Yes! You’re engaged and your mind is filled with all of the things you need to do to get the wedding planning started…dress shopping, browsing wedding inspiration on Pinterest, setting a date and finding your perfect venue… STOP! Before you settle on that venue your cousin got married at or the reception space in the heart of the city everyone’s raving about, take the time to consider these six things before signing on the dotted line:
1. Book Your Venue Soon! – There is nothing more disappointed than having your heart set on a specific wedding venue and the date is not available! Yes, bask in the moments of your engagement, but set some time aside with your fiancé to choose a date for you wedding. Especially if the date is so specific that you do not want to consider other dates. For example, if you want to get married on the anniversary of your first date or the first time you both said I love you. Whichever date you chose, lock it in and start your search!
2. Location, Location, Location – Think about where you want to have your wedding. Have you dreamed of a chic, upscale, wedding in the heart of the city? A rustic, rural, farm wedding? Or a simple, but elegant wedding in the suburbs? Whichever you choose, when making your decision think about the logistics – If you choose a ceremony space that is quite a distance away from the reception space, include a map for your out of town guests, allow plenty of time between the ceremony and the reception time for travel. Also, if you have a hotel room block, think about where is the hotel located in comparison to the ceremony and reception venues. I know, I know...“It’s my wedding and I’ll have it where I want it!” which is so true, however, those little details will be appreciated by all of your guests and makes for an enjoyable experience.
3. Size Matters, It Really Does! – Trust me on this piece of advice, you are going to thank me later😊 If you have a confirmed list of 200 guests, a DJ, a photographer and videographer moving about the room, a photo booth, a candy table and a dance floor in a room that holds 200 people, you and your guests will feel like a pack of sardines stuffed in a tin container! I have seen this happen before with a wedding I provided day of services for. The couple was supposed to have a space that fit 216 people, however, when they added the guests, vendors and extras to the room, it became hot, crowded and uncomfortable. The bride was angry for most of the night and did not enjoy her reception. Don’t let this happen to you!
When asking questions of the venue manager, make sure to find out how many people can comfortably be seated in the room. Also, share your thoughts on what you would like to have – if it’s a photo booth, ask would it be best inside the room or outside the room for space sake? Is there space enough in the room for the elaborate sweets table or donuts display you want to have? Being the expert, he/she should be able to answer these for you.
4. What’s the Contingency Plan? – Whether your plan is to get married outside on the lush greens of a golf course or having your reception in a courtyard of a romantic Italian villa, the one element we cannot control is the weather. Although rain on your wedding day is said to be good luck, it can certainly put a damper on your outdoor wedding dreams. Make sure the venue you choose has a contingency plan in place for yucky weather! Does it have a banquet space available inside in case of rain. You can also take the extra step and book an indoor space booked for this very reason. Negotiate and make an agreement with a venue that will allow you to hold the space in case the weather turns at little to no cost to you. However, if you are dead set on having your wedding outside rain or shine, a vaulted tent can provide everything you want in an outdoor contingency option. One or two beautiful chandeliers installed for overhead lighting, uplighting to add a touch of color to a white tent and loads of lush florals and draping can make any plain white tent look like class and luxury.
5. Bang for Your Buck – We love amenities, especially when they add to the fabulosity of your wedding day, right!? I mean, who doesn’t! When venue shopping, find out what’s included in the price. For example, you believe you have found the perfect venue. It has everything you want, the perfect crystal chandeliers, beautiful ceiling to floor windows, an outdoor patio overlooking the lake and enough space for all of your guests and added entertainment you want for your wedding. Then you find out once you get to the office that you have to pay $5 per chair for the ceremony, $8 per chair for the upgraded chiavari chairs for your reception, you cannot have the cake you want from your favorite bakery because the venue has a preferred bakery to choose from and it’s a $3 per plate upcharge to use the gold rimmed chinaware or else you get the plain white china. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of this, however, know and understand what you’re paying for so there are no surprises. Or my motto is, if you have an amazing planner, anything is negotiable.
6. Does the Venue Fulfill Your Vision – Every bride has had a vision of what she wants her wedding day to look like - The colors, the decor, the “in the moment” feelings, and so much more. You want your venue to scream perfection! When venue hopping, make sure the colors of the venue’s carpet, wall paint or decor will not clash with what you have in mind. If you chose a theme of romance for your wedding and the colors are blush, rose gold, and ivory, a venue with green/tan colored carpets and aqua colored walls will not work! It’s your wedding day and everyone is going to take lots of pictures. You want to look back at your photos and have “No Regrets!” (Maybe you should take a Snickers in case you get hungry and can’t think straight!)
What happens if you have looked and looked and just can’t find that perfect venue? HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER, DUH! A wedding planner will be the most valuable source you can use to get all that you want and more in your wedding. The knowledge and resources available to a planner can be a big stress reliever for you. Save yourself the time and the headache and allow someone else to do the work. You and your fiancé should be enjoying your engagement with family and friends, while having fun in the process. I have heard brides chat and have had conversations with women about their weddings and the one thing that is consistent is they wish they would have hired a coordinator to do the planning. Most, if not all soon-to-be brides do not realize the level of stress that can come from wedding planning until they are knee deep in the process and need a helping hand to pull them out! Be calm and hire a planner!
Qiana Turner, Owner and Chief Event Planner
Madison Elyse Events