So 2012 sparks a new beginning for more than just my intended and I. It is the first year we have decided to pursue small weddings and family events at our cottage rental property. For a few years now we have been approached to allow for such a type of event, but there was such a mountain of list of things to do before we could even conceive of hosting such a hugely important day, and as well, so many people. It all changed this year when we decided we would launch it first by doing our own wedding at our property. We would test the waters, and see if this was going to work for us first, and then go from there.
Firstly, you’ve got to make the conscious decision to keep your guest list small and menu expectations in check. VERY IMPORTANT. The key here is intimate cottage country setting. Not many cottage rentals would even allow for such an event: wedding, wedding anniversary, family reunion. But if you are honest with the owner as to what you are looking to do, you will find the right place. Just know your limits. Weddings do not have to be grandiose at the cottage. Create a list of guests that will represent your close inner circle of family and friends. Ask yourself this question: are these people in our lives?
I know work is important, but really, are you inviting clients to your wedding for business or personal reasons? Again, keep your guest list in check.
Secondly, finding the right location with the venue in mind can be daunting, so start early. Give yourself atleast a year to pick and plan. Try renting it out the year prior as a couple with maybe your parents for second opinions. Try it out for a week and see if you can find the vision of your wedding on the property. Can you do both the ceremony and the reception right on the same spot? Less driving for your guests could be a better overall experience.
Thirdly, do some research on what services are available in the district for rental equipment, catering options, staffing, bartending, etc. Chances are if the owners have hosted an event similar, they will be able to make some recommendations on where to go to for some of the bigger options: portable toilets, tents and furnishings, food service markets. This may be the deal breaker of all. If there is nothing out there, maybe the choice is made for you. They are lots of gorgeous spots to visit and be married at, but if you cannot find anyone to work the event, you won’t get far. Do your homework first before you put down any money.
Fourthly, lists, lists and more lists. Cottage weddings can be a lot of fun, but also involve a lot more details, especially when you are renting the cottage. It would probably be best to meet with the proprietor and talk about expectations. Have a look at pictures at other weddings that have taken place on the property. Make a list of the questions you would like to ask.
Fifth: what’s your budget? You’ll notice it’s not at the top of the list. The assumption is you have a budget. Know what it is. The best way to keep it in check is KEEP YOUR GUEST LIST SMALL. But also, try to avoid high end meal plans, and expensive champagne. For example, if you can only afford $5,000.00 for the week for everything, break it down as to what is most important, and go from there. 1. Comfort. 2. Food. 3. Location. 4. Open Bar. Etc… You get the idea. Prioritise your list so you will be able to take your budget and apply it against your priorities. That way, when it comes to dress shopping, if it’s at the bottom, you won’t spend half the budget on a dress you will only wear once.
Number six, is your start and finish times for the ceremony and the dinner/reception after; this will need to fall in line with the municipal township by-laws, as will the liquor license you will need to obtain from the local liquor licensing authority. In Ontario it would be the LCBO. Check with their office first to understand the rules, and as well, what the noise ordinance laws state for music. It would also be a good idea to check into the parking situation as well. You do not want to have your guests’ cars getting towed for coming to your wedding.
Seventh, don’t be afraid to ask for help. I have been asking everyone for help. And the great thing is, so many people who care about me are inclined to help me: family and friends. People just want to participate in a small way at such a glorious event.
Destination weddings are so richly romantic, and can be tailored to fit even the tightest of budgets. The more you do on your own, the less you have to spend having other people do things for you. And the help your closest family and friends are willing to provide for you is the best wedding gift anyone can give you. My property has been worked on religiously for 3 years now with my intended. Everything we have been doing to make it beautiful had that thought behind it. We wanted to share the experience with our closest family and friends for more than just romance. We wanted to share the true we have experience loving nature at the cottage. It’s only fitting that we get married there too.
May 28, 2012