Wedding Planning in Lincoln, NE – 2018
Despite what you may have heard, planning your wedding does not have to be stressful. There is no reason to come crashing down from the high of getting engaged when you start thinking of all the things that need to get done in order for your special day to be absolutely perfect – especially when there are so many resources and professionals right here in Lincoln that can help you every step of the way. As we talked to some local experts about wedding planning, almost all of them shared one common piece of advice—plan ahead. Get on top of locking everything down right away. We know that probably sounds a little overwhelming, especially when you don’t know what “everything” entails, but if you keep reading, you’ll get a pretty good idea.
Let’s start by setting the scene. While following with tradition and getting married in a church is still fairly common, these days many couples are opting for a more unique setting. For the latter, picking a location where both the ceremony and reception is another emerging trend. Since setting a date can’t be done without confirming the availability of the venue, make sure you are booking that first – and way in advance. Jaylynn Schubauer with Graduate Lincoln can attest to this. “I would say for our hotel, when booking one of the ballrooms, having a few different dates in mind will improve your chances of one being available. If you want a summer wedding, June specifically, I would start looking at venues as soon as possible. June tends to fill up quick, so the sooner you make a decision, the better your odds are of getting your preferred venue.
Graduate Lincoln can accommodate the wedding ceremony, wedding reception, bridal shower, and rehearsal dinner. From grand mid-century inspired ballrooms to smaller spaces for intimate receptions, we have a spot that is just right for you. Our Ardis Ballroom is ideal for large events; with 5,800 square feet, it can hold up to 450 people. For medium-sized groups, we recommend the Scarlet Ballroom and Legends Ballroom. Both of these spaces have inspired personalities all their own that will enhance the atmosphere of any event. One thing that really sets us apart from other hotels and reception halls in Lincoln is that we have a Bridal Suite/Powder Room. This cozy, elegant lounge area is complete with luxe velvet couches, a wet bar, and a private outdoor patio. It’s the perfect place to start the day off relaxing and enjoying the company of your bridal party.”
Another venue option in downtown Lincoln is the Talon Room, which offers a space that is unlike any other. On the lower level of the building with a tremendous amount of character that was formerly home to the famous Spaghetti Works, Talon Room has established itself as one of the most popular places to host weddings and receptions. Matthew Rogge with Talon Room shares some insight about this unique event spot. “What is so great about the Talon Room is that it can be as casual or as elegant as the guest wants it to be. With an old-fashioned wood bar, distressed brick walls, dark concrete floors, intimate lighting options—this space is truly rustic, which people really like. We offer tables, chairs, tablecloths, set-up and tear-down assistance, an onsite bar, and catering options. We have enough round tables for parties of 150 people or less but our space can actually accommodate as many as 300 people for a stand-up event and up to 250 people for a sit-down event. We don’t have decorations available for use but DIY decor is a big thing right now, and those who book the space are free to transform it however they’d like. For a small fee, guests can actually come in and do all the set-up the day before so they don’t have to stress about it the day of the wedding. Then, we always let our wedding parties come in the next day to tear down their decorations for no extra charge. This kind of flexibility is what sets Talon Room apart. Since we’re just a small, one-room venue, we really give the wedding party our full attention. And even though wedding receptions are more common, we currently provide brides and grooms with the option to host their ceremony at Talon Room as well. Being able to have everything take place at one venue makes it so easy for everyone.
I really encourage folks to go to our website to check out the 3D tour of the Talon Room if they are considering it for their wedding/reception venue. It’s a great way to get a feel for our space and to see if it’s a good fit for their special occasion.”
Like Matthew noted, DIY decor for weddings is very popular because it is usually less expensive and it provides a personal touch to the event. Sara Reyes Sudman with Fields Floral also adds that DIY crafting can be a fun activity for the wedding families or bridesmaids to do together! “At Fields Floral, we see a lot of bachelorette groups come in to create DIY designs for the big day. They have fun putting floral centerpiece arrangements together while sipping wine and letting the creativity flow. We provide all the supplies and we have snacks, too! It’s a great chance for the bridal party to bond, especially if some or all of them will be meeting each other for the first time.
Fields Floral also offers personalized, stress-free planning for weddings and events. Our shop has so many different arrangements to choose from and we can also create one-of-a-kind arrangements to your specifications. We’ll make sure your flowers enhance the ambiance and bring joy to you, your attendants, your table tops, and your guests. Call to set up a consultation with us and bring pictures of your vision for your special day.”
If you’ve attended a lot of weddings in Lincoln or you’re from the area, chances are you’ve heard of a lot of these places already… but there’s a new venue on the block folks! Cherie Anderson with Venue Events & Catering can tell you more about Lincoln’s newest destination for today’s engaged couples. “The Scottish Rite Ballroom just recently became one of Venue’s event spaces and we are very exciting to be booking weddings for 2019! Imagine—luxury of Gatsby’s roaring 20’s meets modern sophistication. It has a vintage charm to it. With a built-in stage, original wood dance floor, opulent chandeliers, a fireplace, grand columns and archways—it definitely provides a lavish atmosphere.
At Scottish Rite, located at 332 Centennial Mall S., couples have the ability to host their ceremony in the grand hall and reception in the attached banquet hall, and our team will go above and beyond to ensure everything goes smoothly. We have a butcher who cures and cuts meat in-house, a pastry chef who bakes scratch-based goodness, and some of the hardest working kitchen staff who take pride in everything served. When it comes to putting together a menu, many of our wedding clients are looking for something different, and that type of creativity is our specialty. Some of our most raved-about dishes have been the Steak House Burger Bar, Street Taco Bars and Gourmet Rice Bowls. These are examples of simple but tasty spreads, where guests get to decide what they want and are not left hungry if they have food allergies or are picky eaters.
Altogether, Venue offers five private dining rooms and two large banquet facilities that hold up to 400 guests. If you book your wedding reception with Venue, we waive the room fee for your wedding rehearsal dinner or bridal shower in one of our private dining rooms. We also offer day-of wedding munchies/platters for the wedding party prior to the wedding as this is typically an all-day affair.”
When contemplating which venue would be the perfect one for your various wedding-related events, if you’re thinking upscale – why not take it 20 floors up? Deanna Walz with the Nebraska Club knows what we’re talking about. “From high up on the 20th floor of US Bank building in downtown Lincoln, the Nebraska Club offers a view of the city that impresses both in and out of town guests. The romantic lights of the city and the unparalleled view of a Nebraska sunset create an elegant ambiance. Rehearsal dinners provide a special opportunity for the families of the bride and groom, along with other members of the wedding party, to come together and toast to the upcoming union. At the Nebraska Club, we take these cherished moments very seriously. With our primary function as a fine dining restaurant, our chef excels at crafting meals for groups of 30-50 people, and our private rooms are just the right size for your prenuptial festivities.
We can do more than rehearsal dinners, though. Our rooms, which can accommodate groups from 15 to 250, can also be rented out for receptions. Couples seem to gravitate towards our cosmopolitan energy as the vibe they want for their special day. With a downtown wedding, guests are able to access all that the city has to offer, having everything they need within walking distance.
Keep the Nebraska Club in mind for your wedding. Call to learn more about our connections with florists, formal wear shops, DJ’s, bands, and photographers. You can also visit our website to view our banquet menu and wedding packet.”
When learning more about the options at the various venues, you’ll want make note of which ones have their own built-in sound and lighting capabilities. For those that don’t, we suggest turning to Stratum Productions. They do a lot more than audio/visual, though. Daniel Anderson with Stratum Productions can elaborate. “We can do audio/visual in any indoor or outdoor setting. Aside from that, a few other services we provide include wireless up-lighting, string lighting, texture lighting, pinspots, standalone structures, and vintage ceremony backdrops—we even have a dry ice machine that will make it look like you’re dancing on a cloud! Our photo booth is another one that’s a lot of fun for guests, and our newest service, #Printer, is becoming very popular as well. Since creating a “hashtag” for your wedding is basically a requirement these days, our #Printer service makes it possible for guests to actually print off the photos they post on social media using a wedding’s hashtag. Wedding parties love this because it’s so interactive and makes for a great keepsake to take home at the end of the night.
We also have software that can virtually build a room so you can get a 3D walk-through of what your venue will look like with all the decorations and lighting features. This really helps in the planning stages so you can visualize what you still need and what to expect.
At Stratum Productions, we don’t cut corners. We know this is the day that you’ve been waiting for your entire life. We make it a point to take very special care of our clients and everything we do can be customized to fit their needs.”
Another venue consideration is the catering options available. Some places have a list of preferred caterers, while others have their own in-house kitchen. If you’re holding your reception somewhere that doesn’t provide food options, you’ll have the fun task of selecting a caterer. “With catering options designed to fit any need, we can create a menu that is perfect for your event,” says Joe Armstrong with Cowboy Chicken. “Whether it’s our famous wood fire rotisserie chicken, twice baked potatoes, and green beans or you’d like us to design a more elaborate menu, we’ll be happy to accommodate. We do catering for small gatherings like showers and engagement parties but can also accommodate larger functions like the rehearsal dinner or the big day. As we know how important it is to stay within a budget for weddings, our clients benefit from the value we are able to provide with our offerings.”
Armstrong also points out, “We have done a number of rehearsal dinners and weddings at all types of venues, and can work with any dietary restrictions. Our clients can select items from our menu or we can create something entirely different, and we are happy to schedule a tasting to assure that we are meeting – and hopefully surpassing – your expectations. Your catering company of choice should be able to help you get the important details in place so that no balls are dropped. This includes the amount of food appropriate for your event, all necessary items to complete the meal, and timing–who is responsible for delivery, set-up, table settings, service, and clean-up.”
To continue along with the theme of having everything under one roof, this next venue that we’d like to highlight is no exception. We asked Isabel Reichel with Wilderness Ridge to tell us a little bit about the wedding options they have to offer. “Wilderness Ridge is perfect for all things pertaining to weddings, from outdoor ceremonies on our stunning Wedding Island to receptions in our beautiful lodge-style banquet hall. Wilderness Ridge is surrounded by so much natural beauty, making it a lovely choice to book for your wedding festivities. On average, we book weddings about one year out, so make sure you plan ahead. If Saturdays are booked and your date is flexible, I would encourage you to consider a Friday or Sunday wedding, which often has financial benefits too.
My main piece of advice would be to never be afraid to ask questions. Ask about extra fees, such as cake cutting fees or automatically added charges. Additionally, if you are comparing venues, make sure to compare them fairly! Some venues are more expensive, but they include more services. For example, Wilderness Ridge does all the set up and teardown of the tables, chairs, table linens, etc. whereas other venues require the clients to do the work themselves.
Though most of you are probably planning your wedding for next year, we are currently offering a wedding special for all weddings booked for November 2018 and February or March of 2019, with 25% off all purchased food and a complimentary champagne toast for all your guests. Our mountain-style lodge screams winter wedding, and this offer sweetens the deal.
At this point, we’ve touched on some great venues to consider for when you tie the knot, but what about for when you pop the question? Let’s back up a little bit to the engagement as Jordyn tells us about how their Romance Package makes for the perfect proposal. “Imagine this: After a fantastic day with your sweetheart you arrive at Wilderness Ridge where our friendly staff is already waiting to escort you to your private room. The room is set up for just the two of you with a dozen roses, two large comfy chairs in front of the fireplace, chocolate covered strawberries and some bubbly. After an amazing four-course dinner you drop down on one knee and pop the question. The rest is history…” Enough said.
We can’t talk about engagements without thinking of Sartor Hamann Jewelers, Lincoln’s fine jewelry store since 1905. They have so many cuts and colors to choose from when it comes to picking out the perfect rings. Anna Alcalde with Sartor Hamann Jewelers commented on the recent trends she’s noticing. “The most common thing we see now is couples coming in together to look at engagement rings and wedding bands. The woman will pick out her top three and then her guy will surprise her with one of those. Ladies aren’t opting for matching sets as much anymore either. Rose gold is our most popular color of metal right now, and we see a lot of ladies mixing it with yellow gold bands for an attractive contrast. As far as styles go, the vintage and nature-inspired looks are very hot right now.
We have amazing natural diamonds as well as a new budget-friendly choice of lab-created diamonds. Both are wonderful. Stop in and we’ll show you the difference. Although they weren’t dug up from the ground, lab diamonds are still real in the sense that they display the same chemical and optical properties as natural diamonds—plus they cost about 25% less and are eco-friendly! Win, win. At Sartor Hamann, we offer a special deal on our engagement rings. Anyone who purchases their ring from us will receive 15% off the men’s wedding band, and anyone who purchases both will get free silicone rings (there are 15 colors to choose from!). Sartor Hamann has more than just engagement rings too, though. We also have fun pieces that would make for a wonderful wedding gift or accessories for bridesmaids. A unique jewelry line we carry is “Maps” by A.Jaffe—select any address in the world (maybe where you met the love of your life) and let a diamond mark the place that changed everything. And getting matching bracelets for your bridal party is a great way to ensure everyone is going to look coordinated in pictures!
Stop by Sartor Hamann, at one of our two locations in Lincoln, to check out all that we have to offer. Almost everyone on staff has been with us for over 10 years, so they are very knowledgeable.”
While we’re on the topic of gifts, let’s talk about gift registries. Our best piece of advice? Be intentional. Don’t go crazy and add a million little things to your list. Instead, you should be very selective and pick out only quality items that will last and that you actually need. A great store in Lincoln that allows you to create a registry is Habitat, Lincoln’s premier kitchen and gift store. Jana Clark with Habitat has plenty of great ideas to offer, whether you’re deciding what you want as a couple or a guest who is selecting a gift for them. “Habitat has many name brand home decor and kitchen items that would make perfect wedding gifts; it’s our specialty. Right now the Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven sets have been very popular. This iconic line of kitchenware is indispensable in any kitchen. It’s great for newlyweds but also has high-quality pieces that anyone would appreciate. When you buy a gift at Habitat, depending on whether you’ll be able to attend or not, we can handle the gift wrapping or shipping.”
Transportation is another factor to consider, especially if you aren’t holding your ceremony and wedding in the same venue. Lori Hiebner with Leisure Limousine & Sedan thinks you should arrive in style with one of their fabulous limos, SUVs, or party buses! “At Leisure Limo, we provide prompt, professional, affordable, and, most importantly, luxury transportation service for your wedding needs. Our chauffeurs have the ability to be flexible and will customize the trip as you go. We want you to have fun and not stress—let us take you where you need to go.”
It’s very popular for wedding parties to take a party bus from the wedding to their reception, and Leisure Limo now offers at 34-passenger “Limo Bus” that is perfectly suited for the occasion. Think about bachelor and bachelorette parties too! These limo buses have Aux/Bluetooth/Sub/Amp capabilities, a DVD Player with two large video screens, leather seating, tinted windows for privacy, bar lighting, and coolers/champagne wells. Their stretch limos offer almost all of these amenities as well, plus each vehicle comes with a friendly, professional driver. They also offer transportation service for the bride and groom at the end of the night from the reception, as well as airport car and shuttle service for the wedding guests. They literally think of everything for you so that you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
One very important thing we have yet to address is in the bridal look department – the dresses, the tuxes or suits, the shoes and accessories, the hair styles – and all of the other details that come together to make one fine looking couple and bridal party.
According to Lexi Walters, author of The Buff Bride’s Handbook: Get in Shape for Your Wedding Day, 80% of brides and over half the wedding party and family members will take steps to change their eating or exercise habits for the big day. “The trick is to make sure that those changes produce the results you’re looking for!” comments Jeff Madsen with Right Foot Forward Fitness. “Right Foot Forward Fitness offers a variety of ways for people to be in their best shape ever for the wedding. From personal training to private small group training limited to the wedding party and family members—we can help anyone achieve their goals. We can also provide accountability with diet and food choices supported with recipes, samples, and a food diary if it’s desired. We can come alongside people with as little or as much structure and support as they need and want.
Here are the top three things wedding participants should know about their fitness:
- You don’t need to go on a starvation diet but you do need lots of quality fresh whole foods.
- Stop drinking your calories! Save your calories for those fresh whole foods.
- Do your best…forget the rest. A solid effort will yield positive results; have fun with your fitness and when the big day comes, enjoy it knowing you look and, more importantly, feel great!”
There are other “appearance solutions,” if you will, that can’t be attained through a gym membership or a trip to the spa. For example, hair loss or unwanted wrinkles. Fortunately, JMISKO surgical design | md has a lot of services to offer a soon-to-be bride and groom before the biggest day of their lives. Brianna Kuebler with JMISKO surgical design | md, recently named the Best Local Med Spa for 2018, gave us a look into these services. “One of the more noticeable trends that we’ve seen is that younger brides are coming in for aesthetic services such as BOTOX® and fillers. I think the notion of BOTOX® being used only by older women is starting to change. Your wedding day is the most photographed day in your life – brides, not matter their age, don’t want to look back and wish they would have taken care of their deep forehead lines. Similarly, BROTOX is growing in popularity. That’s right, we’ve started seeing men getting a little maintenance done, too.
For women, we recommend taking advantage of the great prices we have on aesthetic/skin services like BOTOX®, fillers and laser skin treatments. We usually ask brides to come between 3-4 weeks before their wedding if they are getting BOTOX® and/or fillers. The patient has full results after 2 weeks of injections. Depending on the laser skin treatment, time frame can vary, but usually takes longer. Plan on coming in 2-3 months before your big day if you do any CO2 Laser Treatment.
For men, we have a variety of options for hair restoration and retention too. If you are looking to keep what you have and add some fullness, our hair retention options include written prescriptions by Dr. Misko, topical hair loss products, PRP/stem cell injections, or the laser hair cap. For more significant hair loss cases that require a transplant, we have several different options that fit every budget. For any of our hair retention options, come in 6-12 months before your wedding day. For the hair transplant options, we ask you to come in 12-18 months prior.”
Now, after you’ve hit your goals and you’re looking like your best self, you might consider flaunting what you’ve got for your future spouse by taking some sexy, tasteful boudoir photos. Jamie Incontro with Boudoir Boutique offered some advice for our lady readers. “A boudoir photography session is a chance for you to wear sexy outfits, lingerie, dresses, or even go scantily clad and get your photographs taken. The photos are then usually given as a gift from bride to groom. Some ladies will hide them in a place for their man to find the morning of their wedding, giving him a little sneak peek to get him excited for their wedding night.
Every woman deserves to feel beautiful, desirable and sexy. Celebrate you and your inner beauty! It doesn’t matter if you are thin or plus-sized, young or mature, tall or short—tasteful boudoir photography has the power to make you feel sexy in your own skin. Boudoir Boutique has different session packages with prices depending on length of time, hair and makeup, and outfit changes. Your images will be ready to view and order approximately 7-10 days after your session and your order will be complete within 4-6 weeks depending on seasonal volume, so if you have a specific date you want the order done for, make sure you are scheduling at least 8 weeks in advance.”
Finally, while we’ve covered quite a bit so far, we’ve really only scratched the surface on certain topics. To get a better grasp on the full scope of your wedding planning, we recommend attending the 2019 Nebraska Bridal Show on Sunday, January 20 at the Holthus Convention Center in York, NE. This show is an excellent way to learn about the best wedding vendors in the state. Vendors are hand-picked from across the region in order to give couples options for each wedding category, highlighting the latest trends in bridal gowns, tuxedos, cake, décor, music, and more!
Terri Carlson with Holthus Convention Center also notes, “The Holthus Convention Center makes an excellent wedding venue itself. Our west lobby is quickly becoming my favorite space in our facility. The west-facing, floor-to-ceiling windows make for a beautiful backdrop year-round, especially when there is a famous Nebraska sunset to really set the mood. The best part is that you can have a ceremony that has an outdoor feeling, but not have to worry about how unpredictable Mother Nature can be. So whether you’re planning an intimate wedding reception for 50 people or a larger celebration with up to 800 guests, our newer facility can accommodate your needs.”
True, there’s a lot that goes into planning and executing a dream wedding – but to sum it up best, it’s never too early to get started with your planning and if you can dream it, there’s a professional locally who can make it a reality!