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Michigan-Grand Rapids

Where to start?

Hi everyone! This is my first time posting on this local board. I got engaged this weekend in Grand Rapids and I am excited to begin the wedding planning process...I just don't know where to begin! What were the first decisions you made?

My fiance and I are hoping to get married in late August/early September of next year in Grand Rapids (although we are open to other fun locations in West Michigan). I was also hoping to get some suggestions for reception locations and photographers in Grand Rapids/West Michigan. I would also hoping to find a wholesale flower vendor in West Michigan so that I can create my own bouquets and centerpieces...do any of you have any suggestions?

A little info that may be helpful:
-I want to have a subtle "nautical" theme (navy blues/khaki/yellows)
-we are expecting to invite between 200-225 people
-his family will be travelling from the Detroit area
-he is a WMU alum and I am a GVSU alum

Thanks in advance for any suggestions and/or advice you can give me! :) :) :)

Re: Where to start?

  • akhensley81akhensley81 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Hi there!

    Congratulations on your engagement!! :) My advice would be to first figure out what your budget is, before you look at any venues or vendors.

    TK has a pretty good checklist tool that shows you what you should be working on at 12 months, 9 months, 6 months, etc. I used it and it definitely helped.

    Also, at the top of the board there is a sticky thread for vendor recommendations. Definitely check that out once you start looking for vendors.

    Good luck!!
  • jazzybaccjazzybacc member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    First of all, decide on a date, as well as a budget, and start booking vendors.  I booked more than a year in advance and we still had to change our date.

    Don't ask anyone to be in your wedding party until 6-8 months out to avoid drama.

    GVSU has a very nice venue for weddings if you wanted to go there.  Dep on your price point for food, they are a little pricey.  I'm not sure about wholesale flowers, but Horrock's market was really cheap for their flowers if you decide not to DIY.

    Search the knot for some vendors and get some ideas.

    Have fun, and good luck!
    BabyFetus Ticker
  • edited December 2011
    I agree with PPs to first start with your budget; then look into venues. You need a wedding date to book other vendors and you can't have a wedding date set in stone until you have a venue. With it being 12-13 months from when you want to have the wedding, I'd look into this ASAP :)

    Congrats, BTW! :)  Wedding planning is a trip but it's worth it in the end!
  • rosesarefreerosesarefree member
    edited December 2011
    I agree that the first thing you need to do is determine your budget! If you are willing to travel a little bit, I recommend checking into the community center in Grand Haven. We are having our ceremony in Central Park, and the reception at the community center across the street. There is so much to do in Grand Haven in the summer and this would really fit into your theme. They don't have any preferred caterers, and you can bring in any licensed caterer and bartending service so that can save you a lot of money. It was newly renovated a couple of years ago and it has a really nice kitchen for your caterer.  We booked it for earlier in the summer a couple of weeks ago, and they still had August 18th available for summer Saturdays. Not sure about September though.
  • edited December 2011
    Thank you for the responses! We have a pretty good idea of what our budget will be. I started looking at some venues around Grand Rapids, but nothing has really jumped out at me yet. My fiance and I are hoping to find a venue in the Grand Rapids area that has a modern feel, or a venue on a lake (either inland or Lake Michigan). We have talked about the possibility of renting a house on Lake Michigan and holding the ceremony and reception on the beach. Have any of you done this? Do you have any more suggestions of venues that will work with the "nautical" feel we are going for?
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