We love brides that give us their vision and let us run with the design. Hannah was just that bride. We aren’t going to lie, her vision for a garden inspired elegant wedding at the Omni Montelucia in Paradise Valley, AZ, made us a little more than giddy. From eucalyptus garlands adorning the ceremony chairs, to an elaborate floral treatment on the Valencia Lawn gazebo and a 42-foot (yes, foot) hydrangea runner down the bridal party table, we were in designer’s heaven. We know you will love this wedding as much as we did!
No doubt about it, choosing a venue for your wedding is exciting. After arriving at a date, it is one of the first decisions you will make on your wedding planning journey. But before you put down any deposits or form attachments to rustic-chic barns that don’t have electricity, there are a few things to consider. Here’s our best advice for choosing a wedding venue:
Estimate your guest list and budget.
You probably don’t have a firm grip on your guest list or budget just yet, but you’ll need to know roughly how many people you’re inviting and how much you can spend before you start drawing up your list of dream venues. Both pieces of information are critical to keep you from wasting your time touring venues that are too small or outside of your budget. Your guest list doesn’t need to be etched in stone at this point, but you should have a rough idea of how many people are on your list and how many are on your future spouses. Be sure not to overlook parents….if they are chipping in part or all of the funds, they may have a handful of close friends they would like to include.
Consider the style of wedding you want to have.
Whether it’s rustic, formal, boho, low-key, or a blow-out bash, the wedding style you and your partner envision will be a big factor in determining where you can host your celebration. Consider whether you want a traditional or non-traditional venue. There are plenty of venues that regularly play host to weddings — including barns and art galleries — but if you opt for a totally non-traditional venue that’s not equipped to host a party (say, an industrial warehouse space), you’ll be responsible for a lot more details. Wedding-ready venues often have tables, chairs, and linens available for your use and, quite often, a set-up and clean-up crew on hand. If you’re renting out a non-traditional space, remember to factor in all of those details and make sure they are in your budget.
Slow down and consider the logistics.
Once you have a list of possible wedding venues and begin to visit them, you may find yourself falling instantly in love with the aesthetics of a space. But be sure to slow down and consider the logistics of having a wedding at your dream wedding venue. Don’t forget to think about available parking – is it on property? Is there a fee to park? Does the venue have a liquor license? Is there a contingency plan in case of bad weather? Is there a required end time? All of these could adversely affect your budget if you aren’t prepared.
Think about how much control you’ll want to have over your wedding’s decor and details.
Most venues are either full-service or not, meaning they either provide all tables, chairs, and linens…or they don’t. Find out what each venue provides, ask if the venue has any vendor restrictions, and decide whether or not you can be happy with those options.
Consider your catering needs.
Many of today’s couples are foodies and want to serve their guests a very specific menu. But not every venue will allow you to bring in your own caterer, and some may require you to choose from in-house catering menus. Discuss your catering needs before signing a contract to ensure that the venue matches your desires. And be sure to schedule a tasting.
Visit your potential venue more than once.
Once you’ve whittled down your list of venue options to two or three frontrunners, go back and visit them again. Do they have the same charm? Do they fulfill all your logistical and stylistic requirements? Are they big enough, and will your party have a comfortable flow? If possible, visit the venue around the time of day you want to marry — if you originally saw the venue at 11 AM the first time you visited, you’ll want to see it again at the time you plan to start your wedding. Note whether or not the lighting and aesthetic of the space is the same. (This is also a good time to bring in your wedding planner if you’re working with one.)
Signing a contract.
Read the fine print! Ask all of your questions before signing. When you sign a contract, it is assumed that you read, and agreed to, every word. It is also important to note that many vendors are not willing to modify their agreement so only ask if there is a clause that you simply can’t work with (i.e. the need for Kosher catering and there isn’t an option provided by the venue).
Once your contract is signed, you will undoubtedly want to show the venue to your family and wedding party. An open house is the perfect opportunity for that. Remember that, while you have one wedding, your venue coordinator could potentially have over 50 events booked and several more pending so don’t just pop in!
Do you have questions regarding your venue contract? We can help you sort out the details and let you know what you are signing before you sign. Our hourly packages are designed for couples that need a little assistance with contracts. Email us for more info!
Now go celebrate and start your design board or call us and we will help you design one!
He popped the question and you’re now engaged! Congratulations! Your journey up the aisle is an exciting one that, generally, comes along just once in a lifetime. However, some brides find the wedding planning process to be one of the most stressful periods in their lives. We have some news for you – it doesn’t have to be!
Planning your wedding day is more magical than you can even imagine. Yes, there’s so much to do, however you decide how simple or detailed your wedding is. Truth be told, you really only need three things to get married in Arizona: two people, a celebrant and the marriage license.
So now that you’re engaged, now what?
The first two tasks on your ‘to-do’ list are interchangeable because once you announce your news to the world, the first question they’re going to ask is, “When’s the big day?” So do what is best for the two of you.
Your friends and family may want a say in the date (especially if babies are due or people are coming from other parts of the US, etc) so perform steps 1 or 2 in the order with which you’re most comfortable.
Also, keep in mind that there are plenty more steps. Things like setting a date for an engagement party, choosing your bridal party and perhaps even insuring your engagement bling. Below are the key steps that must first be done.
Announce your big news
Facebook and Twitter may seem like the best communication mediums through which to announce your engagement to the world, but they’re also highly impersonal – and once you’ve done it, the entire world will know. It’s only polite to let your friends and family know first, especially if your significant other has gone down the traditional route of asking for your hand in marriage.
Take the time to reach out to your family and close friends before logging into your social media profiles, sending a mass email or making the traditional engagement announcement in the newspaper. After all, it is this tribe who will be most happy for you and your partner-to-be.
Set a date
The first question anyone asks is generally, “when?”. It’s inevitable and, even if it changes due to venue availability or other factors, you’ll need a rough date in mind to begin talking to vendors. Take into account who is in your wedding party. Is your maid of honor a teacher? If so, fall or spring break may be easy for her because she won’t have to take vacation time and prepare for a substitute teacher. Is your partner’s sister expecting a baby? Planning around her due date will reduce stress for all involved while ensuring you’ve done all you can to be sure she can attend. Forward thinking the tiny details alleviates so much stress down the road.
Stellar Event Management is a full-service wedding & event planner that can put you in touch with the right wedding suppliers. From wedding dress designers and cake decorators to some of our most talented wedding photographers and florists, Stellar has an extensive and trusted network of suppliers right at your fingertips.
Our aim is to take the stress out of planning so that you can enjoy your engagement. We specialize in planning exceptional weddings and events, taking particular care to ensure that each client experiences the ‘perfect day’, the ‘perfect way’.
Discuss a budget
Sit down with your partner and anyone else that may be paying for or contributing to the cost of your wedding (Mom and Dad?) and begin to discuss what funds you have available. Having a general idea of your total budget will help you and your planner design your decor and select vendors that will help you realize your dream. Your budget does not need to be set in stone, yet, but having a ballpark range will help you take the next exciting step of picking a venue!
Stellar Event Management can assist in making your dream wedding come true. We guarantee a day that is uniquely catered to your style and personality and no two events ever looking the same. Give us a call or drop us an email to schedule your free consultation.
Kristin’s passion is working with couples that share that one special quality – a genuine desire to share their love with the people they love.
After years of managing event venues, off-premise catering companies and planning corporate and fundraising events throughout AZ, Kristin Sanchez turned her attention to wedding planning.
Stellar Event Management was born out of Kristin’s love for design coupled with her Type-A personality and attention to detail. Seeing niches in the existing wedding and event planning market, Kristin set out to create a totally client-focused wedding planning service.
Drawing on a diverse range of skills and experience, Kristin has crafted a valuable package of services to give couples the best wedding experience possible. Stellar Event Management streamlines your wedding management process, seeking creative ways to bring your particular ideas and desires to life.
Stellar Event Management hand-picks its suppliers from the top of their respective industries. Strong relationships with these suppliers mean that delays and hiccups are minimized. We aim to go above and beyond that expected of traditional wedding planners, making every wedding as special as it can be.
Couples from all walks of life can be assured that all their needs will be taken into account with no cut corners. No event is too big or too small – our services are scalable to match your exact needs.
From engagement, to invitations, to the final ‘I do’, the wedding planning process is involved and complex. Of course, we believe this shouldn’t detract from the romance or the fun! Stellar Event Management is there to support you and your partner every step of the way.
At Stellar Event Management, your special day is as important to us as our own. We’ll do our best to make it memorable in ways that will keep your guests talking long after the last dance!
We are digging in the archives for this wedding. To this day it remains one of our most favorite weddings as the entire day was infused with bits of the bride’s and groom’s personalities.
Bridget and Scott met online in 2011 and were engaged within three months. You can tell by looking at these two that they were genuinely in love…. the kind of love that would last a lifetime. Due to the nature of Scott’s job, the couple planned their wedding in 90 days which put their wedding date smack dab in the middle of June – one of Arizona’s hottest months. Daytime temps easily soar to 115-120 degrees during the day so following the timeline would be critical.
We selected a secret garden on the campus of Arizona State University for the ceremony. This lush area is sequestered between four buildings near the center of campus and is a haven of lush flowering plants and tall shade trees that are home to many birds. The raised patio with outdoor fireplace was the perfect spot for this intimate ceremony.
The bride and her sisters crafted each detail of this wedding, from the bouquets and boutonnieres, to the aisle decor, centerpieces, favors and directional signage.
The reception was held at Old Main, ASU’s oldest building where guests danced the night away before sending the couple off with a sparkler exit.
Are your leading ladies turning into drama queens? How to deal when they lose it.
The women you chose to be your bridesmaids are your best pals and therefore the perfect bride tribe to help you plan your wedding. But in the months leading up to your big day, there may, unfortunately, be a few diva moments, like a disagreement over the dress (not yours — hers) or a power struggle about your bachelorette party. There’s good news though, these mishaps don’t have to ruin your wedding day — as long as you’re prepared for them.
Diva Drama #1: She wants to be your Maid of Honor
The Scenario: You’ve always imagined your sister as your maid of honor, but your university roomie wants the title. She’s even been dropping hints since your engagement about how detailed and excited she is. The Solution: Sit down with your friend and explain how you can’t imagine getting married without her at your side, but also that you only have one sister. The Scoop: “I made the mistake and succumbed to my friend having her as my MOH and my sister as a bridesmaid. I regret that decision immensely because my wedding can’t be repeated. The decision caused damage to my relationship with my sister that took years for us to move past.” – Louisa
Diva Drama #2: She’s very budget conscious
The Scenario: She complains about the price of the bridesmaid dress and wants to control your bachelorette party. She even has the nerve to say you don’t “need” a bridal shower since you and your fiance already live together. Say what? The Solution: Delicately ask your bridesmaid if the wedding is becoming a drain on her budget. For all you know, she’s struggling to pay off debt or has had hours cut at work. Be willing to listen to her situation and possibly offer to help offset a portion of the dress. Just be careful that, what you do for her, you may need to do for all should word get out. The Scoop: “I had been a bridesmaid for a close friend and spent $395 on the dress. So I was beyond frustrated when I asked her to spend $150 for mine and she tried to back out of the wedding. It turned out that her husband had just been laid off and they were worried about losing their home. I bought the dress for her as a gift.” — Michelle
Diva Drama #3: She’s gone dark
The Scenario: Your super communicative friend has her iPhone attached to her hip but she hasn’t responded to any calls or texts in a week. The weirdest part: You know she’s updated her Facebook page, let’s face it, you stalked her. So what gives? The Solution: Schedule some one on one time. This is an exciting time for you but your wedding isn’t the only thing she has to focus on. Maybe a new work project has her inundated or something is happening in her personal life. If that’s the case, offer your help. She’s your friend first — then your bridesmaid. The Scoop: “I actually became a psycho stalker with one of my closest friends because she wasn’t answering my phone calls about going dress shopping with me. Each message I left escalated and not in a good way. Of course I felt like a complete idiot when she got back from a two-week work trip — where she didn’t have cell reception. Not my finest moment.” — Britni
Diva Drama #4: She’s a control freak
The Scenario: Your bridesmaid is very outgoing and outspoken and she’s taking this to a whole new level by dictating every aspect of your big day. She’s pushing you to order a cake you don’t love and already bought a bridesmaid dress in a different cut than the one you chose because it makes her look thinner. The Solution: Include your maid in the activities/decisions you feel comfortable including her in. If she gets bossy, kindly remind her that it’s your wedding — and while she may be excited to help, you’ve been planning it in your head since you were five. The Scoop: “My uber-organized girlfriend would say, ‘The dresses have to be champagne!’ ‘Wear your hair up!’ “Only chandelier earrings!” It was nuts! I finally told her that I wanted to do things my way, but she didn’t take it well. It showed me that our friendship wasn’t all I had cracked it up to be.” — Lauren
Diva Drama #5: You want a PG-13 shower — and she’s planning an R-rated event
The Scenario: By now, you know that these events can get kind of, uh, racy. If your family is more conservative, it’s understandable that you’d rather not have penis straws or a penis shaped cake at your party. The Solution: Schedule a more family-friendly affair for your in-laws, grandma and aunts, and then opt for a lingerie shower with your friends. Hey, you’ll get twice the loot! Or, save the R-rated items for the bachelorette party. Remember, they may be planning the party — but you’re the guest of honor, so don’t be afraid to set the tone. Other options: a spa day, an tea style luncheon or wine tasting event. The Scoop: “I was sure my bridal shower would be low-key, I mean my sister planned it. Was I wrong! One of my girlfriends gave me ben wa balls. Imagine how mortified I was having to explain to my mom, grandmother and future mother-in-law what these were! Then they wanted to know how they worked!!” — Kristin
Diva Drama #6: She’s just announced her pregnancy – and dresses have been ordered
The Scenario: The girls just put down their deposits on strapless gowns with a form fitted waist, when one of them announces she’s preggo. The Solution: Let her know how excited you are for her and schedule a day when the two of you can shop for a matching belly-friendly dress. The Scoop: “At first I couldn’t help but think, ‘Seriously, you’re going to be 8 months along’? But then I realized that I was the one being a bitch, and I was excited for her.” — Brie