I really enjoyed casting my mind back to the world of weddings when I wrote a post about the things I would change about our wedding! So, today I am following up with 5 things you should ask wedding venues when you are looking for the perfect location. Here’s a look at my wedding venue, along with a few tips to add to your wedding checklist.
1. Will we be the only wedding here on the day?
When I worked as a Wedding Co-ordinator, I did a few mystery visits at competitor venues. As we drove away from one of the venues, we could see the two wedding parties mixing on the lawn, and the brides using two entrances to the venue just feet apart.
Now, I wasn’t exactly Bridezilla, but I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to bump into another Bride on our big day! This is your one and only day to be the ultimate princess, run with it…
It would also be super weird for your guests to be bumping into another wedding party. I often find that there are so many guests at a wedding, you don’t always know everyone and have conversations around how you know the Bride & Groom. What if you’re talking about different people!
Also consider what this might mean for the pressure on the venue that day. Staffing, food service etc. You’re likely to find that you’re limited on times if they’re balancing two wedding meals from the same kitchen.
2. Who will be responsible for set up?
What are you dreaming of for your wedding day? A dinner with your bridesmaids the night before, ahead of a morning of pampering? Or, a hectic couple of days running around making sure that everything is in it’s place and ready to go? I know which one I would opt for.
DIY venues can be fantastic. They can look truly amazing. But remember that unless you have about a billion pounds in the wedding fund to pay someone to do all of those things, you might be up until midnight the night before sorting it all out.
Then there is the issue of whether someone is getting married in your venue the day before. It’s not uncommon for this to happen any day of the week in popular venues, so you might only be left with the morning of the wedding to decorate. In the venue I worked in, we would take bookings at any time right up until the last minute, so it’s difficult to rely on having the night before.
By choosing a venue who take full responsibility for set up, I knew that I could focus on me.
3. Do you include a Toastmaster (or master of ceremonies…)?
Our Toastmaster was an absolute gem. He literally made Ross’s day, I think he was more happy to see him than he was me lol. But in all seriousness, how are you going to shift a wedding party of 60+ around a venue as the day happens? Who is going to ensure that every guest is seated ready for the Bride’s arrival? How are you going to introduce the speeches?
Having a professional on hand to do all of these things is one of those lifesavers that you don’t realise the importance of. Here’s a few of the often forgotten tasks that our Toastmaster helped with:
- Timings of the day – he had his own wedding checklist and knew exactly when everything should be happening, acting as the liaison between us and the hotel
- Introductions for key events – Brides entrance, Bride & Grooms arrival to the wedding breakfast, the speeches, the first dance
- Announcing that people needed to move locations, and when they were needed for photos
Having these little details taken care of makes the world of difference, trust me!
Our toastmaster was the lovely Malcolm Jones, who was provided by our venue at no extra cost to us, but he is available to book separately here too!
4. What’s the flow of the day?
For example, are different rooms being used for your day, or do the venue need to turn the room around for you? We were blessed with an amazing Spring heatwave for our April wedding, and were able to have our ceremony outdoors. If we had been indoors however, the venue would have needed time to turn the room around whilst we had our drinks reception, ready for the meal.
Each venue should be a real pro at this, leaving you with nothing to worry about, but it’s worth really understanding what will happen on the day. They will have a minimum amount of time needed to set up, if that’s the case. You might need your florist to stick around if you are having intricate displays moving. An important one to stick into your wedding checklist.
I had several decorative bits for each of our tables, so I made sure everything was boxed up per table and labelled. Each label detailed exactly what was inside each box, with a diagram of how it should be set up. I know this sounds a bit detailed and stressy, but it will help the venue out a lot. They’ll know exactly what you want, and you’ll be able to relax knowing they have everything in hand.
5. When do you need final details?
I used to sit down with my couples around 6 weeks before their big day to talk through final details. This was everything from numbers, menu choices, wines, decor, music etc. Everything. So be prepared and find out when your venue will need this information.
It will inform you for when your invites need to go out. What information to ask for from your guests, and when they need to reply by. Don’t forget to ask for dietary requirements, there’s always an allergy or vegetarian to be catered for! Your venue will need to know this information to be able to tailor the menu.
Building your wedding checklist
Is there anything else you guys would like to know about a wedding checklist, and what to think about when planning a wedding? I love writing these posts, and I definitely have more up my sleeve!
Photography by Cooper Photography