Outdoor Weddings

Ready to ditch it all

This is my first post here.
I never spent any time thinking about my wedding and now that I have to, I am close to having an aneurysm after just 4 weeks of looking at dates and venues. I live in the SF Bay Area and my fiancee is from Atlanta, GA. My idea of our wedding is an outdoor ceremony and outdoor or barn reception. Everything should be rustic/natural with a lot of greenery - so either a barn venue or a winery etc. I have a hard time liking anything else so this is my number one priority.
So from a weather perspective we're tied to May- October 2013, which unfortunately, is my event season at work, leaving me with blackout weeks every month throghout. On top of that we have family and friends sitting on wedding dates in between which we have to schedule around, leaving me with basically not a single weekend between May and October to get married on without stepping on someone's feet or risking not having his friends at the wedding. Can I have a November outdoor wedding in the SF Bay Area or will that mean pneumonia for everyone?

On top of this, ATL venues I liked are all booked throughout 2013 already and the ones I looked at in wine country here I can't afford. I've already spent 4 weeks on this and am basically back to square one with no clue what to do. We're officially getting married in city hall next month already but I really wanted the big wedding for friends and family next year, which is now falling apart.

Am I doing it wrong?? I never imagined it would be this hard to find a venue and date, it's making my brain explode.

Should I hire a planner to do all this and present results and prices to me or is that going to break my budget entirely?

Re: Ready to ditch it all

  • TheVirginiansTheVirginians member
    500 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited October 2012
    Your questions: Weather in SF? Look to your left to see the local boards and post SF weather ???'s there. Am I doing it wrong? Maybe. You are getting married next month so you are planning a party, not a wedding, for next year. That should simplify things a bit. No need to worry about gown, bridesmaids, cake, etc. for next year. Will a planner break your budget? What is your budget? We all want things we cannot afford. If a winery's out of your budget, I suggest you look at public parks or government owned venues as they are cheaper. If your and everybody's and everything's calendars are so full, then consider holding your party either inside or in 2014. Good luck!
  • weather in sf in nov can be chilly since its right on the bay and water.  as for ga i would look at further out from ATL.  there is peach brandy cottage in dawsonville.  there is pine resort in ga that you can rent cabins and the such.
  • Belle0720Belle0720 member
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited October 2012
    A lot of people will tell you on The Knot that if you're getting married at City Hall next month, that's your real wedding. You can definitely host a vow renewal next year, but a big party is never necessary and if it's making your brain explode you certainly don't have to do it.

    But I do have a few suggestions for affordable barn/winery wedding venues in the SF Bay Area:

    Coyote Ranch in San Jose (click)
    Murrietta's Well in Livermore (click)
    Mountain Terrace in Woodside (click)

    I'd say November is pushing it if you really want an outdoor wedding, but you could try and make sure to have a plan b for rain.

    A wedding planner won't necessarily break the bank and I highly recommend getting one especially if you feel like you need some help. I'm using 2 Friends Events (click), they helped me put together a budget and gave me a ton of venue and vendor referrals which really helped me get started. Good luck!
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Kmueller272Kmueller272 member
    10 Comments
    edited October 2012
    Sorry, I should've explained more in detail. The City Hall wedding next month is just for immigration purposes and will involve no family, gown or party, so we really wanted to have the experience with friends and family next year (don't want to do 2014 as we'll be moving across country then and it'll be even harder to schedule something).
    I simply feel completely overwhelmed by the planning experience. I can't spend my entire work day contacting vendors and putting together price overviews so I really have no way of raelly knowing what I can and cannot afford until I've talked to caterers.

    btw, we're anticipating 50-70 people at our wedding if we do it in the Bay Area. If it's in Georgia, add another 20-30.

    Do you think a planner would take all of this off my back and be able to present me exact overviews of prices, what's included and availabilities and most of all, make sound recommendations?

    EDIT: MissKristen, thanks for the recommendations, I hadn't seen these yet and they look great.

    EDIT2: our budget is 25k, just the event. Gown, honeymoon etc are separate.
  • Many people find wedding planning unbelievably stressful. Partly it's because many are trying to have a 'perfect' wedding, which isn't possible and leads to stress. Just tracking the details, even if you're not concerned with perfection, is nearly a second job for many. I'm not using a wedding planner so I don't know what they can/will do. I'm sure there's a spectrum. If you're only a month in and not even having ANY fun yet, get a planner! On that budget you should have some wiggle room and it's worth the price for your sanity.

    Also, Nov seems a bit late and cold for an outdoor wedding. Maybe aim for Georgia. There are venues that can include catering and decor and take a lot of that off your hands. It just costs more money, but is probably in your budget. Good luck and try to remember this is supposed to be mostly fun.
  • Kmueller272Kmueller272 member
    10 Comments
    edited October 2012
    So, I thought I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel this morning when my original number 1 venue choice in Sonoma ended up having an April date available and for 4k less than the summer fees. After emailing back and forth with them all day and obviously getting excited about it, it turns out that they provide zero furniture and require you to choose from their list of 4 caterers and from their list of wedding planners. After talking to the caterers to just get an idea of what it would cost, I was floored by the cost. We were supposed to visit the venue tomorrow to make a final decision but that is probably not going to happen now.
    So I am back to square one.
  • SKPMSKPM member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    edited October 2012
    We got married at Kenwood Farms and Gardens, about an hour north of SF. I highly recommend it! But I'm not sure I'd go for an outdoor wedding in November. We just had our first rains in the last couple weeks.

    photo fancy-as-fuck.jpg
  • If you really have your heart set on something outdoors and November is your only option, you could rent those large heaters (some of them are kind of pretty) and have baskets of hand warmers or gloves or something cute like that at the ceremony. You could even have waiters with hot chocolate. You could have a tent reception and use the same heaters. My fiance is an electrician and he sets those large tents up all the time and he said the walls hold in heat pretty well, as long as the tent walls are thicker. 
    I would go for an afternoon wedding because it will be the warmest time of the day and if it's really cold that day, make sure there in an indoors spot for people to wait in the warmth before the ceremony starts. 
    I'd just make sure to somehow mention the fact that it's outdoors in the invites or your wedding website so everyone knows to dress warm. 
    If I were a guest and if the ceremony was shorter, I wouldn't mind being a little cold at a beautiful ceremony as long as the reception was nice and warm and you planned accordingly. 
    Good luck!!Laughing
  • Thanks guys, we're looking at a new venue tomorrow and meeting a planner that recommended it. We'll probably aim for April now. Temps look decent enough for an outdoor ceremony and then indoor reception. Will report back on how it went tomorrow.
  • edited November 2012
    I only read your post not everyone's reply but I just want you to know you are not alone in your frustration! I too was never a girl to "have it all planned out" I didn't grow up thinking of my wedding. So when we got engaged it was just frustrating. I felt pressure, I was crying, I hated everything I was looking at, AND I too was going to just hire a planner to do it all (mostly to alleviate the stress) It took 6MONTHS of back-n-forth decisions for us to decide on something we felt was "right". (my barnyard :) When we finally did, it all fell together. And now i am actually enjoying the planning and am glad I didn't hire a planner. It's still stressful at times, but it's mine and I love it.
    Good luck to you! Even when you feel like you are at square one and you have no other options, take a deep breath and hug your finacee' and remember..... HE's the reason for all this stress! Lol!!!  :)
  • Kmueller272Kmueller272 member
    10 Comments
    edited November 2012
    Update on this. In my utter frustration and cluelessness as to date AND location of my wedding, I was emailing with a very nice planner here in the bay area and she made all the difference. She told me about a fairly unknown venue that she'd done weddings at but they don't advertise - it's a private estate. Before I even signed a contract with her, she arranged a site visit for us and we loved it. The place is dirt cheap compared to what you get for your money at other places in the area. It's no barn but has so many other cool features that I was able to compromise on that.

    We signed both the planner (she clearly had done her homework and was able to turn my frustration around and got herself a new client) and the venue for 4/20/13. So now I am on the fast track ;-)

    Luckily I already found my dress this weekend and our save the dates are shipping this week. Phew :-)
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