WFFT's Brooke Welch speaks with local experts and finds out what venues in Fort Wayne are booking the fastest.
Many girls dreams for years about their big day and after talking with local venues, they encourage you to plan for a year after you get engaged. Wedding Event Coordinator Allison Washington explains, "Big sites and gorgeous sites do book up pretty quickly."
How quickly for a Saturday wedding? If you have a large crowd, the Grand Wayne Center books a year out, Ceruti's is already booking weddings into October 2015 and has no openings for the rest of 2014. Botanical Gardens already has June and July in 2015 booked with only one opening October 11th left for 2014. The Landmark Centre is booked solid until November 2014 and if you want to get married at Foster Park or Salomon Farms, you better call a year in advance.
Washington says before you book a site, you better figure out a guest list.
"Getting your head count of who you're going to invite is definitely important, because some sites are gorgeous but can only hold a certain capacity."
So what else books up quickly? Photographers do and Stacy Keller gives advice when picking who to work with.
"Just what their style is, each photographer is going to offer a different style so you want to see what their approach is, if they are willing to work with you."
Florists need to order the flowers in advance and can book up quickly as well but Sharon Miller of Armstrong Flowers says she will never disappoint a bride by turning them down.
"We have a great staff here. We've got 30 some employees. I'm not afraid to handle any amount of weddings on a weekend. Yak now, I've worked for a float company in Pasadena. I've worked at the White House in Easter, so I'm used to big event work."
Do bakeries book up? Catherine Kile with Taste of Cake" says it's rare but it has happened.
"We've only had to do that once or twice, but the one year we had to it's because we had 16 wedding cakes going out on one weekend."
So you don't have a year to plan and you are on a limited budget? These same vendors tell us how you can keep your costs low and still have a great wedding.
Joe Ceruti with Ceruti's has done over 2,000 weddings and says the biggest savings is to limit your guest list.
"You can bring your cost down, by limiting your number of guests. I always tell people do your A list, B list, and C list, depending on what your budget can afford."
Also ask when your booking your event if the site offers any package deals or discounts. Event Coordinator Allison Washington explains, "Ceruti's offhand, they typically run a special every single month where you can get your room rental fee waived or a certain percentage off."
If your venue is booked, oftentimes they will have openings on Friday or Sunday evenings, and many will lower the cost. How can you save on photography? Photographer Stacy Keller says she has packages available that allow clients to print their own photos.
"I can customize their package, if they are looking for ways to save money, then I know the ways to kind of cut the costs a little bit so we can still do an effective job for them but not break the bank."
Additionally fresh flowers can add up. Sheryl Miller with Armstrong Flowers gives some advice for big savings, "On the bouquets, if they choose maybe less inexpensive flowers obviously, I can do it for less. If they have a budget I'll stay within their budget as close as I can."
Miller also says they can save money by doing their own centerpieces.
"Sometimes they borrow vases for the reception and then they just get loose flowers and do it themselves."
If fresh flowers are still too pricey, Joe Ceruti of Ceruti's says they have now started offering silk options that you rent and give back.
"It's not obviously for everybody, but it works in terms of a bride that says we want to save 1/3 of the price of real flowers, fresh versus the silk and we have 15 different varieties that you can choose from."
Those 3 story cakes can add up. Catherine Kile with Taste of Cake gives a money saving tip.
"Making you cake smaller and doing a sheet cake on the side is a much better way for them to go."
Whether you have a lot of time, a little, a huge budget or limited funds, your big day will be a success.
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