The Sweet Christian Bride

Sifting through Venue Logistics

by admin on October 30, 2012 in Budget, Logistics, Venue with No Comments

As you start your search for the perfect wedding venue, you can begin narrowing down your list of options with broad, sweeping strokes.  Factors such as whether you want indoor or outdoor, beach or mountain, close by or far away are generally easier, visceral decisions.

Once you have listed options of venues that you like, however, the pen strokes become a bit narrower.  You will have to carefully consider make-or-break details such as cost, capacity, and availability.  These three factors alone will narrow down your list considerably.

After you have found options you love that will work within the budget, time-frame, and size of your wedding, you will be faced with decisions of preference.  These decisions will bring you down to the two or three final choices on your list.

Some things to ask the site coordinator at these venues are as follows:

1)     Visual details: What linen materials, colors, and combinations are included in the price; how many people can fit around each table; are there places in the venue that need to be reserved for a band/DJ, the cake, a dance floor, etc. or can you set up the room as you like; what lighting do they offer; what options do they have for the ceremony set up (where the aisle is, how the chairs are situated, what the altar formations are); what leeway do you have to decorate the venue?

2)     Functional details: Where are their outlets located; how far does sound carry with or without a microphone; is sound and slideshow equipment available; do they have sound restrictions; how long do you have the venue (for set-up through break-down); do they have an on-site coordinator, and if so, what is his/her necessary involvement; can you bring in independent food and drink; is there a separate vendor entrance; how early can vendors come to set-up; if you are having any part of your wedding outdoors, what is the rain contingency; what are their menu, beverage, and bar packages; what are their heating and cooling options; are there any restrictions as to where photographers can go?

3)     Pricing details: Are discounts available or can anything be included for free; are there hidden costs that are not disclosed in the package cost such as extra fees for cake cutting, nicer chairs, cleaning, corkage, extra time, finer linens, outside rentals/vendors/catering, valet, etc.; are there typical tipping standards?

4)     Helpful details: Is there a bride’s room and a groom’s room; how many restrooms are there; what is the parking situation; is there a smooth way to transition guests from ceremony to cocktail to reception (or whatever your moving parts are); is complimentary water available for guests who arrive early; is there a room available for child care and/or for vendors’ breaks; how accessible is their staff for questions during your planning process; do they have any overnight storage options for you to pick up your decorations the next morning; what is their drop-dead date for the head count?

You can determine which of these details (and those beyond what are mentioned here) are deal-breakers for you and which are flexible by visualizing your day from arrival, set-up, ceremony, and reception to break-down and departure.  What details are integral for helping the day to flow well?  Also, put yourself in your guests’ shoes and evaluate which details might enhance or detract from their experience.

Throughout this whole process of crossing off venue options from your initial brainstorming list and sifting through the logistical details, pray for God to guide you.  Pray for Him to give you a discerning spirit, for Him to open up a path of smooth and affordable logistics, and for Him to bless you, bless your vendors, and bless your guests in the process.

Photo © John Yao, SimplyTwo Photography, featuring Annie and Henry’s wedding

Article originally published on December 29, 2010.

By Lindsay
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    […] can be done online at sites like Here Comes the Guide or with a wedding location book.  (Check out Sifting through Venue Logistics for more information on […]

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