From the Desk of Desirae: Picking Your Venue

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Choosing your venue is one of the first big decisions you will make while planning your wedding. For this post I’m going to share my experience and the top tips I give when looking for a venue.

My fiancé and I decided to get married in our hometown of Flagstaff, AZ – it made sense after all, that’s where we grew up and met. However, finding a venue was more difficult than I had hoped it would be. When we were first looking we had some specific criteria: we wanted it to be outside, with a weather back-up, and we didn’t want it to be too far from hotels. This seemed like it would be easy! But then things got a little more difficult.

The first venue was too small and too far from town.

The second venue couldn’t provide an outside space.

The third venue was too… rustic.

Five venues later, we found what we thought would be THE PERFECT VENUE. We were so excited and planned a weekend to go up and see it – we were ready to sign a contract! When we met with the sales woman of the brand new venue, not only did she seem less than thrilled to be giving us a tour, she didn’t seem to want to answer our questions. The venue was offering an “All-Inclusive” package that included the ceremony space, tented reception, food, décor, flowers, and linens. Throughout our conversation a few red flags popped up: 1. She wouldn’t give us a discount if we weren’t using the ceremony space. 2. We couldn’t bring in outside florals (That’s not a real rule anywhere else!). 3. She wouldn’t say where she rented the tent or the linens. And 4. She wouldn’t break down the All-Inclusive cost. Needless to say, I was UNHAPPY.

In the end it worked out, we re-thought our plans and are ending up with a venue that is perfect for us, even though it is nowhere near what we thought we wanted!

Here are my top tips:

  1. Ask a lot of questions. If your sales person is withholding information, that is a huge red flag. Why won’t they tell you? What else aren’t they telling you? Any great venue should be willing to answer all of your questions.
  2. You should get a warm-fuzzy feeling from your venue staff. They will be a big part of your day – they should be excited for you!
  3. Look at the bathrooms. I know this sounds silly, but a gross bathroom can ruin a guest’s experience.
  4. Shop Around. Even if you have a venue you love, look at a few others to compare what others are offering and how the price compares.
  5. Ask about catering. Do you have to use their in-house caterer? If so, see if you can do a tasting before you sign the venue contract. After all, wouldn’t you taste the caterer’s food before signing a contract with them directly?
  6. Ask about timing. How long do you have the space? Are you the only event in the space? When can you get there to set up?
  7. What’s included? Are tables, chairs, and linens provided? Do they provide staffing to help with the wedding or will they just have someone onsite (remember, that may mean they sit in their office all night)?
  8. What if the wedding lasts longer than expected? Does that impact pricing?
  9. Is there a limit to how late you can play music?
  10. Are bar services provided in-house? Ask about drink packages vs. drinks on consumption. The packages are usually much more affordable and in the case of some venues you can bring in your own liquor which can be very favorable!

Don’t be overwhelmed and don’t feel like you are asking too many questions – these are important things for you to know. You should love your venue!

Happy venue hunting!

From the Desk of Desirae: All the Questions

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It all starts with one question: Will you Marry Me?

When my high school sweetheart proposed to me a year ago on the beach, little did I know that my parents were there ready to congratulate us! They were just the beginning of the many hugs, congratulations, and hand grabs to see the ring. After all of the initial excitement, there comes another question: Have you set a date? My first thought? “NO! I’ve been engaged 5 minutes!” But until you set a date, you will hear this question at every family gathering, every work meeting, and anytime anyone hears you are engaged.

What most people don’t realize is how much goes in to the date. Unless you have a date that is sentimental to you, I would start looking for venues first. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a venue and finding out that they are booked for the date you have in mind. So, my advice, think of a month or season you want to get married, find a venue and then set a date. If you are set on a date, in most cases you won’t have any issue, but as you get closer to the date or if your date is in the peak of wedding season – be ready to keep your venue options open!

After that, don’t expect the questions to stop. “Have you picked your wedding party? Have you found a dress? What are your colors?” Just take it one question at a time and don’t be overwhelmed when the questions lead to more questions!

From the Desk of Desirae: Meet Desirae

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I am Desirae, a Personal Planner at Kate & Company. I grew up in Flagstaff, AZ and travelled down to the Phoenix area to attend Arizona State University (Go Devils!). I got my degree in Supply Chain Management and a certificate in Special Event Management. Lucky for me, after graduation I got a job I LOVE! I get to work on a wide range of events including graduation parties, anniversary celebrations, birthday parties, and weddings – and I have to admit, I really love the wedding planning. I love to work with brides, grooms, and families to make wedding-day dreams come true; whether that be planning the perfect décor, tackling a DIY project, or being there the day-of a wedding to make sure everything runs smoothly! One of my favorite things about weddings is that each one is unique and always tells the story of the couple. I adore seeing their personalities shine through on their wedding day. It doesn’t matter if I’ve known a couple for an hour or years, I am guaranteed to cry at a wedding!

With all the busy wedding planning I do on a daily basis, I have to admit, I’ve put one of my brides on the back burner – Me! Yes, I am engaged and under a year away from my own wedding. As I spend this year planning my Kate & Company weddings at work, I will be planning my wedding at home. As a planner planning my own wedding (no pressure, right?), I’m hoping to share tips/tricks and stories to help fellow brides along the way.

I completely understand what all couples go through from the moment they say ‘Yes!’ I can’t wait to share my story with you!

Arizona State University Graduation Party

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Location: Private Home

Catering: Ciao Baby Catering

Bar Services: Couple of Bartenders

Décor and Coordination: Kate & Company

Meet Kate & Company

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Life is full of special moments filled with people you love. When you have a big event whether it be a birthday, graduation, honeymoon, wedding, or anything in between, you could take the time to enjoy the celebration and let Kate & Company worry about the rest!

Kate & Company’s events have two things in common: it is exactly what you dreamed it would be, and it is stress free. Let us take all the “To-Dos” off of your plate before your event and our team will be there until the last piece of décor is boxed up.

Our Kate & Company team is full of professionals who can handle the logistics and budget of an event then switch gears and create stunning décor that will WOW your guests. Give us a call – We’d love to meet you!

480.403.4611

Amanda & Jeff

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Location: Arizona Historical Society Museum

Inspiration: Casual with Class, Fun, Natural

Photography by: Chris Frailey Photography

Diva & Edward

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Location: Scottsdale Ranch Community Center

Inspiration: Love Story, Religious, Traditional

Photography by: Love My Life Photography