It can be quite a challenge to search out, select and then finally book your wedding venue of choice-and that’s only after you’ve come to terms with having a local or destination wedding!
Regardless of if you choose to keep it close to home or to celebrate with some island sun, here are five things to watch for and negotiate on before putting down your deposit on a venue.
Cost of Food
One of the most important aspects of your big day is the food! If you have your heart set on a specific caterer or type of food have the talk with your venue manager. While some venues will allow for you to bring in food from an outside provider, most will not. Instead what they will do is have their in house chefs prepare the type of cuisine that you’re looking for. In cases like this, it is important to ensure that you have set up tastings to ensure that you’re happy with their rendition of the food that you’d like to serve and that presentation is up to your expectations. Take the time to discuss various options and the costs associated. Are you looking at more per head to have a specific type of cuisine, or is there an up charge to have your caterer come in? From there you can work back to your budget and see what makes the most sense for you.
Location and Parking
Location, location, location-it really is key. Multiple ways to access your venue is important when inviting guests from different parts of the city. With road construction, closures or weather conditions you’re also better off if you can access your venue from different highways or roadways. If you’re going to choose something in the heart of the city keep in mind that traffic may delay guests and that parking is likely going to be an issue. Do you want guests to pay to park or have to walk 10-15 minutes while dressed up to get to your venue? While your emphasis still remains on the interior part of your venue, these things can put extra onus on your guests as they attempt to make it to your celebration, which may not be the vibe you’re looking to create.
Is it really important to go through your contract with the venue manager line by line when it comes to the final costs. Make sure you’ve taken the time to understand all the fees associated and ask if you’re not. Where it doesn’t apply, ensure that you’ve taken out extra fees. Things like SOCAN, gratuity or decor fees are things that should be considered and accounted for in your budget.
Depending on the venue that you choose, you may be able to enjoy some additional cost savings as well as piece of mind if they have a list of preferred vendors. The list usually includes everything from decor to photographer to entertainment. Your venue may have discounts in place with these providers ranging in amounts, and let’s face it, every little bit can help when you’re putting together a party for 500 guests! The other great thing about choosing companies off of the preferred list is that they already know the venue and the management and staff, meaning they will likely have a much easier time with set up, take down and service than someone that is unfamiliar.
While you are paying for the venue you are also paying a large portion of the total for the overall experience which comes down to the service that you’re going to receive. Follow your instincts. If you don’t like the attitude of your contact at the venue or are uneasy about the competency of their team to bring your vision to life, then don’t go with them. Also ensure that even though you may be happy with the management and team and feel like everything will go smoothly, get it all on paper with contingencies in case there are any issues. How many bartenders are you going to have? How many servers? Who from the management team will be on site to answer questions or tend to issues? What happens if there is a short coming? While these are sometimes difficult issues to discuss, they are important and will help make your final decision.
❤ The National Bridal Show Team