Monday, July 8, 2013

Wedding Venue Review - Deer Creek Lodge

Today's post is a review of our wedding venue.  I feel like the venue is really the most important materialistic part of the wedding - there are so many things that can go right or wrong that it is worth more of your thought and money than many of the other details in a wedding.

If you are currently searching for a wedding venue in Oklahoma and missed my post way back when, you can read more about unique venues I found in Oklahoma with searching tips.  Check it out HERE!

Our Wedding venue was Deer Creek Lodge 1 in Davis, Oklahoma.  For you Okies who might be familiar, it is just off I35's exit 52. That is right where the Arbuckle Fried Pies shop is located, and there is a large group of lodges owned by Deer Creek. We used lodge 1, which turned out perfect for our needs.

Jim (the manager) was really nice to work with, although a bit unorganized.  Several times he called and couldn't remember which lodge we wanted reserved, with the assumption that we wanted Lodge 4 instead of Lodge 1.  We had things planned almost a year in advanced, so things got sorted out several months prior to the wedding.    
My check for the venue deposit ($200) was either lost in the mail or after its arrival. I didn't notice that the check hadn't been taken out of my account, and it ended up being 5 months later when I was called by Deer Creek who wanted to ask again which lodge we had booked, and when I was going to pay the deposit. I assured them that I'd sent the check back in August, and that I followed up the next week to be sure they received the check (when they told me they had received it). They told me they must have gotten my check mixed up with the deposit from the people renting Lodge 4 - either way, five months later the check was missing. I ended up having to cancel the check (another $25) and went down myself a few weeks later to just pay the entire cost up front, at which point the deposit was unnecessary.  The cost was for $425 plus tax per night with a 2 night minimum.

Fortunately, everything worked out - but getting to where it was worked out was at times stressful. I hate to open my review this way, because after we got the right lodge booked and missing check straightened out, everything else fell together perfectly. They were very understanding about the situations that occured, I ended up with the correct lodge - and since it was all fixed in the end, I'm happy and I have no problems with them.

Having a full 48 hours at the lodge worked out great for us since we could have the rehearsal dinner and could get everything (including food) ready there the night before to alleviate some of the stress for the day of the wedding.  To me, having 48 hours for $925 (after tax) was a much better deal than paying the same price or more to "actual" wedding venues that only allow you to be there for 6-8 hours.

The rehearsal the day before the wedding at Deer Creek Lodge 1 in Davis, OK.

The lodge also cut expenses in terms of lodging the night before the wedding. My in-laws rented a VRBO house a few miles away for their side of the family (who all had to travel much further than my family and needed nearby places to stay), and I stayed the night at the wedding lodge with two of my bridesmaids and their guys. It saved us from having to spend the gas to drive back to our homes or to pay for a hotel.

Some complications that came with having the wedding here was the parking situation and an insufficient amount of tables and chairs for our approximated 100-150 guests.

The lodge did not have sufficient parking for more than 10 people, and that parking area was where we put the chairs for my ceremony (meaning NO cars could be up there).

 We solved this problem by renting the church van from my parent’s church and paying a friend to drive people back and forth from the wedding location to the parking area - about ¼ a mile.  We sent a map detailing the parking information and shuttle pick up in everyone's invitation. For the most part that worked out pretty well, although a few people still ended up being confused.

See the shuttle in the back of this picture?
The shuttle made it in one of our pictures!
It was parked at the shuttle stop - complete with a sign
telling guests what times it would run (to save on trips and gas).

The futons and booths created plenty of seating for the interior of the lodge, and we also rented chairs and tables from my parent’s church to use outside for the ceremony and outdoor reception. For the reception, we hired another family friend to grill burgers and everyone sat outside to eat dinner until it was time to cut the cake.  
The view from the outdoor reception tables.

We only used the inside of the lodge for the first dance and cake cutting.  Our original plans were to have a dance floor inside, but we weren’t feeling it that night so we skipped it all together.  
Our guests in the interior of the lodge during the best man's speech.

The canoes at the lodge were a big hit with our college aged friends.  Not only did Tyler and I get to take some really fun wedding photos in the canoes, but several of our friends had a blast.  After the rehearsal dinner, my bridesmaids and I got in the canoes to row around at dusk - and it was the first time before the wedding that I was able to truly not feel stressed.

The grounds have several designated campfire spots, which worked out great for s’mores.  Just keep in mind that you’ll either want your wedding to be late in the evening, or during the cooler months.  Even with a May 18 wedding, it was still too hot outside for the whole camp fire thing, and most of our crowd had left by the time the fire was started and s’mores were brought out.  We made about 200 packages (assuming not all our guests would come, but that most people would eat more than one)....well, the amount of s’mores left over was ridiculous.  If the weather hadn’t been so warm I would assume they would have become a bigger hit.

Friends eating S'mores!

We had a wonderful day on our wedding, and our venue turned out to be perfect for us.  We may have still ended up paying almost as much as a place that would have done everything for us - but for me, that was the problem. I needed my wedding to be mine, something that I created, and something that I didn't hire anyone else to do for me. (I'm kind of stubborn like that).

Between planning for an entire year and the help of family and friends, we pulled it off successfully. It is definitely a day I am proud of, and I know that we all did it together.

If you'd like to see more of our wedding and our venue, my friend's husband made a recap video of our wedding and she posted it on her blog. Check it out!

P.S. I found out today that our professional pictures are finally done!  I'm super excited, and she will be mailing our disc this week! I know you don't mind the photos of our venue taken by our lovely friends, but I'm sure you will be able to appreciate the view even more with Anna's photos!  We got a sneak peak today, and I'll share with you.
This was my favorite one of the sneak peeks.
Photo taken by Birds and Coffee Design.

P.S.S. If you're also looking for a wonderful and affordable photographer in Oklahoma, check out Birds and Coffee Design!  She took our wedding pictures, as well as my dear friend and blogger Veronica's wedding photos!  We both loved her work, and her prices.  More on that later!


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