Featured Wedding Planning


“Hi, my name is [insert name]. Welcome to my wedding venue. Congratulations on your engagement. Let me show you around and let me know if you have questions. We seat [select number] people, we include [set-up, cleaning, tables, moral support, etc], and we cost [insert ridiculous dollar amount that includes 4 walls and a roof] for a Saturday.”

Have you heard that same ol’ song and dance before? Welcome to a wedding venue tour you first time, naive engaged couple. Be prepared to receive a sub-par sales pitch and a pamphlet with pretty pictures of someone else’s wedding. You want to know a secret though? Searching for the “right” wedding venue is like searching for a place to eat in a town you have never visited in which you are so hungry that you are choosing which of your arms you will start nibbling on first. Regardless of where you finally choose, you feel like it is the right choice because of your stomach’s desire to satisfy it’s craving. You won’t ever know if there was a better place because you are leaving town the next day and your goal was achieved. Your objective, if you so choose, is to pick a wedding venue that checks all of the boxes that are most important to you. But, do you even know what boxes to check since this is the first time you have been engaged? Mission Impossible. Let me give you some tidbits of advice on how to choose the right wedding venue.


Is the visual appearance #1 or is the service #1? Of course you want both to be amazing but set one above the other. If the appearance is at the top of your list, is the ceremony or the reception more important? If you are more focused on how the ceremony looks and feels, judge your venue on those marks first and foremost. If the reception space and the party pad check your first box, pay special attention to the proximity of the dance floor to the bar, look close at the head table and backdrop, and see if there is a fun patio for guests to be outside.

If service is #1, then figure out what the venue offers that will make your wedding day smooth and easy so you can relax and enjoy the time with your fiancé, family and friends. Ask the following questions:

  1. Do they set up and tear down?
  2. Do they clean or do they charge additional cleaning fee?
  3. Does the venue include planning and/or day-of-coordinating?
  4. Do tables, chairs, linens, decorations, etc. come with the rental or are they separate?
  5. Is the venue open catering or do you have to go through a specific caterer?
  6. What time can you show up and what time do all guests have to leave?


Do you want to have your wedding ceremony at the same place as the reception or are you having a church wedding? If you want to do the same location, does your venue have an indoor space or outdoor? If outdoor, is it paved or covered just incase of rain? If it is indoor, is it a separate space from the reception or will the space need to be flipped? Rain even the day before can have a huge impact on the ceremony space if it is grass. You don’t need all of your bridesmaids heals deep in mud.


Does the venue require you to use their catering or their preferred caterer or is it open catering? This has a huge impact on the overall price for your wedding. Many venues that require you to use their food services or their preferred food vendor have higher food charges per person. Slightly counterintuitive but I will cover this in a separate blog post.


Does the venue have a liquor license? If so, do they require a minimum dollar spent on alcohol? Are bartenders included in your rental price? Also, it seems like a given, but be sure you know what alcohol is available for your guests. Not all licenses include liquor and not all venues include variety. If you are expecting to be able to get a nice whiskey but the venue only caries Black Velvet, there isn’t much you can do about it the day of your wedding (this is in no way a bash on the classic BV). Serving alcohol to 200-300 people is a chore so be sure your venue is confident and versed in selling alcohol and has the setup and staff to be efficient.

Finally, DO NOT SETTLE. If you need to visit 6-10 venues before one checks all of your boxes, then do so. Do not rush this process. As mentioned previously, you will never know if there was a better venue for you out there. So be sure to do your homework, visit the venues, and judge the venue on all merits of your big day. The venue tour better be the best tour you have ever been given as your wedding day should be one of the best days of your life.



You know the old saying; “You can lead a drunk to water, but you can’t get him to drink it… or maybe it’s a horse.” Either way, moral of the story is whoever came up with that saying definitely did not use this as a proverb to describe a wedding crowd. A wedding is a celebration of a marriage between two individuals. Alcohol is a source of courage in physically expressing your excitement for that marriage through incoherent dance. If you have never been to a “dry wedding” before, they are nice but they do miss that tingling sensation in your frontal cortex that tells you anything is possible tonight.

When it comes to your wedding day, what you spend on your guests in terms of complimentary refreshments should be up to you. Now in some venues, this is not the case as they do require a certain minimum spent at the bar and it is part of their contract. This is a way to guarantee additional revenue per wedding for the venue owner. At the end of the day, it is something that you have to consider when booking a venue.

There are many ways that you can gift your guests with the nectar of the Gods. Below are some options when it comes to complimentary alcohol at a wedding:

  1. Open Bar: You as the wedding couple pay for your guests all night long, or at least for a certain length of time. Keep in mind here that even though the guests are your family and friends, they have been waiting for you to buy them a never ending bar tab for the entire time you have known each other. In other words, this will rack up your tab with the venue in a hurry as there are no holds barred in this drunk fest.
  2. Cash Bar: Your guests pay for what they want to drink. This is a very cost effective option as it is no additional cost to you. Double check with you venue on if this is allowable though. One slight caveat though; your family and friends may see you as a cheap ass and bounce to the next party earlier than expected. This is your wedding, but this is their celebration (at least in their selfish little minds).
  3. Happy Hour / Time Limit: Open Bar until a certain time and then it is cash from there. Keep in mind though that a time limit is just a deadline with a loophole. The loophole being see how much alcohol ones body can sustain until time is up. Do not use this as a method to anticipate what your alcohol bill will be as your friends and family may surprise you.
  4. Prepaid Kegs, Cases of Wine or Selected Dollar Limit: You as the couple let your wedding know how much alcohol or how much money you are willing to give out to your guests. Once this is amount is drank, it is a cash bar through the rest of the night. This is a great give and take when it comes to your gift to your guests. After so much alcohol that you paid for, most of your drinkers will not care if they have to pay to keep that buzz going and will carry out the party regardless their bank accounts. I’m sure all venues will allow you to add on during the night of your wedding but at least you know what to expect in terms of a bar bill.

Those are the main categories you can expect. Now some venues may offer tickets you can give out, some may offer items by the bottle or by the case or keg but for the most part, the above categories round out the ways to booze or not to booze.

When you visit with your venues and talk about alcohol service, be sure you know and understand their requirements. Some venues allow you to bring in your own alcohol, some venues only have 5 cheap liquors to choose from, some only carry keg beer and no craft options, and some charge extra for bartenders. Not all wedding venues are equal when it comes to serving refreshments so be sure to ask about all of the details. The biggest thing you have to ask yourself though is if you think doing the “Cha Cha Slide” is more fun with alcohol or sugar water. You be the judge.


BEST way and BEST value!

Time to order flowers! Where do I go and how do I do this? ……………… This is a good question…..My vote is to choose local! Please plan ahead by at least a few days if you want something specific. If you want something same day or the next morning, please trust your florist to create a designers choice arrangement. It will be amazing, I promise!

To get the best value, call your florist directly! WHY?! You get to talk to your designer! So fun and personal and you can talk budget and may get FREE delivery too!

Choose local and I promise your order will be taken care of and much appreciated!

Send flowers today and make someones month!!! <3


Flowers Just Die.

Can we say cringeworthy?! These are the last words a florist wants to hear from ANYONE. ESPECIALLY friends and family. Yet we do.

Can I say something that may be obvious?

I KNOW FLOWERS DIE! Crazy right?


Flowers are like produce right? Grown just for you and amazing at their peak. You buy produce to eat then it turns into what? We all know that answer….

Flowers actually last longer then that banana you just ate.

Their life span is short and SPECIAL!

They were made up just for you for whatever reason and are yours to enjoy.

Its a proven fact that flowers MAKE US HAPPY!

Crazy right.

So. The next time you want to make someone feel special, send flowers…which means you are sending feelings. Yes, feelings.

And that my friend, is a memory that I would love to instill to my loved ones.

What about you?

Would you rather be that guy that says Flowers just die, or the guy that sent flowers to make his loved ones feel special?

I know what I choose.

<3 <3 <3 Hope to chat soon!


Faux vs. Real Flowers

You are getting married! You have found your venue, photographer, DJ, and caterer and are ready to book your florist!

Check out florists online and take a look at their photos and style. Ask your friends and co-workers who they used and if they would recommend them. Ask your wedding groups on Facebook for recommendations. Word of mouth from past brides is often the best way to find quality vendors. The brides have real experience with them!

Also, take some time to decide the look and feel you are imagining for your wedding day……… you picture fresh, fragrant blooms for your wedding bouquet…. picked as the best stems among them all just for you…..lush and soft blooms for your guests to enjoy as the centerpieces… and one of a kind corsages for Grandma to wear? The centerpieces can be gifted to special guests as they leave or used for gift opening or brunch the next morning.

OR are you thinking faux florals that you will keep in a shadow box with your invitation, a photo and a garter perhaps? A memento for your bridesmaids to keep?

Faux or real is the question. Yes, faux flowers can be very budget friendly…..but they can or may look very budget friendly. Often, you will pay double or even triple the cost of a real flower for a faux one that looks real and is quality! So decide on what is most important to you for your wedding…..gorgeous, fragrant flowers in full bloom that will be perfect for your day and you can gift to loved ones or enjoy at home after the event…. or faux ones that you can keep at home forever. The choice is totally yours.

With fresh, you can preserve them at Suspended in Time out of Adel, IA ( )

or have them preserved through embroidery at Muted Rose Embroidery on Etsy. ( )

These are 2 of our favorite vendors at Baqara!

Maybe you want to stick to faux and other decor. for your tables and have fresh florals for the bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages for the most special people in your wedding. That is also an option as well!

The bouquet pictured has real and faux flowers. It gives a pop of silk gold hydrangea and gorgeous white tulips, hydrangeas, roses and a flowing mix of eucalyptus.

As a florist, fresh flowers are my favorite as I love the fragrance and romance of them as we get to enjoy them at their best for the wedding day! However, I do offer both to bring my brides vision to life!

Happy floral planning!

Featured Wedding Services


“If you want me to take a dump in a box, and mark it guaranteed I will… I’ve got spare time”. – Tommy Boy

A wise man once asked a wise question: “How do you know the guaranteed fairy isn’t some crazy glue sniffer?” – Tommy Boy…. again. Now lets dial down the abstract and get to the point. In product lines and advertising, a product is only as good as those that create it. A good marketer can sell you a bill of goods but they could also only be interested in their bottom line; which is making the sale.

When choosing your wedding vendors, take special care in not getting caught up in the “guarantees” of the service. One such “guarantee” is in the form of an assumption. That being the higher the price, the better the service. A $500 DJ and a $2,500 DJ should both make you question their value. What is the difference between a $1,500 photographer and a $3,500 photographer? Most likely experience. What’s the difference between a $3,500 photographer and a $8,000 photographer? An ego? Now I’m not saying this is the case across the board. I’m just saying that one needs to be sure to see a wedding vendor through a lens of value, service, product, and QUALITY. Not just quality.

As a newly engaged couple, you of course want the wedding of you dreams. So you look for all of the right vendors that best fit your personality and have the exact place, skill, and product possible. The only problem is that, most of the time, this is the only time you have ever planned a wedding. You have no comparison and therefore, have no basis for quality. You rely on what the vendors tell you and rely on your instinct. Instinctually, we believe that a $20,000 price tag on a venue surpasses a $8,000 venue. But by stripping away the layers, you see that the services, the staff, and the product all are better at the latter.

Some words of advice to all of the newly engaged couples when it comes to filtering your vendors:

  1. Meet all vendors in person. Only exception I have personally is with a select few caterers that multiple friends and family members have given high marks on. Use your first instincts and look for those vendors that sound, entertaining, and energetic. Just being nice doesn’t cut it in a crowded field of professionals.
  2. Do online research for average prices in each of the vendor fields you have interest in. Budget for the mid-high end of the average. Discard the outliers on the low and high end.
  3. Other than marrying the love of your life and enjoying your wedding day, what are your wedding day priorities? In other words, what is most important when weighing your budget constraints:
    1. Venue services
    2. Photographer style
    3. DJ/MC personality
    4. Florist creativity
    5. Caterers food quality
    6. Videographer style

One last note for you wedding couples, don’t feel like you have to over extend yourself to have a great day. Talk with a wedding professional you trust to set you on the right path. Research, research, research before making a decision on your vendors. If you are looking for more advice or want to see what a service-focused wedding venue really looks like, check out Baqara Reclaimed. As with all of our articles, I hope this serves as an informational and hopeful outlook on your wedding planning needs.