Louisville Bride

SPR-SUM 17

Louisville Bride magazine is Louisville, Kentucky's premier bridal publication, featuring photos of wedding gowns and listings for Louisville reception halls, caterers, wedding planners, photographers, and other wedding service providers.

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1 0 S p r i n g | S u m m e r B R I D E By Mary Chellis Austin THINGS I WISH I'D KNOWN Planning a wedding is a skill (one that many professionals rightly get paid very well for). My hus- band and I chose to do it ourselves. Here's my advice. The Venue Once you know your budget and a rough number of guests, you can look for a venue and set a date. We had no idea that many venues have an exclu- sive catering list. Some won't allow your aunt to make the cake or allow you to bring in barbecue from your favorite (and affordable) neighborhood spot or even your favorite farm-to-table restaurant — it has to come from an ap- proved list of caterers. On top of that, the venue will charge a 15-30 percent commission or "service" fee on your catering and bar bill, which can get steep pretty quick. This is something you should account for before you sign a contract with a venue. Contact an approved caterer you're interested in, get a quote — fee included — and see if that venue still looks as attractive. Some venues are bare-bones — you come in with whichever food, alcohol and bar staff you desire. These venues also tend to leave the rentals (think tables and chairs, tents, linens) in your hands, which can mean a lot more planning and sometimes even amount to the same cost by the time you add the piecemeal services together. Or, maybe the venue has everything, but it's really far outside the city and you'd have to account for some type of trans- portation costs. Planning a wedding is a constant battle between your time and your money, and, unless you have loads of one or both, you have to be ready to give one up some of the time — or lower the bar for that wedding-day image you might have in your mind. We ended up going with a venue that had one exclusive caterer. The commission fee wasn't fun, but the ca- terer's familiarity with the space spared us the extra headache (and we heard lots of positive feedback on the food). The author on her wilting wedding day. Photo by Scotty Perry

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