3 ideas for get your wedding planning started the right way

VendorBadge - Yankee Trace

3 ideas for get your wedding planning started the right way

Planning a wedding is often the first full-scale event that we ever take on so when one doesn’t have a lot of experience, it’s important to know how to plan an event that hits the mark for your guests but doesn’t unexpectedly break the bank for you. As you get started in the planning process, you need to understand your budget, planning timeline, and identify whether or not you need professional help.

1. Budget

Ask yourself how much you can afford to spend for your event. How much will be your own money? How much help will you be getting from friends or relatives? How much are you willing to put on a credit card? What is that total amount? Now, think about the style that you’re going for and the vendors, services, and products that are important to you that you’ll want to include in your event. This includes everything such as your dress and accessories, tuxedos, invitations and other printed materials, expenses for your ceremony location and your officiant, your reception venue, catering and bar expenses, your cake, entertainment, décor, lighting, flowers, photographer, videographer, hair and makeup,  favors and gifts, the rehearsal dinner, and even your honeymoon. Group your items based on whether they are fixed expenses that don’t change based on the number of guests (your dress, for example) or if they are variable based on the number of guests (food, bar, table decor, etc.). Think about the number of guests that might be on your guest list. You can begin to plug in some “guesses” to get an idea of what an overall cost might be. If it’s lined up with the amount that you’ll have to spend, that’s great, but if it’s not, you’ll need to identify the most important things and the least important things to make some adjustments.

2. Planning Timeline

Know what needs to be accomplished at each step of the way as you start your planning process. While you can begin the shopping process for vendors, in many cases you won’t be able to book them until you have a firm date and that means that selecting your venue will be the first major decision that will need to be made. Often, venues will book a year or more in advance, particularly if your wedding is during the “peak” seasons or if the venue is exceptionally popular. Once your venue is booked, you can work with the service providers that will need to be on hand the day of your event such as caterers, DJ’s, photographers, and others. Identify what needs to be done 9-12 months in advance, 6-9 months in advance, 4-6 months in advance, and the details that need to be completed in the remaining weeks before your event.

3. Getting Help

Couples often believe they can do it themselves and don’t think about getting professional planning help during the initial part of the process. The result can be not identifying all of the expenses early on and going over budget or having dependencies in the planning timeline that are overlooked that cause last-minute headaches. The cost of a professional event planner can often pay for itself because your planner will help you identify budget considerations and will know how much advance time is needed for the different elements of your event. Planners can assist with your entire event by developing your budget, managing your planning timeline, helping you create your event timeline, being the point-of-contact for all of your vendors, and being on hand for the event itself. They can also work with you on a smaller scale and help you through the budgeting and planning timeline process or with suggestions for doing things more cost-effectively while letting you take over once that’s done. Even if you’re the point-of-contact for your vendors, a planner can still be on hand to coordinate them on the day of the event.

Having the event that let’s your guests celebrate your love for one another that is tailored to your unique style doesn’t need to be a challenge as long as you take the time to understand the details early in the process and engage the help of a professional in the areas that you’re not sure about.

Photo: The Golf Club at Yankee Trace, Centerville, OH

15 Outdoor, Tent, Pavilion, and Barn Venues You Must See in Ohio!

15 Outdoor, Tent, Pavilion, and Barn Venues You Must See in Ohio!

Having an outdoor ceremony or reception or a rustic barn wedding is hot on the list of many brides today. We took a look around the tri-state area and found a few great venues that offer a space with a view, great amenities, and more!

1. Cedar Springs Pavilion | Troy, OH


Cedar Springs Pavilion is nestled on a property that features lots of nature and a serene environment. Open April through October, it’s a great place for exchanging vows and for hosting a reception and can seat up to 275 guests for covered dining.

The venue features a veranda with a built-in bar, indoor restrooms, a bridal room, and a full kitchen. And in the event of not-so-great weather, there a clear enclosure system to protect your event from being rained out.

Lostcreek Memory Barn

2. Lostcreek Memory Barn | Casstown, OH


The Lostcreek Memory Barn is located in beautiful Miami County, just minutes north of Dayton, OH. The barn and hous were built in 1889 and was purchased in 1914 by the great grandfather of the current owner, so has been in the family for over 100 years! You and your guests will be impressed by the rustic charm of the barn and house.

The barn is 2,400 square feet and can accommodate up to 200 guests. Plenty of parking is available and while there is no kitchen, all caterers are welcome or you can even bring your own food. There are even new, permanent restroom facilities available for you and your guests.

VendorBadge - Magnolia Estate

3. Magnolia Estate | Miamisburg, OH


Magnolia Estate in Miamisburg is the ideal location for a ceremony or a reception. The site features a Wedding Gazebo with a paved runway and seating for up to 200 guests. a separate reception pavilion will keep your guests under cover while still enjoying an outdoor experience.

The facility features a provate dressing room for the bridal party and the beautiful grounds provide a great backdrop for photography.

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4. Lake Lyndsay | Hamilton, OH


Lake Lyndsay offers three separate ceremony venues and reception halls, all situated around a beautiful 42 acre lake. Each location has its own atmosphere and appeal. The facility offers a lot of flexibility and you can have your caterer provide food, or you can have friends and family provide food. They also provide ample set-up time, with access to the venue the day before your event and the day of the event.

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5. Benham’s Grove | Centerville, OH


Benham’s Grove is situated on land that was originally part of a 50-acre farm owned by Aaron Nutt, one of the founcers of the City of Centerville and is currently owned by the city. The facility includes an elegantly decorated house, cottage, barn, gazebo, great grounds, and a tented area and is perfect for showers, ceremonies, and receptions.

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6. Polen Farm | Kettering, OH


Polen Farm offers a beautiful and historic 19th century farmhouse, barn, and gazebo situated on 15 acres of picturesque land. The barn can accommodate up to 175 guests on the upper level or 125 guests on the lower level.


7. The Willow Tree | Tipp City, OH


The Willow Tree features a beautiful historic house and barn situated on serene grounds just outside of Tipp City. The barn has been restored and enlarged and the grounds offer a great setting for an outdoor ceremony.

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8. The Transportation Center at Carillon Park | Dayton, OH


The James F. Dicke Family Transportation Center is located at Carillon Park in Dayton and features a full wall of glass windows with a beautiful view of the Morrison Iron Bridge, the Moraine, and the park’s train and trolly collection. It can accommodate up to 180 guests and offers a great location for an outdoor ceremony followed by an indoor reception.

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9. Ohio Barn Bed & Breakfast | Fairborn, OH


The Ohio Barn Bed & Breakfast is situatied on three acres and features a 2400 square foot historic barn with a large entrance deck that can accommodate up to 180 guests comfortably. There is a large entrance for your caterer to set up and access to an open lawn area. The facility includes two restrooms in an outbuilding next to the barn.

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10. French Park | Cincinnati, OH


The French House is the focal point of the 275-acre French Park. Built in the early 1900’s, the house offers many adjacent rooms as well as outdoor terraces and is surrounded by gardens and meadows.

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11. Ault Park | Cincinnati, OH


With picnic facilities, nature trails, and children’s play areas, Ault Park also offers a beautiful pavilion and lookout point with attractive gardens.

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12. Drees Pavilion | Covington, KY


Drees Pavilion features beautiful views along with an outdoor gazebo and patio. The 10,000 square foot pavilion can accommodate up to 300 guests and you can use your choice of caterer.

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13. Caonpy Creek Farm | Miamisburg, OH


Canopy Creek Farm’s large “country chic” reception barn offers open posts and beams with four beautiful chandeliers. A catering kitchen is available as well as a bridal dressing room and full restrooms. Guests can also enjoy the covered patio that runs the entire length of the building’s exterior as well as views overlooking a serene meadow and pond.

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14. Muhlhauser Barn | West Chester, OH


The Muhlhauser Barn is available to rent from April through early November. While the facility does not offer heat or air conditioning, it is equipped with ceiling fans, windows and a gas fireplace. The large, open space can accommodate up to 200 guests and the barn open onto a large deck that offers additional seating overlooking a pond.

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15. Moonlite Gardens | Cincinnati, OH


Coney Islands Moonlite Garden and Moonlite Pavilion offer beautiful, open-air facilities that are perfect for a reception. The minimum group size is 150 and because it is open-air, events are only hosted from May through September.