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Photo by Morgan Newsom Photography


Finding the perfect wedding venue for your big day can take some time. You will need to discuss a few big pieces of information before you begin your search. We put together a key list of things to consider before you begin narrowing down your venue search and some questions to ask your venue as you decide if it is the right one for you.


Things to consider before you begin your search:

  • What is your budget for the wedding and how much are you willing to allocate to the venue?

  • Will you have your ceremony and reception in the same location?

  • Do you want an indoor or outdoor ceremony?

  • What is your expected guest count?

  • Narrow down a few dates, just in case your first pick is not available.


Questions to ask/consider during the venue meeting/tour:

  • How long is the booking for?

Some venues require quick turn arounds giving you access only the day of, and occasionally a few hours the day before for a rehearsal. Others will give you multiple days to allow time for set up and tear down.


  • If you want to hold an outdoor ceremony, is there a weather plan in the event of inclement weather?

Some venues are easily able to accommodate a rain plan, while others it is not so easy. If you choose a venue where it is not as easy, are you prepared to have a room flip between the ceremony and reception, or have the guests sit at their tables during the ceremony?


  • Is a caterer required and/or is there a list you can select from?

Some venues allow you to bring in your own food or allow your family to provide the food, but others require you to hire a caterer for insurance purposes. Many times, if a caterer is required the venue will provide a list of caterers they have worked with before, or who are on their approved list. If you have a certain caterer in mind, most venues will allow you to bring them in, but will just require a few pieces of information from the caterer.


  • Does the venue provide bar service, or are there regulations for who can provide the liquor/beer/wine?

Many venues have a liquor license and all alcohol must be bought solely through them. Some venues that do not have a liquor license allow you to bring your own alcohol or hire an outside vendor for bar services.


  • Is there an in-house wedding planner or coordinator?

There is a big difference between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator. A venue coordinator will usually be there the day of to ensure everything at the venue runs smoothly but is not someone who will help you plan your wedding. This is important when thinking about your needs during your planning process.


  • Can you bring in your own entertainment (i.e. pick your own DJ or band)?


  • Is there a noise limit in the area?

Depending on where the venue is located, there may be a noise ordinance that takes place during certain times, especially if the venue is within city limits.


  • Is the venue handicap friendly?

This is something to think about especially if you have elderly relatives with limited mobility. It is a legal requirement for public venues to provide disabled access, but it may be challenging depending on the terrain and restrictions if it's older building.


  • Is there an on-site place for the bridal party to get ready?

Some venues have specific bride and groom suites, whereas others do not, and you will have to find somewhere off-site to get ready. You will have to plan your schedule accordingly.


  • How many guests can the venue accommodate comfortably?

Sometimes the venue capacity is not always how many the venue can accommodate comfortably. You want to give your guests a good, memorable experience during your big day, and being tightly packed during your ceremony and reception is not always desirable. Plus you want to ensure you have enough space for everything you'd like to have at your wedding or if you have a large bridal party.


  • Are there any restrictions that apply to the building or site that may be a deal-breaker for you?

For example, many times the use of candles without being contained is not allowed (i.e. the taper candle trend), or actual flames are not allowed at all. Some venues have restrictions on the type of confetti you can use, bubbles, sparklers, cold sparks, etc.


When booking the venue:

  • What is included in the price, and are there any additional charges or add-ons?

  • How much is the deposit and when is the full balance due?

  • Do you need wedding liability insurance or is that something the venue covers?

If so, do they have a recommended representative or website? Some venues have this taken care of in their insurance policies, while others will require you to get special event insurance. If this is the case ask them if they have a recommendation on where to obtain the insurance from.


There are so many more questions you may have for the venue during your search, but this is just a starting point of some of the things you should be thinking about along the way. As always, if you have more questions about this post, feel free to email me! Brittany@bluegrasseventplanning.com

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Wedding planning can be very overwhelming. Hiring a professional can relieve that stress on you and keep you on track during your planning process.



Wedding planning can be overwhelming especially if you are adding it to an already busy schedule. One of the best ways to make the process smoother is by hiring a wedding planner. We do this every week and have definitely been around the block a time or two. Wedding planners aren’t for everyone but can be very helpful during the process. We put together a list of 8 reasons you need a wedding planner.


Ease of Mind During the Planning Process


Always know we are here for you. We understand wedding planning is overwhelming, and we want to take some of that stress off of you. One of the biggest tasks we can take off your list is vendor communications. If you are torn between vendors we will research their availability and pricing and report back to you. Once you’ve decided we will book, and communicate all details with that vendor.


Spend Smarter, Save More


We try to save you money where we can along the way. Since we deal with weddings each weekend, we know how much something should cost. We can guide you on things you should save on and where you can splurge. An example of a way we can save you money is by cutting the cake. Many caterers charge you to cut the cake, but since we are already there we will take care of cutting the cake for you.


Professional Advice


Wedding advice from your family and friends is always great, but getting advice from a professional is even better. Because we typically don’t know your family very well, we are able to provide unbiased and creative feedback you can’t get from anyone else. Plus, we would like to think we’ve almost seen it all, no problem is too big for us.


Ideas and Inspiration


No one knows the creative design ideas behind your wedding like your planner does. Sometimes you need help recreating your unique style, and that’s where we come in. We take those ideas and translate them into tangible results that not only look beautiful on camera but also provide your guests with a great experience at your event. If you’re having trouble coming up with unique ideas, we are always trying to brainstorm the next big wedding trend and more than likely have the solution for you.


Stay on Budget


Staying on budget is one of the most important things to remember during wedding planning. It is very easy to rack up charges, especially with a large guest count. With a wedding planner, we can tell you when your ideas are a bit too ambitious or within range. Since we work with a lot of these vendors weekly, we can prepare you for how much certain vendors will cost before you spend any money.


Scheduling


We will never let a task fall behind schedule while planning and on the day of. During the planning process, we start by giving you an idea of how your planning process should flow (no matter what stage of the process you are in). We present tasks that are urgent and keep you on track. We check in every so often to ensure the planning process is still on track. On your wedding day, together with you and your photographer, we create a timeline of how the day should flow. While you more than likely will not be 100% on time during the day, we do try to keep you as close to the schedule as possible.


Connections with Other Wedding Vendors


We have had the opportunity to work with a wide range of wedding vendors, and some we have gotten to know them pretty well. We can offer additional insight and recommendations to help you decide which vendors would be a good fit. We also can have an easier time communicating with vendors that double as our friends. Bonus! Your day will move SO smoothly when most of your wedding vendors have worked with each other before (and on dozens of other occasions!)


Enjoy a Stress-Free Wedding Day


Our number one goal is to ensure you and your family have a stress-free wedding day. It always makes us so sad when we see a family member or friends running around on the day of to set up or handling other important last-minute tasks. Let us take care of that! We are in contact with your vendors during the week leading up to your event, letting them know important details and when and where to be. Our packages include set up and tear down. You drop off your items and let us know where everything goes, and we will make sure it gets there. At the end of the night, we pack up all your items and send you on your way. We go above and beyond to ensure you and your family enjoy the day fully.

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A unity ceremony is the best way to show your guests who you are as a couple.

There are many ways to personalize your wedding ceremony. From personal vows to your playlist to a thoughtful unity ceremony. You are probably familiar with some of the more traditional unity traditions like combining sand and lighting a unity candle, which we will touch on below, but the possibilities are endless. There are tons of creative wedding unity options out there! We are going to answer your most common unity questions, and we came up with a list of fun unity traditions to use on your big day.


What is a unity ceremony?


A unity ceremony is a portion of the wedding ceremony that is completely personalized to the couple. It is all about the couple uniting as one. It allows the couple to express a unique part of their relationship. It can be religious or cultural traditions, or something completely created by the couple. Just like the wedding ceremony, and unity ceremony is symbolic act that honors a couple’s commitment to each other. A unity ceremony is a unique was to fuse two heritages together, but not all unitary ceremonies have to be cultural or religious. The possibilities are quite literally endless. The more unique your unity ceremony, the more memorable it will be to your guests.


Do I have to have a unity ceremony?


No, you definitely don’t have to have one. It is a creative way to show yourselves off as a couple, and is a thoughtful ceremony to honor your commitment. Bonus — most unity ceremonies are centered around a keepsake, so you will have something tangible to take home with you to remember your commitment to each other.


When is the right time during the wedding ceremony to do the unity ceremony?


A unity ceremony is completely customizable. It often happens after the wedding vows are said, and before the couple says their vows to each other. Depending on the flow of the ceremony it could happen earlier or later in the ceremony. Work with your officiant to see when the time would be right. There is also a lot of one-size fits all script for you to follow. Depending on your unity ceremony, you can probably find something online that will relate to it, or ask your wedding planner or officiant. They may be able to help you with the wording, or have seen the ceremony before and know how to handle it.



Unique Unity Ceremony Ideas


Colored Sand

Photo by Krysta Joy Photography


The sand unity idea is very unique for beach weddings or makes a cute keepsake for the couple. You can get two different colors of sand, and take turns pouring it into a vase or figurine that can be closed.


Personalized Keepsake Candle

Photo by Justine Klope Photography


Personalized unity candles are probably one of the more traditional unity ceremonies you see at a wedding. There are 2 pillar candles that either the couple or the couple's parents light before taking their seat signifying the couple as individuals. Then during the ceremony, the couple will together light one unity candle signifying the couple as one.


Personalized Scented Candle from the Pour Room

Photo by Mark Koenig Photographics


Did you know the Pour Room in Paducah has wedding packages? Something really unique and fun for a couple to do is have a custom-scented candle as their unity ceremony. Stop by the pour room and create a custom scent that is unique to you, and light it for a few minutes during your unity ceremony. As a keepsake, you can take it home and think of your wedding when you light it.


Anniversary Capsule

From Wedlockofficants.com


This is a capsule you can open on your first, fifth, or tenth wedding anniversary, or even whenever you want. You can go as elaborate or basic as you like. You can include mementos from when you were dating or the year you got engaged. Many couples will write a letter for each other to open on the given date. We have even seen couples add to the capsule each year of marriage.


Wine Box

From Etsy.com


This option is very similar to the above, but also includes a wine of your choice to enjoy on your anniversary. Many couples will also include a letter to read on the anniversary.


Tree Planting or Tree Watering

From Weddingbee.com


This is an ancient unity ceremony recognized in many cultures. The tree symbolizes marriage. It is planted in fertile soil. Given light and water to develop deep roots. You allow it to grow and bear fruit and prune it when necessary. There is no set way to do this unity ceremony so you can really customize it to your needs. Some couples opt to use dirt from their childhood homes. Some opt to water the tree rather than planting it during the ceremony. Some couples even use house plants instead of actual trees.


A Cord of Three Strands


Also known as the "God knot", and another unity ceremony you have probably seen before. This is a traditionally Christian unity ceremony but can be adjusted to be non-denominational. The strands symbolize the two of them together are stronger than they are alone. It is based on the verse "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken".


Custom Livestock Brand

Photo by Stacey Lynn Photography via stacey-lynn.com


This unity is a bit more tailored to the south, and those who own livestock. We have only seen this unity ceremony twice. The couple created a custom cattle brand with their last initial. Heated it up, and stamped a cowhide with the new brand.


Wedding Glass

Photo from Unityinglass.com


This is a unity option not seen often, but one that is really cool. The process is very easy and similar to a sand ceremony. The couple can select anywhere from 2-8 colors. The couple will combine their glass crystals much like a sand ceremony. The colors can be displayed in vases, champagne flutes, or any container of their choosing. Once the glass is poured, the couple sends the crystals off to be created into a unique keepsake. There are several different companies that provide this service.



Hand-fasting

Photo by Harper Paker from phillyinlove.com


This is a Celtic tradition where the couple's right hands are bound together while the vows are read. This symbolizes their commitment to each other as they tie the knot.


Circling


Photo by Susan Stripling via smashingtheglass.com


Most often seen at Jewish weddings, the bride will circle the groom seven times symbolizing the groom as the center of the bride's world.


Wedding Lasso

Photo from Leocarrilloranchweddings.com


This is a Mexican tradition, and is typically used in Catholic ceremonies. After the vows are exchanged, a cord, rope, rosary, or floral garland is placed over the couple's shoulders by the officiant or whoever the couple has designated in an infinity symbol. This signifies their everlasting love and status as one.



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