Wedding Planning in Omaha, NE – 2018

Despite what you may have heard, planning your wedding does not have to be stressful. There is no reason to come crashing down from the high of getting engaged when you start thinking of all the things that need to get done in order for your special day to be absolutely perfect – especially when there are so many resources and professionals right here in the Omaha Metro to help you every step of the way.

As we talked to some local experts about wedding planning, almost all of them shared one common piece of advice—plan ahead. Get on top of locking everything down right away. We know that probably sounds a little overwhelming, especially when you don’t know what “everything” entails, but if you keep reading, you’ll get a pretty good idea.

Let’s start by setting the scene. Since setting a date can’t be done without confirming the availability of the venue, make sure you are booking that first and way in advance. While following with tradition and getting married in a church is still very common, these days many couples are opting for a more unique setting—but while you are selecting your fairytale location, make sure you are still being realistic and not overlooking some key considerations. These things include:

  • Guest List—can the venue comfortably accommodate all the friends and family you intend to invite?
  • Budget—can you afford to rent the space along with any potential add-ons (i.e. catering, audio/visual, decorations, lodging, transportation)?
  • Weather—what time of the year do you want to get married in and if you want to have an outdoor wedding, do you have a contingency plan if the weather doesn’t cooperate?
  • Your Vision—what kind of atmosphere do you truly see yourself getting married in? Stay true to who you are.

Kellie Simpson
Soaring Wings Vineyard & Brewing

A prime venue option that we recommend looking into is Soaring Wings Vineyard, tucked in the rolling hills just right outside of Omaha. It’s hard to beat a panoramic view filled with miles of natural beauty, just a short drive outside of Nebraska’s largest metropolitan area. Kellie Simpson with Soaring Wings Vineyard & Brewing tells us more.

“Soaring Wings has the facilities on site for indoor and outdoor events, such as private use of our covered deck in the evening with the rental of the venue. If you choose to rent our full facility, which includes our NEW outdoor amphitheater and gazebo, the Platte View Room, decks, tasting room, and lawn, you can host an event of up to 2,500 people for $1,500. Your wedding party is allowed to begin setting up at 4:30 p.m. and then you’d have private use beginning at 6:30 p.m. For $2,000, we offer a full access pass which includes an earlier set-up time of 12:30 p.m., giving you much more time to settle in and make sure everything is in place.

The list of amenities at Soaring Wings goes on and on and we are very flexible. No matter if the ceremony is indoors or outdoors, we have a nice bridal room available for dressing. Since we are mainly an outdoor venue, though, guests are welcome to bring large tents in the case of rain or to provide shade on a hot, sunny day. With plenty of open, grassy areas, there is plenty of room for young children to run around as well. With our newly-installed amphitheater, having live music at the wedding or reception will be easy to arrange.

In addition, since we are operating as a winery and brewery, we are only able to serve wine and beer produced onsite. We cannot allow any outside alcohol. This may come as a limitation to some, but most wedding parties are pleased with our offerings. Soaring Wings currently features 22 wines ranging from dry to sweet. Traditionally, 70% of the grapes come from our very own vineyard, while the remaining 30% come from the Nebraska region. And although our beer menu changes with season and supply, the quality of each fresh brew we introduce is undeniable. There’s always something on tap to satisfy any beer drinker. On the flip side, we totally allow outside catering—bring in whatever food you’d like!”

Jim Sobczyk-Cornhusker Beverage & Bridal

Jim Sobczyk
Cornhusker Beverage & Bridal

In the case that you select a venue that doesn’t have any in-house beverage offerings and you have no choice but to bring in and stock your own bar, take this advice from Jim Sobczyk with Cornhusker Beverage & Bridal.

“Your decisions about beverage catering are key to the overall success or failure of your party. A lot of people see the cash bar option as the cheapest and easiest alternative to hosting everything. Sometimes, it does end up working out that way, but we’ve also seen situations where offering a cash bar to your guests ends up costing you more money. A common one we’ve seen is only hosting beer and wine and having guests pay for mixed drinks. This isn’t always a money saver because many guests will opt for whatever is free when they are forced to buy their first choice. Some couples will only host the first hour, then go to a cash bar for the rest of the evening. The problem with this is everyone pays for their drinks after the first hour, including you, your parents, and the wedding party. A solution to this is giving out limited drink tickets to guests, maybe more to select individuals, but be wary not to bring more tickets than you’re willing to pay for. If everyone ends up using tickets all night long, this will cost you more than hosting the whole evening.

With a cash bar, there are some costs you’ll have to incur no matter what, like the liquor license and the cost of the bartenders. When working with Cornhusker Beverage & Bridal, it can be as simple as paying us and letting us take care of everything—from the equipment to the bartenders—or you can choose to do a large portion on your own and simply buy the merchandise from us. When we say everything, we mean beer, liquor, wine, ice, cups, mixes, napkins, stir sticks, and anything else that you could think of to stock and operate a bar. We will help you work within your budget to figure out how much you need to buy and, in turn, how much it will cost you.

Cash bars take time to put together properly and must be planned several months in advance, so set up an appointment as soon as possible to figure out the logistics.”

In addition to being a liquor vendor, Cornhusker Beverage & Bridal is also the largest wedding invitation dealer in the area! As an authorized Birchcraft Studios and Carlson Craft dealer, they offer quality invitations in a variety of prices to meet every budget—anything from save the date announcements to bridal shower invitations. They even have ceremony essentials like programs, guest books, flower girl baskets, and ring bearer pillows. The best part is that all of the items listed on their online catalog can also be found in the store, so if you live here locally, you can actually see the color and feel the quality of the papers before placing your order.

Michelle Kaiser-The Omaha Bakery

Michelle Kaiser
The Omaha Bakery

In terms of catering food for your big day, our advice is to get creative! Don’t feel limited to the ordinary, plated, 3-course meal that you may be used to seeing at wedding receptions. If you’re having an outdoor wedding, have you considered food trucks? Or what about mixing it up and serving brunch instead of dinner? After all, breakfast food is usually a lot less expensive than your typical dinner entrees. These daytime weddings have become really popular lately. Mimosas, bloody marys, a pancake or omelet station, an array of fresh fruit… yum! Another trend these days, according to Michelle Kaiser with The Omaha Bakery, is a shift back to the more traditional multi-tier wedding cake.

“Cupcakes used to be all the rage, but then people started realizing that route was more expensive. Guests, on average, take 2-3 cupcakes to get some variety—so either you plan to order a couple cupcakes per guest or you run out. Recently, I’ve been encouraging wedding parties to order 8-inch cakes in an assortment of flavors to use as the centerpiece at each table. The benefits of this are two-fold. For one, guests are encouraged to mingle from table to table if they want to treat themselves to different delicacies (with minimal waste, assuming they only slice off what they intend to eat!); and two, you can save money on table decorations! The cakes we design here at The Omaha Bakery are professionally hand-crafted to look exactly how you want. There is a lot you can do to enhance the presentation as well—vintage cake stands and wood flowers are both popular things I’ve seen.

My best advice is to plan ahead. Since the engagement period seems to get longer and longer, people are planning their weddings years in advance. I’m already taking orders for 2020! That’s not to say that I don’t have availability for next year still, but you need to start locking your vendors down as soon as possible. At The Omaha Bakery, we offer tastings by appointment only on Saturday mornings. During these $20 consultations, we will actually make up the cake or cakes (up to 3) that you’re dreaming of. You’re welcome to bring 3 people with you and enjoy coffee and tea while you’re here! Please come prepared with your wedding colors and vision in mind.

Besides offering the most mouthwatering baked goods on the planet, we also have a new party room attached to our bakery that would make the perfect space for a bridal shower. It fits about 34-45 people and you can bring in outside alcohol. There are also a couple preferred food options after hours if the bakery isn’t able to provide you with the eats and treats you’re looking for. Just another opportunity to include The Omaha Bakery in your wedding plans!”

Food and beverage aren’t the only considerations to take into account after selecting your venue, though. Depending on what your event space offers, you may have to look into renting tables, chairs, linens, plates, glasses, audio/visual equipment, a dance floor, tents/canopies, etc. Lucky for you, all these things can be found locally at Honeyman Rent-All. Since 1968, Honeyman Rent-All has been a leader in party and event rentals in the Omaha area. Since it is far more fiscally efficient to rent instead of buy items that you’d only use once, Honeyman Rent-All can save you a lot of money by providing you with everything you need at an affordable rate.

The best way to really grasp all that Honeyman Rent-All has to offer is to go to their website, but let us just tell you, they have a lot. Are you trying to have a little fun at your reception or give the kids something to do while the grownups tear up the dance floor? Honeyman Rent-All has games for rent too! They have yard games like giant connect four boards, horseshoes, and corn hole. They also have a karaoke machine to liven up any party. Another idea is making your reception casino night themed with their full stock of wheels, chips, and blackjack, craps, poker-top, and roulette tables.

So whether you need a bar, yard equipment, a fancy chandelier, you name it… Honeyman Rent-All has it and they want to help you make your special day absolutely perfect.

Jesse Kruse
Wardrobe Spa

Something that you probably don’t want to rent, however, is your wedding dress. A wedding dress may only be worn once, but for most brides, it carries a sentiment that can’t be so easily returned or sold. Some women like the idea of keeping it to potentially pass along to their daughter someday. This is why dress preservation is so important. Jesse Kruse with Wardrobe Spa elaborates for us.

“Getting your wedding dress cleaned after your big day/night is an essential step to take if you care about preserving your gown. Your dress can get very dirty, even if it doesn’t look like it. Think about sweat, perfume/cologne, and spills like white wine and other things that dry clear—these contain sugar that caramelizes over time into dark brown stains that ordinary dry-cleaning services cannot remove. Be proactive and get your dress treated right away.

In my research, I’ve found that Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, has set the trend for the bridal fashion this year. Many brides are following in her footsteps and opting for a satin wedding dress. Sometimes referred to as “Duchess Satin,” this plain and lustrous fabric is widely loved due to dress shape and the natural sheen it creates. It is very ideal for traditional, formal weddings, but I would not suggest it for hot seasons due to its heavy structure. No matter what your fabric is, you can trust your Wardrobe Spa experts to preserve those wedding memories for generations to come.

At Wardrobe Spa, we will clean and condition your wedding gown with eco-friendly, virgin solvent that won’t damage the delicate fabric, which is something that other dry cleaners can’t say. Our cleaning process pays special attention to any beading or synthetic gems your dress might have so that we don’t ruin their appearance. We’ll also store your dress in a large museum box with acid-free paper so you could literally store it forever. At Wardrobe Spa, we do this all for only $180. Most places will charge up to $400 for this type of service, but we’re proud to offer affordable, quality work at our shop.”

Brianna Kuebler

It’s crazy to think that you’ll spend all this time planning and anticipating your wedding day, and then after one day it’s all over. That’s why women keep their dress—it’s all about the memories, and the same is true for pictures. We want to make sure you are confident going into your special day so that you will love looking back on it for years to come. There are some “appearance solutions,” if you will, that can’t be attained through a gym membership or a trip to the spa. For example, hair loss or unwanted wrinkles. Fortunately, JMISKO surgical design | md has a lot of services to offer a soon-to-be bride and groom before the biggest day of their lives. Brianna Kuebler with JMISKO surgical design | md, recently named the Best Local Med Spa for 2018, gave us a look into these services.

“One of the more noticeable trends that we’ve seen is that younger brides are coming in for aesthetic services such as BOTOX® and fillers. I think the notion of BOTOX® being used only by older women is starting to change. Your wedding day is the most photographed day in your life – brides, no matter their age, don’t want to look back and wish they would have taken care of their deep forehead lines. Similarly, BROTOX is growing in popularity. That’s right, we’ve started seeing men getting a little maintenance done, too.

For women, we recommend taking advantage of the great prices we have on aesthetic/skin services like BOTOX®, fillers and laser skin treatments. We usually ask brides to come between 3-4 weeks before their wedding if they are getting BOTOX® and/or fillers. The patient has full results after 2 weeks of injections. Depending on the laser skin treatment, time frame can vary, but usually takes longer. Plan on coming in 2-3 months before your big day if you do any CO2 Laser Treatment.

For men, we have a variety of options for hair restoration and retention too. If you are looking to keep what you have and add some fullness, our hair retention options include written prescriptions by Dr. Misko, topical hair loss products, PRP/stem cell injections, or the laser hair cap. For more significant hair loss cases that require a transplant, we have several different options that fit every budget. For any of our hair retention options, come in 6-12 months before your wedding day. For the hair transplant options, we ask you to come in 12-18 months prior. Also note that hair transplants are only done in Lincoln, so factor in a little drive time if you’re coming from Omaha.”

Speaking of a little drive time, our last recommendation will require a road trip to the beautiful, colorful state of Colorado. We normally focus on local businesses, but we know that some of our readers are thinking of getting out of Dodge for their nuptial endeavors. If this something you’re considering and you find yourself in the Vail Valley area, be sure to look up Timberline Tours.

Lulu Garton
Timberline Tours

“From weekend getaways that include rafting and Jeep tours to a vehicle fleet that can provide transport to wedding venues, we offer exclusive, tailored trips that can fit a range of ability levels, ages, and groups,” explains Lulu Garton with Timberline Tours. “We see a lot of out-of-town parties use our services for all their wedding transportation needs. Our professional drivers have experience operating a variety of vehicles that make getting from point A to point B a reliable and stress-free process for you and your group. We have spacious vans that are perfect for small to mid-sized groups and big buses that can accommodate large parties. As far as our rafting and Jeep tours go, these are a fun, exciting way to bond with your wedding party. There is really no limit to how many people can go on one of our scenic, thrilling whitewater rafting trips. Our awesome guides can take your group on a private ride down the river, allowing you to enjoy wildlife sightings and learn about the area’s history as well as its flora and fauna. We can even make stops for wine/beer/spirit tastings and we provide a lunch as well. As a special bonus, your group can request Garton Video Productions, a video production company the Timberline Tours has a great relationship with, to capture your whole experience so you can relive the fun times you had.”

Regardless of where or how you decide to live out your fairytale wedding, don’t stress over the planning. Make a checklist, call the experts, ask questions, and let the pieces fall in place. Hopefully we’ve provided you with enough advice and touched on the important components to help you make your wedding day absolutely perfect.