It was 2002 and I was young. There was no such thing as Pinterest. We were getting married in the Church and having a barn dance to follow. I really had no experience planning a rural wedding but there we were… a hot July day with cake, peanuts, beer and disposable cameras.
Fast forward 20 years through the many lessons I’ve learned hosting large groups with limited resources and you would see quite a different picture! Turning a feedlot, barn, pasture, or a 160 year old building into a glamourous, comfortable and classy venue is now my passion.
Because I believe living rural shouldn’t have to ALWAYS mean sacrifice, I’ve created a FREE 6 month Rural Wedding Planning Checklist so you too, can host the event of the year in small town USA!
Blame It All On My Roots
Growing up in a rural community, or at least outside the city limits in Western Kansas, had its advantages. The values and traditions instilled in me still guide my path and provide a compass for right and wrong.
It also meant not being able to run to Walmart every time you needed something and having to make do with what you had. I’m confident the circumstances of my upbringing created more grit and grace in my life than I realize!
Nonetheless, I want to share with you a few tips and tricks I’ve learned since my first big planning debut to avoid sending your wedding guests on their own scavenger hunt for dinner. This download, combined with other tools we can share (read more here) won’t leave you “hangry” during your first dance the way I was!
A Black Tie Affair
Picture it… Dodge City, pre-Pinterest 2002. It was like the real Wild West. Magazines were still the only resource for wedding planning and I had a years’ worth lying around my room while I finished my college degree. I was trying to follow guidelines that came straight from the high-end wedding designers and planners. Top shelf magazines and vendor guides that were made for New York couples, not a rural ranching couple were all that was available. When they mentioned budgeting for a 3 course meal, I subconsciously wrote that out of my to-do list because there was just wasn’t a caterer in my area that could provide that.
Unfortunately, I simply forgot to budget for a meal at all! When it came down to the last week or so before our wedding, we settled for pretzels and peanuts and extended the time gap between our church cake and punch reception and the barn dance. Our “Friends In Low Places” at least had time to run to Sonic and grab a burger before the Garth Brooks playlist began. Meanwhile, with little to eat all day and dancing my boots off, I wasn’t feeling so well myself and felt bad for creating a hassle for our guests. A simple buffet would have been easy to put together and allowed for more time to mingle with people who came to celebrate with us.
Put Your Boots On And Get To Work
“Plan the work and then work the plan.” A quote my college judging team coach passed along really does help if you implement it! I had a budget, I had time, I had wonderful friends and family to bounce ideas off of along my wedding planning journey… and to bring my boots to the dance when I forgot!
Looking back, everything worked out just fine. If there were any complaints, they were gracious enough to keep them quiet. Even so, I could have planned better and narrowed my focus.
While my wedding day was absolutely perfect, in my opinion, my biggest takeaway was that I had a checklist of what to do and how much to spend for certain items, but I didn’t have the understanding of what my OWN priorities were. As we approach our 2022 Grand Opening at The Territory Ballroom I want you to be more prepared and focused on what matters most to you as a new couple.
Short And Sweet
That’s why I’ve created my own take on the traditional Wedding Planning Guide. It’s a custom version for those of us planning a rural wedding. I’ll walk you through questions that can help you determine what you want the entire process to look and feel like. How will your guests be greeted? How will you put their comfort (and your own) at the top of the list?
With 20 years worth of hosting parties, ministry events, banquets, dinners and galas in small towns with limited resources, I can show you how to get the job done with grit and grace! Most planning tools allow for 12 months. While you may need to begin booking a venue and vendors this far in advance, I’ve learned the tighter you focus, the better prepared you can be. So, download your planner and let’s get going!