Can we talk out loud here for a second?
You have made a rough guest count and just chatting with your coworkers about a few things you’re thinking while picking out “party central” for your wedding. So a mini checklist you’ve made looks a little something like this:
- You have 250 people you love and want to celebrate with
- It must be unique and totally your style (“Boho Style”)
- Close to accommodations for guests
- On-site catering and staff would be preferred
- Craft beers would be awesome
- Has to be in May to line up with your anniversary timeline
- It cannot be the same place that your friends just got married at
- And well, must be under a million dollars!
Cool cool cool cool, sooooo where are you hosting this thing?
This moment can be a touch overwhelming, especially when you start to email venues to tour, and venue coordinators are asking “Did you mean May 2025 or 2026?”, and you’re like, “Nooo May 2021…” and then go cry in the bathroom…Ya, that’s rough.
Between you and me, I find this is either the hardest OR easiest decision you will make during your planning process. Our job is to help make this an EASY (and fun!) wedding task for you.
We’ve had the privilege of working in so many unique venues and would love to help check off all the boxes for the venue search you have created! Knowing things like: capacity, catering details, preferred vendors for locations, nearby accommodations, and rules and regulations for each venue can give you a touch of insight that venue packages don’t share. This knowledge comes with experience that you don’t have because, well you’re not a Wedding Planner or Wedding Coordinator! Our job is to take your checklist, big or small, and produce options for you to pick from! This way you are only seeing things in your budget and won’t waste time falling in love with something that you can’t have!
Sometime Wedding Planners come into the picture after some details have been confirmed. So if you don’t have a Wedding Planner yet and are searching for a venue, here are a few tips to keep this task of confirming your wedding venue an easy one!
Go To Each Venue with an Open Mind
I cannot stress this enough, honestly. You’ve seen pictures online, and maybe have already attended a wedding or an event here (that’s great!) but it wasn’t your event! Everything you think you know, literally throw it out the window, and listen to what the Venue Coordinator is telling you! Every wedding is different, so your vision and goals will be different and most places will be customizing things to maximize their space and showcase their venue in the best way possible. So listen to the facts and take it all in. This goes for wedding dates too! If you are flexible with your wedding date then you will be more likely to be able to book the venue. Take pictures and write down a few comments or questions that come up. This can be a lot of information at once, so it’s best to come prepared, which leads me to my next comment…
Come With A List Of Questions
If you’re from out of town or driving hours to see a venue, be prepared with a few questions. Even if you have a paper copy, take a picture of it, or put it in your phone notes so you have it with you! There will be things like: capacity, food and beverage questions, payment structure, are dietary restrictions accommodated, is construction happening anytime soon, heating and cooling, average costs, what’s included, etc. that you will definitely want to ask them. You need to ask the important questions prior to signing a legal contract so you’re not surprised or let down later if something can’t be accommodated. My favourite question to ask is: Are there any plans for construction anytime soon? Will you show up in two years and the venue will look different? Or will they be building a new roof during your wedding? ASK!!
Just Tour Venues with Your Partner
Have you ever tried to go shopping with a group of 8 people and went well? That doesn’t happen ha! If you cannot relate to that statement, you are a very #BLESSED person! Although you are looking for a wedding venue, you are still shopping! This wedding is about you and your partner, you need to take it in, do the hard work, feel it out and see what space really speaks to you. When you narrow it down to two or three spaces, then invite your parents and get feedback. Most of the time, parents are BEGGING to be involved. So having them help make the “final” choice or getting their “blessing” on the one you picked can mean a lot. But it doesn’t work in large groups (this advice applies to wedding dress shopping too!).
Invest In The Decision
If the venue is hosting an event, is a restaurant, or has something going on that you as an unsigned wedding couple can attend, DO IT! This is going to give you a feel for the venue typically at night time, you can see how the service is, try the food, see what the place looks like in lower light, have a mini date night, and really check it out. Most of the time, people working there won’t know who you are, so you can just be “regular people” and see if you want to spend your time, money and memories at that establishment.
Do Your Research
This goes hand in hand with the comment above about investing in the decision. Check out their current reviews: Google, Tripadvisor, Weddingwire, blogs, and FaceBook groups to see what people are saying! Look online on their Pinterest board, Instagram and websites to get some ideas. Is it in a city outside of yours? Do you know if it’s a tourist town? Is there a peak season? Is there an off-season where you can have discounts?! Take a look at their information before the meeting but ask them on the venue tour. They host weddings every weekend and have SO much knowledge in the area, so take advantage of that.
MAKE ONE. STICK TO IT.
I will be writing some advice on this later, but a few things to ask your venue that will affect your budget are:
- What’s the gratuity amount?
- How much is your SOCAN Fee? (every venue has this and can range between $50-$112)
- Do you have a cake-cutting fee?
- What’s the cost for kids?
- Payment plan – do you have one, or what’s the deposit?
- Are there any discounts for off-season rates or “off dates”?
Most places will make you a quote – take them up on this. Have all their fees put in place and always aim on the high end. Sometimes cost can rule out a venue, best to know this before you sign vs after you sign and trying to afford things.
The Basics, But I Need To Say It!
The last thing I’m going to say is to make sure you have an appointment. It will allow the staff to give you their full attention and be able to take their time with you. Call or email ahead of time and they would be happy to show you the space! Start the relationship with the venue on the right foot and remember to be polite. The person you are talking with can easily be your Venue Coordinator and you are sharing your wedding day with them.
I hope if you read this, you find some comfort on this topic. It can be overwhelming but we want to try and take away the stress and have you enjoy your engagement! If you need help finding a venue we have so many different and unique places that we know would love to help you celebrate. Shoot us a message – we would love to help you out!
Now…take a deep breath – don’t be discouraged! Let’s find you that party central venue you are looking for and the rest will unfold!