Utahns often take our rich natural landscape for granted. That’s why I think more people don’t take advantage of great outdoor spaces for events like weddings, receptions and other get-together’s; we’re just a little too used to the beautiful place we live in.
But there are some particular sweet spots for Utah weddings that I think deserve mentioning. These are all places that have been cultivated specifically for that special day, showcasing the incredible views and visual charm that you want for the occasion.
Thanksgiving Point (Lehi, Utah)
Clearly I’m biased since I work there, but it’s not hard to make the case that this gathering place, created as a non-profit educational and cultural organization. Anyone who’s explored the Point’s 55 acres has seen the stone grottoes, vine-covered arbors, covered walkways and waterfall that make this one of the premiere destinations along the Wasatch Front just for wedding photos.
Thanksgiving Point has plenty of indoor and outdoor venues for weddings and other events, but my favorite is Loggia, with its Italian architecture, the rose-covered arbors and space for up to 300 people for a ceremony and slightly fewer for a reception dinner. It’s an intimate space, secluded from the rest of the Point’s attractions, with tremendous views from every angle of the square.
Sundance (Sundance, Utah)
Locals know that Sundance Resort is more than just Robert Redford’s secluded stomping grounds. It’s one of the most beautifully preserved places in the state where locals can go for great food, culture, history and natural beauty.
The resort has two incredible outdoor wedding venues, my favorite of which is Bearclaw, the only mountaintop lodge in all of Utah. You have to take a ski lift to get there, and there’s only space for an intimate wedding party (50 guests or less), but you can see forever over Heber Valley and Utah Valley. Elk Meadows is also an appealing outdoor space as well, if a bit tricky to get to. Sundance definitely has a lot to offer.
Wadley Farms (Lindon, Utah)
About 20 minutes outside of Salt Lake City is one of the most amazing venues in the state. Built in 1869, the space is oozing history and authenticity. You can walk the winding stone paths through 18 acres of gardens and orchards, pass through hand-crafted wooden gates and stone archways, and be dazzled by the illuminated spaces at night.
The distance from many Wasatch Front locations may discourage some people from choosing this venue, but the open, quaint feel is worth it, in my opinion. If you’re anywhere in Davis County, I would put Wadley Farms in my top five reception and wedding venues.
Canterbury Place (Bountiful, Utah)
Another spot north of Salt Lake that I think deserves a top spot is this historic reception space with a Grand Ballroom and outdoor garden areas that always steal the show. Canterbury Place is a gorgeous place to take wedding photos year-round, but spring or fall is the ideal time for a reception or ceremony in the courtyards and gardens of this European-style destination.
The stuccoed walls, trickling fountains and abundant flora age the space into an elegant atmosphere that seems out of time in many ways. The interior is lovely, but I really recommend this space for the outdoor venues it offers. There are some especially good areas for small to medium sized ceremonies here.
Heritage Gardens (Sandy, Utah)
The outdoor reception and ceremony spaces really strike a tone at this Sandy reception center. Wrought-iron fences encircle stone patios and a quaint gazebo surrounded by a variety of landscaped beauty, including lily-covered ponds and water tumbling over rocks.
The interesting thing about Heritage Gardens is the blending of indoor and outdoor spaces, which seem to flow together seamlessly. It really is a well-designed space, as are all of the venues on this list. It’s definitely one of the top destinations for wedding in the Salt Lake Valley.
Author bio: Bronson Tyler is a writer for the events planning and promotion team at Thanksgiving Point, a non-profit cultural and educational organization located in beautiful Lehi, Utah. You can find out more about the wedding venues and event spaces there by visiting ThanksgivingPoint.org.
I went to a wedding last weekend. The reception was a formal sit-down dinner at a nice hotel and all the traditional wedding party speeches were made. I love it when there are toasts/short speeches at the reception. It is the perfect opportunity to bring everyone together and put the moment into perspective.
When the groom’s brother got up to give his speech, however, it was a disaster. After telling everybody what a boring little kid the groom was, he said he could only think of one embarrassing story to tell. After telling said story, which was more crude than funny, the room was awkwardly silent and I’m sure that everyone was hoping the moment would pass quickly.
This experience got me thinking about the rules of writing a good wedding speech. Yes, there are rules. I think every person is different and it is important to give a speech that is true to who you are. So if you are funny, be funny. If you are sentimental, bring on the tears. But whatever your natural gifts are for public speaking, consider the following suggestions:
1- Prepare in advance. I understand that unscripted speeches seem so much more sincere and interesting, but preparation is still invaluable. You may decide to change things in the moment but give yourself plenty of time to prepare something just in case. Practice in front of a few different people who can give you advice or boost your confidence.
2. Introduce yourself. It is likely that not everyone will know who are you, so you should take a few moments to introduce yourself. Particularly if you are the best friend, this is your chance to legitimize your spot in the wedding party. After all, the bride or groom chose you for a pretty important role. Highlighting a little bit of your friendship is appropriate.
2- Share brief stories/experiences. This is a great way to show the guests a different side of the couple or give them a more intimate sneak peak. However, avoid inside jokes or sharing something too embarrassing. They may not care, but there is a good chance that most of the guests will feel awkward and uncomfortable. You don’t want to be the only one laughing. Instead, remember that whatever you share should ultimately be a compliment to the person/couple. Make them shine. Being real and genuine might feel a little uncomfortable in front of so many people, but this is your chance to break out your sentimental side and make the day memorable and special for the people you love.
3- Include a brief quote or saying about love/marriage. If you are drawing a blank on the right story to tell, try expounding a little on something someone else has written. There are a lot of quotes to be found online both funny and sentimental. Simple is usually best. Try here or here for a start. Choose wisely and remember your audience.
4- Don’t forget about the spouse. Even if you don’t know the person your friend is marrying very well, they still need to mentioned. Do your homework if necessary.
5- Be brief. The key in life is to always leave people wanting more. 2-4 minutes is best. Anything over 5 minutes is in danger of dragging on.
Wedding favor printable can be customized by color and letter.
This thumbprint tree printable comes without the thumbprints- you get to put it out with an ink pad for all your guests to add a print to! I’d personally put a fine point permanent marker there too for people to put names on their print. This one call be customized with your name and colors.
Fun customizable monograms!
And last, but certainly not least, an amazing thank you card for after the big day! Don’t like the colors? Not a problem- you can change them!
As you can see, the best part is that most of their downloads can all be customized- you just go to the one you like, choose your colors and the letters or words you want on the monogram and then download your printable file. How great is that?! I’ve had so much fun just playing with colors and letters. Be sure to plan a good block of time when you visit- you’ll be sure to get lost in the beauty.
A couple years ago I posted some free Thank You card downloads and I’ve been thinking it’s about time for an update. Here are a some new PDFs for you that are a little more up to date. These guys print on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper- just print it, cut it in half and enjoy your cards (2 per sheet). If you don’t find a color you love, all of these designs would print great in black and white- use a colored paper to coordinate with your wedding. To download the PDF, click on the name of each card below the photo.
Stylish Gray Blank Note Card- this one was made specifically to be printed on colored paper
Established in 1869, Wadley Farms is a perfect historic Utah location for those of you looking for a reception with a natural feel. Seriously, you have to check out their website and blog- just to drool over the beauty! Their property is filled with beautiful landscaping and the buildings are seriously some of the most beautiful I’ve seen. They have an amazing barn which would be perfect for those of you looking for a more rustic themed wedding, and their Railroad Building is classic enough to please just about any bride. You can choose an outdoor wedding in their amazing gardens and if it rains you have their buildings as an amazing back up plan!
Their pricing isn’t listed on their site, which unfortunately probably means that if you love this location, it will be one of your splurges. However, they did mention that they rent out their location during different parts of the day (think afternoon reception to save a little $), their pricing includes tables, chairs and linens (another big $ saver- even just renting table cloths typically adds up to around $200) and they allow outside food and drink. (so many reception places get you in the door with a cheap price and then require you to spend thousands of dollars on food) So if you love, love, love this place be sure to consider weekday or afternoon pricing and think of a simple, but still delicious, food choice to help you fit this amazing location into your budget! (think hot chocolate bar & biscotti during the winter or fresh lemonade and tea cakes for summer)
Finding a great photographer is often at the top of the list for brides-to-be. After all, what’s the point of planning all those perfect details if you have no memory of them?
There are so many great photographers out there- today I just wanted to show you one of them! Mallory Hurst Photography is located in Utah County and is available for weddings. She contacted me recently with some specific pricing info, which is listed below in her own words. (These prices are current for 2012 and are only meant to be a guideline- please contact Mallory Hurst Photography for specific packages)
First Package - $1050
- Bridal session (2-3 hours, up to 3 locations)
- 1 photographer
- 4 hours wedding photography coverage ($100 for each additional hour)
- Online proofing and ordering of images for 5 months, or low res sample disc
- High resolution disc of 15 images from engagement session OR all of the photographs taken, unedited ($10 each additional edit per photo)
- High resolution disc of 15 images from bridal session OR all of the photographs taken, unedited ($10 each additional edit per photo)
- High resolution disc of 25 wedding images OR all of the photographs taken, unedited ($10 each additional edit per photo)
- All edits included
Second Package - $1730 package
- Bridal session (2-3 hours, up to 3 locations)
- 2 photographers available (If you choose)
- Online proofing and ordering of images for 9 months, or low res sample disc
- High resolution disc of 25 images from engagement session OR all of the photographs taken, unedited ($10 each additional edit per photo)
- High resolution disc of 25 images from bridal session OR all of the photographs taken, unedited ($10 each additional edit per photo)
- High resolution disc of 35 wedding images OR all of the photographs taken, unedited ($10 each additional edit per photo)
- All edits included
I HIGHLY recommend a “first look” couples session of the bride and groom in their wedding attire on a day before the wedding. I stress this photo session to clients because more often than not, your wedding day is full of meeting and greeting people, going from place to place, and can be strictly scheduled and full of events. It is sometimes difficult to squeeze in enough time to get those personal, on location, shots without feeling rushed or stressed…. and those two words are to be AVOIDED (at the very least) on the best day of your life! It is $230 for that session if it’s included with one of the packages above.
4 hour Wedding coverage without engagement and bridal sessions – $700
All Day Wedding coverage without engagement and bridal sessions – $1380
Engagement Session outside a wedding package – $230
Bridal Session outside a wedding package – $230
“First Look” Couples Session outside a wedding package – $285
Summer wedding season is in full swing, which means the Autumn bride’s are working on their special days. So what is in this fall?
An acorn is a great symbol of a seemingly small thing that can sprout into a mighty oak-like a marriage.
What a fun and affordable way to add some personality and symbolism to your reception.
There are great ideas incorporating the brown, green, and acorns, and you will see, they make a classy, yet casual feel.
Here are some pictures from a fun little website…keentobeseenchocolates.com
I didn’t find a lot of acorn stationary that I thought was formal enough for a wedding, but here is a nice one from etsy. The simple drawings are really nice. A full-press printer could help you find a graphic designer or illustrator that could help you get exactly what you want in an invitation.
intimateweddings.com had my favorite ideas for an acorn wedding! Check out these floating acorn candles. These little candles will burn 40-90 minutes each!
You could even make an acorn pomander for your flower girl to carry instead of flowers and match the ribbon to the other colors you’re using.
Love these ideas from finestationary.com for the bridesmaids dresses!
However you use your acorn theme, as simply as a vase of acorns, or as grand as each guest taking a little seedling acorn home for a mighty oak tree symbolizing your marriage, your guests will enjoy the symbolism of a tiny seedling acorn.