Almost every bride and groom has got an idea of their ‘dream wedding’ … Whether it be the location, the colours, the style of wedding and even the venue.
As a wedding planner, over the years I have found that despite the bride & groom knowing ‘what’ they want – they don’t really know how ‘feasible’ it is to plan a wedding at XYZ venue because they haven’t got the facts sorted out.
These guide lines can be used for any type of wedding however I will be making references to Indian weddings along the way.
Step 1 : What Kind of Wedding Do You Want ?
I’d suggest sitting down with your fiancé and short listing ideas on exactly what kind of wedding do you both want.
- Is the wedding going to take place in your home town or are you thinking about a destination wedding ?
- City weddings tend to be restricted to hotels and banquet halls.
- Destination weddings can sometimes work out more cost effective.
- How many wedding functions are you going to have ?
- The typical Indian wedding has no less than 3 main functions – so what locations / venues will you be having them in ?
- How many guests are you expecting at the wedding ?
- Start preparing your guest list so that you have a tentative head count of the total number of guests
- If the wedding is taking place in your home city, and if the majority of the guests are from the same city – you can expect 75% attendance (even if it is just for a meet & greet at the reception)
- If you are paying for your guests at a destination wedding (i.e paying for their accommodation); you can expect 50% attendance (most people will pay for their flights – it’s like having a mini-holiday)
- And the most important factor to consider is what is the BUDGET you have for your wedding venue ?
- Who is paying for the wedding ? Are you paying ? Are your parents paying for the wedding ?
- Make sure you shop around and get an estimate of rates for venues before selecting a venue.
Step 2 : Site Inspection
It’s imperative that you visit the venues you are considering for your wedding. Have you attended weddings there before ? The banquet managers or the wedding coordinators at the venue would be able to assist you with any of your queries.
- Take your camera along – and photograph the venue. This will help you stay focused when comparing 10 or more locations.
- Are there any restrictions at the venue ?
- Hotels tend not to allow outside catering (or alcohol) wherein some banquet halls allow you to bring in your own caterer and alcohol (there might be a corkage).
- Does the venue have their own panel of florists and decorators ? Are you able to use your own decorators ?
- What is the natural decor of the venue ? Does it suit your taste ?
- Make sure you ask for a floor plan so that you can cross check / sketch out areas that you’d like to use for the bar, stage, seating, buffet etc
Step 3 : Weighing Out the Options
Some of the factors to consider include :
- Are the venues available on the ‘date’ that you want ?
- Cost per head for meals (including crockery, cutlery, minimum guarantees)
- Cost of alcohol for your desired brands that you will be serving
- What time do you have access to the venue from ?
- How long does your decorator require to do up the venue ?
- Any restrictions at the venue
- Venue accessibility – can your guests get there without too much difficulty (in a city like Mumbai – that’s the key factor to consider!)
- What kind of deposits are required ? What is the payment schedule like ?
- Are there any hidden costs within the contract ?
Step 4 : Block & Secure Your Space
Unless you begin venue finding at least 6 months prior to your wedding date – it’s unlikely your dream venue will be available. If you do find a venue that suits your needs but still want to keep your options open – then make sure you pay a refundable deposit to secure the venue.
You don’t want to be left in a situation where you have NO venues that you desire … it’s always better to pay the deposit – keep your options open and then make a final decision. This way there is always a back-up plan !
Most venues when giving out a proposal will hold the dates for you on their reservation system for 2-3 weeks. During this time make sure you establish a rapport with the coordinator of the venue because this is one person who is going to be able to get things done for you !
So there you have it folks – a quick guide on how to select your wedding venue !
Just remember to make your wish list so that you can cross-check your desires with what is actually available in the city / destination of your choice.
I hope these tips come in handy for you – and if you feel like sharing any additional pointers, please feel free to do so.