WELCOME to our little corner of the internet friends!
We are so excited you are here and jumping into our first ever recorded podcast series with Behind the Party. This series is sponsored by Hawthorn Hills - a North Texas Venue that you can check out HERE. These first few episodes go hand in hand with our free venue guide we collaborated with them on that helps you skip the stress of not knowing what to ask, or why it’s even important.
You can grab that free guide here, and in this show notes / episode we’ll dive into a little more behind the scenes and cover all the help.
So, you’ve changed that Facebook status to engaged (cue the confetti) but - now what?
Here’s what we noticed our friends and family saying to us… they felt overwhelmed and stressed when they thought about planning. By the time they got home from work, fed the dogs/cats and made dinner they were ready to relax watching their favorite show and they would much rather save inspiration videos or photos on Pinterest, Instagram or TikTok than take the time to scroll through hundreds of venue and vendor options with no idea how to narrow it down.
Why We Created The Guide
So here’s where we come in. We’ve done this, like hundreds of times and can navigate this in our sleep - but don’t worry we are showing up FULLY caffeinated and ready to help you because that is what you deserve. Between this first series (Episode 1 - 4 and the free guide you downloaded - which by the way if you haven’t you totally need to jump over and grab that) you will know everything you need to rock this first stage of planning. It’s a big stage, we know, and a HUGE check off your list for planning. Let’s do it!
Rather listen in? Skip over to Spotify for the Behind the Party Podcast HERE to listen in now.
Narrowing Down Venue Options Ten years ago (in 2012) when you search for a wedding venue in North Texas the options would fit on one page. I know, because (hi! by the way this is Amanda) that is when I got married. Even still, with limited options, and experience in the industry I spent weekends touring venues, nights emailing for details and information and had an excel sheet to compare it all so I didn’t get confused.
I’m not going to overwhelm you with my spreadsheets - organizing is my happy place guys, but instead I am going to give you all the questions and checklists you need to ask to narrow it down. Over in that guide we’ve also included worksheets to keep organized, as well as to print and take with you on tours so you don’t forget a question and have to go back to ask again. On top of all the options though, venues do not make it easy - they each have different amenities, services and rules to guide your experience. It’s what makes them unique, what shows off their priorities and what they are known for and lets you get to know their personality but it’s also a huge pain to compare costs. This is when being prepared, feeling comfortable and confident in what you are looking for and keeping your eye on your priorities BEFORE you get too deep in planning is really important. It’s why we suggest you start with a little homework before submitting all those contact forms and information requests online.
Why We Created The Guide
Figure out a budget - it does not have to be exact. Wedding costs change yearly so even if you know what your sister or best friend’s wedding cost 2 years ago that does not mean your costs will be the same. What you do need to have a pulse on is what do we have set aside already, what are we willing to put towards this and what will allow us to enjoy the event, start a life together without feeling a financial guilt or burden. For every couple this is different - I’ve worked with couples with a budget of $4000 all in and others that are working with a budget of $300,000.
Either way - you need to know what you are comfortable with and what your max amount is. Once you start getting a better understanding of real costs for services in your area this may adjust and that is okay. For now, give yourself the grace to come back and change your budget, but have a conversation of what this means for you. Really not sure where to start? Do a quick search and find costs of 3 venues, 3 caterers, 3 DJs, and 3 photographers in your area. You’ll see that 1) it definitely varies and 2) what is unrealistic and realistic for the type of wedding you envision.
Head count - should you really be making a guest list from the start? YES.
At least list out your “must invite” list, and then start a 2nd page of maybes. If you’re going to have any extended family invited, you will need to talk to both sides to get a list as well. We’ll talk more about guests lists in another episode. For now, you just need an idea of that must invite list - there is a big difference between 30 people and 170 people. Having a range is completely normal and expected by venues - none should pressure you to have a hard count at this phase. You want to target a range no more than 50 count difference. For example, 100 - 150 people. Any more than that and you two need to sit down and go over that list again.
Style - This is actually one of my favorite topics. I can get a little too excited and go on and on about wedding style, so I will keep it short and sweet here. When you close your eyes what do you see? Rustic wooden accents with farm animals in the background? Manicured estate with elegant chandeliers that require a black-tie dress code? Remember that you want to feel comfortable and true to yourselves during your wedding so if that is a stylish modern city setting then we want to stay away from the industrial vintage railroad venue that is an hour drive away.
Priorities - this one is the most important. Knowing your priorities will help you both navigate what will make you excited and stay away from what would trigger any stress/anxiety. If budget is important than it needs to be one of the top 3. If your guest experience is a priority, then you want to choose a venue that will enhance that. Another example might be an outdoor ceremony, because you two love nature and spending the day at the lake or hiking together. Or perhaps you have to have a place with overnight accommodations onsite. Having your priorities listed out will help you not get distracted by the excitement of touring venues.
Now that you have your homework done, use those 10 questions in the guide to field through venues and narrow down your top choices. Those are the ones we are going to focus on in Episode 2 - and get you ready to know exactly what to ask when you’re visiting.
This Episode hosted by AMANDA
Get the FREE GUIDE by clicking HERE
Listen in to the podcast Episode #01: Engaged, Now What? HERE
Check out this series sponsor: Hawthorn Hills Ranch