One of the first things to do after getting engaged (besides poppin’ some bubbly and celebrating with all your family and friends) is starting to plan the wedding details! So much excitement, and so much to do. First up on the list when it comes to booking vendors, is finding your wedding venue, which we know can be pretty daunting.
Planner: Mx2 Event Design
Photographer: One Thirty Nine Photography
Florals: Petals with Style
Hair/MakeUP: THe Bonafide Ginger
Your dream wedding venue will impact so many other aspects of your wedding. From guest capacity and décor style to required vendors and the rain plan, there are a lot of details that will be determined by your venue. It can be a lot to think through! We’ve already come up with some important questions to ask when hunting for your venue, but if you’ve ever wondered what wedding venue managers wished you knew, we’ve got you 🙂
We chatted with Katie, the Event Specialist from Historic Acres of Hershey to get her perspective on all things wedding venues, and honestly we think it’s some super helpful information! Here it goes:
1. Tell us a little about yourself. How did you start working at a wedding venue?
I have always been interested in events in general. I actually went to college for Music Business, with the intention of getting into live music. I decided I should probably get a degree in something a little less specific, in case I changed my mind about music, so I graduated from Penn State with a degree in Communications. Not long after graduation, I stumbled upon this job posting and that was that! I’ve been here since March 2018 and truly, truly love it.
2. What’s unique about Historic Acres of Hershey that couples will appreciate?
We have so many clients tell us they love how our venue is “like a little village” and we would have to agree. There are separate buildings for all portions of the wedding day, and many different options to incorporate and decorate them all! Your guests can move from place to place to keep the night entertaining. We have outdoor fire pits, and 7 acres of property for guests to wander through and take photos. We also have overnight accommodations in our Farmhouse. Hair and makeup can begin early in the morning in the wedding suite, and couples can host an after-party in the house, as well!
Planner: Mx2 Events
Photographer: Sarah Canning Photography
Rentals: Sapphire Road Weddings
Florals: Petals with Style
3. What things should a couple consider when deciding on a wedding venue?
If you are planning an outdoor ceremony, it’s imperative that you not only consider the rain backup option, but that you LIKE it! As much as we think we can wish away the rain, sometimes it’s inevitable. It’s important that you aren’t unhappy with the location if your ceremony ends up inside! Another important factor is not only your budget, but how much of your budget you want to allow for the venue. We sometimes run into clients booking our venue, but then eating up 70% of their budget with just the venue costs. You want to make sure you are able to cover the venue cost, but also enough to have everything else you want!
4. When should a couple book their wedding venue? How far in advance are you booking?
We are currently booking into 2024. The venue is the first step, as most other vendors will not confirm with you if you do not have a date secured with a venue. How far in advance you book just depends on how selective you are with the date! If you know you want a Saturday in October, for example, it would be smart to start looking right away, as Saturdays tend to go first. If you are open to Fridays and Sundays, as well as open to a number of different months, then you might have a bit more time to peruse venues before locking in a date.
Photographer: Megan Hoffer Photography
5. How does the venue staff help on the day of the wedding? What can a couple expect from them?
We are present on wedding days to help troubleshoot with the planners, but we try to stay out of everyone’s hair! Our venue requires couples to book a day-of coordinator (or wedding planner) and they will take care of EVERYTHING! We trust them fully, as well as all of our other preferred vendors, so we do our best to let everyone work and make ourselves available only if we are needed. Having said that, you will definitely see us around to watch the ceremony, and during the reception here and there. We sometimes work with our couples for YEARS before their big day, so we love to be able to see it all come together!
6. How can a venue contribute to the overall design and décor of a wedding?
Rental items! We have a number of items we offer to clients to add on and “upgrade” from our standard inclusions. Bars, farm tables, photo backdrop walls, and our newest (and favorite) is bistro lights strung across the patio! Our venue is pretty neutral in terms of décor, so clients always feel like they can decorate to fit their style, but if we can help with that by way of rentals, then we are happy to do so!
Planner: SapPhire Road Weddings
Photographer: Philter Photography
Hair/MakeUP: Sara K Beauty
Planner: Mx2 Event Design
Photographer: Madeline Isabella Photography
Hair/Makeup: Meraki Salon & Spa
Florals: Everyone Deserves Flowers
7. What are some of your favorite details you’ve seen couples incorporate into their wedding? Are there any trends you have seen lately that you love?
We have been loving the boho wedding trend! We are a “rustic elegant” venue, so there are definite rustic details here and there, but we also have huge, shimmering chandeliers, so you can really swing décor any way you want and it will be beautiful. Pampas grass, terra cotta bud vases, jewel tones, gold accents, etc. have been so huge lately, and they fit in so nicely to the overall vibe of our venue. Also- neon lights! I think they are so fun and add a splash of color! Plus, they make a great photo backdrop. Paired with a lounge set, you can create such a fun experience for your guests.
As you navigate the wedding planning process, take a breath, focus on one thing at a time, and ask questions along the way! We understand how overwhelming it can all be, and hope this Q&A has helped give you some fresh perspective and insight as you move forward. We’re always here to help!