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You, Your Wedding Budget and Your Venue

Congratulations!  You’re engaged.  When the newness of getting engaged settles down you’ll start looking at the long wedding planning to do list.  For brides with a healthy budget this looks like an awesome and fun time.  But, for brides on a tighter budget it can quickly become a stressful series of not getting what you really wanted for that once in a lifetime day.  If you are one of those budget brides, this post is all about helping YOU.

Let’s Get It Started

One of the first things you will probably do is to at least establish the year and season or month of your wedding day (ie: spring 2019, etc…). When doing this, there are three additional things of importance to consider.

  • One: How much time do you have to get your planning done? Did you leave yourself enough breathing room to not be stressed over the decisions you need to make for your wedding?
  • Two: Where’s all the money going to come from?  If you are among the many brides counting on a tax refund or portions of your monthly income along the way, you’ll want to make sure you have given yourself enough time to comfortably pay for everything.
  • Three: Are you ready to lay down deposits?  The less time you have to plan your wedding the more quickly you’ll need to make the big choices that require larger deposits.  Your venue, photographer and entertainment will must likely all require a deposit to hold your date.  Each one could be hundreds or thousands of dollars that you’ll need to pay when you decide to book them.

Sacrificing Due to the Rush Plan

Couples have their own reasons for the date they choose.  Sometimes a wedding date is sentimental – its the anniversary of a first date.  regardless of the reason, know what you are getting yourself into if you choose to plan your own wedding in less than six months time.  Here’s some pitfalls to the quick planning road:

  • Some dresses take more than six months to get so you may not get the dress of your dreams
  • The venue you really wanted might already be booked when you start looking
  • You might end up spending more on your wedding because the venues and professionals with the better rates will already be booked.

Help Along the Way

Friends and family are great, right?  They are all so well meaning.  They flood you with great ideas and suggestions.  But, beware of “too many cooks in the kitchen”.  If you end up booking our venue (The Flower Farm at Dogwood Hill) you’re going to read and hear these words from us often — Don’t lose sight of the wedding you truly want.  It is so easy to got spun dizzy by the advise of others, Pinterest ideas, bridal shows and magazines.  A couples who wanted a simple and affordable wedding can suddenly find their credit cards and monthly budget maxed in the process of trying to please the masses.

Is A Wedding Coordinator Worth It?

Hiring a wedding coordinator is only worth the money if you are willing to make use of that relationship.  We very recently had a wedding here at our venue.  As the newly married couple’s day was coming to a close we were told how glad they were that they changed the time of their event.  See, I met with them right before they made up their invitations.  They were planning on a 2:00pm ceremony in the summer for an outdoor ceremony.  As a wedding planner it was my job to help them understand that the average temperatures and humidity would be really uncomfortable for their guests.  Together we made the decision for a faster paced evening wedding near sunset with a cake and punch reception.  Truthfully, it saved them money on the food, photography AND the guests were a whole lot more comfortable.  These are the kinds of things a wedding planner can help you with BUT only if you hire one or one comes with your venue.

Venues – Weighing Price & Value

Choosing the venue is a very personal choice.  Some brides want simple where others want elaborate.  Some couples want a large wedding that looks like it fell out of a movie where others have very different priorities.  When couples come to look at our venue, there is never any pressure to book.  We tell every couple that our space is not the perfect venue for everyone.  No venue is.  If you are looking for a private, intimate and welcoming outdoor wedding location with covered space – you should put us on your list of places to look at.  But, if you want chandeliers and fancy everywhere you look, we’re not the place for you.  There’s a whole of of middle between these two ideas, too.  Here’s some additional thoughts about picking a venue:

  • What about the people who run the venue?  Will they help you?  Will they care about your needs and questions through the planning process and on your wedding day?  We’ve heard the tragic stories of families who’ve dealt with venues where the owners do nothing more than unlock the door.  They won’t lift a finger to be helpful.  We don’t run our venue that way.  We answer your questions and we are present throughout your entire event.
  • The Look and Feel of Your Wedding – if you really wanted a fancy, decked out to the nines style wedding, don’t settle for a lot less.  Instead consider pushing your date out father so you can save up for the wedding you really wanted.  If you’re really settling for a venue you don’t like just because its the one you can afford, you’ll always have regrets.
  • Make a “must haves” list BEFORE you go venue shopping.  This is a really great way to keep focused on your goal and not let other factors get you confused about what you need and your budget.
  • Don’t window shop – I strongly recommend NOT looking at venues you cannot afford.  There are some really beautiful, truly amazing venues out there BUT if they are thousands of dollars outside of your budget I recommend not torturing yourself.  Be realistic about the idea that even pushing your wedding ahead by a year might not allow for the budget you need to make a wedding at that venue happen.  We often do weddings here where the entire wedding including the dress and the food costs less than just the venue fee elsewhere.

Planning your Wedding Is About Your Future!

My best advice to all couples, after 20 years in the wedding industry, is for you to PLAN YOUR WEDDING LIKE ITS ABOUT YOUR FUTURE.  When I decided to open a “low price, added value wedding venue” I did it for a heart felt reason.  Over two decades I had watched a lot of couples go down the road of the big, fancy, expensive wedding.  I listened to them at the end of the night, when the glamour is wearing off, feeling like a mountain of money was spent on one evening.  I have also sat in the wedding planning meetings where Mom and Dad are telling their daughter that they could pay that much for a wedding or have a down payment for a house.  I totally understand these viewpoints.  This venue was built around the idea that you might have bigger and more rewarding dreams beyond the chandelier on the ceiling of your wedding venue.  You might want to go back to school for a career, or maybe you want to put a down payment on a home together.  I think, starting your life together will not always be easy but wedding debt can only make it harder.


I am AJ, the Wedding Coordinator and one of the owners of The Flower Farm at Dogwood Hill.  Whether you are considering our venue for your wedding or not, I am here if I can offer you any advise or suggestions.  I think of our venue as a labor of love and a little bit of a gift to the community, a community that really needed a simple, private and pretty place for young couples to get married without going broke.

Congratulations!  May your future together be blessed!