Congratulations, you said YES! Our sales and event experts at Longwood Venues want to make your planning as easy and fun as possible so we have put together a list of the top five things to consider when selecting your wedding location. We want to make sure you have the inside scoop on all things venue before you begin planning the day of your dreams. Not only does your venue, food and beverage end up constructing more than half your budget, but they will set the tone for the entire wedding day.
Here is what we recommend you consider before selecting your dream wedding venue:
Decide on the aesthetic of your day.
When out on the search for your ideal location you and your significant other should be on the same page for the type of feel and style you want your wedding to have. You will want the aesthetic to reflect your personalities. Are you searching for something seaside, the lights of the city, or more of a historical castle? It is important to remember that while you can make each space your own, it will not be as easy to plan a style-specific wedding at every venue. Deciding on your aesthetic early on will help you narrow down the wedding venues you want to look at and might even help you narrow down your focus on décor.
What is your guest count?
Wrapping your head around a guest count early on will be a huge help for selecting your wedding venue. There is no way to know exactly how many guests you will have at your wedding until you get closer to your event date and start collecting RSVP’S but you can make a decision with your partner about how big or small a wedding you want. Create a list that meets your wants and needs and stick to it. This will help when navigating which event space is the best fit for your wedding as some venues have multiple spaces with varying capacities.
Flexibility in dates.
Being flexible is key when it comes to selecting your date. Available Saturdays in 2018 and 2019 are few and far between. However, if you are being flexible, Fridays and Sundays or a midweek day are all great options and tend to be a bit more flexible price wise. Furthermore, ask your salesperson if there are dates they need to fill due to short-term openings or recent cancellations. These dates can save you upwards of $10,000.
If you are looking for flexibility, research the peak seasons – often forming around the most desirable time of year for your geographical location – then ask about availability in the shoulder periods. The shoulder seasons are often the last to fill and you may be able to get these dates for a less expensive price. Your flexibility may sometimes win you locations you thought were out of the question or allow room for beautiful enhancements. You will not be able to find any negotiation in peak sellout periods.
Quality of food.
Before selecting your wedding venue, be sure to learn about the culinary team. We find that many of our couples are foodies and love asking questions about what to expect. When your venue also shares a love affair for food you can be confident it is a match. It is important to ask questions about where the food comes from and what items are made in-house. Find out if the food is prepared on-site or in a commissary. If the venue’s food is prepared in a commissary, be aware of the use of hot boxes (aka food warmers, meaning food probably sits in these boxes for a period of time before being served to guests). You should also find out if the food is frozen. Frozen products are usually lower in quality. For added personalizing and creativity check if customization is possible at all. Sticking to package A, B, or C can get boring. Ask about the newest culinary trends and see what the venue has available.
Overall Hospitality Experience.
In the height of your planning excitement, be sure that the wedding venue is equally excited to help you. You will know this right off the bat – and listen to your gut. You should receive responses from the venue in a timely manner. Take note of how long your salesperson takes to respond and if he/she are truly listening to your wants and needs before they give you a quote. Proposals, contracts, and expectations should be clear and they should all be outlined as you discussed. This is one of the biggest days of your lives, be sure you trust the professionalism of the entire team of vendors you choose. Understanding and setting expectations will give you peace of mind.
You will want to make sure that your wedding venue has a service level you are comfortable with. Leading up to the wedding, your event team will build timelines, floor plans, check vendors in, and worry about all of the details you discussed on property. Your “day of” team truly executes the plan. Wait staff ratio should be 1 per every 10 guests and the bartender ratio should be 1 per 100 guests. These are the industry standards. If you are adding interactive food stations, cocktail service or tableside menu ordering, more staff may be needed for flawless execution. If you still feel like you may need more of an extra hand we always recommend hiring a wedding planner. These professionals can help keep your whole weekend organized and even do some of the negotiating for you. Your venue team can handle anything on site but a wedding planner organizes the entire experience.
Most importantly, have fun! You are about to begin a life long commitment to the person you love most in this world. Enjoy the ride.