Determining your wedding and reception location is perhaps the first and most important step in all wedding planning. All your subsequent event partners (vendors and wedding services) will need to know your location and its unique style, complexities, challenges and policies in order to give you a proposal.
Your professional wedding planner can help save you time and money by knowing exactly which venues will most closely match your budget and style right up front. But if you’re not ready for a professional to step in just yet, here are some of the best questions to ask your ceremony venue before booking:
- Do they have multiple ceremonies and/or receptions on the same day, or is yours the only one? If the former, how does that affect timing for your vendors in set up and time restrictions and fees associated with it?
- Is there a bride’s dressing room? Groom’s dressing room?
- Where do guests park (if no self-parking) and are you required to hire a valet, or in the case of a downtown wedding in a big city, does law enforcement have to be contacted to help direct traffic for large weddings/groups at the venue?
- Are there ample restrooms for your size wedding or do extras have to be brought in and at what cost?
- If the site is outdoors, what is the rain/inclement weather plan? If the venue does not offer one, what is the additional cost for securing tenting (and can the venue be tented- many cannot, so make sure you ask)
- What is the site fee and what does it include? Some sites include use of tables and chairs, some do not, so make sure you know exactly what is included in the site fee, and what you need to provide at your own expense.
And a word about any site fees including an “event coordinator” on site: an on site event coordinator is one whose professional job it is to manage the venue. They are there to ensure the site is protected as well as its policies. They do not plan, oversee and direct all the vendors from start to finish, including review of the vendor’s contracts, and much more. That is the job of a professional wedding planner and coordinator whose exclusive job it is to be of service to the client and oversee all vendors and every detail of planning from start to finish. Most venues include an onsite venue manager (sometimes called an “event manager” or “event coordinator”), and some list it as a separate service, some do not. But it is important to know the difference and that one is not getting a professional wedding coordinator automatically when booking a location.
To ensure your location scouting gets off on the right foot, contact us. We are happy to help with this first step only – or all of it.