The guest list. It drives so many parts of the wedding - including the venue choice and budget. But it can also be VERY stressful. We love these tips from The Knot for managing your guest list.
1, Make a plan on how you are dividing up the list
You will quickly find out in wedding planning it's not just your day! Your parents and your fiance's parents have also been looking forward to this day and celebrating you with people important to them. A good way to divide up the list is 50% of the guest chosen by you and your fiance, 25% chosen by your parents and 25% chosen by your fiance's parents. This can shift and often will - especially if you or your fiance have a big family. Talk through this early on so everyone is on the same page.
2. Dream big and then narrow it down
Start off listing everyone you would love to invite - don't worry about budget or venue size now. This gives you a master list if you decide to add on guests later. From there, determine what you can realistically fit based on budget and venue. Narrow down your official list to this size and start sending invitations.
3. Create guest list rules
Determine a few guide lines for guests who don't make the list. Haven't talked to them in more than 3 years? Probably not. Neither of you have ever met them or heard of them? Nope Don't think you will still be talking to them in a year (or after you leave your current school/job/etc)? Uh uh. Figure out what makes sense for you and your families and use these rules.
4. Make and A-list and a B-list
This helps you make the most of your guest count. Send out the A-list invites and ask for RSVPs early. If you have several that can't make it, then you can send out your B-list invites. Make sure these have a later RSVP date so they don't realize they were on the B-list!
5. Fill out names on the RSVP cards
If you want to make sure your guests don't add to your list on their own, go ahead and prefill the names on the RSVP cards. This will cut down on adding children, plus one's, etc. and help you stick to your guest count.
For more tips and the full article, check it out on The Knot here.
Is the venue a blank slate where you bring in all the elements or do they include decor? The answer to this question will impact your budget and your wedding style.
Does the venue include any draping or specialty lighting? These elements can be the most costly and time intensive to add, so if they have them available (and it's part of your wedding vision) it can save big for you. Our venue includes draping at the doors and outdoor porches along with plenty of draping string lights!
What about table decor and settings? Does the venue have a decor closet or inventory you can access? Do they include place settings or does the caterer? Access to a decor inventory can save you big time! All those little lanterns, votives, etc. can add up quickly. Plus, if they are already at the venue, you don't have to bring them in, take them out and figure out what to do with them after the wedding.
Our packages include place settings with porcelain plates, flatware, glassware and cloth napkins. It sets an elegant backdrop for dinner.
Come for a tour and see more of our decor inventory to start dreaming about your wedding!
Make sure you find out if your venue has a list of preferred or approved vendors. Are you required to use these vendors? Is there a fee if you use an outside vendor?
Florals by Stems Atlanta
Preferred vendor lists are a great resource for vendors that have proven themselves and are familiar with the venue. At Pleasant Union Farm, we have preferred vendors but they are not required. These are vendors we have worked with and we value their service and quality.
Cake by My Cake Lady Lynne
Catering by 61 Main
You can find a list of our preferred vendors under the Wedding tab on our site!
Having your ceremony and reception in the same place can save on your budget and is definitely easier on your guests. Make sure you ask the venue if there is a space for the ceremony. Also, if you are looking at an outdoor venue, ask about the rain plan.
Is the ceremony location easy to get to for your guests? Some ceremony spaces have beautiful views, but may require a bit of a walk to access. Is there a separate fee for the ceremony? Sometimes there are fees for the additional setup, chairs, arbors, etc.
The majority of our weddings have the ceremony and reception at our venue. The outdoor ceremony space is just outside the main reception space and is easy to access. The surrounding gardens and forest provide a gorgeous backdrop with views of the blueberry fields. Our large, covered deck provides a backup plan separate from the reception space.
Of course, you could choose to go through with the outdoor ceremony in spite of a pop-up shower like one couple did and it provided really cute pics!
Our all-inclusive packages include ceremony decor, a custom built arbor and all setup and breakdown. We would love to have you come for a tour and see the ceremony space for yourself!
Before you fall in love with a venue, make sure it will fit all your guests! Every venue has maximum capacity and some may have a minimum for prime dates. You want to make sure you aren't planning on too many guests or too few. If a venue fits up to 400 and you are only planning on an intimate wedding of 50, you might feel swallowed up in the space.
You also want to ask what the layout for the maximum capacity looks like. Will all your guests be in the same open space or spread out in separate rooms? Is the maximum capacity all in conditioned space or does it require outdoor space?
Our maximum capacity is set at 175. This provides space for a seated dinner for everyone in our conditioned reception space. Most of our weddings are in the 75 - 130 guest range. One of our favorites was a wedding for 30 guests with a 7 piece band! The band stage was inside along with ceremony and reception since the wedding was in July and air conditioning was important!
What about ceremony capacity - especially if it rains? For outdoor venues, do they require a tent? Does the rain plan require a room flip and is there an extra fee for that?
The majority of our couples are looking for an outdoor ceremony and we have a beautiful lawn and garden space. If it rains, we also have a large covered deck that will fit a ceremony up to our maximum capacity so you have a built in rain plan that is low stress for you and your guests
We would love to have you come for a tour!
If you live in or near Atlanta, GA you know the metro-Atlanta area is huge! The great thing is the list of venue locations gives you plenty of choices. Do you want in-town, fields and farmland, mountains or historic?
If you are looking for space and views, you will probably travel outside of the city about an hour or so. We are located right at an hour northwest of Atlanta. The venue is easy to get to from highways but still feels worlds away from the city or suburbs.
If you have out of town guests, there are hotels available within 20 minutes of the venue. They are right off a highway exit and easy to access the venue. Shuttles are a great option if you have a large number of out of town guests. And, did you know you can schedule an Uber up to 30 days in advance? This is a great option for in-town guests!
We would love to have you come visit and see if the privacy and views are the perfect fit for your wedding!
You know your date is available - yay! Now you need to know if it fits in your budget.
There are many factors that affect the cost, and every venue does things a little differently. You want to ask for ALL associated costs. Are there food or beverage minimums? Is tax included or added on? What about service fees? Are there required add on fees - day of coordinator, staff, etc.? Is there a separate fee for the ceremony?
We offer a few different rental options.
Venue Only Rental allows you to design your wedding with the vendors of your choice. We provide the space, setup tables and chairs, and cleanup after.
Our All-Inclusive Packages are perfect for the couple who wants a beautiful and low stress wedding planning experience! We pull together proven vendors for catering, cake, flowers, DJ and Coordination and walk you through the planning process.
When choosing an all-inclusive option, you want to make sure you are happy with the options included - food, cake, flowers. We offer tastings for our catering and cake options. Our bi-annual Open House events are great ways to get a preview.
You can find all the information and pricing on our packages here.
Searching for a wedding venue can be overwhelming. Thankfully you can find lists of questions to ask your venue on many blogs and wedding planning sites. We’ve chosen a few to answer for you before you come for a tour so you can start to envision your gorgeous wedding here!
One of the first questions you want to ask is - do you have my date available?
What season do you envision your wedding in? Are you looking for Fall, cooler weather and changing leaves? Our Fall season typically runs from September to mid-November. This gives you access to Fall wildflowers and leaves. Fall is our busiest season, so ask about your date as soon as you can to get it booked. Saturdays book up first, but we offer discounts for Friday and Sunday dates which are great options.
Spring weddings are filled with gorgeous blooms! Spring season typically runs from mid-March to May. Bright florals or pastels are beautiful during the spring. The gardens add tons of color and decor during the Spring!
Summer weddings are filled with golden light and longer days. June and early July are most popular for Summer weddings. Enjoy dancing on the deck with lightning bugs flickering in the garden.
So, how do you find out if your date is available? Fill out our Tour Request form, send us an email or give us a call! We will let you know what we have available and get a tour scheduled as soon as possible so you can book your date! We offer tours evenings and weekends to help with your busy schedule.
We can’t wait to hear from you!
Trying to plan an event for a large group of people and keep it flowing smoothly can be challenging! A Day of Coordinator can be your best friend during this time. They know what goes into the event, how long things usually take and can help guide you through what you do or don't want to include for your wedding.
Different types of ceremonies can influence a wedding timeline, but we've give you an overview of a typical wedding flow that fits our venue (and others like it).
Wedding Day Timeline
9am - 10am Begin hair and makeup. This all depends on how many are in your bridal party, where this is being done (salon, hotel, venue) and, most importantly, how long your vendors tell you they need.
2:30pm Arrive at venue - this can be split with bridal party arriving first and then groomsmen. It will depend on the plan with your photographer.
2:30pm Photographer begins taking pictures of details - dress, rings, bouquet, etc.
3pm - 4pm Bridal party photos taken before ceremony. First look if desired.
4:15pm Bride is tucked away. We want to make sure the bride is hidden before guests begin to arrive so they don't see her before she walks down the aisle!
4:30pm Guests begin arriving.
5pm Ceremony begins.
5:30pm Ceremony ends, Cocktail hour begins.
5:30 - 6:15pm Cocktail hour for guests - we recommend appetizers and drinks to keep your guests occupied while you finish family photos and newly wed photos.
6:30pm Guests invited into dinner.
6:40 - 7pm Announcements, first dance
7pm - 8pm Dinner
8pm Cake cutting, Toasts
8:30 - 10pm Dancing!
10pm Send off
When I was engaged I had several moments of sheer joy admiring my shiny engagement ring, only to be interrupted by panic moments filled with questions of wedding planning - how much food do I need for the guest count, what should the guest count be, what if it rains, etc. Does this sound like you at all? We've got some common questions and answers laid out for you below. So, read through, take a deep breath, and admire your shiny ring again!
What does an average wedding cost?
An average wedding ranges from $20,000 - $30,000 but many couples plan weddings for less than $10,000. Your guest count is one of THE BIGGEST drivers of your budget (hint: the weddings for less than $10,000 did not have 200+ guests). For more info on what goes into the budget, check out our post - Breakdown of a Wedding Budget.
Who must I invite?
This can often be one of the most stressful parts of the initial planning. It's a joint effort between the couple and the families - you may not think about great Aunt Judy being there, but your mom keeps in regular contact with her and great Aunt Judy would be heartbroken to not be there and celebrate with you. Determine the type of event you want - intimate or large celebration. Explain to your families why you would like to go that way and then develop the list from there.
Who lifts the veil?
Traditionally whoever walks the bride down and gives her away will lift the veil. You can also leave the veil down throughout the ceremony and the groom can lift it before the first kiss. It's sweet either way!
How long is a reception?
Typically about 4 hours. This gives you time for a cocktail hour (while you take photos), dinner, toasts, cake cutting, and dancing. At Pleasant Union Farm - we provide 5 hours of event time from ceremony through send off which gives you plenty of time to spend with your guests.
Should we provide meals for vendors on wedding day?
For vendors that are there during the full event, yes, you should provide them with a meal. Be sure to check your contract with the vendors also as they often give specifics on the meal and when they take a break for that meal. You want them performing at their peak during your wedding day!
Who should be invited to the Rehearsal Dinner?
The rehearsal is to make sure everyone involved in the ceremony knows their role. For rehearsal and dinner, this typically includes bridal party, officiant, immediate family, flower girl and ring bearer. It's also common to include any family have traveled from out of town to provide more time together. Make sure you talk through the plan with whoever is paying for the dinner so everyone is on the same page.
Do we have to have favors for the guests?
If it's not in the budget, this is an area you can eliminate. Small (edible) favors are usually preferred - cookies to go, small candies. A photobooth is also a great idea instead of traditional "favors" because it gives guests something to do during cocktail hour, provide additional photos for the couple and most provide a print out for the guests to take home with them.
When should we send out invitations?
It's customary to send out invitations 6 - 8 weeks before the wedding. This gives guests time to plan and to RSVP.
Who makes the speeches?
Traditionally the father of the bride starts the toasts, followed by maid of honor and best man. It's always nice for the bride and groom to thank their guests for coming to celebrate with them.
If you are looking for more helpful answers to wedding planning questions - check out the full article from Top Wedding Questions here.
Photos by Hillary Leah Photography
Hi - I'm Becky Kimmons! My husband, Cale, and I are the farmers behind Pleasant Union Farm. (It may be a bit of a stretch to call myself a farmer, but I'm learning as a I go.) Our dream and journey began in our engagement and marriage and allows us to celebrate weddings with couples and families. We are learning much about farming and weddings, and my goal is to share as much as I can with you!