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July 12, 2012

Save the Date: Wedding Venue Sneak Peek

Alrighty... it's official!
As of yesterday, we secured our wedding date and our beautiful first choice venue!! Both Adam and I couldn't be more relieved or excited to have that much done so quickly!!

So, I will officially be a married lady on March 9th, 2013! Ahhh!

Because I'm so excited, I figured I could give you all a sneak peek of our venue. The Hawthorne House reminds me of a beautiful southern estate with a white picket fence all the way around several acres lush acres. No matter what time of year it is, all the photos are stunning!

We will be getting married at the adorable picturesque chapel on the estate, and then hop over the adorable bridge to our plantation style house reception.

I am in love with the white wrap around porch, hanging plants, the light and airy Emerson Room (where the reception will be held), and the cute little gazebo in the front of the big lawn!

Take a look at a few weddings that have been done there...

So I have a few questions for all your engaged or married ladies out there. After we have found our venue, these questions still remain...

+ how did you choose a quality photographer/florist/DJ/cake?
+ did you meet/interview a bunch of them?
+ what about wedding make-up and hairstylist?

Any help or advice would greatly be appreciated! I love having such great blog friends who constantly offer encouragement and sound tips, so thank you in advance!!


  1. Adorable! Have you joined Weddingbee? It really helped me find vendors! I interviewed a couple photgraphers, it was worth putting the time in!


  2. So so gorgeous! March 9th is a popular day, I have 3 friends getting married that day too :) I'm planning right now, and I started with my band and photographer because obviously they can ONLY work with YOU on that day. I read a lot on the internet and I guess being from a smaller town helped out, but my thoughts on it are--if they're still in the business after 5-7 + years and they're successful, and you think your personalities match pretty well then go for it! If you find someone you like just bite the bullet and book them, and don't shop around anymore!

  3. Congratulations! My BIL just got engaged so I'm back into all things wedding. This is such a cute venue.

    A quick answer to your questions:

    photographer: lots and lots of research, talked on the phone, emailed, and met with 3 in person <-- did the most work for this!

    florist: got two recommendations from our venue, then chose the one that worked best with our budget and our ideas, I really believe that most reputable florists do a great job

    DJ: we went with the one from my brother's wedding (the only thing we copied) but I think if you have been to other weddings and enjoyed a DJ this is definitely an item that is okay to "copy" from someone else.

    cake: we went with cupcakes, and tried a bunch of places on our own; but I think this is similar to the florist - maybe get two or three recommendations from your venue and price them out/show them what you are thinking

    makeup: went to my local board (this was all I used that for, hated those boards!) because I had no clue where to find someone; checked out a few websites, spoke to one on the phone and did a trial 2 months early (in case it was bad) but it was great!

    hairstylist: had mine come to the venue!! (only 45 minutes - and an extra $30 - worth it!!)

    I would start by seeing if you can reach out to the brides in some of these pictures! Especially if they are strangers to you - no one will know / notice if you have the same DJ/florist/makeup/hair stylist! Have fun!

  4. Gorgeous venue! I cannot wait to see it come together for you!!
    As far as other vendors - I interviewed a lot of different people based on recommendations from friends and then i went with my gut - i chose people who i vibed well with and felt like they understood what i wanted for my big day.

  5. Our wedding venue had a list of Preferred Vendors and we interviewed a few from each category as well as stalked their Facebooks and websites! When we met with them and felt comfortable with them and loved their previous stuff, we booked immediately!!! I also made sure that my vision was clear to them; so they knew how my wedding was planned in my head and it was their job to help capture all the moments and bring my vision to life!

    For hair and makeup, I was the worst client! Haha! I had probably 3 or 4 trials; good thing my hairdresser is my friend!!! I brought 1 picture I thought was going to be exactly what I wanted but it was an updo and totally not me--I NEVER wear my hair down! So naturally, after the trials I decided to buy natural hair clip in extensions, dye them to my hair color and use those! You want to look back at the photos 10 years from now and look like yourself!

    You are going to be a gorgeous bride!!

    Congrats on your venue- it's BEAUTIFUL!

  6. I talked and talked to a bunch of people and thats how I found my florist and my make up artists. Both were friends of friends and they were the BEST vendors I had for my wedding.

  7. AnonymousJuly 12, 2012

    I can give you some recommendations of great photographers in KC. And we LOVED our DJ. We've been to at least 4 weddings with this DJ, because everyone who comes to the weddings loves him and uses him for theirs!

  8. AnonymousJuly 12, 2012

    I love the Hawthorne House, by the way. Your wedding will be gorgeous!

  9. OMG this is gorgeous. I went to some bridal fairs and met a bunch of vendors there. Although, I found them SO overwhelming. But ultimately, they were helpful. That's where I found our photographer. I used,, and to find others. My wedding planner and baker came through recommendations from a friend, then the planner set me up with our DJ and florist. The wedding invitations I picked out, I found on pinterest. They just happened to be made at a studio here in NC, but they are primarily an online studio-- The Green Kangaroo (

    My biggest piece of advice is GET A WEDDING PLANNER. They're not super expensive, and they can be involved as little or as much as you want. The biggest thing mine has done so far is vendor referrals. She's also keeping me on a budget and timeline of tasks. But my fave thing is that the last two weeks before the wedding, no vendor is allowed to call me. They all call her-- if there's some big (or small) disaster, she handles it, and I'll never know. Hallelujah!! Best money spent in our wedding budget.

  10. I actually went to a wedding at the Hawthorne House and it was beautiful!! You have chosen such a lovely venue.

    To answer your questions... I went to a wedding show and got lots of info from vendors and then asked around a lot. I found a great florist through a friend. The photographer- I searched around and looked at their work. I chose somebody whose style was most like what we were looking for.

    The make-up and hair- I just went to my normal lady. In fact, my mom's lady is my normal lady and she's used her for years and years, so she gave us a nice deal and did all my girls' hair and mine. We had a great time!

  11. That looks amazing! I'm so excited to see the rest of your plans unfold! I'm sure it will be completely gorgeous!

    For venders, I relied heavily on advice from other people who had recently gotten married. I had to plan things pretty quickly, so I didn't shop around very much. I think we met with 3 photographers, but just picked the first cake and flower place we had gone to. For a photographer (and I don't know if this is even a question anymore), I would just make sure that they will give you the copyright to all the images on disc or flash drive or something. Then you can get as many prints as you want and they don't cost a fortune. Maybe all photographers do this now. Back in the olden days (2007) when I got married, several were still doing the big box of 5X5 proofs, and you either had to buy them or say goodbye.

  12. Just wanted to say that I love your blog!!

  13. Lady friend, let me tell you the one thing I feel firmly about: invest in a quality photographer.... plan it into your budget; you won't regret it. Be picky about everything: filters, poses, lighting... make sure you ask to see an entire wedding album that the photographer shot. That'll give you an idea of the bigger picture vs seeing just the best shots of the prettiest people they have worked with. *Stepping off soapbox*

  14. The picture with the guys on the balcony is so cute! Definitely get one like that!!

    I looked around on the internet at several photographers, but actually only met with one. Price was a huge issue for me, and I figured as long as (1) I liked her portfolio (2) we got along in person and (3) she seemed flexible yet efficient, everything would be okay. And it was!

    My reception venue always uses the same DJ and his cost was included so that was an easy choice for me. Ask your venue if they have recommendations.

    I used the same florist as my cousin who got married a few months before me. I was able to see his work in person and get reviews I trusted from family members. Again, another easy decision.

    Maybe I give people the benefit of the doubt too often but I honestly don't see how any business that comes recommended would turn out badly. As long as you lay out your expectations in writing and don't pay them until these are followed through with, everything will go smoothly :)

    Have fun planning!!

  15. SO amazing and such a huge accomplishment! Congrats! The place looks absolutely stunning and that will be a great time of year.

    As far as vendors go this is how our planning has gone...

    -Photographer/DJ were both recommendations from friends who got married recently. We're planning from a different state than where we're getting married so we've relied a lot on word of mouth.

    -Florist/Hair/Make-up I've found all through The Knot . com. I had many email/phone conversations with a handful of places to determine pricing and get a feel for them to see what I liked. We've narrowed it down to our top choices and will meet with them when we're in town.

    -Cakes was easier because I knew I didn't want something super traditional. We're having a smaller wedding and didn't want to spend a fortune for a cake people might not enjoy. Instead we're doing bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes. They have bitty cakes that are a little smaller than cupcakes so we're just ordering dozens of those and then a seperate "cut cake" for the two of us.

    Happy planning! I can't wait to hear about everything as it happens. Email me if you have any other questions about anything!

  16. what a gorgeous venue! my photographer/florist/etc were all referrals from family and friends! ask around and see who other people have used!

  17. I can give you some advice on picking a photographer. :)

    The photographer is going to be your own personal paparazzi that whole day, so be sure your personalities blend well together and you feel comfortable around him or her.

    I also suggest booking someone who uses a second photographer- you get so much more of your "story" that way.

    Be sure their style matches yours. If you're big into candid moments and the photographer isn't, you won't be happy with the end result.

    Good luck, Meg! It's going to be absolutely gorgeous... I just know it!

  18. Congratulations!! Your wedding is going to be beautiful!!!

  19. adorable and wonderful!!!

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Girlfriend, your venue is absolutely GORGEOUS!!! I am so excited for y'all! It's sort of a relief once you get that all settled huh!? (Hopefully we find out the date this wknd!) In answer to your questions above, I have used for a TON of things. I knew of some local photographers from FB & friends weddings but, went there to find more & check their shooting style & prices. After e-mailing more than 10 photographers for quotes & so forth, we immediately took out the ones that we knew were completely out of our price range. From there we chose ones that were in our price range & offered the best packages. After we had those figured out we then went to their websites to compare their shooting styles & quality of photography. I think we had 2 or 3 at that point & it was easy once we looked at all of them together. No, we're not paying just $500 for our pictures but, we're also not having to give up our first born + some either. We found someone who was just right for us! Be sure check out if you haven't already! & let me know if you have any other questions! Happy wedding planning!!!

  22. The more you can have done by people you KNOW the better. Bonus points if it's people who would already be coming to the wedding. I did my own make-up, and my cousin, who was also a Bridesmaid did my hair. I had no DJ - my wedding was ALL Michael Jackson (besides the bridal march) which were played from my huge Michael Jackson CD collection. I did a cupcake tower, so I went to a local bakery known for their cupcakes.

  23. So I happen to know someone who would gift you wedding hair and makeup, and use the trip to Kansas as an excuse to visit a friend or two out that way... Let me know if you're interested ;-)

  24. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I found this article very helpful and full of friendly budget tips about wedding. Its clear that you know what you are writing about. I am excited to read more of your sites content.


  25. Lovely! It looks like a charming place. It seems like you will have a wonderful wedding as you have found your perfect venue for wedding reception and ceremony. Hope to see more pictures of your celebration!

  26. i'm a new follower AND am getting married pretty much a month after you!! my date is april 20th!

  27. Los angeles wedding venue
    are the best location to your parties and also offer best services to your guests.

  28. Wow! I can just imagine how wonderful your wedding was after seeing the beautiful scene in the photo. You certainly picked a great venue for your wedding day! Anyway, for the florist issue, if your wedding is just a small gathering of friends and family, then I would suggest getting a local florist. That way, you can easily communicate with him/her, and at the same time, easily help out in case there’s a problem with the preparation.

    @Kelli Mueller

  29. The big day is almost here, Meg! I’m sure you’re at your busiest at this stage of the preparation. I hope you aren’t facing troubles more than what can be handled. Has this remained as the choice of venue? You still have time for some decision changes. Just remember that there is no perfect venue, but there is surely one place that feels right for you. Good luck to you both! :] -->Zachary Payne

  30. The arrangements and decorations of wedding venue will let you know that how much effort the venue has made to make your day special.
    wedding venues in beverly hills

  31. AnonymousMay 23, 2014

    Congratulations to both of you. The venue is really great!

    Conference Venue Queensland


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