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Choose A Venue, Choose A Date

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Maureen Dolezal

Once I said yes and made my “OMG” calls, all those stored wedding ideas started flooding in my brain. On the first call, people were asking us “When is the date?” Why do people do that? We are just telling you we got engaged! Give us a second to enjoy that first!

That brings me to dates. As an event planner, many other experts say set your date first. I would like to change that. To have the most budget-friendly wedding possible, have an idea of the time of year or month(s) you would not mind being married in. Search for venues that would make your “I dos” memorable for the two of you. Contact these places and see what their availability is. Be flexible! There is a reason that most couples have a year and a half engagement. There is quite a wait on their venue.

That brings me to our venue. After seeing countless gorgeous barn weddings online, I knew that would be perfect for me growing up on a dairy farm. Wisconsin has many small farms that have converted barns now for options. I contacted a few of my favorites on their availability, keeping my mind completely open on dates (I would happy getting married anytime of year to Max, awww). Most were way out of price range ($2500+) and we would still have to bring in rentals for tables and chairs ($300+), not very budget savvy. Then I found Willow Pond B&B and Events in Weyauwega, WI, about 20 minutes from Max’s family cabin where we got engaged. It was perfect! Giving us both something special in a venue.

The giant farmhouse was picturesque. The red barn screamed Wisconsin in every detail. Then you walk the grounds. There are multiple fountains, a grotto, gazebo, the giant willow tree next to the pond and all the flowered gardens. Complete heaven. I didn’t even tell you the best part. Tables, banquet and white folding chairs and a tent (if we want it)  included all for $1200 and we can even come in the day before to decorate! They even give a discount on the room rentals if you book all five rooms in the house for your event which is very easy to do, it is a wedding after all and you do have guests.

Again, being flexible, the owner Renee told me that they had two dates open in October left this year (remember we just got engaged in March) and most of 2013 was open still (WI brides, jump on that!). Max and I talked it over about only having a seven month engagement and the craziness that it would create and decided to go for it. We took the earliest date in October, Saturday the 13th. It should be completely beautiful with the fall trees, weather permitting of course.

So as you can tell, sometimes you get better results and get a little more of what you want if you are open with dates and look for a venue first. Setting a date and then trying to find a venue won’t always get you the vision you have for your special day. You might have more compromises. And let’s be honest, on your wedding day, you want as little compromises as possible. Even if you are on a budget!

Current Budget Breakdown
Total Budget $10,000
Item Cost
Venue for Ceremony and Reception $1200
Total Budget Left $8800










*All images courtesy of Willow Pond B&B and Events

Maureen Dolezal

is a Milwaukee bride who got married in 2012. You can read her wedding planning posts here.