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Planning an Upstate wedding? Here’s where to start

By Tammy Johnson

We are in the quiet lull of the engagement season.

We just passed the hectic rush of Christmas and New Year’s and it’s a few weeks until Valentine’s Day. If you got engaged during the holidays, that euphoric rush is becoming a reality that a wedding must be planned. If you have an inkling a ring may be the thing on February 14, then consider this column a rehearsal for what to know about planning a wedding in the Upstate.

The Greenville area is an amazing place for weddings. It offers everything from rustic to farm to modern to classical wedding venues and ideas. While you prepare to dive into all of our city’s possibilities, here are some key things you’ll need to consider:

  • Budget: Your budget is your North Star–it’s really going to guide most of the decisions you make in the planning process. This one sounds like a no-brainer, but a lot of couples create a wish list and then wind up disappointed when costs get too high and they have to cut items from their big day. My advice is to set a number and then start to itemize. I have seen backyard weddings that cost $500, and I’ve seen huge, elaborate weddings that cost $100,0000 or more. Realistically, a traditional wedding with a venue, good food, and good bar service is going to cost anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000. It really depends on your vision!

  • Vision: Speaking of vision, you’ll want to establish an overall idea of what you want your wedding to be like. Do you want a destination wedding, or something local? Is it important to you to get married in a church? Will your reception be an indoor dinner or more like an outdoor picnic? Establish a rough guest count, then make sure your budget is REASONABLE for your guest count. Keep in mind that some of your wedding vendors, like your caterer or bar service, are going to be priced per person.

  • Space: Choosing the right venue is incredibly important, and it all comes down to your vision and your guest count. Is this venue the right style for you? Is it large enough to accommodate your guest count? How’s the location? Is it accessible for your guests? Another important thing to think about is your venue’s weather plan. If part of your wedding happens outdoors, does your venue have a backup plan in case of bad weather, and are you comfortable with that backup plan?

  • Trends: As you begin to plan your wedding, you’ll want to consider current trends. What are some of the hot wedding styles in 2022? For example, I really love that BoHo Industrial is coming into style. It makes for really beautiful, dramatic wedding photography. We’re incorporating that aesthetic into our new venues, which are both housed in the revitalized Judson Mill complex. We’re also starting to see more and more ombre color schemes, a fun and creative departure from more traditional wedding colors. The ongoing Covid pandemic has given rise to its own set of trends, such as “Sequel Weddings”–ceremonies for couples who got legally married earlier in the pandemic but pushed off their formal celebrations to a later date. Many couples are opting for smaller guest counts, which makes for a nice, intimate affair with close friends and family.

Of course, this list is only the beginning of the entire wedding planning process. There will be many more choices to make over the ensuing months, but these early decisions will make the rest of the journey so much easier. Start with a good foundation, and build from there!


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