Look around and Ask Questions.
- Walk around the venue and get a feel for the atmosphere. Most brides I have spoken to feel really comfortable and at home in a venue as soon as they walk inside. You and your new husband will be spending the very first hours of being married here with the most important people in your life so it should definitely be a place you feel comfortable in.
- Ensure you get a warm welcome and that the person who sees you is on time and expecting you. This will give you an idea of their customer service and organisation. Timing is important on your big day so you want to know that the staff in the venue appreciates that.
- Is everywhere clean and well kept? This will give you an idea of how the venue is maintained. Check out the toilets too!
- Does the decor fit with your theme? Contemporary modern furniture may not be acceptable if your vision is classic and traditional.
- The venue staff should be professional but friendly and approachable. You need to feel they will look after you as well as your guests.
- If your guests are likely to be staying at the venue ask to be shown the bedrooms to check their suitability.
- Will they offer a group discount you can pass on to your guests? If so how long will they hold the rooms before they need to be booked? Also they should give you a reservation number or ask them how to let your guests know what to ask for when they call to book a room. (You can put this information in the invitations.)
- Check to see if they have a dedicated wedding coordinator on the day. Many venues use events coordinators to help book the wedding but often they do not work at the weekends. There will be a duty manager and whilst being excellent their main aim is to look after the food and drink. You may need to consider someone to help you set up tables, place favours and liaise with suppliers in the run up to the wedding. On the day then you can relax and enjoy the whole day without worry.
- Check out the gardens and facilities on offer if your wedding is going to take place over a weekend. Your guests may want to make use of the facilities and you need to know if they have to be booked prior to their arrival.
- Is there enough parking for your guests? If not ask where the nearest car park is.
- Are there any restrictions on photographs being taken?
Think about Your Budget.
What packages can the venue offer? Will they be flexible? For instance, to reduce costs you may want to serve your wedding cake as a sweet instead of paying for desert. Will they allow this? If so will they charge you for cutting the cake and serving it?
Is there the possibility of bringing your own wine? If so what is the corkage price?
If you are planning to stay at the venue do they offer a bridal suite within the package? This can be quite an expense and if you can negotiate this to be included it’s quite a saving. During this credit crunch period you may very well get a good deal, but you have to ask.
Here are few more things to ask and think about regarding what is offered.
- What exactly is covered within each package? Be sure you are crystal clear.
- Check if wine is included within the package, can you upgrade to different wines if you want to? What is the corkage cost if you can bring your own wine. They are often more expensive so do beware.
- Can you use your own caterers? If not ask which company they want you to use.
- Is there an extra hire fee for the ceremony room? Try and get this rolled in within the package. If you don’t ask you don’t get!
- Is it extra to hire a cake stand? Cake knife or the board and easel for the table plan? Or are they included?
- What table linen is offered? Tablecloths, chair covers?
- If you get married mid week ask for the charges, they should be lower. It’s a thought if you really love the venue but can’t afford the weekend costs.
- Are there any flowers or decorations within the package? Often the in house florist may be able to match the flowers that they are doing for the hotel to your theme.
- Is the price quoted with VAT? Will there be any inflationary costs if you are booking a year in advance?
- When do they need a deposit and when is the final payment? – Make sure it comes in line with your savings if you need to add to them for the venue costs.
- What are the cancellation terms and conditions?
Restrictions – You need to know and understand these.
- Will there be more than wedding on the day. If so how does the venue manage this?
- Are there any restrictions on entertainment, check out the size of the rooms to ensure a live band can fit if you are planning on having one?
- Do they allow chocolate fountains, candles, confetti and fireworks?
- What time are last orders at the bar and what time do you have to stop playing music.
- If exclusive use what time does it start and finish?
- Is there any additional charge if your guests fall below the minimum numbers?
- Is there wheel chair access if you have disabled or older guests?
- Is there going to be any structural upgrades or decoration before your wedding? If so when and what will they be?
Checking the details will ensure you have the perfect venue without hidden costs or surprises. Most of all feel comfortable and have a good relationship with the venue staff. If you not fully satisfied or your instincts tell you that something is wrong walk away.
I hope this helps you choose your dream venue. Next week pop back for everything you need to know about choosing your perfect wedding dress.
Until next time, happy planning.
Wedding Planner – Julie Dawson – The Wedding Genie
Julie Dawson – aka “The Wedding Genie”
Julie has been wedding planning for over 3 years, “My philosophy is to provide the very best support, inspiration and service to my clients.” Planning a wedding isn’t all glamour, generally it’s the tedious tasks like, finding suppliers, budgeting, liaising etc. Julie will be sharing her best tips and expert knowledge to help you plan your perfect Wedding.