Normalizing Weekday Weddings - with Becky at Oak Hill Farm
Our last interview with a wedding professional went so well, so we would love to keep this trend going! These interviews are a fun way to get a new perspective on wedding planning, trends, tips, etc. with other professionals that have lots of experience in the wedding industry!
This time, we interviewed Becky at Oak Hill Farm, which is a venue we work with often! So, enjoy this interview where we specifically touch on normalizing weekday weddings, which is something that will become more and more common the next couple of years as we navigate COVID-19.
Introduce yourself! Share what you do and how long you’ve been in the wedding industry!
Hello! My name is Becky Riedl and I opened our venue, Oak Hill Farm, in 2000. We started with just ceremonies, then added a cocktail hour, and soon after that, we added receptions as well. Over the years, we have transformed the property in many ways, including adding outdoor ceremony locations, ponds, gardens, miniature donkeys (seriously!), and in 2020 we built a pavilion to replace our canopy tent. My husband Doug and I met and worked at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Chicago prior to opening Oak Hill. The service industry is in our blood!
What’s your favorite thing about being a wedding professional?
It is so hard to name just one favorite thing! Here are my top 4:
- The couples... I absolutely love meeting new clients, finding a connection with them, and developing a relationship throughout their planning process.
- The hospitality... Sharing our unique property gives me great joy. Oak Hill is a family farm and truly, it's my heart and soul. I adore seeing other people feel the magic!
- The details... I believe the details make all the difference. There is such satisfaction in helping couples personalize their wedding and witnessing all the planning come together on their wedding day.
- The vendors... Working with other wedding professionals who bring the best out in one another and who want to provide a superior product/service to our wedding couples.
Can you share a little bit about your experience during COVID-19 so far and how it has impacted your business?
This pandemic has affected all of us so much on so many levels. Every professional in the industry has suffered as well as all the couples (and their families) who are living with uncertainty and negativity during what should be one of the happiest times of their life. At Oak Hill, we are working with each couple to find an option that works best for them. We are offering elopements, micro-weddings, shift weddings, the option to hold a future date, rescheduling with no fee, etc. Thus far, we have rescheduled 47 weddings... some later in 2020 but most moving to 2021.
What advice do you have for couples that need to reschedule their weddings?
The number one piece of advice I have is to postpone, not cancel! Your day may look a bit different but you will still marry the love of your life and it will be meaningful and heartfelt and magical - regardless of where or when. Don't let this situation break your spirit - just take a deep breath and begin putting together a Plan B. Be flexible, stay positive, and remember that we are all in this together. This moment in time won't last forever. We will get through it and we will come out stronger!
What are the perks to rescheduling your wedding on a weekday?
First of all, you will have the date of your choice! You will also save money as most vendors discount mid-week weddings. Additionally, most of your vendors will likely be available. Think about a Thursday or even a Monday...both of these weekdays bump up against a weekend. If you have guests who are traveling, they would have the weekend to do so.
What’s your biggest tip for a bride and groom during the wedding planning process in general?
Okay here are a few of my biggest tips (I'm not good at choosing just one of anything!)
- Hire professional, highly-rated vendors and listen to their input!
- Base your wedding plans on your values as a couple. It will make decision-making so much easier! Having a short list of you and your fiance's values will help you filter through all your decisions with more ease and joy.
- Discuss the budget candidly before doing anything! Who is paying? Parents, the couple, or a little bit of both? This makes planning easy and eliminates any gray area or misunderstandings.
- Be sure to communicate effectively with your bridal party and vendors. Good communication will minimize the chances of your expectations being broken.
...and that's a wrap! What a fantastic interview, Becky! Thank you SO much for sharing your insight into wedding planning and specifically what the perks are to normalizing weekday weddings - a "new normal" we're now faced with.
Thanks for reading! Let us know on our Facebook page who you might like to see us interview next!