Wedding Planning in Lincoln, NE – 2019
On average, it takes about a year to a year and a half to plan a wedding. Timelines can vary depending on the size, location, and theme of your wedding. There are a lot of things to consider and, sometimes, it can feel a little overwhelming. To help you on your journey to “I do,” we spoke to some wedding experts for some advice on making your special day perfect.
The Bachelor + Bachelorette Party
The purpose of having a bachelor or bachelorette party leading up to your wedding is to celebrate with your closest friends, have a lot of fun, and basically pay one last tribute to your single life. It is also a time for you to get away from the entire wedding planning stress and to let loose. Planning an engaging bachelor/bachelorette party is important. Some groups choose to “ball out” and travel to an exciting destination like Las Vegas or Nashville, but for those who want to save a dime and keep the festivities local, we have some recommendations for you.
The key is to do something different than what you’d normally do on the weekend. If you’re used to going out and hitting up the bars downtown, think of some ways to mix things up. For example, instead of driving yourself or getting an Uber, get a party bus!
Tailored Dreams Limousines & Party Buses offers a custom, luxury party bus experience at economical prices. Party buses are fun because you and your group can pregame with some drinks before getting to your destination, jam out to the music that gets you hyped up, and dance your hearts out…all while cruising around town! You don’t have to worry about making a mess at your home or being too loud, all you have to worry about is having a good time.
“At Tailored Dreams, we have an unmatched Wedding Package,” DeeDee Loomis, owner of Tailored Dreams Limousines & Party Buses, informed us. “Our fleet includes five decked out limousine-style party buses, two that are handicap accessible, accommodating up to 45 people in our largest bus. Each bus has Bluetooth stereo systems that really thump, air conditioning to keep your party cool, and colorful LED lights for an ultimate clubbing experience.”
“Wedding parties that book one of our buses for both their wedding and bachelor and/or bachelorette party get a discount!” DeeDee added. “With our Wedding Package, the limousine details are taken care of for you. Our professional chauffeurs will arrive in a tuxedo and literally roll out the red carpet for you, making you feel as special as you are on your day.”
The planning of your day is a exciting ordeal. DeeDee recommends that, once you have your ceremony and reception locations set, to make your transportation reservations and plans as soon as possible.
“With us being in the transportation industry for 20 years, we have seen a change in the amount of time needed to reserve your transportation,” DeeDee shared. “It use to be three to six months before the date. Now, if your date is on a Saturday from April to September in the late afternoon, to early evening, reservations are being made nine to 18 months ahead of time.”
Bachelor/bachelorette parties can be a whole weekend’s worth of activities. For the bachelor party, a great place to either start or end the night is Capital Cigar Lounge. They offer a high-quality selection of cigars, whiskey, and atmosphere. Cigars also make a great bachelor or wedding gift!
“Capital Cigar Lounge was created to make any experience memorable, personable, and intimate,” said Natalie Drozd, director of marketing for the lounge. “This includes any wedding-related event such as the bachelor/bachelorette party, all the way to the after party. We can provide spirit options with personalized, themed cocktails, bartenders, and servers. Capital Cigar Lounge is unique because of the unparalleled customer service experience created by our team. On your special day, you deserve to have a team who is dedicated, attentive, and truly cares about making the event the best it can be.”
Natalie told us that she is noticing wedding parties opting for a more intimate experience with fewer guests. This model fits perfectly with the Capital Cigar Lounge philosophy of quality over quantity.
The most exciting part of wedding planning is the process of creating an experience to celebrate love with the people who matter most. Capital Cigar Lounge values relationships and will ensure a memorable experience through their efforts on your special day.
For a fun bachelorette daytime outing, we recommend calling Burton & Tyrrell’s Flowers and reserving their shop for a DIY floral arranging party! If you love flowers, you will treasure this experience. Your bachelorette party can bring wine and snacks and learn all sorts of tips and tricks on floral design and decorating. This could experience can double as an interactive way to create your center pieces for your wedding day! Chances are, your friends will feel special that they get to help create a part of your picture-perfect wedding.
On that note, it’s important to choose a florist who you can trust. We spoke to Gary Tharnish, an expert with 40 years of experience in the wedding industry as a wedding planner and owner of Burton & Tyrrell’s Flowers, to give us an insight on how to plan the most beautiful wedding with the least amount of stress.
“One of the most important aspects that a bride and her family need to discuss before starting planning is setting an overall budget. Sometimes, girls come into the shop and have no idea what their flower budget is, which is an issue. Decide what is most important to you, whether that be the dress, flowers, invitations, or whatever, and adjust your budget accordingly,” Gary told us. “If you want to keep costs and stress down, don’t plan your wedding around Mother’s or Valentine’s Day. Your florist will be swamped and the flowers will be more expensive because of cost and demand.”
Gary also told us about some of the trends he thinks will stick around for a while: “Lots of greenery! A lot of people are leaning towards flowing greenery with only a pop of flowers as accents. Another thing I’ve noticed are cascade bouquets returning from the 80s and 90s. One common mistake that I want to warn brides about is bringing a picture in from Pinterest and expecting your florist to be able to copy that exactly within your budget. Remember that the photo says nothing about season or cost. The most gorgeous weddings I’ve done is when a bride gives me general parameters and gives me the trust to make it perfect.”
Florists need to be hired about eight to nine months before the wedding in order to give them as much time as possible to work with you and accomplish your goals. Before flowers, you’ll need to know your venue in order to decide on what kind of vibe you are going for. You’ll also want to have an approximate wedding size and party nailed down in order to know the number of centerpieces, bouquets, and boutonnieres. Your florist should be one of the first services you book after confirming a venue and guest list.
When picking out a wedding gift for your friend or family member who is getting married, keep in mind that the presents that mean the most are those that are thoughtful and useful. Going with something off the registry is always a good choice because you automatically know that it is something the bride and groom want and will use. If you’re someone who wants to put a little more of yourself behind your gift with something personally picked out, then here are some creative ideas.
Since weddings are such a costly undertaking and transitioning to the life of a newlywed can be stressful, think about a gift that will make life easier for the happy couple in the weeks that follow the wedding…such as a monthly beef box from Nebraska’s Own Ranch-Raised Beef! We spoke to Tyson Cox for more details.
“Can’t think of the perfect gift to give the couple to be? We have the solution!” Tyson exclaimed. “Give the gift of ranch raised beef from Nebraska’s Own! We’ve recently started serving flax fed beef and have noticed an immediate difference in taste and health benefits. At Nebraska’s Own, we supplement our cattle with a unique flax seed combination that delivers biologically effective Omega 3 fatty acids. The result is a delicious beef with all the flavor and high quality protein you crave. You notice that quality difference in our meat, and that’s why our products make a perfect gift for any meat-loving couple!”
Another gift idea is jewelry. How fun would it be to surprise the bride-to-be at her own bridal shower with fun accessory, keepsake, or bridal jewelry? Sartor Hamann Jewelers has an amazing new line of stunning, sterling silver, platinum plated, cubic zirconia jewelry at the perfect price point.
“Stop by and see our new line of LaFonn Jewelry,” Tami Wilson R.J., sales and design specialist, encouraged. “These pieces make the perfect ‘Congratulations!’ gift for any bride. Select a stunning solitaire necklace, glittering hoops, or fun bangle bracelet that matches the bride’s personality. Choose from many timepieces for men for the perfect groom’s gift also. You can’t go wrong with a handsome watch, and you can get it engraved—with names, initials, date of the wedding, etc.—to make the gesture even more meaningful.”
Sartor Hamann is now the official jeweler of the Nebraska Huskers, so that is something to keep in mind if the bride and groom are die-hard Husker fans. Check out their new line of Husker-sponsored jewelry at any of the three Sartor Hamann locations: SouthPointe Pavilions, Downtown Lincoln, and Grand Island.
Engagement + Wedding Rings
“Jewelry trends change slowly,” explained Tami, who has 35 years of experience as a certified gemologist. “The classic solitaires with or without diamond Halos in white, yellow gold, or rose gold remain in high demand. Sartor Hamann has so many styles to choose from. Even a solitaire is easy to make fun and fresh with the many styles of stack-able bands that we have on hand. Place one on each side for a crisp flank of diamonds or filigree style.”
In the wedding planning process, Tami recommends getting a jump on buying your wedding bands, allowing yourself the time and budget to get the ones you really like. Sartor Hamann has a vast selection! Your wedding bands last for the lifetime of the marriage. Thank goodness, Sartor Hamann has easy financing and 10-month, no-interest layaway.
“If you’re planning on soldering the rings together, do it before the wedding so you don’t have to spend time away from your rings after the ceremony,” Tami advised. “Our professional jewelers can polish them and make the rings like new so it glitters when placing it on the finger for the special ceremony. You’ll both be guaranteed compliments!”
Selecting Your Venue
Selecting the venues for your wedding will define a lot of other aspects of the planning process. When you think about all of the different wedding events you’ll need a venue for—bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, reception, etc.—you’re going to have to make decisions based on availability, proximity, cost, personal preference, and likely a myriad of other things. You definitely have to be on top of reservations for all aspects of your wedding in order to get all of the services you and your wedding party require. This is especially important when choosing a venue. You have to tour them, decide if the space will be right for your wedding size and budget, start to plan decorations that will fit the space, try to picture yourself getting married there, and work out dozens of other small details before make a final decision.
For your rehearsal dinner, an iconic venue that offers a skyline view, or as close as you can get in Lincoln, is the Nebraska Club. For over 60 years, couples have kicked off their married lives at the Nebraska Club, located on the 20th floor of the US Bank building. The downtown venue can accommodate groups of 15 to 250. Their in-house event planner works with the chef to make sure every special occasion goes off without a hitch. With a well-organized and carefully-designed banquet and private party menu, it is easy to select the food and serving style you want. The Nebraska Club has a wide selection of appetizers, entrees, sides, and desserts to choose from. They can also do a themed-dinner buffet, standard buffet, carving board dinner buffet, or plated dinner. Plus, there are a variety of bar packages.
Another great venue option is Graduate Lincoln. The Graduate is a perfect place for couples with a lot of out-of-town guests on the invite list. The Graduate prides itself on its playful atmosphere and vintage vibe with the spirit of Nebraska as its core inspiration. Jaylynn Schubauer gave us a rundown on why Graduate Lincoln could be your perfect venue. Jaylynn works with brides on a weekly basis to organize room reservation, menu options, and much more.
“Well, to start, we have different ballroom sizes to accommodate most wedding sizes. We have the Ardis Ballroom, which fits 450 guests, the Scarlett Ballroom, which fits 200, and the Legends which can fit up to 100 people. We also have a Bridal Suite for bride’s to utilize to minimize stress on their wedding day,” Jaylynn added. “It’s a great space to do hair and makeup in for the bride and her party. For the groom, we have a Topgolf Swing Suite that gives an immersive golf experience. Most grooms and their groomsmen enjoy relaxing before it’s time to get the show on the road.”
Jaylynn also told us how to best assure that you can get your dream venue with the least amount of stress: “The sooner you can contact the reception venue the better! When couples have a variety of date options, let’s say summer 2020, rather than just one day, like June 15, then they can get the most of their experience by guaranteeing every facility they need will be available on their wedding day.”
When we spoke to Matthew Rogge at the Talon Room, another popular venue option in Lincoln, he flipped it around and recommended trying to plan things in a short, specific amount of time in order to limit what is available. According to Matthew, having less options is actually better and will make for a less stressful experience. This is good for couples who don’t already have a dream venue in mind.
Matthew also talked about how locking down the catering for your wedding goes hand in hand with selecting the venue. Some places will have full-service catering in house. Others will have more limited options or none at all. Matthew pointed out that Talon Room does both onsite and offsite catering.
“If you reserve a rent-to-suit venue that allows outside catering, I recommend bringing the Talon Room to your event with our top-notch food and beverage catering options,” Matthew said. “Our beverage catering is especially popular as we can do any event, anytime, anywhere. For $50/hour, you can have a full-service bar at your event, complete with delivery, bartenders, licensing, and event coordination.”
“Our catered wedding special has been the perfect arrangement for many couples as well,” Matthew added. “You can get a two-entree dinner buffet and wedding venue for a reasonable price, which includes full-day event space rental, setup and teardown of tables and chairs, selection of standard length linens, and the bartender and cleaning fee.”
The Talon Room can accommodate about 200–250 max in their main event space on the lower level of the old Spaghetti Works building. Talon Room now has a second part to their venue as well, which is the space where Dempsey’s used to be on the building’s main floor. Wedding parties can choose to utilize one or both of these spaces for their wedding and/or reception. The space on the main floor can hold about 85 people. Matthew also pointed out that they host a bi-annual wedding gala at Talon Room to showcase preferred vendors in Lincoln with free food tastings and specials offered to guests. Stay tuned for information on their winter gala in January.
Speaking of preferred vendors, we also want to highlight Venue Events & Catering. Offering five private dining rooms and two large banquet facilities, Venue can meet the needs of your wedding party in more ways than one.
“We have a very talented catering team that can create a custom menu, tailored to what you’re envisioning for your special day,” said Cherie Anderson with Venue Events & Catering. “Being a completely scratch-based kitchen gives us the flexibility to give our clients the flavors they are looking for while keeping the food quality at a maximum. Not only can we serve up to 1,000 people for large wedding receptions, but we can also take care of the catering needs for all of the events leading up to the reception. We have private rooms at Venue Restaurant & Lounge, Piedmont Bistro, and Cactus Modern Mexican & Cantina that work perfectly for bridal showers, couples showers, and rehearsal dinners. We also handle all of the catering needs for the Scottish Rite Ballroom and the Jasmine Room, and are a preferred caterer at Glacial Till, Champions Club, and the Wick Alumni Center. We cater all over the city of Lincoln and the surrounding areas. No matter where you decide to have our catering served at, you will be working with an event planner on all of the details to ensure you receive amazing food and excellent service.”
Cherie also added that if you book your wedding reception with Venue, they will waive the room fee for your wedding rehearsal dinner or bridal shower in one of their private dining rooms. They also offer day-of wedding munchies/platters for the wedding party prior to the wedding as this is typically an all-day affair.
Regardless of where your wedding festivities take place, transportation will always need to be taken into consideration. Think about getting from one venue to the next, especially if the ceremony and reception are at different locations. You don’t want anyone in the wedding party, including parents/grandparents of the bride and groom and other attendants, to have to worry about parking, walking to their vehicle, and risk getting lost or messy on the way. If you’re the bride and your bridal party is all getting ready together in one place and then driving over to where the ceremony is help, you just want them to make it there on time and looking their best for pictures and a good time. This isn’t necessarily the time for a party bus, that’s why we recommend renting a fashionable, full-size SUV or conversion van from Rent-A-Van for the day. With a nice, clean vehicle that has ample space, your wedding party can stick together and arrive in style. Ask an acquaintance or neighbor ahead of time to be the designated driver for the day so that your friends and family who are in the wedding don’t have to worry about it.
Picking the right wedding flowers for your big day takes careful planning. Consider all the areas that may be enhanced with flowers, such as bouquets, corsages/boutonnieres, the altar, the archway or canopy, podium or lectern, ends of the pews or aisle itself, the entry, guest book table, dinner tables, buffet line, window ledges, etc.
As you research wedding flowers that fit the overall theme and design of your big day, putting together a quick list of wedding flowers you are interested in will help guide you and your wedding florist in making final decisions. According to Sara Sudman, owner of Fields Floral, roses, tulips, and calla lilies are formal and appropriate choices for bridal bouquets.
“The bride’s flowers are often larger and more detailed, setting it apart from the bridesmaid’s bouquets,” Sara told us. “The bridesmaid’s bouquets may also be composed of lighter colors, while the bride’s bouquet is more fresh and vibrant. Typical flowers used for the groom’s and groomsmen’s boutonnieres may include carnations, roses, and orchids. Similar to the bride and main of honor, choosing a unique boutonniere for the best man through a different type of flower, color, or size is common. For the ceremony and reception, I recommend freshly picked blooms such as roses and peonies. Roses historically have symbolized love and fertility—this is why it’s a tradition to toss rose petals up in the air as the newlywed couple leaves their ceremony.”
Your bridal gown is the most self-expressive garment you’ll ever wear. The best part of wedding planning is being able to choose your perfect bridal look. That is why it’s easy to put a lot of pressure on this part of the process, but Emmy Gorman, owner of Blush Bridal Boutique, reminds us that this is a fun step in the wedding planning and it should be done with celebration!
“Some of our Blush Brides have loved to take advantage of our Signature Appointment at Blush Bridal,” Emmy told us. “This includes an after-hours try-on session, private for up to 10 guests, and plenty of light bites and bubbly! Our brides love being able to have the wedding gown experience with a little bit of a party too.”
“Blush Bridal customizes a majority of bride’s gowns and accessories,” Emmy added. “We have relationships with our designers where we are able to create one-of-a-kind dresses and accessories. In 2017, we acquired Lovebird Jewelry Collective. All of our jewelry is handmade right here in Lincoln! Blush Brides inspire jewelry trends that the rest of the US follows, including Kleinfeld bridal, our largest Lovebird client. We also offer a Sentiments Package exclusively for our Blush Brides, which is a great way to score some discounts and preserve those designs after the wedding day.
Emmy also shared some expert tips with us: “Start looking for your gown 9–12 months before your wedding. Your finishing touches will generally be 4–6 months prior to the big day. As far as current trends, I’ve seen a lot of brides opt for sheer bodice gowns, black wedding dresses, and/or ornate halo headpieces. Another neat fad is throwing a rustic motorcycle jacket on with the last name studded on the back—it definitely adds a unique flare to photos.”
Hair + Makeup
Something that may be thought of as a day-of step is hair, skin, and nails, but in reality you should plan weeks, if not months, ahead for your wedding day look. At Ovation Salon, they help you start the planning process by recommending looks that compliment your hair type, skin tone, and face shape. We asked John Aguirre, owner of Ovation Salon, for more details on how their team of professionals can help wedding parties look the best they can.
“Creating a perfect wedding hair-do is a creative, collaborative process that takes time and thought,” John said. “I always recommend coming in with ideas for a trial run before the actual day of the ceremony and reception. That way, brides can get a general idea of their true desired outcome after seeing it in person.”
“Some brides are so focused on their own hair, they completely forget to plan ahead for the rest of their bridal party,” John added. “If brides want everything to be uniform, they need to pick out a hairstyle that will be flattering for all their bridesmaids or something coordinating and flexible. At Ovation Salon, we can also take care of the groom and his groomsmen to make sure they all look great too.”
Weddings are a special time full of family, friends, and love. Good planning will let you focus on these things in the moment instead of stressing because everything has been thought through ahead of time and taken care of. That is our hope for you!