You’re engaged!! wow!! This is so exciting and also soooo overwhelming, I know! I’ve been in your shoes so lets get down to business.
The first 2 things you’re going to want to do, and probably in order, are book your venue and your photographer. Now, booking your venue is probably going to be the hardest part of this whole thing. Finding a venue, working it into your budget, and picking the date, set the stage for the rest of your planning.
So, here are some tips for searching for a venue and what to expect.
Before you start reaching out to venues you will want to make sure you can answer their questions or it can get overwhelming FAST. Here are my suggestions for what to think about before getting on the phone with venues.
- Wedding date options! Have 3-4 different dates. (Thursdays & Fridays are typically cheaper)
- Guest count. A round about number will work or give them a max.
- Food! Do you want a plated dinner or a buffet? Do you want appetizers? Do you want a bar? What kind of food would you like to have?
- Do you plan to have a full 8 hour wedding day or are you doing a smaller more intimate day?
Questions to ask them..
- What does the package include? (Tables, chairs, linens, flatware, etc.)
- Can I bring in my own vendors? Or What vendors do you provide/require we use? Some venues require that you use a specific caterer, DJ, or rental company.
- Where will my guests park? (Is there a parking lot, street parking, etc.)
- What time can I access the property? This is useful information for your outside vendors.
- What are your Covid policies?
- Are there bridal/groom suits to hang out in before the ceremony ?
What to expect
Once you have talked to your venue, they will send you several documents laying out how much each item costs. (venue space, food, rentals) It may be difficult to get a rock solid $$$ right out of the gate so hang in there. If they require you to use their catering/rental services they may need you to make food, drink, and rental selections before giving you a quote.
THERE WILL BE EXTRA FEES. I know this feels so annoying when everything is so expensive but knowing they are there before you get the final quote is helpful. These fees can include, administration fees, staffing fees, bar fees, damage fees, taxes etc. When you’re thinking about your budget just add on $5,000 and then you will be less surprised or happy if its less 🙂
Keep track of everything! Create some sort of system so you have all your information when going through the options. It can get messy quick! “Wait, how much were the drinks at that venue vs. the other one?”
The venue will then send you a quote/contract! Make sure you fully understand what you are getting. They are usually pretty straight forward but have a couple people look through it and see if there are any red flags. Also ASK THEM ABOUT COVID. Make sure you really understand what their cancellation/postponement policies are. You never know these days ha!
Hiring your photographer
Phew, ok you made it this far haha Once your venue is booked hire your photographer! Photographers book up very quickly and they can also help with your planning. Your photographer will be a great resource for finding other vendors. Here are just some basic things to think about when looking for your photographer.
- Get on the phone with them!! Make sure you guys viiiibe and that you can spend the whole day with them
- Ask them for 1 to 2 FULL wedding galleries. This will give you an idea of what to expect for your own photos.
- Know EXACTLY what is included in your package. Photographers should lay everything out for you.
- Do not book an inexpensive photographer if you want high quality professional photos.
I hope this was helpful for you!! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions! I am HAPPY to help with any part of planning your wedding. Or if you’re on the hunt for a coordinator to help with all the craziesness check my girl Kat @ www.stingereventco.com
I CANT WAIT to chat with you more! xo Mary