Once you set the date for your wedding, the next step is usually looking for a place to hold your ceremony and reception. You'll want to find a place that will fit your guests list, but if you're anything like most of my brides, a venue that also fits into your budget.
These days it's hard to find a venue that doesn't also require you to use their preferred caterer for all your food and beverage needs. While this is often convenient, it can also be a budget breaker. You can bet if the venue has their own caterer, the prices will most likely be higher than bringing in your own.
When selecting your venue/caterer, you must ask the important questions upfront, so their will be no surprises later. The Bridal Solution has put together a list of insider questions you should be asking your venue/caterer.
#5. Ask Questions ... LOTS of Questions
When you sit down with your venue manager, make sure he or she understands exactly what you are looking for. Will you be flipping the room from ceremony to reception? Can you bring in your own beverages or do you have to pay for theirs? What is the gratuity? And most important, what are the rules [more specifically, what can you NOT do?]
#4. Ask for a Discount
I know you're staring at this bullet point thinking ... can I really do that? And the answer is YES! On my wedding, I asked every vendor for a discount and you know what? I got it! Now here's a secret, don't tell the vendors I told you :) When you're doing something unique on your big day, let them know how it can benefit them. For instance, if you're setting up pin lighting on every guest table and the cake to feature the centerpieces and the intricate details, let your florist and baker know! They can use these pictures to market their business. Get them in contact with your photographer and work out a deal. Seriously ... you'll get the discount! Is your wedding in the off months? Are you having your ceremony and reception on a Sunday? ASK! Get my point?
#3. Are Packages Flexible?
It doesn't hurt to ask. In fact, you want to make sure you can customize each package to meet your needs. If you're on a budget, [like most of us are] you'll want to state that up front with your caterer. Let them know what you would like to pay, or are willing to pay per person. If they are a good caterer, they will come up with something in your price range. You can do this with the alcohol as well.
#2. What Else is on Their Books?
This is basically important for two reasons. 1. You'll want to known when you can have access to the venue and how much time you'll have to decorate. And 2. If they have back-to-back events, are they under staffed, will they allow you to have the venue the night before? Will the venue be cleaned in between? It does happen where venues will book an event until noon on your wedding day, and let you have it in the afternoon, but will that be enough time for you? You'll want to make sure that you are a priority with your venue and caterer, even if it's just to know everything will run smoothly.
and the Number 1 Question to ask your Venue ...
#1. What are the Job Obligations of your Event Manager?
Think about it. If you are thinking that the event manager will set everything up for you, make sure the lights are dimmed for your first dance, make sure you'll get your food hot and first, YOU'RE Wrong! Sure some may do this, but most of the time, the event manager for the venue is there to oversee that the food comes out hot, the building is still standing, and that their employee's are doing their jobs. NOT to take care of your needs. Sorry it's true. They won't fix your strap on your dress, have their emergency kit available for you, oversee your reception formalities and keep you on time. And they certainly are not going to clean up all your decor after the wedding and help you pull your car around and load up your gifts! ASK what their job requirements are for that day, and then ... HIRE a coordinator. The money to you pay for someone to oversee all the details of your day is priceless. I have never in my 9 years of planning events had someone ask for their money back, say we were not worth every penny, or think later ... "yeah I shouldn't have hired that coordinator!" You have ONE day ... make it special, make it stress-free!
For more information on The Bridal Solution or to discuss your upcoming Wedding or Event, email Natalie at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on facebook HERE.
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