Not Sure How to Start Your Wedding Planning?
One of the most important components to a wedding is the venue, and it’s a decision many engaged couples agonize about. “Location is the basis of the design of your wedding,” says Nada Gutierrez, founder and owner of RSVP Weddings in Colorado Springs. Whether it’s casual, elegant, vintage, rustic or beach style, the location will set the tone. “It’s what you’re dreaming about. What you’re feeling,” she says.
On the flip side, once you decide on a venue the rest falls into place. From flowers to décor to menu selection, the venue will help the couple with their decision making. “If you like that rustic element, it’s really hard to mimic that in a ballroom,” Gutierrez says. “It’s odd to see burlap on the table with chandeliers in the ballroom.”
Unlimited Options for Staying Local
Couples who plan a local wedding have an advantage because they can go directly to the sources – they can go to tastings and interview photographers, DJs and florists, and more. While it can be somewhat overwhelming, it’s in a couple’s best interest to tour more than one site—what looks good online could have a completely different vibe onsite. Even if you always had your heart set on a certain local venue, be sure to tour the facility and meet with the staff who will work your wedding day. By doing this you can get a feel of the location and visualize how your special day will play out. On the other hand, you may realize that it’s not, in fact, the venue you hoped it would be. All in all, it’s best to realize this early in the game instead of months down the road.
When a couple calls on Gutierrez to coordinate their wedding locally, she oftentimes accompanies them to tour their top picks of facilities. The good news is that you’ll probably know it when you see it. “It’s interesting to watch them because they know if it’s the place. You can see it happening. They’re feeling it,” she says. A couple that’s in-and-out in 10 minutes will likely move on. “If they do like it, we’ll be there an hour,” Gutierrez says. The soon-to-be bride and groom will have a horde of questions and absorb the environment surrounding them. “It can get romantic. They’re feeling it. You just know,” she says.
Destination Wedding: Is it the Right Choice for You?
Destination weddings, whether it’s in another state, country or on a cruise ship, has its pros and cons. On the plus side, oftentimes the venue already has a staff that will coordinate the essentials, keeping you at ease from afar and relieving you of those responsibilities. The downside is the couple isn’t as involved as they may prefer to be and must trust the advice of the coordinator to make the best decisions for them.
Gutierrez is accustomed to out-of-state couples who wish to marry in some of Colorado’s hotspots, such as Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs and Estes Park. In these cases, she has a list of caterers and the like that she suggests to the engaged couple. While she’s confident her clients will be more than pleased with her recommendations, couples can get a little anxious. “What frustrates them the most is when they’re getting all this information and they can’t see it and touch it like other people can. They have to make a lot more definitive choices and they have to make them with the information they have, but they can’t wait too long because vendors could be gone,” she says.
Being far from your venue and vendors also limits you to testing the waters. In a best-case scenario, you can fly out to your destination a handful of times to attend tastings and to meet with vendors, but that can get expensive which is a concern to many engaged couples. “Most brides can run around and do several meetings,” Gutierrez says. “However, the brides and grooms from out of town have to make it very efficient. When they come in, we’ll go to two or three cake tastings. We have everything packed into a weekend and then they have to make their decisions.”
A destination wedding could cost significantly more than a local wedding, or it could cost considerably less. For example, booking a space in an elegant hotel like the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs will likely cost considerably less than a similarly posh hotel in New York City.
Get Familiar with Intimate Weddings
While an intimate wedding has perks, it also has pitfalls. First off, your choices are often limited to home weddings, restaurants or maybe a quaint winery. “You can’t really book out a place because they’re not going to let you have a Saturday with 20 people when they can book a Saturday with 100 people. They have minimums they have to reach,” Gutierrez explains, adding, “No one who has 20 people is going to have $10,000 in food and beverage.”
On the other hand, an intimate wedding can be enchanting and special when limited to a small group of loved ones. There’s less push to invite every person you grew up with or Aunt Mildred’s hairdresser who you may or may not have met. If you’re thinking of a home wedding, be sure to anticipate what could go wrong. For example, have an area inside your home or garage that can accommodate you and your guests in the event rain puts a damper on your vision of an outdoor ceremony. Do you have air conditioning that can cool a crowd if it’s particularly warm? Will your flooring survive abundant traffic? Will you need to rent dishes, tables, chairs, tents, or lighting?
Need to clear some space for the ceremony and guests? Consider full-service storage from one of our local storage centers. You can also check out our resource for successfully hosting a home wedding as well as all of our wedding planning tips.