After narrowing down your options for a wedding reception venue, the next step is to conduct an ocular of each option. An all too important activity that no bride-to-be should skip and for all too important reasons! A formal visit can give you the peace of mind before wanting to book a specific venue. Indeed, the appointment must come first before deciding on a venue.
A wedding reception visit is a brief walkthrough of any potential venue of your shortlist. It allows you and your wedding planners and organizers to visualize the reception based on the available space. Also, it will let you see the venue but not on its ‘staged’ mode.
The rule of thumb is to visit your top three choices of a venue to know how each differs from one another. It is best to start with your most favorite on the list. And, visit the place at the time you intend to wed. And of course, comb through the venues that have enough capacity to seat all your guests.
There are all-inclusive venues as well as stand-alone venues. An all-inclusive venue provides complementary services such as catering, flower arrangement, etc. while a stand-alone venue has the place itself as its only product. Try to include at least one of each to your list to get a feel of what you really like.
With that said, below are the reasons not to skip the wedding reception venue visit.
REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD CONDUCT A WEDDING RECEPTION VENUE VISIT
Learn the policies
Policies vary from one venue to another, depending on the size of the site. For instance, some venues only accommodate one wedding per day whereas others can accommodate up to three weddings. Exclusive use may be allowed provided that you meet the minimum guest requirement.
Some venues have their own packages. The flexibility of these packages is what you’re after. Or better yet, does the site offers a customized package?
Booking policies also differ. Locking the date may mean completing the 50% down payment on a specified date, at least six months before the wedding day.
Learn décor restrictions
Not all venues allow a dress-all-you-want setup. So, if you have decorations non-negotiables, better ask the representative if these are permitted or not. Open flames and sparklers are the notable restricted items. You need to be sure whether the planner, organizer or coordinator can move things around or do the decorating as-is.
These and other restrictions can be learned through the visit as well as what the venue can stretch for a compromise. While at it, ask for an inventory list of the inclusive amenities. The things you see here may either expend or free up your budget.
Make sure that everything is put into writing before you sign the contract whatever you and the representative would agree on. In this way, your expectations are guided.
Strategize the logistics
If hiring a caterer, it would be easier to coordinate with the provider knowing that the venue has a working kitchen, for example. The same applies to all the vendors you acquire the services from. Speaking of which, the place may already have a list of vendors they work with. Consider them because chances are, they have already serviced a wedding before yours, and they know how to maximize the place.
Not just the external, but also the logistics internally. For instance, your wedding planners and coordinators may easily plan the seating arrangement including where to put the couple’s table, presidential table, etc. You would know where to put signages for parking, restrooms, lounge area, children’s play area, etc. as well.
Most importantly, if there are any planned changes to the venue, you would know instantly whether construction works, for example, would coincide with your wedding.
Learn the actual price
Prices you see online are standardized. An exact and more explicit price breakdown based on what you need can be obtained after the visit. That is, if the management allows leeway to customize a package for you, good for you. This is also good to address any overlaps in services and thereby, pricing.
As a paying consumer, you are entitled to know the bottom-line. The actual cost of using the venue must be known before signing the contract and paying the deposit.
Beware of the hidden fees also. Ask whether tearing up installations you don’t want or adding new furniture pieces to suit your wedding would incur additional cost.
Additionally, talking to the venue representative in person allows you to access exclusive information and even perks (yes!). For instance, you can always ask the representative what their recommendations are.
If it’s a destination wedding and visiting the place is not possible, at least let someone else – someone you trust and who knows you inside out – do it for you while on Facetime.
It would also help to ask guidance from couples you know who had their wedding reception on the same venue that you are eyeing. Focus on what made them feel while in the place. For sure, there would be lots of stories waiting to be told.
If all else fails and you still want to do your wedding reception on your first venue choice, at least ask for additional photos and floor plans with dimensions. With this, you and your team would be working with something tangible.
For any to-be-wed couples, prudence has its benefits. The purpose of the wedding reception venue visit is determining whether it truly meets your needs or not. If you’re still in doubt, indeed, an appointment is valuable enough to guide you in making an informed decision on which venue to book.