Good morning! Happy Wednesday! I can’t believe Matt and I have been engaged for a little over 3 months now and we’re 15 months out from our wedding. It’s officially time for a wedding planning update!
One of the first things, for us, was to determine an approximate budget and guest list. When figuring out our budget, we researched venues online to get an estimate to determine what is worth it for us. Once we determined our budget, we began reaching out to venues. We really wanted a summer wedding and quickly realized our top venues and vendors wouldn’t be available when we wanted them. That coupled with all of the expenses that come with weddings and our personal expenses had us looking to summer 2023 for our wedding.
Once we decided that we are going to have a “real” wedding, we had to look for venues that fit our needs. At first, we researched city venues. Our top venue was the rooftop at Aba but they have something like a $60,000 buyout for a Saturday night to which we said, absolutely not. Some venues ghosted us after receiving our estimated budget. And other venues required a lot of DIY and/or hiring a gang of vendors. Neither of us are creative enough or organized enough to deal with a “blank space” venue.
So, we expanded our search to the north suburbs and into Wisconsin. If we couldn’t have the gorgeous city views, we wanted to be outdoors or mostly outdoors. Our top three venues were Redfield Estate at The Grove (Glenview, IL), The Abbey (Lake Geneva, WI), and The Grand Geneva Resort (Lake Geneva, WI). Upon walking into The Grand Geneva for our venue tour, we were like “this is IT!” The grounds are vast and gorgeous while the inside feels very luxe (without the crazy-luxe price tag). And bonus: their wedding packages are comprehensive with room for every budget.
All of their wedding packages include a wedding-night suite for the couple, cake/cupcakes, champagne toasts, and discounted golf! We decided to go with the “platinum package” because it comes with wine service throughout, four hours of open bar, and late-night pizza(!), among other things. The venue also provides a wedding coordinator to assist with the wedding planning! So like, what could be better?!
We received our contract, asked a bunch of questions, signed and set our date! After we signed our date, we moved on to the other important vendors.
Key Players – For Us
Photographs are really important to me so I knew I didn’t want to scrimp on a photographer. But I didn’t want us to spend a ton of money either. Through a Facebook recommendation, we found our wonderful photographer, Kim Ritchie! Her photos are the perfect balance of light-and-airy and in-the-now while still remaining traditional. I met with her over video chat and immediately felt comfortable. We are doing our engagement photos with her in the city in a few months and we can’t wait!
Like photographs are important to me, florals are really important to Matt. He has a bit of a green thumb and is obsessed with plants. We came across several florists in our search but decided on Courtney of Trellis Weddings. A high school friend recently had Courtney do her wedding and highly recommended her. When Courtney sent us our floral proposal, it was like she “got” our vision. And not only that, but she has a ton of experience at our venue and is even a preferred vendor. Along with our venue coordinator, Courtney has made herself available for all of my wedding planning questions – related to florals or not!
Now that we’ve secured our venue, photographer, and florist, we’re on the hunt for a DJ. We’ve been sort of passively looking for a DJ; a good DJ is important but I’ve had a lot of big personal expenses outside of wedding expenses and now my wallet is crying.
We’ve decided to forgo a videographer for now. None of the weddings I have been to have ever had a videographer but I will admit that the Instagram videos get me 😉 I’m like, “Matt, we need a videographer!!” Unfortunately for us, all of the ones we like are very expensive. We (I) may change our mind in the future but for now, we’re going without.
I think we’re chugging along quite nicely. Aside from the DJ, the “big” vendors are all booked. Matt is going to purchase a new suit for the wedding and will likely go to SuitSupply. He bought his first suit from there and had a really great experience so why not go back? As for my dress, I have an appointment scheduled for a boutique in the city. I’m not sure if I’ll set another appointment or not – I’m someone who knows what I look good in and what I want – but we’ll see!
Aside from that, we’ve got only the “small” things left. I’m glad we have given ourselves so much time to plan and save. I don’t know how we’d be able to do it all this year, especially with the venues and vendors as booked as they are.
Wedding Planning Inspo Photos
I love the simplicity of the white florals and green stems amongst a white gown
Obviously, we have to get Ellie involved!
Matt love love loves the peach flowers
We’re not having a bridal party but I do want to have getting ready photos with my sisters 😉