Engagement season is upon us! Many of you will become engaged during the holiday season. Maybe he will slip a diamond in your plum pudding or hide it on the Christmas tree. Or maybe you will find your ring at the bottom of your champagne toast for New Year’s Eve. However he does it, now you must both start the wedding planning adventure. One of the first things you will do is search out the reception venue you want. Some of you have known since you were 8 years old where you were going to host your reception. Some of you have no idea which venues suit your needs or even exist in your area. After all, you never had a reason to pay attention before! Whatever your situation, here are a few tips to help you in your search.
Information to have on hand and things to consider when contacting a venue…
- Whether you inquire about a specific date or a range of dates, be prepared with an alternative in case there is no availability on your first choice. Also know if your heart is set on a specific day of the week or if you have the open-mindedness to look at discounts or options for alternative days. Most venues offer specials for Friday and Sunday dates.
- A general range of expected attendance is helpful to the venues in order to enable them to find an appropriate size space for your guests.
- Allow the event coordinator or sales department to give you all the pricing information before making a decision on the feasibility of fitting into your budget. It would be great if all of the venues used a standard pricing format. But, you will quickly learn that no two pricing structures are alike. Many of our brides call and ask one question…how much is it per person to have a wedding at your venue? This is not an easy question to answer. If you are looking at food pricing, there may be more involved than you realize. Of course your meal price will depend on style of service and the menu selections chosen BUT…does the venue have a somewhat inclusive per plate pricing or do they also have a long list of a la carte pricing in addition? A low per plate charge may turn into a high per person cost if a venue adds a lot of a la carte items such as linens, set up, bartenders, chairs, tables, etc. Likewise, something that sounds a little pricey per plate may end up being a sweet deal if that price is inclusive to those items listed above. ALWAYS ask about additional charges.
- Don’t let the excitement of the moment cause you to be impulsive. It is likely that your wedding will be one of the biggest investments you have yet made in your life. Do a little research before contacting venues. If you have always wanted a rustic atmosphere for your big day, don’t waste your time touring the ultra-modern glass and steel art museum in your city. If you have dreamed of having a multi-cultural cuisine, don’t bother with the venue that will only serve ‘chicken and tips’.
- Finally, don’t ‘settle’. This is your day. Any Director of Sales or Event Coordinator worth their weight in baby’s breath will not try to sell you on a promise to deliver your dream day if what you want is not appropriate at their venue. Do the research, ask informed, appropriate questions and use a qualified wedding vendor. Check the venue’s and staff’s affiliations with your local Chamber of Commerce or appropriate professional organizations.
My motto? NO STRESS!! This should be a fun and happy experience. Finding the right vendors will make that happen for you. And by the way…..CONGRATULATIONS!!