Vendor Love: Gina and Barry of Sepia Chapel
Allow me to paint you a picture here: your beloved has asked you to be his or her partner for life, and you said YES! You're giddy with excitement and joy and start dreaming up your perfect wedding day. You've got a date in mind and then...the decisions come pouring in like an avalanche in spring. There are a lot of choices to make, and it can be really stressful. You know that you should pick your ceremony and reception venue next, but you're overwhelmed with the options. I've got good news for you, friend. You're not alone in this struggle. If you've worked with me, you already know that I will at a minimum make your photography experience as warm and stress-free as possible. But BONUS, I've worked with a ton of vendors in the Wisconsin wedding industry, therefore I know who to recommend to make your day go even more smoothly. That gets you one step closer to your dream wedding day.
Today, I'd like to introduce you to Barry and Gina Krahn, owners of Sepia Chapel. They have two venues, both of which are versatile spaces to host weddings and other meaningful events. Each century-old venue has been transformed into a 'modern meets rustic' space, and each has a magnificent water feature designed to captivate everyone in attendance. They offer flexible floor plans and convenient build-what-you-desire packages. All guests will experience intimate customer service in an unparalleled atmosphere of warmth and serenity. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Gina and Barry a few weeks ago and really digging into the ins and outs of their business to further show wedding planning couples how amazing it is to choose Sepia Chapel for their wedding day venue:
What areas do you consider yourself most successful in helping your wedding clients?
Gina: We pride ourselves on not being 'all-business'. We are truly invested in our clients. By the time the wedding comes, it feels like they have become family. We want nothing more than for them to experience sheer happiness while at our venues.
If you could give any advice to wedding planning couples, what would it be?
Gina: Don't worry too much about the small details. Sometimes less is more. Trust and hire professionals, and they will deliver for you.
What makes your location/service unique?
Gina: Both of our venues were built in the late 1800s and the Two Rivers venue is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Each venue at one time was a Catholic Church. There is something really cool about knowing that each venue has such history built into its walls. The places were built by parishioners with bare hands out of 100% love. They were pitching in to "build their community". How awesome that we get to continue sharing these spaces with the community?
How many people are on your team?
Gina: In addition to Barry and I, who are 100% hands-on and fully invested in the business, we have about a dozen part-time staff to assist with the events.
How many years have you been providing services to wedding clients?
Gina: This is our eighth year of business, which is crazy to hear myself say!
How many wedding clients do you take on each year? Do you take on other clients as well?
Gina: We have been hosting about 100 weddings each year, but also have a focus on corporate clientele and other folks in the community looking to host events of any kind like baby and wedding showers, baby-dedication services, Christmas parties, fundraisers, business meetings, etc.
How many wedding guests can your venues accommodate?
Gina: Our Green Bay venue (located at 3562 Finger Road) holds 200 guests and Two Rivers (located at 1820 Jefferson St. Two Rivers 54241) holds 350 guests. Both venues have space for ceremony and reception events.
What type of wedding client will be happiest at your location/with the services you provide?
Gina: Wedding clients wanting the ability to choose their own amenities, and make the venue their own, will be most happy with Sepia Chapel. We are not a "cookie-cutter" space. Client friends are allowed to bring in nearly any kind of decoration or asset they wish, and can even drop off decor and other items prior to their wedding day. Items can be picked up the following day. We believe the wedding day itself is meant to be 100% for celebration, not clean-up.
What are some of the policies/rules of your services/venue that you think researching couples should know right away?
Gina: While we do believe in making the venue a space that represents each couple the very best, we do ask that open-flame candles be contained in glass, and also that 'fake snow' is not used on the hardwood floors. The wood floors are the original wood from the late 1800s and the snow gets in the cracks and does not come out.
Are there any items you don't allow couples to bring in (outside caterers, glitter/flower petals, pets, etc.)?
Gina: We have preferred caterers, and also allow bringing in your own food/caterers. We do not allow any beverages to be carried in.
What time of year do you think your venue is really at its best? Do you offer off-season discounts?
Gina: Our venue is amazing in summer, but also is decorated so beautifully during the Christmas holiday season. This can help save on decorating charges. We do not have 'off-season' discounts as the chapel is booked fairly steadily year-round.
Do you have space on site for the bridal party to get ready? How early on the wedding day do they have access to that space?
Gina: We have two charming changing spaces, some of them even being huge changing suites. There are spaces for both the guys and girls. You have access to the space at the time your contract begins.
What are some of your favorite wedding details to work with? What are some of your favorite, unique items/ideas you've seen couples bring into their wedding day and planning?
Gina: We take time to carefully walk through every aspect of the wedding day. We provide assistance during the ceremony that includes anything from pinning on boutonnieres, to setting up decor, etc. We set up the reception in its entirety, including all decorations. Working with couples to create custom dinner menus is super cool. The food itself is artistic and be a great representation of who they are. We love the organic green trend, and nude, light blue,and soft pink color trends. Recently, we had the opportunity to set up a "farmer's market" wedding. The bride's vision was impeccable. Each table was unique but still coordinated well with other tables. Incorporating family tokens, history, or traditions is really special too.
What is the price range of your services?
Gina: Our basic offerings begin at $950 and go up from there.
Are your services available year-round?
How far in advance do you recommend couples book your services? Are you available on short notice?
Gina: On rare occasion we may be available on short notice, but the venues are booked out at least a year in advance.
What do you think is most important for wedding planning couples to consider when they are researching vendors in your field of services?
Gina: Price comparison is important, but is not everything. Many places have a per person price with "no room fee". In essence, room fees are built into the food price. I would recommend focusing on how you want your day to feel. What is the experience you want your guests to have? Spend money the best professionals to insure that grand vision is executed, and perhaps save money by not having "favors" at every plate, etc. Make your own traditions. Put value on all the "non-tangible" things your venue will do for you. Not having to worry about decorations, not paying for cake cutting, etc. Sepia provides a lot of value-add details that in the end, will be the conveniences you don't realize are super important until your wedding day is over.
What do you think is potentially the most stressful part of wedding planning? Do you have any tips on how to avoid this or get through this easily?
Gina: Without a solid timeline in place, it can be difficult to piece together the rest of day. Or even worse, the entire day runs behind and you feel rushed all day. This is a day you want to savor every single moment. Make sure you have a timeline in place that is realistic, and one that allows you to fit in all the things you feel are most important. Oftentimes, a photographer will assist you with keeping on track here if you haven't hired a wedding planner.
Are there other area professionals in the wedding industry that you've been really impressed with (besides KLEM Studios ;) )?
Gina: We love working with Josh at Nature's Best Floral, and Amy with Divine Nature. Both of them do incredible floral work. Ruby Design has the largest and most reasonable inventory of decor, accessories, and linens. We also looove Jill Grohusky. She is one of the most gifted musicians we know. Of course, ZoZo's Kitchen not only delivers incredible food, but they truly put on a show for each and every event.
Is there any other information you would like researching wedding couples to know?
Gina: Choosing a venue is one of the big decisions in a wedding. Make sure it feels right to you when you're there. Go with your heart and all will work out from there.
When you're not working, what are some of your favorite hobbies or past-times?
Gina: We have two little boys, so being outside with them is a must. We have a small cottage on a lake in Crivitz and spend our spare time there; we are water enthusiasts! Water skiing, paddle-boarding, jet-skiing, etc. Nothing is better than a book by the water on a swing. Admittedly...there's almost always a glass of wine or beer in-hand on those days too!
What is your contact information?
Gina: We are available by phone, email, website, and social media! www.sepiachapel.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / 920-680-1614 / 3562 Finger Road Green Bay WI 54311 /