery play a big role in a Beautifully Boho wedding. At the Vineyard at 12 Corners, we often see pampas grass, greenery and oversized floral pieces in arrangements and archways. Loose and luscious, these wild-looking natural accents give the impression that nature has taken over the wedding and reclaimed the setting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethnic and vintage accents blend together, making everything look straight out of a mythological fairytale. With a little bit of creativity and vision, a boho wedding can create stunning results with a more modest budget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let us help you plan your boho wedding.

Unique Guest Experiences

Attention to details is a must when it comes to planning your Beautifully Boho wedding. From table settings to music to gifts, all details are carefully crafted to showcase the couple’s style and offer their friends and family a unique experience. Get involved in the process as much as you can to put your own spin on the overall aesthetic. Surprise your guests by introducing interactive activities, like a Polaroid selfie or photobooth station or old-school yard games, to add a fun twist to every aspect of your wedding. Boho weddings are all about creativity and freedom of expression, so your guests won’t quite know what to expect when they attend yours. Take advantage of that sense of anticipation by infusing originality and adventure into every aspect of their experience!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eclectic Menus

When planning food for a bohemian wedding, think eclectic options like farm-to-table, international cuisine, street carts, or traditional favorites. There are no wrong answers here, so if you like a specific type of food or drink and know your guests would enjoy it, it’s worth discussing with your caterer ways of incorporating it into the menu. 

For example, maybe you want ice cones or summer punch for cocktail hour. Or perhaps you fancy a dessert station filled with cotton candy and salted caramel popcorn. Whatever you choose, the way in which you present your food can really draw focus and set the tone of the day.

At the Vineyard at 12 Corners, our couples often offer a wider array of bar options.. Cakes are typically very simple and often adorned with flowers similar to the ones used in decor – but it’s even more common to see unusual desserts like doughnuts or cookie bars.  

Click here to find out more about having your Michigan boho wedding at the Vineyard at 12 Corners!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Get Started

Ready to start planning your Beautifully Boho wedding at the Vineyard at 12 Corners? Our rustic, nature-inspired setting offers the perfect backdrop for the bohemian wedding of your dreams, with plenty of flexibility to use the space in creative ways to make your experience unforgettable. Contact us and we’ll get started!

 

 

Engaged? Start Planning Your Michigan Wedding Here.

Engaged? Start Planning Your Michigan Wedding Here.

Congratulations on your engagement!

….so, now what?

 

From picking a wedding venue to choosing a date, the first steps to planning your wedding can be overwhelming. Whether you’re dreaming of a rustic country wedding, an elegant winery wedding, or aren’t sure exactly what you want yet, your imagination is probably dancing with images of gorgeous gowns, flowers and Instagram-worthy table settings. All that dreaming is fun, but getting carried away can make it hard to know where to focus your planning first.

As wedding professionals, we’ve seen it all, and we know how many decisions there are to make! But the good news is, you don’t have to figure out every detail right away. Before you fall too far down the Pinterest rabbit hole, take a few moments to set yourself up for low-stress wedding success by making sure you’re tackling these 3 big steps in the right order:

1. Ask the big questions.

Since you’ve already found this article, we’ll assume you’ve started doing at least a basic Google search on venues and locations. But before you get too far into picking out venues, it’s a good idea to have a discussion with your fiancee to make sure you’re on the same page about some basics. Establishing a few important details up front can help you narrow down your choices and start making decisions instead of getting paralyzed by too many options:

  • Location. Will you get married near your current home, choose a spot between your hometowns, or have a destination wedding? 
  • Venue type. While being flexible about the type of wedding venue you’re looking for will open up options, some couples have their hearts set on a specific look. For example, if you and your fiancee both know you’ll want something very specific like a rustic Michigan winery wedding, the search will be relatively straightforward (and maybe that’s how you found us!) On the other hand, if you have only a general idea of the kind of wedding you want, or the two of you think you want different things, you may need to get more creative with your search (more about that later.)
  • Time of year. You’ll need to have at least a basic idea of how soon and what time of year you want to get married, but we recommend holding off on choosing a specific date until you’ve locked in a venue, since that is often the limiting factor.
  • Budget. While you will likely need to do some research to find out what kind of wedding budget to set, it’s a good idea to have at least a ballpark idea of your range. (Psst – when it comes to getting the best experience for your dollar, we believe small-town weddings provide the best value!) 
  • Size. Will the wedding be an intimate event, or will you need space for 300? This may drastically affect both your location and the availability of venues, so carefully consider not only how many people are on your “must-have” list, but also how easily the major players will be able to travel to the locations you have in mind. 
  • Style. Start looking at wedding-related Instagram accounts and Pinterest boards to get a feel for the aesthetic you’re most drawn to. Many venues can accommodate a wide variety of wedding styles, from beautifully boho to rustic, or classic elegance to vintage, but certain venues will definitely lend themselves better to a particular look and feel than others. 

2. Research venues.

Now that you’ve answered some of the most important questions, it’s time to start looking for a venue. Whether you’re starting from a wedding website like The Knot or starting from scratch on Google, the more detailed you can get in your search, the better your results will be. That’s why it’s great that you already made the big decisions: your research will be so much more effective! For example, if you know you want an elegant winery wedding between Chicago and Detroit, using specific search terms or filters will help you find appropriate venue websites. Once you’ve located a few venues that catch your eye, double-check details like how many guests they can accommodate and price ranges.

Once you’ve found a few venues you like, reach out – it’s time to schedule a tour. And prepare to ask a lot of questions! Check out these articles to prepare for your venue tours:

3. Choose a date. 

Chances are good that you fell in love with a specific wedding venue – or perhaps it was a tough choice, but budget or location helped you narrow it down to a winner. Now that you’ve settled on a venue and know their availability, it’s time to choose a date! When making this important choice, here are a few things to consider:

  • Work schedules and time off. How much time will you be able to get off on either side of your wedding? How many days do you want the festivities to last? These days, many couples are opting for Friday weddings because they often open up more availability and can also set the stage for a relaxed weekend with family and friends.
  • Weather. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding in Michigan, your date window will likely naturally be limited. If you’re an adventurous couple, you may be able to use Michigan’s unpredictable weather to your advantage by choosing a date on the edge of the season that other couples shy away from – or you may find that you prefer to play it safe and choose a time of year that’s likely to be mild and dry. Whatever you decide, make sure your wedding venue has a backup option in case of inclement weather. For more tips, read our guide to planning an outdoor wedding.  

vineyard-wedding-venue-kiss

Once these three steps are done, you’re ready to dive in on all the fun details like choosing a gown, selecting a menu, and planning the wedding festivities. Our partner 1928 Planning Company can help you with those details and more, and their blog is a fantastic source of wedding stye inspiration. 

Congratulations again on your engagement!  Love the idea of getting married in the unique setting of a Michigan winery surrounded by a lush vineyard? Get in touch and we’ll go to work planning a special and memorable day for your wedding party, guests – and especially for you and your fiancee.

 

Outdoor Wedding Venues – Are They Right for You?

Outdoor Wedding Venues – Are They Right for You?

When it comes to choosing your wedding venue, there are a seemingly infinite number of options. It can be difficult to narrow down the venues worth touring and try to determine what will be the best fit. Outdoor wedding venues have been growing in popularity for good reason but just because you like the idea of an outdoor venue, doesn’t mean it necessarily suits your needs. With the crazy amount of choices you will soon be making while wedding planning, let us help you out with this one! From a team that has hosted almost 600 outdoor weddings – we’re going to give you the “real” talk on outdoor wedding venues.

(Featured Photo: Brandon Shafer Photography)

 Outdoor Wedding Venues Have Lots of Pros

 Beautiful Scenery at Outdoor Wedding Venues

outdoor wedding venues vineyard tent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo credit: Sean Cook Weddings)

The great thing about most outdoor wedding venues is that they are in naturally beautiful locations. Wedding venues near water, wedding venues in rolling countrysides, or wedding venues in (hint, hint!) the middle of a vineyard all have something spectacular in common – picture perfect views. Many outdoor venues aren’t set in big downtown cities so they offer serenity and privacy just simply by where they’re located. With an abundance of photo locations often right at the venue, giving you more time to enjoy that lovely scenery with your guests.

 

Outdoor Weddings Bring Beauty, So You Can Keep it Simple

outdoor wedding venues copper arch wedding ceremony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 (Photo Credit: Ashley Galminas Photography)

This one goes hand in hand with our first “pro”. Because of the natural beauty associated with many outdoor wedding venues, you often have the ability to keep it simple. Gorgeous surroundings means you can go easy on the decor if you want. It can take some time, creativity, and usually lots of money to transform an indoor space into the wedding you want. But with a sunset, some grape vines, and the stars – you don’t have to work hard to make the space beautiful.

We’re also talking simplicity for your guests. Many outdoor venues have onsite ceremony options and onsite parking. This means your guests can arrive without frustration, remain in the same location, and just enjoy themselves without having to worry about the logistics of getting from place to place.

 

Lots of Space at Outdoor Wedding Venues Means More Room for Experiences

outdoor wedding venues rental furniture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo Credits: top- Kati Mallory Photography, bottom- Rebekah Albaugh Photography)

One of the wedding trends we get really excited about is a shift in focus on guest experiences. Yes, it’s your day, but you want to make it memorable and fun for your loved ones. Choosing an outdoor wedding venue can often give you some room to let that guest experience come to life in ways it wouldn’t be possible with an indoor location. Think lawn games, fire pits, food trucks, etc. You can almost choreograph the space to guide your guests from experience to experience while giving them room to celebrate with you in ways they enjoy.

 

Unique Weddings Can Easily Be Designed Outdoors

outdoor wedding venues great photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 (Photo Credit: Rachael Osborn Photography)

Although we have seen that growth in outdoor wedding venues recently, it’s still so easy to find unique options. The wedding venue you choose, should reflect who you are as a couple. Styles for outdoor venues vary from rustic to elegant, casual to formal, and everything in between. Most outdoor venues give you the ability to express yourselves and create memorable events because they shy away from what is typically found in hotels, banquet halls, or country clubs. If you take the time to discover what is truly important to you and how you want your day to “feel” you can narrow down your search and select an outdoor venue that is perfectly you.

 

Outdoor Venue Cons & How to Mitigate

 

Navigating Michigan Weather

outdoor wedding venues vineyard umbrella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo Credit: Lauren Crawford Photography)

This is honestly the biggest concern for most couples when deciding if an outdoor wedding venue will work. Will it be hot? Might it be cold? Will it rain? All valid concerns. You don’t want to spend the duration of your planning worrying about something that is completely out of your control – it sucks the fun out of the process. However, doing your research when looking at venues can put your mind at ease. Always ask the “what if’s”. What is the plan if it rains, where will people go, how does affect the spaces you’ll be using? What if it’s cold, how does that change the flow of experiences my guests encounter? Is there an emergency plan for severe weather? If you are unsatisfied with the answers any venue gives you to these questions; move on.

You have to plan for the worst and be okay with Plan B if it’s needed. If you can only imagine your wedding day at a certain venue in perfect conditions, it might not be the right fit for you. Weather will always be a factor but as long as you take the time to think through scenarios, you’ll find it doesn’t have to be that constant worry in the back of your mind.

 

Dealing with the Outdoors and Bugs

(No photo here – no one wants to see pictures of bugs…)

Like it or not, there are some less glamorous parts to planning a wedding. If you are considering an outdoor wedding venue, how to deal with bugs can be one of those unsavory topics. Flies, and mosquitoes, and bees – oh my! The last thing you want to be doing on your wedding day is swatting away flies or trying to itch a fresh mosquito bite. If you have a fear or pretty intense distaste of the winged pests, you may want to reconsider your outdoor vibe. Bugs here and there are part of the territory. However, if you are looking at experienced and reputable venues, they will have thought of this already and hopefully taken the steps to keep your space as bug free as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask a venue what measures they use to control the issue. If they are like us, they will tell you the lifecycle of a mosquito is 21 days, and yes – we treat our spaces every 21 days – so fear not.

 

Outdoor Venues Come with Limited Dates

outdoor wedding venues perfect for photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo Credit: 430 Studios)

If you are reading this, you are likely planning your wedding somewhere close to our little corner of Michigan. Which means with good old Michigan seasons – we have a limited number of dates we can host outdoor weddings. Depending on the venue, Michigan wedding season often runs May through October. That’s only 6 months of Saturdays to choose from so those will be at a premium. You will want to start looking early and make some of those big decisions pretty quickly because dates fill fast.

In the end, your choice of venue is very personal and there are so many factors to consider but if you think an outdoor wedding venue might be right for you, we’d love to talk through your ideas! Just reach out!