Mood Boards are a popular new way for brides (or event planners) to communicate their ideas for themes, colors, and style to their vendors. But they are not really a new thing. Years ago, brides cut and pasted ideas for their wedding into noteooks. Many people use "vision boards" to express their thoughts about their future - goals, missions, or resolutions. More recently, Pinterest became a popular way for people to "cut and paste" photos from the Internet to an online bulletin board that highlighted their favorite ideas. But sometimes those boards got crowded with ideas that later became irrelevant as the person narrowed their thoughts. And sometimes Pinterest boards can be difficult to share. Mood Boards can be physical, or virtual. They distill your ideas into one, simple, board - a collage of 5-6 photos showing the key themes, styles, and colors you desire for your event. Pinterest Boards can still be used to manage your Mood Board, or you can use a photo editing program or app (I like Adobe Photo Shop or Pic Collage), to combine photos into a one-page *pdf document you can email to your vendors. (You can also do this in Word.) Mood Board can also be a great way for florists, stylists, and event planners to express their understanding of what their clients want. Below are some example of mood boards for a backyard wedding:
Some tips from our friends at Limos Charlotte, serving the Asheville and Charlotte areas. For more information, head over to www.limoscharlotte.com or call them at (704) 981-6704.
Are you planning a wedding? Hiring the right vendors is half the battle! Remember, transportation plays a huge role in events like weddings, whether you're looking to carry your wedding party or as a shuttle for guests. The timeliness and professionalism of your tranportation provider is more important than you think. Here are some pointers to reference when you're looking for the best wedding transportation.
It's vital to choose a company with experience. This means they have been to your destination in the past, know the route, and any other stops along the way like good wedding picture locations. You want to have the most efficient company at your wedding, and one that doesn't have to figure out where to park the bus, or turn around, or when to pick you up. Make sure to ask about their experience with your venue during your initial phone call or meeting to ensure you're making the best decision. And it never hurts to ask about the individual driver’s experience, and how they are vetted - whether through background checks and/or drug testing.
Another smart move is to plan on reserving a bigger vehicle than what you think you will need. We say this because transportation providers don't set the sizing capacities for vehicles; departments of transportation are responsible for that. The thing is, they only consider one seat to be around fourteen inches! Often times, adults take up much more space than this, especially if they are wearing dresses with fully-lined skirts. It's also a good idea to leave space for your photographer or videographer as well, because there are a lot of moments to be captured while en route to the wedding destination.
Whatever you do, make sure that you totally understand the contents of the contract that you will sign when you've locked down your transportation vendor. Each contract will vary from one company to the next. Is alcohol allowed? What happens if people are running late – at what point will you be charged overtime? Is the number of people final, or can you squeeze in a few more at the last minute? If the drivers are working all night, do they require meals? It's also good to be informed about what they consider to be damage so that you're on the same page!
Also make sure you are clear on the pricing. While one company might advertise a price that includes everything, another may say that they do, but add in fees for regular things like gas and mileage. And don’t forget your drivers. Some companies require a driver tip; for others it is optional. Either way, it is customary in this area to make sure they get at least 20% for their hard work. To make it easier, put the tip in cash in an envelope and give to your day of coordinator to hand out at the end of their run.
Keeping this information in mind will lead you to the best transportation solution for your wedding, and a seamless experience for your guests. And, lastly, remember to slow down and enjoy the process yourself!
Our summer intern, Joesci McIntosh, a student at UNC-Greensboro in their Community, Recreation, and Special Events Department, was an active participant in over a dozen weddings, and in the planning of many more. We asked her to evaluate these events and to summarize her observations as someone new to the business.
Yay, you’re engaged! What an amazing and exciting time for you. But first, you have to plan everything and prepare for this magical day. First things first, HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER!!! Yes, finding a dress and a venue are important, but having a planner is absolutely vital. The planner stays on you and makes sure you’re meeting deadlines and staying on track of the timeline of things to get done before your big day. Planners can also help direct you to the best vendors based on your style and budget. Planners are the ones who makes sure everything is in place and take an enormous amount of stress away during the planning and during the actual event. It’s always better to hire a professional planner who knows the business instead of getting a friend or family member to do it, when they should be enjoying your celebration with you.
My second tip to you new brides is something you need to remember throughout the whole planning process: IT IS YOUR DAY!!! It is about what YOU and YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER want, not about anyone else at all!! I’ve seen a few brides who say “I don’t want this but my mom does” or “I really don’t want to have green as my color but my sister says it’ll look best.” Don’t ever get in this situation because it’s your day, it’s your memories you’re creating and will have to look back on. In addition to that, don’t let anyone knock your dream or vision. If you have ideas, be outspoken about them. If you and your honey love an idea and your soon-to-be mother-in-law frowns upon it, or thinks it won’t turn out nice, thank her kindkly for her input, then forge ahead, because she doesn’t know (unless she is a wedding planner) and no one can know until you try it. Get ideas and suggestions, but let it be known that ultimately it’s not about the wants of anyone but the bride and groom. Just confirming this alone can take off a lot of stress you may have had about trying to please everyone.
My third piece of advice is to continually communicate with your vendors. Also, make sure you try to meet them in person and have several conversations with them before booking them as your vendor to ensure they fit your event and that they will be a quality vendor. Not having a quality vendor, whether it be in their attitude or the delivery o their services, can greatly impact the flow of your event. Make sure the vendors know what you want and how you want things to look. Don’t just tell the florist your colors and leave it at that -- tell him or her about the flowers you like, and be as specific as possible. Don’t just tell the DJ you want your first dance to be Stand by Me by Ben E. King, tell them the version you like best, how long you want to dance to it, and where you want the song to end. Try your best not to leave anything up to interpretation or to be assumed. You want to make sure your day is how you want it and you can’t be mad at a vendor when something doesn’t go how you thought it would because you didn’t tell them. Having a planner will help with this because if your planner is a good one, he/she will lead you to ask the right questions, and will follow up with the vendors themselves. In addition, make sure that you communicate ANY changes, big or small, to your planner. This way you will be on the same page and he/she can notify the other vendors of the changes.
Number four, make sure you read over the timelines given to you by your planner. The timeline is like your wedding day bible. You need to know it like the back of your hand so that you know what’s going on and how long it should be going on for. The timeline helps you to understand the flow of your event. It is something your planner puts together and sends over to you for approval. If you don’t even take a look at it or think it’s too much to read, you won't know what to expect on your wedding day. On the other hand, make sure not to fret about time too much because the timeline is just an idea of how long you should take on certain task, but it is okay if you get a little off track. If your planner put it together correctly, he/she will build in extra time for things like bathroom breaks, traffic, and other potential delays.
Finally, my last piece of advice to all the soon-to-be wives is that this is one of the greatest days of your life. You can either look back on this day and say it was nice but I was so mad the napkins weren’t folded nicely, or you can look back and say everything was so beautiful and know you truly enjoyed your love day. My point in saying this is that during the planning process you focus on the details and every aspect of your event you can. However, the day of your wedding is about looking at the big picture and not focusing on little things or worrying over things you can’t control. The day of your event you are supposed to enjoy every moment of it and take in all the love, laughs, and good vibes of the day because it is just one day and it is going to come and go. Not only do you want to be relaxed and enjoy your event, but you want to ensure that you actually get to spend time with your friends, family, and guests, and most especially, your new husband. Plan a "sneak-away" time for a private moment where you and your new hubby can just talk, laugh, and share the bliss of your love day. A lot of time weddings can be so eventful, that you barely get time to soak it all in. Plan some time to "breathe." This day will be the day you feel the most love, so take all of that in, forget all your worries, and just enjoy.
All in all, my advice from seeing over a dozen weddings take place, is to have fun and enjoy every moment of the celebration. Pay attention to details during the planning and make sure you’re reaching the vision of your event. But once the planning is done, step back. This is a big moment in your life and an even bigger one for you and your love as you begin your life. Love those around you, laugh as much as you can, and create memories that are worth remembering.
It just happens that one of our coordinators was a wedding planning advice columnist in Alaska in a past life. Really! She was kind enough to share some of her past columns with our readers. Please feel free to comment or tweet your questions so Miss Ellie and Miss Sam can help you, too!
Do we really need to feed our photographer and DJ at the reception?
Although they may not be guests, the people you have contracted to work at your wedding are performing a job during a time they would normally eat. You certainly don’t have to, but it’s a nice gesture, and would almost certainly promote better service from them. However read the fine print, as many wedding professionals have the provision that they must be fed written into their contract, so be prepared. If you still can’t stomach the idea of offering a $50+ plate of food to your DJ, coordinate a less expensive meal for them with your caterer. But under no circumstances are you obliged to offer them free alcoholic drinks. After all they’re on the clock, working for you. And nobody likes a drunken DJ, anyway.
How do I graciously decline the “donated” help of extended family members? I have one family member who likes to do amateur flower arranging as a hobby and wants to do my wedding flowers. I don’t want amateur flowers but I don’t want to hurt her feelings either.
It’s always difficult to tactfully turn down help, especially when you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. My suggestion is to thank them profusely, but say you and your fiancé have already contracted with a similar vendor based on your needs and budget. Ask if you can count on them to help you select the flowers at your local professional florist. This will make them feel appreciated without ever knowing your true feelings.
We plan to have an open bar at our wedding reception. Can we be held responsible if someone drives home drunk and has an accident?
You are off the hook. In Alaska, the person who is serving the drinks is liable for any situation that results in a drunk driving accident. Keep in mind that this scenario is rare because all servers and bartenders are required to pass an exam that teaches them the signs of inebriation and have been instructed on what to do if someone is getting intoxicated. Worth mentioning is the fact that some facilities offer free cab rides home in severe circumstances because it’s in their best interest to make sure that nothing happens to you or your guests. If these thoughts still keep you up at night, another alternative would be to provide your guests with a few bottles of wine on the table. It’s enough to celebrate the moment, but not enough for things to go south.
My bridesmaids are all different sizes and have very different opinions about dress styles. Do you have any suggestions on how I can make everyone happy?
So many brides think they have to dress their maids in the same dress, and with everyone having different body types, you will inevitably have one or two crying in their pillow at night or cursing you under their breath. One option is to take all your maids shopping at the same time and hope they all agree on the same style. If that doesn’t work, another solution is to go to a fabric store and select material that you absolutely love. Then send each maid five yards and instruct them to find a dress pattern they like that is appropriate for your ceremony (casual, formal or somewhere in-between). Once found, have them take it to a reputable seamstress. In the end the cost should be around the same as if you bought it off the rack (or possibly even less) and your girls will feel beautiful in a dress that’s flattering to them. It’s a win – win.
Do I really need a wedding planner? My mother says yes, but I have friends who say they can help. Who do I listen to?
Listen to your mother, especially if she’s offering to pay for one. Wedding planers are worth their weight in gold, whether you hire one from the very beginning or just for the day of your wedding. They can alleviate many decorating and logistic issues that need handling, take all the calls the day of the wedding and think of things you haven’t. If you choose a friend to help you with the details, they may not be able to enjoy the wedding due to all the responsibilities heaped upon them or, worse, may not live up to your expectations.
My fiancé wants to have an open bar at our reception and I think it’s too expensive. Is there a way to estimate how much it will cost?
Industry standard dictates that on average, guests will drink two drinks the first hour and one drink every hour after. So if you invited 100 guests and 80 percent drank, you would spend around $2,000 in alcohol alone. Also don’t forget: With hosted bars, there is usually an automatic 20-percent service charge with every drink poured. If a hosted bar is too scary of an idea, another option would be to purchase a set amount of beer or wine, and when it runs out, guests would start paying for their own drinks. Having a semi-hosted bar would ensure there wouldn’t be any bar tab surprises.
My fiancé and I come from two different spiritual belief systems. What kind of service should we have?
It’s always difficult to blend two cultures together and keep two families happy. Especially if they are polar opposites. The best plan is to sit down with your partner and talk about what is most important to each of you. Then try to combine what’s important in the ceremony. Another option is two ceremonies. This is often done to satisfy the families more than the couple but can help to keep the peace.
14 Snapchat Filters to Make Your Wedding Extra Memorable
MARCH 9, 2017 | BY FTD FRESH (Used by permission)
Make your wedding day a truly memorable occasion with FTD’s custom Snapchat filters! With these lovely, pre-designed filters, you’ll be able to impress friends and family with your very own Snapchat geo-filter, personalized specifically for your big day. After selecting and customizing one of the fourteen available filters, you will be able to upload your custom filter directly to Snapchat, choosing what days, times, and the geographic area in which your filter will be available. You can find FTD’s original article on their blog at: https://www.ftd.com/blog/share/wedding-snapchat-filters
Your wedding day is certainly a day that you’ll want your guests to remember. Chances are you already picked out a hashtag to represent your big day, so that your closest friends and family can share their favorite memories on social media. But did you know that you can create your own on-demand Snapchat filter to represent your wedding? Having a unique Snapchat filter for your wedding is a great way to not only impress your guests but to make your wedding extra memorable!
Creating your own filter is actually quite simple! We even went ahead and did most of the work for you with our 14 floral-inspired wedding templates below using example wedding photos to help you visualize the final product. Simply choose a template, and enter the bride’s and groom’s names, their initials, or the wedding date by clicking on the text fields. Once you’ve inputted the appropriate wedding details, click on the “Save This Filter” button and your customized filter will appear in a popup window. Just right click on the image and click “Save Image As” to download the filter.
Voila! You’ve just created a unique wedding Snapchat filter! Please note that the downloaded filter will not include the photo shown, and will have a transparent background that’s ready to go.
SAVE SNAPCHAT FILTER After you’ve downloaded your Snapchat filter, simply upload it to Snapchat on their On-Demand Geofilters page. Note that geofilters can only be created on desktop devices so you won’t be able to find this functionality on your mobile app.
Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be asked to input additional details about your wedding, such as the location, time and area in which you’d like the filter to be available. Important note: Be sure to upload your filter 3-4 days in advance to allow plenty of time for your filter to get approved. On the day of your wedding, you’ll be delighted to find your special Snapchat filter available for all your guests to enjoy. You can find out more details about the uploading process here: https://www.snapchat.com/on-demand.
Planning a wedding can certainly be stressful and overwhelming, so we hope that we’ve helped you check at least one item off the list with our unique wedding Snapchat filter templates. If you’re looking for the best flowers to feature at your wedding, check out our Pantone wedding flower ideas, or creative wedding centerpiece ideas! For more wedding inspiration, visit our wedding collection to get the creative juices flowing!
A Wedding Loan Option
Unsecured loans, also called personal loans or signature loans, involve borrowing money without putting up any collateral. LendingTree personal loan offers allow you to shop for the best rates and terms for personal loans up to $35,000.
What Are Wedding Loans?
The cost of the average 2016 wedding was $35,329, according to the XO Group. It’s the highest recorded average, and a heavy price to pay to walk down the aisle. It’s one that most people can’t float even with savings. To finance these costs, many couples turn to wedding loans. Wedding loans aren’t something your financial institution will have on their register of products. Rather, they will issue you a personal loan you can use to finance wedding expenses. When you get a personal loan, you will receive all your money upfront. You can get an unsecured personal loan for your wedding — which means you won’t have to put up any collateral — but you will have to make monthly payments throughout a set term. Personal loans come with either fixed or variable interest rates. Fixed rates tend to look higher when you’re comparing loan options, but because they stay stable throughout the course of your loan term, your loan payments and costs are predictable. Variable rates change with the market, so you may see increased rates after you start paying, making monthly payments less predictable. With good credit and a favorable debt-to-income ratio, you may be able to get a personal loan with an interest rate much lower than a credit card APR, but rates vary widely by lender, loan term, loan amount and application qualifications.
Why get a wedding loan?
Wedding loans can help you avoid potentially undesirable situations like dipping into your savings or using credit cards with high interest rates to cover the costs of the celebration. It can also allow you to avoid asking family for money, but if you’re comfortable with that and can get a 0 percent interest loan from a family member, that may be a good route to take. It would allow you to spread out the costs of the event without incurring interest charges or loan origination fees. However, you may not have family members who are able to loan such a large sum, or you may be wary of the strain such a large loan would place on your relationship. Borrowing money for a wedding could also help you preserve your savings. A solid emergency fund is an important financial tool to have at your disposal, and you may want to keep that money where it is should a catastrophe pop up. Keep in mind that if your savings is allocated to something like a home purchase, though, taking out a large personal loan may affect how much money you can borrow for a mortgage, or even put your approval in jeopardy. Wedding loans may help you afford the day of your dreams, but be careful: You want to be sure you can afford any loan you take out.
The risks of financing your wedding
Financing your wedding may be able to help you afford more in the moment, but it can lead to financial stress down the line. Not only will you have to repay the money you borrowed to afford a great venue or invite more guests, but you’ll also have to repay interest. Tara Falcone, a certified financial planner and owner of ReisUP LLC, cautions against financing your big day.
“If you cannot afford a luxurious wedding upfront, you’re still not going to be able afford it with a credit card or personal loan,” she says. Merging finances with your partner “is tricky, anyways,” she says. “The last thing you should do is put a heavy debt burden on the relationship from the get-go.” Money problems are one of the top three causes for divorce, according to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts. (The other two, incompatibility and infidelity). Adding debt to a new marriage could start problems early on. The money you have to allocate toward repaying a wedding loan could make it harder for you to reach other financial goals, like saving up to buy a house, have children or get out of student loan debt.
How to get a personal loan
If you are interested in getting a personal loan to fund your wedding day, the first thing you’ll want to do is some comparison shopping. You can use this tool to see who is offering the best rates and terms for your specific situation.
Here are some of the line items you’ll want to consider:
How to get the best rate
Lenders will determine your interest rate based on a number of different factors, including your credit history and income.
For a personal loan, having a DTI below 36 percent is considered good, and a good way to improve it is by paying off your debt. (When looking at your credit history, one of the determining factors will be your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. A debt-to-income ratio is calculated by dividing total recurring monthly debt by gross monthly income. For example, if your monthly debts equal $1,000 and your gross monthly income is $4,000, your DTI ratio is $1,000 / $4,000 = 0.25 or 25 percent.
Lenders prefer for borrowers to have a debt-to-income ratio of less than 36 percent, with no more than 28 percent of that debt being paid toward the mortgage. Generally, it’s difficult for a borrower with a DTI ratio greater than 43 percent to be qualified for a loan.) Paying off revolving debt (e.g. credit cards) will also help you improve your credit utilization rate. This number looks at how much credit you have extended to you, versus how much you are actually using. Using a small amount of your available credit can have a positive effect on your credit score, which can help you qualify for lower interest rates when you are borrowing money. You could also work to improve your DTI and credit utilization by increasing your income and, as a result, pay more toward your debt. Go for that promotion at work. Bring up salary at your annual performance review. Start a side hustle. The more documentable income you bring in, the better. Plus, you can use that extra cash to save for your wedding so you won’t feel like you have to finance it.
Other ways to finance a wedding
If a personal loan doesn’t sound like the right solution for you, there are other options. Falcone, the financial planner, used a credit card with a 12-month, 0-percent APR promo to pay some of her wedding expenses upfront. “We could technically afford our wedding, but we didn’t want to dip into savings,” she says. “We used it for large, upfront expenses. The caterer, for example. We made sure to pay it off in full, chunk by chunk, over the course of six months. We could do that at 0-percent interest with no financing costs.” Because she paid off her balance in full before the promotional rate expired, she was able to maintain her savings and dodge paying any interest on her wedding expenses. If you have good credit, you may be able to qualify for a credit card with such a financing promotion — with some offers available now, you could get nearly two years of interest-free financing on new purchases. Another option is a home equity line of credit (HELOC), if you’re a homeowner and have equity in your home. When you have a HELOC, you can tap it for specific amounts of money when you need it.
How to use a wedding loan responsibly
If you choose to pursue a personal loan, you’ll need to know how much money you need up front. It’s important to not borrow more than you need. If you do, you’ll end up paying unnecessary interest. On top of not borrowing more than you need to pay your wedding bills, you also want to make sure you keep your wedding budget in a range where you’ll be able to reasonably pay off your debt. Missing loan payments can significantly damage your credit standing, which could hurt your ability to rent a home, get a mortgage or, in some cases, get a job. To avoid these pitfalls, sit down with your partner and figure out how much you can reasonably afford to pay each month. Then, weigh your budget against the personal loan quotes you receive. If your wedding expenses will result in a monthly bill that will exceed your budget, you must lower your wedding expenses.
How to avoid financing a wedding with loans or credit
Falcone passionately warns against the dangers of financing a wedding you can’t currently afford. She also has some tips for keeping your costs down so you won’t have to apply for credit in the first place. First, for her wedding, she kept her guest list as small as possible. The same XO Group study that found the record-setting average wedding expenditures also found that cost per guest had gone up over previous years. Consequently, one of the most effective ways to cut your wedding costs is to limit your guest list. Falcone also looked at the resale market. For example, she wanted a very specific — and very expensive — wedding dress for her big day. She researched what she might be able to sell it for after she and her husband had exchanged vows. “I knew I’d be able to sell it for roughly half of what I paid for it,” she says. “I essentially split the cost with another bride.” Finally, she negotiated and stuck firmly to her budget with each vendor. “Whenever a company or a provider hears the term ‘wedding,’ for whatever reason, instantly the prices jack up,” she says. “If you have a set budget in mind for food, venue, music, a photographer or flowers, make sure you go into the meetings with that number, and don’t budge. A lot of times they’ll be willing to work with you rather than lose your business.” Falcone also notes that while the decision will have to be weighed for each individual couple, waiting to get married in order to save for a more lavish event is another option. If you must have a big, expensive wedding, she recommends this over going into debt.
For the full article and additional financial advice, visit www.lendingtree.com/personal/wedding/#what-are-wedding-loans
A Guide to Asheville Wedding Venues: A Photographer's Perspective
Since winter is a slower time for weddings in the Asheville area, I'm taking the opportunity to write from the perspective of an Asheville wedding photographer about some of the amazing wedding venues in western North Carolina. For this blog post I decided to focus on the Asheville and Hendersonville area. There are also many great venues near Cashiers and Blowing Rock, which I might post about at a later date. When organizing this post, I recalled so many places just in the Asheville area. I decided to focus on that. Having been a wedding photographer in Asheville for the last 12 years, it's amazing to see how things have changed. For the most part I've organized the venue information by the style of landscape provided by the venue. You'll see venues on the list of long respected places as well as some new places. The last few years have been exciting with so many new venues popping up. I love it!
I'm posting this in January because I know so many couples are getting engaged now and starting their planning and venue search in western North Carolina. I married in 2017, and I know it can be overwhelming for couples to consider all the options and wedding planning can almost turn into a part-time job. I remember searching for venues online in the Asheville area, and often getting search results that were for venues that were hours away from Asheville. There were moments I felt I had wasted my time. This wedding venue guide for Asheville is great because everything I'm listing is close to either Asheville or Hendersonville, and no more than an hour away.
THE MAIN ADVICE I WOULD GIVE TO COUPLES STARTING THEIR WEDDING PLANNING:
VENUES WITH SCENIC OVERLOOKS OF THE MOUNTAINS
1. THE RIDGE
o Perfect scenic overlook for your ceremony
o Beautiful house with wrap-around porch to great your guests upon arrival
o New reception building with equally amazing views
o Luxury venue
2. THE CABIN RIDGE
o Breathtaking overlook of the mountains
o Outdoor pavilion for your reception
o Rustic Cabins
3. CHESTNUT RIDGE
o at an elevation of about 3000 feet, the venue offer a scenic view and the feeling of also being right in the mountains
o Indoor and outdoor options for the ceremony
o New venue with large event barn, and suites for getting ready
o Luxury venue
4. PISGAH INN
o A hotel and restaurant right on the Blue Ridge Parkway with an amazing, undisturbed view of the mountains, provides catering for events
o Ceremony location is an outdoor scenic overlook
o A wonderful new deck looks out over the mountains
o The reception room has lots of natural light from large windows along two walls
o Better suited for smaller to medium size weddings, as the reception room isn't large
o However, if you have a more casual receptions where guests mingle and eat throughout the event room/deck and lawn area, then you would be able to have more guests (more than 35).
o If you want a sit down dinner at your reception, the room will max out at about 35 guests
o Green areas and lawns for guests to mingle around the inn
o Budget friendly
5. CAMP CEDAR CLIFF HTTP://CAMPCEDARCLIFF.ORG/WEDDINGS/
o Mountaintop views from a pavilion that features a high roof, wooden beams and stonework details
(Editors note: no alcohol)
6. BEND OF IVY LODGE
o Tranquil mountain setting
o Scenic overlook
o Accommodations for guests
o Pastoral setting for intimate weddings
7. ENGADINE INN AND CABINS
o Intimate B&B
o Outdoor venue
o Two Scenic Overlooks
VALLEYS, MOUNTAIN VIEWS & PASTORAL LANDSCAPES
1. CLAXTON FARM
o Pastoral landscape, rolling hills with a 360-degree view
o Classic mountain views for the ceremony and reception, plus an event barn with porch
o There is a reason this has been a classic venue for so long, it never disappoints
o Outside bonfire during cooler weather with smores
2. HIDDEN RIVER HTTP://WWW.HIDDENRIVEREVENTS.COM
o Located in an open valley, surrounded by mountains
o Tented Reception
o Long respected venue in western North Carolina
Editors’s Note: All inclusive-catering, photography, coordinator, lodging, etc.
3. LAVONIA CREST
o Located just beneath Roan Mountain, a valley setting with tranquil mountain views
o New venue, hidden gem so you can currently rent the venue for a great price
o Reception style: outdoor pavilion and rented tent
o Outdoor fireplace and fire pit
o Budget friendly
4. SHERILL'S INN AT HICKORY NUT GAP FARM
o Tons of authentic charm and character
o Historic, 1845 farmhouse setting
o Views of hills and mountains
o Boxwood garden pathways
o Open field above the house for tented or open air reception
5. LAKE EDEN
o A classic venue in Asheville that offers so much
o Mountain views, pastoral rolling hills, authentic red barn reception
o The property has a large footprint with many wonderful features throughout the landscape
6. IVY CREEK FARM
o Farm themed, rustic venue in the countryside
o down-to-earth, relaxed vibe
7. YESTERDAY SPACES
o Farm style setting with so many great features
o Two residential homes to stay in on the property
o Dairy barn, a great backup plan for you ceremony if it rains and if frequently used for the rehearsal dinner
o Open field with mountains in the distance, used for ceremonies
o Reception barn
o An amazing tree lined walk-way to your ceremony. Historically this long tree-lined path was a portion of the carriage path through the community in the 1800's...it's a fantastic feature!
o Outside bonfire during cooler weather
8. LADY LUCK FLOWER FARM
o FLOWER FARM AND WEDDING VENUE
o VALLEY SETTING WITH MOUNTAIN VIEWS
o OUTDOOR EVENT PAVILION
9. THE WILLOW HOUSE
o Maggie Valley Area
o Waterfalls and mountain views
o Reception barn
BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY FOR ELOPEMENTS WITH SCENIC OVERLOOKS
1. CRAGGY GARDENS
o Well loved option with AMAZING views
o Appealing because the hike is fairly gentle and it doesn't take long to get to amazing views (1.5 miles roundtrip hike)
o Rock outcroppings allow for spectacular photos
2. BLACK BALSAM KNOB
o At 6000 feet, follow a pastoral trail over mountaintops with truly expansive views
o Right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, you'll feel like your in another world, an unforgettable feeling for a ceremony
o Evergreen forrest is part of the hike, with amazing pools of light breaking through for truly special photographs
3. ROUGH RIDGE
Summit with rock outcroppings and wooden boardwalko two-mile roundtrip hike
4. HAWKSVILLE MOUNTAIN
o 1.5 miles roundtrip hike
o The views are truly breathtaking when you reach the top
URBAN SPACES IN DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE
1. THE VENUE
o Large stylish venue
o Vintage details through 13,000+ square feet of sectioned room
2. THE RHU
o Classic Asheville venue
o Large room with hardwood floor
o Venue also provides the catering
4. ASHEVILLE SOCIAL HALL HTTPS://WWW.ASHEVILLESOCIALHALL.COM
o New Venue
o Great location with many large window on two walls
o A large room that is a blank canvas for your wedding
o Interior is warm and inviting
5. THE ORANGE PEEL HTTP://THEORANGEPEEL.NET/VENUE-RENTAL
o Large, downtown music venue can be rented for private events
6. THE CENTURY ROOM HTTPS://PACKSTAVERN.COM/DOWNTOWN-ASHEVILLE-WEDDING-VENUE/
o Located above Pack's Tavern
o They provide the catering for their events
o Warm interior details featuring exposed brick and wood bar
7. LEXINGTON GLASSWORKS HTTPS://WWW.LEXINGTONGLASSWORKS.COM
o Glassworks gallery in downtown can be rented as an event space
o cool, industrial stripped down interior
8. HOMEWOOD HTTPS://WWW.MYBELOVEDHOMEWOOD.COM/WEDDINGS
o Homewood isn't actually in downtown Asheville. It's in Montford, a community adjacent to downtown
o It was hard to fit Homewood into any other category, but it's a one of a kind venue and no list would be complete without it.
o Historic stone manor with Harwood floors and a warm interior, the building is reminiscent of a castle
o Outdoor location for your ceremony, with receptions inside
o A classic venue I've loved since I moved here in 2004
9. EAST WEST VENUE HTTPS://WWW.EASTWESTVINTAGERENTALS.COM/OUR-VENUE
o East West Venue is a large open room, a blank canvas, that's made very interesting through the East West Vintage Rental company which adds lots of eclectic personality and vintage details to the space
o Affordable option suited for smaller wedding of about 50 guests, great for a fun indie wedding
o Also have to admit this isn't in downtown, but it's very close in west Asheville and I wanted to get it on this list somewhere!
o Also worth noting, Nikki who runs the event space and vintage rental company also does floral design–so you could work with her to fulfill so many of your event needs.
10. SNAGGY MOUNTAIN HTTP://WWW.SNAGGYMOUNTAIN.COM
o Beautiful mountain views
o Suited to fun, down-to-earth weddings connected to nature
PRIVATE HOME RENTAL FOR PRIVATE EVENTS
I love the trend of renting private homes and having more time to put your wedding together and spend more time with friends and loved ones than you might get at a traditional venue where receptions usually end around 10:00 or 11:00. Here are a few places that have really stood out to me in recent years:
1. HART HOUSE
o Beautiful private home with a great yard for your ceremony and reception
o Some views of the mountains from the front yard
o Easy location to get to in the Fairview area
2. LAUGHING WATERS RETREAT
o Beautiful, wooded landscape that includes a creek and orchard
o Large home and an area with an open, flat lawn that could easily accommodate a ten
o Curving drive through a gorge about 30 minutes from Asheville
3. PINE HOLLOW
o Lovely home, ceremony and reception are usually held in the yard adjacent to the house
o Also features a pond which is a nice background for photos
Editor’s note: In a private community. No parking
4. RIVER'S RIDGE LODGE
5. HAWKS LANDING
o Beautiful estate setting with lots of green space and shade (a must have for spring and summer weddings)
6. MOUNTAIN JOY CABINS HTTP://MOUNTAINJOYCOTTAGES.COM
7. SCENIC MOUNTAIN RETREAT HTTPS://WWW.VRBO.COM/552737
o A curving drive into the mountains, but fairly close to Asheville
o A cool home with lots of windows and a large deck
o From the large deck you have a great view of the mountains and Asheville in the distance
o The main feature of the property for a private event is the deck
o The house would be great for a relaxed reception with guests mingling back and forth between the large deck and inside the house.
o It's on a mountainside, so there's no yard or lawn for event activities
o Also has a fantastic pool on the deck
6. BIG BUTTE RETREAT
· 90 acres
· Mountain views
· Pond for swimming
· Multiple cabins (14 bedrooms)
SUMMER CAMP WEDDINGS
Summer camps weddings are perfect for people who want to have a fun and communal experience at their wedding and there are several places in Western North Carolina that provide that experience:
2. CAMP PINNACLE
3. CAMP KANUGA
o When you research Camp Kanuga, please note everything they include in their wedding packages. It's an amazing deal when you compare the cost of their catering to cost of catering in the general WNC area.
o They're affiliated with the Episcopal church, but they host every variety of wedding and or faith
o Kanuga has a beautiful wooded campus with amazing evergreens
o The property has a large footprint with many locations options for your event
o Guest can rent rustic cabins or stay in their newly renovated hotel
4. CAMP HIGHLANDER HTTPS://WWW.CAMPHIGHLANDER.COM/WEDDINGS-EVENTS-RETREATS
5. CAMP WAYFARER HTTPS://WWW.CAMPWAYFARER.COM/ABOUT-CAMP/WEDDINGS-AND-RETREATS/
AFFORDABLE ASHEVILLE WEDDING VENUES
Some of these venues appear in other places on this list; I've added them here because they could potentially be more affordable options. When researching venues, you want to consider the cost of rentals you'll need that aren't provided by the venue. When you look at the cost of the venue in the bigger picture of your entire wedding, a place like Camp Kanuga is an amazing deal because of everything they include, plus their onsite catering is a remarkable deal in comparison to other options. Another option not on the list would be to have your ceremony at a stunning location on the blue ridge parkway (like Max's Patch) and then have a larger party at a home in the afternoon. You might also consider having your wedding on a Friday or Sunday, as rates could be lower for those non-peak days.
1. TIMBER HALL EVENTS HTTPS://WWW.TIMBERHALLEVENTS.COM
o Rustic outdoor mountain setting with an event barn
2. WARREN WILSON COLLEGE
o Hidden treasure featuring a garden, pavilion, some mountain views, and they also have a church if you want to choose that for your ceremony
o There are lawns where you can rent and add a tent if you need one
3. PISGAH INN (HTTP://WWW.PISGAHINN.COM)
o Blue Ridge Parkway hotel when amazing scenic overlooks
4. UNCA BOTANICAL GARDENS HTTP://ASHEVILLEBOTANICALGARDENS.ORG/WORDPRESS_3/FACILITY-RENTAL/RENTING-OUR-FACILITIES
o Best suited for small, daytime weddings
o Amazing price
Editor’s Note: Strict rules regarding use of this public venue
5. YMI CULTURAL CENTER, RAY AUDITORIUM HTTP://WWW.YMICULTURALCENTER.ORG/FACILITIES
o Historic building in downtown Asheville
o Beautiful large room
o This venue works a blank canvas for you to create your wedding
6. PEACEFUL HOLLOW HTTPS://WWW.PEACEFULHOLLOW.COM
o Private home setting with a beautiful landscape
7. EVENT'S AT FRANNY'S FARM HTTP://FRANNYSFARM.COM
o Farm themed, rustic venue in the countryside
o Down-to-earth, relaxed vibe
o Laid-back atmosphere
8. CLOUD NINE FARM HTTP://WWW.CLOUD9RELAXATION.COM/WEDDINGS
o Farm themed, rustic venue in the countryside
o Down-to-earth, relaxed vibe
o Laid-back atmosphere
9. CHIMNEY ROCK STATE PARK
o Affordable, sate park option
o Venue has many years of experience doing weddings
10. CAMP KANUGA
o When you look at everything they offer, including catering pricing, plus it a beautiful landscape you'll start to see what a great option this is
o I HIGHLY recommend you research Camp Kanuga while looking for your venue
o Endless opportunities for amazing photographs on your wedding day
11. THE MASONIC TEMPLE IN DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE HTTP://ASHEVILLEMASONICTEMPLE.COM
o Historic building in downtown Asheville, the space is a blank canvas for you to style your wedding
o Shay Brown Events, established and respected event planners/designers in Asheville, manage this venue
12. ASHEVILLE SOCIAL HALL HTTPS://WWW.ASHEVILLESOCIALHALL.COM
o Downtown venue, open room with great views
o I'm imagining rates will go up as this becomes a more established place, now it's quite an amazing deal!
13. LAUGHING WATERS RETREAT
o Private home in a beautiful wooded setting
14. TRICKLE CREEK FARM
o Farm themed, rustic venue in the countryside
o Down-to-earth, relaxed vibe
15. WEAVER HOUSE
o New venue which I'm guessing will open in 2018
o Great location in downtown Weaverville, at the same time it is a private, garden setting with a beautiful new timber pavilion
o I can't say how excited I'm am to see this venue and I highly recommend you check it out
o I photographed this venue years ago and it's perfect from a photography perspective
16. EAST WEST VENUE HTTPS://WWW.EASTWESTVINTAGERENTALS.COM/OUR-VENUE
o Very affordable venue for 50 or less guests
17. SNAGGY MOUNTAIN HTTP://WWW.SNAGGYMOUNTAIN.COM
o Countryside venue with mountain views
o Suited for a down-to-earth, fun weddings
o Laid-back atmosphere
Located along the side on a river, you feel like you're in a new world, though your just 15 minutes from Asheville
Truly amazing river setting with a gorgeous sunset in the evening
Outdoor ceremony location with a pavilion for the reception
2. HIGHLAND LAKE INN
o Classic Asheville venue located on a lake
o Lodging for you and your guests
o Beautiful outdoor landscape with several options for the ceremony
o Lodge, style building for the reception
o The venue provides the catering
3. THE LODGE ON LAKE LURE HTTP://WWW.LODGEONLAKELURE.COM
Editor’s note: not currently available for weddings
4. LAKE LURE INN AND SPA
5. LAKE EDEN EVENTS HTTP://LAKEEDENEVENTS.COM/WEDDINGS
VINEYARD VENUES NEAR ASHEVILLE
1. ADDISON FARM VINEYARDS
o Beautiful rolling hillsides
2. THE VINEYARDS AT BETTY'S CREEK HTTP://WWW.THEVINEYARDSATBETTYSCREEK.COM
o Luxury venue with an amazing landscape and unmatched, rustic buildings, it's hard to do justice to the venue with words
3. POINT LOOKOUT VINEYARDS HTTP://POINTLOOKOUTVINEYARDS.COM/#BOOK-EVENT
o New venue opening soon
4. BURNTSHIRT VINEYARD HTTPS://WWW.BURNTSHIRTVINEYARDS.COM
1. BRAHMA RIDGE (HTTP://BRAHMARIDGEEVENTCENTER.COM)
o Beautiful valley and mountain landscape
o Onsite, permanent tent for recption
o Glamping and cabin options
2. PAINT ROCK FARM HTTP://WWW.PAINTROCKFARM.COM
o Located in the Pisgah National Forest along the French Broad River
o Offers a variety of rustic camping and glamping options
o Large, vintage barn restore with character for your reception
o Pastoral landscape with large fields
3. JUNEBUG RETRO RESORT HTTPS://WWW.JUNEBUGRETRORESORT.COM/INDEX.PHP/WEDDING-EVENT-CENTER-ASHEVILLE-NC
o Flat open field surrounded by mountian
o Retro, vintage campers from the 1950's
4. ASHEVILLE GLAMPING HTTPS://WWW.ASHEVILLEGLAMPING.COM
o A glamping venue that accommodates elopements and micro weddings
1. NORTH CAROLINA ARBORETUM
o Amazing garden setting for small or large weddings
2. BULLINGTON GARDENS HTTPS://BULLINGTONGARDENS.ORG
o An intimate botanical garden suited for smaller weddings, 60 or less guests
3. WEAVER HOUSE
o In the heart of downtown Weaverville
o An intimate garden setting with a beautiful timber pavilion
o A new venue I highly recommend looking at
4. WARREN WILSON COLLEGE
o Best way to contact Liz Brace through email: email@example.com
o A hidden gem to say the least!
o Formal garden in the center of campus, beautiful
o Some views of the mountains
o Outdoor pavilion
o Chapel on campus for a ceremony option
o You can rent and use a tent on some of the open lawn spaces if you need to
o Limited dates that often book quickly
o Budget friendly
5. MOUNTAIN MAGNOLIA INN HTTP://WWW.MOUNTAINMAGNOLIAINN.COM/WEDDING.HTML
o A great venue in Hot Springs that was hard for me to categorize
o It's a charming B&B with gourmet dinning
o They doing the catering for events
o AMAZING old tree for your ceremony site
o manicured gardens incorporated into the front lawn
o Mountain view from the front lawn
o Wooded pathway at the entrance to the venue with a charming stone wall
o Unique, vintage red bride is a great background for photos
o Receptions are tented on the side lawn
BREWERY WEDDINGS IN ASHEVILLE
1. HIGHLAND BREWING HTTPS://HIGHLANDBREWING.COM/ASHEVILLEEVENTCENTER
o Most established and experienced brewery to accommodate weddings in Asheville
2. CATAWBA BREWING COMPANY HTTP://CATAWBABREWING.COM/CONTACT/BOOK-EVENT
o Offers a rustic but refined room at the back of the brewery
o Accommodates 75 to 120 people, depending on the style of event
o I've always thought it would be great to have your ceremony at UNCA botanical gardens followed with a reception in this space, so much fun!
3. ARCHETYPE BREWERY HTTPS://WWW.ARCHETYPEBREWING.COM
o Hip, industrial vibe in west Asheville
o A great location for a reception and would pair well with a local food truck to do your catering
4. GREEN MAN BREWERY HTTP://WWW.GREENMANBREWERY.COM/CONTACT/EVENTS
o Several rental options at their large downtown Asheville location on the south slope
5. HIGH-WIRE BREWERY HTTPS://HIWIREBREWING.COM/RENT-OUR-SPACE
o Industrial and rustic space
6. HABITAT BREWING HTTP://WWW.HABITATBREWING.COM
1. Downtown Asheville
COUNTRY CLUB VENUES
1. BILTMORE FOREST COUNTRY CLUB HTTP://WWW.BILTMOREFORESTCC.COM
Editor’s note: Members ONLY
2. COUNTRY CLUB OF ASHEVILLE HTTPS://WWW.CCOFASHEVILLE.COM
3. HENDERSONVILLE COUNTRY CLUB HTTP://WWW.HENDERSONVILLECC.COM
o Luxury, historic hotel overlooking downtown Asheville and the blue ridge mountains
3. THE FARM IN CANDLER HTTPS://THEFARMEVENTS.COM
o Convenient location not far from Asheville and easy to drive to
o Rolling hillside lead up to private cabins and event barn
o Ceremonies held at an intimate gazebo in the lawn adjacent to the event barn
4. THE VINEYARD AT BETTY'S CREEK HTTP://WWW.THEVINEYARDSATBETTYSCREEK.COM
o Also in the vineyard category, I had to include it here
o Amazing landscape and views, but what I love about it as a photographer is it takes the rustic aesthetic and makes it so refined and visually rich
o Accomodations for the wedding party
LODGE VENUES NEAR ASHEVILLE
1. THE LODGE AT BEAR RIVER HTTP://WWW.THELODGEATBEARRIVER.COM
o Classic lodge structure
2. BEND OF IVY LODGE
o Very connected to the natural landscape
3. HAWKS LANDING
o Also a private home rental
4. THE LODGE ON LAKE LURE HTTP://WWW.LODGEONLAKELURE.COM
Editor’s Note: Not currently available for weddings
1. TAYLOR RANCH
2. CATALOOCHEE RANCH HTTP://WWW.CATALOOCHEERANCH.COM
B&B OR INN VENUES
1. THE YELLOW HOUSE ON PLOTT CREEK ROAD HTTP://WWW.THEYELLOWHOUSE.COM/BED-BREAKFAST-RATES.HTM
2. THE BUNN HOUSE
3. THE INN AT GLENN ALPINE HTTP://WWW.INNATGLENALPINE.COM/DREAM-WEDDING.PHP
4. ENGADINE INN AND CABINS HTTPS://WWW.ENGADINEINNANDCABINS.COM
5. MOUNTAIN MAGNOLIA INN HTTP://WWW.MOUNTAINMAGNOLIAINN.COM
6. ALBEMARLE INN HTTPS://WWW.ALBEMARLEINN.COM/WEDDINGS-EVENTS#OVERVIEW
7. THE ORCHARD INN HTTPS://ORCHARDINN.COM/NORTH-CAROLINA-MOUNTAIN-WEDDING-VENUE
8. Historic Echo Mountain Inn (http://www.echomountaininn.com/wedding-receptions-special-events)
Published with permission of:
© 2017 JENNIFER CALLAHAN PHOTOGRAPHY
Good Financial Steps to Take When You Get Married
If you're going to say "I do," here are some things you might want to do.
Are you marrying soon? Have you recently married? As you begin your life together, it is important for you to start planning your financial future together and putting your finances on the same page. Here are some priorities you might want to write down on your financial to-do list.
Why? Well, according to current Social Security Administration projections, today's 65-year-old retiree is looking at a retirement of approximately 20 years. The average 65-year-old man is projected to live until age 84, and the average 65-year-old woman, to age 87. Some of these people will live past 100 – many more than in previous generations. 1
Given ongoing advances in health care, how long might you live? Living to be 90 or 100 might be commonplace for members of Gen X and Gen Y. Factor in inflation's effect on the cost of goods and services, and you can see a possible scenario ahead where you might need, say, $100,000 or more a year for 30 years to have a nice retirement without outliving your money.
This (strong) possibility means you may want to make saving for retirement now a higher priority.
Often, one spouse is more risk averse than the other. So, you need to agree on the investment approach you take, preferably with the help of a financial professional who can help you determine how much money you might need for certain life goals or financial objectives.
Debt management should be a priority for any newly married couple. There are debts, which we assume on the way to a positive result (such as a mortgage), but there are also those we assume through our credit cards and other channels, which may not benefit us in the long term.
Courtesy of Katherine Morosani, CFP, with Carol L. King and Associates, an Asheville-based accounting firm. Katherine may be reached at (828) 258-2323 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.
1 - ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.html [8/29/17]
For More Information
Check out this article from Money Magazine, June 2017 issue:
The Newlweds' Guide to Financial Success
Wedding Scams and Shams
Asheville and Western North Carolina have become very popular for destination weddings in the last three years. This popularity has a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon and make some money off it; however, a lot of people jumping on the wagon are fresh off the turnip truck, if you know what I mean. How do you tell a real, local Wedding Vendor from a fly-by-night?
1. They have done a lot of weddings in this area.
Check their website and Facebook page for photos of past events. Check their About Us page to see if they have details about their experience. New vendors have only the experience of helping with one or two weddings. Yellow flag: They did their daughter’s, sister’s, cousin’s (or their own) wedding and it was perfect. You also see that person is their reference.) Look for someone who has done over a dozen weddings at least.
2. They are familiar with the area.
I'm not saying that someone can't move here from Hawaii with experience and do weddings. However, it’s best to use a vendor who is truly local. They'll know the local vendors, the local venues, the local weather patterns (which are crazy in the mountains), the best routes to get to and from places, and have a host of emergency contacts on speed dial. Local vendors know things you can't find via Google search. If they are new to the area, they will have done their homework and previewed a lot of venues and made friends with other local vendors. Nothing's more frustrating than the vendor who shows up with the wrong equipment because they don't know the place. Yellow Flag: Their business name is the same or similar to another local business. This indicates they have not done their homework. Red flag: They advertise they work in Asheville all the time but can't remember the name of any place they worked.
3. They are professional.
Look for misspellings in their online and offline materials. Look for accreditation by a national association. Are they members of the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, or a local business group? Are they listed on reputable sites like Wedding Wire or The Knot? Have they updated their blog or FB page in the last couple of months? Is their site mobile-friendly (if not, they are waaay behind the times!) Yellow Flag: You can't find them anywhere other than their Facebook page. Red Flag: They are only on FB. FB pages are free. Domains and websites are so affordable there is no reason not to have a website if you’re serious about your business. Note: I would not take the fact that they work out of their home as a sign that they are not professional. This is a small town where rents are skyhigh for business space. A lot of vendors work out of their homes. I do. But they should have a regular place to meet clients.)
4. They want you to sign a contract.
"A contract is a voluntary arrangement between two or more parties that is enforceable by law as a binding legal agreement" [Wikepidia:Contracts]
Reputable vendors will have documents for you to sign indicating what they agreed to do and the price you agreed to pay.
I recently dealt with a new venue that is advertising for wedding business; however, they have not done any weddings other than their own. They did not have a contract for us to sign, nor even a list of rules. No photos of past weddings except theirs. They explained that they thought they would do some weddings, see how they go, and then figure all that out. They quoted a very low price, but we did not want to be their Guinea pigs.
5. They have answers to your questions and answer promptly.
A real vendor will answer calls and emails promptly. However, allow more than 24 hours for a response. Most good vendors are swamped with requests. But if you have already signed up with them, and it takes more than a week to hear back, I would move on. If there are a lot of excuses about their other job, their kids, their mother in law, etc., etc., that might be a signal that this is just a sideline for them.
6. They are focused.
They want to be the best photographer in Asheville. The most caring officiant. A venue owner/decorator/officiant/coordinator who also bakes cakes sounds convenient, but that is too many hats to wear. One of them is going to fall off on the day of your wedding.
7. They check out.
They have different reviews on multiple sites. Check their website, Facebook page, theknot.com and weddingwire.com. Also check the Better Business Bureau site. Don't be afraid to ask for references and email them all. Here's an example. This videographer has a great website and decent reviews on wedding wire. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find mixed reviews on the Knot, and an outright warning on BBB.org
8. Exception. They admit they are new to the business or the area.
There are good and bad sides to this. Their honesty is a good thing, their low rates are a good thing, and their eagerness to learn is a good thing. The bad thing is they might really mess up. I've had a couple of first time ministers (friends who were ordained online) who left guests standing for a half hour because they didn't know to tell them to be seated. Or the guy from the coast who works full time, DJ's part time, great rates, very charismatic, never been to your town, but loves to travel. He loves to travel because he loves to get out of the house on your dime and hook up with single, drunk girls at weddings. Seriously! Red flag. They are charging the same or more as the local vendors because that's what they got in Michigan, or wherever. Even a newbie should have studied the local market and adjusted their rates to reflect their inexperience. Only go this route if you’re getting a deal and really don't care about the results.
SPECIAL WARNING FOR WEDDING VENDORS. There are multiple scams out targeting wedding vendors floating around. These people call, text or email pretending to be wedding clients, but they are only after your money. It goes something like this:
"Hello how are doing today?...Am Adam checking if you do events planning. 40 guests and I will like you to handle everything. Budget is not issue. hope you accept credit cards aswell?"
If you see anything like this delete it and run away. These are related to the Nigerian email scams. They want to pay you a large sum of money upfront for planning the event, because they are in another country, so they need you to send them a check or credit card number as a sign of good faith, then the money will be deposited in your accounts immediately, blah, blah, blah. Later you find they gave you a bogus credit card or a fake certified check. RED FLAG!
After 24 years in the business, one of my goals is to spread my knowledge of best practices with other wedding vendors and improve the level of professionalism of vendors as a whole in this area. By using good, local vendors, you will assist us in this mission, have a great wedding, and, hopefully, put some of these scammers on the bus out of town.
Recorded at the Wedding Festival on Saturday, February 4 at the US Cellular Center in Asheville.
Hello I'm Eleanor Campbell with Events for You. I’ve been a wedding planner in Asheville for over 23 years. I've worked most of the venues in the area and have encountered all kinds of situations, good and bad, and worked with every type of wedding from a small budget to a large budget. I am here to answer your questions – anything to do with weddings. No question is too dumb! Who’s got a question for me??
Q: Where do I start?
Answer: Great question! The first thing to start with is the venue, because a lot of venues book up quickly. Asheville is a very popular destination for weddings right now, and certain times of the year – spring and fall – are also very popular. So, first look at venues. There are some great ones here today. Then take a look at your budget. Now, both of these require knowing how many people are coming. So, next, work on your guest list. Once you know how many people, and how much you have to spend, that will help you narrow down the venue.
Q. Speaking of budget, how do I set a budget? What is a reasonable budget?
A. Another great question! I’ve worked with budgets anywhere from 5000 to 25,000. In this area, I'd say the average is about 10-15,000. Can you do a wedding for 100 bucks? Maybe. Can you do it for thousand? Yes! How can you do that? Get married at a church and have a small reception in the reception hall with cake and punch and that’s it. It goes up from there as you add more things. So how do you create a budget? Look at what you and your fiancé want to spend -- how much cash do you have? Do you want to take out a credit card or a loan to add to that? No? Then talk to both sets of parents -- see what they're willing to contribute. Grandparents, maybe? After that, that's your budget. Budget still tight? The best way to stay within that budget is to limit the size of your guest list.
Q. I have a niece who is nine years old -- should she be a flower girl or is she a junior bridesmaid? What is the age cut off?
A. Generally flower girls are ages 4 to 8 and junior bridesmaids 8-14, so she's right in the middle. A lot of it depends on her age and maturity level. So if she is a shy nine-year-old she might do better as a junior bridesmaid -- that way she's just walking in the line with the other girls. If she is a real ham and loves to be the center of attention -- flower girl. (Speaking of which, she might steal the show from you – so think about if that would bother you beforehand!) The flower girl’s job is to spread flower petals for the bride to walk on. No need to make it too complicated. Anyone over six, you can ask them if they would like to be a flower girl or a bridesmaid and they can probably tell you. If they say yes, great, go with it. But if they say no, you've got to accept their answer -- bugging them about it every time you see them or having their mom force them to do it just because you think you have to have a ring bearer never works. Lots of tears. What are ring bearers anyway? Why do we have ring bearers? You know, in the old days, it was a custom to have little boys carry the train of the bride. They walked behind her, carrying her train. They were “train bearers”. As trains got shorter, they came up with the idea of having them carry the rings. I don't know how many of you would trust your five year old nephew with your wedding rings, right? [Laughter] So the ring bearer thing is kind of going away. What I see more now is a young man carrying a sign that says “here comes the bride” -- again – no need to make it too complicated. What about doggy ringbearers? Anyone thinking of having their dog as a ringbearer? [show of hands] That is a great idea, too. Just remember, with dogs, as with young children, they are a little hard to control – so they may get to that date and they may not want to walk down the aisle. Always have a backup plan -- whether it’s their mom or a bridesmaid or a groomsman stepping in to take their hand.
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Q. Someone asked about day of coordinators. What do day of coordinators do?
A. In the old days we were called wedding planners. That was the first person you called after you got engaged. They would guide you through the process of selecting vendors and venues and flowers et cetera, et cetera. In the ‘80s, people like Martha Stewart starting putting out books and magazines about wedding planning, and then came the internet, so most people now have all the tools and resources they needed to plan their own weddings. Thanks, Martha, you just about put us out of business! [laughter] So, you may not need a planner anymore, but you still need someone to help you that day. Because the venue is only focused on their part of things, the caterer is only focused on the food, the photographer only cares about the photos, et cetera, et cetera, so who is looking out for you? Because, after all, that day you should be off getting ready and hanging with your friends -- it's really hard for you to do your own set up and make up at the same time! And it's really not fair to ask your mom or your aunt to do it, because they need to get ready for the wedding, too. A day of coordinator is concerned with making sure things go right -- making sure your vendors get set up in the right place, making sure your decorations get put in the right place, making sure the first dance and cake cutting happen at the right time. The day-of takes your place that day and directs things and keep things running smoothly. A lot of the venues are now requiring a day of coordinator. Because people are bringing in more decorations and games and corn hole and giant guestbook boards et cetera et cetera, and that is way more than their staff can set up and still get all their stuff set up. The day of coordinator also handles any emergencies, and I can tell you that comes up a lot! Your Aunt Betty may be a great organizer, but can she handle it if the flowers don't show up -- can she run to the grocery store and makes some quickie flower arrangements for you? What if the musicians get lost? Does she have a violinist on speed dial? There’s all kinds of things that come up. What if the heat or air conditioning goes out at the venue? That's not something you want to be worrying about when you're out there dancing!
Q. What does a day of Coordinator cost?
A. You know, the price varies depending on how many hours they're going to be there and how big your wedding is. If you’re having a big wedding, they're going to need more than one person there. It also depends whether they do any planning with you ahead of time. I would say in this town it's anywhere from $500-$1500.
Q. Do we need wedding insurance?
A. That's a great question. Wedding insurance is a little bit different from your car or renters insurance. That’s insuring property if something bad happens. But wedding insurance is insuring you if something bad happens. But that is a good place to start. Ask your current agent, or have your parents ask theirs if they are throwing the wedding, are we covered if something happens? What if there’s an accident at the wedding or after the wedding because of alcohol? Now, wedding insurance covers that and more - We had a situation recently where a very popular wedding venue burned down – we got those clients relocated, but we still don't know if they're going to get their deposits back – so wedding insurance covers things like that. You lose your rings, your little sister plays dress up in the mud in your wedding dress, there’s a hurricane in Florida and your honeymoon city gets evacuated…It's very easy to get online. It costs between 100 and 200 dollars and it's well worth it.
Q. We’re doing our own food and bar and the venue says we need a licensed bartender, where do I find one?
A. Yes, even if they didn’t require it, you need a professional bartender for the same reasons we talked about with insurance. What if something happens? There's not really a bartending license but there are tests they can take that show that they know the alcohol laws. You want someone with experience. You really don't want to put your friend in a situation of having to tell someone that they've had too much to drink. But what you really do want to do is protect yourself. We’ve had situations where someone was overserved at a wedding and later had an accident -- the hosts are getting sued, the couple is getting sued, the caterer is getting sued -- so you really don't want to put yourself in that situation. Look for an event staffing service – there are a couple here – or a mobile bartending service. Perfect Mix Mobile Bartending is here at the show – go see Dave over there and ask him about it. Professional bartenders can also tell you how many bartenders to have, help you figure out how much alcohol to order, help you create some really cool signature cocktails – all kinds of things. They can make the party fun while still keeping things safe.
So I think that is about all the time we have for now, Please feel free to come by and see me in booth 303, Events for You, if you have any more questions. And enjoy the rest of the show!
Miss Ellie is the perfectly proper wedding planner to whom we all turn for wedding planning advice. To ask a question, just click the email button at the top of the page, or leave a comment and she will respond.