Planning Your Wedding in Omaha, NE
Another year, another wonderful wedding season! In fact, with the trend towards having the ceremony whenever and wherever a couple darn well pleases, it’s more to be expected for your year outlook to include ceremonies and related festivities in any or all of the twelve months in 2017.
With so many engagements over the holidays, so many couples already counting down the days until the big day while busy planning it to perfection, and those gorgeous spring weddings quickly approaching, there’s no such thing as an uneventful moment for those in the wedding industry either.
No matter where you’re at in the process, it’s wise to enlist the help of the experts whenever possible. As with all of the most important of life events, it takes a village to plan and executive a wedding, even for those who wish to have the events surrounding their nuptials simple and intimate. With so many moving parts, here’s what those who report having the best, most amazing, stress-free, and memorable (in a good way) experiences all around share in common—they utilized the expertise of local professionals every step of the way, leaving nothing to chance except the weather!
Selecting Your Venue & Caterer
There are many wonderful venues across the Omaha Metro that could be in the running for the special place you’ll be making memories celebrating your engagement or nuptials. The selection is particularly nice because of the uniqueness of each from the others, making it, much like everything else with a wedding, a matter of mainly preference and desired amenities. With a lot of variation in size as well, it’s generally not a problem to find one you love for all of those reasons but that also accommodates the number of guests you expect to be in attendance.
Now more than ever before, couples are seeking out venues that can cover as many of the other aspects that come together for the perfect wedding as possible. This even includes the services of an in-house event planner. The professionals are a truly wonderful resource to utilize because there is so much involved that must all be coordinated, and they are the ones most familiar with their own venues along with having experience in working with many of the different vendors in the area. If you have access to one through the venue you book, which is a really nice perk. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed, even for those who are detail-oriented and skilled at managing multiple tasks let alone for someone who doesn’t possess those attributes.
“Here at Indian Creek we like to assist individuals who are planning a big event as much as we can,” says Katie Anderson, Event Coordinator at The Club at Indian Creek. “Something that I find to be convenient for our couples getting married is that we provide almost all the essentials with our room rental. All of the linens, table skirting, flatware, stemware, china, bar glasses, the dance floor, A/V, and the services of a dedicated event coordinator are included in our room rental fee.
Our event coordinators are also on-hand during the event, from the beginning of their night to well after it has ended. There’s an open line of communication at all times between our team of professionals and those planning their events here. As the event gets nearer we schedule what we call a ‘planning meeting.’ This is an opportunity for us to have a meeting of the minds, and we take detailed notes reflecting what the person planning envisions for their event. From those notes, we contact all vendors and coordinate set-up times as well as checking to make sure they have all of the information they need. This is a service that is utilized for all events hosted at our venue.
Last year our outdoor ceremony area was very popular and those couples who are choosing to have a ceremony with us also have access to a bridal area reserved just for the women who are a part of the wedding party. Here they are able to get ready or bring in someone to do their hair and makeup as well as relax before it is time for all the festivities to begin!
It’s these types of services and amenities that help to ensure everything goes smoothly.”
She also shares some helpful tips as far as the planning goes. “I think it is important for couples to figure out what is most important to them in regards to their wedding. Whether it be the venue, food, or the decorations, they should make a list of priorities.
It’s also important throughout the planning process to communicate with your vendors. If there’s something specific you really like tell them. Also, if there’s something specific you really don’t like, tell them that as well! Your vendors want your day to be exactly how you envision it and that starts with them knowing what you want.”
If the style you’re going for with your wedding is rustic-chic and you’re looking for just the right barn-in-the-country setting to complete your Pinterest vision without actually directing everyone miles away to a remote rural location, there’s no better place to book than Bellevue Berry Farm & Pumpkin Ranch. With indoor/outdoor mixed use space, complete with modern amenities while still possessing a unique charm all its own, there’s plenty of flexibility in the event that the weather doesn’t cooperate, and also for entertaining purposes—dance floor inside, firepit outside!
“A lot of people enjoy staying onsite for both their ceremony and reception, and we have four different wedding lodges that all have a very nice outside area,” explains Tyson Schaefer, co-owner of Bellevue Berry & Pumpkin Ranch. “Each of them has great character and plenty of room for socializing and dancing. With the gorgeous landscape of the property, our western-chic atmosphere and tasteful Southwestern-style décor combined with our flexible catering options, we are able to offer a country flavor that sets us apart from any other venue in the Omaha area. Furthermore, our expertise with hosting weddings allows us to bring everything together seamlessly for a much less stressful experience both during the planning stages and on the big day. We offer a lot of services to our clients in-house, but can also recommend other vendors and resources we’ve worked with in the past, which really simplifies the planning process. As for catering, our wedding fare is prepared from house recipes that have been in our family for generations and continues to be raved about by our past guests, but we also welcome brides and grooms to share a recipe or idea with us and we will work our culinary magic to make it happen. We do set up the meal in a buffet style food line and we even keep it out for an extended period of time, which is perfect for guests who want seconds or those who show up later on. As appetizer menus remain a popular trend for weddings, we have options for that as well. Generally for weddings, couples opt for two entrees and four side dishes in the appropriate amounts to accommodate the number of guests who will be attending—we guarantee that no one will leave hungry!”
He adds, “My best advice is to choose a facility that fits your style. Also, make sure that it fits your guest list—if you’re in doubt, go for a bigger space instead of one that will barely accommodate a number of people you are planning for. A lot of people worry about what their guests will think, but I would say the happiest people are the ones who don’t get stuck in all of the details and simply consider it a fun experience. Most people come out to our ranch to kick back, relax, and enjoy; it’s just that type of environment. We realize that wedding planning can be stressful, but it’s second nature to us and we are always honored to be of service to our brides and grooms in whatever way we can.”
Going glam while also having a wedding experience surrounded by the beauty of nature might sound like a paradox, but it is absolutely possible! Furthermore, along the lines of destination weddings, a trend has been to create an environment that transports guests to another place without requiring them to travel long distances, similar to the ‘staycation’ idea.
“Our most recent weddings have found Lied Lodge to be a destination wedding venue,” says Patty Pierce, Wedding Manager at Lied Lodge & Conference Center at Arbor Day Farm. “We are now seeing our wedding couples, along with their families and friends, enjoying a whole ‘wedding weekend’ packed with spa treatments, golf, hayrides, bonfires, rehearsal dinner, gift openings and much more. There have also been increased instances of brides selecting Fridays and Sundays for their big day rather than the traditional Saturday afternoon. It works on a lot of levels, including greater availability of dates and perhaps even some savings for high-demand venues, while still delivering a seamless wedding experience.
We offer an ‘all-inclusive’ experience for a memorable wedding event. With multiple venues located across our 260-acre property, it’s easy to take care of the rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony, reception, brunch and gift opening all in one central location. It’s a hassle-free way to keep your focus where it should be instead of worrying about logistics, parking, travel time, etc. This is convenient not only for the wedding party, but for their guests too. It really supports a relaxing experience with less stress involved.
Also still going strong are nature-inspired settings and the use of outdoor spaces incorporated in both the ceremony and reception. In 2017, we’ll have an additional ceremony location, the meadow at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, just a short walk from Lied Lodge. Complete with a historic mansion as the perfect backdrop, this elegant location will be unlike any found in the area. Arbor Lodge State Historical Park is also a gorgeous setting in which to exchange vows.
My advice to any couple seeking a wedding venue is to visit in person for a guided tour of the property. The perfect start is looking online but seeing it in person is a must. A personal tour of the venue allows them to meet the staff they’ll be working with on all the details for their big day. At Lied Lodge and Arbor Day Farm, our staff is with you every step of the way, offering experienced support and service.
All across our 260-acre property, the beauty of nature provides the perfect setting for any ceremony or reception. Each setting is unique, from our rustic barn to a historic mansion. The options are truly endless.”
If an actual destination wedding is what you have your heart set on, you’ll be working closely with a travel agent to put everything together. The same is, of course, true for the honeymoon as well!
“Destination weddings continue to be the hot ticket,” says Kris Reddy, owner of The Vacation Store & The Cruise Company. “Many brides and grooms are seeking a more unconventional wedding and ditching the church and reception hall for the beach! Couples are thinking even further outside the box and venturing beyond the typical Caribbean vacation too. Current hotspots include such places as Bora Bora, Aruba, The Maldives, and the Mediterranean. Many properties offer free wedding packages or a free stay for the bride and groom.
We can assist with all aspects of a destination wedding or honeymoon. Or, how about planning a bachelorette/bachelor party getaway? We can arrange all of the details for you and your group, from getting you all to and from your destination to selecting the perfect destination and accommodations to fit your needs and desires. With over 100 years of combined experience, our Leisure Travel Specialists/Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Specialists are experts in all corners of the globe and will work closely with our passengers to make it the getaway of their dreams! We can arrange anything from a wedding aboard a cruise ship or a large group affair to an intimate small beach wedding. Destination weddings come in all shapes and sizes. Some brides and grooms choose to bring a few special guests, while others wish to invite the whole neighborhood to come along, and we’ve handled arrangements for everything in between. For honeymoons, the options are endless here too! Plan a romantic getaway at a luxury resort or an African safari! We work with our clients to make their honeymoon a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Regardless of what you have in mind, let the experts sweat the details. Work with a professional who can coordinate between all parties involved to create a worry-free day. Also, as previously mentioned, we continue to find that many couples looking to plan and book a destination wedding don’t know we can get their trip costs for free! Yes, FREE. We work closely with resorts, cruise lines and travel suppliers on booking arrangements that include the bride and groom at no or very little cost as an added perk. Our services are 100% complimentary, so why not give us a try? It’s free and we have a price guarantee on every trip booked with us!”
As far as the fare you’ll be treating guests to during any number of wedding-related events, it’s important to figure out the specifics. This includes how many you’ll be feeding, what date and time it will be served, the selection you plan to offer, whether you want to take advantage of in-house catering or make other arrangements (and if that’s even allowed), addressing any special dietary concerns. Hospitality is a major part of entertaining guests, and you want to ensure that everyone is taken care of so that they are able to enjoy themselves to the fullest. Also, the fare is one of the things that guests will comment on during the festivities and remember long after your wedding has passed, so there’s that too (no pressure!).
A meal is actually what all of your wedding-related events will have in common. Whether it’s the reception, the rehearsal dinner, the engagement dinner, getting your bachelor or bachelorette party started, and even feeding your bridal party pre-ceremony (this one in particular can be easily forgotten but will set the tone for the rest of the day’s events because you’ll need plenty of energy to get through it all), there’s much in the way of plans to be made in this area. The best way to go about it is to find what’s best suited for each. For example, for feeding your bridal party while they’re being attended to by a full glam squad, a fast, easy meal that’s not likely to cause an unfortunate mess and requires minimal clean-up is ideal.
Putting Together The Cake Table
As is customary with weddings, the cake plays a starring role in the wedding reception. In modern times, this has evolved quite a bit towards incorporating the sweet treat of the bride and groom’s choosing, which might not be cake at all. Or, if it is indeed cake that you’re after, which still remains commonplace, there are also different variations of cakes to consider if you’re looking to get creative. Just as every wedding is unique, so is the bride and groom’s choices in this area. At The Omaha Bakery, they can truly do it all. You might also give the gift of a sweet treat, such as when you ask the ladies to be bridesmaids, or serve something wonderful up at your bridal shower. Special requests are always welcome!
Entertaining Your Guests
With everything we’ve covered so far, there is still something big missing from the equation that you’ll want to plan for, and that’s the drinks! You can approach this in any number of ways, but if you’re responsible for purchasing the liquor and refreshments to stock the bar, Cornhusker Beverage & Bridal is the place to go. The best part? It’s a complete wedding and party center, so you can work with them for any of the events leading up to your wedding, as well as for the reception. They even have a department dedicated to customized wedding invitations!
Your budget, and how much you allocate to the bar, will largely determine the options that could be considered. If the venue has bar service incorporated into their offerings, you may not have much to worry about. Alternatively, if you’ve decided to be responsible for putting one together, there’s definitely more to it than meets the eye. No matter how much you plan to spend, it’s important to purchase based on an educated estimate of what you’ll go through to avoid money tied up in excess alcohol that wasn’t consumed. This is valuable information that a vendor who has experience with wedding clients will be able to offer by asking you targeted questions, and some even have software to assist with the right quantity for how many guests you’ll be expecting.
For those who are considering setting up their own cash bar, Jim Sobczyk, owner of Cornhusker Beverage & Bridal offers the following advice:
“A lot of people see the cash bar option as a cheap alternative to hosting everything. Sometimes, it does actually work out that way, but we’ve also seen where offering a cash bar to your guests ends up costing you more money. When meeting with clients, I have the opportunity to provide insight as to how each scenario would play out so that the couple is able to make an informed decision on what’s right for them.
Let’s say, for example, you want to host beer and wine and just have your guests pay for mixed drinks. This is not always a money-saver. Many of your guests will switch to the ‘free stuff’ when they are forced to buy their first choice.
Or, you want to host the first hour, then go to a cash bar for everything. While this usually turns out to be a money-saver, it means EVERYONE pays for their drinks after the first hour, even the wedding party, your parents, and you.
How about the option to give out limited drink tickets to your guests, and anything they want over and above that, they’ll need to pay for themselves? This can also be a money-saver; just don’t bring more tickets than you’re willing to pay for, even as a precautionary measure. If everyone ends up using tickets all night long, this will cost you more than hosting the event.
Even with a cash bar, there are some costs you’ll incur. The price for a one-day liquor permit is $100. You’ll also be responsible for the cost of the bartenders, bar rental, and you’ll also have to guarantee the bar will take in a predetermined amount of money. Also, keep in mind that cash bars take time to arrange, and as such, must be planned several months in advance. By appointment, I’d be glad to quote your event with and without a cash bar for comparison.”
You might even opt for serving frozen drinks, which is always a fan favorite. However, the noise of a blender constantly running is not, and it can be really messy and take a long time to prepare drinks this way too. Not to worry, you can still make it work, and easily at that, with the help of the Margarita Man!
“We’ll provide everything you need, leaving nothing for you to worry about except enjoying delicious drinks with your guests,” says Dan Cheloha, owner of Margarita Man’s Nebraska franchise. “Delivery of everything to the location as planned is arranged, including the number of machines, chosen flavor(s) of mix, and cups/straws based on the guests you expect to be in attendance. There’s even the option of a side-by-side double machine so that you can have an option with alcohol and one without. Flavors can be customized however you like, and we’re happy to make recommendations for recipes depending on the liquor of choice. We even provide table décor that matches a special theme, or just a classic white silk that’s very fitting for weddings. Then, we’ll be onsite to set up the machine and mix your first batch, leaving you with enough mix and easy instructions should you need to make more. Guests can easily serve themselves or you can appoint someone to do the honors, and that’s all there is to it. Afterward, we’ll come back to pick up the machine and will also handle the cleaning of it. With so much to worry about already, let us handle your beverages for a bachelorette/bachelor party, bridal shower, or reception. This way you’re free to focus on other areas of importance, as well as having more time to simply enjoy yourself during such a special time.”
Depending on logistics, reservations, and other factors at play, you may also require transportation for your wedding-related events as a part of entertaining your guests. This might be a party bus for your bachelor/bachelorette party escapades, or extending a ride to your out-of-town guests as a part of being a great host. Not to mention another one of the most common needs when it comes to weddings, transportation of the bridal party from the church to the reception (and oftentimes, a few bars in between). This is also a time that stops can be arranged for photo ops. Consider this another thing to get on the books sooner rather than later, because it’s in high demand and there’s generally a limited number of vehicles in a company’s fleet that can accommodate larger groups such as bridal parties.
Achieving The Perfect Look
In terms of planning, it goes like this, but not necessarily in any particular order: Wedding dress, check. Accessories, check. Bridal party attire, check. Hair and make-up, check. Pre-spa session, check. Formalwear for the groom and bridal party, check. Aftercare of items mentioned, check. While this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, it does cover the main points.
First thing’s first though, and I think most know exactly where it goes from here. You’ve seen them sprinkled across your social media feed, the photos of brides-to-be who are holding a sign that says “I Said Yes To The Dress!” Although weddings have evolved quite a bit in recent times, finding THE dress still remains one of the most special moments of the entire process. It’s not only one of the memories cherished long after the wedding has passed, but it’s when you see the first vision of yourself as a bride. As the “star of the show,” the dress is a big part of the big day, so the quest is to find the perfect one that fits your personality, takes everyone’s breath away, and of course, photographs exquisitely too.
While it’s entirely possible to find “the one” right away as though it was just there waiting for you all along, for others it’s just like finding “the one” they are going to marry, build a life with, and grow old together—it’s a process. Either way, keep in mind that you’ll have the best results working with an experienced professional and also, that you get what you pay for. While having a nice selection to choose from is important, and there are plenty of places you can go to merely shop the racks, it’s often the expertise that’s most valuable in the long run. You’ll need to adhere to your timeline as far as customizing, ordering, tailoring, fittings, finding the right accessories, and more—everything will need to come together smoothly for the final overall look to be achieved.
When it comes to looking your best, everything should come together to accentuate your natural beauty. This includes your attire and accessories, but also your personal features.
Take your hair for example. There are endless possibilities with color, styling, accessories, etc. Achieving the look you want will require the talents of a professional stylist no matter what that may be, and you’ll want to get on the books as soon as possible.
While men tend to require a more simple approach, it’s important to be well-groomed. Also, for women and men alike, there may be the desire for techniques that make hair appear fuller or that cover problem spots, such as replacement methods, treatments, or extensions.
“Brookelyn’s Hair & Replacement offers many different services that can help brides and grooms alike to look and feel their very best,” says Brooke Ahlman, owner of Brookelyn’s Hair & Replacement. “We offer updos, extensions, and haircuts that can add length, volume or both. Onsite styling is available upon request, which is a convenience that can make planning the day’s itinerary much easier. The party can get ready together while enjoying the moment, and the photographer is able to capture every treasured moment during the process.
My best advice is to find someone you trust, who is open to your ideas and skilled at their craft, and book ahead of time. We all know how valuable time is, and you want to make sure you have your spot reserved. It is very easy to forget about lining up the stylist with all of the other planning at hand, but this is an individual who will play a crucial role in your wedding preparation. You can’t just assume that your normal stylist will be available, or will be able to arrange for any additional help in the event that they’ll need assistance to accommodate a larger wedding party, which is a common occurrence.
Also, bridal trends are constantly changing, which includes hairstyles. Depending on your relationship with your stylist, even if they know you well, and especially if they don’t, keep in mind we’re not mind readers. It’s wise to have photos that you can show to communicate your ideas so that you can be on the same page, and make sure to include a trial run as a part of your agenda leading up to the big day.
At Brookelyn’s Hair & Replacement, we stay informed on what’s new in the industry and pride ourselves on being able to take an idea and bring it to life, creating anything that your heart desires. For those who would like to create something unique, I’m happy to brainstorm or take a concept and perfect it. Alternatively, it’s common for brides to pick something out of a magazine that they love, or to find great ideas online, especially with Pinterest being so popular for wedding inspiration. No matter the request, rest assured we’ll do our very best to make it happen!”
On to the final point on the list, while it might not necessarily strike you as something to add to your planning agenda at first, making arrangements for the care of the dress after the big day is important too. It’s generally a major investment and should be treated as such, not to mention that it’s a family heirloom that could potentially be passed on to be worn by a next-generation bride (this tradition does still happen, although it’s not incredibly common). After the wedding, you’ll want to get your wedding dress delivered to your professional cleaner of choice as soon as possible in order for it to be in optimal condition to undergo the cleaning and preservation process.
If you’re planning a wedding, or part of someone’s nuptials in the near future, we wish you the best of luck! While there can be a great amount of pressure involved with putting together a picture-perfect affair, and one to remember, you won’t need to rely on luck if you’re working with experienced professionals. In Lincoln, we are privileged to have some of the best, but keep in mind that they are also in high demand. Make sure to stick to your timeline and get everything booked as soon as possible so that it’s as magical a day as you’ve always imagined it would be. As with any of the most special moments in life, it’s one to be enjoyed, and that goes for all of the days leading up to the big day too. Enjoy the process, and enlist the experts!