1. Venue, Venue, Venue!
I did about 40 hours of research online on different venues in our area (a radius of four hours from our home). I made a spreadsheet of what each venue offered; on-site catering, BYOB, wedding coordinator, etc. The most important elements for us were to be able to come in on Friday to decorate and bring in our own food and alcohol. This would help us save some serious cash! After comparing about 25 venues, I narrowed it down to two. I sent both to Luke. He loved one of the venues. He wouldn’t stop talking about it (weird from a groom, right?) and wanted to go visit right away. So we scheduled a time to go check it out and it was perfect. Everything we wanted. The couple who own the property are AMAZING and the grounds were so beautiful! They have a woodfired pizza oven, microbrewery, open air pavilion and a refurbished barn, all overlooking a 13 acre pond in the countryside of Wisconsin. Love! The couple has done such a wonderful job at decorating each area so little decor is needed. We can also bring in our own food and booze, so open bar it is! Our wedding venue: Weddings In Echo Valley
After we booked our venue and our next thing to check off the list was our caterer. Our goal was to have a good amount of food for a reasonable price. I conducted online research of all our options; food trucks, heavy appetizers, stations, buffet. I read about 200 reviews on all sorts of companies and emailed about 20 to get quotes. Most of the quotes were insanely expensive to feed 150 people. We narrowed it down to three places and started to schedule tastings. The first tasting we went to was Brie Catering. We had our own private room and we sat and spoke with the owner for two hours. Learned about his background, why he loves his business, all while trying an array of food. It was all AMAZING! Initially, I thought I wanted to stay away from the traditional wedding buffet style, but the way Brie Catering presents the food looked so professional and unique. We were so impressed with our first caterer, we wanted to sign the dotted line right then and there, but the event planner inside of me said we need to look at more options. We went to another tasting that was an open house format and we got shuffled through the line and did not speak with anyone about our needs. The choice was obvious. Our wedding caterer: Brie Catering
I felt the referral route was the way to go when it came to photography. I came across photos of friends of mine on Facebook who recently were married and the photos were BEAUTIFUL! I looked up who the company was, got a quote and started to do some price comparisons. To my disbelief, the photographer was on the low end, but their portfolio spoke for itself. So many creative, storytelling moments! I was sold. Our wedding photographer: Sawyer Creek Photography.
Happy Planning! 🙂