Planning a wedding should be a enjoyable stress-free process. I said should be! Being newlyweds you don’t know what you don’t know. Wedding professionals should help and guide new couples through the process. If your not getting this kind of help, guide yourself to new wedding professionals! Choosing a wedding venue is an important aspect of any wedding planning. It can be a little challenging to say the least. Venue’s dates are booking up, your wedding date is getting closer, and of course things always cost more than you thought they would. In all the fun and excitement sometimes you miss out on a couple of key details when making your venue selection. Key details like things you normally wouldn’t think about in the hour long walk through tour of the venue. Here are 6 tips to help you get some clarity and focus on what’s important. This will help you to hang on to your wedding date, your money, and the rest of your sanity.
1. Location, Location, Location!!!
Did he say location? Yes he did! (If your ceremony and reception are at the same venue please go straight to tip #2) Before you pick a venue you should know where you are going to have your ceremony. I have been to more than a few weddings where couples have there ceremony in a church or somewhere else that is 30min to an hour away from the reception venue. One wedding, the church was in Norwalk and the reception was in Studio City. This is a 45 min drive with no traffic. Then you add that they were driving around 5 p.m. on a hot summer Saturday on the 5 freeway. It took some of the guest almost 2 hours to make it to the reception. If there is even a minor fender bender on the freeway you can expect delays. The couple in this wedding most of there cocktail hour photo time was spent in traffic. Also, take into consideration some of your guests might not be the fastest getting in or out of there cars. It takes a certain amount of time to park. Most of your guests are not familiar with either your venue or ceremony location or even the route in-between. So what can you do? Keep things simple for you and your guests. Keep the distances short if having two separate locations. Or be realistic with your time line planning. If the distance is 30 min in normal traffic but in bad traffic an hour then give it an hour. It is easier to cut time off an event or end early then it is to add time on with most venues because of how the schedule there employees and there events.
2. The View, The View, what to do, what to do???
This tip is assuming that your ceremony and reception are at the same venue. The view of the ceremony area and reception room or the lack there of. If you want to have a certain view or backdrop for your ceremony such as the beach, the golf course, the harbor, a mountain range, etc. Then you have to find a venue that offers this. If this is your dream then by all means pursue it, just realize that it does come with a price tag. Now on the other hand you want to have a wedding in Newport Beach however, you have no view for your ceremony and your reception is in a normal banquet room with four normal walls. Then you are paying for Newport Beach zip code with out the beach. Choosing a fancy venue and paying a fancy price that gives you what you want such as the view makes sense. Choosing a fancy venue just to be in a big banquet room financially does not make sense. If you and your guests are having a great time in a big room with four walls then it doesn’t matter what city its in. You can save thousands of dollars by being one city over and have the same great time. I have been to very fancy hotels and there ceremony area is literally 50 feet away from the guests rooms. I have seen multiple hotel guests sit on there balconies and watch the ceremony. Also, I have seen hotel guests walking to and from there rooms during the ceremony. Ladies and gentlemen you put so much effort into planning and details, with meetings and money. I am guessing you don’t want to profess your love to each other at the alter while a hotel guest sits on there balcony watching in a bath robe drinking coffee. Just a thought!
3. Bridal & Groom Suites…
What is a bridal suite. A bridal suite is a room for the bride and her bridesmaids or girlfriends to help the bride get ready in. The bridal suite plays two parts. The first part the bridal suite is used by the bride before the ceremony starts. Most photographers will capture the bride and her girlfriends applying make-up, primping their hair, getting ready, the whole “before the day starts images”. The second part the bridal suite comes in to play is after the ceremony and the couple’s first photos together. So let’s say 10 min or so before the grand entrance the bride, groom, and bridal party usually come back to the room to freshen up have some beverages. This is also a great idea because everyone who is in the grand entrance can meet at this room prior to the reception starting. Now, some venues don’t have a bridal suite room for a variety of reasons. Some venues like the Franciscan Gardens in San Juan Capistrano have a bridal suite, a bridesmaid’s suite, and a grooms room. The grooms room comes with a pool table and a flat screen TV. Needless to say these rooms are extremely useful and helpful. If you have a bridal suite it will make your day easier for sure!
4. Food for thought…
The venue that you choose is going to have two options. Either they have there own food service or an outside caterer is going to take care of it. Both are wonderful. If the venue has there own food service set up a tasting right away to make sure the food is in line with your plan. If the venue has an outside caterer same thing set up a tasting right away. Some venues will have a choice of caterers some venues will only use one as the preferred caterer. If the venue has multiple caterers get quotes from all of them and set up a tasting with all the ones that are in your budget. Like any vendor you want to be on the same page and feel confident in there service. The food could be great but, the caterer is tough to deal with or the caterer is great but, the food is tough to deal with. All things have to be in harmony with you.
5. Going the distance!……………………………………………………………….!
You have decided to have your ceremony and reception at the same venue excellent! Choosing your venue keep in mind the distance from your bridal suite room to the ceremony area. The ceremony area to the cocktail area. The cocktail area to your reception room. Your bridal suite room to the reception room. Also, take some time to scout out some area’s on the property that you want to take your first married pictures together. Having a plan in mind for where you want your photos taking is going to give you more time taking photos on the actual wedding day instead, of looking for where to shoot them. Photographers can be expensive and if there awesome at what they do then it’s totally worth it so, spend your time wisely with them. Now, why you ask, am I telling you to keep in mind the distance from one location to the other. Simple, It takes time to walk from on to the other. Let’s say it’s a hot day, and your make and hair is done perfectly. Do you really want to be trekking all over the place in a big dress and heels. Can you say cranky? The last thing you want is for your feet to be hurting you before the dancing has even begun. So just take in to account how vast the venue property is. Maybe the venue has a bridal golf cart to take you around. Consider your guests as well, it takes time to move people from one area to another. This is a relaxing, enjoyable, fun day not a cross fit training regime. You and your guest should have smiles not sweat, on your faces.
6. Park the car superstar…
Is he really going to talk about parking? Yes, yes I am and for good reason. Now, I know this seems silly however, I have been on several site walkthroughs with couples at there chosen venue and at the end I ask, where is everyone going to park? Now these are very intelligent people and just like everyone else they get so caught up in the moment that they didn’t think about it. I have been to huge venues that hold hundreds of people and there is nowhere to park. Or you can park and walk 5 blocks. Venues by the beach are notorious for this. Private residences up in the hills same deal. Listen your venue is fine and the parking is fixable with a shuttle service or valet you just need to budget this and keep this in your timeline. Ask yourself the parking question before you book the venue that way you are proactive instead of reactive. The goal is stress-free and the little details are the ones you miss.