COVID-19

4 Questions You Should Ask Before You Book a Vendor

The wedding planning process is long, but it’s a beautiful journey. Hidden Creek will guide you through the steps, to relieve as much stress as possible. Choosing a vendor is a big step in the process, and we have some great advice to ensure that you choose the right vendors. When you are interviewing them, whether emailing them or meeting them in person, there are certain questions you need to make sure you ask.

Hidden Creek is here to run you through the questions that no one else tells you to ask. We aren’t talking about the basic questions of asking if they are available on your wedding day or what the price is. Instead, these questions will help you understand the vendors’ experiences and their reliability.

How Long Has Your Business Been Open?

If one vendor tells you that they have been in business for twelve years, and the other vendor tells you they have been open for two months, but they are charging you the same price, something is not adding up. Newer vendors should start off at a lower price to gain experience, and then over time once they develop those skills, invest in their equipment, and invest in themselves, then their prices increase.

So, just asking this simple question will let you know a lot about the vendors and help you make informed decisions.

How Many Weddings Have You Done?

This circles back to question number one. If a vendor has been in business for 4 years but they have only done a wedding per year, but another vendor that has been in business for 4 weeks has done a wedding each week, then both vendors are on the same level. Asking this question helps you paint a better picture of your vendor options and figure out how much experience they have. Experience is invaluable and is an important aspect of choosing a vendor.

Do You Have Insurance?

Ask your vendors if they have insurance. For example, if the vendor breaks their camera, are they going to try and sue you for it? If your DJ sets off a sparkler or fog machine and it damages the floor of the venue, do you want to be liable for that? No! When a vendor has insurance, these mistakes are covered by the insurance company. That means that you won’t be liable for any of these accidents, which will relieve a lot of stress.

What Happens If You Get Sick Right Before My Wedding?

Due to COVID-19, this has been a more prevalent question during the wedding planning process. Many people choose to hire independent contractors instead of companies, but what happens if the vendor gets sick or has a family emergency? Do they have backups? Any good vendor will tell you that they have connections and a replacement in case they can’t make it to the wedding. If they don’t have a plan B… run! This shouldn’t become a problem that you have to worry about right before your wedding.

Hidden Creek Has Your Back

Make sure you ask these four important questions before choosing your vendors. This will take away a lot of stress and reassure you about their experience. Check out our YouTube channel to learn more tips about the wedding planning process, and come check out our beautiful venue!

How to Livestream Your 2021 Wedding

Lockdown is coming to an end and event venues like Hidden Creek are easing back to full capacity. However, the pandemic introduced a great way to have a more inclusive wedding for people who can’t make it to your wedding destination– wedding broadcasts. Livestreaming will likely be here to stay even after public safety regulations are lifted. This will also continue to be a great option for guests to experience your wedding as Covid-19 vaccinations are being distributed. Not to mention, you can record the wedding ceremony and treasure it forever. 

To ensure all of your guests experience your special day in some way, you can livestream your ceremony. Then people who can’t be physically present at your wedding can still enjoy the ceremony and support you. 

Your broadcast should reflect you and your fiancée, just like the ceremony itself. Fortunately, it has never been easier to create a professional-grade broadcast on a budget.

The following tips will help create a memorable experience that would be the next best thing from actually being there. 

Make Your Livestream Exclusive

Some couples might want to share their stream with all of their social media platforms. Others prefer to be more selective. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision. However, if you want to create an exclusive viewing experience you can make a private Facebook group and stream the ceremony there.

To do this, make a private Facebook group with your wedding title and start inviting people. You can do this a few days or even months before your wedding day.  As an added benefit, your Facebook group can be a hub for wedding day resources like hotel links, wedding-specific posts, gift registry links, and reminders. It also provides a place for guests to connect and interact. Or block this feature altogether, if you’re worried about family drama on your big day.

Once you make the group, create an event. Schedule it to begin at the same time as your wedding. This placeholder will bring the event to the forefront of the group and will also provide a cool countdown effect for Facebook group visitors. 

Make Your Wedding Stream Professional 

There are several streaming options available, so you can broadcast to the social media platform of your choice. Open Broadcaster Software, better known as “OBS” is a great resource for streaming that allows for multiple camera feeds, text and logo overlays, and slideshows.

Another great platform is Switcher Studio. You can run the entire operation through iOS devices with this software. Switcher Studio allows multiple iPhones to stream to an iPad that serves as a control board video switcher. Yes, it’s possible to broadcast a professional feed using only iPhones! 

Whatever software you decide on, assign someone trustworthy to manage the operation. This isn’t something you can ask your somewhat tech-savvy cousin to manage at the last minute. There are a lot of moving pieces. You want to make sure that they are able to put together a test broadcast a couple of days before, and once again during the rehearsal. 

Make it Sound Good

Another crucial element of a good broadcast is a good audio feed. You do not want to rely on the positioning of the video microphone for listeners at home. That being said, if the venue and reception will be intimate and free of unpredictable noises like the ocean, traffic, or crying babies the iPhone or video cameras might be sufficient. 

For venues with a live PA system, a direct monitor line from the board will be ideal. Your designated stream operator should be able to create a stream-specific monitor mix bussed into your streaming device from the PA Board. Make sure to include an ambient microphone in that mix so that the stream audio doesn’t sound dry and lifeless. 

Make it Personal

Broadcasting software like OBS or Switcher Studio lets you watermark your feed with a personalized logo. Your wedding hashtag would be a great “lower third overlay” to give your stream a personal touch and as a bonus would encourage viewers to share screenshots with your wedding hashtag. 

Give your stream an additional touch with a personalized playlist to fill out the dead space before and after the ceremony. 

Technical Checklist

The tech stuff can be tricky to understand. If you want some help hiring a professional, the event coordinator at Hidden Creek Events can help point you in the right direction. However, if you want to DIY it here’s a brief checklist of items you will need:

Software Options

  •  Open Broadcaster Software (FREE)
  • Switcher Studio
  • XSplit

Man-Power

  • Dedicated Feed Operator 

Switcher Studio Gear

For PC/MAC Systems

Hidden Creek Events

Gear aside, the most important part of a great stream is having a great venue setting. No amount of software or gear can fake a beautiful venue. At Hidden Creek that isn’t an issue. Our event center is located in a charming wooded area, where you can hold a gorgeous outdoor ceremony, before finishing up your magical night dancing in our indoor barn-style ballroom. Our wedding coordinator will create an itinerary, finalize vendors, help with decorations, and every other minute detail. Contact Hidden Creek today, to start planning the first day of your happily ever after.

 

How to Plan a COVID-safe Wedding Menu

Experts say that there’s little evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food. Food safety has been a hot topic ever since COVID hit. This has been especially true as it relates to weddings and events. If you’re planning a wedding during this time of chaos and COVID, you’re most likely concerned about your guests’ safety. Wedding caterers are concerned as well. However, there are precautions you can take to keep everyone healthy. Caterers have made a lot of adjustments and know how to make a delicious low-risk meal for your guests.

More safety measures 

Make sure your caterer is taking safety measures at their facilities and on-site. The addition of face masks and gloves are the most obvious change. However, there are many other precautions that should be happening behind the scenes.

Outdoor seating, if possible

The best place to hold your reception is outside. Set up some tables on the lawn and plan for your guest to sit with others from their household. Doing this will help minimize the risk of spreading germs during dinner.

Plated meals 

Many couples and caterers are choosing plated dinners. This helps with social distancing. A family-style meal is still an option, but pre-plated food is safer. Plated food is safer because the food is served directly to each guest from the kitchen. However, family style be more comfortable guests sitting together, especially if they’re a group of family or friends who quarantine together. They will share serving utensils, but it will be a contained group. Buffets are still doable but take more time and planning. The serving staff would be serving at the buffet and not having guests touch or handle the utensils until the end of the food table when their plate is handed to them.

Beverage Bars

You can offer a couple of different areas to get beverages or drinks instead of all in one location. This does require more space, but helps with social distancing. You should also look into using disposable cups and plates for service. If you really have your heart set on glassware, just have enough for single-use.

Pre-plated desserts

Like a cocktail hour, the wedding cake and other desserts can be served on disposable plates and served directly to guests. Instead of large dessert buffets, each guest can receive their own plate of assorted treats. Wedding cakes aren’t going anywhere, but treats such as cupcakes and cake pops ( or even fun jarred desserts!) are rising in popularity. These are good options because they can be served to each guest individually.

Guest safety

Place hand sanitizer around at tables and bars. This will encourage guests to keep their hands clean. You can also have masks at doorways or entries to buildings to make sure everyone has access to one.

Hidden Creek amid COVID-19

Hidden Creek is the perfect place for your special day, especially during this uncertain time. We have plenty of space for social distancing and outdoor settings. Make your special day perfect at Hidden Creek. Our beautiful outdoor venue gives you the privacy you need and the beautiful scenery you want, and our wide-open field is perfect for capturing breathtaking wedding photos. Schedule your virtual tour of Hidden Creek today!

Wedding Trends for 2021

As we head into the new year, changes to celebrations caused by COVID-19 are not going anywhere. However, there are several beautiful and social-distanced wedding trends to look forward to in 2021.

Outdoor Ceremonies and Receptions

2021 ceremonies and receptions will be held outside more ever before. You can treat this as an opportunity to do something different and allow your true personality to shine while engaging in your favorite things. If you enjoy nature and being outside, this is the perfect opportunity to incorporate it.

Micro Weddings and Elopements

You will most likely have to scale back on the number of guests you invite or create an intimate elopement style wedding. This allows for a bigger focus on the details and unforgettable experiences. With a smaller wedding comes a smaller budget. The budget will be easier to allocate, making it easier to plan your dream wedding and see it come to life in ways that you never thought were possible. 

Bigger, Bolder, Yet Relaxed

You should consider spending a portion of the money you save by accommodating fewer wedding guests on bigger and bolder decor. Fresh and natural colors like pastels, peaches, and powder blues as well as nature-inspired hues and other calming color palettes are expected to be all the rage in 2021. These colors will create a more tranquil, relaxed atmosphere for your loved ones.

Enchanted Lighting

Lighting has the effect to change the ambiance of your venue. This is not always easy to do with traditional decor such as florals. Dramatic lighting including specialty chandeliers, custom lighting fixtures, wrap-around twinkly light installations, outdoor fireplaces, and lots of candles lining just about every inch of your venue is going to give you that cozy, warm, and inviting feel that will truly make a huge impact.

Everything Virtual

From dress shopping to virtual venue tours and digital invites, the internet will continue to be your saving grace. Video-chat services like Zoom and Facebook also allow you to broadcast your ceremony live to virtual attendees. There are also “watch-party kits” to send to remote guests.

Weekday and Brunch Weddings

Weekday weddings have been on the rise. Venues charge less for off-peak days. This means your dream venue may be attainable for some other time during the week.

Extra Personal Touches

You should express gratitude to your guests for being able to join in on your special day. With a smaller setting, you can focus on keeping your guests safe and comfortable while having fun as well. Custom masks, mini sanitizer bottles, hydration stations, and fun social distancing layouts are ways to add those little touches. 

Let Hidden Creek Plan Your Wedding

Make your special day perfect at Hidden Creek. Our beautiful outdoor venue gives you the privacy you need and the beautiful scenery you want, and our wide-open field is perfect for capturing breathtaking wedding photos. Schedule your virtual tour of Hidden Creek today!

Planning for a Socially Distanced Wedding

With the global spread of COVID-19, our definition of normal is changing. Things we took for granted, like sitting in a coffee shop or a flight to see family, are suddenly out of reach. For couples planning their “I dos”, the pandemic has caused major changes for everyone — changes so big, many couples aren’t sure what comes next.

Communicate with your guests and vendors

As unsure as everything is these days, your guests and vendors are just as confused. Family and friends are also facing a lot of questions, especially those who have to fly to be with you on your big day. With so much uncertainty, open lines of communication are essential. As soon as you know what you’re doing, pass along that information to everyone involved. Even if you’re still working out the details, just giving your guests a heads up with a change-the-date card will help calm nerves.

Get to know the latest technology 

From Zoom planning sessions to livestreaming your ceremony, there are countless ways technology can help you pull off a socially distant wedding that still feels special. Some couples are staging interactive virtual weddings by giving guests Zoom access, encouraging them all to dress up, and handing out a recipe for their signature drink so everyone can share in a special toast.

Do a Zoom tutorial and double check the internet situation at your venue. Once you feel comfortable, help your guests understand what they’ll need to do on the day of the event. Putting together a video or an easy-to-read document with screenshots will help in making the process as simple as possible.

Design a flexible dance floor

To avoid a dance floor that’s either packed with people dancing too close together or that’s completely empty because everyone is afraid, create multiple dance zones. A circle in front of the band, a few satellite floors nearby — it’s better than taping off squares to keep people apart, and anyone who doesn’t want to be part of the “main event” can enjoy a less public dance off to the side.

Know the pros and cons of your venue choices

You would have more control over your wedding having it at-home in your backyard, but professional venues will most likely have better protocols in place and have safety protocols already in place. Consider outdoor venues for larger guest counts. They’ll have more space for creative floor plans so you can spread your guests out without splitting them up in multiple rooms, and the open air will make for a safer environment.

Make Your Wedding Special at Hidden Creek

It’s okay if it takes a while to come to terms with a new vision of your wedding. You’ve waited for this moment for a long time, and compromising feels a lot like disappointment. If you can change your perspective along with your plans, you may discover that there’s still plenty of splendor in a reimagined wedding — and saving stress and money could just make your socially-distanced “I dos” feel a lot better. 

Make your special day perfect at Hidden Creek. Our beautiful outdoor venue gives you the privacy you need and the beautiful scenery you want, and our wide-open field is perfect for capturing breathtaking wedding photos. Schedule your virtual tour of Hidden Creek today!

How to Shop for Your Dress Under COVID-19 Restrictions

After being on lockdown for a month and a half, the first group of bridal shops are finally starting to open up again! There’s only so much wedding planning you can do in quarantine, so many soon-to-be brides are looking forward to finally shopping for the perfect dress. You might also find yourself wondering how COVID-19 is going to change the way we shop for wedding dresses. Here’s what a few bridal shops had to say about what you can expect when you go searching for your dress.

How Bridal Shops are Adapting

Like nearly every other business, bridal shops are implementing social distancing and frequent sanitization rules to keep staff and clients safe. Some shops are taking it even further by steam cleaning dresses after every client and offering face masks for anyone who wishes to wear them. Bridal shop staff will only make as much or as little physical contact as you’re comfortable with, and shops will be regularly sanitized to prevent the spread of bacteria between clients or staff. 

What to Expect

Bridal shops are working hard to give you and your party the dress shopping experience you’ve dreamed of, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. You might have to invite a smaller party, reduce the physical contact between yourself and the people around you, and even wear a mask while trying on dresses, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy yourself. 

If you opt to order a custom dress, place your order earlier than you think you need to. Shipping and delivery are delayed right now, so you might want to give your dress a comfortable 7 to 8 month arrival window. Even if it doesn’t take that long, it’s better to be safe than to end up dressless on your wedding day.

Do’s and Don’ts of COVID-19 Dress Shopping

Bridal shops are doing their best to adapt to COVID-19 safety guidelines, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to make some adjustments as well. 

Call your bridal shop before your appointment and ask how many people you’re allowed to have in your party. If you can’t invite everyone you hoped, add the rest of your guests to a video call so they can still join in on the fun. 

Make your appointment further in advance than you think is necessary, and please cancel or reschedule if you don’t feel well on the day. 

To make your search easier, and to cut down on the amount of time you’ll spend in the shop, come prepared with a pinterest board of ideas or a portfolio of dresses you find inspiring. 

Lastly, don’t forget to have fun! Even in the midst of a global pandemic, every bride deserves to have a wonderful time picking out the perfect dress.

Make Your Wedding Magical at Hidden Creek

If you’re looking for a gorgeous, private outdoor wedding venue, look no further than Hidden Creek. Have your ceremony in the cozy woods before taking beautiful sunset photos in the nearby clearing. Call to schedule your tour of Hidden Creek today!

Engaged man and woman sitting on park bench

Real Couples Share Tips for Handling a Rescheduled Wedding Date

If the COVID-19 pandemic has forced you to postpone your special day, you’re not alone. Handling a postponed wedding date can feel nearly impossible, but it’s important to understand your emotions and cope with them in a way that’s healthy and constructive. It’s easy to feel like no one around you understands what you’re going through, so we’ve put together a few pieces of advice from actual couples who’ve had to put their weddings off because of the pandemic. Here’s what they have to say. 

It’s Okay to Mourn Your Wedding Date

Sara Barto, a German bride who had to reschedule her May wedding, says the process hasn’t been easy for her or her partner, but she knew it was necessary. Not only was her guest list large, it included multiple people who were at high risk of contracting the virus. Her advice to couples dealing with the same thing is to “mourn your date and move on.” It’s easy to feel like you’ve lost something, but don’t let yourself lose hope. “Once you’re done mourning, you can start looking at the positives,” She says. “You have a few extra months to save up and plan the details. Not to mention, you’ll have quite a story to tell in ten years.”

Take Your Change of Plans in Stride

Instead of rescheduling their wedding, Lizzie Griffith and her husband decided to scale their wedding down to an intimate get-together with only their immediate family. Despite still having their wedding on the day they planned, the couple can’t help feeling like they’re missing out on the experience they had planned. This bride-to-be says she had to take the pain day-by-day and do her best to get perspective on it all. “As the days have passed, we have been able to talk, process, and pray together through the entire situation. Though it’s different than we panned, we have been able to gain perspective as each day passes and really remember what the purpose of a marriage is.” 

Lean on Your Partner (and Let Them Lean on You)

Drew Moxey and his partner, Ryan, just came back from separate bachelor parties when they realized they had to reschedule the wedding they’d planned to have by the Hudson River. Drew says the process was like a punch in the gut, but having his partner by his side was what helped most. He sees the ordeal as an opportunity to strengthen his relationship: “There’s a big power there to help you grow. Lean into one another fiercely, because you and your partner are truly in this together.” 

Make Your Wedding Magical at Hidden Creek

If you’re using this newfound free time to plan your wedding, make your special day perfect at Hidden Creek. Our beautiful outdoor venue give you the privacy you need and the beautiful scenery you want, and our wide-open field is perfect for capturing breathtaking wedding photos. Schedule your virtual tour of Hidden Creek today!

How to Plan For A Wedding That Might Get Postponed

If you’re engaged and planning your wedding, the COVID-19 pandemic has probably uprooted everything you’ve planned. Having to postpone your wedding can be heartbreaking, but it’s the best choice to keep you and your family safe. If you’re still in the early stages of wedding planning, it can be hard to know when to schedule your special day. We don’t know how long the pandemic will last, so how do you know your wedding won’t still be postponed, even if it’s months down the road? Unfortunately, you don’t. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t go forward with your wedding planning. We’ve put together some tips for planning a wedding, even if it might be postponed. 

Get in Touch With Your Venue

Depending on the venue, you might not be able to discuss postponement if your wedding is further out, because they need to allow the upcoming weddings to be postponed first. You might not even be able to schedule a wedding at a popular venue any sooner than a year out. Still, if you can get in touch with your venue, be sure to discuss your concerns with them and plan for the worst. If you do this, you’ll be able to have a team at your side who’s ready to deal with any obstacles in the way of your wedding.

Consult Your Vendors

Vendors are a key part of weddings, and they need to be consulted if you’re thinking about postponing your wedding. If you’re negotiating a contract with a vendor, be sure to talk to them about the possibility of postponing your wedding. You’ll be able to come up with a plan and make a flexible contract. Sometimes it’s best to get your nervous energy out and plan for the worst so you can feel secure in your plans.

Keep Your Guests Updated

No matter how big your guest list is, these guests deserve to be kept up to date on every change you’ve made. Keeping your guests updated with regular emails will cut down on confusion and questions. Make a habit of emailing your guest list every week, two weeks, or every month. Even if any changes haven’t been made, it’s good to make sure your guests know exactly what’s going on. Your guests will appreciate the transparency, and they might even be able to offer advice. 

Make Your Wedding Magical with Hidden Creek

If you’re on the hunt for a wedding venue, be sure to add Hidden Creek to your list! We’re offering virtual tours of our beautiful outdoor venue, and we’ve rescheduled our Spring open house to May 17th. Our gorgeous outdoor venue is perfect for any wedding. Big or small, minimal or grand, you’re sure to love the atmosphere and scenery of Hidden Creek. Our venue offers the privacy you need with the magical feel you want, and our open field is perfect for your wedding day photoshoot. Call or visit our website to schedule a virtual tour of our venue today!

Don’t Want to Postpone your Wedding? Livestream It!

With the ongoing threat of COVID-19, many couples have made the difficult choice to cancel or postpone their wedding. Still, some lovebirds aren’t willing to delay their special day, and they have chosen to use technology to their advantage. 

At Hidden Creek, we do everything possible to help you prepare for your wedding, whether you’re intending to have a few guests present at a social distancing space and wearing face masks, or keeping everyone at a safe distance by having them join you over the internet. If you’re thinking about having a virtual wedding, here’s everything you need to know!

Choosing your Streaming Platform

With the abundance of streaming platforms out there for public use, you’re sure to find the perfect one for your special day. Platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts allow your guests to share their video on a call. Others, like Youtube Live, Instagram Live, and Facebook live, allow your guests to watch your ceremony and comment in a live chat. If you want a smaller, more personal virtual wedding, you might want to consider a group video call. If you’re planning to invite a lot of guests, a livestream might be better and more reliable. 

If you don’t want to deal with getting your marriage officiated and licensed at a later time, WebWed Mobile offers marriage licenses and the option to have an officiant at your virtual wedding, all at once! Wedfuly will also facilitate Zoom wedding ceremonies for free. Be sure to check whether or not your state requires an in-person officiant. If you can’t get officiated during your virtual wedding, you can always make your marriage legal later on. 

Invitations

If you’re going the virtual route with your ceremony, why not do the same with your invitations? If you still want to give your guests the perfect wedding invitations, paper is always a great option, but you can also use companies like Paperless Post and Greenvelope. These companies give you the option to deliver magical virtual invitations to your guests. With these services, you’ll be able to surprise your guests with beautiful invitations while doing your part to save the environment!

Setting Up and Dressing Up

Virtual or not, you want your wedding day to be magical for yourself and your guests, so a reliable setup is essential. Prop your phone, tablet, or laptop up so your guests have a clear view of you and your bride or groom. Open the windows up for that perfect natural glow (tip: plan your virtual wedding to take place during golden hour for some gorgeous warm lighting!), decorate your setting with lights and potted plants, and play some music to get your guests in the mood. If you want, you can even have some champagne on-hand to pop after the ceremony! 

When it comes time for your vows and kiss, ask your guests to mute their audio. A virtual wedding might not be the special day you dreamed of, but you can still go all-out with the wardrobe! Wear the dress, or put on that stunning tuxedo. If you want to save your special outfits for an in-person ceremony, you can still go fancy with a cute summer dress or a sharp blazer.

Plan Your Future Ceremony at Hidden Creek

Whether you’re postponing your wedding or planning an in-person ceremony after your virtual wedding, make your wedding magical at Hidden Creek. Our venue offers the privacy you need with the beautiful outdoor setting you love. Book a tour on our website to see why Hidden Creek is the perfect place for your special day!