Filtering by Tag: event planner baton rouge

Hidden Gems of the Red Stick: Baton Rouge Wedding Venues

Randi Fracassi

It's no secret that I love Baton Rouge -- the people, the culture, the way there's a mix of traditional values and traditions with modern ideas and design. The way residents of the city approach gatherings are set apart from the state because of this eclectic combination, and has created some of the most striking and beautiful wedding venues. That being said, there are quite a few popular and go to spaces that people adore, but among the charming paths of MidCity and down Old River Road, we have some of the most quaint and special hidden gems of venues that will leave lasting impressions on your guests for years to come. 

The James Grace House

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Found in the midst of cane fields, the James Grace House is a classic Antebellum home with sprawling acres of meadows and oak trees, and offers both indoor and outdoor spaces for weddings and events. With a bridal suite and restrooms on site and the availability of tables and chairs, the James Grace house has taken every detail into consideration of what an event could need or want. The property owners are kind and relaxed, and the ease of which they work with your clients make you feel like family. 

For more information about the James Grace House, you can click here. 

Cane Land Distilling Company

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With minimalist design being combined with rustic detail, Cane Land Distilling on the edge of Downtown along the Mississippi River is the perfect setting for a more modern couple. The neutral decor that allows you to get creative with colors and design elements, as well as the views into the taproom and the actual distillery, both work in the favor of this space in making it ideal for a wedding or large party. 

More information about events at Cane Land Distilling can be found here

Lucky Plantation 

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Lucky Plantation is a short drive down Old River Road, where you can fly by the sugar cane fields and Mississippi River and pull into the quaint drive of the home. Sporting a lush garden and fountain as well as oak and magnolia trees over the property, Lucky Plantation is ideal for smaller and more intimate weddings seeking classic Southern Charm. The property has indoor options as well (perfect for a Rain Plan) that matches the look and feel of the rest of the home with floor-to-ceiling shutter doors and 1860's details. 

More information about Lucky Plantation can be found here

The Trademark on Third

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Located in the heart of Downtown Baton Rouge, the Trademark on Third is a newly renovated space in neutral tones and flooded with natural lighting, and is right above the Driftwood Cask and Barrel. What makes Trademark special and unique to the downtown area is it's proximity to nearby ceremony venues, as well as the array of options you can select from for food and beverage (that is, not just seafood from this gorgeous place!). 

More info about the Trademark can be found here

The Cabin Restaurant 

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The Cabin is quaint and off the beaten path in Burnside, Louisiana, and features a brick courtyard and original buildings throughout the property. With shiplap walls and rustic motifs scattered around, the Cabin is the perfect local find for a Fixer Upper aesthetic with a reasonable budget. 

More information on the Cabin can be found here

I hope this guide about the hidden venue gems of the Greater Baton Rouge area helps you in finding a unique venue for your big day! Each of these venues have their own distinctive charm that make them unique from each other, weather it's the location or the amenities. I strive to show reasonable and beautiful venues to my brides and grooms that fit their aesthetic and style, and if you have any suggestions of spaces within the Greater Baton Rouge area (or beyond!) I would love to hear about it over a cup of coffee. 

Happy planning,

Randi 

"Is this a good deal?" and Other Questions Relating to the Value of Vendors

Randi Fracassi

The question “Is this a good deal?”, the statement “I’m paying X dollars for a photographer and second shooter for eight hours, 1000-1500 edited images, and engagements, is this fair?”, and “I’m suffering sticker shock – the venue I just looked at just cost X. And that’s not including the food minimum!”. Most of these statements are followed by the comment “Well, when you attach ‘wedding’ to anything, the cost goes up”.

When you’re looking at venues and photographers and caterers and invitations, and you’re reaching out and getting quotes and suddenly there’s a lot more money involved and it’s surprising you, here are few things to keep in mind.

There’s a lot more than just the wedding day as far as working for your vendors. Leading up to a wedding I am coordinating, I spend roughly 50-75 hours speaking with vendors, clients, and everyone involved in a wedding. Broken down to regular work days, that’s about 6 to 10 days spent on the phone, coordinating site visits and final walk-throughs, rehearsals, and the day itself (which for a 5:00 pm wedding, starts at about 9:00 am for my staff and I). For a photographer, not only are they making sure their equipment is ready, but purchasing additional cards, straps, repairs, talking with vendors, and after the day itself (if they’re starting as early as I am for a 5:00 pm wedding), editing and culling thousands of photos to present you with the very best. On average, most photographers in the Baton Rouge area spend 4-9 weeks editing photos and galleries, and more so if they’re assembling prints and albums. 

The vendors that you're getting quotes and proposals from are full of knowledge, but everyone's knowledge is different, and that's a part of the cost. A caterer fresh out of culinary school, or even if they’re based in their home without formal training, is going to provide a menu and offerings than a caterer who has been in the field for 15 years, has a diverse staff, and gives advice or includes floor plans and food displays. With photography, live music, calligraphy, and other fine arts that are services, generally the more you’re paying should be reflected in the quality, service, and presentation. You will be hard pressed to find next to free photographers that have experience in the wedding industry, provide fully edited images, process culling, and best and most importantly of all, ensure that every shot you want on your wedding day is taken.

Fun fact: you’re paying for the experience of working with these vendors. That’s right – the way that they treat you is something you’re paying for. You’re investing into your vendors, you’re giving them a substantial amount of money to work with them, and how fast they respond to emails and phone calls, send back and forth contracts and edits to floor plans, menus, and timelines, how little stress you feel while working with these amazing and awesome folks…that’s a big part of what your money is going towards. You’re paying to work well with a vendor, and if there are bumps in the road or in your relationship, then you are most certainly not getting your value in with them.

But wait, what about when someone is offering a deal or discount? What does that even mean? Well, it can mean a variety of things. It could be just a celebratory discount to appeal to clients who normally couldn’t afford their services, or maybe they just want more bookings. It varies, and you can’t put a lot of stock into why a discount or deal is being offered other than it is. However, when this deal or discount is repetitive is when you need to be cautious about the vendor, and take a hard look at their portfolio and what others are saying about them (especially other vendors).

At the heart of it though, what does it mean when you’re getting a deal or there’s a lot of value? Value and deals are subjective to who is looking at the overall cost; for instance, the services of Poppy Lane Events may seem like too good of a deal to some, but other potential clients may see them as a great value for the cost. Keep it all relative to what your budget is, what you’re looking for as an experience, and what is all included in the overall cost (asking for an itemized and detailed quote is a great idea). With that in mind, what’s a good value and deal will be easily answered, and you’ll be well on your way to having the wedding of your dreams.

Happy planning,

Randi

Cutting the Wedding Cost: What You Should and Shouldn't Leave Out

Randi Fracassi

When you’re on a tight budget or when you’re paying for your wedding yourself, the need to cut costs as much as you can is very real. However, there are just some things related to your wedding that you shouldn’t cut, and in fact invest more into if you are able to. What you actually need for a nice wedding and reception can be essentially narrowed down for a few key items, and of course should be taken into consideration based on personal preferences.

Shouldn’t Cut: Photography

Sure, you have a friend of a friend who will shoot your wedding for free or at a steeply cheaper cost than other photographers you’ve looked at. But look at the experience of this person, their editing style (if they edit their images), turnaround time, and most importantly do they have a guarantee and contract. You won’t always have your wedding flowers (silk or real), you won’t remember the cake flavor, but you will always have the images captured from your wedding. Investing money into making sure those images are exactly as you want will never be a bad thing.

Should Cut: Cake and/or Grooms Cake

Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful cake. However, if you’re pressed for money and can’t afford an elaborate four tier confection, don’t beat yourself up about it. Talk to your baker about doing foam layers, or using buttercream instead of fondant or gumpaste. Go with a more simple design and have flowers added. Or, forget a formal cake all together, and do a cupcake tree in your preferred flavor.

Shouldn’t Cut: Food and Associated Rentals

Food is the biggest cost of a wedding, there is no getting around it. Whether you choose to have a restaurant or a private company cater, there are associated costs with not just the food, but the staff in order to serve and wait staff. Most caterers also include plates and silverware in their pricing (if not, ask for a quote directly), which should be considered if you’re weighing the choices between doing it yourself or not. Also, the entire matter of doing it yourself (or having a family member do it): the stress of you or your family having to cook and take care of those details when you’re supposed to be focusing on yourself and relaxing is completely unnecessary.

Should cut: Favors

When was the last time you actually enjoyed a wedding favor or used it? Personally, I do not care for favors, and do not see the added value they give to a wedding. I have yet to hear of a guest genuinely excited about receiving a favor; in fact, guests care more about spending time with the bride and groom, and being personally thanked for their attendance. If you focus your time and ensure that you have an interaction with everyone at your wedding, I promise that no one will notice that they didn’t receive a gift for coming.

Shouldn’t cut: Wedding Attire

As a firm believer in high quality clothing, of course I will suggest that you shouldn’t cut the cost of your wedding dress. With resale websites like OnceWed beginning to become more and more popular, one shouldn’t have to settle for a reproduction dress from Ebay or another auction site. A suggestion would be Etsy to look for something truly unique, or perhaps get into contact with your local university’s fashion department.

Should cut: Signage

Though wooden welcome signs, hashtag indicators, and paper programs are nice details, they are not necessary in order to have a stylish and well thought out wedding. With the rise of DIY couples, Etsy craftsmen and women have started producing customized pintables that you can have places like VistaPrint, Fedex, and event Walgreens print for a significantly lower cost than Wedding Paper Divas or Minted. Though I will always recommend a small business (like Sue Paperie of Ruston, LA or Paper and Things in Baton Rouge), there is no denying that doing the printable route is more cost effective. And, if you still want that welcome sign, look at printing and frame options, or DIY (a tutorial to come soon!). 

 

Poppies, I hope this was helpful in your planning journey! If you ever have any questions, feel free to email