Discover the secrets to hosting the perfect wedding at Camelot Meadows. From stunning scenery to expert planning, we've got you covered.
Written by Camelot Meadows Event Venue owner, Deborah Baxa. This article was originally featured in the South Charlotte City Lifestyle February 2023 magazine issue.
So you just got engaged! It is a thrilling time for you both, but now comes the planning! Most couples I meet are overwhelmed with where to start and what details they need to pay attention to.
In the past, the first thing couples would usually discuss was a wedding date, but now I am noticing the majority of couples first want to find a venue before choosing a date. You may want to have a certain season or month in mind, but first, find the venue you love.
To start your search for the perfect venue, discuss if this will be a "destination" wedding, or someplace centrally located for friends and family, preferably near hotels and an airport. I recommend searching on both The Knot and Wedding Wire (which are both under one umbrella now). You can narrow down your search by area, see photos, read reviews, check pricing, and click on the venue website. You can also reach out to the venue with specific questions. The Knot even allows you to set up a website for your wedding.
Once you have narrowed down the venues that you are interested in, schedule a tour and bring a list of questions. Be prepared to have a rough idea of your guest count, the number in your bridal party, what kind of "look" you want, if you want an indoor or outdoor ceremony, etc.
I believe that the key to a good venue selection is their flexibility. At Camelot Meadows, our couples can pick their own vendors for catering, bar service, floral, etc. We even allow our couples to apply for a permit, which allows them to bring in their own alcoholic beverages for their guests. We also assist in vendor recommendations based on preferences and budget.
Other Things To Consider
Does the venue have dressing suites to get ready in?
Is the venue non-traditional couples friendly?
Is there a "rain plan" in place if you have planned an outdoor ceremony?
Is there more than one ceremony area option?
What is the venue capacity?
Is the venue temperature controlled?
What does the venue provide as part of their rental?
Does the venue require that you have a coordinator?
Are there onsite, overnight accommodations?
What are the venue rates and extras? Do they offer payment plans and/or offer discounts?
Is there adequate parking?
Does the venue offer a putting green and a private fishing dock? (all kidding aside, we do!)
Compare your venue offerings and call with any questions you may have.
After you have found your venue, discuss possible dates and how this ties into your budget. Weekday weddings are becoming more popular. I have hosted Monday and Thursday weddings, which are a significant cost savings when it comes to selecting a venue and your vendors. Sundays are also an increasingly popular day for weddings. Of course, Saturdays are the most requested day, so if you have your heart set on a Saturday wedding, plan ahead, but consider being open-minded to other options.
After the date and venue are locked in, the next thing I tell my couples is to block out hotel rooms for guests (as needed). The venue should provide you with a list of local hotels and Airbnbs. Ask hotels if they can offer shuttle transportation to the venue.
Now to the (many) other details. There are so many books and outline articles which provide planning checklists. We provide our couples with a monthly planning checklist which details the most important items to address.
Also, keep in mind that you should hire a minimum of a Day-Of-Coordinator. They will become your best friend while helping you navigate your way forward. Rely on their experience and expertise to help you with decisions and selections.
As a venue owner, it is important to me that the vendors we recommend include a variety of price point options, provide excellent customer service and that not only my couples but their families and guests have a positive and joyful experience as well.
Above all, I tell my couples to keep in mind that this is their day. The choices and decisions about what will take place should not revolve around the expectations of others, including their families. The best and most memorable weddings I have hosted usually have been unconventional and fun. For example, pizza and salad for the dinner, Bundt cake selections for dessert, ice cream trucks, taco food trucks, coffee and hot chocolate "bars", donuts for wedding favors, S'mores at our fire pits, etc.
Make it the best day ever!