Cue your favorite 1990s pop icon song – Oops I did it again! Not sure if denim on denim will ever be ok for my closet, but if you can rock go off sis! Even though she was talking about being a babe heartbreaker in this hit, these lyrics can be applied to many aspect of life. Today on the blog, we wanted to circle back to our roots, and open up about some things that we have made mistakes on in the past to better help you in your current and future planning process.
The best way to provide authenticity is to be transparent not only in your successes but also in your failures. We are looking to share some insight on things that many brides don’t think about at first glance. Also, if we share our mistakes at Chestnut Ridge, maybe we can avoid those “oops I did it again” moments. So, here is our top 10 things that we as Planners & Venue Staff for Chestnut Ridge have had to learn the hard way!
We are currently living in the era of total boss babes, and we can’t get enough of it! Our world is exploding with lady entrepreneurs, mothering business women, and some b.a.b.s (if you don’t know the acronym, Google will be your bff) if we are being totally honest. Now more than ever we are seeing a world dominated by sequin blazers + a good red lip. Let me tell you…the pride that we feel in seeing women of such leadership is immense! BUT there is one day in their life that these b.a.b.s need to release the reigns and let another amazing b.a.b. do the heavy lifting.
You spend your life making sure everything goes according to plan – your job, your education, your hobbies, your kids, your family, your friends. No need to add an additional stressor to your already full plate and try to plan your whole wedding. It will cost you more stress than you have to give. Also, if you’re hoping to have someone close to you plan your wedding, that can be just as sticky as you doing it yourself. Whether it’s your sister, your best friend, or aunt Susie who planned events for the local church, if they are not a professional wedding planner they will most likely not be able to relieve stress for your planning process. In fact it will potentially cause more stress since you are having to put trust in them when it isn’t their every day job.
At Chestnut Ridge we require all brides to have a professional wedding planner to help them with design and logistics. We have seen the process & outcome of what not having a professional planner looks like. Trust us when we say that this is one area of the budget that needs to be allocated for. Leave the planning to the professionals while you and your guests become professional dancers, happy tear criers, and mimosa downers!
Speaking of budgets, we are here to chat about some DIYs! While we all have had a hand in creating a new macrame wall hanging, or maybe learning how to retile your bathroom, DIY projects should be cautioned for your big day. There are so many wonderful ideas produced on social media platforms. It can be easy to be caught up in the “I can do that” mentality. Social media platforms are perfect for inspiring you to have vision based around your big day, but you should know that not all DIY ideas are worth it. Knowing which things to create on your own, and which to trust the professionals with is going to be your key component.
Utilizing your craft where it fits best will be perfect for a DIY project for your big day. For example, if you are super creative in technology you can create your own bar menu or small signage to place around the venue. However, if you’re not the best at freehand or drawing, maybe leave the large signage and seating charts to the professional calligraphers.
Often times when we see DIY projects present in wedding day, they ended up costing the bride more. These artists typically have everything already at the palm of their hands, and receive their products for cheaper cost since they buy in bulk. When a bride decides to attempt a DIY wedding project it typically will cost more for materials, and then if it doesn’t turn out as anticipated there will be double the trouble.
Whew! We all know that weddings can be very expensive, even for our minimalistic brides. So how do you create the wedding of your dreams within a $____ budget? Knowing which areas you would like to allocate certain budgets to will be your bestie for the restie. If you aren’t as interested in having a top of the line menu, but you are in dire need of a full bar, then understand which avenue you will put more money into from the beginning.
Drench the categories that are most important to you with a healthy budget amount, and then set aside smaller amounts for those areas that don’t need any extra TLC. This will give you a better game plan, help choose the right vendors for you, and stay within your overall ballpark number! If you hope to have love spread throughout all categories, just be aware that the budgets you set for yourself need to be a realistic expectation of what that vendor can produce. Your professional wedding planner will be more than happy to chat through these things with you!
This one has been an oops I did it again moment not just from a planner + venue perspective, but also from a personal one. There are SO many important notes to include on your Save the Dates, Invitations, and RSVPs. I know invitation suites can be pricey, but they are more than a fancy way to invite your guests, they are also life savers (literally)! There are a few things that are a must add to your RSVP cards that will save you headaches and mishaps.
The first item of business is to make sure you number your RSVP cards. Then have a numerical list of who that RSVP belonged to. Let me say it louder for the people in the back…NUMBER YOUR RSVP CARDS! That way whenever you receive ten responses sent back to you, and they all say “yep, we will be there!” and there is no signature on it you aren’t at a loss for who sent it. Also, if you have an online RSVP option, guests will often respond in mail and virtually. If they are numbered, you are able to rule out one of their responses and not account for two entries.
Another item to put on your RSVP cards is to note if they have any allergies or dietary restrictions in their diet. That way you and your planner can notify the chef of that guests’ allergies so they may accommodate their special needs. Even as the bride, many times you won’t have any clue that a guest has a dietary restriction until the day of the wedding, and we don’t want any issues to spark from it during your big day.
Lastly, many couples choose to provide transportation and hotel blocks for guests. It is very helpful to make a section on the RSVP card for them to check off if they will be utilizing those amenities. Once you receive your responses back, you will have a better understanding of how many room blocks and busses to reserve based on your guests needs.
Speaking of, we wanted to touch base on providing transportation for your guests up to CR! Now normally, us CR gals will take our horse drawn carriage to work, but recently in October we have been riding our broom sticks in. We know that broom sticks can be quite uncomfortable, and honestly hard to maneuver so they’re not for everyone. The same goes for our Western North Carolina mountain roads to guests who are not used to them.
They can be difficult to maneuver especially in the dark with a few drinks in the system. We always recommend that couples look into providing transportation for their guests. Not only for the safety of the attendees, but also for peace of mind for the couple and their families! You don’t need a seat for every tail in the house, but just a safe option for your slightly more intoxicated attendees to get home.
We also get the question pop up in regards to Uber or Lyft, “can you get those to Chestnut Ridge?” The answer is errr maybe. You can typically always get an Uber or Lyft out to CR, but you can hardly ever get one back to Asheville. Anytime guests are assuming they can get one back to Asheville, they’re always left stranded with us and we put them to work cleaning out cylinders. Just kidding. If there are some guests who insist on Ubering out to CR, we always recommend they get their driver’s personal contact info so they can loop back with them at the end of the evening.
We have all been there once or twice. Alcohol pretends to be our best friend, but sis turns her back on you real quick! Then you’re fumbling on which melted cheese snack you’re wanting to get in the Cook Out drive through. Do you want cheese fries, or some nachos, or will you just go for it and get the double cheeseburger?
This feeling of uncertainty can be the same conflict your guests have at the bar. We all love going to a downtown bar and ordering whatever your brain thinks of, but at a wedding your guests will have 1-2 go to drinks the whole evening. We have found that when couples provide a whole bar it can be overwhelming to their guests. You always have those who will want to try it all and end up in a less than appetizing circumstance. Also, with a full far there is always a ton of alcohol left over, as well as longer lined. In place of a full bar, we would recommend narrowing down your menu to a few different selections. Specialty cocktails are always a big hit! You’ll spend less money on both alcohol and mixers, but also offer your guests some fun and seasonal twists!
Now it’s time for your Seventh Inning Stretch! Commercial break brought to you in part by Chestnut Ridge Wedding Venue.
So, how many weddings have you attended in the last 5 years? Ok, now out of those weddings, how many monogrammed or dated coozies do you have in your cabinet? And, how many times do you actually use or think about that coozie? Exactly.
Favors are such a sweet gesture to say thank you to your guests for coming to your wedding day! However, you know what else is such a wonderful “thank you” to your guests – complimentary appetizers & dinner, provided drinks, and hired entertainment for them to dance their hearts away to. Oh yeah, we’re saying it! Favors are often a waste of time and money. There are so many times that the venue staff or planner is having to send home 350 leftover bottle openers with the bride’s parents.. Guests will forget to snag one on their way out, or they are too intoxicated to remember where they are. Unless the favor is implemented into your wedding day (i.e. having custom glasses for your bartenders to make drinks in), they will most likely be unused and forgotten. So do yourself a favor, and caution against favors!
Who doesn’t love a delicious pie around the holiday season, or a delectable cupcake during a sweet celebration? Everyone has their own sugared poison! Now, we have brides who LOVE cake, but some who only get cake because it’s traditional and elegant. Either avenue you choose is great if it fits to your vision. From our experience, the brides who choose to serve a large cake on their big day end up going home with about 85% of it. I don’t know about you, but the amount of cake that is wasted makes us want to tier up!
Guests just aren’t as interested in snagging a slice of wedding cake and a fork and digging in. I mean…we are, but they just aren’t. Most guests are wanting a small bite size morsel to pop into their mouth. Flush it down with a bubbly, Then get back out on that dance floor. Which is where they should be – grooving with the newlyweds!
“What should we serve as an alternate to cake then?”, you may ask. Well, there are many different ideas you can take in your doggie bag as you go. You could always serve dessert bar alongside a smaller cake. Listen, those dessert tables clear out so fast. We try to sneak our way over to the dessert table towards the end of the evening. To our surprise it is usually wiped clean! Guests love to snag a macaroon on their way past the table. Having both a dessert bar and smaller cake will allot you elegance + tradition, but also have a fun pop of color in other desserts! Dessert tables are a hot commodity, and can be spiced up in so many creative ways. You and your baker should get together for some brainstorming and see what treats you can come up with.
My great grandmother is dishonoring me from Heaven as I write this one. Sorry mimi!
Veils are a beautiful addition to a bride’s look on her big day. So why the sudden drop in veil trends? Just as your wedding dress, the veil can be a key element to your aesthetic on your big day. However, it is not essential to your overall look. In fact, veils were traditionally used as a way to shield the bride from her groom’s eyes until after their ceremonial betroth. In circumstances where the couple had never laid eyes on each other before the wedding day. We know your groom selected you out of 7 billion others! Seeing you on your big day will leave him stopped in his tracks. We want your radiance to gleam straight through the crowd, and not be shadowed.
Another note for veils, you are only wearing it for about one hour on your big day. So if you are truly wanting the total look completed with a veil, remember you will only be wearing it for a short amount of time. Don’t break the bank with an expensive veil to just take it out after photos.
We have seen some hot messes before, but our favorite is the maid of honor. We can picture her now, matching drinks with the grown men in the crowd. Yet bawling her eyes out all ceremony. Oh, she is our spirit animal!
There’s always one hot mess at every wedding, and we aren’t just talking about the people. We see all sorts of messes occur. We try to catch them before they happen, but some messes we have learned to be proactive about. The first mess that we have learned to prevent is candle wax on our beautiful farmhouse tables. These tables are one of the main reasons many brides book CR, so we need to make sure they stay gorgeous! At CR we allow real candle flames to burn all evening. Most candles are secured in vessels. However, the most gorgeous candles are the ones that cause all the hot messes. Just like men, am I right ladies?
Taper candles are those tall ones that sit in candlesticks and drip melted wax down the sides. In order to prevent this melted wax from sticking to our tables, we require all taper candles to have a runner of some sort underneath them. This protects our tables, but also gives a gorgeous pop of color in the linens!