This summer in Portland is all about rustic wine country farms. Rustic open fields and barns are hot and chandelier-adorned ballrooms are not. The most important thing you need to know about a rustic wedding is that they are not necessarily more affordable than a classic black-tie worthy ballroom wedding.
We know you paid close attention to your basic econ classes in high school and college, so rule #1 of economics–supply and demand determines market price–applies here. In Portland, we have a large supply of rustic farm style venues (good for the consumer bride) but the demand is so high nationwide that we see now people coming to Portland for our venues, food and perfect summer weather weddings as a hot destination spot from California, Seattle, and even New York. What that means is you have to trust an expert to help you find the venues everyone hasn’t searched for online from far away, if you want to find a good price for an in-season rustic farm style venue (assuming they aren’t already booked through 2018).
Things to keep in mind: Some rustic venues include basic tables and standard sturdy wedding chairs, white or black basic linens and lots of natural beauty – but very little else. Your typical rustic venue is going to cost between $3,000 and $7,000 for a peak Saturday. That does not include catering, decor, rustic chic wooden rental tables, upgraded chair rentals, flowers, lighting (beyond what is standard at the venue)–did we mention flowers? I’m going to say it again because flowers are an often overlooked necessary expense you should splurge on if you’re going for a rustic venue.
It’s important to note that farm venues are working farms, sometimes open to the public vineyards, and people’s homes and property. Therefore many require you to work with only a select group of vendors, their specific wedding planner, and if they allow you to choose your own vendors, they will at least require you to work with a very inclusive caterer or a “Day of” wedding planner.
The term “Day of” wedding planner confuses a lot of couples planning a wedding on their own. Most wedding planners are booking up for 2018 already, many don’t have any availability left in the summer of 2017. So if you thought you could wait until close to your wedding to hire a “Day of” planner, you are going to be out of luck. In Oregon, event planners book up for our very short very peak summer season. If you find a team or planner you like you have to book them early. And if they are a smaller planning company, or a diverse company that also does non-profit and corporate events, they only have so much bandwidth to take on “Day of” weddings.
The problem with “Day of” weddings, the wedding planner’s event planning bread and butter is the referral and the guest who enjoyed their experience so much they want to know who the planner was. It’s impossible for a professional to accept a true “Day of” job in an industry where your reputation and style are everything. It’s hard enough for a professional to put their name on an event they didn’t play a part in planning. If it is not their decor, floral and table setting designs, and vendor suggestions, they don’t want anyone faulting them if the quality is out of their hands. You will find for this reason most professionals will not accept “Day of” events. Instead, we offer “Month of” services.
With a month of service, professional planners will typically find the gaps in your design, and plans long before your wedding day. They’ll be able to tell you months before it is too late how you could save money, stress, or disasters by making a few small tweaks. They’ll make your last several months before your wedding FUN, less stressful, and worry-free. They’ll help you dot every “i,” cross every “t,” confirm every single detail with every single vendor and handle a ton of those last minute calls, emails and details you really don’t need to do – since you’re required to pay for their services anyway. Some of us can and will offer you floral designs, set up and assistance for your seating charts, place cards, favors, place settings, specialty linens and rentals, sweets table design, signage, and we’ll be there for your rehearsal and every minute of your ceremony and reception, to make sure everything happens exactly according to schedule.
The more personalized elements you add, the more you need a professional wedding planner. So why do we not just show up on the day of your event? Because our services are priceless, and we book up for peak season with all the couples who need full service or month of services. Professionals aren’t available for “Day of” for the same reason venues are more expensive during the summer – supply and demand.
My best advice to any couple who’s just gotten engaged, hire a full service planner FIRST. A good professional will offer you a free consultation. From that consultation most will offer a basic inexpensive guide to planning your wedding, including venue and vendor recommendations, they’ll help you set a very realistic budget and give you a complete guide to doing it all yourself. These packages at Vareus Events start at $50 for very basic starting points, if we met through a referral from a preferred venue or vendor, or if we met at a show or pop-up wedding planning workshop. It’s only $200 for complete getting started plans. If you are just engaged, call us first and you’ll probably save up to ten times that amount in your time and wedding costs. If you later book us for complete or Month Of services, we will deduct that up front amount from your total services package price.
Money saving tips cheat sheet for rustic chic farm style weddings:
Step 1: Call a professional planner for assistance getting started
Step 2: If you already selected a venue, and you know you will need a wedding planner hire your planner ASAP. Their “Month of” Services don’t mean they won’t get involved in your planning process before the month of your wedding. The sooner you book them, the more help you will get and it is usually already included in your package.
Step 3: If you are coming up on your wedding date and realize you need a “Day of” planner, look to a novice or mom n pop style planners who may not be booked up far in advance. Don’t hesitate to call a preferred planner first, you never know if there may be a date they just never completely booked, and they may be available to help you at their “Month of” rate. If you are still finding it hard to find a “Day of” planner, call your caterer. They often have connections within the industry and may be able to help you.