Michael Steers: Hi, my name is Michael Steers. I’m from Lockridge and I’m here today talking with Kenzie Rhoads, the wedding coordinator at Lockridge and we’re talking about Tulsa Wedding Venues. Kenzie, when you start talking about Tulsa Wedding Venues, the first thing obviously is to book that site and to make sure you’ve got that locked down because you’re not going to be able to send in invitations or really make any plans until you get the venue locked down. How far in advance should brides begin– is this one of the first things you have to do or is it one of those things that you can get into the planning a little bit, and then pick a venue that shapes what you’ve already planned?
Kenzie Rhoads: Well, first of all, you’re so right. Everything does stem from the venue. That’s exciting for me because I get everyone first. I get to get their feet wet and introduce them into the wedding planning world so it’s really fun, but I would definitely say the venue comes first. I have some girls who come and book a venue before they’re engaged. They just know it’s coming and so they’ll come and book just so that they can have the day, especially if they’re looking at summer or October or November; one of those high peak times–
Michael: I want to talk more about peak times in a minute but go ahead. Wedding Venues Tulsa
Kenzie: Yes, definitely booking the venue well in advance; just as soon as you can. People will get engaged on a Saturday and they’re in my office on a Monday just booking. It’s December of 2016 and I have weddings booked for June of 2018, so just as soon as you can. Take a couple of days to enjoy the fact that you just got engaged, but if you’re planning a big wedding and you have a specific date in mind definitely do it ASAP.
Michael: Enjoy the fact that you’ve got a new ring and that you’re now engaged. Enjoy it for a couple of days but then the planning has to begin, especially if you’ve set a date that’s fairly close.
Michael: Now, in the mountains, the ski resorts have high seasons and low seasons. Obviously, Christmas, Thanksgiving; those are times when everybody wants to go skiing – spring break, but then you can go midweek in the middle of February and you get the better rates. Is there a high season and a low season for weddings in many Tulsa area venues?
Kenzie: Yes, definitely. I would say it depends on the venue. If there’s, for example, Lockridge has — the chapel has a beautiful — is a beautiful A-frame chapel that has a view of a lake and it’s just really open. For us, the best season is the summer.
Michael: Because all the trees are green and–
Kenzie: Because it’s all full. Everything is green. It looks amazing, especially the summer after the rain. It was incredible. For us, summer books so quickly. I would say, across the board, summer is a very popular time. The fall is a very popular time, but then exactly you might have a wedding the first weekend of February and you are getting a better deal. I’ve always said that if you have your wedding in an off peak time it’s like you’re special because everyone gets married in the summer, but — people are going to a lot of weddings in the summer, but if you get married in February you’re the only one they go to that season. [laughs]
Michael: That’s a great point, and within that high season of the summer or the fall, isn’t there a month within those two seasons that that’s really the peak? Is June more popular than July or August?
Kenzie: Yes. Definitely in Oklahoma, June is more popular than July just because of the heat. Wedding Venues Tulsa
Michael: Is November more popular maybe than another weekend or than another month?
Kenzie: It just depends. Honestly, October and November really are — they go together and they are really popular. Another thing about Tulsa is just people are in college, graduating college, they’re coming home to get married that summer or something like — that’s why a lot of people are looking for June. They’ll graduate in May and then they want to come get married in June.
Michael: Okay, that makes sense. You just think of early– where my brain tends to go, you think, well, the month of June there’s 30 or 31 days, whatever. There’s plenty of dates there, but when you really start thinking about, well, there’s four weekends, and then you start thinking, well, if I really want Saturday because that’s the prime spot, you’ve got four. Then, if you want to shoot for November to get a fall, you’re probably not going to want to get married on Thanksgiving weekend so it even cuts it down further.
Michael: I can see how now you start to begin to see how if you want some of those peak times you better get your call in. Wedding Venues Tulsa
Kenzie: Right. There’s something like that every month. In May there’s Labor Day weekend or Mother’s Day–
Michael: Memorial Day weekend or Mother’s Day.
Kenzie: Mother’s Day weekend, yes. Labor Day’s in September, but that’s another one in September, and Thanksgiving weekend, Halloween weekend, April fools is on a Saturday in 2017. It’s just random things like that that you always have to be aware of.
Michael : Yes. I would think that you could run into some trouble if you scheduled your wedding on an April 1st because a lot of people are wondering, “Okay, are you really going to be even getting married?”
Kenzie: Yes, are we really getting married or is it–? Yes [laughs].
Michael: Okay, we talked a little bit about the perks to getting married in an off-season. Number one, the price is going to be less, but then number two, like you said, it’s going to be, maybe, more special because no one else is getting married during that time of year. Of course, the other side of that is, at least in Oklahoma the weather is a toss-up and driving could be a challenge, all of those kinds of things. So I guess those are all things that you have to —
Kenzie: I think weather in Oklahoma could be a toss-up in June [laughs]. Wedding Venues Tulsa
Michael: Well, that’s true. I went to an outdoor wedding last year; the first weekend in June, and it was one of those terrible, muggy days and no one was enjoying being all dressed up in that kind of weather.
Michael: How important is a tour? How important-
Michael : – is it for the bride to actually make the effort to actually come out to Lockridge and actually get to look around so they can begin to get a visual of what things are going to look like?
Kenzie: Yes. I think it’s very important to tour just first off. Some people will get engaged and they’re like, “Oh, yes, I like camp Lockridge or something,” and then they’ll say, “Oh, yes, that’s probably where I’ll have it,” and then three months later they’ll come for a tour or something. I think you need to tour just as soon as you think that you’re interested in a venue. You need to see all of the options out there. Take a few tours. Even if you fall in love with your first tour, I don’t see anything wrong with just going and looking somewhere else just to confirm you decision.
Michael: Have you ever taken a tour — I guess, my mind is thinking you need to tour the place with bridal eyes. In other words, if you’ve gone to three weddings at Lockridge, from your friends, maybe you’ve even been in a wedding, but now it’s your turn, is it still important to go on a tour? Wedding Venues Tulsa
Kenzie: Yes, definitely, because even if you were a bridesmaid in that wedding you didn’t know the ins and outs, you didn’t know the prices of anything, you didn’t know anything about the contracts; nothing like that. You know that it’s beautiful but you don’t know any of the back-story of how it all came together, so yes, I would definitely encourage to tour. I–
Michael: Yes, go ahead.
Kenzie: I think it’s important how to prepare for your tour; what you need to know before you go on a tour.
Michael: Well, I was just going to ask you about that because I would think that sometimes, I don’t know, it probably depends on the girl, but sometimes it would be easier for a bride to stay up at the 10,000 foot-level; kind of her head in the clouds, “I love this, I want this”, but at some point she’s going to have to get down in the weeds and really start making some solid decisions. How important — what kind of information is she going to want to know? How is she going to have to frame her mind when she’s in the car coming out to Lockridge for her tour?
Kenzie: First of all, she definitely needs to pick a range of dates that she wants. Then, I would say the most important thing is she needs to decide how many guests she’s going to plan for. You need to get in contact with your fiancé’s family and ask them for at least a rough estimate on the cousin count and how many friends from work that they want to invite or something like that. You need to get with your side of the family; combine that rough estimated guest list before you go to any venue because the first question that anybody is going to ask you is how many people that you have.
Michael: Are people sometimes tempted to make the tour a prelude to the party; I’m going to get a van full of people, I’m going to take 10 of my best friends, we’re all going to go look.
Michael: Then, there’re some probably that show up all by themselves?
Michael: What are the pros and cons of too few, too many and where’s the sweet spot?
Kenzie: People do it multiple different ways. I think the thing that hurts the bride the most is whenever they want to bring their whole entire wedding party there. Their entire family: every woman that they’ve ever come in contact with they want to bring to this venue.
Michael: Yes, because they want to give them some input or maybe that speaks to their own insecurity about they want. Wedding Venues Tulsa
Kenzie: Yes, but then you get into — everyone — we’re girls, so we all just want to talk the whole time, and so the bridesmaids start talking about decorating the venue before you even know what’s included in their packages, how much it costs, what else there is to offer. Me, as a person giving the tours, when that happens, I feel I didn’t even talk, I didn’t even give them the tour, which is fine but it hurts them in the long run. Whenever they have all these–
Michael: At some point they’re going to have to ask those questions.
Kenzie: Right, they’re going to– giving the person who’s giving you the tour, giving them the opportunity to lead you in the direction and saying, “This is what we have to offer, and these are all the things you can do.” Then you can run with it, and then let your girls run with it, but it’s good to get that foundation without everyone.
Michael: About how many people should — what’s the sweet spot, do you think?
Kenzie: I think that it always works out best when a mom and dad maybe come with the bride. Sometimes the bride and groom will come by themselves, and if they like it then they’ll bring their parents back and I think that works really well. Or a bride and her mum will come out, and then if they like it they’ll bring dad out or something like that.
Michael: The one that’s going to write the check.
Kenzie: Right. If you want to bring your mum and your sister, bring it on, that’s great but when you start bringing 12 people, that’s whenever your voice is drowned out by everyone else’s.
Michael: I can see that. This has been Michael Steers from Lockridge talking with Kenzie Rhoads talking about Tulsa Wedding Venues. Thank you for joining us.