A lot of couples come to me and ask for assistance with their wedding show arounds with venues. This may seem like a scary task and it may appear difficult to separate the wood from the trees but I have a way of working that will make it easier for you. By the end of your second show around, you will be a well informed wedding pro!
Here are my tips:
Once you have selected the venues that you want to visit you should schedule a show around with the best person placed to look after your wedding.
You should have a notebook or use a notepad on your phone to compile questions. There are no stupid questions!
- Visit – When you arrive, I recommend that you arrive early and go for a walk around before making yourself known to reception. Check out the service in the bar, restaurant and one of my pet peeves, check out the cleanliness of the toilets.
- Function room considerations: It is important to be able to visualise the room as how it would appear on your wedding day. For most venues, they wouldn’t have the venue set up for a wedding unless there was a wedding on the following day or that day. A lot of venues host Open Viewings whereby you can see the room set as it would be on your wedding day.
When you are looking at it dressed:
- Take a look at the linen – is it creased, are there stains?
- What is the lighting like in the room
- Will you need to add some lighting such as uplighters, light up dance floor or fairy light backdrop?
- Is the bar inside the room. If it is outside the room, your guests will hoard around the bar which means that your wedding party will be broken up. How big is the bar and is everything stocked otherwise they go and find the other bar for the preferred drink, how many tills,
- Where are the toilets located for the guests. Are there separate toilets for wedding guests.
- What is the flooring like – is it tired?
- Does every light fitting have a working light bulb – photos will need to be photo-shopped!
- Wheel chair access?
- Where is the kitchen – this will determine the wait for food.
- Look up at the ceiling, light fittings and corners – are there cob webs?
- Is there a stage for the band or it is at floor level?
- What décor is included and what will you need to do to bring it up to the visual expectation that you have?
- Will you need to bring in suppliers,
- What flowers are included? The flowers that are included, will they match the floral theme that you plan for your bouquets or does that even matter?
- PA system for speeches?
- How many can the room hold on round tables and then on long tables? What is a comfortable capacity rather that maximum capacity.
- How many extra can the room hold for the afters?
- Does the room have to be changed after the meal, where do guests go?
- Does it have air-conditioning and heating?
- What does the cake table, stand and knife look like?
- Where do you get pictures in the room or within the overall venue?
- Does the venue have any issue with you DIY’ing,
- Will you need draping or do you want draping….is there an issue with having it
Once you have walked through the venue and have made note of the standard information. Jot down notes of the things you liked and bits you didn’t.
Always get your coordinator to do a mock up bill based on your expected numbers and menu preference. Don’t worry of this changes later on. This will give you a quick understanding on how much you can expect. Out of the quote you are given, find out about any extras that you could incur and what happens to price if your numbers go up or down.
You can read my article on calculating a sample wedding bill right here!
Also worth noting:
- Menu: When you book your wedding, don’t get too bogged down in knowing what exact food you are going to have. You can confirm closer to the time. Some items to ask include; can they cater for dietary requirements, how they charge for kids and what are the menu options, are the supplements for extra choices, have they won awards for food quality, will you get the opportunity to menu taste. It is also worth checking the provenance of the food, the more locally the food is sourced, the better the quality.
- Bar extensions: Some venues have to comply with the general bar closing times that you would see your local pub adhering to. Most venues can offer a bar extension of up to 2 hours after general closing time. Some venues charge for this application.
- Insurance: All hotels and venues have to have public liability insurance. You cannot operate without it but if you are leasing a private venue, you may have to get your own personal liability. You should ask the venue what the policy is and what your liability is.
- Civil ceremony licence: If you want to have a civil ceremony outside of the registry office and in your preferred venue, you will need to check if the venue has been approved by the HSE. If it hasn’t you could ask them to push the approval process.
- Minimum Numbers: Some venues have minimum numbers for key dates. This means that you have to have a minimum amount of guests to hold your wedding on that date. If your numbers fall short, you may be asked to pay a fee.
If you are happy with everything once you go through everything, you may decide to book the venue. At this point you will be given a contract to sign!
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