Welcome back to the Bliss Vendor Tour! We’re kicking off another great week FULL of interviews and photos with amazing wedding professionals in the Springfield, Missouri area. If you missed last week, don’t forget to poke around a bit to find Haseltine Estate, He Loves Me Flowers, Touch and Flame Catering, and Mandy Evans Photography.
Today we’re stepping just southeast of town to a peaceful corner of the world in Rogersville. For ten years, lovely ladies in big white dresses have chosen to exchange vows with their beloveds in this serene grove of cedar trees. A giant, open-armed welcome to Dodi Thomas from Samuel Cedars Chapel and Event Center!
Hello! Tell us about yourself.
Our property was originally owned by my grandparents, Elmer and Lucille Samuel, and has a beautiful grove of cedar trees Grandpa had not really seen any value in. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder! My husband and I thought it was a beautiful spot and decided to clear part of the space for an outdoor wedding chapel. This year marks our 10th anniversary and we have held almost 500 weddings. It is wonderful to be able to witness couples starting their lives together and knowing that we have been a small part of that. I think if Grandpa could see it today, he would see that those cedar trees have found purpose after all!
Why do you love the wedding industry?
It is fun to help these couples on their big day! It has grown into a full-time business that has allowed me to be more available to my family as well, which is wonderful! People often ask, “Did you dream of doing this all along?” Not really 🙂 When the brides started coming out to tour the location, they expressed a need for not only the outdoor chapel, but also a larger reception space. We expanded our original plan for occupancy in the reception hall to accommodate larger groups and brides saw this as a great option! Over the years, we have tried to add services and what is included with the rental to meet the needs of the couples and give them the most we can for their money.
What types of services do you offer?
Some extras included in our package are:
- Set up of tables and chairs, including linens
- Sound person/equipment for the wedding
- Assistance w/parking
- One hour Rehearsal
- Monthly Open Houses for planning time for our brides
We also offer a range of optional services, like officiating, wedding directing, centerpieces and other rentals, outdoor arbor decor, decorating, onsite catering from Catering Creations, and onsite DJ services.
What are some of the favorite things about the services you offer?
Brides really like the fact that they can get so many things checked off their list when they rent with us – from the venue, the caterer, the DJ, a wedding director, some of the decor and access to many of our favorite vendors at our Open Houses. It is peace of mind for them to know that they don’t have to do everything on their own and it makes it so convenient that we offer so many services at our location. Because we have been in the industry for so long, with input from former brides, we have been able to offer the items that are most important to make it less stressful for them. Discussing each couple’s vision helps form friendships– we have even had couples who have been married here attend other weddings held here and been able to see their growing families and it is truly a beautiful thing!
For better or worse, share a few memorable wedding moments with us.
WOW! There is always a story to tell – some I definitely won’t repeat at this time! One time, the minister for the service did not show up. The caterer for the night was a friend of ours and also had performed many weddings. The wedding was themed so he was going to need to wear the appropriate costume. He grabbed a Bible from my son’s room, put on the robe that was planned for the original minister and the ceremony went on without a hitch (as far as any of the guests knew). On another occasion, the minister was the only one that showed up on the day of the wedding! The couple had cancelled the wedding, but forgot to tell the minister that they were not getting married, so he showed up at the appropriate time dressed for a wedding.
One of my absolute favorite stories- there was a family who have had two of their family members have weddings at Samuel Cedar. At the first wedding, one of the young ladies at the wedding met a young gentleman. Those two went on to date each other and were engaged by the time the second wedding happened. Although that couple did not get married here at our facility, the wedding that took place here brought them together in the first place – love it!
Any advice for brides planning their wedding?
Make sure that you look at what all is included at each of the venues to find the place that works best for you. You can love the look of a facility, but if their package doesn’t include much you end up spending much more! Stay true to the things that you really want included for your special day. For instance, if you really want a bouquet of real flowers for your wedding, try to work that into the budget and spend a little less on something that is less important to you. Some brides want to do everything for themselves instead of letting others help. Let your friends and family have a little joy by helping you on your day. Sometimes doing everything yourself only adds more stress and doesn’t give you as much time to just enjoy the moment!
Thanks, Dodi! So happy to have you here!