Your wedding vendors can make or break your wedding. When your venue has a required or preferred list of vendors, it is usually to protect their couples from bad experiences. Most venues would rather couples use vendors they are familiar with, have had good experiences with, are reliable and good at what they do. A bonus is they are affordable too.
There are so many wedding vendors that are doing there service as a hobby. A really good clue is that they do not have liability insurance and some will refuse to get liability insurance. A vendor that is serious about their service and treat it like a real business will have no problem with providing insurance but that alone does not make them a good vendor. Venue owners and managers have seen it all if they have been around for any length of time. I know I have seen a lot of good and bad and try to keep track of the bad to put them on our black list and keep track of the really great ones to consider adding to our preferred list.
We have found that there are two vendors that are notorious for delaying weddings. One is a make-up artist. They either don't bring enough help to get the job done on time or they are just slow. We recommend only a few that have never held up a wedding and do incredible work. The other vendor that will hold up a wedding is a DJ for multiple reasons. We have had DJ's show up late or not show up at all, have bad equipment, forget equipment, need batteries, need cords and even show up drunk. We have had so many issues with DJ's, that in order to protect our couples, we have made the decision to go with an exclusive DJ.
The Barn at Lacey Farms has 3 exclusive vendors that we require. One, Stephanie Gavin, our Wedding Coordinator is included in every package we offer. Franny's Bartending Service is our exclusive bartending service and now DJ Dan Holt is our exclusive DJ. By doing this our couples are going to get really great and reliable vendors at very affordable prices.
Believe me we did not start out with these required vendors, but quickly learned from experience with a bartender that took payment and then ghosted our couples, we decided to bring our couples the best and most reliable bartending service as exclusive. We had so many problems, even disasters when couples chose not to have a coordinator, that we decided to include the coordinator in our packages. With all the DJ problems, we decided to work a deal with our best DJ, with the best equipment and most reliable, to get our couple a really great deal.
We still have a great list of preferred vendors and although we do not require our couples to choose from this list, we highly suggest they do for the very best experience. We do not take a penny from any of exclusive or preferred vendors. We only do this to help limit the issues our couples could encounter on their wedding day.
Choose wisely and go with your venue suggestions.
When we were designing our venue, we kicked around a lot of ideas to cross our rocky creek from the parking lot to the wedding venue. We considered a flat railroad car, a 55 foot cargo container and cut windows in the sides, an engineered metal bridge and old fashioned covered bridge. We had an architect do a 3d rendering of the entire venue and his vision of the covered bridge seemed to be what the family really liked.
So I started designing a bridge similar to his vision. Once we had the steel beams in place we started building the wooden covered bridge on top of the steel beams. We bolted 4x4's across the beams every 16" and 2x10 planks for the decking across the 55 foot span. We built the side panels over at the garage with the help of my son's, Fourth and Brent, and brought them out one by one, bolted thru decking and into to the 4x4's. Once we started putting the metal roof on, I let the youngsters handle that while I cut the tin. What we ended up with is a beautiful covered bridge that has been the focus point of so many weddings.
Covered Bridge Wedding Photos
Quite honestly the question of indoor or outdoor wedding doesn't come up very often here at The Barn at Lacey Farms. Most every couple wants to have a wedding at our beautiful outdoor ceremony site under the 150 year old oaks. We are blessed to have a completely shaded area by mother nature.
There are many factors that can affect the decision of outdoor vs indoor weddings, some you control, some you don't. Let's look at some of the reasons to have an outdoor wedding first.
One of the great things about having a beautiful natural setting is that Mother Nature does a lot of the decorating for you with trees, sky, creeks, ponds, leaves falling, natural lighting, etc... This also gives you and your photographer during and after the ceremony for more photos opportunities.
Other than the ceremony itself, an outdoor venue may have spaces for games, fire pit, surrounding scenery like the horse and cattle pastures surrounding The Barn at Lacey Farms. We have a huge fire pit and supply the wood and start the fire for our weddings. Even on hot days we have had the fire pit going for S'mores.
Now the thing you can't control in having an outdoor wedding, Mother Nature. Rain, cold, heat, snow, etc... So you better have a backup plan. We have a beautiful air conditioned and heated timber frame barn that can double as wedding and reception venue. We have had 117 weddings at this writing and have only had 7 weddings indoors because of rain. We still had beautiful weddings and the couples were able to enjoy their day.
Couples may choose an indoor wedding venue to better control the environment, lighting, theme, etc... Greater emphasis can and will be put on decorating the facility to match your theme or vision of your wedding.
Couples may want a more formal wedding at a more traditional setting such as a church. This type of setting will also be limited to more formal pictures as the outdoor setting may not be available. A more intimate wedding might be more appropriate indoors where you and your guest could be in one location for both the wedding and reception.
Fortunately for our couples, we have a beautiful indoor facility to use for both wedding ceremonies and receptions and a beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony site. Click Here to Schedule a Tour.
After saying "Yes", what do you do next? Here is a short list to help you start planning your wedding.
I have to admit a lot of things have changed since I married my bride 42 years ago with weddings and receptions. We did not see each other until she was walking down the aisle and what a beautiful site. Now days most weddings have a pre-wedding first look or touch and it can be a very emotional, beautiful and intimate time before the wedding.
We have many great locations for our couples to do their looks or touches. Here are just a few of the 117 weddings we have had to date at The Barn at Lacey Farms. For more wedding photos CLICK HERE for our photo gallery.
There are many couples that really believe everyone that they invite will show up to their wedding. When I tell them it will probably be about 80% of their invites, they say, you don't know my family. True, but as a wedding venue owner, I have been safe to use 80% will attend and there has never been a wedding that everyone invited attended here at The Barn at Lacey Farms.
While there is no exact prediction of how many of your invites will attend your wedding, there are over 2 million weddings per year that give us a really good idea. Industry wide the average is between 75% to 85% will attend however there are factors such as when you send save the date and invitations, close family vs friends and co-workers, time of year, weather and distance traveled that can affect your numbers.
Most industry experts agree that sending save the dates and invitations out at the proper times help increase the numbers that attend. Save the Dates are informal invites that go to your guest list to give them a heads up you're having a wedding on your date. These need to go out 6 to 8 months before your wedding. This will give the guest that will travel by air plenty of time to make arrangements.
The formal invitations should be sent 6 to 8 weeks before your wedding and these should request an RSVP. The number of RSVPs you receive does not mean they all will attend and then there are those that never RSVP for anything that may show up. In general we have found that 10-20% of the RSVPs do not show up.
Travel is a big factor in the number of guests that will attend. Guests traveling more than an hour and half will probably be in the 50-60% attendance and this will also be affected by family vs friends. The industry seems to suggest about 35% of those flying will attend.
You can help make it easier on those traveling by arranging a block of rooms available at a nearby hotel and a transportation service to venue and from venue to hotel. We have a party bus vendor that serves this need as part of our wedding vendor list. We also have a Guest Resources page to help our guests with lodging, restaurants and attractions.
So here is an example of 100 local guests and 50 guests traveling 1 1/2 hours.
100 x 0.85 = 85 and 50 x 0.60 = 30. So your total guest out of 150 invitations would be approximately 115.
Until next time, Happy Planning!
Ouch, the cost of buying or renting wedding decorations can be overwhelming. Many couples spend a small fortune on wedding decorations.
We have chosen to include the use of our wedding decorations in our wedding packages here at The Barn at Lacey Farms. However, if you are not fortunate enough to have a venue that supplies decorations, here are some suggestions on money saving ways to purchase decorations for your wedding.
One of our favorite sources to buy new items is Hobby Lobby. Every other week Hobby Lobby has their decorations on sale for 50% off so shop for your decorations on 50% off weeks. If you are shopping for items like lanterns that you need multiples of, you might have to do that in multiple weeks or go to multiple stores because they usually will only have a few in stock. You can also order online during the 50% off week for large numbers and have them shipped to you.
Another source for buying used items is Facebook. Facebook Marketplace is one, simply search for "wedding decorations for sale" and you can filter the distance from your location and minimum and maximum prices. Just about everything you can imagine will pop up.
Facebook groups like Bride to Bride are a great source as well. Many newly married brides are selling their decorations on these groups. Do a search for wedding groups on Facebook to find groups in your area and join the group. Once you are a member of the group you may search the group for wedding decorations for sale.
Happy wedding decoration shopping!
While many items couples forget on their wedding day are minor and can easily be taken care of, there are some that are major and one that the wedding can't happen without. These are all real life forgot items at our venue, The Barn at Lacey Farms.
Most of the time there are small things like they forgot the cake plates or cake cutting knives. Sometimes couples are stocking their own bar and forget ice or cups. These items are fairly minor and someone can be sent to pick up the forgotten item.
Then you start getting a few more important items like shoes, tux, cuff links, jewelry, dress, transportation, money for tips, wedding party gifts, pictures for the memory table and the rings. Most of these items may be difficult to just go and get especially depending on the time when you realize you have forgotten them. Best thing to do is start making a checklist and check each item off before heading to the wedding venue.
Now for the item couples forget and you will not be married without it. The Marriage License! We have had couples show up and ask if the Officiant is bringing the wedding license. That one really baffles me. Others just forgot to bring the license. Here's the thing. The Officiant must sign the license the day of your wedding, so someone is going to have to go get the license and bring it back for the Officiant to sign. The ones that did not know they had to get one, well they will need to go to the Justice of Peace and get married after they get the license.
My wife is the queen of checklists and I would have forgotten untold items if it wasn't for her checklist. So make a checklist and put the Marriage License at the top of the list.
Short answer is yes, you really need a wedding coordinator. The longer answer to why you need a coordinator comes from stories and experiences.
Early on when we opened our wedding venue, we did not supply a coordinator nor did we require a wedding coordinator. It did not take long for us to realize the importance of having a coordinator to handle all the disasters our early weddings encountered. I handled a few things like tracking vendors down that did not show up because no one told them when they needed to be there, supplying items that the couple or family forgot to bring or did not even know to bring and helping with getting the wedding started. Usually someone in the family was hopelessly trying to organize decorating, running a rehearsal, have everyone ready for the photographer's pre-wedding photos, organizing vendor arrival and setup for vendors that had never been told when to arrive or where to setup and the list goes on... The other disaster is when multiple people think they are in charge, usually moms or sisters, and end up fighting over everything. We even had fist fighting and hair pulling.
What wedding needs all that stress?
A professional wedding coordinator is going to handle preparing a timeline for your entire day, design your reception floor plan and distribute the timeline and floor plan to all the vendors so they know when to arrive and where to set up. Every minute of your day will be accounted for from when you arrive to decorating to rehearsal to photos to ceremony to grand entrance to first dances to meal to cake cutting to bouquet toss to last dance to send off to collecting all your items at the end of the night. They will work hand in hand with the DJ on keeping everything moving and on time. They will remind you to get your wedding license and remind you to bring it. Remind you to bring the rings and clothes. Remind you to bring plates and cake cutting utensils. I hope you are getting the picture. They are worth every penny!
Why on earth would you ask someone that should be enjoying your day or worse yet, you the bride trying to keep up with it all while trying to enjoy the day you have been dreaming about your entire life.
I am so glad we made the decision to include the Month of Coordinator in every package at The Barn at Lacey Farms. Our exclusive Coordinator, Gavin Wedding and Events, has given our couples stress free or as stress free as possible wedding days.
Please enjoy your day with the help of a professional wedding coordinator.