Partnership Series | Wedding Venues
Typically, when planning your wedding, the first thing you look into is venues. A venue can dictate the date and city you get married in, the overall feel of your wedding, and your budget. Finding the right venue for your wedding can be difficult, especially since there is no shortage of amazing venues all over. We have been able to work in many different venues across the country. While there are many venues we would love to highlight here, we reached out to two of our favorite luxury wedding venues to get a bit of insight into what planning a wedding looks like from a venue coordinator’s point of view!
I reached out to Callie Searles from Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, NC, and Kaila Anderson from Merrimon-Wynne in Raleigh, NC. These two wonderful women have given us a look into what their venue has to offer, how working with a wedding planner is different than working directly with a client, and some advice that they have for anyone currently planning a wedding!
Many of our readers are recently engaged or thinking about getting engaged. If someone loves your venue, how soon should they reach out to you to book? How far in advance is your venue typically booked?
Callie: For the peak months of June through November, we recommend booking 12 to 16 months out to ensure that you have your pick of weekends.
Kaila: Every month books differently but our Saturdays in peak months tend to book about 16 months in advance.
We’ve loved working at both the beautiful Old Edwards Inn and The Merrimon-Wynne House and love how distinctly perfect they are for their respective areas.
Give our readers a quick snapshot of your venue. What do you think sets you apart from other venues?
Callie: The key word when thinking about Old Edwards Inn is OPTIONS! We have six completely different, stunning venues that can accommodate weddings with anywhere from 50 to 250 guests. The Farm, which is our largest venue spans 33 acres of lushly landscaped gardens and incorporates all of the natural stone and wood of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This venue gives you 3 different options for a wedding ceremony including an apple and peach orchard! For your dinner reception we have a beautiful enclosed 4,900 square foot pavilion that features sliding glass walls that can be opened to give your reception a connection to the outdoors while your guests remain comfortably inside.
Kaila: We think the most unique thing about Merrimon-Wynne is that it is perfectly situated in downtown Raleigh, just on the outskirts of Historic Oakwood. Being downtown gives guests an unmatched experience. Your guests can stay just a few blocks away and experience all the amazing things Raleigh’s downtown has to offer, such as restaurants, bars, museums and art galleries!
Merrimon-Wynne, while being a historic home, has been restored to create the most perfect blank canvas. You get all of the original character of a home built in 1876 but without the carpet, drapes, wallpaper, etc. This gives our brides that ability to bring in any color palette and style, making each and every wedding unique.
We are often asked what a wedding planner does and it's common for people to wonder if it’s worth the investment. What is your experience? Is the planning process different when a couple has a full-service planner?
Callie: As a venue, working with full service planners like Rebecca Rose Events is a dream come true. The difference that I see in the brides is night and day. My brides that have full service planners are calmer and overall enjoy the process of making their special day memorable. These planners handle everything from décor to paper goods to vendor timelines and they even assist with the hotel room management! In the time leading up to your wedding would you want to have 7 different vendors calling you multiple times a day to coordinate when they need to arrive to the venue, what food they are going to eat, where their restrooms are? Or having your wedding guests calling you because they did not make their hotel reservation in time and now the hotel is sold out? All while you are trying to work and get your personal life in order so you can step away from it for one to two weeks, I would guess probably not. It’s managing the unexpected that makes full service planners worth their weight in gold. Another added touch is how planners like RRE get to know you as a person, what makes you, well you! They source the design elements and details that make each and every wedding special and different.
Kaila: Hiring a full-service wedding planning makes all the difference in the world when it comes to planning the biggest day of your life so far! There are so many intricacies to the day that are crucial to making it seamless and stress free for the couple and their family. To be honest, the benefits are endless. Many of our brides and their families are going through this process for the first time. The good news is, Rebecca Rose Events has gone through it countless times; they live and breathe weddings. There is an entire team who are there for you not only your wedding day, but throughout the entire process, who are able to step in at any moment to remove any stress, frustrations or confusion from your planning and let you focus on the fun, exciting parts of it all! It can also be extremely helpful to have someone like RRE who has an amazing design sense that will bring your entire vision to life.
You’ve seen it all! What is one piece of advice you would give to a couple that's about to start planning a wedding?
Callie: A wedding is the first true test a marriage goes through and it is a crash course in compromise. Work with each other and listen to what is important to the other person. Find that common ground and don’t let things you see on Pinterest or Instagram turn your day into something completely different than what is true to you as a couple.
Kaila: HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER! We have heard more times than we can count from brides, grooms, and parents that it was the best money they spent above anything else for the wedding and that they were able to fully enjoy every part of being engaged because of it.