Tag Archives: Wedding Venue

Love in the Time of Coronavirus: How COVID-19 Affects Your Wedding Day

By Sarah Baumann Rogers and Lara M. Burnap

As concerns about COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, spread across the globe, the Centers for Disease Control recommends people avoid crowded places and maintain distance from others. While it’s far from the biggest COVID-related concern, this pandemic affects couples with upcoming nuptials. Nebraska Wedding Day asked local wedding experts how they’re responding, whether you should postpone your wedding and how to stay safe.

How are you working with you couples to make this decision about whether or not to postpone their weddings?

“We are taking this one day at a time with each of our clients. As of today, we are working on a Plan B for the majority of our May couples and opening the conversation with our June weddings. All April events have been secured with new plans—most of which are having a small ceremony on their original date.” Rachel Wortmann, Rachel J. Events

“I have had some reach out with backup dates later in the summer, but for the most part my weddings aren’t until later this summer. (Phew!) But I of course would be more than willing to work with whatever they decide to do.” Emily Jessen, Emily Jessen Photography

“I reached out to all of my early spring and summer brides, just to be transparent and let them know I’ve been thinking about them, because disruptions are inevitable. Starting the conversation early is important. Mainly, I wanted to let them know that I would offer any assistance within my power, and be their sounding board if they needed one.” M. Julie Borer, M. Julie Photo

“I’m encouraging couples to do what’s best for their situation and go with their gut. It’s impossible to predict what the future will hold, but the more informed and prepared you can be, the better.” Samantha Areman, Sam Areman Photo

“We are working with each couple on a case by case basis to walk through this decision. We’ve presented several options at this point and taken the responsibility on our end to stay informed on where they can still make a decision, versus where they need to change their plans to fit current regulations. I think recognizing that each wedding has been impacted a little bit differently has been key in helping our couples feel seen and heard during this time.” Natalie Wallace, The Living Room

Should couples postpone for the time being? Or should they reschedule and pick a new date?

“Most of our couples have selected a new date. Some are braver than others and are rescheduling close to their original date in hopes things will clear, while others are taking the safe route and rescheduling further out. I recommend for any vendor that can only support one event in a day (venue, photographer, etc.) to get an alternate date on the calendar sooner rather than later.” Natalie Wallace, The Living Room

“I’m trying really hard to let couples come to that conclusion on their own. It’s a case-by-case situation, and a very personal decision that no vendor can make for them. It’s best to discuss with family and loved ones you trust and have your best interest at heart. A few of my couples are postponing until later into the year, others are splitting ceremonies and receptions. Those couples decided to keep their original date for a tiny ceremony, and celebrating later in the year with anyone that was not able to make it due to guest count restrictions. One couple in particular is just going to make the best of it, keeping their original date, having a small ceremony with only close family present, and no reception. It’s not at all what they had envisioned, but I admire that kind of flexibility in a time when everything is uncertain!” M. Julie Borer, M. Julie Photo

“I think if your wedding is in the next couple months (April, May and early June) it’s good to come up with a back-up date just in case. I wouldn’t make any concrete decisions until four weeks out, since everything is changing so quickly. If your date is really significant to you, keep it and have an intimate vow exchange! You can always have the party later.” Emily Jessen, Emily Jessen Photography

“We are encouraging all April and May clients to keep their original date and postpone their party. Our June/July clients are planning to hang out until more information is available—something we suggest all couples that fall in or after these months do.” Rachel Wortmann, Rachel J. Events

“We are definitely encouraging couple to postpone to a later date. We strongly feel like this will be past us in a few months and still want couples to be able to celebrate their big day.” Kaylin Wilken, Attitude on Food

“If your wedding is in the next month or so, you may not have an option and will have to postpone regardless. Unless you decide to elope with a very small crowd—but keep in mind you may lose out on the money if you cancel with vendors, instead of rescheduling. My recommendation is if your wedding is in the next couple months, start reaching out to your vendors and seeing 1) what’s their reschedule/cancellation policy, 2) what back-up dates everyone has open, and 3) can your vendors pencil you in for a back-up date to give you some time to decide?

“I’m allowing brides to pencil in back-up dates and wait until their wedding date gets a little closer to make a final decision. You should try to make a firm decision either way at least one month out. Keep in mind, many brides may be in the same situation as you, so time is of the essence. Also, if you need to reschedule and a certain vendor isn’t available on the new date—double check that there won’t be any penalties upon cancellation before you book someone else!” Samantha Areman, Sam Areman Photo

How are you supporting your clients if they choose to reschedule or postpone?

“I’m continuing to support and be their photographer (as long as their new date works with my other booked weddings) and offer any help I can. Whether that is reaching out to vendors or brainstorming ways they can keep their original vision with all of the crazy going on. I think just being there and being flexible is the best thing we can do right now.”  Emily Jessen, Emily Jessen Photography

“We are letting couples move to a new date free of charge, and just trying to provide a lot of support/positivity that their big day will still happen—just on a different date.” Kaylin Wilken, Attitude on Food

“Currently we are prioritizing date selection for those weddings that have to move due to social gathering limitations, while we are taking preferred dates for weddings in the next couple of months that may be in need of postponing. If they are shifting onto a date that may have previously been more expensive, we are sticking to their original pricing.” Natalie Wallace, The Living Room

“When I’ve been approached about a reschedule date, I’ve provided them with all of my available 2020 dates and will be transferring their deposit to the new date. If I am not available on their newly chosen date, I am working on finding an associate that can accommodate them and make sure they’re taken care of. It took them a high level of trust to hire me in the first place, so I want to make sure they don’t end up with just anyone. However, I am urging couples to work with their photographer and other vendors as much as possible. Most vendors have already put so much time and effort into a wedding day before it even rolls around, and that’s no small thing.”  M. Julie Borer, M. Julie Photo

“We launched a new elopement package to support clients and other couples going through this that have decided to go the elopement route: ‘Keep the Date, Celebrate Later!’ We created an all-inclusive private ceremony followed by a luxury dining experience for up to 8 people to help them celebrate their original wedding date without having to plan any of the details! For the general public, we have created a page on our website full of free resources and planning tools to alleviate some of the additional stress of a re-plan. This is a collection of: tips for postponing, email templates for vendors, template responses for guests asking about your wedding plans, a few organizational tools to coordinate vendor availability and a link to the growing Facebook group that was created just for couples going through this.” Rachel Wortmann, Rachel J. Events

If couples choose to cancel and instead elope or head to the courthouse, what kind of penalties do they face with contracts?

“It definitely depends on the vendor and what your respective contract with them entails. I’d recommend consulting a lawyer if you are in this situation. Typically, a ‘Force Majeure’ clause is only in effect when it becomes impossible for both parties to uphold their ends of the contract (removes each party of their contractual obligations due to a pandemic or “act of god”). If you decide to elope, then technically the Force Majeure clause would not apply; instead, you would be canceling their services and would most likely not receive a refund. Vendors may offer some grace in this situation, so I would recommend checking with everyone to see what their policies are.”  Samantha Areman, Sam Areman Photo

“None! If they are in the time period where the requirements or guidelines would impact their event, they will face no penalties.”  Natalie Wallace, The Living Room

“I would personally give them their money back after talking through other options with them (with the exception if engagement pictures were already taken, then down deposit would be kept). This is a really hard time for everyone, no reason to make it any worse due to a circumstance out of everyone’s control.” Emily Jessen, Emily Jessen Photography

“As with the majority of vendors, clients who decide to cancel will forfeit all monies paid. We are working closely with all clients to find a way to postpone without penalties and looking at cancelling as a last resort. At the moment, we haven’t had any clients completely cancel.” Rachel Wortmann, Rachel J. Events

“As a photographer, there’s no reason I can’t meet them where they are, be it at home, a courthouse, a park, etc. Now more than ever, it’s important to document their story so that they have a way of sharing it with loved ones who weren’t able to support them in person. However, in instances where they forego my services entirely, I will fall back on my contract, which was written to protect my small business exactly for situations like this.”  M. Julie Borer, M. Julie Photo

“Right now, [if cancelling] they would just lose their deposit. Nearly all of our couples are choosing to postpone though, so that’s been great. Especially since we are a small, local business trying hard to get through this.” Kaylin Wilken, Attitude on Food

What advice would you give couples faced with this decision?

“The same advice I would give them when planning in the first place: this day is about you and no one else. Wedding planning is a stressful process where you’re hearing everyone’s opinion and feel the need to please others. While this is a scary time, you should decide what is important to you and your fiancé. If that means having an awesome party with everyone, then postpone. But if you just want to be married and can live with the celebration later, then go ahead and scale it back to an intimate ceremony. At the end of the day this is your wedding and no one else’s.”  Emily Jessen, Emily Jessen Photography

“It’s all going to be ok and your big day will still happen! We are honored to work with such great couples and we’re here to help however we can.”  Kaylin Wilken, Attitude on Food

“It’s not easy, I understand, but try to be flexible and open-minded about what a wedding can look like. Not every wedding fits a mold, and especially in these times, it’s important to be mindful of this. But most importantly, remember the reason you’re doing this in the first place… it’s not for the party, it’s not for the dream venue, it’s really because you love each other, and that’s more than enough.”  M. Julie Borer, M. Julie Photo

“Take a breath. You are still getting married. Consider a small ceremony with just family to do the important part: becoming a married couple. And then when you can, celebrate with family in friends in a big way later.”  Natalie Wallace, The Living Room

“At the end of the day, you will still be marrying the love of your life, whether it be in a month, six months, or over a year out. Stay calm and try not to stress over all the logistics. It will all come together and be a perfectly imperfect day.” Samantha Areman, Sam Areman Photo

“Keep your focus dialed in on the most important part of your wedding day: you and your fiancé. At the end of the day, you will be married to the love of your life. This is the moment you have been waiting for. While your wedding day may take on a different shape than you envisioned, we promise that your day will be incredible, emotion-filled and a celebration of what matters most.”  Rachel Wortmann, Rachel J. Events

Bride and groom in front of their barn venue, photographed by Kaylie Sirek

Choosing the Type of Venue That’s Right for Your Wedding

There are many uniquely beautiful reception venues available in your area, depending upon the size of your guest list and wedding budget. Your venue will set the tone for the ceremony and reception and is a crucial element in implementing your planned décor and overall design. From a romantic blooming garden to a well-manicured country club lawn, here are a few options to help you select the ideal venue.

Banquet Hall
Some banquet halls provide full-service packages, thereby making the planning process easier and more affordable. Others have a preferred list of wedding vendors, allowing for choices within certain parameters. Depending upon the space, banquet halls are easy to transform into your dream wedding experience. Also, the staff is knowledgeable and have established relationships with local wedding vendors, creating an easier flow of communication. The only challenge to choosing a banquet hall as your venue is the possible turnaround time for decorating, especially when an event is scheduled the evening prior.

Many couples love a rustic barn setting for their reception venue. It provides shelter while also allowing guests to dance under twinkling lights or a moonlit sky. A barn reception can also serve as a special homage to family history or cultural significance. The only tough challenge associated with this type of venue is arranging catering, restrooms and entertainment. Also, remember to consider the season, as a barn typically has neither heat nor air-conditioning.

Country Club
If you dream of a classic space, a country club may be your most fitting option. Set on perfectly-manicured lawns, country clubs offer a sophisticated style and space for weddings of virtually any size. One of the few difficulties posed by this venue is that your event may not be completely private due to club members accessing the pool or grounds.

Nestled around fragrant blooms and a beautiful landscape, a garden reception can be transformed into a dreamy affair. With this venue it is easy to let the garden setting speak for itself. With nature as your backdrop, your table settings and décor can remain simple and subtle. For this reception venue, be certain to outline a rain plan, just in case the weather doesn’t land in your favor on your special day.

If you picture a large wedding in a grand ballroom, a hotel reception may be perfect for you. Hotels are easily able to accommodate a large group and usually can arrange an appropriate space that is more suitable for a smaller guest list. The staff is knowledgeable and experienced, meaning typical day-of snafus are easily dealt with by professionals. The only pitfall is that you may be sharing the venue with a neighboring wedding or other large event on the same day or evening.

Surrounded by beautiful works of art, a museum is a stunning and sophisticated venue for a reception. Many museums have staff members who execute weddings on a weekly basis and can offer great insight for creating the ideal event. You may find that some museums may have a list of preferred vendors, which may limit your options for catering or décor. However, the bonus with this venue option is that you can usually arrange for certain galleries to be open for a limited time during your event, which can allow your guests a chance to peruse the artwork during cocktail hour.

Depending upon your ideal landscape, a reception comfortably nestled in a park may be just the venue you are looking for. Arranging family-style tables with your ceremony location nearby gives guests a wonderfully intimate feeling. Prior to making plans, be sure to check with the city offices for any necessary permits or special permissions needed to serve alcohol at the given location. Also, scope out the space to make certain there are adequate restroom facilities and enough resources to meet your electrical needs.

Private Home
There are many fabulous weddings held in private homes. This genre of location provides a special space that is uniquely your own. While most parents may shy away from the option due to the workload and amount of necessary preparations, hosting your reception at a family estate can be very intimate. The toughest challenge to overcome is arranging adequate kitchen space, restrooms and parking. If you are planning your event at a private home, inform the neighbors of your plans so they can anticipate the traffic and possible noise that evening. If they know what is going on, they are more likely to be understanding of the special occasion and not call in a noise complaint.

If you are planning an intimate wedding, a posh restaurant is always an excellent option. With possibilities for a unique menu and cozy ambience, this type of reception venue is relatively stress free due to the convenience of having everything on-site. You can even allow guests to order directly from the menu. Prior to booking your reception, consult with the restaurant owner or general manager regarding space limitations and noise level during the time frame you are considering. If the noise inherent in a restaurant environment concerns you, simply inquire about the availability of a separate area for your reception, such as a private event room. Some restaurants may even offer the option to rent the entire space for your event, in which case they’ll close it to the public.

A tented reception is a fantastic option that can comfortably accommodate a large guest list. While providing guests with shade and cover, everyone is still able to enjoy the sunset and dance into the evening under the stars. A tent vendor will have many options for you to choose from, including specific lighting for the occasion. Prior to finalizing arrangements, we encourage you to do a complete walk-through of the land, so you can provide any essential electrical information to your rental company.

For more venue details, visit our online vendor directory.

Wilderness Ridge Offers the Ideal Setting for Your One-of-a-kind Wedding

Situated on one of Nebraska’s most prestigious golf courses, Wilderness Ridge offers the ideal setting and ambiance for your one-of-a-kind wedding. The Yellowstone Ballroom, built of natural timber and equipped with 32-foot vaulted ceilings, stone fireplace, two walls of windows and a wraparound cedar deck, provides an exceptional experience second to none. You and your guests will enjoy the evening feeling as if you have been swept away into the mountains. The Wedding Island at Wilderness Ridge is situated on the first hole of the Talon Course and provides picturesque views from every angle. After a walk down a stone path highlighted with blooming flower beds, your guests will be seated and waiting for you under a sprawling elm tree. Breathe in the beauty of nature as you say your vows overlooking one of our many beautiful ponds on the property.

Photos by Jenn Wiemann Photography

Wilderness Ridge is offering a new wedding special for Friday dates booked in 2019: Receive up to $1,000* off your final bill when you book your wedding reception for a 2019 Friday date. *Discount is based on final guest count, due 7 business days prior to the wedding. Limited time offer. Not applicable for weddings already booked. Excludes dates in December 2019.

Isabel Reichel, Social Sales Manager at Wilderness Ridge, states, “We are seeing an increase in popularity for Friday weddings because they allow you to remain within your original timeline and be a trendsetter at the same time. Since Fridays are non-traditional, you can follow suit and switch things up – maybe do a cocktail reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres paired with action stations, and a romantic ceremony at sunset. Not to mention, our 2019 Friday wedding special will also make it more affordable.”

As Lincoln’s premier destination for weddings and special events, we look forward to helping you plan the wedding day of your dreams! For details and availability contact Isabel at 402.434.5121. 

Photos by Jenn Wiemann Photography

Slattery Vintage Estates

Slattery Vintage Estates is nestled in 84 acres of rolling hills in the heart of the population hub of Nebraska, right between Lincoln and Omaha. If you have rural roots, or just like vintage rustic, you’ll love SVE! Small and family-run, this picturesque venue is just what you ordered for the best wedding photos! You and your guests will have access to fountains, waterfalls, ponds, gazebos and not to mention vineyards – all to make memories inspired by nature. Slattery Vintage Estates has an on-site renowned chef, and we’ll take care of everything for you so your day is perfect. Get ready in the French Country House or Glamping Bungalows, use the 1951 Pickup or Wine Wagon for fun & entertainment and relax in the Tasting Room between photo shoots.


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