I’m a professional wedding planner and one of the owners at The Flower Farm at Dogwood Hill. I have been a wedding professional for more than 18 years. I used to manage a very promonent, fancy venue in another state before I came to East Tennessee. So, I have quite the collection of vast experiences to back up my opinions about weddings and venues. With that said, let’s have a direct, to the point, chat about wedding planning on a budget.
The reality check happens now. It’s that moment.when you realize you are trying to plan your wedding on a tight budget and your second thought should be about the fact that you will have to make sacrifices. You’re not going to have chandeliers, air conditioning and a bridal suite the size of an entire doublewide on a shoe string budget un less you are very good friends with a venue owner who can offer their space for free. After coming to terms with that, if getting married now is still what you want to do and you want it badly enough to make the necessary sacrifices, the good news is that there are wedding professionals who will still want to help you that won’t robbing you blind.
Help your venue to help you and your community. The helpful budget friendly venues, like ours, sometimes come under fire from family and guests. There seems to always be someone in the crowd who thinks all weddings cost $10,000.00 or way more and their critic eye casts negative judgement on the outcome of your wedding. Maybe you don’t care what anyone at your wedding thinks. But, out of fairness to all your wedding professionals you need to realize that these folks will run straight to the internet to leave negative reviews about how ordinary or under decorated your venue was. So, I recommend that you make your friends and family aware of your budget concerns when you start planning your wedding. They may offer to help you make your wedding more of what you wanted it to be or they may not be able to help at all. Either way, the budget friendly venues provide a needed service in the community for folks who cannot or simply don’t want to spend more on their wedding. its only a matter of time before these affordable options can disappear forever if they are taken for granted.
Read your contracts carefully. Then, understand that family and guests do not know what you paid for, after all they have not read your contracts. So, do not put your professionals in the line of fire by putting unknowing family in charge of things like food, music or other aspects of your wedding. If family will help with these things, make those family members part of the planning process and inform them of any rules or restrictions in your contracts. This will help avoid the stress that can result from lack of understanding.
Plan ahead and plan smart. There’s a reason why our venue sees either really successful weddings or really horribly executed weddings and almost nothing in between. The reason is all in the planning (or lack of planning in some cases). I don’t control our brides. There are really only two kinds of brides. The first type of bride will talk with me quite a bit. I know everything from the colors and theme to what food they want to serve. These brides I am able to help quite a bit, offer suggestions as to what has been successful and most importantly warn them if I know an idea has repeatedly failed at weddings we’ve had. The second type of bride keeps her planning more or less a secret from us. She makes all kinds of choices without thoroughly considering the limitations of our space, the rules in the contract, the pitfalls of outdoor weddings, etc… While this bride’s wedding does not always fail it is mostly these situations that end as weddings that could have been so much better “if”…
Choose the right kind of wedding for YOU and YOUR BUDGET. This can be a tough hurdle. The right venue and wedding for you might not be what your guests will enjoy. I’m a thoughtful wedding planner and so while I appreciate the “its your special day” aspect of each wedding I am always trying to advise couples on ways to achieve a harmonious balance between what you want and what your friends and family need for comfort, etc… For example: You might want a 2:00pm outdoor ceremony in the middle of July but your guests will be burning hot in the mid-day sun for at least 30-40 minutes before the ceremony even begins; so, I would suggest a later ceremony start time. Little compromises like this can and will help make your wedding day the best that it can be.
Options within your price range. I don’t spend a whole lot of time watching what the other venues offer for packages. We offer a few packages based on budget ranging from Ceremony Only (the cheapest) all the way up to Full Service with the photographer and fresh flowers included. So, when you look at the pricing for any venue – always discuss what is included and decide if that venue meets most of your “must haves” for your budget. Keep in mind that your list of “musts” may be impossible on your budget and you probably will have to be willing to let some things go if you want to get married on a budget.
We are standing tall. You won’t find venue owners who will “care” more or “worry more” than we do about your wedding being the best that it can be. And, we work very very hard for our budget friendly price. We always top to bottom clean the space on the morning of every wedding. We’re always nearby during the wedding in case you need something taken care of. Because we’re talking straight about the topic, I will say that we have cleaned up piss and puke on the floors in our restrooms in the middle of weddings (just so that the bride and groom don’t have to do it) even though our contract says that you are responsible for clean up. I don’t know of any other venues who provide this level of just plaining caring about you having a nice time without you paying all kinds of extra money for cleaning services either in your contract or after the fact.
Final thoughts about everything on the cheap! Well, that never happens. Couples usually have at least one area they are not willing to go cheaper on. For some brides its the dress. We see weddings where the dress costs more than all the rest of the wedding combined. For the most part couples who book our venue are looking for outdoor beauty for their photos with the added bonus of covered space in case of rain. They are on a budget and also understand that we’ll help them with planning the details as well as coordinating the ceremony so it goes smoothly and beautifully. We are one of the few venues in the area with a garden theme and flowers about our ceremony space (instead of just a grassy field). These are things they appreciate about our venue.
Our Full Service Wedding Package includes fresh roses on the tables, bride’s bouquet plus 3 attendant bouquets and 5 lapel pins for the gentlemen.
Rose Bride's Bouquet
This is one of our rose bride’s bouquets. It comes with the Full service package.