Wednesday, April 26, 2017

How To Keep Your Wedding Guest List Under Control

Everyone that visits our scenic wedding venue near Knoxville immediately falls in love with the vintage facilities, breathtaking views, and gorgeous landscaping. It's an amazing place for a small wedding of 100 or fewer guests. Many brides and grooms get their hearts set on saying "I do"  at Country Jewell, and sometimes that means making some cuts to the guest list.

Don't let yourself feel guilty about limiting the guest list. This is your special day, and if you want to invite only your closest family and friends, you have every right to do that. Another bonus to keeping the guest list at a minimum is the fact that you'll be spending less money to entertain everyone.

We've put together a few tips to help you get started on cutting down an overwhelming guest list. 

The First Draft
The best way to get started is to make 4 different lists: the brides, her parents, the groom's, and his parents. This first "fantasy draft" of guests will hopefully contain a lot of the same names once they are all four combined. After deleting duplicate names, it's time to start prioritizing. It might help to give each of your parents a number to keep their list limited to from the beginning. 

Ask Some Questions
If you still have too many names on the list once duplicates are marked off, the following questions can help you decide where to make the first cuts. If the answer to any of them is "no" then those names are good candidates for being taken off the list. 
  • Have you talked to this person in the past year?
  • Do you spend time together outside of work or work-related functions?
  • Have they met your fiance? (Do they even know his/her name?)
  • Do you know them personally? (Parents' friends you've never met or don't know well can be crossed off.)  
  • If they are distant family, do you speak to them on a regular basis?
  • Would you be upset if they didn't invite you to their wedding?
  • Will they make your wedding more fun?

Skip The "Plus One's" 
You are not obligated to invite a stranger to your wedding just so your friend has a date for the night. If your friend isn't married, then their boyfriend/girlfriend doesn't have to be on your guest list. The exceptions to this are if they are engaged or have been in a serious relationship for an extended period of time. 

Only Invite Adults
Another way to cut down on the number of people attending your wedding is to make it an "adults only" event. Let's face it, some children may have fun at a wedding, but if their attendance means there's less roof for grown-ups you'd like to spend your special day with, this is a good place to make a cut. If you have friends with adult children that you don't know well, it's okay to leave them off the list too.

Backup Plans
It is not uncommon to create an A-list of people that are invited to your wedding, and a B-list of people you'd like to invite if any of the A-listers cannot attend. (No one needs to know about this B-list except the two of you!) If you have a lot of names on that B-list that you're not thrilled about excluding, plan to have a casual get-together after the wedding day to celebrate with them. 

No matter what you do, there are always critics. It might not be a bad idea to cultivate your "We've decided to keep it small because..." statement so you're not put too much on the spot if someone asks why they are not invited. 

Once you get a look at the breathtaking beauty surrounding our rustic wedding venue near Knoxville, you'll realize that it is completely worth keeping your guest list under 100 so that you can get married here. We've even discussed the ways that small weddings offer big possibilities in past blogs. The benefits to hosting your wedding at Country Jewell are numerous, and it's the perfect place to spend a memorable day full of friends, family, fun, and love.     

A delightfully quaint Knoxville wedding
& event venue.

6550 Hickory Valley Road
Heiskell, TN 37754

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Simple Ideas For An Eco-Friendly Wedding

Seeing everything new and alive every spring is a good reminder that this earth is a beautiful treasure we need to take care of. One way to do that is to incorporate a few eco-friendly ideas into your wedding planning. Just in time for Earth Day this Saturday, April 22, 2017, Country Jewell has put together some easy ideas for you to consider. 

Pick a Scenic Venue
The more natural beauty offered by your wedding venue, the fewer decorations you'll need to provide on your own. Our scenic wedding venue near Knoxville is skillfully landscaped and surrounded by the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. Inside our rustic reception barn, a romantic, country ambiance is already there for you, so very little needs to be added to get the look and feel you desire for a charming, memorable wedding.    

Rent Instead of Buying
A rental company can provide you with plates, silverware, linens, and more, and when you're done with them, the company will take it all back, clean it up, and rent it out to someone else. This cuts down greatly on trash made from disposable items like plastic cutlery and paper napkins. If you do buy things, such as vases for centerpieces, let them do double duty and choose something nice enough to be given to your wedding party after the reception as thank you gifts.  

Rethink the Favors
Let's face it - most wedding favors either get left behind on the table or thrown away soon after the guest's get home with them. The most utilized favors are the edible ones, so giving away candies or personalized cookies is a good way to make sure people actually take their favors with them. 

Another option is to give away small plants that they can take home to "watch your love grow" after the big day, or you can make a donation to your favorite charity in their name in lieu of favors. 

Incorporate Signs
Cut back on wasting lots of paper for programs, menus, etc... by printing all of that information on big chalkboard signs for everyone to see. Your guests get the details that they need and there aren't leftover bunches of paper goods to throw away later. For any printed items that you do purchase, including the wedding invitations, consider using recycled paper.  

Have a Wedding Website
This is another way to cut back on paper waste. You can share directions to the venue, the wedding day schedule, registry information, and so much more instead of printing them on inserts to send with the invitations. You can even collect RSVPs on your website and skip the extra postage needed when they are mailed back instead.

It doesn't take a lot of extra effort to make the eco-friendly ideas above happen, and in many cases, it can save you money. Our rustic wedding venue near Knoxville is already breathtaking to see, so you don't need to spend a lot of your budget making it wedding-ready. When you're ready to pick a place to get married, give us a call at Country Jewell. You're going to love it here!  

A delightfully quaint Knoxville wedding
& event venue.

6550 Hickory Valley Road
Heiskell, TN 37754

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Great Ideas For Couples To Reconnect & Keep Love Alive

April is Couple Appreciation Month, which is a wonderful reminder to not take your significant other for granted. That can easily happen when you are together often, especially during the stressful months of wedding planning leading up to your big day. Country Jewell has a few fun ideas that the two of you can do together, and as an added bonus, these will give you a much-needed break from any wedding planning stress you may be feeling. 

Small Gestures
Sometimes, even the smallest of gestures can make a world of difference to someone you love. It's a wonderful habit to get into to keep each other feeling loved on a regular basis. Some simple ideas that can be done quickly and easily are:

  • Love Notes - Write short, sweet nothings and hide them in places where your honey will find them. Post-it notes work perfectly for this.
  • Unplug - We all get distracted now and then by our mobile devices. Dedicate an hour where you turn off all electronics and spend time simply talking to each other. 
  • Dinner - Whip up a gourmet meal to surprise your sweetheart with when they get home. If you aren't into cooking, swoop them up and take them out for dinner to a brand new restaurant you've never tried. 
  • Drinks - Make a date to have coffee together each morning, or if evenings work better for you, enjoy a daily nightcap together.     

Movie Night
There's no better way to escape wedding planning for a few hours than to lose yourself in another world at the movies. If you're up for it, go for a double feature and make the date last longer. Even an evening on the couch binge-watching your favorite show will work wonders for the two of you. 

Spa Day
A mental getaway is every bit as good as a physical one. Sometimes the fellas need a little convincing, but a day of pampering is good for the both of you. End the day of indulgence with a romantic dinner under the stars. 

Learn Together
Sign up for a class and learn a brand new skill together. Paint nights are very popular right now. Cooking classes will come in handy many times in the future. Taking dance lessons is tons of fun, and you can even brush up on some smooth moves for your first dance as husband and wife. Pick something neither of you know how to do and sign up. You can also go the other direction and pick something you're already good at to teach the other, and vice versa. 

Weekend Getaway
Jump in the car and get away for a couple of days. There are tons of places all around the United States that have plenty of things to do and discover, and more than likely you're only a short road trip away from something exciting. If you want to go a little further, pack a bag, head to the airport, and pick a flight to someplace that looks interesting.  

The whole reason for planning a wedding is so you can celebrate the fact that you want to spend the rest of your life with this incredible person you love. Any effort, no matter how large or how small, is important so they never forget exactly how important they are to you. Saying "I do" at our scenic wedding venue near Knoxville is a great start, but incorporating things like those we've mentioned above will help to keep that love alive for many happy years to come. 

A delightfully quaint Knoxville wedding
& event venue.

6550 Hickory Valley Road
Heiskell, TN 37754

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Friday, April 7, 2017

When To Book Your Wedding Vendors

There are a lot of different vendors involved in pulling off a successful wedding. It’s up to you to find the ones that work best for your vision of the special day. Some vendors need to be booked ASAP after you pick a date, while others can wait a little while. Our rustic wedding venue near Knoxville has a few tips to help with the vendor hiring portion of the wedding planning process. 

Beginning the Search
When you begin picking out the people that will provide wedding day services, you’ll want to start by doing some research on each one. Take a look at previous work each one has done, and also read customer reviews about them on trusted wedding sites, like Wedding Wire or The Knot. (Be sure to go back to those sites after your wedding and leave reviews for future brides to use for their research too.) 

Once you find a few in each category that you like, reach out to them to find out if they have your wedding date open. If they do, set up an interview to see if their personality and style are compatible with yours. Chemistry between the couple and many of the wedding vendors hired can make or break a smooth ceremony day. As soon as you both agree on the vendor in each category that you like best, book them right away before another couple swoops in and snatches them up. 

Suggested Timeline For Booking
The timeline below is a suggestion for the best time to look for each type of vendor so that you have the best chance on booking your favorite one. Any that can only handle one wedding at a time, such as wedding planners and photographers, need to be hired as soon as possible so that another couple doesn’t book your date. The vendors that are capable of handling multiple weddings on the same day, like cake bakers and florists, can be booked a little later in the planning stage. The sooner you book each one, though, the better chance you have for getting all of your favorite vendors before their schedules are full.

· Wedding Planner – 9-12 months
This should be the first vendor that you book as soon as possible, because this is the person that can help make the entire planning process a lot simpler. They can guide you along the way and make helpful suggestions for qualified vendors, saving you a lot of time and effort.

· Venue – 9-12 months
Once you have a date picked out, give Country Jewell a call and get it booked on our calendar before another bride and groom do. If you have your heart set on getting married at our scenic wedding venue in Knoxville and your dates are flexible, give us a call we’ll pick the perfect wedding date together. 

· Photographer – 9-12 months
The very best photographers always book up first, and they can only be in 1 place at a time, so if photographs are important to you, pick this vendor as early as possible. Another great reason to book them early is because many packages also include engagement photos, which you can use for save-the-dates, engagement announcements, and wedding websites.

· Videographer – 6 months
If you have a wedding video made, there’s a good chance the photographer that you choose also offers this service. If not, they will most likely have some great suggestions for you.

· Wedding Dress – 10 months
Occasionally a bride will get lucky and find a sample dress in her size that she can buy right off the rack, but in reality, that’s a rare thing. Most of the time the bridal gown that you choose will need to be ordered, and once it arrives alterations will most likely be necessary. Start searching for the dress at least 10 months before the wedding date so you have plenty of time for all of that to happen.

· Officiant – 9 months
This is another wedding vendor that can only be in one place at a time. Some officiants will book multiple weddings on the same day, but it could affect the time that they are available for your ceremony. If you have a particular one you really want for your wedding, book them early.

· Entertainment -9-12 months
The type of musicians that you will have at your wedding make a difference in how early you will need to book them. Bands usually have their calendars booked up at least a year in advance. As for DJs, unless they have a team of people that they work with, they can only book one wedding a day.

· Caterer – 8-9 months
Country Jewell offers some wonderful catering packages provided by the incredible team from Bradford Catered Events. You do have the option of providing your own food if you prefer. Our remodeled wedding barn has a warming/serving kitchen for you to use with a refrigerator, oven, and microwave. 

· Baker – 6-9 months
Wedding cake bakers have the capability of baking more than one cake a day, but they do have their limits. If you have a bakery you already love, book them. If not, enjoy the free cake samples while you search for the perfect one.

· Florist – 6-9 months
Much like bakers, florists can handle more than one wedding a day. Be aware, though, that during “wedding season,” particularly mid-summer and fall, their calendars fill up quickly.

· Rentals / D├ęcor – 4-6 months
If you will be ordering items to decorate the ceremony and reception, do it early enough that they will arrive with plenty of time for you to make changes if it’s not exactly what you expected. For any items that you will be renting, such as tablecloths, candelabra’s, etc… put your order in early enough that the items you want aren’t already reserved.

· Invitations – 6 months
Your wedding invitations need to be addressed and in the mail about 2 months before the wedding date. Start searching for them early so you can find the design you love, get the wording the way you like it, and receive them in the mail so they can be addressed.

· Men’s Attire – 4 months
At about 4 months, you need to have all the men in the wedding measured for the tuxedos or suits they will be renting and get the order placed. If they will be wearing their own clothing, 4 months out is a good time to make sure everyone has everything they need.

· Transportation – 4 months
If you will be shuttling guests, or just hiring a getaway limousine for the two of you, get the transportation booked no later than 4 months before the wedding date.

When you book our beautiful wedding venue near Knoxville, we are always happy to make suggestions for highly qualified wedding vendors in the area that we love to work with. Some of our wedding packages are even set up to include catering, music, the officiant, photography, and more. When you come by Country Jewell to take a look at the magnificent venue that we have for you, let us know which vendors you are still looking for and we'll do our best to help you find the right people for the job. 

A delightfully quaint Knoxville wedding
& event venue.

6550 Hickory Valley Road
Heiskell, TN 37754

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