Question Your Venue
At the moment there are many brilliant deals from venues for late bookings which potentially could save couples hundreds of pounds. It is important though to be thorough in reviewing the venue and not impulsive. I was speaking to one of my 2008 Mother of the Brides this morning, who was telling me a story of an Essex venue that is taking a friend for a ride. It saddens me that in this current economic downturn, honest & naïve couples are being ripped off. There are many fantastic venues in the UK with very experienced in-house co-ordinators but sadly there are also a few unsympathetic venues out there.
So I have listed my top 10 tips in ‘vetting’ a venue in the hope it helps.
- When visiting a venue ask which rooms are available to use with the ‘late deal’ package and how long you have access to these rooms.
- Check that none of the rooms are closed off, many venues set up the next days wedding early afternoon thus shutting of access to some of the rooms you have been using.
- Ask what the special package includes and what is extra. Make sure you have this in writing within your contract.
- If the package includes arrival drinks ask how many glasses and what drink is available. As a guide guests will need 2-3 drinks during 1 ½ hour drink reception
- Does the package include canapés? Again how many of what choices are available
- Assuming a meal is included is it any menu or just ‘Menu A’? what is the charge for upgrading if you wish
- Is wine included with the meal? How much? As a guide allocate ½ bottle wine per person, if the venue is offering less then this then you are being short served. What is their charge for house wine, invariably it is 3 times the cost of shop bought wine so can be expensive.
- Is there a glass of sparkling wine/champagne included for the speeches?
- Will an evening buffet be included, if not what is the charge should you wish to provide one and do they restrict you on minimum numbers?
- Finally what are the bar charges like? You need to think about your guests buying their drinks at night.
My last bit of advice is remember not to be bullied by a venue manager who says clients must have x, y & z. Some venues assume you won’t question their opinion, as a wedding planner I discuss with the couple what they want for their wedding and make sure the venue is capable, the venue should adapt for the couple not the other way round.