Michael Staires: Hello, this is Michael Staires from Loughridge and I am here to talk today with Kenzie Rhodes, the wedding coordinator at Loughridge. We’re talking about Tulsa wedding venues. There are some great wedding venues Tulsa, but we believe that Loughridge is one of the best. We’re going to talk today about vendors and the role that they play in the ceremony and the reception. Just so we understand what we’re talking about when we say vendors because everyone may not understand what we mean by that term, why don’t you tell us Kinsey, what do you mean when you use the phrase vendor?

Kenzie Rhodes: Yes. Your vendor is going to be anyone who’s basically selling you a service for your wedding, your photographer, a photo booth, your caterer, your florist, anything like that. Those people who are coming together to pull off the day, who are selling you their expertise or their service or their product. That’s a vendor.

Michael: When someone books Loughridge, that isn’t all — Loughridge doesn’t have all of that in-house, right?

Kenzie: Right.

Michael: So this is a separate arrangement that needs to be made?

Kenzie: Yes, yes. Most of the time — It depends on the venue but most of time they are going to be separate arrangements. We have caterers that are in-house, for the lack of a better term. We have three caterers that a bride can choose from. Basically, when they contract with us, they are agreeing that they’re going to use one of those three caterers, which sometimes makes people uncomfortable just because they’re signing two contracts at once. It can be a little iffy sometimes if they’ve never really been in this world before. wedding venues Tulsa

But really, first of all you just spent so much time deciding on a date and a venue, choosing from so many, so let’s push you in the right direction and put some information in your hands of people who have done so many weddings at the venue. They know everything. They know everything there’s to know about the kitchen or anything like that when it comes to catering. And also it’s a big — you’re serving food and possibly alcohol to 300 people, that’s a liability. Some venues, if they don’t have a required caterer, they require the bride to get some insurance and so we don’t require that as long as they use our caterer who are insured then it’s okay. It’s really a plus.

Michael: Right. You’re right there to hold their hand through all of these decisions and to help them and to cue them on, “Okay, now we need to make this decision. Now, we need to make this decision.” So there’s not a possibility that something is going to fall through the cracks and and all of a sudden, they’ve waited too long. That’s a great segue, waited too long, how early should they book their vendors?

Kenzie: I think that if you have your heart set on a certain vendor, you need to book them just as soon as you can. A lot of people will wait and and book their DJ or their photographer or something while at they’re at the end of their budget. They book the venue, they buy the dress, everything while they’re at the beginning of their budget and then they go to book all these vendors who play just as an important role in their reception and their wedding but they’re at the end of their rope.

I would say if you want to make sure that you have a dance party at your reception, you need to take care of the DJ first, so definitely book them far in advance. Especially those kind of big players in the game around Tulsa, they’re booked pretty quick, so in order to have your pick of the lot the sooner the better. wedding venues Tulsa

Michael: Now, Loughridge has existing relationships with some preferred vendors. What’s the advantage of really leaning on those relationships that are already made?

Kenzie: I think it’s so important. Obviously, we’re not going to force you to use someone that you don’t want to but it’s so great to take the venue’s advice because they don’t let anyone who just knocks on their door and be a preferred vendor. It means that they trust them. It means that they trust that they’ll do a good job, that they know the space, they know all of our procedures and protocols.

It means that, like a photographer, if they’ve been out there multiple times, it means that they probably know our 188 acres better than a lot of people do. For example, our chapel with a big giant window overlooking the lake, that’s where you — the wedding party, bride and groom are all sitting in front of that huge window which creates a ton of backlight. It’s a little tricky in the chapel for photographers and so it’s great if they are prepared and they know how to —

Michael: Right. A photographer that’s taken that picture hundreds of times.

Kenzie: Exactly.

Michael: They can really — they know what is going to work best.

Kenzie: Right. Not that every photographer doesn’t know how to deal with backlight, but it’s insane. It’s extreme backlight.

Michael: Yes, I can see that. Now, why do some Tulsa wedding venues require vendors? Why is it that — why don’t they just have an open book for every wedding that comes along?

Kenzie: I think that a lot of it is just kind of that same thing, they trust that they’re going to be safe. They trust that they’re going to do a good job. They don’t want any — they wouldn’t want the bride to have the misfortune of planning this huge wedding and then her photographer not being able to take good pictures of it or something like that or a DJ making their venue look bad or something. I think it’s that trust, that kind of trust issue too. wedding venues Tulsa

A lot of times if it’s a required vendor by the venue, they might be able to get you a better deal, a better relationship, everything’s just there and you’re not having to choose from a pool of so many vendors every single time. It just pushes you along.

Michael: Okay. I got to ask what happens if my uncle Charlie makes the best Swedish meatballs and so we want him to come in and do the food or my cousin just graduated from technical school with a photography certificate or my younger brother, he’s trying to break into the DJ business. I think it’d be great to have him, I want to use him. What do you say when brides come to you with those kinds of statements? I suppose some of them want to use these people because they’re family and they want this to be a family deal. Others, it’s purely budget focused. I know uncle Charlie or you would love to do this for us, so we want to use him. Pros and cons.

Kenzie: I would suggest if someone comes in and says, “My cousin owns a catering business and he wants to donate the food,” I would suggest have him donate the rehearsal dinner. That’s something that would help out a lot of people. Have him cater the rehearsal dinner so that you can still use the venue you want and use that caterer and you’re not asking your cousin to work on your wedding, he can enjoy it. The same thing if your friend is trying to break into a DJ business, have him DJ your engagement party or something like that. The wedding day is just such a big thing to be nice about and give someone a chance. It’s just a big race. I would encourage them to —

Michael: I’ve heard of photography disasters where nothing came out and they actually had to re-stage the ceremony just to get some pictures. And if that’s a family member, that can really ruin a relationship.

Kenzie: Yes, yes. That’s a thing. It only happens once. You work so hard for a year maybe on your decorations, on your centerpieces. If it’s not documented somehow, then yes memories are great. But if you’re paying for someone to document these with pictures, then you want to make sure they’re going to be something that you like to look back on in 20 years.

Michael: How can a bride make sure that she’s picked the right vendor? That the vendor knows the venue and that the vendor is experienced, has done a wedding like this before or has served 300 people before. They’ve done more than just the backyard barbecue. This is going to be — they need to be prepared to step up especially because I would say that food is going to be one of the top budget items too. How can you rest or give a bride some assurance that it’s going to be okay, we picked the right one.

Kenzie: I would definitely say ask your venue. If you come up and you say, “My friend — oh yes, I found this great girl on Craigslist, Sally Sue, she’s going to be my photographer,” and you ask 10 venues and no one has heard of her, then that that might be a red flag. But if you come and say, “Oh yes, so and so is going to be my photographer,” and people say, “Oh my gosh, I love their work. They’re great. You could’ve made a better decision,” or something. That all just happen.

If you go and talk to your DJ and say this is my venue and he says, “I’ve done so many weddings out there. I love so and so,” name drops, all of these people that work at a venue, that’s your validation that, okay, we’re in good hands. He’s been here before. He’s done this kind of thing before. Everyone says it’s all about who you know but it definitely is in the wedding [crosstalk].

Michael: Now, some brides actually get to the point where they bring in a wedding coordinator. Actually, someone that’s going to drive the process and ride heard on all these people that are going to be involved in the wedding. At what point does a bride need to start considering that option? wedding venues Tulsa

Kenzie: I think that, at the point where you are so stressed out and you’re not enjoying the process anymore, that’s when you need to do it. Or when you’re calling someone who — Like you’re venue, if you’re calling them with just the slightest questions because you just honestly don’t know and you want your wedding to be good, but you just don’t know which most people don’t, I would say that’s when you need to hire a wedding planner, because you want this experience to be enjoyable.

When you look back on your season of engagement, you don’t want to say, “Oh that was miserable, because I had no clue what I was doing,” anything. That’s when it’s time. You need to hire someone to help you out.

Michael: Okay. This is Michael Staires talking about Tulsa Wedding Venues with Kenzie Rhodes at Loughridge. Thank you for joining us.