The Imperial Ballroom at the Atlanta Biltmore
I love going on venue visits with brides and grooms. Even if I have been to a particular wedding ceremony or reception site several times before, it is always great to visit with renewed purpose and see it through their eyes. When you visit your venue, think of it as visiting a home you and Mr. Fabuluxe are considering purchasing. You want something that reflects both of you and your lovestory, makes you feel comfortable and is conducive and complementary to your overall event vision. Just like when buying your home, as soon as your foot crosses the threshold, you should feel like you are “home”. You should see the two of you cutting the cake in the corner or stealing a kiss by the door. You should see your dad doing that dance that you wish he wouldn’t on the dance floor. You should see your best friends marveling at the centerpieces and beautiful decor.
I’m sure that if you have a wedding planner, s/he will attend these visits with you and give you some key things to look out for. Here are some additional suggestions:
Pay attention to how you are treated…on every level. Your family and friends will visit your venue and come across various members of the site’s staff. If you are having a destination wedding, this will include hotel front desk staff, too. In these instances, I would suggest staying at the resort/hotel prior to booking. Granted, everyone has a bad day—but if you feel neglected, offended, or chastised, it may be time to look for another wedding location. You will be less apt to forgive these attitudes and affronts your wedding day.
Pay attention to any odd smells and stains. I know, strange but true. If there is a “unique” odor in the venue, it could be for various reasons—the site is old, there is a mold problem, etc. Be sure to inquire into if it will be fixed (nevermind asking what it is); you are paying to rent the facility and have a right to know. Look for things that could detract from your wedding like hard water stains on walls or other stains on the carpet/flooring. Ask if any renovations will occur prior to your wedding; you may be able to benefit from those new upgrades.
Does the decor make you soar or gives you a sore? In addition to the pictures you see online at the wedding venue’s website, be sure to check other sites like Flickr as well as blogs of photographers and wedding planners in your area. You will be seeing the venue without any frills—but it will be good for you to get an idea as to what you are walking into as well as how much work you will have to put into your design to make it the way you want. If the decor is antiquated, ask if you can make any non-permanent changes. Also, if there are any decorations that you simply adore, ask if they will be in place for your wedding. This would also be a good time to ask what the venue does anything special around the holidays if you are having a wedding at during a holiday season.
Take your own pictures. You know what you are going for with your design and it can sometimes be hard to describe in conversation or in emails. Instead, take your own pictures of your potential venues to review at a later date. Print your photos at home or send them to a place like Walgreens or Walmart. One tip: Print them as 8x10s and have them laminated at Staples or Kinko’s. With a set of dry erase markers, make notes or preliminary placement designs for your own records.
Know your limitations, restrictions and requirements up front. It’s the pits finding out things after you’ve signed the dotted line. The problem is that you may not have known to even ask those questions during your visit. You will want to know if your vendors are required to have liability insurance in order to work there. You do not want to run into a problem with booking a vendor only to find they do not have the required paperwork and refuse to get it. Of course, you should ask about any design limitations and restrictions—which parts of the venue will you have access to? Are you allowed to affix anything by hanging, taping, pinning or stapling? Can structures be built onsite? Do they have any exclusive catering or photography rights? Can you bring your own alcohol? Are there any structural limitations that you could run into if you want to use a non-standard layout or lighting? Are there any noise ordinances? What about rose petals, confetti, rice or sparklers? Can you have open flames or must you use enclosures? How early can you set up? These are all some great questions to get you started.
We’ll break this post in half, with the other five tips coming next Monday. In the meantime, check out 5 Venue Assets that Will Fabuluxe Your Wedding